Rock Climbing Skills and Techniques
At its core, rock climbing technique is all about implementing knots and moves in ways that allow the climber the greatest ease up varied terrain. The beauty of climbing comes in when the individual climber decides how to use the knots and moves with grace. This is where climbing becomes an art. With practice and experience, climbing can become a smooth execution of moves, protected by knots, in interesting and creative ways.
Being able to not only tie these knots well, but also efficiently can mean the difference in safety and fun. Practice knots regularly to know their strengths and weaknesses.
Fishermans and Double Fishermans: The use of either knot can be applied when tying two ropes together. It is also used as a backup when tying into a harness to ensure proper hold.
Figure 8 and Double Figure 8 : Both are used to tie into the harness or use for extreme load bearing because they can be easily untied, though remain incredibly strong.
Girth Hitch and Overhand: These quick knots are used to tie off appropriately.
Prusik: Prusik knots can be used in combination to create a sling and used to ascend a rope. As tension is applied the knot will tighten and hold, when tension is lessened the sling can be lifted up the rope. By taking steps you can "Prusik" up a rope.
Clove Hitch: Used to attach rope to a carabiner for easy clipping in and also used when anchoring.
Munter Hitch: Used for both repelling and belaying, this simple hitch is used to put friction on the line allowing the rope to be stopped.
Bowline: Used traditionally create harnesses but now used to tie into the harness.
These are the basic climbing moves which are combined in different ways to develop ones climbing style.
Mantling - Involves using the hands to boost the body up to the waist, ending with arms completely stretched downward and then pulling the knees to support weight.
Layback - Holding on with both hands to a side crack while pushing back with the feet. This allows the rock to support weight in difficult areas with a lack of foot holds.
Jamming - Pushing a body part (usually feet) into cracks to advance forward. The crack supports the bodies weight.
Bridging or Stemming - Using opposing outward pressure with both feet to maneuver the body up a corner while held by the friction of feet on the rocks
Chimneying - Climbing between opposing rock faces using the feet on one face and the back upon the other to alternate pressure up the rock face.
Edging - Tip-toeing across small ledges of rock using only the toes to edge along.
Match - Using one hold for two limbs in order to change position or hands.
Undercling - Grabbing the underside of the hold and leaning back into it so that the feet can move accordingly.
Resting - Positioning the body where the arms are allowed to free hang and legs support the bodies weight. Hanging with locked arms will also provide a rest, where the arms can individually be shaken out to provide resting.