Comparison of Land-based Outdoor Activities

Compare and contrast the skills and techniques required for two different land-based outdoor and adventurous activities.

Land-based Outdoor Activities


Rock Climbing and Overnight Expeditions (Hiking)

Even though both activities (rock climbing and hiking) are land based – they are very different from one another and require completely different skill-set, training and preparation.  A lack of these factors can result in poor experience or even injuries, that’s why it is important to understand the distinction between these activities and if you are a hiker and would like to try rock climbing or vice versa – this information could help you to orientate and recognise what skills/techniques are similar and which ones you still need to develop.rock climbing, land-based outdoor activities

One of the base skills required for both activities is being able to plan and prepare.  This includes every step of the activities in terms of place, route, equipment, safety planning, transportation, food and others.  Poor planning can lead both to ‘learning the hard way’ or cause serious consequences, so being able to put theory that you have learnt about the activity into planning is very important, otherwise you will either not develop your skills or do it in very dangerous way.

Both activities require certain level of fitness which would be needed to be able to do it.  Either have endurance and walk long distances or have the strength in the arms to be able to climb the rocks.  So they require a level of fitness, but in different components.  For rock climbing upper body strength and stamina that mainly includes hands, arms and fingers are important as in hiking strength, endurance and balance in legs are more important as it gives stability and ability to walk long distances with heavy rucksack on your back.

Similar technical skills and techniques

Technical skills related to equipment also are important, but they can be learnt during the activity which can cause issues or it can be learn in training sessions if information is properly perceived. Being able to utilise equipment needed is a crucial factor in the process of both activities, because even if the activities are different you would not be able to do them safely without that knowledge or not be able to do them at all.  A lack of knowledge and practise can be dangerous and if this is the case then further training with supervision would be recommended.

First aid is required in most of the activities including hiking and rock climbing.  It is needed to provide first response to injury or emergency situation.  If you are not able to provide first aid or do not have the equipment you need to ensure that at least one person in a group is capable of performing first aid and equipment is also taken.

Risk assessments – both standard and dynamic should be performed for safe rock climbing and overnight expeditions.  Rock climbing does not include much of dynamic risks as hiking does, but e.g. loose rocks could de-attach and fall down on to other climbers or belayer, so it is important to assess this dynamic risk and not proceed.  For hiking it involves much more dynamic risk assessment such as walking route, wild animals, fast changing weather conditions (storm, very sunny), dehydration, stove fire and other risks.  Standard risk assessment can also be applied for both activities and risks reduced or removed completely.

Different technical skills and techniques

For rock climbing you don’t need to have navigational skills that include being able to read and take bearings, grid references or read a route cards, because you will be probably be based in one location during activity or maybe multiple climbs at different locations can be done, but mainly you do not need to navigate anywhere as in hiking you would travel long distances and navigation skills would be crucial, otherwise you could get lost and your life could be put in danger.  Also knowledge about techniques and skills like ‘hand railing’, taking grid references, scale measurements, calculating time and distances are not necessary and would probably not have major effect for activity unless you want to find the rock to climb on a map as well.

For hiking you don’t need to have knowledge or practise about various types of knots e.g.: figure 8 knot, types of roles e.g. belayer or climber and techniques like jamming or bouldering, because the route should not include climbing rocks – it would be too dangerous, unless it is scrambling (land based activity which is a mix of hiking and rock climbing), it also requires different equipment and preparation.

Both activities require preparation, but it is not enough as skills comes with time and training.  So if you prepare and are willing to become experienced rock climber or hiker it will come with the practise and learning.

Evaluate the skills and techniques required to successfully perform in two different land-based outdoor and adventurous activities

Rock climbing and hiking requires particular skills, knowledge and techniques to be performed successfully and with pleasure rather than discomfort.  What are the main reasons for these skills and techniques, why they are good and what could happen if you would not have them.

The advantages of effective planning and preparation is that you will be ready for most of the challenges you possible can face during the activities.  It is not possible to prepare for everything, but you need to decrease the chances of getting in trouble as much as you can.  Lack of preparation can result in poor performance and discomfort.

Correct use of equipment with appropriate techniques is very beneficial for effectiveness and safety during the activity, because usually specialist equipment requires specific use for specific purposes and wrong usage can lead to injuries or danger.  To avoid this it is important to receive appropriate training beforehand and if you are still not confident, you could have practise session with instructor.

First aid skills are very useful, can and should be applied to every activity and not everybody can perform them as special training is required.  Usually during activities instructors are qualified first aiders, so you don’t have to have these skills, but it would be very useful to have them as you could provide aid to other people independently.  Otherwise you or your team will lack of experience and knowledge how to deal with injuries and this can cause even more damage.  If there is no one in the group that can perform first aid, activity should not be done especially the ones that involve danger like rock climbing and decreased emergency response time like in hiking.

There are two types of risk assessing, but dynamic risk assessing is more related to the topic as it is ability to evaluate changing situations and respond to it sensibly by making correct decisions during the activity.  Without this ability participants can make wrong decisions and injure themselves by thinking that they are capable of doing something when they are not.  To increase awareness of dynamic risk assessing skills, it is important to understand what the injuries can lead to and why safety is important.  When participants have knowledge of consequences – they are less likely to misbehave and act unsafely.

Navigational skills are mainly a major advantage for hiking activity as it would certainly help to complete the expedition without getting lost.  In other words it is almost impossible to complete specific route without navigational skills like: map reading, bearings, using route card and taking grid references.  If you are not capable of navigating with map, compass and route card it is likely that expedition will result a failure, so before a hike you have to ensure that you are capable of navigating or have someone to guide you through expedition.

Navigational techniques such as hand railing, pacing and aiming of are designed for hiking activity mainly to assist and aid navigation.  The advantage of using them is that it can make hiking easier and more comfortable to navigate, but it cannot be a replacement for navigational skills.  To learn these techniques a simple practise can be done and its effectiveness observed by experienced hiker.

Rock climbing techniques could be very beneficial for hikers as it could help them in situations where rocks are involved and knowledge of techniques like jamming could be used, but after carefully calculated dynamic risk assessment and only in situation of need e.g. emergency situation.  This falls into preparation section as optional skills to have that could be beneficial and or even save you from danger.

In conclusion we can see that even if activities are different, some of the skills can be transferred and still used in other activities.  As some of the skills would only be optional e.g. rock climbing skills for hiking – it is very beneficial, so the more experience and skills you have the better performance you are able to display.