Hello! When I started rock climbing about 5 years ago I did not understand why people went climbing at night so now I know, I thought I would share!
Why do Climbers Climb at night? Climbers often Rock Climb at night because the cooler temperatures increase friction with the rock, this makes the rock climb easier for the climbers and provides better oppertunity for success. In some hot countries it provides the only escape from the Daylight Heat and is favoured amongst Climbers.
If you carry on reading I will explain why exactly rock climbing gets easier at night and what it does for the mental aspect for rock climbers!
Climbing at night is Cooler
yeah literally, at most climbing destinations its going to be cooler at night.
as you may know rock climbing heavily depends on friction between the rock and yourself.
In the blazing summer sun you might have experienced how ‘slippy’ the rock can get.
For whatever reason it gets all sweaty and greasy in the sun and its MUCH harder to climb.
When I began rock climbing I didnt think ‘Conditions’ (Temperature, Humidity) could have such an determining impact, But they do!
So this is first and foremost why climbers climb at night… To get the best conditions.
It is generally more advanced climbers that climb in the night here in the uk because the midday heat isnt hot enough to make everyone climb at night.
Just people with hard Rock climbing projects, who really need good conditions to be succesful, climb at night.
You really just have to go and experience the phenomenon of night time conditions for yourself!
During the day a climb will be greasy and slippy, you will feel all hot and sweaty and its hard to give a lot of effort when you feel like that.
But then sunset comes and it gets all cool and crisp.
Holds that were greasy are now rough and grippy, your fingers almost stick to them.
And its cooler so you can try really hard without overheating, which helps the phychology massively too
Plus, Since its cool, your fingers barely get sweaty when you climb at night…
This is obviously a massive help and can really mean the difference between sending your climb and failing!
I just bought this Petzl Headtorch for night climbing and its a really solid choice! If you purchased one through this EpicTv link it helps me keep this blog going!
Night time Climbers Avoid the Sun
In America, Brazil and Africa night time climbing is pretty popular!
That youtube video I linked by mellow is really a great insight to night time climbing.
There all super strong climbers trying hard boulders out in brazil.
while they also benefit from better conditions at night, there is a different reason lots of people climb at night in these places…
Its because the sun is so hot during the day rock climbing can feel much too hard.
There is a higher risk of heatstroke or dehydration for these climbers in hot countries if they climbed all day like we do in the uk.
So in these places its much more common for groups of climbers to go rock climbing at night!
During the day they can avoid the sun or work and come night time they head down to the boulders for an evening session in the refreshing temperatures of the night!
Why You Should climb at Night
Aside from all these major motivators we have already covered, theres a whole other realm of benefits to climbing at night… The Psychological!
In that night bouldering video by petzl, pope talks about ‘Loosing perception of his surroundings’
He said it really well!
Since its dark you cant see anything in your peripherals.
All you can see is what is illuminated by your torches.
This could be wherever your looking with a headtorch, so primerally your holds.
or the whole face of the climb if you have a floodlight with you.
This might seem like its going to be scary but it can actually really benefit your focus and commitment when rock climbing if you are relaxed.
You cant see the fall out of the corner of your eye or past your feet anymore so your not thinking about the fall or just getting distracted with whats going on around you.
It might seem strange but if your scared of falling or just get distracted and your mind races as you climb, you might find night time bouldering or rope climbing really empowering.
As jim said everything else dissapears and its just you on the rock face!
With a headtorch on you can only see what your looking at and this makes your area of focus just one hold at a time…
it makes you climb in such a deep focus its incredible!
How to Climb at night
Hopefully I have Sold you on night time climbing!
I hope your as psyched on it as I am…
Following is a quick guide so you can feel prepared to go climbing at night!
What you will need:
- A Partner
- Headtorch (Petzl Tikka)
- Lots of bouldering pads (if Bouldering)
- Floodlight (optional)
Go with another climber at least.
Bouldering is risky enough during the day so its really wise to go with at least one other climber.
Firstly so they can spot you while you climb but also so they can help you if something happens.
Because its dark you cant see your landing and this increases the likelihood of missing the crash pads when you land or
Lets say you really injure your leg when you fall off… since its nighttime theres probably not going to be anyone around for hours…
If you have a partner they can support you and It makes the whole situation much better!
Get as many torches as you can.
Like I said I just purchased the petzl tikka and its great for night time climbing!
If you can get your hands on a floodlight too there brilliant, you can light up the whole boulder and just makes the whole experience a bit more relaxing.
Maybe make sure you have some spare batteries too, you wouldnt want to have to get out of a crag in the dark!
Get all the bouldering pads you can!
Yeah so falling at night is way more risky because you cant see where your landing, where the edges of the pads are or anything really…
Thats why I highly recommend getting lots of bouldering pads for your night time climbing.
If you can just fully pad out the whole landing area you cant really go wrong!
Well there we go!
climbing at night 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this article and it brought you some value, I enjoyed writing it!
See you in the next one!