Rock Climbing in India

About Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of the best outdoor activities. When you are ascending you concentrate on your moves and can't think of all the everyday stuff. It is not quite easy to define rock climbing, but it is not difficult too. Anyone who claims to be a rock climber has his own version of the game. Rock climbing for some is to challenge their spirits and explore new heights, to give a fillip to their unbounded imaginations; for others, it is a way telling the world that he/she has finally arrived. For many of the professional rock climbers, it is not a sport. Can you call a mission to moon a sport or pastime? Rock climbing is a test of strength, concentration and coordination as well as skill and technique. A climber learns from experience that the mountain must not be taken for granted.
Rock Climbing in South India
Rock Climbing in South India

It can be rough and antagonistic to those who venture to come to grips with it. Nevertheless, as a sport, climbing continues to offer a thrill and challenge that is compulsive. In India, rock climbing, as most other adventure sports, is a relatively new sport. However, in a short span of time, it has become the most popular adventure sport. Because of the good distribution of great climbing rocks throughout India, coupled the element of excitement involved, rock climbing has become the sport to participate in for the young and the old alike.

Rock Climbing Destination In India

The best thing about this sport is the almost equal distribution of rock climbing destinations in India. The availability of the good climbing rocks not too far from the city gives greater access and participation from the professionals as well as from the amateurs alike.
Given below are the names of some of the major destinations for rock climbing in India are:
Rock Climbing in India: Southern India
Badami, a five-hour drive from Bangalore, is a good place for rock climbing. Bangalore is in the center of a number of rock-climbing destinations like Ramanagaram (the setting for the Hindi blockbuster Sholay), Savandurga, Thuralli, Kabbal, Raogodhu, and others. Kambakkam at a distance of around 100 km from Chennai provides good climbing in many grades while Hampi in Karnataka has some of the best granite rocks in India providing the climbers ample opportunities to test their skills.

Rock Climbing in India: Eastern India
Rock Climbing in North India
Rock Climbing in North India

In a 300-km radius adjoining Calcutta, there are some good rock-climbing destinations like Purulia, Matha Bura, Jai Chandi, and Susunia Hills. The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute provides some courses in Mountaineering at Gobu and Tenzing Norgay Rocks.

Rock Climbing in India: Western India
There are several good rock-climbing destinations near Mumbai like Kanheri Caves in the Borivili National Park, Mumbra Boulders, and Manori Rocks. In Gujarat, Pavagadh is a favorite rock-climbing destination. In Rajasthan, the region around Mount Abu like State Mountaineering Institute's training area, Golden Horn Spire, and Adhar Devi Slabs are the best rock-climbing destinations.

Rock Climbing in India: Northern India
North India offers some of the best and toughest challenges in rock climbing both for amateurs as well as for the professionals. The might of Himalayan rocks have always been the inspiration for many professional climbers. New Delhi and the region around it provide some very good options in rock-climbing arena. Lado Sarai in Delhi, Dhauj (55 km from Delhi), and Dam Dama Lake (around 65 km off Delhi) are some of the best-known rock-climbing destinations in this part of the country. In Himachal Pradesh, Manali and Dharamshala and the adjoining region provide some of the toughest and most exciting rock climbing options in the world. Professional climbers from all over the world come here to negotiate the rocks and to find new challenges.

Besides these, there are many artificial climbing walls in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, Darjeeling, Manali, Uttarkashi, Bikaner, and at Mathura Road near Badarpur border in Haryana.

Himachal Pradesh
Excellent terrain for rock climbing is found in Himachal Pradesh at Patalsu, Bharmour and Manali, making them popular with rock-climbing enthusiasts. The best thing about rock climbing in Himachal is the availability of all rock features like - slabs, chimneys, walls and overhangs at almost all the places. Among some major mountain climbing institutes that also offer courses in rock climbing in the state include the Mountaineering Institute at Dharashala, Bharmour, Narkanda and Jispa.

Gangotri in the Garhwal Himalayas too sees excellent high altitude rock climbing but one should always try out the rocking expedition in the summer and autumn months.

Rock Climbing in Uttaranchal
Rock Climbing in Uttaranchal

Gentler rocks are found at Mount Abu and Sariska in Rajasthan, which are a part of Aravalli range. Equipment and professional help are available for amateur rock climbers.

Safety requirement and Tips while doing Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and/or one's feet to ascend a steep object.
Climbing activities include the following:

Rock climbing
Rock Climbing need ascending rock formations, often with climbing shoes and a chalk bag. Equipment such as ropes, bolts, nuts, hexes and camming devices are normally employed, either as a safeguard or for artificial aid.
Rock climbing basics
Climbers usually work in pairs, with one climbing and the other belaying. The belayer feeds rope to the lead climber through a belay device. The Leader climbs up, places protection, climbs higher and places protection until the top is reached. The belayer is ready to "lock off" the rope if the leader falls.
Both climbers attach the rope to their climbing harness, usually tying into their harness with a figure-eight knot or double bowline knot. The leader either places protection or clips into permanent protection already secured to the rock. In traditional climbing, the protection is removable. Usually nuts or spring loaded camming devices are set in cracks in the rock (although pitons are sometimes used). In sport climbing the protection is metal loops called hangers. Hangers are secured to the rock with either expanding masonry bolts taken from the construction industry, or by placing (generally safer) glue-in bolt systems. In ice climbing the protection is Ice_screw or similar devices hammered or screwed into the ice by the leader, and removed by the second climber.

The lead climber connects the rope to the protection with carabiner. If the lead climber falls, he will fall twice the length of the rope out from the last protection point, plus rope stretch (typically 5% to 8% of the rope out), plus slack. If any of the gear breaks or pulls out of the rock or if the belayer fails to lock off the belay device immediately, the fall will be significantly longer. Thus if a climber is 5 feet above the last protection he will fall 5 feet to the protection, 5 feet below the protection, plus slack and rope stretch, for a total fall of over 10 feet.

If the leader falls, the belayer arrests the rope. This is achieved by running the rope through a belay device attached to the belayer's harness. The belay device runs the rope through a series of sharp curves that, when operated properly, greatly increase the friction and stop the rope from running.

At the top of the pitch, the leader sets up a secure anchor or belay from where he can belay as his partner climbs. The second climber removes the gear from the rock (traditional climbing) or removes the carabiner from the bolted hanger (sport climbing). Both climbers are now at the top of the pitch with all their equipment. Note that the second is protected from above while climbing, but the leader is not, so being the leader is more challenging and dangerous - very dangerous for new climbers.

Ascending boulders or small outcrops, often with climbing shoes and a chalk bag or bucket. Usually, a safety rope from above is not employed - instead, a crash pad (a combination of high and low density foam, within a heavy duty fabric structure, often transported on the back) and a human spotter (to direct a falling climber on to the pad) are used to avoid injury.

Rope climbing
Climbing a short, thick rope for speed. Not to be confused with roped climbing, as in rock or ice climbing. Rock, ice, and tree climbing have a common feature: all three normally employ ropes for either safety or aid.
Free Rope Climbing
Free Rope Climbing

Types of Rock Climbing

Rock climbing may be divided into two broad categories:

Free climbing
Free climbing requires the climber use only natural features of the rock formation.

Aid climbing
Aid Climbing involves using artificial devices placed in the rock to support all or part of the climber's body weight, and is normally practised on rock formations that lack necessary natural features suitable for free climbing.

Best Time to go for Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is an almost year round sport in India, except during the Monsoon season. The fun on the rocks is mainly concentrated in and around Delhi; near Pune on the Western Ghats; along the Bombay-Nashik at centers like Mumbra and Dulha; in Manali in Himachal Pradesh; the Chamundi Hills in Karnataka, and in Sonamarg, a popular base in Kashmir.


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