skill

  • HPFrictionScience

    Learn This: Friction Science

    Friction is the magic ingredient in climbing. It’s what keeps you off the ground and makes subtle weight shifts and delicate sequences successful. Understanding the how and why will make you a better climber. In simple terms, friction is the resistance that one surface encounters when moving over another. In high school physics terms, friction is independent of the contact area, but in a climbing context, friction is proportional to the contact area (more contact equals more friction). We’ll look at three materials—rubber, skin, rock—to see how each behaves.

  • HPSqueeze

    Learn This: Conquer Chimneys (With Tips From Rob Pizem)

    Royal Arches, Yosemite. Kor-Ingalls Route, Castleton Tower. Durrance Route, Devil’s Tower. What do these super-classic moderates have in common? They each have a physically demanding chimney. This term refers to any fissure that your body fits inside, ranging from a squeeze chimney (one to two feet wide) to much wider, where you must stem the gap with a foot and hand on each side. Each width requires its own set of unique movements, so we talked with wide-crack wizard Rob Pizem (who points out that this was one of the earliest climbing techniques) to break it down into a step-by-step process.

  • HPPlat

    Training: Never Plateau Again

    Climbing is addictive. One reason is that you can see massive strength gains and technique improvement from day one of your climbing career. But after a few months—or for the extremely lucky, a few years—a plateau can sneak up on you, slow your progress, and frustrate you beyond belief. During my own personal three-year-long plateau, I heard every kind of advice from doing more pull-ups to climbing every day despite the pain to even going vegetarian (not gonna happen). On a quest to find the one true way, I started to interview top climbers to see how they handled these annoying performance flatlines—both mentally and physically—and the answers I found were as diverse and interesting as the climbers themselves.

  • HPPinchPoint

    Learn This: Pinch Points

    You’re cruising a broken and blocky ridgeline that leads to the summit when all of a sudden a 20-foot technical section stops you in your tracks. Your partner doesn’t skip a beat and starts to head up, but you’re intimidated by those six or seven moves because they’re surrounded by a 1,000-foot drop on either side. Though you’ve got gear and a harness in your pack, time is of the essence. Thankfully, there’s a fast and efficient way for the leader to use the broken nature of the rock to build a simple anchor and belay a follower—with minimal gear and no harness. Use a “pinch point,” the area of contact between two large rocks that provides 360° of access to thread or tie a sling, as an anchor to save time and keep everyone safe and happy.

  • HPStuckRapRopes

    Learn This: Free Stuck Rappel Ropes

    When I look back on my 30-year tenure as a climber, I realize that I’ve spent as much (or more) time descending than ascending. After all, knowing when to turn around is what keeps us climbers alive and climbing. All that “downtime” easily adds up to several thousand hours of dodgy anchors, scary raps, and uncertain ends. That stuff would make any grown man nervous, but by far the scariest experiences of all were the few times I’ve gotten the rappel rope hopelessly stuck. This scenario can cause even the hardest of climbers to break out in a cold sweat. When your rope is stuck, you ain’t going nowhere. Here are my hard-won tips for getting your rope unstuck and—even better—preventing it from happening in the first place.

  • HPBrain

    Learn This: Mental Training for Climbers

    Years of personal climbing experience, countless climber surveys, and psychological research all point to mental strength as the most influential factor in whether a climber succeeds or not. Your body might be strong and willing, but if you don’t have an equally strong and willing mind, your body has nothing to guide it. The good news is that you can train your brain just like you train your body. We’ve developed a mental training plan that outlines the knowledge and skills you’ll need to improve your head game and thus, your overall climbing performance.

  • HPSteeps

    Learn This: Conquer Steep Routes (With Tips From Sasha DiGiulian)

    As you're eying the next clip only a few feet away, your swollen forearms throb even harder at the thought of just one more move. You take a deep breath, dig your toe in a little deeper, drive your body up, and grab the next hold with a feeling of pure elation—only to experience a moment of stillness, a feeling of defeat, and the rush of air as the wall rapidly fades into the distance. Welcome to steep sport climbing. When the wall kicks back past vertical, the pump clock starts ticking and it’s all about getting to the chains before that alarm goes off. Steeps and overhangs require determination, focus, technique, and creative thinking. Below, we’ve dissected the most important skills to develop.

  • Laybacks

    Learn This: Master Laybacks (With Tips From Cheyne Lempe)

  • HPTopouts

    Learn This: Master Topouts

    With most outdoor problems, it isn’t considered finished until you’re standing on top. At that point, you’re often pumped and high off the ground, so it isn’t the ideal time to experiment with the finer points of technique. Learn how to do these maneuvers in a safe and easy environment so you can nail them on harder terrain.

  • FP660

    Beyond The Butt Shot: 7 Pro Tricks To Enhance Your Climbing Photos

    I’ve been shooting climbing for 12 years, and this is my simple advice for avoiding the most basic climbing photography no-no—the dreaded “butt shot.” It’s an easy mistake to make; from the ground, the climber’s backside is basically all you see, but it doesn’t have to be all you show. There are easy ways to wow your friends and produce quality, interesting, and (if I do say so myself) downright awesome photos, all from below. This is one of the most painless places to shoot, one of my personal favorites, and best of all—there’s no rigging required.

  • HPHandCrack

    Learn This: How To Climb Finger Cracks

    Cruising the perfect hand crack is a joyous feeling. But when it narrows to fingers, the real battle begins—even hand-crack wizards might take the ride. The secret to floating up finger fissures is still in the feet, but you’ve got less to work with. Unless your feet are freakishly small, you’ll have to jam just your tippy toes, smear on the edges of the crack, or look for holds on the face. Then there’s the seemingly infinite ways to use your digits. Whether you’re seeking out pods and pin scars in Yosemite or tackling the blissful parallels of Indian Creek, we’ve compiled tricks of the trade that will open up a whole new world of crack climbing.

  • HPBelay

    25+ Ways To Be A Better Belayer