Basic rock climbing techniques
Basic rock climbing techniques
Hiking - yeah, I can do that. Rafting - give me some! Rock climbing? Hmm, am I up for it? When you think about it, hanging 15 metres from the ground, holding on to small crevices is something out of an action movie. Where the main star has buffed up arms and chiseled six pack abs.
As it turns out, climbing a wall or a rock is not that scary as it sounds. Beginners can enjoy rock climbing as much as hardcore enthusiasts. Although, they have to know this most important thing to keep in mind - do not feel intimidated! Fear is not a bad thing, we all feel it sometimes. However, the best way to succeed is to keep trying. So here are the basic rock climbing techniques, which will ease you into this incredible activity.
#1 Choose your style
Before we get into technique, we have to discuss about different types of climbing. There is top-roping (aka rope climbing), where you are securely attached to a rope which is connected to an anchor system at the top, and down to a belayer.
Another choice, for those fearfull of heights, is bouldering. Essentialy, it is rock climbing on smaller scale without ropes. Think of it like this: rope climbing - long distance running; bouldering - sprinting.
#2 Use your legs
Did you know that leg muscles are the strongest muscles in your body? Well, remember that when you stand in front of a 20m rock! Do not relly too much on arm strength. Rather than using your arms as an engine, think of them as tires (points to get a good grip) and use your legs to drive yourself up. Just think about how much easier it is to stand on your feet rather than your hands.
If you happen to find yourself stuck, you should look down and find a way to move your legs up first. Beginners often make the mistake of focusing too much on their arms. You should know that the climbing shoes soles are much stickier than you might think. A tiny protrusion can be an excellent foothold, only if you apply pressure into it as you stand. In order to get accustomed to using such small ledges, practice along the wall doing low traverse and use footholds that look like they won’t work.
#3 Remember the 3 limbs rule
You can recognize a beginner from the mistake of reaching way above their head to grab a hold, without matching the movement with their other limbs. They grab a hold, pull up with legs hanging and try to stick their feet somewhere blindly. What you need to know is to make conscious movements. Plan where you are going to land your feet.
Good thing to remember in order to avoid this mistake is the 3 limbs rule. Meaning that you should have always maintain 3 points of contact. For example, if your feet are firmly planted and you are holding with your left hand, move your right hand up. Now lift your right foot first, then your left foot. After that your left hand is free to move, repeat the process until success!
If you do not see a place to lift your foot, remember that the rubber on climbing shoes is there for a purpose. It will most probably stick on the tiny rock crystals. Practice your ‘’rubber sense’’ climbing rocks with less than vertical angle.
#4 Learn to hang effectively
So, now you know to always try to reach up with your legs. However, sometimes this is not an option and you have to hang. Now, there is a huge difference in hanging the right way and the wrong way. Think of it like doing pull ups. When you hang off the bar, it is not that difficult. But when you try to pull yourself up - much more difficult, isn’t it.
Don’t bend your arms and keep them straight when hanging. Holding with straight arms consumes much less energy and keeps you going.
#5 Warm up before climbing
Just like before any exercise you should warm up and stretch your muscles. Warming up and stretching (dynamic stretch) will enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Hills of Old Herzegovina (Foca) are ideal for learning rock climbing techniques for all adrenalin seekers, our Tarasport experienced instructors will teach you with ease. If you already have some rock climbing experience you may learn a trick or two.