Technique for Slab Climbing
Technique is for the weak. At least that's what it seems like seeing the strong boulders in the steep parts of the gym. Unfortunately, big muscles and an ability to campus won't get you up hard routes- precise footwork and an ability to climb well will get you much farther. One of the best ways to improve your footwork is to slab climb. While climbing lower angle rocks isn't in vogue, it can be really really fun. Take the time to learn proper technique and the big muscles will shoot you to rock super stardom.
Position your body
You want as much downward pressure on the balls of your feet as you can. If you lean in to far and hug the rock, you'll probably cheese grater right down. Keep your butt out and your hands in front of you. It's a calf burning way to climb so make sure you have comfy shoes and toned legs.
Smear your feet
A smear is when you use the friction between your shoes and the rock to hold you in place. Get as much weight onto your foot as possible. Look for tiny edges, ripples and other dimples in the rock.
, a slab ninja, on a first ascent in the Needles.
Moving well on slab routes requires stepping up. Usually the moves aren't physically taxing but require a greater sense of balance. Place your foot on a hold and commit to the process. You'll do much better if you're relaxed and moving well.
Wear good shoes
Stiffer shoes work much better on slabs. Make sure your soles are clean. Slab climbing requires really strong feet so be aware that your feet may get a little worked after some intense slab climbing.
How to Climb Low Angle Rock Walls Outdoors
There's lots of great places to go get your slab climb on. Try the Dike Route (5.9) in Tuolumne, FreeBlast (5.11b) in Yosemite, Initial Friction (v1), Blue Suede Shoes (v5) in the Camp 4 boulders, or any of the hundreds of slab routes in Squamish. At Ironworks, there's a great slab in the back of the gym as well as a wall in the front.
Now go get your slab on!
Labels: climbing technique, Mason Earle, slab climbing