EA MOUNTAIN SKILLS
Developing your efficiency will pay noticeable dividends as you work at or above your onsight.
For sustained routes better efficiency in the lower sections will see you in the upper sections with your fingers, arms & upper back feeling less fatigued. For routes with a definite crux planning your tempo will see you deal with the crux quickly before you cruise to victory. Read on for 3 drills you can use in the wall to improve your efficiency.
Choosing the best technique for an individual move will reduce the effort required to get from hold to hold. Efficiency is about further minimising that effort by;
During my previous article I recommended climbers take half an hour to work on technique & endurance by climbing easy. The following three drills can be used as part of that stage of your session.
The aim here is to climb with maximum weight through your feet & as much momentum generated by your legs as you can. Choose an easy-angled slab with plenty of holds & easier problems & then move randomly around the slab using just 1-2 fingers from each hand (& both your feet!)
The objective of this drill is to ascend overhanging ground with minimal use of the pulling muscles (biceps & upper back). Instead of pulling with your arms to reach the next hold experiment with turning your body sideways &/or pushing yourself upwards with your legs. Choose an overhang with plenty of easy problems & try moving from hold to hold keeping your arms straight.
'HAVE A PLAN'
At its simplest route reading involves planning out the hand sequence for a problem or route (as in the photo below) while at its most complex it will involve techniques for certain moves, clipping positions & tempo. This skill will benefit your efficiency because decisions can be taken on the ground thereby saving valuable seconds during the send. Before a problem or route take time to plan a hand sequence & afterward reflect on how effective your plan was.
As you become more skilled at the 'Light Fingers' & 'No Elbows' drills stay on the same angle of wall & progress to easier problems & routes. Route reading should also expand from simple hand sequences to involve foot movement, techniques & tempo. Above all make a conscious effort to use the lessons gained in these drills when you're working for the send; this is where efficiency most benefits you.
Ed | Mountaineering Instructor & Development Coach