High feet

High feet

One useful climbing technique I often rely on is stepping high with one foot. This allows me to move up on the wall more with my feet than with my arms, and also lets me reach higher. This is essential when your arm is too short to reach a hold and/or you can’t grip properly with one hand (in the absence of fingers). Stepping high has become a key element of my climbing style. Lately I realized that I use this method far more than my climbing partner (for obvious reasons). I decided to do a bit of demonstration of the matter in this blog post.

I’m climbing regularly with Michel already for a few months now. Since I met him for the first time, we became very good climbing friends. We were working on the same routes and immediately started talking about all the “betas.”

I learn a lot about climbing movement when I climb with him (in general, but also how I could climb if I had two normal hands) because we have some similarities:

  • We climb at the same level (projecting 6c+ and 7a)
  • We have similar heights (Michel is 170cm and I’m 165cm)
  • We are both very enthusiastic about climbing and take it seriously
  • We both started climbing 4-5 years ago

There are also some differences, of course. Michel is now 65 and I’m nearing 35. And my left hand is quite different from his.

During our climbing sessions, I couldn’t help myself noticing that very often I would go through a sequence moving with my foot first and then with my (left) arm, while he would do it exactly the other way around. For him this is quite natural, but for me it would sometimes near the impossible.

We found this boulder problem in the video at Berta Block, and started working on it together. It demonstrates quite well what I mean. Even though, in this specific case, my method for the first foot-arm combination is way more strenuous than Michel’s (I’m not sure about the second one though).


And here are some pictures summarizing the differences:

My conclusion is that placing the foot high is not always optimal, but often it is very helpful (at least for me).

Comments are welcome!

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