If you’re looking to take your climbing up to the next level, there are some techniques you should be aware of that will help you increase your safety and performance on the rock wall. The most basic of these techniques are correctly climbing up and down a rock wall using your hands and feet, called technical climbing in the climbing world.
Before you can rock climb, you’ll need to be adequately equipped and ready to go. Among many other things, proper racking requires you to place your rack on your back and easily access it when needed.
Types Of Racks
There are two types of racks: quickdraws (QDs) and runners. QDs will usually come with slings attached already; however, if they don’t, simply add a carabiner that opens inwards (opposite of how a standard carabiner opens). To rack your gear effectively, you should be able to lift both sides of your pack without unclipping any pieces from their bolts or draws – doing so could cause injury or unwanted falls.
The most basic climbing knot, probably one of the most important, is called a Prusik knot. The Prusik knot makes use of what’s called a friction hitch, which allows you to cinch onto the rope quickly. The Prusik is great for connecting yourself to an anchor or lifeline (rope stretched between two points) so that you can climb back down if you fall, and it can also help ascend steep sections of rock by using your body weight as leverage. You tie a loop around your waist and connect it to your safety line; pull on both ends of your safety line simultaneously to be pulled up toward your anchor point.
Cleaning routes is a vital part of rock climbing, and it’s easy to forget necessary steps when you’re off on an adventure. Cleaning involves removing dirt, debris, and old tape from your shoes before climbing to ensure good stickiness. There are several techniques for cleaning that can be done with varying levels of commitment, including bandaids and rubbing alcohol, but simple soap and water work great when you get home.
There are several quick ways to clean your climbing gear before you head out for a climb. But to make sure you’re getting it all off, give it a good wipe down and use dish soap or rubbing alcohol on tough spots. If you have time, fill up a tub with warm water and some mild laundry detergent. Cleaning staff can be time-consuming, but if you want to ensure your gear is correctly sanitized before each climb, give yourself some time to give everything a good scrubbing now and then.
A key component to any climb is footwork. Shaping is a technique used to position your feet in spots that feel comfortable, stable and secure. This way, you can better manage your balance when climbing vertical or overhanging terrain. While many climbers use variations of these foot positions, they’re all controlled versions of either smearing or edging.
Now that you know techniques every climber should know, it’s time to put them into practice. If you want to climb more challenging routes, develop more stamina and endurance, or generally feel more comfortable while climbing, take a few of these tips and practice them at your local gym. As always, make sure to wear proper safety equipment and have someone spot you for extra protection.