Rock Climbing Moves & Techniques

18 Best Rock Climbing Moves & Techniques For Beginners

With a focus on the right rock climbing moves, you will enjoy climbing with ease. Rock climbing technique is based on smooth rock climbing moves, ranking as critical factors in ascending climbing routes in the best manner.

When four years old, Shauna Coxsey watched veteran French climber Catherine Destivelle effortlessly ascending a rock formation in Mali; she was much amused, which inspired her to become Britain’s most successful female climber.

Beginner climbers have most likely felt the emotions that ran through young Coxsey as she watched Catherine Destivelle glide with ease the steeps of Mali’s rock formations.

She dazzled at the sight of an experienced climbing, doing what she knows best with so much comfort and dexterity.

Rock Climbing Techniques & Moves

With multiple climbing techniques in circulation for various rock formations, beginner climbers may have been overwhelmed at what set of techniques appropriately fits a climbing route.

The different rock climbing moves and techniques applicable to the rock climbing route are discussed in insightful detail. These techniques reviewed below are appropriate for all climbing disciplines

1. Footwork

In climbing, the feet present a solid point for support; thus, climbers tend to rely on the feet. The reliance on the feet, especially by beginner climbers, makes foot techniques one of the most carried out rock climbing moves & techniques.

These vast techniques, which require great precision, have to be carried out with coordination. It’s recommended that these techniques are perfected on more accessible routes, to avoid accidents.

2. Edging

Often found in bouldering routes, edges are flat or semi-flat holds. To carry out this technique, climbers have to place the foot’s front part at the edge, using the shoe’s inside edge.

The outside edge of the shoe can be used to carry out edging by placing the shoe’s tip, just like a ballerina, on edge.

When carrying out edging, climbers have to be precise and light on the foot. It’s recommended that edging is used for resting the feet.

3. Smearing

Unlike edging, smearing can be carried out on different footholds. Rather than relying on weight, smearing depends largely on friction. By employing the toes and the foot’s balls, close to the toes, pressure can be exerted on the holds.

The critical element in smearing is the rubber to rock contact, which provides the best attachment to the sloping holds. For holds, where the foot tends to slips, more pressure must be exerted to ensure attachment.

Smearing can best be practiced on bouldering routes with bug handholds and slightly inclined smooth boulders.

4. Hooking

An easy technique, hooking, can be carried out with the toes and heels. Toe hooking can be carried out by placing the toe on the hold and pulling the body’s weight upwards.

It’s often carried out in overhanging routes and when the body has to be kept close to the wall.

Heel hooking can be carried out by placing the foot on holds, often above the body or on the same level as the body, then pushing the body’s weight upwards.

Heel hooking is the most common sort of hooking technique and can be carried out naturally without prior practice. However, it’s best to practice to be familiar with the method.

5. Jugs

One of the first handholds encountered by climbers, jugs are very easy as they are large and have much space for gripping. Climbers grip jugs from a hanging position, to push the body’s weight.

Exerting too much pressure when gripping jugs would lead to quick tiredness. Jugs present right spots for re chalking, adjusting, and changing gears and brief rests.

Jugs should be gripped from hanging positions and not from chest level.

6. Crimpers

Crimps are small edges with enough space for the finger to wrap around. By placing the finger around these edges, curling the fingers, and covering the thumb over the index finger, crimping can be carried out.

Caution should be exercised when carrying out crimping exerts stress on the fingers, which could easily lead to injuries. A fingerboard can be used to practice crimping.

7. Pockets

Nature and artificial climbing routes have several of these holds. The pocket technique can easily be carried out by placing the finger into these small holds and wrapping it around them.

A bit similar to crimping, pockets gives more room for gripping. Before gripping, explore for more space in the holds, and exercise caution in exercising stress in the grips.

8. Pinches

This technique relies mainly on the thumb. Like crimping, pinches do not require climbers to curl the finger around the holds, but to wrap them around the holds and make use of the thumb in pinching deep into the hold.

9. Slopers

Another hold readily found in nature; slopers are big, round, and inclined. It requires strength, precision, and careful weight distribution.

Friction forms a significant element in sloping, so it’s best climbers chalk well before trying this technique.

To carry out sloping, climbers place the fire hands on the holds, with the forearms straight and fingers close to each other to provide more strength. By exerting pressure with the hands-on hold, the body is pulled upwards.

Since slopes are complete and free from rocks, they are exposed and thus subject to temperature changes. So, not all slopes may be ideal for movement, depending on the temperature.

10. Underclings and side pull

These two techniques are position-dependent. Underclings is performed by raising the feet high towards the waist and pushing the body upwards with the arms straight.

Side pulls are also similar but in a different position. Side pulls are carried out by pulling sideways, which can be tricky.

11. Manteling

This rock climbing moves are carried out on wide ledges; this movement is performed using the hands to press down the hold. Shoulder muscles provide the basis for the support.

12. Stemming

Carried out with the hands or feet, it involves exerting pressure on two opposing surfaces. Counter pressure is an essential basis for exerting pressure. Best carried out with the leg muscles, it’s an efficient technique.

13. Flagging

This can be carried out by placing one leg as a support point for the rest of the body to swing to another rock. It is ideally carried out climbers need to reach for close handholds.

14. Backstepping

When this technique is carried out, climbers have room to stretch further. It is performed by edging and moving the a way that it faces the wall.

The body weight has to shift severely. Back stepping is best carried out in overhung terrains.

15. Laybacks

Best carried out where there are good footholds for solid points to support, layback is performed by pulling a part of the crack with the hands and pushing the feet against the other side.

When enough room doesn’t exist for laybacking, smearing can be used.

16. Gastons

The direct opposite of side pulls; this technique can be carried out by pulling towards the climber.

When carrying out gastons, the fingers are pointed towards the climber with pressure on the forearms. The shoulder bears the bulk of the weight of the body.

17. Palming

It is carried with the hands, palming is the hand version of smearing. The same movement carried out with the legs is maintained with the hands.

This technique keeps the body balanced. It is one of the few counter pressure techniques carried out with the hands.

18. Drop knee

Almost similar to back steeping, this technique is carried out by placing the foot on the hold and moving the knee forward until it points downwards, and the shoe sits on the hold.


The smooth rock climbing moves that perhaps attracted you to embrace climbing can be carried out with so much finesse that you’ll probably inspire the next generation of rock climbing enthusiasts.

Please let us know your thoughts on our rock climbing moves and techniques in the comments section below. Read more on Outdoor Inquirer.

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