This article is once again about one of my all-time favourite hobbies: rock climbing! If you have been following along, you are well aware that I absolutely love rock climbing and rock climbing techniques. I have had the privilege of visiting places like Taiwan and Bangkok because of this amazing sport. Climbing is an opportunity to learn many valuable lessons about yourself, community, and nature.
Below, you will find a list of interesting and unique rock climbing techniques – which also apply to free climbing and bouldering – that you probably haven’t seen before!
1.) Make the emotional and mental connection to climbing
Something that isn’t often mentioned in regards to climbing is the emotional connection. When reaching to grab the next hold, remember to be grateful for that hand – even to love that hand! After all, it keeps you aloft and prevents you from injury. This is an effective way to create a connection with your body and allow your mind to be clear and intentional.
2.) Add a better breathing method to your climbing
Another technique is to add a breathing method to your routine. My friends have told me that a method that works for them is Wim Hof breathing. Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete who is known for performing what would be considered impossible feats, such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with 26 of his students, wearing only shorts. You would think he is an exception to nature, right? But as you can see, he has taught others how to survive extreme conditions using his breathing method. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Because rock climbing involves extreme conditions, this is a viable option to aid you in your sport conditioning. Benefits can include increased well-being and mindfulness!
3.) Play physics to your advantage
Free climbing is any time, anywhere, on any route. There are some insanely. Epic. Free climbers out there. When you meet other climbers, you are immediately connected to a community together. Rock climbers everywhere are connected by a common passion.
A unique rock climbing technique used in free climbing is to remember how large a part physics plays in the sport of rock climbing and to use it to your advantage. One example of this is if you’re jumping to grab on to a handhold. When making a jump to reach the next spot, try to remember that the top point of your jump should be where you’re grabbing on to. This allows you to transfer the least amount of weight.
Make sure you are also using chalk, as it increases friction between your hands and the rock. And lastly in terms of physics, try testing out different ways of gripping your handholds to see which way will give you the greatest stability! An effective, tried-and-true way to grip the rock is to keep your fingers close together in order to give you the best leverage.
4.) Take great care of your fingers aka skin
Managing your skin is another fun tip that even experts of the climbing game swear by. When asked “How is your climbing?”, you will often see top climbers immediately look at their hands. Especially as you reach higher elevation, grip becomes even more important, so treat your skin well and take a day off if it’s not up to scratch.
Skin tears and wounds from climbing or even holding the rope while belaying your buddy using your ATC and carabiner, its important to avoid rope burns and injuries.
If you are doing outdoor climbing that involves a lot of sharp edges and cracks, its not a bad idea to invest in a pair of cheap crack climbing gloves.
5.) Pretend the handholds are made of glass
Bouldering is a rock climbing technique often used on small rock faces and in indoor centres with nicely installed crash pads. The special aspect about bouldering is that it does not use ropes or harnesses. Bouldering and free climbing are very similar, except for the fact that in bouldering, you’re only 3-6 meters from the ground.
A handy tip for bouldering is to treat the handholds like they’re made of glass. Hand and feet placement in all of rock climbing and bouldering is key. By thinking of the handholds like they’re made of glass, it allows you to slow down, remain present, and consider more wisely your next move.
6.) Visit a mountaineering museum
In the rock climbing world, diversity is king. The more ways you can develop and add to your routine, the more successful you will be. For example, visit a mountaineering museum or two. Although this isn’t “rock-to-hand” rock climbing technique, it opens your mind to the rich culture and history of the sport.
7.) Give it 100% and don’t be ashamed if you have to stop
An important rock climbing technique in bouldering, as well as in all types of climbing, is to give it your all. Go for it. Feel out your body and what it’s telling you. Don’t be ashamed if after 6 or 7 goes on a run you’re unable to keep going. It’s okay! Your health is the top priority. Even some of the top climbers only have 3 or 4 goes per day on any one challenge. Remember: committing 100% to every attempt is just as important as knowing when to stop!
8.) Try unconventional team activities
Use your friends and grow together! Don’t be afraid to try out strange and wonderful things, such as tug-of-war for the ultimate grip-strength and team-building activity, as well as trying out something like a standing human pyramid for a challenging balance exercise! Trust is of vital importance among your fellow climbers, and activities like these are important in building trust with one another. Like in anything, climbing is lots of fun when done in the company of others! Other climbers may be a bit lost, or they may be interested in meeting new people. Either way, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Rock Climbing Tips For Life and Well-being
And there you have it! Rock climbing can enable you to travel the world and meet life-long friends. It is a great form of exercise as well as camaraderie.
Find your tribe, whether it is in rock climbing or another activity that you enjoy. Healthfulness, friendship, and developing as a person – these and more are what you can expect when you take on a sport like climbing!