Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2008) 07, 492 - 498

Research article
Effect of an On-Sight Lead on the Physiological and Psychological Responses to Rock Climbing
Nick Draper,1 , Glenys A. Jones2, Simon Fryer2, Chris Hodgson2, Gavin Blackwell1
Author Information
1 School of Sciences and Physical Education, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, NZ
2 Centre for Sports Science and Medicine, University of Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex, UK

Nick Draper
‚úČ School of Sciences and Physical Education, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.
Publish Date
Received: 17-08-2008
Accepted: 23-09-2008
Published (online): 01-12-2008
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Rock climbing is a multi-discipline activity that encompasses forms such as bouldering, top roping and lead climbing on natural and artificial climbing surfaces. A major focus of research has been explanation of physiological functioning. More recent research indicates that anxiety levels are elevated for less experienced climbers and in response to lead climbing ascents. Research regarding the demands of rock climbing has placed a lesser focus on the interaction of psychological and physiological factors. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of an on-sight lead climb on the physiological and psychological demands of the climb in comparison with a subsequent lead climb. Ten intermediate level climbers volunteered to complete the two climbing trials, on-sight lead climb (OSLC) and second lead climb (LC2). Climb time, lactate concentrations (baseline, pre climb, post climb and 15 min post climb), heart rate (1 min pre climb, peak HR, 1 min post climb and average climb across the duration of the climb), oxygen consumption, pre climb anxiety (CSAI-2R) were assessed for each climber for both trials. Results indicated that there were significant differences in self reported pre climb somatic and cognitive anxiety (t(9) = 2.79, p = 0.01, t(9) = 1.94, p = 0.043), climb time (t(9) = 3.07, p = 0.0052) and post climb lactate concentrations between the climbs (t(9) = 2.58, p = 0.015). These results indicate that psychological as well as physiological stress impact upon the response to rock climbing. The higher anxiety levels associated with an OSLC are likely to have influenced the physiological responses for the intermediate climbers in this study. Future studies should take into account the type of climbing, experience of climbers and the number of ascents as well as taking into account the interaction between physiological and psychological factors in response to rock climbing.

Key words: Rock climbing, on-sight lead, lactate concentration, oxygen consumption

           Key Points
  • For intermediate climbers, there are significant differences in physiological and psychological responses to on-sight lead and subsequent lead climb.
  • There was an increased psychological and physiological load for leading a climb for the first time (on-sight).
  • These results indicate that the type of climbing should be taken into account when interpreting results from climbing studies with intermediate or recreational climbers.
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