A climber, like Rome, was not and will in no way be built in a day. Every climber has a goal, good or bad, but the same rock climbing principles apply. Those wishing to plunge into this world of climbing for one reason or the other, start off quite enthusiastically. However, not all live up to this desire. In due course, realization dawns on them that rock climbing may not be as simple as it seems, obviously depending on the motivation behind the decision to be a climber.
Challenges are part of life and as well part of a climber’s being and how they are handled is what sets the difference between an expert and a beginner.
Whether one decides to venture into bouldering, sport climbing, alpine climbing, or traditional climbing, the shorter and easier way to do this is learn from the experts, the tips and tricks that keep them on the top of the game. It is no doubt that climbing, whether indoor or outdoor, is a very broad sport with different applications to each aspect. It would be noteworthy, though, to look at the different climbing classes to assess the level one is at. The rule of thumbs in running is that technique and skill combined with regular practice go beyond physical strength.
Class 1- Represents hiking.
Class 2- This class involves scrambling mostly with the use of hands.
Class 3 – Goes beyond the use of hands and incorporates ropes in scrambling.
Class 4 – Not necessarily scrambling but simple climbing mostly using a rope.
Class 5- Represents a higher level and more serious climbing that incorporates specialized protective equipment. This class is further subdivided into:
5.0 -5.7: beginner climbers
5.8-5.9: experienced climbers with special skills
5.10: advanced climbers
5.11-5.15: expert climbers with broad training only
So, what makes a climber a master of the art? While training to be a better free climber sounds sensible, training geared towards mastering climbing techniques is the best approach. Good techniques, from the horse’s mouth, is about balancing movements and coordinating the lower and upper body to achieve expertise so that this activity becomes one’s second nature. Great climbers just do what they ought to do. They don’t spend time thinking of what they need to do, this is practice.
Focus on betterment rather than strength
While strength is needed for climbing, it is often misconceived to be the top priority. Many beginners take long to take off in their climbing endeavors because of this misconception. Why not spend time learning and improving techniques and the strength needed at each level will come automatically through a lot of practice. Getting better is the shorter route to perfection just as getting stronger is the hardest route into the climbing venture.
Climbing is about the feet
Practicing to concentrate weight on the feet transfers unnecessary strain from the forearms and upper body and this makes a climber better placed to reach the next handhold position. Leg muscles are stronger and can better bear the body weight when climbing. Novice climbers begin to go wrong when they focus their practice on hand sequences rather than feet. Footwork is not just about positioning your feet correctly but also working out the grip using your toes. The highlight of any climber’s endeavor is marked by their ability to use their feet properly.
The back-step is undeniably a vital technique for any climber, novice or expert. Mastering the back-step involves standing on the outside edge using the right foot and at this position swiveling the lower body to achieve a position in which the right hip is against the surface. The straight-up climbing technique in rock climbing can be dangerous. The hips are a great asset when it comes to applying different techniques in rock climbing depending on rock formation. The climbing surface offers great support to the body while allowing the foot on the same side to fall into a back-step position.
Tight fitting rubber soled shoes:
On normal occasions, such types of shoes are uncomfortable to the feet but the advantages they offer in rock climbing outweighs the discomfort. The right shoes make it possible to achieve an accurate position making use of the entire foot when climbing with much ease. In rock climbing, the difference in climbing experiences comes with the shoes worn.
Watch those fingers!
Fingers are an asset when climbing. A small injury on even one finger can make it difficult to climb up efficiently especially where a lot of pain is experienced. Finger injuries are common place particularly among beginner climbers within their first three years of practice. Building the technique and tendon resilience that fingers can stand when hanging from grips is honed over time. Not until the fingers can stand this pressure, tendons are at risk of strain. Open hand grips are advisable for protecting fingers from injury.
Craft your style
A good trainer is one who, during training, will give the learner liberty to create their own unique style like every other expert that rose to the top. Style comes firstly with knowing yourself; strengths and weaknesses and your niche so that you will focus on what gives you utmost satisfaction. Learning is a process but creating style is the ultimate. Expert climbers will admit that a turnaround in their climbing life came the moment they discovered that there is no perfect way to climb a route and that one can perfect their strong points into styles unique only to them.
Practice Practice Practice
Regular practice for any sport or activity can never be overemphasized. This applies to rock climbing too. Expert climbers will admit that having a regular practice schedule and sticking to it takes resolve and this is no easy task. Each day of practice brings improvement on rock climbing techniques although one may sometimes not notice the difference. Practice brings perfection which in turn helps a rock climber to craft his own unique style. Strength and body resilience also come with practice. Any beginner that hopes to get to the top must start taking climbing
sessions as serious practice.
Rock climbing tips and tricks go beyond these general points to the more specific tips applicable to different climbing techniques. Discovering one’s inclination and endeavoring to gain every last bit of knowledge to improve it is the true driver to perfection.