Why Rock Climbing in Ha Long Bay
A traveler with Slo Pony once said, “A picture of a mountain in Ha Long Bay is nice to take home and show my family. But a picture of a mountain in Ha Long Bay with me climbing it is something I will talk about and cherish for the rest of my life!”
Website Cover Rock Climbing is truly one of the most personally rewarding and exhilarating activities. Everyone, no matter their athletic ability, age, or background will stare up a rock face and feel in some way intimidated when considering climbing it. This humbling affect often brings entire groups of strangers together in camaraderie supporting anyone who attempts the challenge of rock climbing. As you try climbing on multiple rock faces, you will enjoy a view of Ha Long Bay unlike any other. With the support of your fellow travelers and Slo Pony guides, you will conquer your fears, surprise yourself with accomplishment, actively challenge yourself, and reach new heights in your personal portfolio of experiences!
The experience of rock climbing is personal for every climber in that everyone has a different body, personality, and attributes. Therefore, there is really no exact way to climb. It varies for each person who may take it as far, or in this case, as high as they like. Each person chooses their own path up the rock and attempts to solve the problem that lies ahead of them. It’s a journey into the self, without the stress of competition, but with the supportive encouragement of others, that compels many people who try for the first time to keep coming back for more.
Luckily, rock climbing areas tend to be located in some of the most naturally beautiful locations on the planet. Ha Long Bay, as everyone knows, is one of the most astonishing places on the planet. But just observing the beauty from a boat or kayak is simply not enough. Become connected with the beauty of the area by physically engaging it. Climbing on these exotic rock formations will surely be one of the most memorable experiences of your life’s journeys…something you too will talk about and cherish for the rest of your life
Rock Climbing General Information
Rock Climbing is often confused in similarity with mountaineering, trekking, hiking, and/or scrambling. However, rock climbing is very different from these activities and it’s important to understand why. Rock climbing requires the use of specially designed climbing equipment, including ropes and harnesses; to ascend bare rock faces using ones hands and feet in contact with the rock features. The climber relies on another person, in this case the Slo Pony guide, to secure the ropes and safety equipment while climbing, which adds an indelible element of trust to the activity. As a result the outcome of the experience is quite rewarding and memorable in its own unique way.
Anyone Can Do It
The age range for a rock climber can vary from 9 years – 80 years of age, man or woman. It is an activity which can be enjoyed by most anyone with no prior experience.
The process of rock climbing is relatively straight forward. Two people are all that is needed to ascend a rock face safely. They consist of one person engaging in the activity – the rock climber, and the other person securing the rope system – the belayer. The belayer will always be an experienced rock climber who is knowledgeable in securing the ropes for the climber. The climber can be anyone who is simply able to stand up and walk. This is why the sport can be enjoyed by such a wide variety of people. Rock climbing can be very easy or technically difficult depending on the type of terrain that is being climbed. It is the climber’s decision what level of difficulty they wish to take on as a challenge. The level of difficulty, however, has no affect on the level of safety. Any rock climbing to be experienced by a traveler under the guidance of Slo Pony Adventures will follow the highest international standards of safety and excellence.
Rock Climbing Equipment
All of the safety rock climbing equipment used by Slo Pony Adventures bears the stamp and seal of the UIAA (see safety segment below). All rock climbing equipment is designed to withstand far beyond the possible loads and pressure that is to be put on the equipment by human use, making the sport extremely comfortable and safe. Our rock climbing equipment is regularly checked and maintained to ensure the highest level of quality.
Clothing: Any person coming on a Slo Pony Adventure will only need to bring comfortable clothing such as what one would wear for trekking or yoga. Dressy clothes and tight pants are not recommended for the day of activity. Sneakers or hiking shoes are better for the winter and/or rainy weather (sandals are OK as well in the warmer months).
Modern safety ropes may look like other ropes, but actually have special safety distinctions. A climber’s rope has a kern mantle construction: a soft and supple nylon sheath, usually multi-colored, protects the real “working” part– the braided core. Of the two types of kern mantle ropes– dynamic and static– only the former is used in climbing applications. As implied by the name, a dynamic rope mildly stretches, to absorb any forces of both the climber and his or her equipment. The climbing ropes used by Slo Pony Adventures will remain of UIAA standards (please refer to the “Safety” section below), which are designed to hold 2,000-3,000 lbs of force, well over the weight and force possibly created by any human being.
A climbing harness is a piece of equipment used in rock climbing, abseiling, or other activities requiring the use of ropes to provide access and/or safety (e.g. industrial rope access, working at heights, etc.). A harness is used to secure a person to a piece of rope or an anchor point of some kind. All harnesses used by Slo Pony Adventures will remain of UIAA standards capable of withstanding load forces of 2,000 – 3,000 lbs.
Bolts and Anchors
A bolt is a permanent anchor fixed into a hole drilled in the rock. A climber may use these bolts to either clip the rope into while ascending the rock or drop the rope from an anchor at the top of the rock face and climb from bottom to top with the rope already in place. These bolts are made from stainless steel or titanium constructed to absorb 4000-3000 lbs of force. Note: guided tours with inexperienced climbers will have systems in place by Slo Pony Adventure Guides to ensure 30% safety.
Belay devices are mechanical pieces of climbing equipment used by the certified guide to secure and control the rope intake while a climber is climbing. They are designed to allow the belayer to manage their duties with minimal physical effort.
Climbing Shoes are specially designed to increase the friction of the climber’s feet on rock surfaces with added precision to various parts of the foot such as the toes and heel.
Rock Climbing Safety
Various research and reports, such as the Mountain Rescue Council Report (UK) and the Medical Post (CA) have shown that rock climbing is much safer than both trekking and biking – two very common activities that are considered relatively safe by the general public. Yet a surprisingly large number of people still misconstrue rock climbing as a dangerous sport. Perhaps it’s the universal human fear of heights, or that rare but crazy person who climbs without a rope that stigmatizes the sport and lead to this misunderstanding. Whatever the explanation, the reality is that rock climbing is just like walking, driving, swimming, etc. – it can be dangerous if practiced in a dangerous or careless way. However, Slo Pony Adventures practices the safest form of rock climbing for our adventure programs – top roping – which is what the formerly mentioned report data and findings refer to.
Furthermore, the report data refers to people who are generally engaging in rock climbing independently without the supervision of a licensed guide. It takes many years of experience and training required to become a certified rock climbing guide. Inexperienced climbers may rest assured that they are in safe and competent hands when with a certified guide. Slo Pony Adventures has assembled a team of Western certified rock climbing guides of the highest quality to ensure the utmost safety and allow the client to enjoy the experience worry free.
The UIAA, an international mountaineering and climbing federation, is an organization responsible for maintaining high standards for rock climbing safety requirements internationally. The UIAA Safety Label can be awarded for mountaineering and climbing equipment that meets the requirements of the UIAA standard.
All the equipment used for rock climbing excursions by Slo Pony Adventures, will remain of the highest quality and of UIAA standards. These standards are set far beyond the scope necessary for safety, yet the excessive nature of such standards ensures the utmost safety for users in their reliance on such equipment.