Climbing Techniques

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There are three essential techniques that a competent climber has to be sufficiently proficient in; these are hiking, rock climbing, and making progress over snow and ice, and each is an entirely different skill. Each of these phases has a wide variety of challenges, and it is inevitable that even the most experienced climbers will have a varying range of abilities in each sector. A balance must be struck which is consistent with each individual's mental and physical strengths and weaknesses.

To the un-initiated hiking may appear to be a very simple matter of simply placing one foot in front of another over and over again but the fact is that on many climbs the hike is the most arduous part of the whole enterprise as the climbers make their own way over difficult ground with varying inclines, often for many hours at a time in inclement weather and it is here that correct boots and equipment as well as sheer fortitude and determination make their marks!

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Rock climbing is a sport in its own right, and most beginners learn their basic techniques on nursery climbs in their own localities, where they pick up the essentials of rope work, team co-operation, anchors and snap links. The most important tool that climber requires however his or her own body! It is normal in the feet which do most of the work with the hands being used mainly for balance and unless there is a serious overhang to negotiate a climber will not use hands arms or elbows to drag oneself up a cliff face. A good sense of balance is essential and a good erect stance should be adopted as far as is possible. Good eyesight is extremely useful for spotting the best hand and foot holds. Out on our four possible points of contact, our two hands and 2 feet, we would normally keep three in contact with the rock at all times, moving with a steady and rhythmic motion without any attempts to jump from one hold to another, which could create a potentially very dangerous situation. The more difficult a climb is, the more the hands are used to assist the ascent either by providing friction for a hold, or by pressing on faces which are diametrically opposite each other.

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