The Physics of Climbing

It was a pleasure to welcome Ross High – Higher Physics class – to Foresters Park Climbing Wall in Tranent for the two hours of their science period on Tuesday morning.

They walked to the wall straight from school and split into four groups – looking at Forces and Equations of Motion in a Climbing Wall.

The pupils were required to design experiements that would enable them to:

  1. Using the equations of motion devise an experiment to work out the height of the climbing wall
  2. Using the setup on the wall investigate the relationship between the force and the direction of anchor.
  3. When a climber takes a fall, good belaying and friction are the things that prevent that fall from being serious. One way of increasing the force of friction is to cross the rope over Carry out an experiment to investigate the relationship between the number of twists and the force experienced by the belayer.
  4. When belaying keeping the correct distance from the wall can make a big difference to how easy it is to hold a climbers fall. In this activity investigate the effect on the belayer of moving further back from the wall.

The pupils were all thoroughly engaged and gave fantastic feedback to their science teacher – Mr. Laud. Along with the school we are looking to make this lesson an annual one in the higher physics curriculum.


Many thanks to Mr. Laud for his development of the session and the higher physics class for their enthusiasm. If there is any other school out there that would like to develop lessons similar to this then please get in touch with your Outdoor Learning Service

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