Lesser Known Tips for Beginner Lead Climbers

Lesser Known Tips for Beginner Lead Climbers

This list will deal with the actual climbing part of the session and assumes you're the climber rather than the belayer. At this point, you'll have already done your safety checks and be adequately tied in. Your belayer should be clipped correctly in and ready to start.

  1. Plan Your Route Before the Climb

Take a little time to identify your climbing route.

What does this mean exactly?

It would be best if you scouted out spots that will be good to rest in and sections which will present difficult clips.

The first part becomes easier after you've learned which holds you're best at negotiating. Each person has a different climbing style based on their body length and other factors.

For finding challenging clips, the same rule works for all body types. Find a balanced position that will give you a chance to stretch out a straight arm. Hanging from a straight arm saves energy and makes you a better climber.

In other words, become adept at gauging where you're able to hang from with a straight arm, and a lot of the hard work is already done.


  1. Shake Out Your Arms on the Way Up

So you've found a comfortable route and even made your way to a nice jug hold under an overhang that allows you a pleasant space for some much-needed rest. What's next?

Well, your muscles become less effective when they're continually taut. One factor is the production of lactic acid. Having a straight lead arm allows you to shake out the other arm and get that lactic acid circulating. This is a great way to recover from previous climbs while you climb.

  1. Timing your Chalk-ups

Before moving onto any challenging sequence, you'll want to make sure you're chalked up. Timing your chalk-ups becomes an essential part of climbing. "When" and "how often" are questions you should be considering.

Similarly, you need to avoid chalking up at the wrong times or having too much chalk on your hands.

Ideally, you'll have identified beforehand which sections are most challenging. These won't allow for chalking, and so you'll need to prepare your hands to push through them. Get a good rest, chalk, and shake-out so that you can push right through the crux.

  1. Get comfortable falling

You'll want the bulk of your body resting on your feet, but if you're afraid of falling, the tendency is to put too much of that strain on your hands and fingers. The more comfortable a lead climber is with falling, the better they are at climbing. Committing to bigger maneuvers also needs a fair degree of comfort with falling.

  1. Learn dynamic belaying

The best general adage for the art of lead climbing is "Begin with the end in mind." For the beginner climber, belaying is hardly ever a matter of interest. But if you're going to build off a long term climbing partnership, you'll need to put your life in the hands of someone you trust, and they'll be investing the same trust in you. Learn from instructors everything you can about belaying while you're getting your climbing chops in.


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