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Vertical Skills 2016

Day 6: Vertical Safety

Lynne Holloway
Venturer Scout and Youth Spokesperson
Moncton, New Brunswick
Breathtaking is one of many words to describe Canada's scenery. But while it may be beautiful, it can also be extremely dangerous. That is why safety is an important thing to consider when looking to experiences great outdoor adventures.
Safety week is all about teaching you how to go on awesome adventures, while ensuring the safety of others and yourself. This article sheds light on vertical safety and provide some great tips for your future adventures and reference. Whether you are interested in learning about the basics of climbing, what you should pack for climbing activities, or how to choose the right equipment, I’ve compiled some great tips for you — just keep on reading!

Safety Week — Vertical Skills

The basics of climbing is one of the most important things you can learn about when climbing. To start off as a beginner, you should look online to see if there are any local climbing gyms in your area. This is a great way to get the feel of the sport, along with some basic lessons in technique and gear requirements.
When you are about to get on a wall, you should stretch first to make sure you don't pull any muscles. You should also be aware of the quality of the harness and ropes that will be holding you up, because no one enjoys falling from a great height. Being up on the wall can be very tiring, especially when you are stuck in one spot, but you must always remain focused on your task so you don't trip up on your own feet. Always remember to take your time when you are climbing, it can be a risky sport and therefore requires extra precaution. If you want some more basic safety tips for beginning in climbing, go online and search “climbing safety tips”. Here is a great resource I found on About Sports.
Your gear is obviously an important consideration in your safety, which includes clothing, footwear, ropes, harnesses and much more. For clothing, you want something you can move around easily in — jeans are not a great choice. Try to opt for something that stretches well, so if you swing your leg out to reach a foothold, you won't have to hear a big "RIIIP". You also want something breathable to keep yourself cool and dry. For equipment or gear, it will depend on the setting and level of climbing you do. Make sure your local gym supplies harnesses and helmets. If they don't, try to communicate with your Scouting Group to see if they have the budget for buying that equipment. To choose the right equipment for vertical activities, you need to know what kind of climbing you are doing.
When you are a beginner, you will be spending a lot of time in your harness, dangling back and forth trying to decide where to grab next; extra padding on the leg loops and waist can help. If those harnesses are too bulky for you, then you can go for one that has less padding, it might be a little more uncomfortable but it is lighter and you have more mobility. There are two types of climbing helmets you can choose from, foam helmets, which are the most common because they are lightweight and have a thin shell, and suspension helmets, which are basically the bulkier but more solid helmet. Again, you can go on your search engine and look up climbing equipment, here's one I found on helmets.
Make sure to bring lots of water when climbing because the sport can be very exhausting. Chalk can also very helpful so you can have a better grip and you don't slip. If you are planning on climbing outdoors, bring some sunscreen because peeling of dead skin from your red shoulders is definitely not pleasant.
Now that you have read this article, I hope you will find yourself trying a new sport and gaining new Scouting experiences! May all your future endeavours be safe and adventurous!
Vertical Skills Safety Tips
Vertical Skills Safety Tips
Scouts Canada’s Youth Spokespeople challenge you to participate in Safety Week by sharing your #SafeScouting story on social media, or the MyAdventures Blog. You can also forward the daily tips to friends and family to make sure everyone in your community stays safe.


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