Climbing Competition Isolation

For on-sight rock climbing competitions, climbers must attempt the routes with no previous knowledge of the route or sequences. This is accomplished by holding the climbers in a waiting area called "isolation". This area separates the competitors from viewing the routes, talking to other climbers who have completed their climbs or talking to spectators or coaches. Generally a climbing competition isolation area includes a toilet, drinks, chairs, table, warm-up or bouldering wall and a transition zone, sometimes called "on deck".

Prior to climbing, climbers in each category will be taken to preview the route. After the preview they are taken back to the climbing competition isolation area until they are called to compete. When a climber is called from the isolation area he is taken to the transition zone. Even though this is considered to be part of the isolation area, the climber is not permitted to talk to any climbers or leave and return to the transition area. In the transition zone the climber makes the last preparations before climbing. Sometimes the competitor will be required to tie the rope to their harness while in the transition area. When the climber is called from the transition area, he is taken directly to the wall to climb. If the climber has already tied in to the rope, the rope is carried with the climber to the wall and the climber is expected to begin climbing immediately.

In large climbing competitions, isolation can be a long wait. Use your time in isolation to prepare for the climb. Even though you may not see the route or talk to competitors who have already competed there is much you can do to prepare.

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