Big Wall Climbing
Many ask what defines a big wall? Big Walls are generally over 600m and have many long pitches often between 10 and 25 pitches. They are generally long rock climbs and be ‘Free Climbs or Aid Climbs’. What attracts climbers to Big Walls is the shear rock face giving exciting positions and a wild open feel to the exposure. It is not uncommon to have to spend a night(bivi) on a big face while ascending a climb over more than one day. The ultimate in rock climbing for many.
Free Climbing big walls may need trad gear to climb cracks and corners up the face but many are sports climbs relaying on the insitu pre placed bolts to clip for protection. Big Wall Free climbs generally are super long rock climbs that are under taken in one long day. Many climbers cut their teeth in the huge European gorges like the Verdon some travel to the US or Africa. Taghia, in Morocco, being one of the premier sports Wall climbing venues in recent years.
Aid climbing techniques allow the climber to go into wild places on rock faces where they wouldn’t be able to free climb. It is a popular sport aid climbing huge granite faces like ‘El Cap’ in Yosemite in America. But aid climbs can happen in the UK, Europe and Greater Ranges. Its a common skill that Alpinists need to scale unclimbed big faces in remote regions.
Big Wall techniques Training
Guides can offer training for climbers so that they can expand their own adventures. Skills that are covered include:
Free Climbing efficiently
Rope work for Big Walls
Aid Climbing techniques
Bivi and portaledge camping
It is possible to make first ascents of Big Walls with Guides. Morocco and the US is an ideal place to start but in the Greater Ranges Greenland, Madagascar, India, Nepal are possible.