By now, you know the basics. You may even be eager to start jumping into the harder stuff. But how good are you really?
Can you improve your technique?
Your ability to rock climb well takes skill. And skill needs time to develop. You need to rock climb regularly. If you fall, get back up. You have to experiment.
Pumped to go the next step? Here’s the breakdown.
Become a Pro
Practice rock climbing regularly, and you’re sure to master each technique listed here. Don’t worry too much about messing things up. Mistakes will happen. Instead, focus on the technique.
- Stretch before you climb. You don’t want to get sore later, right? Stretching can improve blood circulation and flexibility, helping you climb those tough routes easier.
- Make static movement a habit. Instead of rushing into things, keep moving up each rock formation at a steady pace and don’t stop until you’ve reached your end goal. How well you stay in control depends on how you move your body during the climb. You want to use both your hands and feet. Try moving your arms and legs first and then shift your body weight to grab on to the next hold. Keep moving in a fluid motion, and balance yourself with your hands.
- Know where to place your feet. We covered the different types of holds. But even if you know how to grasp the hold, it doesn’t mean you can flail around blindly. Keep those eyes open. Look for holds before you attempt to place your feet on them. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised with how many climbers get this wrong. Good foot placement will help with balance. If you’re still not sure if you’re doing it right, try listening to your feet. The less noise they make the better. Think like a cat; climb with grace and purpose.
- Learn how to read climbing routes. A valuable technique for getting to where you want to go without second guessing or backtracking along the way. Visualize your route while you’re on the ground. Think about the necessary positions your body will need to be in to climb up each hold. While you climb, keep that visual in mind. And after a route, review your mistakes as you re-analyze the climb you just did. Do this technique well, and you save time and frustration later.
- Relax. Don’t try to crush the rock with your grip. That will only turn your fingers blue and make the palms of your hands sore. Many climbers will subconsciously hold on tight when performing a complex climb. Don’t be one of them! Keep your fingers, back, and shoulders relaxed and you’ll be able to endure longer.
- Stay close to the wall. Only lean back off of the rock to see the route. If you’re having trouble, try experimenting with different positions and vary your distance against the wall. Once you find a tactic that works for you, stick with it.
- Take time to recover. If you’re going to climb a route successfully, you’ll need to rest your limbs every now and then. Try spotting rest spots, like the edge of a rock to lean against, from the ground while you’re visualizing your route. When you climb, you’ll already know how far you have to go before your next break.
- Fall down. All climbers fall at some point. The sooner you experience a fall and get used to the sense of falling, the calmer you’ll be while climbing. Start by finding a safe spot to fall and purposely let go. Avoid questionable looks later by making sure your belayer is in on the plan before you push off the wall. Then breathe a sigh of relief.
While you can master a technique, realize that you can’t achieve perfection. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re just not getting it right away.
Because you will. You just have to keep at it.
Rock climbing is a journey. It’s an adventure. It’s exhilarating. You’re constantly learning and building upon your skills. But you have to be willing to put in the time.