Balance and Technique class 1 of 4 was tonight. So excites!
Today’s class was all about footwork. We started by discussing what parts of the shoe to use on footholds: the inside edge by the toe, the outside edge by the toe, the tip of the toe, and the heel.
Climbing shoes have edges! Just like skates!
Our instructor made it a point to say that we are never to plant the middle of our shoe on a hold. That reminded me of my little slip a few days ago. That’s exactly what I’d done. I had even known when I planted my foot that I should have replanted it, but laziness won… followed by gravity.
Next, we talked about using our legs more than our arms. Specifically, we talked about pushing with our legs instead of pulling with our arms. I’ve known this principle for a while and tried to follow it, but placing our feet accurately on a hold and properly shifting our center of gravity onto it makes it so much easier to trust and push off that foot. My arms weren’t even tired after two climbs in a row.
After that, we worked on switching feet on the same hold using three different techniques: sharing a hold, hopping one foot out from under the other, and peel-and-pasting from side to side on a hang. We practiced switching feet while climbing; it really helped adjust our body position and gave us more possibilities on the wall.
After switching, we learned about smearing. You can literally walk up the wall with no footholds. We practiced this on a climb as well, and I was able to comfortably smear my way up to footholds only a foot or two below my hands. Smearing is fun and magical and I lufs it.
We also learned about footwork for traversing, as well as when to hang on and swing our feet, but didn’t get to practice it. It’s a little advanced for where we are, but it was good to know about it.
At the end, we were assigned homework, part of which was to climb up a 5.2-5.4 route without using handholds. My partner and I wanted to try it right away, so we tied in and look-ma-no-hands climbed our way up a 5.3. It was excellent practice for feeling our balance point and learning to shift and rotate with just our feet.
Totally looking forward to next week!