Sport Climbing

Most of the techniques described above will stand you in good stead for sport climbs.

On sport climbs no one is responsible for maintaining fixed protection, and even though bolt failure is extremely rare it can happen. There is also the possibility of rock fall or holds snapping, and taking a fall on any climb can result in injury.

The tops of most sport climbs have two belay bolts to lower off from. Sometimes they are linked with a chain, which should be checked for corrosion, but in Britain it is common to have two bolts through which the rope is threaded. Not all bolts can be threaded, however, such as those with sharp edges. If in doubt consider lowering off both bolts with a karabiner or quickdraw attached to each one.

Having led a climb a common lower-off method is as follows (see over):

1. Clip into one of the two belay bolts;

2.Thread a loop of your rope through both bolts and tie a figure of eight in it;

3. Attach a screwgate karabiner to the figure of eight;

4. Clip the karabiner to the central loop on your harness and screw it up.

Once sure that the rope passes from your belayer, through both belay bolts, to the knot attached to your harness, untie your original attachment. Before being lowered clearly communicate with your belayer, and ensure you both understand each other. An accident at this stage is likely to have fatal consequences.

Traditional climbing requires you to place your own protection - utilising cracks, spikes and threads - and so demands more judgement. Do not try leading these routes until you have mastered the art of placing protection and constructing belays. Ease yourself into the skills and demands of lead climbing by starting on routes that are well below your technical grade.

Sport Climbing

Mltuk Pics
Threading the lower-off Source: Rock Climbing - Essential Skills & Techniques, MLTUK

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