A Brief History of Climbing
It was at around the start of the nineteenth century that Man began to climb mountains for sport and adventure. Prior to that time he had done so only for sound, practical reasons – to source food, to hunt or to fulfil a military objective. When he didn’t need to do so he would avoid the mountains, not only because of their hostile terrain but also because they were believed to be populated by demons, ogres and fearsome beasts.
Indeed even today the legend of the yeti persist, a huge hairy creature marauding around the Himalayas, leaving its awesome footprint in the snow and behaving abominably, though its misdeeds remain subject to reliable witness testimony.
The largest mountains and their most daunting faces were challenges that were risen to and tackled throughout the nineteenth century and beyond. Elbrus, the highest peak in Eastern Europe, was conquered in 1868. Kilimanjaro, the largest in Africa, succumbed in 1889. Then Aconcagua (South America) in 1897 and McKinley (North America) in 1913. Even the elusive Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, was finally cracked by Edmund Hillary in 1953 after several attempts by others were unsuccessful.
Using Climbing Harnesses and Climbing Ropes for Optimum Safety
Mountain climbing by its very nature is, of course, a most hazardous of sports. Enthusiasts can encounter falling rocks and ice, hazardous weather conditions, volcanic activity, altitude sickness, snow blindness and sunburn as well as the ever-present risk of a serious accident caused by human error. This is why those who engage in it endeavour to minimise the inherent dangers by ensuring that they have all the right equipment and are trained to use it properly.
The typical mountaineer’s kit will include an elaborate array of picks, hooks, climbing ropes and climbing harnesses. Of course, the typical rock or mountain climber will never attempt to climb Everest, but as a general sport every much as a world-beating challenge it is necessary in the interests of safety – always a first consideration no matter how bold the adventurer – to be properly equipped for the task ahead.
When using climbing equipment of any kind it is important that whatever is being used is appropriate to the climber, as well as to the assignment. This is why ropes of different lengths and in different forms, as well as a range of harnesses, is always available from any decent supplier.
Article brought to you by Phil, a keen mountain climber and a firm believer that the right climbing equipment is essential to ensure safety.
Citations: Image by John Brennan