These four short performance tips coupled with the bare essentials will ensure you kick-off
your climbing the right way.
1. Focus on technique.
It may sound counter-intuitive but rock-climbing is predominantly a ‘skill-sport’, with
performance being a direct result of technique. Many blossoming climbers may fall into
simply trying to get “really strong”, neglecting the fact that climbing-related skills exist
as the fundamental catalyst to progression within the sport. The good news! The best
way to train technique is to simply climb a lot on a variety of routes and rock types.
2. Learn to route read.
One of the more over-looked skills of climbing is the ability to ‘route read’, in which you
visualise how the route will climb prior to your attempt. This practice enables you to have
a clearer understanding of the routes style, direction and moves, whilst also helping with
visualisation and awareness. So, next time you’re about to begin a route or problem take a
moment to step back and ‘read’ the route – this will eventually improve your onsight
ability and confidence.
3. Watch experienced climbers on the wall.
Whether simply people-watching at the gym or late-night binge watching climbing films,
there are significant benefits to watching other experienced people climb. Take particular
notice to their foot and body movements as they climb, and how slight changes in
position can impact the climber. Likewise, if a climber falls on a route try to reason what
caused the fall, sometimes it maybe that they weren’t strong enough but more than likely
it was a result of technique. Try to implement your observations within your own
climbing, you’ll find your body awareness will boost, kind of like climbing in front of a
4. Climb for yourself.
Setting a specific grade or climbing goal can boost motivation and progression within
climbing, but it’s important to make sure you are ‘climbing for yourself’. By this I mean,
setting goals (or not setting goals) that you are passionate about and not being forced into
a notion of chasing a grade or tick because your buddy is. You’ll find that motivation and
stoke will remain high on a self-imagined goal, whereas, that same ‘try hard’ spirit may
lack on objectives or climbs that you’ve just wondered into – and that’s totally fine. At
the end of the day climbers all have differing aspirations, so ensuring you and your
climbing buddies conjure up both realistic and motivating goals makes the process all the
Climbing Shoes – for beginners comfort is paramount. Choose a snug, but no painful, neutral
shoe that allows you to focus on climbing rather than worrying about losing toe-nails.
Harness – choose a harness that can do it all, chances are it’ll be with you for a while. Make
sure it can keep up with your progression.
Chalk Bag – as you climb more you Chalk Bag will become your training buddy. It’s nice to
get one that has an internal compartment (for tape, clippers, sand-paper) and brush holder for
Top Recommendation: Arc’teryx - Aperture Chalk Bag
Chalk – it’s incredible how much good chalk can improve performance. If you’re looking to
improve friction then see about investing in a high-quality chalk brand.
Top Recommendation: Friction Labs - Unicorn Dust Climbing Chalk (10oz)
Brush – a must-have for cleaning vital holds both in the gym and outdoors.
Top Recommendation: Lycan Boars Hair Climbing Brush
Belay Device – though you may not need a belay device until you begin leading, make sure
your first ATC is versatile and simple. Additionally, for added safety and smooth lowering an
‘Assisted-Braking Device’ is essential.
Top ATC Recommendation: Black Diamond – ATC Guide Belay Device
Top ‘Assisted-Braking Device’ Recommendation: Petzl – Grigri+ Belay Device
Top Locking-Carabiner Recommendation: Black Diamond – Magnetron Rocklock Carabiner
Follow Kit on Instagram @kitalewilson