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It challenges you physically and it’s very rewarding at several different levels. It is great for your soul too! And if you break a leg or something, you can always give up… Meanwhile, why not try rock climbing? 

Firstly, what is rock climbing and why does it have a different name than, say, mountain climbing? Rock climbing is an activity that requires you to reach the summit of a particular formation, much like mountaineering. In fact, It is one activity among many that makes up mountaineering, such as hiking, scrambling, ice climbing etc. What sets it apart is the fact that rock climbing is the scaling of any natural or artificial rock formation, not necessarily an entire mountain. Also rock climbers scale very steep, often vertical surfaces, which usually make it too dangerous to descend the same way.

So should you try rock climbing? Why?

It is demanding and challenging

Rock climbing can be a brave new hobby you can pick up. It is extremely demanding physically and requires quite significant levels of fitness. Since it involves using the hands to support body weight and provide balance, it requires a great deal of physical strength. So if you’re looking to get super fit and improve flexibility, rock climbing may be the very thing for you. It’s a full body workout that will really put your body through its paces!

You could opt for Aid Climbing, which uses equipment to propel the climber upward and which also provides foot and handholds. Free climbing uses no such aids; however, anchors, ropes and other protective equipment are used for safety.

It is dangerous!

OK, you may think this is a reason not to take up rock climbing, but think of the adrenaline rush! Knowing that there could be an accident, that you could slip and plummet to a serious injury can give the activity that edge of danger. And it is this very aspect of danger that could make a successful ascent that much more of an achievement. The sense of adventure of this sport and the excitement it brings could be quite addictive! In a good way!

It is rewarding

It’s you out there, battling the elements. This is one way to commune with Mother Nature – in itself very rewarding! The improvement in your fitness levels, endurance and physical strength is another reason rock climbing is rewarding. You can set yourself goals and have the satisfaction of achieving them, such as the scaling of a particularly difficult rock face.

You may find that rock climbing is mentally and spiritually rewarding as well. It can make you tougher and stronger mentally and also help improve concentration and focus. You may find yourself better able to connect to your inner self as you focus your physical and mental energies on a physical challenge.

You can make new friends

While you can take up this activity on your own, there is safety in numbers. If you are a sociable soul, this could be a great way to connect with likeminded people and make new friends. These new friends can offer you learner’s tips, support and help you improve. You can enjoy a friendly camaraderie as well as a healthy spirit of competition if you decide to take up rock climbing.

You don’t even need a mountain or hill

Since rock climbing is often done on artificial, manmade surfaces, you could live in the city and still do this regularly. And then of course, you could plan your holidays around some of the most exciting and challenging rock climbing locations…something you can really start to look forward to! In India, rock climbing sites are often close to cultural or historical sites so this could actually work out quite well for everyone in the family.

Because…The Himalayas!

In India there are myriad rock climbing options, ranging from the easy to the advanced. There are the steep, tall climbs of the Himalayas in the Gangotri Gorge, the volcanic rock formations at Mount Abu in Rajasthan, the stunning granite formations in the area of Hampi and much more. Some of the locations seasoned climbers recommend are Miyar Valley and Parvati Valley in Himachal, Shey Rock in Kashmir, Malshej Ghat in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, Madhugiri in Karnataka and Savanadurga also in Karnataka. Pavagadh, the pilgrimage center in Gujarat, and West Bengal’s Susunia hills also present some good rock climbing options.

You can get started by visiting websites such as ClimbingIndia.com where you will find information about artificial wall climbing walls and about natural rock faces that you can attempt. The site also tells you about rock climbing competitions and brings you other news about the sport. There are videos about India’s best rock climbing options, which you can watch to familiarize yourself. AdventureNation.com also offers you useful information about rock climbing in India: the best destinations, recommended seasons to go rock climbing and other useful tips for wannabes and seasoned climbers. So are you ready to go from wannabe to rock climber? Are you ready to embrace your inner adventure seeker?

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