Tech Tips - Trad - Evading the pump

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Figure 1. While it won’t earn you any style points, the elusive buttscum does let you de-pump.

Figure 1. While it won’t earn you any style points, the elusive buttscum does let you de-pump.

Dihedrals. When ascending these features, look for opportunities to lean into the crook, stem your feet out, and press with opposing force on each wall, exploiting features like chicken heads and small edges. Be creative: Look for unconventional rests like hip, shoulder, or buttscums that free your hands for a shake-out (figure 1). Slabs. These low-angle expanses are relatively hold free, so when you do encounter a positive edge or a dish big enough to afford a comfortable stance, trust your feet, lean slightly into the wall, drop your hands, and relax. Arêtes. Finding a no-hands rest on an arête is not an easy proposition —footholds are key. Search for an opportunity to highstep or heel hook one leg around the prow, taking care to weight this foot as much as possible. Now smear the other toe under you, on or near the arête. Use your high-stepped calf to hug the corner by leaning your torso away from it (figure 2). Vertical (or slightly less than). Again, seek a solid, protruding foothold that you can rock over onto, "squatting" on your foot and sucking your upper body into the wall.

Figure 3. Crafty knee-camming will let you take a load off.

Figure 3. Crafty knee-camming will let you take a load off.

Overhangs. Ah, yes, the coveted roof problem — the one that keeps spitting you off! Relax ... look for hanging protrusions (like spikes or flakes), huecos, and other features under which to latch a knee. Now, apply pressure between your knee and a well-placed foot to lock you in (figure 3). Though often uncomfortable, kneebars can steady your body through a dicey crux and take weight off your overtaxed digits. You can also find kneebars in wide cracks and flared corners.