Learning to climb


There are two aspects to leading. The first is climbing. If you make a habit of falling off grade 10 terrain, you will hit ledges and risk breaking ankles. If you climb in gyms, then better climbing means better footwork. To get that, add some drills to your warm up routine, such as silent feet, hands below shoulders, and one-handed climbing. You'll find instructions for those drills in The Self-Coached Climber.

The second aspect is anchors. At first, that means paying attention to the pieces you place on each lead, and making them more like the ones in textbook photos each time. The classic textbook is Climbing Anchors.

That might be a bit complicated for a first read. Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills keeps it simple. The club library has some old editions of this. You'll need to select which parts to read, because it covers a lot more than rock climbing.

Once the pieces are second nature, the next thing is to put them together. Espresso Lessons: [From the Rock Warrior's Way] demystifies lead head, and leaves you with short, memorable checklists:

For the big picture, here's the classic evidence-based safety advice, from the long-term chief of YOSAR: http://dev.supertopo.com/topos/yosemite/stayalive.pdf.

This was originally posted on the Oxo Club Rooms fb group. Thanks Rodney for writing this up.

Online Videos

Plenty of other options, I (Taner) prefer the series from REI, despite being an equipment store, they make great quality videos, somewhat less boring than the alternatives, and almost entertaining at times.

Top rope belay: Youtube: How to Belay

Lead belay: Youtube: How to Lead Belay

For those that want more of a refresher, these are the same two videos but they skip to the parts more relevant to the actual belaying.

Top rope belay: Youtube: How to Belay (skip to 2:21)

Lead belay: Youtube: How to Lead Belay (skip to 2:33)

The videos are part of a 22 part series from REI that go through everything from top ropes to finger cracks to resoling shoes.

And if you want a break from learning, here's some tips from the world's best belayer:

The World’s Best Belayer