Long Reaches

What do you do when the next available handhold is a long reach away—or even out of reach?

The climber has several techniques available.

First, make the most of available holds, by using one or more of these tips: stand up on your toes; pull your body into the rock to achieve maximum extension of the body; use a foot for counterbalance to help in standing up completely on the other foot; move your foot higher on a sloped hold; move your foot more to the side that the next handhold is on. Additional tips: move your foot to the edge of a foothold for a traversing move; lean your body and hips out or to the side to allow a longer sideways reach; use a handhold for downpressure to allow maximum upward reach with the opposite hand. Sometimes a longer reach is possible by standing on the outside edge of your boot, which tends to turn your body somewhat sideways to the rock. And remember that the longest reach is possible with the hand that is opposite of the foot you're standing on.

Another option is to consider quick intermediate moves, using holds that are marginal but will be used just long enough to scamper up to the next good hold.

The last resort may be a dynamic move that could involve a lunge or simply a quick move before you lose your balance or grip. The time to grab the next higher handhold while making a dynamic move is at the "dead point"—at the apex of your arc of movement when the body is weightless for a fraction of a second before it begins to fall. Movement is most efficient at that point.

There's a built-in danger if a dynamic move fails: you're no longer in complete control and a fall is likely. Make a dynamic move only after calculating and accepting the consequences of failure. You should know beforehand that the protection is secure and that a fall onto the protection won't result in hitting a ledge or the ground or otherwise risking injury. Keep in mind that dynamic moves are for accomplished climbers, not for desperate novices.

Continue reading here: Exchanging Placements On A Small Hold

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