Down climbing is accomplished at a difficulty level well below the ability of the climber When in doubt use a roped descent

(a) On easier terrain, the climber can face outward, away from the rock, enabling him to see the route better and descend quickly. As the steepness and difficulty increase, he can often turn sideways, still having a good view of the descent route, but being better able to use the hands and feet on the holds available. On the steepest terrain, the climber will have to face the rock and down climb using good climbing techniques.

(b) Down climbing is usually more difficult than ascending a given route. Some holds will be less visible when down climbing, and slips are more likely to occur. The climber must often lean well away from the rock to look for holds and plan his movements. More weight is placed on the arms and handholds at times to accomplish this, as well as to help lower the climber to the next foothold. Hands should be moved to holds as low as waist level to give the climber more range of movement with each step. If the handholds are too high, he may have trouble reaching the next foothold. The climber must be careful not to overextend himself, forcing a release of his handholds before reaching the next foothold.

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