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Outdoor Rock Season Now Open for Registration!

Earth Treks is well known for its climbing centers, but Earth Treks’ roots are in outdoor rock guiding.  Since 1990, we’ve been teaching climbing courses at local crags like Carderock, MD and Great Falls, VA.  2015 Outdoor Rock Climbing Courses are now open for registration!

Are you new to outdoor climbing and wondering where to start? 

Tips to improve climbing footwork

Efficient footwork is one of the key skills to be developed in order to get better at climbing.   Fitness and strength is required to be a talented climber. But in the course of trying to use upper body strength, one often forgets to focus on another part of the body that is even more important while climbing – feet.  A good understanding of footwork, balance, and control is the secret to successful climbing.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to improve your climbing footwork:

Wear Shoes that Fit Well

Make sure you have the right pair of shoes that are especially meant for climbing. A good pair of climbing shoes will be snug fitting and sensitive enough to give you a feel of the surface with which your feet are in contact while rock climbing.  At the same time, your shoes should not be so tight as to hurt you while climbing.  Overly tight shoes will be counterproductive as you won’t want to put weight on them due to pain.  Especially for beginners, it’s a good idea to pick a pair of climbing shoes with more rigid support under their big toe.

Carefully place your feet and push, not pull, your way up the climb.

No matter how much upper body strength you have, your arms will always be substantially weaker than your legs.  Instead of pulling your way up a climb with your arms, push your way up with your legs.  This will take careful placement of your feet so that you’re comfortable putting weight on them. Your arms will simply be used to compensate for whatever your legs can’t accomplish.  Experts advise climbing techniques that involves pushing more than pulling as the latter can exhaust your energy sooner.

Take Small Steps

Take smaller steps while rock climbing as they are less energy-consuming. Large steps can be intimidating (especially for novice climbers) and can often lead to loss of confidence and concentration while climbing.  Large steps also mean you won’t be able to shift as much weight on to your legs, and you’ll have to compensate more with your weaker arms.  When a climber takes higher steps, he will not only exhaust his legs but also his arms and the upper body. This will result in tiring all the parts of the body. Small steps will take up less energy and will help maintain confidence.

Learn how to switch feet on footholds

To have a better climbing experience, learn to switch between feet on footholds simultaneously with handwork. This will help you in improving your flexibility while climbing.

Follow these tips along with recommended safety and precautionary measures to enjoy the adrenaline rush while climbing new routes. Remember to practice your footwork techniques to improve them.

Best Yoga Poses for Climbers

Climbing is the one of the purest forms of adventure sports. It requires dedication and perseverance, a fit and strong body and a confident and clear mind. Climbers are often advised to use stretching exercises to make their bodies agile and more flexible, and less injury prone.  Many climbers swear by Yoga to keep their bodies in shape for climbing. Here are some of the best Yoga poses for climbers.

Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana)

This is one of the most basic yet best Yoga poses for climbers. It strengthens your core, which is critical for climbers.  Start with the downwards-facing dog pose and press your shoulders forwards. Make sure your wrists and shoulders are parallel and positioned in the same line. Make sure your body is in one flat line from your heels to your head.  Also, ensure that your palms are flat on the ground.

Straight Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

This pose helps stretch the hamstrings and the torso.  To practice this pose, start by standing straight. Bend forward from your hip drawing your torso out as you exhale. One of the most important Yoga tips is to try to keep your knees straight and feet pressed on the floor while performing the straight forward bend pose. This will help your torso become more flexible.

Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)

This is another beneficial pose in Yoga for climbers. It helps in opening up the hips so that one can take higher steps with less effort and greater comfort. This pose involves sitting on a flat surface with feet pressed against each other and knees splayed to resemble a butterfly.  Next, try to touch your toes with your chest while maintaining a straight back. To make it easier and more beneficial, try to open your hips as wide as possible by pressing down your elbows on your thighs.

Deep Shoulder Stretch (Parsvottanasana)

The deep shoulder stretch is one of the best Yoga poses to avoid stiffness in one’s shoulders.  Begin by taking the plank pose, then gradually bring your body down on your belly and extend your left arm to form a T with your left palm facing down. Then roll the right side of the body off the floor to stretch your shoulders.  You can increase the efficiency of this pose by bending your knees and pointing them upwards.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana)

This pose helps climbers improve their balance and makes them better at finding their center.  To practice this pose, stand straight with feet apart. Then, lift your right leg and place its sole on the inner thigh of your left leg. Try to balance your body on your left leg while joining your hands over your head.  Press your right leg onto your left leg to find the center of your body. Maintain this posture for 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

These Yoga poses help you stretch the various parts of your body. Stretching will help you become more flexible and attain a wider range of movements while climbing.

Types of Rock Climbing

To beat the monotony of an everyday boring routine, people seek thrill and adventure. They seek an outlet to vent out frustrations of their daily grind.

So ditch that formal wear and those polished shoes, don your most durable sports gear, grab a rope and scale a mountain.

Those who like to test their stamina and capacity for adventure, sweat it out through physically demanding adventure sports like rock climbing. The amount of muscle building and abs toning that you will receive from climbing is way more exhilarating and satisfying than a regular gym routine.

Climbing, isn’t a mainstream routine with a singular method, there are different ways of mounting the challenge. Here is a brief overview of the different types of climbing and the equipment required therewith.

The most basic type of climbing is bouldering.  Bouldering is climbing without any protection—just the climber, some climbing shoes and a bag of chalk.  So it’s technically free soloing, but the climbs called “problems” are typically short climbs and often found on boulders. The idea is to protect yourself by padding the the ground with bouldering pads.

Top roping is one of the lowest risk types of climbing. In this method, the rope from the belayer is redirected through an anchor above so that if you fall, you only descend by foot or two and not plummet ten to fifteen feet. This is most popular among beginners. Register Here to enroll for the introduction to climbing course offered by Earth Treks Climbing Centers.

Traditional climbing or “Trad” involves free climbing while placing protection in the rock as you climb.  That protection is there in case you fall.  Traditional climbers wedge equipment into the rock as they ascend.  It is advised that potential climbers know basic belaying and balancing before attempting outdoor traditional climbing.

Aid climbing involves ascending a wall with the aid of equipment/ledges placed in the rock. So the basic idea is to hoist yourself up and tug at the gear jutting out from the rocks.

Free soloing is a highly risky type of climbing and involves great skill, precision and technique. This form of climbing involves scaling without any protection. If a climber falls while soling, he is certain to meet instant death. This form is not recommended to any type of climber, whether experienced or not.

Ice climbing involves climbing on ice using axes and crampons. Ice climbing uses many of the same techniques and gear that are used in rock climbing.

Mountaineering involves a combination of climbing and walking. It may involve scaling both snow clad mountains or rocky dry terrain.

Hill walking involves walking over mountainous terrain and watching picturesque views and landscapes. This is combined with the basic skill of map reading, a sense of direction and navigation and stamina for walking long distances and tiresome terrains.

Click Here to know about the various indoor rock climbing courses that engage enthusiasts to a variety of climbing experiences. With no dearth of options in rock climbing, it is a sport hard to resist and impossible to get enough of, once you have had the taste of it.

How to tie climbing knots

Everyone is bored with the monotony of a regular day routine. It is not surprising then, that people seek thrill, a change of air and routine.

Some prefer vacationing at the beach side, the more daring ones, like to live off the edge. They like to put their body and mind to test. They prefer ascertaining their athleticism and full body fitness through something more demanding.

What better way to test your stamina and strength than rock climbing? The amount of adrenaline rush and ab toning that you will receive from scaling a mountain is in no way comparable to an indoor Pilates class.

Learn More about the various indoor rock climbing courses offered by Earth Treks Climbing Centers that will cater to your climbing needs.

For many, one enjoyable part of rock climbing is the technical aspects.  It’s not just the climbing, but also all the gear and knots that provide a mental challenge.  Knot craft is crucial for your advancement in the sport of climbing, and safety.

The best Earth Treks class for learning a broad range of knots and climbing anchoring techniques is the Top Rope Systems I course.  Earth Treks is also your source for all your climbing gear and equipment needs.