Activity Holidays and Short Breaks across the UK home | contact us | about us | resources | articles | advertise | site map | login
UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks UK Horse Riding Breaks

Rock Climbing - understanding the basics

You've decided. You're going to be rock climber. You don't know much but you'd like to get started. Here are some tips and recommendations to help in your understanding of how to become a good rock climber.

Tips for Good Technique.

- Rock climbing is mentally challenging. The ability to clear your mind and focus is essential to your success as a climber. If you're able to meditate as you climb, you're worlds ahead of those that can't. Use whatever works for you. There is no one way for all.

- Control the center of gravity (COG). This is usually at the center of your body, somewhere in your abdomen. (Hopefully not lower than that!Every move you make begins there. You'll want your legs directly beneath you or to equal distances on each side of you.

- Observe other climbers. This is especially educational when you are belaying a good climber. Ask questions as they come to you. Understanding will go a long way when you try the moves yourself.

- Practice the techniques you've observed. Learn them. With repetition, these techniques will become more and more comfortable. You'll likely find, at some point during a climb, that these new moves were precisely what you needed to know.

- Climb when you're tired. It seemed a bit nuts when I first learned this. Oh, but it'll help in ways you never realized. Climbing tired forces you to plan each move with deliberation and not speed. It also forces you to consider your energy reserves and learn just how far you can go in this condition.

- Work on your weak points. When you climb, You'll vastly improve your climbing ability and bring you closer to becoming a good climber. Remember that it isn't a good idea to work on your good points during the same climb. Work on your strong points, work on your weak points--but not both in the same climb.

Tips when Climbing.

- This goes without saying but it'd be good to emphasize it some more. As a climber in an extreme sport, you should know your gear inside and out. Don't even think of climbing until you could work it even in the dark. Depend on yourself and no one else.

- Rock climbing can be done at any speed you're comfortable with. You may climb slowly and methodically. Or you may climb with speed and finesse, if that suits you better. Whichever the case, your strengths should determine the choice you make.

- Whenever possible, rely on your legs to move you. It is very unwise to sap unnecessary energy from your upper body when your legs can easily get it done.

- Raise one foot at a time. This will further prevent you from using your upper body to lift all your weight. You should only lift with both your arms when there is no other choice.

- When you feel your muscles tightening, when you feel that a cramp is coming on, just stop. Go no further. Don't wait for the cramp to happen to stop. Look for a nearby ledge or just hangdog (rest on your gear or on the rope) until all muscle tightening has disappeared.

Tips when Resting.

- Check and secure your footholds. Make sure that the next handholds are above your head.

- Straighten your arms out to keep them as relaxed as possible. It really does make a difference.

- Lean back into the wall and not away from it. Energy is uselessly lost when you lean out and have to pull yourself back in to continue the climb. Your COG will have been in your arms and you don't want that.

- Plan your next move. Locate your next holds. Position your hands and feet, even practice the movements. This improves each chance for a smooth execution, especially on difficult sections.

These are very basic, very powerful tips to quicken your understanding of what it takes to engage in the sport of rock climbing. When you understand, you can better implement safely and then improve quickly. And once you've received certified instruction on how to climb, you're outta' here. Just remember to always respect the air and space around you for there is no safety net. Be safe up there.

Len Q. is a master blade sharpener and an adventurer who strives to protect the natural world. If you would like to learn about Knife Sharpening: How to Sharpen Knives, Maintain and Store Them Tests for Sharpness, Steeling and more Sharpening Other Edges (e.g. Lawn Mower Blades, Chain Saws, Gardening Tools, Axes) Find it here at

Article Source: