Your Guide To Rock Climbing, Abseiling, And Camping
Exploring nature is a national pastime for us Aussies. Our great southern land offers many scenic views, majestic drives and action-filled activities that get the blood pumping.
One such activity is very popular, and that’s rock climbing and abseiling. We do not include indoor rock climbing; we’re talking about outdoor real rock climbing that has the wind blowing in your hair and the sun in your back.
Here’s your guide to rock climbing, abseiling, and camping to get you the ultimate experience of adventure, fun, and nature.
Mix The Feelings, Get A Complete Experience
Mixing up the feelings and activities is the way to enjoy the outdoor adventure at the highest level. Choose outdoor destinations that allow you to mix all the three: rock climbing, abseiling, and camping. Importantly, the popular rock-climbing destinations in Australia are cliffs, and the valleys offer great camping spots.
Be it Mt. Arapiles in Victoria or Blue Mountains in NSW, you get the option to test your every skill in rock climbing and abseiling. Do you prefer top roping, lead climbing with your friends, or like traditional climbing better? If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even choose free solo climbing. Note that each type of rock climbing has varying levels of risks, and you should be trained enough before giving a try.
Since most Australian rock-climbing destinations are multi-pitch, you can choose from top roping to free solo climbing and make a short climb or long climb based on your skills and capacity. The bright optimistic spirit for climbing and abseiling is not just reaching the summit of the mountain and the seeing the world with a new set of eyes, but it is also about testing the skills: the footwork, the handholds, the body positioning, and much more.
Testing every climbing and abseiling skill gives you the confidence and enthusiasm to make more climbing adventures. Try to mix the activities and feelings, to satisfy your soul, to fill energy for the next rock climbing.
The Right Gear: It’s All About Safety
While rock climbing is a fantastic sport and pastime, you must be very careful when it comes to safety.
Choose a camper trailer according to your needs, pack gears and things, head to the valley of your climbing destination. Camper trailers give a free outdoor camping experience, and you can camp for several days, especially if you’re on holidays. Since most climbing destinations have campsites, you don’t need to search for arranging your accommodation in hotels and stay close to nature.
Keep the following checklist with you and ensure that you have packed everything for your rock climbing and abseiling adventures:
Rope for abseiling: Ensure that you choose the most dynamic rope for your adventure. Choose the length of the rope according to the distance you climb. For instance, if you want to climb 50 meters, choose at least a 100 meters rope to complete climbing and abseiling.
Harness: Regardless of the size and shape of the harness you choose, all of them have the same basic design. It is important to choose the harness that fits comfortably for you. Check and ensure that you are fully supported with it and can sit with a reasonable comfort level.
Belay device: The device helps you to control your speed on the rope by applying friction on it. These are available in two forms: manual and assisted breaking devices. Irrespective of the type of belay device you choose, ensure that you fully understand its operation before starting with your adventure.
Accessory cord: You can give an added level of safety to your climbing and abseiling with a good quality accessory cord. By tying a prusik knot to the rope with the accessory cord, you get an extra level safety. Even if your belay device fails, the prusik knot will kick in, get tightened, and stop you from falling.
Climbing rope protector: You can’t think of the risks of the rope getting torn or damaged while it presses along the cliffs and rough rock surfaces. And your option to save you from all such dangers is using a climbing rope protector. These are available in different designs and work as a mat to cover the rope to protect from damages. You can make a home-made rope protector using a garden hose as well.
Climbing and abseiling helmet: A helmet protects you from bumping injuries and safeguards you from falling debris on your head. You can choose good quality hybrid helmets or superlight helmets to make your outdoor adventures secure. Ensure that the helmet perfectly fit on your head, sits centrally on your head without the issues of wobbling or creating pressure in your temples.
Carabiners: Carabiners are available in different styles and shape, and these are metal clips to attach things together. It is advisable to choose locking carabiners as they are fully enclosed, and the springs won’t open accidentally until you want to really open it. Remember, slips or sudden falls can lead to gate lush – the sudden opening of the springs of regular carabiners.
Protection: Though established climbing sites have metal loops drilled or fixed into the rock for anchoring, some of them may be worn or loose. Also, you may find rocks without any natural anchors. Therefore, always keep the equipment with you to make your own anchor point. Active protection equipment is an excellent choice as it can even fix on rocks that have cracks on it.
Reach The Destination At Least A Day Prior To Climbing
You can set out to the campsite a day prior and enjoy the fun of outdoor camping. This helps you to escape from the tiredness of a possibly long drive. Also, it allows you to start the rock-climbing early morning to get rid of the intense sun rays.
If you’re not a professional climber, it’s highly recommended for you to climb and abseil under the guidance of a professional climber. Regardless of the destination you choose, you can find qualified climbing instructors in almost every major climbing destinations in Australia.
Especially, if you are out for your first outdoor rock-climbing adventure, the guidance from the instructors can make your adventure safe and enjoyable. Your indoor climbing expertise won’t give you the exact picture and challenges of outdoor rock climbing.
Try to head to the climbing location and make yourself familiarise with it on the same day you reach there. It will also help you to review your plans for climbing, the strategy, the hand movement, the leg movement, and more based on the metal loops drilled into the rock.
Note that outdoors are a less-controlled environment, and you should consider the weather conditions of the climbing destination.
Learn the Dangers and Be Prepared to Face Them
Though rock climbing is a dangerous sport, it is still popular due to the climbers have better control over the activity and safety measures. By learning the dangers associated with rock climbing abseiling, you can prepare yourself for managing adverse situations.
You may encounter the following circumstances while you are climbing or abseiling:
- Rock breaks due to the applied pressure, or it can even fall from the top.
- Unlike indoor climbing, outdoor bouldering landings are rarely flat, and they are usually covered with sharp rocks.
- You should be aware of the weather changes, including strong winds, heavy rain, lightning, extreme heat, and snow, and should have plans and strategies to counter them.
- Putting hands on hard rock means you are at the risks of skin injuries. Take care of your skin.
To protect you from rock breaks, use quality gears, including a helmet. You should ensure you use enough bouldering pads to safeguard you in your landing zone if you’re planning for free climbing.
Trim your nails by leaving a little bit of white nail to avoid your nails scratching the rock walls. Also, moisturise your hands with non-wax based hand repair creams 1-2 hours before climbing. Do you experience tearing or splitting while climbing? File it immediately and continue the climbing.
All these can help you to reduce the skin injuries and complete your rock climbing and abseiling comfortably.
Remember These Climbing Techniques
Rather than your physical strength, rock climbing is all about applying the right technique to achieve your climbing goals. When you’re beginning with it, focus on footwork, balance, body positioning, and try to learn good movements, before pushing yourself to be stronger.
Focusing on your foot and body is critical in mastering rock climbing. Always think about climbing a ladder, step up, and use your body, arms, and hands for balance. You should have an idea about different foothold locations and how to utilise them. Your foot positioning defines your body positioning, and that affects your handhold use.
You should master in edging and smearing if you are planning for face climbing. In edging, you use the rubber on the edge of your shoe to step on hold, and in most cases, you make use of the inside edge and the big toe for stability.
While smearing, you’re without a foothold but manage with the friction of your shoe rubber. It is particularly useful in slab climbing, but you can search for bumps and dips to get some extra friction for your climbing. Also, keeping your heal low is a great way to use the rubber against the rock to get maximum friction.
You can position your body better when your feet are rightly below you, and therefore, you should put an eye on footholds that are in a good position. Once you put a hold, try to keep in that position until you make the next move or get a better foothold.
You are lucky if you get a line of footholds, bumps, and dips as you can make straight climbing. When you want to move and push your body in different directions for footholds, using your body for balancing becomes critical. Use counter pressure tactics in the opposite direction using your other hand or foot to move to a particular direction.
While climbing, try to use minimal energy to make yourself less tired and help you to achieve your climbing goals. Use straight arms to reduce your dependence on your muscles. Straight arms put the pressure on bones and relieve your muscles, even a slight bend in your arm or elbow can put pressure on your muscles.
Also, keep one hip up against the wall to put your weight over your feet to help you to straighten your arms. Note that keeping your hips squared to the wall can push your weight away from the wall. By keeping your hips close to the wall, you also keep your shoulders close to the rock wall, and that helps you to change the angle of pull for handholds for good grips.
Always keep your eyes on the rock and don’t get distracted too much with the chalk marks. Also, search for holes or footholds that allow you to relax and shake your arms – for short breaks.
Don’t Push Beyond Your Limit
You should always keep your limit in mind and don’t strain yourself to reach beyond your capacity. Especially, if you feel that you’re tired or can’t continue due to injuries, stop your climbing, take rest for the day, and focus on the next attempt.
Don’t try to desperately hang on when you’re sure that you can’t make the next hold. Understand the fine line between what you can do safely with control and pushing beyond your physical limit. It’s not just about the physical strength but the mental capability to analyse the consequences of each decision as well. It makes the difference between your success and failure.
Climb like a cat with quiet, precise, and deliberate movements. Also, picture every move in mind, analyse various factors and then execute it.
The Destinations In Australia
Australia has majestic mountains, vertical granite slabs, and jagged cliffs spread across the country. Here’s a list of popular destinations in the country where you can test and enjoy your climbing and abseiling skills:
Mt. Arapiles, Victoria
With thousands of climbing routes and the quality climbs, Mt. Arapiles is a very popular destination for rock climbers in Australia. Ideal for free climbing, the mountain is more suitable for experienced and professional climbers. At the top of the rock mountain, you can get the spectacular views of Western Victoria outback.
Located in the Mt. Arapiles-Tooan State Park, Mt. Arapiles rises 230 meters, and you can get instruction for rock climbing locally as well.
How To Reach: The climbing site is 300 km west of Melbourne and is easily accessible by road. Drive on Western Highway till Horsham, take a diversion to Natimuk, access Wimmera Highway, you will see the road directing to the base of Mt Arapiles.
Best Time To Visit: Although it’s a year-round destination, try to avoid holidays as the climbing destination becomes very busy.
Campsites: Centenary Park is the only place for camping near the mountain, and you have water, toilets, fireplaces, and picnic tables at the park.
Blue Mountains, NSW
One of the best climbing sites in Australia, Blue Mountains is a plateau, and it looks like a fortress with cliffs in all the sides. You have all sorts of climbing and abseiling adventure here with big adventurous walls as well as small, single pitch sport climbs.
Today, it’s a true sport climbing destination for most people in NSW with numerous sport routes. Though the stone quality is not as great as Mt. Arapiles, you can still find many places for traditional climbing as well.
How to Reach: The destination is just 80 km west of Sydney, and you can easily access it by road. Note that the visitors are not allowed to bring their dogs to the site.
Best Time to Visit: With a reasonably temperate climate, Blue Mountains attracts visitors year-round.
Campsites: Though you can’t find any camping sites close to the base of Blue Mountains, you can access a number of free sites in Megalong Valley – nearly 15 km from the climbing destination.
Glass House Mountains, QLD
Situated at the coastal plain of Sunshine Coast, Glass House Mountains is a group of 13 hills for climbers who want various difficulty levels. Mt. Beerwah, the highest hill among hill range with a height of 556 metres, has specific routes to climb as certain routes are closed for safety.
Mt. Tibrogargan is the preferred destination for most climbers as it is completely open for the climbers and offers splendid views of the Coral Sea through the plains of Sunshine Coast. The volcanic mountains are ideal for long traditional climbing as well as short hard sport climbing.
How to reach: The mountains are located nearly 70 km north of Brisbane and can be accessed by M1 highway.
Best time to visit: Though it’s a year-round destination, avoid summers considering the soaring temperature and humidity.
Camping: You can find camping sites in Coochin Creek, which is part of Beerburrum State Forest. You can also find several private camping sites on the Glass House Mountains Rd.
Take The First Step: Get Your Camper Trailer
Rock climbing, as well as abseiling, not only make you physically strong but mentally fit as well. On top of the hills, you get magnificent views of surrounding valleys and lush abundance. You will fall in love with nature if you’re not. It’ll amaze you.
To begin with your adventure trips, you need to have your camping equipment, climbing gear, and other accessories, packed and ready to use. However, you can’t carry too many luggage and backpacks wherever you go. Therefore, choose a camper trailer from Mars Campers and make your trip a boundless experience. Plus, you can set up your campers in the camping sites in no time and forget about the hassles of camping. Contact the Mars Campers team today for assistance.