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Infinity lane – Petzl Roctrip 09

Infinity Lane is a something new we thought up for the 2009 Millau Natural Games. The two Ultimate Routes, located at the Cathédrale in the Gorges de la Jonte (Aveyron, France), are actually three-pitch sport lines that the participants have to link together into one long, single pitch. The grade is about 8a (90 meters) for the women and 8b+ (90 meters) for the men.
Climbers had four days to link the route. They weren’t allowed to work the moves – once a climber fell, she or he was lowered to the ground and had to start over from the beginning the next day.
Martina Cufar and Florence Pinet both onsighted the Women’s Ultimate Route… Dani Andrada and Mickaël Fuselier made it almost to the top before falling near the anchors on the men’s route. However it took Chris Sharma only one try to get to the top.

Rock climbing

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or man-made rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route. Rock climbing is similar to scrambling (another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations), but climbing is generally differentiated because of the use of hands to support the climber’s weight as well as to provide balance.

Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber’s strength, endurance, agility, and balance along with his or her mental control. It can be a dangerous sport and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and usage of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the wide range and variety of rock formations around the world rock climbing has been separated into several different styles and sub-disciplines that are described below.

Rock climbing basics
At its most basic, rock climbing involves climbing a route with one’s own hands and feet and little more than a cushioned bouldering pad in the way of protection. This style of climbing is referred to as bouldering, since the relevant routes are usually found on boulders no more than 10 to 15 feet tall.

As routes get higher off the ground, the increased risk of life-threatening injuries necessitates additional safety measures. A variety of specialized climbing techniques and climbing equipment exists to provide that safety, and climbers will usually work in pairs and utilize a system of ropes and anchors designed to catch falls. Ropes and anchors can be configured differently to suit many styles of climbing, and roped climbing is thus divided into further sub-types that vary based on how their belay systems are set up. The different styles are described in more detail below, but, generally speaking, beginners will start with top roping and/or easy bouldering, and work their way up to lead climbing and beyond.


In top-roping, an anchor is set up at the summit of a route prior to the start of a climb. Rope is run through the anchor; one end attaches to the climber and the other to the belayer, who keeps the rope taut during the climb and prevents long falls. This type of climbing is widely regarded as the safest type of climbing, with the lowest chance on injury. It is also the first type of climbing most people do when learning to climb, as it allows the climber to climb freely and the belayer to learn how to belay more proficiently.

Lead climbing

In lead climbing, one person, called the “leader”, will climb from the ground up with rope directly attached (and not through a top anchor) while the other, called the “second”, belays the leader. Because the climbing rope is of a fixed length, the leader can only climb a certain distance. Thus longer routes are broken up into several “pitches”. At the top of a pitch, the leader sets up an anchor, and then belays the “second” up to the anchor. Once both are at the anchor, the leader begins climbing the next pitch and so on until they reach the top.

In either case, upon completion of a route, climbers can walk back down (if an alternate descent path exists) or rappel (abseil) down with the rope.

Grading systems

Climbing communities in many countries and regions have developed their own rating systems for routes. Ratings (or “grades”) record and communicate consensus appraisals of difficulty. (Hence, there may be occasional disagreements arising from physiological or stylistic differences among climbers.) The ratings take into account multiple factors affecting a route, such as the slope of the ascent, the quantity and quality of available handholds, the distance between holds, and whether advanced technical maneuvers are required. Though acrophobia (the fear of heights) may affect certain climbers, the height of a route is generally not considered a factor in its difficulty rating.

Climbing environments

Climbs can occur either outdoors on varying types of rock or indoors on specialized climbing walls. Outdoors, climbs usually take place on sunny days when the holds are dry and provide the best grip, but climbers can also attempt to climb at night or in adverse weather conditions if they have the proper training and equipment. However, night climbing or climbing in adverse weather conditions will increase the difficulty and danger on any climbing route.