I’ve discussed most things now about the basics of rock climbing but I haven’t mentioned one of the most important things of all: PLANNING AND PATIENCE.
“Boring”, I hear you say, but these two elements are crucial to rock climbing. Think of it as a game of chess – you have to think ahead, you have to know exactly where you are going to plant your hands and feet after each move, and you need to know how to stay safe throughout the climb.
“And so how do I do all this – in advance”, I hear you say again…
Well, here are some tips:
- Look DOWN to find footholds and UP to find hand-holds. You may use the same hold as both a handhold and a foothold.
- Move smoothly, and try not to employ unneeded motions, as this will use significant energy (and possibly make you lose your balance).
- Look for footholds at a normal stepping distance. Lofty steps are often strenuous, but small steps waste energy.
- If possible, choose hand-holds at head height. Holding hands above the head is more tiring.
- To begin, always have contact with the rock in three places, two feet and a hand or two hands and a foot.
- Try to use your legs and not your arms when possible. Your legs are stronger than your arms, and they already support your body naturally.
So, learn how to climb correctly and trust your gear. Yes, clinging to a rock a hundred feet above the ground is scary, but the feeling you’ll get when you reach the top is indescribable. Don’t forget your camera!
This video, although it jumps around a little, is ideal for demonstrating the climb.