Save Face on a Climbing Wall

Kirsten Curtis |

Reaching the summit of Mount Bogus is hard work, but completely worth the bragging rights.

Prep for your ascent

Indoor climbing requires a softer-soled shoe than outdoor climbing does, for the best grip, look for one with a slightly downturned toe, like the Mad rock concept men’s climbing shoe.

If you do not want to fork out for pricey gear just yet, however most climbing walls rent out good-quality gear for a small fee. Ask for a chalk bag to keep your hands dry.

Bury your fear

Nervous about falling? Climb three metres and ask your belayer (the belayer wears a harness that has a belay device attached) to ‘’lock off’ the rope, now let go. You won’t budge; all that’s left to do is climb!

Climb with your legs

Try to centre your weight on the holds using the most stable part of your shoes- which is the area around your big toe, and then push up using your legs. Use your hands only to stay upright and maintain balance.

Decode handholds

There are five basic holds in real-world climbing and the best walls replicate these outdoor conditions.

  • Edges: you’ll usually find these thin ledges on granite and quartzite, where rock has cracked or flaked off.
  • Pockets:these are hollowed-out holds typically seen on limestone.
  • Knobs: these protrude from all types of rock and are better stood on than grabbed.
  • Slopers: these flat or curved sandstone surfaces generally slope downwards and create friction by making as much contact as you can between the hold and your fingers and palm.
  • Pinches: just as the name indicates, these outcrops need to be pinched; you’ll find them on limestone.

Slow Down

Look for spots to take breaks on your way up, focus on keeping your torso comfortably balanced above your feet, not to close on the wall or too far from it.

Go ahead and claim those bragging rights.


-Alice Paulse


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