Negotiating Overhangs And Roofs

Depending on the situation, overhangs and roofs require a variety of techniques such as man-teling, face climbing, or crack climbing.

There are two important points to remember maintain balance and conserve strength.

Fig. 9-31. Chimney techniques in a moderate-width chimney

To maintain balance, look for good footholds and make the most of them. This often means keeping feet high and hips low to help press weight against footholds (fig. 9-33). In some situations, it means pressing your hips into the rock, with back arched, to keep weight over the feet while poised under an overhang. While balanced over your feet beneath the overhang, locate the handholds you will use to move up and over the bulge. A cling hold, a jam, a lieback, or a combination of these may be the key.

To conserve strength, weight your feet as much as possible. Keep arms straight while raising the feet. When the feet are as high as possible, lift the body with your legs rather than pulling up on your arms. Avoid hanging on bent arms, as this will quickly exhaust arm strength. Move quickly through crux sections of the pitch to minimize the time spent in strenuous positions (fig. 9-34).

Occasionally you may need to raise up on your feet while making a dynamic reach (a lunge) to a handhold. Another trick is to throw one foot up

Fig. 9-32. Chimney techniques in a dihedral
Fig. 9-33. Climbing an overhanging route

Fig. 9-34. Climbing over a roof: a, the climber is poised under the roof with hips close to the rock; b, she leans out on an outstretched arm to locate a hold above the roof; c, she has both hands above the roof and feet are high, pushing against the rock; d, finally, she brings one foot up and begins to pull over the roof

Fig. 9-34. Climbing over a roof: a, the climber is poised under the roof with hips close to the rock; b, she leans out on an outstretched arm to locate a hold above the roof; c, she has both hands above the roof and feet are high, pushing against the rock; d, finally, she brings one foot up and begins to pull over the roof onto a ledge, perhaps hooking the heel on it while pushing with your other foot and pulling with your arms to swing up onto the top foot.

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