Climbing World

Even the most dedicated gym addicts need to mix up their routine from time to time and find a new way to break a sweat. And rocking climbing might be the way 

Rock Climbing Technique


Learning to free climb—to pull and step on only the rock’s natural holds, never using equipment as an aid—is liberating and exhilarating. When you discover how to bear down on edges, stick to slopers or relax in a handjam, you’ll be stoked. Though no text could ever substitute for experience, here is an outline of basic movement techniques to help you get going. Learning to free climb is as natural as climbing a tree, but doing it well is a long process. Learn to move efficiently in the vertical realm and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of challenges.

You can broadly divide free climbing into two categories, face and crack climbing, although you will often use combinations of both. Cracks are the most obvious lines of weakness on cliffs, but the techniques to climb them are not as evident as in face climbing. Climbing technique comes down to linking basic foot, hand and body positions into a flowing, upward motion. The basic positions are easily outlined, but the infinite number of permutations complicates the free-climbing experience. Each climb is a Rubik’s Cube with an infinite number of ways to be unlocked, which is why climbing is so beautiful, interesting and addictive.

FOOTWORK

Foot Technique is your most useful (and the most misunderstood) tool. Whether you’re on an overhang or a low-angle slab, the idea is to keep your weight pressed onto your feet. Beginners tend to hug the rock and/or grope too high for out-of-reach holds, making it hard for them to see and use their feet. An erect, athletic, in-balance posture is the ticket. Remember that your legs are stronger than your arms—take advantage of that. Practice your footwork and get used to lifting your weight with your lower body.


to describe shapes in the rock and how we grip them as ace-climber Adam Ondra has screams. The numerous positions we can contort our fingers and hands over various rock shapes is astounding. Efficient rock climbers use their hands for stability, not just to haul themselves up a climb. Using your bulging biceps to muscle through a tricky section is sometimes unavoidable, but remember that footless climbing is called “campusing,” and should be done only when necessary, which is rare.


HANDHOLDS

to describe shapes in the rock and how we grip them as ace-climber Adam Ondra has screams. The numerous positions we can contort our fingers and hands over various rock shapes is astounding. Efficient rock climbers use their hands for stability, not just to haul themselves up a climb. Using your bulging biceps to muscle through a tricky section is sometimes unavoidable, but remember that footless climbing is called “campusing,” and should be done only when necessary, which is rare. Grip holds with slightly bent arms, using your feet to push you up.



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