Original Source: Nambia Tourism
Richard Ford is an experienced rock climber and has been running an adventure and climbing company called Urban Friction in Windhoek for many years now. Recently we managed to get Richard off of the rock face for long enough to conduct a short Q and A with him about rock climbing in Namibia.
Q: Can you introduce yourself and tell us briefly how you got into rock climbing?
A: I have been climbing since I was a kid but only got into serious/technical climbing after my return from living in Cape Town and the UK when I was introduced to Mountain Climbing South Africa’s Namibia section.
Q: What is your favourite spot to climb in Namibia?
Most of my day excursions take place at sites just outside Windhoek, usually about 20 km outside of the city. Most of the climbing spots are on private farms and the right of admission is reserved. One of our sites close to the city is actually an old dried up waterfall. But my favourite place to climb is the Spitzkoppe. The Erongo Mountain Range is also a beautiful and fantastic site to climb.
Q: Briefly tell us what happens on a typical climbing excursion/tour?
Day tours like our Midgard tour – includes a hike, game drive to the climbing site, lunch, and use of Midgard Country Estate facilities.
Q: Which kind of gear does one need to go rock climbing?
You need shoes (although I would recommend barefoot climbing to amateurs/beginners), a dynamic rope, a harness, and a helmet.
Q: How safe is rock climbing?
Rock climbing is actually very safe if you are well aware of all the necessary precautions that need to be taken; there are strict procedures one needs to follow. I would say that rock climbing is safer than most contact sports. However, there is a calculated risk involved similar to sky diving. But rock climbing has been around for a long time, and the equipment is manufactured by big commercial companies who make sure their products are safe and trustworthy. I also check my equipment on daily and monthly basis.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of rock climbing in Namibia?
I am currently working a lot with kids to create and foster a culture of rock climbing in the community. While we are on the topic of the growth potential, it would be awesome in the near future if climbing would be allowed at the Waterberg. It’s such a beautiful place and a lot of potential to be a world-class rock climbing site. It would be great to see that happen.
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