10 Advanced Rock Climbing Techniques To Up Your Game
If you are ready to take it to the next level, here are ten of the coolest advanced rock climbing techniques you may want to start practicing on your next visit to the climbing gym or if you want to remember basic techniques and you are not ready yet to make this step, check this guide “Rock Climbing Techniques for Beginners“.
- 1 1. Stemming
- 2 2. Gaston
- 3 3. Mantle
- 4 4. Heel hook
- 5 5. Toe hook
- 6 6. Bat hanging
- 7 7. Kneebar
- 8 8. Lock-off
- 9 9. Head Jam
- 10 10. Dyno
Stemming is a technique you use when in dihedrals and other corners where you have a gap between two walls. Basically, you push one side of the wall with one foot and the other side of the wall with the other foot.
The technique is usually used when there are no handholds so you rely mainly on the friction against the wall and slowly push yourself upward.
Gaston is very similar to stemming. You just use your hands instead of your feet. In other words, it’s a type of grip in which you push the handholds outward without pulling yourself.
To do a gaston you need to hold your thumb down and your elbow up and out. Just imagine you use your right hand to open a door sliding to the right. Keep in mind, however, that this is a very energy consuming technique and should be used with caution.
Mantle is a more difficult move you may want to use when approaching a flat surface where you can lay your hand palm down. Then push yourself up the same way you would try to get out of a pool without a ladder until your belly button is above the surface.
Most beginner climbers avoid mantle because they find it too hard. If you’re struggling with it you may want to try to kick your leg up and use the momentum. Mantle does require some extra practice but it is still a very useful technique for your arsenal.
4. Heel hook
A heel hook is a popular technique in which you place your heel on the hold. While pushing down with the heel you use your arms to pull yourself up. The move transfers a lot of your weight from your arms to the foot allowing you to reach out with your hands or to just save some of your arms strength for another, more intensive move.
The move is often performed by both beginners and advanced climbers especially when climbing ledges or topping the wall.
5. Toe hook
Toe hook is another valuable rock climbing technique used mainly while hanging. It helps you keep your balance by avoiding swinging your legs.
The move is similar to the heel hook, however, in this case, you use your toe to pull yourself up. This technique also allows you to use your hands more freely to the next hold since your leg acts as a third hand in keeping you balanced.
6. Bat hanging
Bat hanging is a really cool and one of the most advanced rock climbing techniques to master. It looks exactly as it sounds and while performing it you will be hanging just like a sleeping bat.
Bat hanging is similar to a double toe hook only in this case you don’t use your arms to reach for a hold. To perform the move you need a large hold with enough space for both your feet. Place your toe joints on the edge of the hold and let your body hang below.
This position will tense your legs but will allow you to rest your arms. Besides for resting it is also used when you need to perform a complicated move with your feet first hooked onto the hold and then proceed to reach up to the next hold.
A kneebar is one of the advanced rock climbing techniques that allows you not only to take a break but also to rest both your arms simultaneously. Aside from taking a needed rest this technique also lets you significantly increase your reach.
To perform a kneebar press your toes against a foothold while your knee or the bottom of the thigh is pressed into another surface in opposition to your foot.
A kneebar may not look like a very complicated position however depending on the surface it may turn out quite painful and even cause bruises. While you practice it you may consider getting a kneepad to make the kneebars more comfortable.
A lock-off is a simple and more common technique you may want to use when reaching for a distant hold. To perform a lock-off you pull yourself up with one arm. When you level your chest with the bent arm you use the other one to reach for the next hold.
Although it’s not a very dynamic move it does require quite a lot of coordination and arm strength and it is one of the most valuable advanced rock climbing techniques to start practicing.
9. Head Jam
While your legs and arms are your best friends when climbing, sometimes you may also want to use your head. Physically.
During a head jam, you are actually pressing your head into a crevice or a ledge. This way you are using your neck strength to keep you balanced. This allows you to free your hands so you can reach for the next hold.
There is no doubt dynos are the coolest of all advanced rock climbing techniques. The term comes from “dynamic” because you have to use the momentum from a dynamic movement to reach for a hold that is otherwise too far out of reach.
Dynos require great energy, strength, coordination, and precision. To perform a dyno you need to push off with your legs and as you’re flying in the air to grab the next hold. The toughest part is that the momentum of the body during the jump makes it even harder to grip well to the hold.
Still, image how amazing it would feel when you finally do it right.