Before we head to rock climbing techniques, let’s talk about the activity. When it comes to getting into the rock climbing game, practice makes perfect. It’s an addicting activity that naturally increases muscle, induces zen-like concentration, and teaches balance. Since the early 1990s, rock climbing techniques have grown and changed.
Most inexperienced climbers attempt to power up the wall with arm strength, but fall short (literally). To develop experience in rock climbing, you must return time and again with different mechanics and methods. You’ll need to strike a balance. Making your body posture work for you is a continual ebb and flow. Prepare to reach new heights with our tried and proven rock climbing skills as you join this thrilling new activity.
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Quick Vocabulary For Rock Climbers
- Because this is a beginner’s guide, we’ll omit the technical jargon. But here are a few key phrases to keep you on the ground in this first introduction.
- Smearing is the act of pressing the bottom of your climbing shoe against the wall or slab to create friction for climbing up vertically.
- Edging is the practice of placing your soles on the thin margins of the rock’s surface. Such footholds will not accommodate your entire foot.
- Reading the route means looking at the parts of the ascent that can be seen to figure out the best way to move forward.
- Flagging is the act of opening your hips and extending your legs in one direction. To maintain balance, for example, if you are flagging with your right leg, you would bring your left hip against the wall.
Rock Climbing Techniques
We’re really excited for you since you’re going to be climbing outside. Check your knots and plan your actions before tying in for lead climbing, sport climbing, or a top-rope route. Is your climbing gear properly fastened? Is your figure 8 properly attired? Chalk it up?
Climbing Technique #1: Be Conscious And Effective
If you can scale the wall with minimum effort, you’ve advanced your climbing abilities. Map out your path as you prepare for the ascent. Every action expends energy, so you’ll want to know the best areas for footholds, resting points, and riskier moves. Don’t burn out too soon; plan ahead:
Footholds: Figure out where you want to put your feet. Should you smear or edge these footholds? When you’re on those holds, how do your handholds look? Will you have to flag or drop a knee to change your weight?
Resting Locations: The finest places to rest are those where your weight is totally on your feet. Take this opportunity to shake the lactic acid accumulation from your arm muscles one at a time and prepare for your next action. When bouldering, the resting place is entirely up to you. When you have a belay, you may ask them to “take,” or draw the slack out of the rope, so you can hold on for a little break.
Deliberate Moves: It’s a dance, not a moshpit, so make deliberate motions. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid flinging yourself up the wall with dynamic actions. The more time you spend on the wall debating your moves, the more energy you squander.
Hip Posture: Maintaining a square-hip stance is a classic novice error. It moves your body away from the wall, making you work harder. At all times, maintain your hips against the wall at all times so that you may lean with straight arms. When reaching for a handhold, pushing one hip into the wall reduces your chances of peeling off. You’ll be able to hold on better, which will help you stay in place on the slab.
Climbing Technique #2: Use Your Feet
The rock climbing technique’s philosophy is to keep your arms feeling weightless and your weight on your feet. There are other terms for putting your climbing shoes on a foothold, but the two most commonly used in the rock climbing gym are edging and smearing.
Edging Stand: on a mere sliver of the wall and establish your balance on either the inner or outer edge of your climbing shoe sole. Which way do you want to go?
In this technique, pay attention to your hips because they are in charge of guiding your body’s movements against the rock wall. When prepared to tackle an edgy slab climb, most climbers will lace up their stiff shoes. Typically, you’ll be standing on the edge of your shoe, beneath your big toe. To feel safer when backstepping, rely on the outer corner of your soles (under the little toe).
Smearing: It’s not really an edge, but we make it work. When the gradient is less steep than the rest of the surface, smear it. Remember that you’re making friction and that getting your shoes to stick to the slab gives you the support you need to climb up.
Maintain a Low Heel: The greater the foot surface area on the foot chip, the better. Also, don’t second-guess yourself or become evasive. Fudging your foot placements is the quickest way to swing off the slab.
Climbing Technique #3: Focus On Balance
While inexperienced climbers rely on upper-body power to propel them up the wall, experienced climbers understand that it is a balancing act.
I used to use a quickdraw on my belay loop when I initially started learning fundamental rock climbing skills. This demonstrated how I assessed my balance in various climbing situations. I’d try to keep the quickdraw in the middle of my legs and maintain this center of balance for every move and change on the wall.
No two rock climbers are alike. We all have various talents and weaknesses when it comes to rocking out. Some of us want to cry when we see a crimp, while others consider them to be their favorite slab holds. Discover what works best for you. Yes, climbing is a vertical rise. However, this does not imply that your climbing style must be parallel. Drop a knee, flag a leg, wiggle your hips, and have fun.
Counter-pressure is crucial! To suction yourself to the wall, push your foot in the opposite direction of your handhold. Your body serves as a counterweight.
Lean forward as though your life depends on it. Experiment outside of the rocks. Check out these climbing exercises to enhance your balance. Yoga is your best pal. Always, always, always warm up before attempting to climb the wall. Stretching your muscles beforehand will help you avoid sprains and tendon rips.
It’s reasonable to say that the climbing community is one of the most welcoming in the world. Every climber sincerely wishes for the success of others. So, if you ever need advice or a catch, all you have to do is holler and you’ll have a good climbing partner in seconds. Remember that everyone begins somewhere. With these fundamental rock climbing techniques, you can keep an eye on your feet, check your balance, and save energy.