Balance and Technique class 4 of 4. We learned so many different things today!
First we talked about back flagging, which is like flagging, but behind you. Flagging is useful if you have a foot and hand from opposite sides on holds. Back flagging is useful is you have a foot and hand from the same side on holds. Basically, back flagging keeps you from swinging away from the wall like a barn door.
Next, we talked about dynamic movements. Not quite a fully let go dyno, but just springing for holds with a dynamic motion. I like to do this anyway; it feels way more fun than reaching for holds statically. We talked about the dead point, which is that point at which you cease upward motion and have yet to begin downward motion. The idea is that we should control our motion in such a way that our dead point puts us at exactly the hold we’re going for.
We practiced this a bit with one handed traversing. It was also really good practice for understanding our center of gravity and the ever important triangle.
We went over down pressure a bit, where you push down on a hold to boost yourself up. I’d actually picked this up over the last few weeks from my class partner Karen. She’s shorter than me and does this a lot. I naturally started doing it as well, and it worked great.
After that, we talked about how to get our feet high. Having our feet high gives us way more grip and stability for the next move, so learning different ways of getting our feet high is useful. Smearing, from our first class, is one way to do it. Another is to think about getting our hips higher, because that will naturally allow us to get our feet higher. One way to do this is to let go with one hand, since that lets us unsquare our hips and raise one higher than the other.
Related, we learned about the rock over, where we plant a foot high, then rock our hip directly over it with knees bent.
After that, heel hooks, followed by toe hooks.
When we finished going over skills, we talked about projecting. The idea here is you pick a route that’s hard for you, and over time you work on segments of it over and over again until you can do each segment, then put it all together for a single climb.
This is totally different from how I’ve gone about climbing. I’ve been picking routes I think I can complete, then bumping up the grade just a bit to the next one. I’ve never not completed a climb, even if some of those completions have been ugly.
This is exactly why “I’m not pushing myself hard enough”. I’ve approached choosing my climbs differently.
Noted. Try harder stuff. It’s okay to fail. That’s what ropes are for.
Before class, a few of us warmed up in the bouldering area. Ron pointed out a V4 he was working on, whose final move involved a scary finish-or-fall maneuver. We both got to the end and bailed, but later we asked our instructor to show us. After that, Ron completed it. After class, I decided I had to do it too. I couldn’t quite hang on on my first attempt, but then I got back on and completed it on my second attempt. My first V4!
Hooray for classmates. It’s fun working on problems with them.
Hooray for this class. I’ve learned a ton.