It’s important to have an entire arsenal’s worth of climbing moves if you’re planning on tackling some of the more challenging routes. The following moves are great to place into that arsenal. They’re all based on the principles in the earlier section, but then broaden those principles.
Take a normal step, and do the opposite. That’s a back step. Rather than stepping onto a hold using your big toe and keeping your hips against the wall, turn your hips to the side. Then step using the little-toe side of your shoe.
This move gives you a better chance at getting a little rest. It helps get your hips against the wall, which in turn lets you straighten your arms a bit more. In addition, it may help you extend far enough to reach a hold you might not be able to reach otherwise. If you’re climbing a steep route, back steps can help ensure you don’t run out of energy halfway up.
This is essentially a back step, but a more extreme version. You’ll want to ensure you have a foothold around the level of your hip. With the tip of your toe, step onto the foothold. Once you have stable footing, roll your knee in. Once the outside of your shoe is resting on the hold and your knee is pointing downward, you’ve performed the manoeuvre.
You’ll need your hip close to the wall, as well. It helps with resting, but where it really shines is when you need to reach a few inches higher.
Stemming is when you press against opposing surfaces. It doesn’t matter what those surfaces are. It could be a chimney, a door frame, a corner, the list goes on.
The way you stem doesn’t matter as long as you use appropriate counter pressure. This will help you keep balance. Your big leg muscles are doing the trick in this maneuver, so it’s incredibly efficient.
Flagging is a manoeuvres for counter balancing. You use one limb in order to shift your weight. You’re trying to keep yourself from swinging away from the rock.
Any time you have to use holds on the same side of your body, you’re going to want to use flagging. You can also keep yourself in balance by swinging your leg.
When you lean off one side of a crack (or a flake) while pushing your feet against the other side, you’re performing this manoeuvre. Laybacks are amazing when you have a good foothold. The manoeuvre allows you to keep your arms straight and make your feet do all the heavy lifting. Your feet are already used to carrying your body weight, so it’s especially easy! If you have to smear due to lack of footholds, keep your heels low. This allows you to maximize how much rubber you have against the rock.
Any time you find yourself in a crack and you can’t go with jamming, a lay-back is a good option. Alternatively, if you have an opposing wall you can push off against it’s a good move to use.
This manoeuvre is when you push down and then bring your feet up to hand level. You’ve no doubt seen mantling before. It’s generally done when you need to pull yourself onto a ledge.
To perform this move, grab a hand hold and get your weight above it. Once you’ve got a good hold, you can place your feet where your hands are.
The most common use of this move is topping out, but if you have a big handhold you might find it useful as well.
As you may suspect, this is when you use the underside of a hand hold rather than the top. It may feel counter intuitive when you first try. Pulling up instead of pulling down isn’t a natural movement, and it will take practice.
The best way to perform an undercling is by finding a good, high foothold. You’ll want to maintain body tension, so push with your feet as you pull with your hands. By keeping your feet high, you can keep the hold near waist level. This allows you to straighten your arms more.
When you do it right, you’ll find yourself in a stable position to reach for a higher hold.
This is any hold that’s oriented in such a way as to allow a sideways pull. Make absolute certain that you can balance out by shifting your body weight. Applying counter force is also helpful.
Side pulls can be as awkward as underclings at first. Adapting the direction of your pull isn’t something people do on instinct. Once you get the feeling down, you’ll find that you have a huge number of pathways and hand holds open up around you.
This is the inverse of a side pull. With a side pull, you pull in toward yourself. With a gaston, you push out rather than pull in.
Think about it as if you were attempting to push open an elevator door. You bend your elbow outwards and point your fingers towards you.
This may feel unstable at first, due to the fact that the force comes directly from the shoulder. However, learning this move gives you even more hand hold options.
This is the hand version of smearing. You simply place your open palm against a rock, and push.
This helps you keep your balance and reposition your feet as necessary. It’s also useful if you don’t have any nearby handholds that can support you. In addition, you’ll almost always want to use it while you’re stemming. If you’re on a slab climb, then palming with your fingers down is also helpful.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to teach themselves how to be safe. No instructional video can replace proper training. Don’t throw yourself immediately at a tough climb. Practice first so that you don’t kill yourself.