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Passive Mode
Tricams 101: A Guide
The Tricam is a puzzling piece: It’s delightfully simple, with no active—or moving—parts, yet it has more potential uses than either a spring-loaded camming device (SLCD) or a standard nut. These metal nuggets are essentially hybrids: They can be placed passively (like a ...
Amanda Fox at Climbing Magazine
The cam is engaged and pinches the rope to keep it from moving
Proper Techniques for Grigri Use
The release of the Petzl Grigri in 1991 marked a major step in the evolution of belay devices: Here was a device that assisted significantly in catching a fall, and also allowed a belayer to hold and lower his partner with little effort. Belay slaves rejoiced, but incorre...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Tyrolean traverse <br />by Supercorn
How to Do the Tyrolean Traverse
The Tyrol, short for Tyrolean traverse, involves using a fixed line to cross from one point to another, often over water. While wearing a harness, you clip onto the rope or cable to pull yourself across. Developed in the Dolomites of the former Tyrol region, this method w...
Bruce Hildenbrand at Climbing Magazine
How to Hip Belay <br />by Supercorn
How to Hip Belay
Long before the invention of belay devices, the hip belay provided security for the second and saved time in the mountains. When used correctly, a bomber stance can replace a traditional anchor, or you can back up a marginal anchor with a solid stance. It’s best in lower-...
Christian Santelices at Climbing Magazine
How to tie an alpine girth hitch
How to Tie an Alpine Girth-Hitch
The seldom-used alpine butterfly knot has long been considered the gold standard for climbers when tying into the middle of the rope. Prestigious guide services and hallowed tomes like Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills teach the butterfly for glacier travel and any oth...
Blake Herrington at Climbing Magazine
Improvised Rappel Anchor <br />by Chris Philpot
Improvised Rappel Anchors
Getting off a cliff with no fixed anchors or big trees is a skill that every climber should have in his bag of tricks. It’s especially useful to do it with minimal loss of expensive hardware. Here’s one method. Warning: Never compromise safety on rappel anchors. If you n...
Eli Helmuth at Climbing Magazine
by Chris Philpot
Safely Rappel with a Too-short Rope
Do you always know the exact length of every rappel? At some point in your climbing career, you will probably encounter a rappel that is unknown but looks too long for your measly single line. Instead of tossing the rope, crossing your fingers, and getting to the ends of ...
Jeff Ward at Climbing Magazine
How to lower on multi-pitches <br />by Chris Philpot
Save Time and Avoid Stuck Ropes on Descent
Outside of single-pitch sport climbing, lowering isn’t a common practice, and most climbers will choose to rappel anything longer than one pitch. However, descending at maximum efficiency on long routes should include lowering techniques as well as rappelling. Lowering th...
Steve Banks at Climbing Magazine
The munter hitch <br />by Keith Svihovec
How to Use a Munter Hitch
In 2005, I was lucky enough to have Mr. Werner Munter, the father of the Avalanche Reduction Method, as my avalanche-course examiner in Switzerland. With his Lennon glasses and straight grey hair and beard, he’d impersonate an avalanche’s characteristic Whumph!by spreadin...
Caroline George at Climbing Magazine
Pre-rigged rappel setup <br />by Chris Philpot
A Safer Way to Set Up Rappels: Pre-rigging
Are you a climber who thinks double-checking your partner’s harness and knot is a good idea prior to launching up a route? Me too. That’s why I’m always mystified to see so many climbers ignoring such safety checks when coming back down. Imagine you’re at the top of a mu...
Dale Remsberg at Climbing Magazine
Preferred rapelling knots <br />by Chris Philpot
Preferred Knots for Rappelling
As a mountain guide, two questions I’m often asked are: 1) What knot do you use to join two ropes for rappels? and 2) Which knot do you use to tie the end of the ropes for a backup? Preferred rapelling knots by Chris Philpot 1. Joining Ropes The k...
Rob Hess at Climbing Magazine
Fig 1. Friction hitch <br />by Chris Philpot
Ascend a Rope With an Auto-blocking Device
The shadows are growing long across the desert as you rappel off the neo-classic Birdland (5.7+) in Red Rock, Nevada, after a successful ascent. In your haste to beat darkness (and avoid the resulting expensive ticket at the park gate), you forgot to grab the rack off the...
Kurt Hicks at Climbing Magazine
Rappel without a belay device <br />by John McMullen
Rappel Without a Belay Device
You’re lying if you say you’ve never dropped your belay device and watched it go “tink, tink, tink” all the way down to the base of a route. That’s where you want to get, and you just let go of the one piece of gear that will get you there most conveniently. It can happen...
Ian Nicholson at Climbing Magazine
Use a Friction-Hitch When Rappelling
A friction-hitch is popular among climbers who desire maximum control and safety while rappelling. The most common back-up is to link a harness leg loop to the rope with a prusik hitch. Your brake hand holds the friction hitch to keep it from locking while you rap, but i...
Eli Helmuth at Climbing Magazine
Ground Runner Belay
Keep Your Partner From Hitting the Ground
Experts only: Your buddy has toproped his gnarly new headpoint 317 times—blindfolded, barefoot, and singing the national anthem. Despite all the rehearsals, now and then his foot still pops on that desperate last move. But the season is winding down, and the air is crisp—...
Adam Scheer at Climbing Magazine
Short fixing <br />by Mike Clelland
Short-Fixing
Short-fixing is an experts-only technique that essentially separates a climbing team into two roped soloists via a knot at an anchor, allowing the climbers to move simultaneously. It’s most commonly used on one-day ascents of big walls, or to speed up the process during m...
Russ Facente at Climbing Magazine
Short-hauling Your Climbing Partner
It's been a long day on the rock. If your partner can just finish this pitch quickly, you can be down on the trail before dark. But he’s exhausted, and a crux overhang has stopped him. “Take!” he yells. You give him tension, with your belay device rigged in guide mode off...
Mark Nelson at Climbing Magazine
Rope Commands for Multi-pitch Climbing
Whaaaat?!” is the word most commonly spoken on multi-pitch climbs, where river noise, wind, acoustics, and helmets and stocking caps make it difficult, if not impossible, to use traditional verbal belay signals. If I had $100 for every time I’ve watched a team wasting tim...
Topher Donahue at Climbing Magazine
Figure 3  <br />by Ben Fullerton
Single-Hitch Belay Escape
Keeping it straightforward is a good credo for rescue and almost anything climbing-related, and this particular skill is a good example of how to streamline the act of escaping a belay. It uses minimal steps, equipment, and hitches or knots, especially when compared to mo...
Eli Helmuth at Climbing Magazine
Protect your follower
Protect Your Follower on Traverses
Pitches that traverse sideways can be as dangerous for the follower as for the leader, exposing both climbers to the risk of long, swinging falls. When leading, a climber naturally seeks pro before the crux; after the difficulties, however, he may cruise across easier ter...
Adam Scheer at Climbing Magazine
Step 1
The Butterfly Knot
This is the preferred knot for tying into the middle of a rope, as you’d do on a three-person rope team. (Clip into the loop with a locking carabiner.) This knot is also great for rappelling when your ropes are too short. Step 1 St...
Climbing Magazine
Walking the rope <br />by Chris Philpot
Get Back on an Overhanging Route After Falling
Walking the rope by Chris Philpot When working his route Le Rêve (5.14d/5.15a) in Arrow Canyon, Nevada, Jonathan Siegrist was forced to skip a clip in the middle of the extremely overhanging crux section, where he fell dozens of times before sending...
Alex BIale and Jonathan Siegrist at Climbing Magazine
Rodeo clipping <br />by Jamie Givens
Rodeo Clipping
A clever climbing cowboy realized some time ago that he could avoid hazardous soloing to a preclipped first bolt if he just “lassoed” the hanging quickdraw. Instant toprope—without looking like a stick-clipping ninny. The “rodeo clip” is simple enough in theory and very ...
Andrew Tower at Climbing Magazine
The standard flag—the position most climbers learn first.
Five Techniques for Better Footwork
It happens to all of us: You’re 10 feet above your last bolt, over-gripping and breathing erratically, and everything feels “off.” What’s wrong? The tension in your body has caused you to lose your balance. But there are ways to get it back, even when you’re mid-route. Bo...
Amanda Fox at Climbing Magazine
Falling <br />by Jamie Givens
Practice Falls When Climbing
Just because you don’t actually feel afraid to fall does not mean you are completely comfortable falling. It’s the uncertainty that gets us. We know we might fall, so at committing cruxes we hesitate, second-guess, slap lamely for a hold, or simply let go. What we need is...
Arno Ilgner at Climbing Magazine
Friction climbing body position
Slab Climbing Techniques
Friction climbing —holdless slab climbing— can be effortless or desperate, or both at the same time. Strength plays no role; there’s nothing to pull on. Technique and mindset are paramount. Friction climbs typically involve long runouts between the stances where a first a...
Jeff Achey at Climbing Magazine
Phase 1
Climbing and Training for Hard Offwidths
Q: “I have climbed a few offwidths, but I want to do a long, wide crack in the desert. I get worked after 50 feet; how do I train for sustained routes with a heavy rack of gear?" A: Long, vertical offwidths are physically grueling—even with impeccable technique. We’...
Pamela Pack at Climbing Magazine
How to fall safely <br />by Chris Philpot <br />
How to Fall
Falling is essential for advancing as a rock climber. The saying goes, “If you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying hard enough.” To progress, you need to try moves that are at the edge of your ability—or beyond—and when you try that hard, you will fall. Toprope falls are th...
Dougald MacDonald at Climbing Magazine
Fig 1. forearm stretch massage
How to Rest for Redpoint Attempts
You've just fallen off your project for the fifth time, and now you're back on the ground wondering what to do next. You're still psyched and ready to give it another go, and that forearm burn isn't too bad. But should you rest? If so, how long? Should you keep moving or ...
Dave Wahl at Climbing Magazine
Downclimbing <br />by Mike Tea
Techniques for Downclimbing
Whether it’s backing down a runout lead, navigating a sketchy descent, or merely exercising the unlikely (I will sometimes climb up and down the same route, just for fun!), the ability to downclimb (DC) is a skill worth polishing, especially for budding trad leaders. This...
Mic Fairchild at Climbing Magazine
How to rest before a crux <br />by Mike Clelland
Redpoint Resting
“Just dirt me!” I squawked. Hopelessly hanging 10 feet from the anchor for the umpteenth time, I was nearing tears. A local, who had the route ruthlessly wired, coolly suggested that I “work the rest” more. For me, this “rest” was hardly restful — I’d once managed to comp...
Brittany Griffith at Climbing Magazine
3 exercises for better balance <br />by Ben Fullerton
Exercises for Better Balance While Climbing
Along with a good pair of shoes and a positive attitude, balance is crucial for successful rock climbing. Without it, your body won’t move naturally on the rock, thus eliminating efficiency and style. We tapped into trainer and hardman Eric Hörst’s knowledge of climbing p...
Amanda Fox at Climbing Magazine
Calf lock set up
The Calf Lock
One of the most dreaded wide crack sizes is just bigger than your fists but too small for your knees. For most people, this means a four-inch crack. This size usually requires the hand/hand (“butterfly”) stack instead of a fist jam. Although hanging from such a stack feel...
Pamela Shanti Pack at Climbing Magazine
Heel toe cam <br />by Jamie Givens
The Heel-Toe Cam Technique
You've dogged your last project for the last three weeks. You’ve got the moves, but each time you get into the steep finale, the pump forces you to succumb, and you whip. One member of the peanut gallery below has stated that your Tourette’s cursing is “harshing his mello...
Chris Van Leuven at Climbing Magazine
Thumbs up!
Use Your Thumb for Better Rock Climbing
Thumbs up! Climbing holds are like snowflakes—no two are identical—and clever use of the thumbs adds important diversity to your gripping arsenal. Here are four “thumb” techniques that could make the difference during your next tough climb. The thum...
Adam Scheer at Climbing Magazine
Storm-proof your tent setup <br />by Mike Tea
How to Prepare Your Tent for the Worst Storm
When a storm hits, most expedition climbers play cards, pick lint off of their boot liners, or fantasize about sipping Mai Thais. A little “tent pitching” and a flask of grandpa’s cough syrup easily bide the downtime for most, but when Mother Nature blows nuclear-strength...
Molly Loomis at Climbing Magazine
Pad-Fu- advanced technique <br />by Joe Iurato
Eight Spotting Techniques
When 6’4” Corey Dwan first plucked me from the sky, I’d just pitched from a Grampians, Australia, highball — he quickly earned a place on my all-time spotting dream team. Dwan’s masterful bodycatching technique is even a matter of public record, as seen in the 1998 climbi...
Abbey Smith at Climbing Magazine
Meditation in the brain
Mental Tricks to Get Through Tough Climbs
Notoriously sandbagged routes are intimidating. They can cause anxiety and lead to disappointment if you don’t redpoint the grade you’re used to completing easily. Arno Ilgner, author of The Rock Warrior’s Way, says the first step to combatting anxiety when faced with a s...
Amanda Fox and Susan Costa at Climbing Magazine
Good Pooping Practices
Shit happens. The average person generates just more than one pound of poop every day, according to the World Health Organization. As the number of people visiting crags grows, so do the pounds of poo left behind. This requires some strategic practices. Few things are as ...
Laura Snider at Climbing Magazine
Fig 1. how to remove a cam
How to Clean Cams
Getting humbled in the art of cam-cleaning is a rite of passage for aspiring tradsters. You know the story: The second, a trad-climbing newbie, fiddles with a cam for what seems like eternity before declaring it totally stuck. Welded. Fixed. Beyond saving. The more experi...
Laura Snider at Climbing Magazine
Stacking Ropes on Multi-Pitch Climbs
Stacking Ropes on Multi-Pitch Climbs
Good rope management at belays saves time and headaches. When you belay on a ledge, feed the rope into a small pile, about two feet around, as you take it in. Compact the growing rope pile with your hands or feet to keep it stacking bottom to top, and to keep it from slid...
Ian Nicholson at Climbing Magazine
A chimney rest allows both arms to recover. by Andrew Burr
Rest for Success
The best way to maximize your staying power for enduro-packed routes is by resting more often and more efficiently during the climb. You may do endless training laps for stamina, but learning to cop strategic rests mid-route is more likely to win you the onsight on any te...
Dougald MacDonald at Climbing Magazine
Placing Gear on Lead
See the best positions from which to place gear.
Climbing Tech Tips
Make Quickdraws with Long Slings
Watch this demonstration of extending slings and re-clipping long slings to make shorter quickdraws for trad and alpine climbs.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Place Cams
Learn how to place camming devices (cams) in which parts of the rock for best results.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Belay From Above
See a discussion of the pros and cons of direct and indirect belay methods.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Tie a Munter Hitch
Watch the construction of a Munter Hitch, how to use it to belay through a biner, and finally how to lock it off as a Munter Mule.
Climbing Tech Tips
Escape a Belay Using a Re-Direct
Use this method to tie off a belay to an injured partner and set up a rescue.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Escape the Belay
Use this method to tie off a belay to an injured partner and set up a rescue.
Climbing Tech Tips