Most climbers choose to wear specialized rubber climbing shoes which are often of a smaller size than their normal street shoes in order to improve sensitivity towards foot placements and use the tightness to their advantage. Climbing chalk (MgCO3) is com
Rock climbing is an activity in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Due to the length and extended endurance required and because accidents are more likely to happen on descent than ascent, Rock Climbers do not usually climb back down the route. It is very rare for a climber to downclimb, especially on the larger multiple pitches (class III- IV and /or multi-day grades IV-VI climbs). Professional Rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an increasingly difficult route. Scrambling, another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations, is similar to rock climbing. However, rock climbing is generally differentiated by its sustained use of hands to support the climber's weight as well as to provide balance. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. It can be a dangerous activity and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialised climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the wide range and variety of rock formations around the world, rock climbing has been separated into several different styles and sub-disciplines
Paintings dating from 200 BC show Chinese men rock climbing. In early America, the cliff-dwelling Anasazi in the 12th century were thought to be excellent climbers. Early European climbers used rock climbing techniques as a skill required to reach the summit in their mountaineering exploits. In the 1880s, European rock climbing become an independent pursuit outside of mountain climbing. Although rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is generally thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in various parts of Europe. Rock climbing evolved gradually from an alpine necessity to a distinct athletic activity. Aid climbing, climbing using equipment that acts as artificial handhold or footholds, became popular during the period 1920-1960, leading to ascents in the Alps and in Yosemite Valley that were considered impossible without such means. However, climbing techniques, equipment and ethical considerations have evolved steadily. Today, free climbing, climbing using holds made entirely of natural rock while using gear solely for protection and not for upward movement, is the most popular form of the sport. Free climbing has since been divided into several sub-styles of climbing dependent on belay configuration. Over time, grading systems have also been created in order to compare more accurately the relative difficulties of climbs.