Physics 101- Introduction to Mechanics
April 3- Applications of rotating systems






Rock climbing may be the ultimate physics exam.  Failure can mean death, and even "partial credit" can mean severe injury.  Consider a long chimney climb, in which your shoulders are pressed against one wall of a wide, vertical fissure and your feet are pressed against the opposite wall.


Let's attach some numbers to this problem and find the minimum horizontal force that the climber must exert on the wall to keep from falling.  The climber's mass is 55kg and this center of mass is located in the middle of his torso (0.25m below his shoulders and a horizontal distance 0.20m from the wall against which his shoulders are pressed).  The fissure has a width of 1.0m.  The coefficient of static friction between his shoes and the rock is 1.1 and between his shoulders and the rock it is 0.70.


For this push, where must the climber place his feet in order to remain stable?  (Find the vertical distance between his feet and shoulders.)


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Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University
Spring 2002