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'Sport Climbing' in the School of Rock


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Assortment of tools and hardware.
Fixed Hardware: Bolting & Anchors
Nearly every style of climbing requires some degree of fixed anchor placement to safely ascend and descend technical terrain. Sport climbing (i.e. bolt intensive climbing) has continued to grow in popularity since its inception in the 1980s. Unfortunately, many of the mos...
Access Fund
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
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
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
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
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
Essentials of sport climbing <br />by Mike Clelland
The 10 Essentials of Sport Climbing
If you’re a crusty old dinosaur like me then you probably remember being taught the importance of the 10 Essentials upon your introduction to climbing and the mountains.While these items (map, compass, food, water, umm, uh, hmmm . . .) are just as important to safe mounta...
Matt Samet at Climbing Magazine
Cleaning a sport anchor <br />by Chris Philpot
Cleaning Sport Anchors
One of the best parts about sport climbing is its utter simplicity: Clip some bolts as you climb, and—well, that’s pretty much it. The most complicated part is cleaning the anchors; in other words, threading your rope through the rings or chains at the top so you can lowe...
Julie Ellison 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
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
Hand jam in constriction <br />by John McMullen
Hand and Foot Jams for Crack Climbs
Jamming isn’t something you learned by climbing trees as a child. Instead of grabbing normal holds, you wedge body parts into cracks. It’ll take some practice, but once you learn the techniques, cracks become your roads to success on all kinds of rock. And when the crack ...
Jeff Achey 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
Bolted toprope anchor setup <br />by Chris Philpot
Bolted Toprope Anchors
Once you start venturing outside the gym to pull on real rock, you or your climbing partner might not be quite ready to tie into the sharp end, so it’s essential to know how to set up a solid anchor for toproping. Many climbs have two bolts (or chains or rings attached to...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
How to Rappel <br />by Ben Fullerton
Learn the Basics of Rappelling
Getting to the top of any route is a success, but it also means one thing: You’re only halfway there. To descend single- and multi-pitch routes, rappelling is an excellent option that gets you down quickly and puts minimal wear on fixed anchors. The process of rappelling ...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Take the whip, take the whip!—ooh, but not like that... See mistake number 6.  by Andy Mann
50 Ways to Flail
I’ve been climbing for more than 15 years, and the mistakes I’ve made cover the gamut. My knot came partly untied while I was climbing at Joshua Tree; I’ve threaded my belay device backward; partway up El Capitan, my partner once completely unclipped me from a belay. Wors...
Laura Snider at Climbing Magazine
How to Clip a Quickdraw
See a demonstration of two ways to clip a quickdraw and some safety considerations about clipping.
Climbing Tech Tips
Basic Hold Types and Grip Techniques
View the different types of handholds and how to position your hands on them for the best grip.
Climbing Tech Tips
Basic Footwork Tips
See the best ways to position your feet on different rock features.
Climbing Tech Tips
Body Mechanics for Climbing
How to position your body to conserve energy and climb smoothly.
Climbing Tech Tips
Basic Climbing Moves Explained
See a narrated series of basic footwork, hands and other useful climbing techniques on Joshua Tree's "Gunsmoke Traverse"
Climbing Tech Tips
Gear and Packing Considerations
In depth discussion about what and how to pack for outdoor climbing excursions.
Climbing Tech Tips
Clean a Top Rope and Make a Rappel Backup
Step by step demonstration of how to clean a top rope and set up a hands-free rappel backup.
Climbing Tech Tips
Make a Butterfly Rope Coil Backpack
Use this method to make a tidy, compact coil of rope for easy transport on your back.
Climbing Tech Tips
Set Up a Top Rope Anchor with a Cordelette
Learn how to construct an equalized cordelette anchor for a top rope climb.
Climbing Tech Tips
Set Up a Top Rope Anchor with Slings
Learn how to construct an equalized, double length sling anchor for a top rope climb.
Climbing Tech Tips
Make a Sliding X Top Rope Anchor
Learn how to construct a sliding X anchor and when it is appropriate to use.
Climbing Tech Tips
Top Rope Belay Basics
How to tie a figure 8, rig a belay device, use belay commands, perform slide belay, and lower a climber on top rope.
Climbing Tech Tips
Using SERENE to Make Safe Anchors
Learn how using the acronym "SERENE" will help to build safe anchors.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Belay with an Autoblock Device
Watch an explanation of how to use an autoblocking belay device and understand it's benefits for rescue.
Climbing Tech Tips
How to Back Up a Rappel
Choose your favorite method to back up a rappel.
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
Cleaning Sport Anchors
How to Clean Sport Climbing Anchors
One of the best parts about sport climbing is its utter simplicity: Clip some bolts as you climb, and - well, that’s pretty much it. The most complicated part is cleaning the anchors; in other words, threading your rope through the rings or chains at the top so you can lo...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine