When a person is climbing they are
doing a lot of work in order to lift
their body mass against one of the strongest forces in climbing,
gravity. Some of that work becomes what we call Gravitational
which is the energy that is stored due to the pull of gravity and the
climbers position above the earth. If you are lead climbing, that
potential energy can quickly change into Kinetic Energy
which is the
energy of motion, hence falling. This is where Newton's
of Motion come into
Below is an image of where
a climbers energies are being distributed
throughout a lead climb.
Rock Climbing Anchors: A comprehensive Guide; pg.199
As you can see
from the above image, there is a
point when all of the climbers energy is transferred into Kinetic
Energy, as a climber, this is a nausiating and scary experience.
Most climbers dont want all of their energy to be transferred into
kinetic energy because that means they are moving very quickly.
As a climber you need to devise a way to have a nice balance between
safety and efficiency during your climb. The farther the fall,
the faster you go, which increases the risk of hitting something; Then
what happens to all your energy? It goes into breaking bones...Not fun
at all! Therefore it is really important to set up
protection so that you minimize the chance of injury. Again,
there needs to be a compromise between safety and efficiency.
An important fact that everyone should know is the Law of
Conservation of Energy: Energy can neither be created nor
destroyed, it can only change form.
Therefore the total energy of
the climber, their gear, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy
and thermal energy does not change during their descent, it just