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Best Rock Climbing Shoes

home climbing wall plywood 19

Wall pics generously shared by Rene Keyzer-André and Margarita Martinez

My Home Rock Climbing Wall Just Got A Whole Lot Smaller

Months ago I was so content with my basement home rock climbing wall, neatly tucked into a cozy corner of a windowless room. Now thanks to walls like this one built by Rene and Margarita, all I can think about is moving my family into an abandoned warehouse and sleeping on mattresses positioned as fall-break padding for bouldering friends and family. Not going to happen, but still fun to see what the experienced wall builders can do with lumber, plywood, and in this case some crazy-amazing tape measuring skills (wishing I’d have done better in geometry class, sigh…). For an aspiring home wall builder to get a glimpse like this behind the plywood of a complex and massive structure, the experience is solid gold.

Huge thanks to both Rene Keyzer-André and Margarita Martinez for being so willing to share these inspiring pictures of one of the best personal climbing walls on the planet.

A One Question Interview With Rene Keyzer-André:

Kirk: I’ve burned so much time studying photos of your most recent climbing wall and they tell a lot on their own, but please share a few details about this amazing endeavor.

Rene: Margarita and I have had our own private bouldering place since 1997 in the first shop, then moved it to another place in the winter of 2010, and finally here in Richmond, KY. Our wall is 15 1/2 ft tall by 39 ft wide. We average between 180-220 t-nuts per full sheet of plywood and have approximately 1600-1700 holds. I have built about 13 walls/gyms over the years. We also have all the area behind the wall as usable space with hang board, weights, and a stretching area. We operate as a small co-op with members to help cover some of the costs.

home climbing wall plywood 6home climbing wall plywood 5home climbing wall plywood 3home climbing wall plywood 7home climbing wall plywood 11home climbing wall plywood 15home climbing wall plywood 10home rock climbing wall plywood 2home climbing wall plywood 9home climbing wall plywood 4home climbing wall plywood 7home climbing wall plywood 13home climbing wall plywood 17home climbing wall plywood 16home climbing wall plywood 19

Want to discuss what it would take to pull off a wall build like this (or maybe a little smaller)? Register for the Home Rock Climbing Wall Forums by clicking “Login” up top and discuss with others, or drop a line in the comments below. Please show your appreciation for Rene and Margarita’s generosity by sharing this post below.

The post Content with your home climbing wall? Avoid these pics at all costs. appeared first on Home Rock Climbing Walls.

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DIY CrossFit Jump BoxBuild a CrossFit plyometric jump box and you are either going to have legit piece of garage-style fitness equipment, or you will have a killer place to sit down in between sending (or trying to send) difficult problems at the home climbing wall. At our wall there is a lot of standing around looking dazed during the lull between climbing attempts–something I am hoping to change. 

Chances are your fingers and forearms are getting the biggest workout if you built your wall steep like you should have. Until those muscles turn into a seasoned pieces of unstoppable gristle they are probably giving out way before the rest of your body gets the workout it deserves. To curb this misfortune I have started adding some cross-training equipment to the gym, so the rest of the body can receive equal torture.

This video tutorial shows how to make a three-heights-in-one plyometric jump box using a single sheet of 3/4 inch plywood and some screws. I chose this design because it is one of the few I could find that didn’t require building an inner framework of studs, but instead relies on a single internal plywood bracing to add strength. Faster, easier, lighter. By rotating the box onto its different sides you get three leg-burning heights: 20 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches. If you’ve never done a jump box workout hop on Youtube for some instruction.

Oh, and did I mention these make a great standing platform to set those last couple of holds on the new bouldering problem? Sorry ladder.


The post Cross-Train! How To Build A CrossFit Plyo Jump Box With A Single Sheet Of Plywood appeared first on Home Rock Climbing Walls.

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home climbing wall volume

Nine times out of ten if someone asks how they can make their home climbing wall better the answer is “volumes.” The other one time out of ten is “steeper,” but we’ll cover that later. Just this past weekend I completed my third home climbing wall and after the first steep section was up I immediately realized that a lot of my favorite holds that performed great at 0-30 degree angles, now at 40-60 degree angles had similar grip potential to that wet watermelon seed you were trying to pick up off the floor at grandma’s house. A quick message to this wall builder, whose worth-your-time-checking-out wall I covered here, and I learned that every good wall deserves a volume. He was right that this would fix my hold-problem and it also enhanced the wall in a bunch of other ways.

Why you should build volumes for your home climbing wall

  • They become massive, challenging holds in themselves, with or without texture and with or without holds on them. Try buying a hold this big: $$$. Try making one: probably free.
  • They are the easiest way to add variety and interest to a flat wall. With little effort you get a completely new experience that could only be rivaled by a difficult wall remodel.
  • They add multiple new climbing surfaces to your wall and all at different angles. This means your favorite sloper that is practically useless on your wall’s steep section or even roof, now becomes a doable challenge on one of the faces of an added volume.
  • They are a great use of home climbing wall lumber scraps and make your wall look pro.

While building my latest home wall I took a stab at building a volume and filmed the video below. As volumes go it is fairly basic, but I thought worth sharing because this design takes no time at all, requires only basic carpentry skills, only uses 90 and 45 degree cuts, and I didn’t even touch a tape measure during the process. If you have built volumes before, you’ll probably want to pass, but if you are working on your first, please check it out.

Seasoned pros, share your tips in the comments below, paste a link to your own vid or pic to help others. Also, special thanks to this guy, Brian, who shared this climbing wall volume image gallery of some simple volume builds that don’t take a lot of time or complex cuts.


The post Build An Easy Home Climbing Wall Volume appeared first on Home Rock Climbing Walls.

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When I was 20 I stepped down from the yellow La Poste bus on to a completely dark and deserted street in Grindelwald. I’d arrived at the famous home of the Eiger. I tried to scan the featureless sky above and ahead of me to try and make out even the faintest outlines of the mythical mountain but thoughts quickly turned to finding somewhere to bivy for the night. I spent a lot of time staring up at that wall from our camping spot tracing out all the stories I’d read over and over again in The White Spider. I watched storms roll in from nowhere and broil up in its huge concave face, I went for a walk underneath it and found a bit of climbing shrapnel and got lost in a world of fantasies as to the origin and its eventual demise coming tumbling down this face. But mainly I revelled in the history of it all and marvelled at what kind of a climber it would take to try such a monster. I think I was still under the illusion that it was only climbed a couple of times a year if that, and only by the world’s best. That was as close as I got to the face on my first visit - I had no intention of ever going near it and was busy still trying to come to grips with the basics of alpinism. The south side of the massifs were more my level.

A month later and it was time to pack up camp and move to the forests of Chamonix. I never left Grindelwald thinking I’d come back and climb the Nordwand, it was just way out of my league, and rereading the horrors in The White Spider with the face itself looming over you is enough to imprint those epic stories of alpinism deep in the brain.

The Eiger back in the dayThe Eiger back in the dayEiger - 1938 Route North FaceSouvenir hunting under the face 13 years ago

I’m not sure whether the 1938 route has always been an incredibly popular route or whether over the last decade its popularity has skyrocketed, but after living and climbing full time in Chamonix for a few years my thoughts did turn to trying the world’s most famous alpine North Face. There was talk of good conditions and myself and Will drove to Grindelwald with the ‘light and fast’ option in mind - i.e. do it in a day. I remember being amazed by the amount of people that were there to climb the Eiger - there was this route that had always been shrouded in epic tales of survival and people were almost queuing up to get on it. Maybe its fame had also led to its fate - the sheer volume of climbers on this route have left it in a unique state. We were told that you could climb it with just a set of quickdraws, advice we’d taken with a pinch of salt, but advice that wasn’t too misplaced. It’s as close to ‘fixed’ as you’ll ever get on an alpine route, and with a good track it’s a far cry from the experience that the first few ascentionists must have had.

But no matter how you look at it, the Eiger North face is the Eiger North Face. It sits at the top of every alpinist’s wish list of climbs and is pretty much the only climb I can think of in the alps that has achieved such classic status that most of the pitches have actual names. Myself and Will set off fast, semi intent on doing it ‘in good time’, but part way up slowed down and settled in to the climb enjoying all the features and pitches we’d both read so much about in the past - the Hinterstoisser traverse, the Ramp, the Waterfall Pitch, Brittle Ledge, Traverse of the Gods….the list goes on. Too much history to ignore by rushing. Each name heralding a new technical section linking up one of the most incredible lines in the Alps- and that’s the thing really about the 1938 route, the line is incredible. The actual climbing isn’t amazing but you quickly realise that anything on this kind of limestone that is even remotely steep is insanely hard, so the 1938 route links every major weakness on this face and that literally takes you zig zagging all your way up this 1800m pile of choss. The commitment taken by the first ascentionsts as they got higher up the face is something that I just can’t even comprehend- escaping even the lower half of the face with modern equipment would be quite tricky, but once you get in to The Ramp, and all the climbing above it, you would have been pretty much 100% committed to the top in those days- and given the fact that they were just piecing together random bits of the mountain hoping they would go, it really is quite something. So much of the route could easily turn in to a shut down- a short blank slab or overhanging unprotectable limestone roof- the fact that there is a line, no matter how indirect it is, is pure genius.

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

One seriously big and daunting face

But the advent of modern equipment and the passage of climbers have turned the route into something a little less terrifying nowadays. We shared the route that day with very good friend’s Adam and Caroline George who were doing it for the second time together and I briefly wondered whether or not I’d come back for a second time as well. It is the Eiger after all, and there’s a lot to take in on just your first climb of it. Fast forward a few years and I found myself hurriedly packing my bags with Scott Grosdanoff for another round on the Eiger. It was Scott’s first ever alpine climb so we would stick a bivy in at the Brittle Ledges and split the days up nicely. In any case conditions this spring weren’t fantastic and I felt like I needed to suffer a bit before heading off to the Himalayas.

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

We caught the last train up and set up for a cold night, even though it was officially the first day of spring it still felt like winter in the high mountains. The face looked ok and I was psyched to go climbing again, for some reason it had felt like a long time. I’d forgotten what it was like to suffer.

The alarm went off just before sunrise and we moved on up the classic pitches of the Eiger north face. Conditions were a bit lean and not exactly record breaking but we arrived at our bivy site at the Brittle Crack with daylight to spare. It had been a fun relatively relaxed day, and Scott’s eyes had been wide open the whole length of it. As we settled in for the night I got to re-live the excitement of my first ‘real’ mountain bivy - I was semi dreading a night of uncomfortable sleep constantly trying to find a supportive sitting position, whilst Scott couldn’t stop going on about how incredible this was, and he was right. Here we were perched high up on a small ledge on the Eiger North Face with a cloud inversion below stretching as far as the eye could see - sometimes you get so used to something that you fail to appreciate it’s beauty.

Eiger - 1938 Route North FaceScott arrives at the base of the Difficult CrackEiger - 1938 Route North FaceScott arrives at the base of the Difficult Crack
The Difficult Crack

The Difficult Crack

Eiger - 1938 Route North FaceViews over the Overland and the Eiger Mushroom on the left skylineHigh up in the RampHigh up in the Ramp
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Exiting The Ramp under beautiful evening light

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Exiting The Ramp under beautiful evening light

A sunset to remember

A sunset to remember

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Climbing up to the Brittle Ledges

The Brittle LedgesThe Brittle LedgesThe Brittle LedgesThe Brittle Ledges
Bivy spot for the night

Bivy spot for the night

It was quiet and peaceful on the Eiger, there was only one other team on the mountain and we were always far enough apart to be able to really immerse ourselves into our surroundings. Soon enough we climbed out of the shade of the North face and onto the sunny summit slopes high above. The views over the Bernese Oberland opened up all around and in the far distance home, the Mont Blanc massif, jutted high above an immense cloud inversion. I was proud of Scott as he led us up to the summit proper- I couldn’t quite believe that his first ever alpine summit was the Eiger, and his first route was its most famous. He’d definitely earned this view.

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Climbing up the Brittle Crack

The Traverse of the GodsThe Traverse of the GodsThe Traverse of the GodsThe Traverse of the Gods
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Out of the Exit Cracks and onto easier ground above

Summit ridge of the Eiger

Summit ridge of the Eiger

Eiger - 1938 Route North FaceEiger - 1938 Route North Face
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Descending down the West Face of the Eiger

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

Descending down the West Face of the Eiger

Eiger - 1938 Route North Face
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face
Eiger - 1938 Route North Face

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When it comes to getting after it—and by getting after it, I mean wild and challenging pre-dawn mountain adventures—Wade Morris is easily one of the first climbers who comes to mind.

While the rest of us are just taking our first sips of morning coffee, chances are Wade has already logged somewhere between 5-15 pitches at Eldorado Canyon or summited a 14’er or two … all while still making it on time to work at 8am. Truly, Wade stands out as one of the most dedicated and motivated climbers I’ve met, managing to pursue both his endless climbing and career goals with fervent passion. 

In this Climber Spotlight, Wade shares insight into his wide range of climbing pursuits, life decisions that have aided his adventure-driven passions, and what he’d be doing if he wasn’t rock climbing.

outer space eldorado canyonOuter Space: one of my all-time favorite classics in Eldorado Canyon. The climbing offers some of Eldo’s best exposure and steep climbing for the 5.10 grade. It’s one of my go-to climbs pre-work and for linkups. Photo: Ben Horton Photography

Quick Bites

  • Age: 27
  • Occupation: Sales and Business Development Manager
  • Birthplace: Los Gatos, California
  • Current location: Golden, Colorado
  • Education: Bachelors in Economics and Business
  • Years climbing: 8
  • Favorite crag: Eldo (Eldorado Canyon)
  • Favorite food: Pie!
  • Favorite climbing shoes: Scarpa Instinct VS
  • Favorite piece of gear: Yellow Alien
  • Personal: Instagram

sport climbing flat ironsMy favorite area for local sport climbing is easily the Flatirons. The backsides of all these formations form very steep overhung huecoed climbs and are 20-min from my house! Photo: John Dale Photography

How were you introduced to climbing? Tell us about the experiences or mentors that have impacted you most.

I grew up going to Yosemite every summer with my family, so I was exposed to the greatest climbing area in America very early on. I didn’t start climbing consistently until college where I was an outdoor guide for the Cal Poly outdoor program called Poly Escapes. It was at Poly Escapes where I met my first true mentor and one of my best friends, Andrew. We continue to climb El Cap every year together.

My first outdoor climb was Royal Arches, where we brought bivy gear and slept on top. Going to sleep with Half Dome watching over me is a moment I’ll never forget. Within one month of that adventure, I had a full trad rack and ventured to Yosemite every chance I had.

Climber Spotlight: Wade MorrisEvery year I climb El Capitan with my two friends Marc and Andrew. This photo is from high on The Shield route, easily my favorite route I’ve done thus far. Photo: Bergreen Photography

You’re quite the multi-disciplinary climber and adventurer; can you tell us about the different styles you engage in and what draws you to each? Do you have a favorite? If so, why?

I’ve always enjoyed all aspects of climbing, but my heart lies in climbing big walls. Since moving to Colorado my disciplines revolve around the seasons. Alpine season only really lasts 3 months, so there is lots of time for all sorts of climbing. Alpine season takes a pretty big toll on me mentally and physically, so usually by its end, I’m ready to clip some bolts or head to the desert.

Winter lasts quite a long time here in Colorado, so I’ve taken up ice and mixed climbing. I have hopes of traveling to the bigger ranges (Alaska, Patagonia, etc.), and having a more rounded skill set is what gets you up walls. I’ll always be a trad climber at heart.

vail ice climbingVail offers the closest thing for winter craggin. Here I am sharpening my tools for another round. Photo: Ben Horton Photography

You live in the Colorado front range, a massive hub for outdoor enthusiasts. What are the best and worst aspects of living there?

Colorado is never short on the activities one can do. With so many people getting outside it can be hard to find solitude during certain times of the year.

For instance, one of my favorite areas is the Diamond, also known as the East Face of Longs Peak. It’s alpine big wall climbing at 13-14,000 ft. Come prime season though and there can be 15-30 people climbing on the wall at one time. Luckily adventure is never very far away. I’ve recently found myself exploring off the beaten path routes and have really enjoyed the journey.

One of the great things about Colorado is that there’s limitless potential for new routes; you just have to be willing to walk really far to get to them!

It seems like you take your training regimen pretty seriously. Can you give us some insight into your routine and approach? Do you take rest days?

My training regimen varies by the time of year. The past six months I’ve been working with Tom Randall and his team at Lattice Training with great results. In all reality, I just try to get outside climbing as much as possible, probably climbing 4-5 days a week. It’s generally less during alpine season, where I maybe get outside or in the gym once midweek.

wade morris mixed climbingVail amphitheater offers easy access for hard mixed climbing. When the alpine weather isn’t cooperating, I can take the short 90-minute drive to instant flash pump. Photo: Ben Horton Photography

What is your biggest secret or tip to being able to adventure and work full-time?

You have to make a conscious choice about where you live and work. Coming out of college, I had a great job with a Fortune 50 company but it required me to live in Orlando, Florida. We used to go to different climbing gyms as weekend trips when I lived there … After 2 years I realized it wasn’t what I wanted and took a job that brought me back west to Colorado.

Getting up early also helps. During the summer I often find myself in the Eldo parking lot at 5 am. I can get in 5-15 pitches before work starts at 8ish.

Bancroft RidgeTwo friends and I climbed the East Ridge of Bancroft before work in early spring. This involved leaving my house at 3am, summiting a 13,000 ft peak and being back to Golden by 8:15am for work! The ridge involves some easy 5.5 scrambling up a ridge.

Have you ever been/considered yourself a dirtbag? What’s your relationship to the dirtbag lifestyle?

Probably the closest I’ve come to the dirtbag lifestyle was in college, but even that isn’t really a dirtbag lifestyle. I did use some of my student loan money to buy a trad rack, so that quarter at school was interesting food wise. I enjoy pushing myself professionally in a career as much as I enjoy climbing, so the two together help balance me out.

Escalante Wade MorrisEscalante is Colorado’s version of Indian Creek. On average, the climbs are shorter but pack a bigger punch. My favorite time of year to travel here is in the heart of winter when the snow and red walls create a beautiful contrast. Photo: John Dale Photography

What is one piece of gear that has impacted your climbing style, efficiency, or comfort level?

Well, I’d have to say running shoes that you can climb in! Have you ever tried running around the alpine in approach shoes all day? It really hurts.

I’ve been using the La Sportiva Akasha and Dynafit Feline Verticals all summer and they have vastly upgraded my alpine season. I can comfortably climb 5.6 in them and run both to and from the trailheads.

Tell us about one of your proudest moments in climbing. What about your least proud moment?

This past fall I completed the NIAD (Nose in a Day) and it was definitely one of my proudest moments. My friend Jason had never climbed a Yosemite big wall and I said I’d go with him. I jokingly threw out NIAD and he replied with a shit eating grin. Within five minutes we had airlines tickets and two months to train.


Related: Pitch 27: A Journey for the Nose in a Day


My least proud moment came this last winter and again it was with Jason. We attempted to climb the Diamond of Longs Peak in winter. We’ve both been up the face multiple times in the summer but in winter that face is in another world.

Getting to the base of the wall involves climbing the North Chimney, a 300-400-ft climb, which in summer goes around 5.4. Well, we got turned around in the early winter darkness and accidently climbed Fields Chimney, which in winter goes at WI5 M6+. We only had lightweight aluminum crampons and one lightweight mountaineering ax each. Our original plan was to arrive at the base of the Diamond around 7am, but climbing Field’s with inadequate gear put us there at 3pm. We decided to bail and take the walk of shame back to the car.

hessie chimney climbThe Hessie Chimney. This is a great backyard classic mixed climb that very rarely comes into form. My partner Jason and I ran up one afternoon to find the route in great condition. He also has been my greatest influence for ice and mixed climbing.

If you woke up and could never climb again, what would you do instead?

I’ve always wanted to paraglide. The thought of being able to launch from the top of a peak and cover so much ground is truly inspiring to me.

Check out this insane 1200km cross-country paragliding adventure with Will Gadd and Gavin McClurg.

What goals remain for this year? How about on your life’s bucket list?

A couple of goals will have to remain off this list because I’m hoping to develop an alpine big wall here in Colorado. I’ve completed my alpine season tick list and am now really looking forward to the fall. I already have El Cap and Half Dome trips planned as well.

I’m hoping to knock off one of my life’s bucket list next season by going to Patagonia, but that’s still in the works.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Climbing has opened my life to incredible opportunities and unbelievable relationships. I couldn’t imagine where I would be without it. Always remember to be nice to people just starting out because you were once a beginner too!

A huge thank you for sharing your story with us, Wade! Keep getting after those pre-dawn adventures and we wish you the best of luck in all of your other life pursuits.

To follow along with Wade’s adventures and get some serious stoke, follow Wade Morris on Instagram.

Want more climbing content? Get our awesome climbing newsletter, delivered weekly.


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The post Climber Spotlight: Wade Morris appeared first on Moja Gear.

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Best Rock Climbing Shoes

Best Rock Climbing Shoes

If you are looking for the best rock climbing shoes there are many kinds that will serve your purpose well. Rock climbing will have you going over rough and slippery surfaces that will require special shoes for safety. The type of shoes that you choose will vary depending on the type of climbing Best Rock Climbing Shoesyou will be doing.

If you are a beginner rock climber, general-purpose rock climbing shoes will work nicely. The have heels that are cushioned. These shoes feel spacious on your feet for added comfort. They have a flexible sole. For climbing all day lace up shoes are more common in general-purpose shoes.

Boulder shoes are meant just for climbing steep boulders. They are thin shoes that have a tight toe area. The midsoles are soft to help feel rocks under the feet. They close up snuggly for climbing rocks and to get a better grip. These are one type of the best rock climbing shoes.

Rock climbing shoes are made for crossing over rocks with cracks. These kinds of shoes can help to grab into cracks and hold on better. They are made to be durable for going over jagged rocks and hold up well.

Shoes that are made for steep rock climbing are available and fit tightly on your feet. They have various toe widths for added comfort. They come with a relaxed fit in the heel. If you are climbing rocks these are good shoes to wear for putting your toes into cracks and crevices.


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Climbing Safety

Climbing Safety

One of the thrills that many people enjoy is the joy of rock climbing, some do it competitively, some do it to challenge themselves, and others just love the thrill of excitement. All in all, when it comes to rock climbing and rock climbers differences it is always important to remember rock Climbing Safetyclimbing safety tips first before anything!

Some ways that you can prevent unsafe climbing experiences while rock climbing are pretty straight and forward. Some of the rules may be different however depending on how you climb. Whether you are climbing in a controlled environment, such as on a rock wall or a natural environment where you are taking on the forces of nature, it is always a good thing to look into your rock climbing safety tips.

Some of the safety tips you can use for a controlled rock climbing experience are, to make sure your straps are snug, and your over looker is monitoring how the locking mechanism are locking.

Be sure to test the safety cable, and be sure to check for snags and knots in the line.

When climbing in a natural environment, you may not always have an over looker to assist you. For climbing outdoors be sure to, check the wind conditions before you begin a climb, check your harness, and straps to be sure they are snug and tight, fasten a lifeline to your destination to prevent serious injury if a fall occurs, and always check your line for snags in your rope, to prevent complications in the near future.

When you are outdoors the weather may change so be sure you check your daily forecast. These are just some tips, and tricks to prevent a serious situation while climbing. Always do your research, especially if you are not sure of what needs to be done.


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Basics of Ice Climbing

Basics of Ice Climbing

Ice climbing is a popular sport that is very similar to rock climbing. This activity can be dangerous, but that is part of the thrill of ice climbing. Anyone interested in trying this activity must have the proper equipment and basic knowledge of what this experience is going to be like. This Basics of Ice Climbingexciting sport can be taught to anyone willing to learn the basics of ice climbing.

To begin with, you will need the proper tools and equipment. A traditional ice tool or leashless ice tool will help you a lot. You use the ice tool like an axe by swinging it into the ice and then use it to hold onto as you use your legs to pull yourself up. The traditional ice tool comes with a leash so that you do not drop it. Leashless versions are available for professional ice climbers. It allows them to be able to change tools easier and faster. The right ice tool will depend on the person climbing and their needs. Ice screws and rope are also important tools for climbers.

The right boots and crampons are also important when you are learning the basics of ice climbing. When you are climbing a low-angled slope, be sure and have all of your crampon points flat down. When you are climbing vertically, that is when you will need your ice tool. It is going to be very important and helpful once you learn how to use it correctly. A helmet is also important.




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Googling “running for climbing training” pulls up a host of articles and Mountain Project forums debating whether running helps or hurts one’s climbing. Many of my climbing partners found climbing in college after running cross country in high school, as did I, and still have an appreciation for exploring trails on foot. But,

how does running affect our climbing?

I briefly weighed in on this topic this summer, in a post about “The Dangers of Trail Running,” but here is my more complete answer to the question:

Does Running Benefit Climbing? Comments on the Age-Old DebateFlashback to my high school running days when I couldn’t have pulled myself up an indoor 5.9 if a pint of Ben and Jerry’s depended on it.

Running or climbing: make the distinction in your training

First, I should admit that I still enjoy running, though I’m no longer training for specific races. On beautiful fall days when I only have an hour break between classes, a jog through University of New Hampshire’s college woods or the community trails by my house gives me a much-needed study break. However, I don’t consider my 30 minutes of cardio “climbing training.”

It’s more meditative, a mental break that’s different from that which I find while climbing. Thoughts slip, uninhibited, through my mind while I run, where everything but the next crimp and controlling my fear of falling is blocked out while I’m on a rope. However, I’m not worried about how fast or long I run for, and if I don’t run for a few days, or weeks, it’s okay.

In an article with Trail Runner Magazine, Alex Honnold talks about how he too enjoys running as a faster means of exploring the trails around Yosemite and cross-training when he’s unable to climb. He doesn’t think that running helps his climbing and doesn’t bother to get up early to get his miles in when he’s focused on particular routes in the Valley, but, for him, it’s a fun activity for rest or easier climbing days.


Benefits of running for your climbing

I find running helpful for keeping my base cardio level up for multi-pitch days and hauling 20-pound backpacks up approaches. If you’re too tired after the approach to give your all on a climb, then walking all the way there isn’t worth it. However, I don’t use going for a run as an excuse not to train for climbing—I have many other excuses such as homework and elbow tendonitis for that one. I also don’t run like I’m training for a marathon, as that would deplete my energy and ability to recover for climbing.


Related: How to Recover Faster While You Sleep


For me, running between 30 and 40 minutes four to five days a week, if I’m doing no other cardio training, is the perfect balance of getting in a mental break and staying fit for approaches without tiring myself out too much to climb. Granted, I do have a four-year base of running cross country and track in high school, so, for me, running 15-20 miles a week is relatively easy and energizing.

Light cross-training, such as going for a 30-minute jog, has been shown to improve your recovery on climbing off days, but make sure you take at least one full rest day each week to let your muscles recuperate—rest days are when your body repairs itself, allowing you to building strength from your workouts.


Related: A Rest Day Workout for Climbers Who Hate Rest Days


If you don’t consider yourself a runner but want to test out training for approaches, then I’d suggest beginning with 8-10 mile weeks and proceeding from there based on how you feel.


Why or why not to run

Overall, I don’t believe running helps my climbing, especially when the approach is short. However, it does help my overall mental health and is a great activity to get out some of my extra energy and relieve stress when I don’t have enough time to hit the gym or climb outside.

I can also say with confidence that running isn’t what holds me back from climbing harder routes; it’s my mental game and lack of arm strength and perfect technique. So, if your life is better with a little running, then there’s no reason to stop.

Most of us don’t climb professionally, so, as lifestyle climbers, we shouldn’t spend every second of our day making choices based solely on whether or not something will help us send our projects. Climbing is a healthy, enjoyable part of our lives, not the only part. But, on the flip side, if you hate running, there’s really no reason, as far as your climbing is concerned, to start.

This article was originally published on Liz Haas’ website,, which holds a collection of essays, how-tos, humor pieces, doodles, photos, and not-so-random YouTube videos about climbing.

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The post Does Running Benefit Climbing? Comments on the Age-Old Debate appeared first on Moja Gear.

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