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Advanced footwork techniques

Submitted by overlord on 2006-01-25 | Last Modified on 2006-11-16

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 14 | Comments: 2 | Views: 37105

by Rasto Jereb

In this article I will try to shed some light on some more advanced footwork techniques. This is the upgrade of my other article on footwork basics. I, however, will not cover any crack climbing techiques, as there are other members who can cover this subject better than I.

First, I am going to cover two basic climbing positions: the frontal and the drop knee or "egyptian." The main difference between the two is in the way you position your body toward the wall. In the frontal position you are positioned with your face towards the wall and in the "egyptian" or sideways, you turn one of your hips towards the wall.

Frontal position

Article photo: Frontal 1

This position is usually used on lower angle and face (even slightly overhanging) climbs. It enables you to use your hands on the small and less positive holds because you can pull in the "correct" direction. Its drawback is a shorter reach.

Drop knee


Damn Those Polished Holds


Article photo: Drop Knee 1

This position is mostly used on overhangs. It enables you to reach distant holds with minimum use of strength. Its main drawback is that it requires a relatively positive starting handhold in order to really pull it off.

And so we move on to other footwork tricks that can be used to ease your life and enable you to pinch that elusive ascent.

Heel Hook

Article photo: Heel Hook 1 Heel hook made in heaven

This is one of the more usefull moves to have in your bag of tricks. It can really take the load off your arms generally make your life a bit easier. And once you get to master it, you'll be really suprised at the variety of stuff that you can hook.

Toe Hook

This is the best pic of a toe hook that I could find on my computer: Article photo: Toe Hook 1

The climber is hooking his left toe.

This move is accomplished by hooking the "upper" side of your toes on a feature in order to prevent your legs from swinging out. Usually used on really steep climbs. If combined with some pressure from the other foot its also calle "bycicling". Some shoes, like the Evolv Argo and Mad Rock Hooker even have some extra rubber on the top of the toebox to make toehooking a bit easier.


Article photo: Kneebar 1 another kneebar picture

This is a livesaver. Well, maybe not, but definitely an ascent saver. If found, a kneebar usually means a hands-free rest which can really make the difference between sending and not sending. It requires some getting used to until you really trust this position and it's usually pretty uncomfortable. Making yourself custom kneebar pads helps a lot.

So, this was my second article on footwork. I'll just finish with it because my studying calls and I just dont feel like writing this boring html code anymore. Anyway, I will most likely write a third part too. You know, all good things come in threes.

Take care, climb on and be safe.

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aww great two articles,...i've knew these things probably but remembering it and having it explained so exclusively is realy great,thank you for taking the time and posting.(hope the 3rd post will be more specified on though crack climbs footholds)
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I really do like this article! However, the woman in the first heel hook picture should have her leg in front of the rope rather than behind her heel. If she were to fall there, she would flip upside down. I learned this the hard way by giving myself a concussion!

Otherwise, great tips!

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