Sport climbing is a style of outdoor climbing where you climb up a rock face that has had bolts pre-placed on the route for you to clip your rope into as you progress upwards.
If you can lead climb indoors then you already have most of the skills you need, but knowing how to clip a bolt and thread a lower off to get back down safely are really important things to learn.
When using a quickdraw one end should always be used on the bolt, where it may get scraped and form a sharp edge, and the other one on the rope, which would not last long running over a sharp edge!
To tread a lower off you need to clip into the anchor, untie from the rope, thread it through the bolts and tie on again, all without dropping the rope or falling (!). You can practice on the floor but its never the same as doing it 30m up.
If you’re climbing outside for the first time then one thing that is very different to indoors is that the holds won’t be coloured in for you, you have to look and feel to pick the best ones available.
You’re in the great outdoors so follow the Countryside Code: Respect, Protect, Enjoy. This means take your litter home, don’t leave chalk marks on the rock and definitely don’t start chipping new holds.
Always tie a knot in the end of your rope to stop you being lowered off the end of it if the route was longer than half your rope length.
Not all bolts are good bolts and it’s up to you to make decisions about your own safety. The BMC have some useful information on this.
Some of the best sport routes in South Wales are on the beach, so learn how the tides work so that you can have a good days climbing and keep your feet dry.
Wear a helmet! That stuff inside your head is pretty special, look after it.
Finally, if you're not sure, or want some help building skills safely then just give me a call - Happy Climbing!