Author Topic: 4. Climbing - MN updated  (Read 5236 times)

Offline Gregg HIPK

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4. Climbing - MN updated
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:42:05 PM »
Safety Disclaimer

Rock climbing is dangerous.

You must understand and practice safe climbing technique whenever you climb in order to reduce your risk of injury, paralysis, or death. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your climbing partners. Climbing at indoor gyms and outside on real rock both present serious risks to your safety, physical health, and life.

From Trevor at Rockclimbing.com [Summarized]

Climbing is not all about strength. Climbing is about balance, knowing your body and being able to reposition it in space. It's about creativity, learning to adapt to what the rock has to offer. It's a whole-body exercise and though your upper body gets a fair share of grunt work, your legs and feet are your most important instrument for upward motion. It's about concentration and overcoming your fears for the void.

BOULDERING
Probably the best way to start experiencing the thrills of moving over rock is to pick up bouldering. Boulderers climb short routes up to a height that is still safe to jump off from.

Some of the hardest moves are closest to the ground. You'll get all the fun of the climbing moves without the scary bits and the hassle of rope-handling and protection.

Bouldering can be practised both on real rock and indoor.

Even though bouldering can be practised alone you shouldn't underestimate the importance of an experienced climbing partner. You'll not only pick up a better climbing technique, you'll also progress in a lot safer environment. In bouldering ankles and spines are top casualties. Without a good spotter to catch your fall you will get hurt some day.

Good spotting is the art of guiding the climber's fall rather than trying to catch him/her. If you're asked to spot someone, you should aim to guide the fall by taking the hips so he / she lands on both feet. If it's your first time, ask another climber to assist you.

Until you're an expert climber it's not a good idea to climb on your own, especially not on higher problems. (highball problems)

If you ever get in trouble up a rock and you need to jump off, remember that downclimbing (de-climbing) is always the better option. Your ankles will thank you for it. And if you do have to jump, remember to bend your knees on impact.

GEAR: climbing shoes, a chalk bag, some chalk (Magnesium Carbonate) and a rug or doormat to clean your shoes. An old toothbrush can come in handy too.

If you plan to make bouldering your new way of life, you want to consider buying a good crash pad. These mattresses aren't exactly cheap but they're a lot softer to fall on than sharp rock.

Though you can use sneakers to start out, it's not a very good idea. You won't learn the subtleties of footwork and frequently repeated rocks will suffer erosion from dirty or unadapted shoes.

[Info about choosing shoes, chalk use etc.]

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Why is it a bad idea to trust Internet climbing advice on its own?
The short answer is, “Because you can’t possibly know the source, and whether or not he or she really understands the subject.” The long answer includes that and a few more things. Even if the source is unimpeachably knowledgeable about climbing, written communication has inherent flaws. Tone, body language – none of them are possible over the Internet. In most cases, you also don’t get visual aids, and then, there’s the fact that very few learning methods can substitute for hands-on experience. If you already have some experience, then you and the person with whom you’re conversing may share a common context that negates that principle, but then again, maybe not. You won’t go wrong by supplementing your Internet-gained knowledge with questions to experienced people in the real world, books, guided lessons, etc. But you may go wrong by NOT doing so.
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Footwork basics Submitted by overlord on 2006-03-16

1. Lets start with the basics: you need proper shoes to learn properly. Comfortable fit and sensitivity. Try to keep your shoes as clean as possible. Wipe them with a wet cloth and air dry them, maybe even brush them with a soft wire brush to get the oxidized rubber off and reveal the sticky stuff.

2. Another important aspect is flexibility. The more flexible you are the better efficiency you can achieve. So it won't hurt to take some time after a climbing session to perform a really good stretching routine.

3. You'll also need leg and foot strength. You can easily train the former and the latter will come with time.

4. Then you need to start LOOKING. I can't stress this enough. Look for footholds before climbing and while climbing. When you stand under a route and look for holds, look to where you can place your feet as well. Offcourse you cant see every little foothold from the ground, but those that you can see will come in handy and if you manage to remember them they may get you through a tight spot. You'll surprised at how much difference a good foothold makes. Also remember that you can use most handholds as footholds once you move past them.

5. LOOK at the foothold before you use it. Don't scrape around trying to find it without looking. Examine it, look for the sweet spot and then deliberately place your foot there. Sensitive shoes come into play here. Focus on the feel of the foothold and you'll see that you can actually feel the perfect spot to stand on. Once you've found it don't scratch around. Your shoes will be grateful, as will your technique and learning curve. Then put some pressure on it. If you don't step on a foothold it probably wont hold (especially if its polished) and youll just skid. You'll be surprised at how much difference a little pressure can make. Don't be afraid of stepping. That's what youre supposed to do. Imagine it's a normal step that's been washed in too hot water and it shrank.

6. Next step is learning to trust your shoes. This is a long process, but slowly you'll begin to realize how small a feature you need to securely step on.

Once you get the feel you can get those stiff edging shoes with super sticky rubber and use them the way they're intended to be used. The feeling for the foothold in step 6 is very important. It'll allow you to learn to use the footholds in the best possible way and tell you what you can actually do with the foothold you're standing on. Will it allow a drop knee to be performed on it or will you peel off while trying to achieve it???

For the grand finale I'll let you in on the IMHO best exercise for improving your footwork: go climb a slab with a tennis ball in each of your hands. That way you'll really focus on your feet. And it'll also improve your balance.

Heres a nice little update from Daniel (a.k.a tisar)

- Follow gravity. If your body tends to 'fall' into a certain direction, place a foot right there. Don't mind if there's a good foothold, a bad one or even none, just place your foot there.
- Move your hip actively over your feet. The hip is the center of gravity. Placing it conciously over one foot relieves both your other foot and your hands for the next move.
- Place your toe tips only. Beginners often place too much of their feet, or worst, their instep flat to the wall. This turns out your leg and blocks the hip joint. 'Tips only' gives your hip a broader moving range to allocate your gravity center as needed.
- Look at your feet! Watch them until placed properly. Easy said, but often you'll find yourself looking elsewhere while doing the last couple of inches to the foothold. It takes some time and attention to get used to it but is worth it.

Advanced footwork
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Rock Climbing Basics, Technique - http://www.rock-climbing-for-life.com/rock_climbing_101.html
This section contains the basics of hand and foot technique.

First let's talk about a common problem with beginning rock climbers.

When people start to climb they think rock climbing is all about upper body strength and for some reason they forget to use their legs. Your legs are much stronger than your arms so be sure to use them accordingly.

When you climb you should focus twice the amount of energy on using your feet and legs than as you do on your hands and arms. Your fingers and hands should hold you close to the rock, while you use your legs to push you up the rock.

You do not have to have mutant strength to climb well - it is much more important to have a solid foundation in good technique.

Rock Climbing 101 Foot Techniques

Edging: using the inside of the foot to stand on a foothold.

Backstepping: is outside edging on a foothold that is behind you while climbing a move with your side to the wall.

Smearing: when you place your foot directly on the rock or wall.

Heel hook: the use of the heel on a hold, usually near chest level, to aid in pulling and balance.

Toe hook: hooking your toe on the rock. Toe hooks are most common on arêtes and with underclings.

Flagging: a climbing technique in which one foot is crossed behind the other to avoid barn-dooring and to improve balance.

Rock Climbing 101 Hand Techniques


Crimp: the most natural and stressful way to grip a rock hold; characterized by hyperextension of the first joint in the fingers and nearly full contraction of the second joint.


Open Hand Grip: gripping the rock with the first joint in the fingers and keeping the hand open. This is the safest hand position for your joints.


Gaston: best described as a handhold that is only good from the side; you must hold it with your elbows pointing out and palm facing away from you.


Jug: a massive, easy to hold onto hold.


Pinch: a hold where you must pinch using your thumb and fingers to hold on (they vary in size).


Side pull: crimping or using an open hand grip on a vertical or near vertical hold.


Sloper: sloping hold with very little positive surface like palming a basketball.


Undercling: grabbing a hold with the palm facing up.