What is Free Climbing?
Free climbing is a form of rock climbing wherein the climber ascends cliffs or indoor rock climbing walls using only his hands, feet and body to pull themselves up. Free climbing can be done with or without ropes depending on your preference, although most people opt to use ropes as a safety precaution against any slippages.
Free Climbing as a Discipline
Free climbing requires a lot of discipline as you are not using any safety equipment to hoist yourself up, rather you are doing all the work with nothing but a rope for safety purposes. Free climbing is usually done by professionals who have gone through the proper strength, agility and flexibility training at indoor climbing gyms. It requires constant focus and mental agility to be able to accomplish free climbing.
The Difference Between Free Climbing and Aided Climbing
As stated above free climbing is when an individual uses only their hands, feet and body to pull themselves up when climbing. The rope is merely a safety precaution in case of accidental slippages. In aided climbing, the climber uses ropes and hooks to pull themselves up while climbing. Additionally, there is a person on the ground to feed the rope to the climber as they ascend. One example of aided climbing is top-roping, wherein the person on the ground feeds the rope as the climber uses equipment to hoist themselves up to get to the top.
Types of Free Climbing
There are four types of Free Climbing to consider, allowing you to choose the best match for your preference.
The redpoint ascent is when the climber ascends from the bottom to the top without falling. Gears are used to protect the route, in redpoint climbing the climber is the one who lays out the route for the next climber.
Then there is the pinkpoint ascent, which entails climbing the route multiple times without falling or resting on the rope.
The next type of climbing is the onsight ascent which means the route was completed by the climber without any prior knowledge from other climbers on how to reach the top. If you can accomplish this, then great job!
Lastly is the headpoint ascent where the climber practices and rehearses the moves, usually on the most difficult route on a top-rope. After, the climber will use this memorized climb to ascend to the top without falling
Free climbing has been said to be one of the most fulfilling experiences climbers have had. The thrill of laying out your own path with nothing but your body to help you up increases your mental and physical agility. Free climbing allows you to use all your body muscles to help stay fit and healthy. It also keeps your brain sharp which can help in improving hand-eye-coordination.
All in all free climbing has been well received in the rock climbing community. So why not give it a shot and see how it goes for you?