Monday, June 15, 2009
Bare-footed Rock Climber
I spotted this bare-footed rock climber in an exhibition recently held by a local rock climbing club on Jalan Braga.
Being ignorant about this kind of sport, I sought to find out if bare-footedness was a common practice among rock climbers. It turns out that it is not. A rock climber has to wear a special pair of shoes that is especially designed for that.
Rock climbing has become a more and more popular sport here. Many high school and university campuses have a rock climbing club and climbing board like this.
Before assuming the status of a sport, rock-climbing had been a practice of necessity for different peoples in many parts of the world. Some Chinese paintings dated as far back as 400 BC, for example, depicted men climbing rocks. The Anasazis Indians of North America who built dwellings on steep cliffs in the 1300 CE must have done it with quite a sophisticated skill of rock-climbing. In Indonesia, such a skill has been practiced by bird nest collectors who often have to climb steep cliffs and rocks in the mountains or seaside rock formations. As a kind of sport, however, it has generally been agreed that it began in England in the last decades of the 19th century. More historical details of this sport can be found here.
As with any other estabalished sports, rock climbing has also developed its own set of terminology and techniques. If you are interested to learn about them, this wikipedia article might be quite useful to start with.