Rock climbing is an extremely attractive sport, filled with strong emotions and adrenaline, which is designed for people who love extreme experiences and are not afraid to try something new and different.
If you are among the thrill seekers, nothing prevents you from trying the taste of this extreme sport while enjoying your summer vacation in one of the hotels in Bansko.
When and where can you practice rock climbing?
Rock climbing has many varieties and can be practiced during all seasons of the year, but if you are a beginner, the best option to “attack” the rocks is during the summer. So you can safely master the specifics of climbing and find out if this is your extreme sport or not.
Where can you climb?
At the moment in the vicinity of Bansko there are several climbing facilities, and now we will introduce you to some of the most popular ones.
The „Caves” area
This area is located only 3 km away from the town of Bansko and can be reached by car. You just have to take the road from Bansko to the “Chalin valog” lift station and after you reach the wooden bridge you can leave your car in the parking lot, which is located there. The rock you can climb is located in a walking distance of a few minutes from the parking lot.
The rock on which rock climbing tours take place is a hybrid of conglomerate and limestone. Its average length is 15 meters and currently has 13 climbing routes with different levels of difficulty.
The “Caves” area is the most popular rock climbing site, so our advice is to try it first there. All climbing routes in the area are well equipped and fully secure, and the fact that they are only a few kilometers from the town and easily accessible gives them an advantage over other rock climbing areas.
Near the Vihren hut you can climb two equipped routes. To reach them, you first have to reach Vihren hut, then take the path leading to the bungalows. Once you reach the bungalow No. 8 you have to turn to the river and in a few minutes you will see the first rock climbing sector. The rock is granite and the rock climbing routes are two and are suitable for climbers with different levels of preparation.
The second section is called “Todorka” and in order to get to there again you have to go to bungalow № 8, then go to the direction of the river and you have to cross it. Once you cross the river you have to go a little further up, then go along a marked path that will take you to the rock.
In this sector there are 4 equipped routes,which includes routes that are suitable for beginners as well as for more advanced rock climbers.
For whom is this sport intended?
We mentioned in the very beginning of this article that rock climbing is for the seekers of strong sensations and we do not back out of our words. But we can not deny that it is a sport that is not only filled with adrenaline but also a sport that strengthens muscles, cleanses negative thoughts, gives a lot of energy and positivism and helps to balance the physical and spiritual essence of the human being.
Rock climbing is suitable for every age and gender, and what makes it a unique sport is the ability to be practiced by people with varying degrees of physical training and level of climbing.
How can you climb?
If you have enough experience and have your own equipment, you can practice rock climbing without an instructor. To do this, you have to tell in advance where you plan to climb and you can go to the stretch you want to conquer.
However, if you do not have enough experience or you are just a beginner, our recommendation is that you do not go alone (even if you have tried the rock climbing wall beforehand in one of the clubs in your city).
The most reasonable solution is to simply go to one of the many climbing sport clubs and alpinism in Bansko and join one of the climbing tours they organize. To join such a tour, simply ask at the reception desk of the hotel where you are staying and they will take care of the rest.
What does one rock climb tour include?
If you join a similar tour, the organizers will pick you up from the hotel and transport you to the rock climbing site. On the site there are qualified instructors who will introduce you to the extreme sport, as they will tell you in details what equipment is used, show you how to put it on and how climbing works. Then they will start with your training (if you have no experience) or will help you if you have experience and do not need any additional instructions.
Depending on your level of preparation and your desire, the duration of the climbing can be between 1 – 2 hours to 3 – 4 hours and the price varies between 50 and 80 BGN. The price of a rock climbing tour includes transport from and to the climbing area, a professional instructor, rock climbing equipment, and certain offers also include picnics.
What does rock climbing equipment include?
We are certain that the instructors will explain in details what rock climbing equipment is and what rock climbing equipment is used for, but in order to be prepared at least a little in advance it is good to know that when you face the rock you will be given:
A pair of espadrilles
The espadrilles are not those popular summer shoes you know, but a special climbing shoes that will allow you to “connect” to the rock. This kind of climbing boots have many varieties, but for the start you will be equipped with universal espadrilles that you can spend a whole day without taking them off.
Seat for sport climbing
This so-called “seat” is generally a waist belt with adjustable buckles, a ring for securing, leg belts, “ear”, inventory, and points for bondage.
Depending on the type of climbing the seats are also different types, but as we are now talking about sports climbing, the seat you will be equipped with will be a seat for sports climbing and climbing in the hall. This type of seats are different from the rest, both in terms of their weight (which is minimal) and the lack of additional extras (which are not mandatory when practicing rock climbing).
If you climb together with your children, they will be given seats specifically for children that are tailored to the kids’ physique.
How to practice rock climbing on equipped routes?
The climbing that we’ve been introducing to you so far is also called “sport climbing,” and is just one of the climbing types. We have focused your attention on this type of climbing, as it is the most common and the easiest to master, and that makes it quite logical to be the most desirable rock climbing for thrill seekers with different levels of preparation.
Sports climbing is generally climbing on a rock that is not too high. The rock is equipped with pre-fiixed safety bolts. This type of rock climbing is performed with a single rope and once the climber has reached the top, the partner who secures it, holding the rope, lowers him smoothly down on the ground. This rock climbing is completely safe and very suitable for beginners and children.
Other popular types of rock climbing
Apart from the sport climbing, which can also be practiced in a hall, the seekers of strong sensations can also try out some of the other types of this extreme sport.
This type of climbing requires very good preparation and is not recommended for beginners as it is practiced on unsafe rocks. There are no pre-fix bolts in this type of climbing, and the climber puts them in the climbing process. Traditional climbing requires special equipment and caution during climbing.
Practicing this type of climbing also requires very solid pre-training. This is one of the most adrenaline boosting climbing styles, as it does not include artificial supports, but only supports that the climber discovers on the very rocky terrain on which it climbs.
Quite responsibly we can say that this type of climbing is the most difficult and dangerous type of rock climbing and it can only be practiced by very well-prepared climbers. Alpine climbing is practiced at an altitude of 2000 to 6000 meters and is a combination of ice and rock climbing.
Alpine climbing equipment is much more than the equipment for other types of climbing, as the safety measures are also much more complicated, and the risk of accidents is not to be underestimated.
Climbing on big walls (BIG WALL)
As the name of this type of rock climbing suggests, this is climbing on high (more than 200 meters) rocks. BIG WALL also requires very good training and special equipment.
Bouldering is still not well-known in Bulgaria, but it is rapidly gaining popularity. This is perhaps one of the most extreme and most interesting types of rock climbing. It is practiced on rocks tall only a few meters and no special equipment is needed except for espadrilles and talc for hands. However, it is good to know that this kind of rock climbing is not safe at all, and a preparation is also required to practice.
Building climbing (Buildering) is a sport that is not only unsafe, but it is also illegal in some parts of the world.You can practice buildering in our country only if you obtain permission from the owner of the site, the municipality and the police.