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Safety and Injury Prevention

Understand and manage the dangers of rock climbing.

Look Out Below!

Even when top roping, consider objects below that could hurt to fall on. The stretch of the climbing rope can let a climber fall far enough to hit something on the way down. 

Watch out for falling rocks! The belayer should be wearing a helmet, and the climber needs to warn him if he dislodges any blocks from the wall by yelling “ROCK!”

Look Out for falling rocks diagram 

Mind the Swing.

Try to climb directly underneath the anchor. If you fall while climbing to the side of the anchor, you will swing down like a pendulum and possibly hit the wall or another object.




Try to avoid swinging into people diagram



 

“Crimp” Only When Necessary.

“Crimping” is a technique used to grip small holds powerfully. Although it can help for certain holds, crimping can damage the tendons and pulleys in the hand. On the left and first image is an example of crimping; on the right and bottom is a general open-handed hold. Sharp bends in the tendon increase the force on the pulleys. This can irritate or tear the pulleys.

Crimp example
Open hand example


   

Tendons and Pulleys

Tendon: 
A type of body tissue that connects muscles to a bone.

Pulley:
A piece of tissue that holds the tendons in the fingers close to the finger, instead of letting them “bowstring”out between the fingertip and the palm.

tendon and pulley inside human hand diagram

Tendons and pulleys gain strength much more slowly than muscles do, so climbers can easily become strong enough to injure their tendons and pulleys while crimping. 

Inspect Used Gear.

All your equipment must be in good condition in order to be used safely. Check all your carabiners for sharp edges, and inspect soft goods for signs of wear and sun fading. The cost of new gear is small when your life depends on it!

Communicate.

Knowing the belay commands and communicating properly with your partner can prevent the majority of climbing accidents.

Communication belay diagram: "On belay?"; "Belay on."; "Climbing."; "Climb on!"