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Climbing Skills

Rock climbing skills and techniques for beginner to advanced climbers, including how to belay; face climbing techniques; how to climb cracks; slab climbing; lead climbing; how to place gear; setting anchors; top-rope climbing; climbing communication; rappelling and descending; routefinding; and self-rescue.
  1. Aid Climbing (14)
  2. Belaying (17)
  3. Bouldering (16)
  4. Caving (3)
  5. Climbing Anchors (10)
  6. Climbing Commands (12)
  7. Crack Climbing (18)
  8. Face Climbing (24)
  9. Climbing FAQs (6)
  10. Indoor Gym Climbing (5)
  11. Rappelling (20)
  12. Rock Climbing Technique (35)
  13. Speed Climbing (14)
  14. Sport Climbing (42)
  15. Top-Rope Climbing (20)
  16. Traditional Climbing (36)
  17. Training for Climbing (6)

Leave No Trace Climbing Ethic
Climbing has become very popular. There are lots of climbers at the crags these days. We need to practice a Leave No Trace climbing ethic to reduce our impact on fragile climbing areas. Follow these guidelines from The Access Fund to protect climbing areas.

All About Belaying
Belaying, the process of one climber managing and holding the rope for another person climbing, is an essential rock climbing skill that every climber needs to know. Learn here what belaying is and the 3 factors needed for a safe belay.

Moving Over Stone
Climbing is all about movement. It's about learning to use your hands and feet to ascend vertical rock faces. It's about the specialized techniques used in face climbing and crack climbing. Climbing is a natural human activity. Learn the basics here about moving over stone.

All About Rappelling
Rappelling is a climbing technique that allows you to do a controlled descent down a rope from a cliff or mountain. Learn here all about rappelling and the essential climbing skills you need to learn to safely rappel.

All About Bouldering
Bouldering, the discipline of rock climbing on small cliffs and boulders, celebrates the joy of movement over stone. Bouldering is all about movement, of climbing with purity and simplicity and without a rope and protective gear. Bouldering is simply you and the rock. Learn all about bouldering here.

Climb Fast Climb More
Climbing fast makes you a better climber. You improve your technique and climb more efficiently. Your rope management skills improve. You get stronger and have more endurance. And you get more climbing in every day. Learn here about learning to speed climb.

Top-Rope Climbing Basics
Top-rope climbing is all about fun. It's also safe and doesn't require a huge amount of gear. Learn here about top-rope climbing--the necessary equipment; the needed climbing skills; and how to create safe anchors.

Let's Go Sport Climbing
Sport climbing, the pursuit of bolt-protected gymnastic climbing, offers the rewards of rock climbing without a lot of the risks. Learn here what sport climbing is and what skills you need to get out on the rocks.

Slab Climbing is Fun and Teaches Footwork
Slab climbing is ascending rock faces that are angled less than vertical. To learn how to climb slabs, you need to use good footwork, learn to read the rock, and keep a cool head. Find out the most important parts of slab climbing and the best places to climbs slabs in the United States.

Learn to Read the Rock and Use Your Feet
If you want to become a better slab climber or even just a better all-around climber, then you have to learn how to read the rock surface and how to use your feet better. Learn here how to read the nuances of the rock surface, how to find the best footholds, how to move upward more quickly and efficiently, and how to place your feet with precision and exactness on small footholds.

Basic Rock Scrambling
The easiest way to start climbing is to learn how to scramble, which is simply climbing easy rock that doesn't require the use of a rope or technical climbing equipment. Learn here about all the basic climbing and mountaineering skills required to become a safe and proficient scrambler as well as safety suggestions and when to use a rope.

Six Rock Scrambling Skills
If you climb mountains then you have to learn basic rock climbing moves when you're scrambling over exposed rocky sections without a rope. Use six basic climbing skills to improve your scrambling and to stay safe in the mountains.

Six Performance Climbing Tips
Use these six climbing movement tips to improve your performance on the rocks. Learn about properly using your feet, legs, and hands; how to make basic climbing strategies; and how to be one with the rock. Read them, practice them, and get climbing.

Crampon Safety
Crampons are essential equipment for climbing snow and ice in the mountains but they are also dangerous. Think about it...you're walking around with 24 sharp metal points on the soles of your boots. Crampons can gash, jab, and trip you when you're climbing. Learn 5 tips to use crampons safely.

Learn to Crack Climb
Crack climbing is the basic technique used by rock climbers to ascend or jam cracks in cliff faces. Learn what crack climbing and jamming is all about; types of cracks; and how to learn how to jam cracks.

Practice Jamming to Climb Cracks
Crack climbing, also called jamming, is a learned climbing technique. The best way to learn how to jam cracks is to practice jamming at your local cliff. Read more about how to learn how to crack climb by practicing jam cracks and finding a crack mentor to help you jam better and higher.

Cracks Form Natural Climbing Routes
Cracks form natural weaknesses in rock faces that rock climbers ascend by jamming or wedging their hands, fingers, and bodies in the cracks. Learn about all the different sizes of cracks, how the difficulty ratings of crack climbs are body-size dependent, and how crack climbs are rated.

Learn How to Hand Jam
Learn how to climb hand cracks (cracks the width of your hand) by using hand jams and good footwork. Hand cracks are the best cracks to learn how to crack climb since they offer tbe easiest and most secure jams.

3 Types of Rock Faces for Climbing -- Slab, Vertical, and Overhanging Faces
There are 3 types of rock faces you'll encounter when you're rock climbing — slabs, vertical faces, and overhanging faces. Find out about these faces, how to climb them, and America's best areas for each type.

Two Important Belaying Rules
Belaying is one of the most serious climbing skills that you learn and use when you go rock climbing. Follow these two important belaying rules--Pay Attention and Don't Let Go--and keep your climbing partner safe if they fall.

Learn to Belay in a Gym
The best place to learn how to belay is at an indoor climbing gym in a controlled setting. At a gym you can take a class in belaying or have one of the gym staff give you a belay lesson. Then practice belaying in the gym until you are competent and safe. After that you can venture outside and belay your partner on top-rope climbs.

Rock Climbing Skills
Climbing is a skill-based activity. Learn rock climbing skills and techniques so that you can climb faster, safer, and have more fun. Learn climbing skills including how to belay and rappel; how to create equalized anchors for belays and protection; how to lead climb and top-rope; how to face climb and jam cracks; how to speed climb and move...

Raptor and Wildlife Cliff Closures
Climbers, like birds of prey, like high places. Cliffs, crags, and mountains provide important wildlife habitat, so many climbing areas have seasonal closures to protect nesting birds and other animals. Find out more about wildlife closures at American climbing areas and where to find a list of closed areas.

Emergency Info Planner Card
Before you go climbing, fill out an Emergency Info Planner card and leave it with a family member or friend so that they know your climbing plans and when they should call search-and-rescue services if you're overdue home.

Use Colored Chalk to Leave No Trace
White climbing chalk leaves unsightly blotches on the surface of cliffs and boulders, as well as damages the rock surface. Many climbing areas, including most national parks, require climbers to use colored chalk which matches the color of the rock. Find out more about colored chalk and how to Leave No Trace of your passage when you're climbing.

All About Indoor Climbing
What's the easiest way to learn how to climb? Go to an indoor climbing gym. The weather is always good. There's lots of terrain to climb around on. You can meet new partners and friends. And you will learn basic climbing skills and how to move across the vertical world. Learn more about indoor rock climbing here.

Avoid Climbing Injuries by Climbing Smart
Climbing is a physical sport so you can injure your fingers, elbows, and shoulders if you're not careful when you climb and train. Most climbing injuries are due to overuse and to accident. Learn how to avoid climbing injuries from overuse and what to do if are injured rock climbing by following my smart climbing tips.

Climbing Style and Ethics
The style that we climb a route or mountain is often more important than getting to the top. Learn about climbing style and ethics, why equipment and technology makes climbing easier, and why adding fixed gear like bolts to routes can bring them to a lower level.

Practice Climbing Footwork at Indoor Gyms
It's easy to lose your footwork when climbing at indoor gyms. All the holds are usually big or positive so you can get by with sloppy feet. Follow these 8 tips to improve your climbing footwork by practicing in your local indoor gym so you can keep your best foot forward out on the rocks.

Dynamic Moves: Dynos and Deadpoints
Dynamic movements—dynos and deadpoints—are essential to modern climbing and getting up hard routes and boulder problems. Learn what a dyno is; how to perform dyno and deadpoint moves; how to practice dynos; and why dynamic moves are important.

Learn to Climb Outside
If you learned to climb in an indoor gym, you need to get outside climbing on real rock. The best way to learn to safely climb outside is to take a climbing class or take lessons from an experienced guide. Here's the low-down on climbing guide services and how to pick the right climbing guide for your outdoor adventures.

All About Canyoneering
Canyoneering is the sport of descending down narrow rocky canyons, usually using technical rock climbing skills, like rappelling and rigging anchors, as well as scrambling, down-climbing, swimming, wading, and hiking. Find out more about canyoneering; how it differs from rock climbing; and how to find canyoneering adventures.

Traditional Climbing is Adventure Climbing
Traditional or trad climbing is all about adventure. Trad climbing is starting at the base of a cliff and climbing to the top, placing your own equipment for protection, creating belay anchors, finding the best route, and having a great adventure. Learn more about traditional climbing skills and how it differs from sport climbing

5 Ways to Die Climbing
Climbing is a dangerous activity. The good news, however, is that most climbing accidents and deaths are preventable since they are caused by human errors. Learn about the 5 ways that most climbers die--lead climbing falls, loose rock and rockfall, solo climbing without a rope, rappelling, and in bad weather and lightning--and how to prevent becoming a climbing statistic by following basic safety tips and using good judgment.

3 Types of Rock for Climbing: Granite, Sandstone & Limestone
Climbers become intimate with different types of rock, discovering that the characteristics of different rocks creates different climbing experiences. Three of the main rocks for climbing--granite, sandstone, and limestone--are some of the best and most common rock mediums for climbers to practice their vertical sport. Find out more about these 3 rock types, how they were formed; the characteristics that allow climbers to ascend them; and their main exposures at American climbing areas.

All About Climbing Chimneys
Learn all about chimneys and how to climb them. Chimneys are simply cracks that are wide enough for you to fit your body inside. Learn what kind of chimneys you will find on cliffs and the best way to climb chimneys.

How to Toss Rappel Ropes
It is important to learn how to properly and safely toss your rappel ropes off from the top of a cliff. If you do it wrong you can end up with rope tangles, your rope snagged on flakes and in cracks, and a big mess. Learn how to properly coil and toss your rappel rope and be a happy climber.

All About Aid Climbing
Aid climbing is the discipline of ascending rock faces by using equipment and technology to climb upward rather than hands and feet. An aid climber places gear in the rock and moves upward my standing in aiders or webbing ladders, creating a vertical path. Learn all about aid climbing and how to get started.

Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins
Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins, originally published in 1971, was once the best how-to-rock-climb book available. While some sections of the book are now dramatically out-dated, this classic book by an American master climber, offers lots of insights into the development of the Yosemite-style of climbing as well as Robbins' thoughts on...

Big Wall Climbing and Training Tips
You want to climb a big wall in Yosemite or Zion? Here's everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the hardest but best climb of your climbing career, including how to get in shape, improve your aid and crack climbing skills, learn to create anchors and haul the pig, how to ascend ropes and clean pitches, and how to prepare yourself...

Backpacker Books from FalconGuides
Review of a book series on outdoor skills for backpackers, hikers, and climbers, published by FalconGuides and Backpacker Magazine, that are great pocket-sized books full of useful, practical, and portable information about a wide variety of outdoor topics, including using GPS, travel in bear country, outdoor survival, outdoor hazards,...

Ascenders: Essential Climbing Equipment
Ascenders, mechanical devices used to ascend a fixed rope, are an essential piece of equipment used for climbing big walls and followoing aid routes. Learn all about ascenders, which ascenders you need for rock climbing, and important safety tips to follow when you are using ascenders.

Take Better Climbing Photos
Climbing is one of the most photogenic sports. Find out about climbing photography and how to make better photos of your climbing and mountaineering experiences from climbing guide Stewart Green, a long-time professional adventure photographer.

How to Find and Use Climbing Rests
Finding and using rests while you're rock climbing is just as important as the moves you make using handholds and footholds. Learn all about rests, what a resting point is on a climb, and a couple basic rest techniques to help you rest and recover if you get pumped climbing.

Do I have to be strong to go rock climbing?
"How strong do I have to be to go rock climbing?" is a frequently asked question (FAQ) about climbing. The answer is "Not very strong." Read my long answer to find out why economical climbing movement and good technique is more important than strength when you're rock climbing.

Use Climbing Hand Signals to Communicate

How Can I Rock Climb if Im Afraid of Heights?
"How can I go rock climbing if Im afraid of heights?" is a frequently asked question (FAQ) about climbing by beginners. The answer is "Everyone is afraid of heights because it helps us survive but you can get over that fear." Read my long answer to find out why we're afraid of heights and some tips on getting over a fear of high places.

Your Personal Trad Climbing Gear

4 Ways to Descend Cliffs and Mountains
Once you climb to the top of a mountain or cliff, you need to get back down safely and efficiently. Climbers descend off cliffs and mountains in four different ways--hiking down, downclimbing, rappelling, and lowering. Learn more about the four types of descents and how to evaluate terrain for the proper descent.

Basics of Indoor Gym Climbing
If you want to learn how to rock climb there is no better place to start than at an indoor climbing gym. Find out about types of gyms, what to expect when you climb indoors, some safety tips, and how to avoid injury when you climb in the great indoors.

Do Climbers Get Doped Up to Rope Up?
Do climbers use performance-enhancing drugs like steroids to help their performance on hard routes and at competitions? With climbing being considered as a future Olympic sport, it's important to consider drug testing to create a level climbing wall.

Energy Bars and Foods are Ideal for Climbing Nutrition
Energy foods and drinks, including energy bars, are an ideal food to take climbing and mountaineering. Energy bars are easy to carry, don't get damaged, last a long time, and have lots of nutrition. Read more about eating for climbing performance and energy foods.

How Many Climbers are in the United States?
How many climbers are in the United States? A 2012 study and survey details how many sport and traditional climbers are in the US and compares them to previous years. The results are surprising. Are there more or less climbers than you think? Read and find out...

Take Your Kids Rock Climbing
If you take your children rock climbing then you need to be a responsible climbing parent by making sure that your kids are safe, aren't bored, and don't bother other climbers. Read more about bad cliff behavior and tips on kid climbing fun.

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