Categories
Bouldering Climbing

What is The Best Rock Climbing Child Age to Begin?

Most children have a natural urge to move. They usually climb early: they sit up at chairs or coffee tables before they learn to walk. Later, it continues on trees and climbing frames with zeal and courage. Most children enjoy climbing!

At what age can a child begin with rock climbing or bouldering? For climbing and bouldering, children must be coordinatively able to move hands and feet in a controlled and independent manner. In principle, children can already climb in preschool age. At the age of seven, most children can try climbing. The age is only a guideline. If you go climbing with kids, and bouldering, follow these tips to have more fun and keep your kids active.

Climbing promotes natural development

Climbing is fun for most children. Climbing obstacles motivates children, they like to try out. Courage and the ability to assess risks are promoted. Effort is rewarded with success and one can sometimes also  fail, without the world ending.

The skills required for climbing are manifold: strength and coordination are trained, and the perception of space and body becomes better through climbing. The children learn to concentrate and take responsibility. Climbing extends movement repertoire and mobility. In addition, children experience climbing and self-determined action and its consequences directly and immediately.

When climbing, difficult areas can often be resolved with agility and sensitivity, which is less disadvantageous to girls, who usually have less strength than their male counterparts, than other sports. Climbing is inclusive and opens up the freedom to try one another within the framework set by safety rules.

Other requirements include a relatively high degree of self-control, a sufficient attention span and the ability to concentrate, not to be distracted easily. The children must be able to safely follow even more complex instructions. These skills should be brought to children if they want to start with bouldering or climbing.

Climbing with a rope

When climbing on higher walls, a top rope and a safety harness is added. Prerequisite for this form of rock climbing is the ability to concentrate and a sense of responsibility. The children must be able to keep a cool head even in stressful situations and concentrate on their rope partner. Younger children do not have these skills yet. It depends on the level of development of each child when these skills are trained. Belaying should ALWAYS be done by an adult!!

Climbing equipment for children

Kids climbing and bouldering tips

For climbing in the gym children need sportswear, the rest of the equipment can usually be borrowed in the gym.

Children secure each other in climbing courses right from the start, but they work long with back-up. This means that an adult person with some distance still controls the safety rope. Only if the safety competence is sufficiently developed in the estimation of the trainer, the child will climb without supervision, but still supervised. Experience shows that children from primary school age usually have the necessary conditions. According to the recommendation of the Alpine Club (DAV) can begin with securing under control for about eight years, self-securing without supervision is only possible from 14 years.

When children with a lot of climbing experience take their first steps in the lead and are backed up by much heavier adults, it is important that the belayer master the “soft belay” to avoid hard impacts and a dangerously hard impact on the wall.

Bouldering for beginners, then rock climbing

Children want to play and playfully explore. Playing and enjoying doing things should be the most important thing when climbing and bouldering with small children. As a mother or father, you quickly realize if a toddler is having fun. It may also be that a child has a great desire to boulder on one day, not on another. That’s okay and child-friendly.

For the entry is the bouldering, so climbing up to four meters wall height on soft floor mats. Bouldering lessons for children without parents can be useful from the age of five if the bouldering hall is equipped with child bouldering facilities. From this age, children are usually able to concentrate and follow instructions and rules.

Competitions and performance-oriented climbing for children

Depending on their motivation and abilities, children climb ambitiously or compete in competitions. Already for six- to twelve-year-olds, the national associations of the DAV offer Kids Cups, where children can compete with each other in a playful competitive situation. Others soon pull out with their parents or leisure groups on the rock. Even if children participate in competitions or like to try out how hard they can climb, the playful nature of climbing should always be in the foreground.

Although children rarely overburden themselves and, unlike athletic ambitious adolescents, usually do nothing that causes them pain, it can sometimes be necessary to slow down their urge to move a bit. Children from the age of twelve can certainly do physical strength exercises. However, they should not go to the campus board or fingerboard, and the repeated retention of very small handles should be avoided. Particularly sensitive in children and adolescents are the growth joints of the fingers, the tendon attachments on the bone and the still relatively soft articular cartilage.

Bouldering: Safety Basics

Boulder gyms are not playgrounds, but sports facilities. Races and toys are prohibited in the boulder area as this can lead to serious injuries.
Important: Do not stay under a bouldering person, the jump or fall area must always remain free!
Caution: Many children (and many adults) can not estimate how extensive this area is. As far away as possible from the wall or in the middle between two walls. This rule should be re-discussed with the child each time before entering the boulder mats. Parents must ensure that this rule is adhered to – a breach of duty is a criminally relevant act!

The Boulder is not secured, here is “ridiculed”. The spotter always keeps an eye on the bouldering person and, with his arms raised, stands behind them so that the spotter can stabilize or steer the boulder in a fall so that he lands safely on the mat. The spotter should make sure that there are no objects or persons in the lintel area. You have to explain to children that spotters are the only people allowed to stand behind a boulderer. Who has never “spotted”, it should be shown.

Are there good Bouldering games for children to keep them motivated?

There are various bouldering games that even parents with very little experience in bouldering can play with their children. It makes sense to motivate small children through tasks that they can master well because they are inspired by small success experiences and the excitement and the fun of bouldering remain. It is important that the children know and understand the rules of the boulder. No other bouldering people should be bothered or even endangered by the bouldering games.

Save the animal

This game is perfect for a stuffed animal. Depending on the age and ability of the child, it is placed on an easily accessible grip and the child is allowed to boulder to him and get it. It is important not to overstrain the child and to place the stuffed animal in three meters height. It is sufficient if the child has to make two or three climbing moves to catch it.

Mum or dad should be able to get on well with their hands to their own child if it gets scared and you have to help with climbing. It is not unusual for children to be motivated and carelessly bouldering up to a certain height and then realize that they are more anxious and do not dare to boulder down again. Therefore, the first boulder trains should take place within the easy reach of the parents. It does not always have to go up. You can also let the children traverse left or right.

The cuddly toy can be put upwards, depending on motivation and courage. The child should let the stuffed animal down after reaching down and not climb in the arm because it is so limited and can slip off the handles. A variation is to give the cuddly toy to the child so that it can put the animal itself on a handle. Mum or dad must then boulder to cuddly toy and get it. For this purpose, the stuffed animal should be placed eg in the waistband of the child so that the child has his hands free to boulder.

Hide small toys

If the little ones are braver and want bigger incentives, it’s best to bring small toys that stay well on the handles. These include, for example, Playmobil figures, large puzzle pieces or small toy cars. These are placed on top of the handles. The child can either watch or it has to shut his eyes. This makes the game a little harder because the child first has to search for the items. Then the toys can be taken out of the handles.

Either one object after another is brought or they are all taken out of the handles one after the other, without coming back to the mat. It should be noted that the child does not boulder above or below other children. Here, as already described above, the toys should be carefully dropped down and not thrown, and the children should not climb with an object in their hands. Parents remember best where the cars or figures are because they can often no longer see from below. All toys must be found again and taken!

Bouldering blindfolded

A game that demands a lot of attention from the parents but fun for the kids is bouldering blindfolded. Because seeing is an important part of climbing and bouldering, connected eyes pose a special challenge. Touch and confidence are put to the test.

This game should only be played with children who are familiar with the boulder wall and also feel confident in bouldering with blindfolds. For this, the child’s eyes are hidden. Sleeping goggles or a scarf are good. The parents say the direction and the position of the handles. At the beginning, the children stay close to the ground and traverse. The parents basically scoff at the child in this game. If it’s braver it can boulder uphill too. The child should always remove the blindfold if it feels unwell. It should also be removed to boulder down.

General information about bouldering with children

Ensure safety

Children and parents need to understand that bouldering gyms are not playgrounds but sports facilities. Even Boulder games must take place in a disciplined manner. Running, screaming, flying objects or toys on the mats can cause injury. The items that are used in Boulder games, must always be removed from the mats and handles.

Respect gym rules

Each gym has its own rules. However, always keep in mind to not stand below someone bouldering or climbing. The jump or lintel area must always remain free! Since children can not yet estimate how extensive this area is, they must always be sufficiently far away from the boulder wall. Even in a children’s gym. This important rule should be re-discussed with the child each time before entering the boulder mats. In addition, parents must ensure that their children adhere to this important rule.

Have an alternative program Children usually boulder very much. However, this is not true for all children and not always. Coloring books, puzzles or a small card game in a backpack provide variety and can save the bouldering session. Sometimes even a small meal break helps. If games can not motivate and the mood is bad, it’s best to take a break or stay open for a spontaneous alternative program.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this post, read more here, why climbing and bouldering are great for your kids!

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Is Indoor Rock Climbing a Good Workout?

Rock climbing and bouldering burn between 500 to 900 calories per hour, if you can keep rest to a minimum between climbs. It doesn’t matter if you climb indoors or outdoors and if you go bouldering. If anything, bouldering is harder and might burn a bit more per hour.
Building muscle will help burn fat, and indoor rock climbing burns off calories too. So yes it will help you lose some weight, provided that you keep rest at a minimum and don’t just chat your way around the gym. But you need to also have a healthy diet and nutrition to lose weight!

Is indoor rock climbing dangerous?

Not really. Indoor rock climbing is among the safest forms of rock climbing if you begin with top rope indoor rock climbing. The worst thing that can happen when you go indoor top-rope climbing is that you take a fall of a few inches.

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Is Climbing Bad for Your Fingers?

Climbing is a sport where you need lots of finger strength. The same goes for bouldering and alpine climbing. No matter what you do exactly, your fingers will usually be sore if you’re new to climbing. There are actually findings that show that climbers fingers and hands actually adapt to the short, intense stress climbing exposes them to. Others claim climbing can lead to early Osteoarthritis, so is climbing badly for your fingers?

 No climbing is not bad for your fingers, at least not when done right. Improper technique can lead to injuries, but proper climbing strengthens the tendons in hands and fingers, but over a long period of time. If you’re prone to arthritis, you should take extra care warming up properly and work on your finger flexibility.

Does Climbing Increase Chances to Suffer from Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis comes from wear and tear of joints. As such, it results from improper loads and abnormal stress on the same joints over a long time. This is what happens if you put abnormal loads on your fingers and joints for decades. As of today, there is no clear indication of whether sports activities cause Osteoarthritis or not. In order to find out, studies where undertaken with young climbers. Why young climbers you might ask? If young climbers show Osteoarthritis, that would be a very safe sign that climbing actually can cause Osteoarthritis. The same cannot be said about older climbers, as they can naturally suffer from Osteoarthritis.

Don’t mistake Osteoarthritis with “normal” Arthritis; these two are not exactly the same. Arthritis is usually more severe, and as an inflammatory disease affects the joint capsules first. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage of the joints first and is usually not so severe. This study compared 27 climbers to non-climbers and found that the answer is likely no, at least for the joints in the hand. The study found out that the climbers had stronger hands, however, and some even thicker bones. Climbing is actually likely to remodel your bones to get stronger to make them more powerful – nice side effect! This study actually found out that non-climbers had a higher chance of Osteoarthritis then climbers, especially on the joints of the thumb finger.

But results are not uniform, this study, written 2 years earlier actually found that climbers were at increased risk, as there were climbers in the study group that had signs of OA and none of the non-climbers had. Another study from 2011 supported these findings, showing that climbers showed signs of osteoarthritis sometimes.

But all of these studies had very small sample sizes and not the best methodology. In my eyes, the study with the best methodology found these results:

The more intensive you traing climbing, the more your body adapts, resulting in broadened joints. Osteoarthritic changes where rare in young climbers.

Is Rock Climbing Bad for Arthritis?

But what if you suffer from arthritis already? Is climbing badly for it? Actually, there are many physiotherapists that recommend climbing when people suffer from arthritis. Climbing is great to improve flexibility in the core and hips. And while arthritis will probably reduce climbing performance, a general regimen of sport and exercises is still good for patients with arthritis. Keeping strong muscles and flexibility is even more important when your maximum range of motion is limited because of arthritis!

Can Rock Climbing Cause Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel is a condition that causes weakness and numbness. If you ever felt these things in your thumb, index, or middle finger when climbing a longer session, it might affect you as well.

Some people are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than others. People that spent most of their time in front of the computer and hack on their keyboard are particularly likely to develop it. Climbers can suffer from it too, as the repetitive pattern of wrist use when climbing increases the chance of developing these problems. Especially when you hold a grip, your wrist flexors are continuously put under stress. When the muscles compress, they can actually compress the nerves, and then you suffer from numbness.

If I’m reading it correctly, it appears to state that climbing does not increase your chances of arthritis. It also states that climbing causes the bones in the fingers to be wider than non-climbers, hypothetically proposed as additional bone deposits due to the rock climbing; not causing any negative side effects, however. Also, it appears that these traits appear in people who boulder a lot and rock climb a lot.

Is Rock Climbing Bad for Your Fingers When you Age? Can You Go Rock When You Are over 50 Without Finger Problems?

Most commonly climbers injure their A2 pulley in the finger. The injuries come in 3 categories from a simple sprain over a more serious sprain to a torn pulley. And the injuries take a long time to recover, especially for climbers of age over 50.

But climbing also strengthens the tendons of the fingers, so if you are careful, and have a disciplined training approach (i have an article about it here), there is a good chance of being in your 60s or 70s and climbing quite well. I actually know a lot of older climbers who are still sending hard routes, are all over 60, and have no problems with finger or hand pain.

Related Questions

How Can I Let My Hands Heal After Rock Climbing?

Skin problems are a typical problem for climbers. If you want to keep your skin in working condition for climbing, there are some easy tips you can follow. They will all help you to climb harder, and more often.

Tip for better skin healing When to do Why it’s effective
Wash hands after climbing After your session Removing dirt and chalk from scratches and wounds will decrease the chance of infection, and help hands to recover
Putting on Lotion before bed Immediately before you go to bed The lotion will recover the natural fatty film of your skin and moisturize it. By applying before you sleep, the lotion has a good chance to be fully effective, and you can use a very thick formula, that would normally interfere with not leaving greasy stains on clothing and work.
File calluses down Whenever you have time Calluses can get compressed and actually increase the change of flappers, read more about it here. So better file them down and keep a minimal thin layer of hardened skin.
Try different chalk brands When training, not on on-sight attempts! Some chalk is more aggressive on your hands than others, give yourself a chance to find the right one by trying out different brands, and see how your skin reacts.
Minimize hot water exposure of your hands Whenever you wash hands or dishes Hot water dries out your skin, read more about it here. Simple turn the water a bit cooler, it will still remove dirt and stains well.

Will Rock Climbing Get You in Shape?

It will get you in better shape than doing nothing. It’s not the Nr.1 sport to burn off calories, but it does burn between 500-900 calories in one hour, depending on how much you rest between routes. It also helps build some muscles in your body and keeps you flexible, although it is no way to build a bodybuilder physique. If you want to get in shape, combine climbing with some dedicated strength training and 1-2 times running per week, and you will be in very good shape quickly!

What Is Finger Tape for Climbing?

Climbing tape or also called finger tape is used to protect the skin and tendons of your fingers to put it simply. If you want to know more about it, I wrote an article about it here.

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Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Top 20 Climbing Huge Whippers

I know you like to browse some good whippers, I do at least. I put together a top 20 climbing huge whippers from different sources like Instagram, Youtube and Vimeo. When I collected these links, I had two rules:

A) Must include a decent fall or ‘whoops’ moment

B) No serious accidents, i.e. as you can see in some of these clips of huge whippers climbers bang arms or feet, etc., but I tried to not include videos where it was obvious that the person got hurt badly. Some videos probably caused a sprained ankle or bruises and cuts thought. But thats part of climbing and bouldering.

C) The clips are not in order, which means they are not rated by the length of the fall or something like that. Just the order I found them in.

1. Chris Sharmas Epic Whipper

Oldie but goldie!

2. Lead Climbing Whipper at Clear Creek Canyon Wearing a GoPro

Good that this climber had his action cam on, makes for a cool perspective!

3. Sick Slowmo Whipper

4. Ethan Pringle on Jumbo Love Whipper

5. Smith Rock State Park Whipper – Grounder

This one sucks. Thanks that he didn’t injure himself more, at least he looks okay. Original here.

6. 40+ foot whipper at Escalante on Trad Gear

Wow, this one is high. Thankfully his belayer catched it!

7. Eagle Falls in Upstate New York – Trad Climbing Whipper

This happens when a cam placed does not hold. Probably due to wet conditions. Thanks to the good belayer and a fixed bolt beneath him this ended well! What a fall though…

 

8. 60+ Foot Whipper on Castleton Tower (trad climbing).

Gear held up…

Weekend Whipper: 60-Footer on Castleton Tower (Trad Fall)

Calling all climbers – send us your whipper videos!

Posted by Rock and Ice magazine on Thursday, August 24, 2017

9. Austrian Crag Whipper

Not bad for a typical day at the crag!

10. Insanely huge climbing gym whipper

Whether this was intentional or not, this whipper is crazy. The climber must have left some clips out and got tangled in the rope too…

11. Trad Climbing Whipper at Joshua Tree (Route: Heart of Darkness)

If you don’t know it, trad climbing or traditional climbing has no drilled fixed bolts but you lay all the safety gear yourself. Can be dicey when you take a fall! This climber was alright except for some bruises.

12. Nasty Whipper on Wonderbar 10d at the Pub Wall With an Upside Down Flip

Thankfully the climber was OK, because he wore a helmet. But the flip at the end shows you how NOT TO fall.

13. Large Whipper with 10ft+ Fall taken on Johnny B Good at The Gallery in Red River Gorge

Nice flip at at the end!

14. Aid Climbing Fall On the lost Arrow Spire

This is how falling looks like when you do aid climbing. The gear slowly looses its hold until it all of a sudden ends in a good fall. Aid climbing means you use gear to help you ascent a route, if you don’t know already.

 

15. Slab slipper on Peak Technique, near Bowden, Northumberland, UK

Wow, why not top rope this piece of slab? That’s quite a fall and he was lucky to walk away from it.

16. Big Fall that Almost Lifts the Belayer on Tanuki, Japan

The Belayer is almost as high up as the climber!

 

17. Matt Reeser falls off Desdichado, a 5.13+ in Eldorado Canyon

Kind of a sideways whipper! He actually sent that route one month before.

 

18. Ben Griffin Takes a High Fall at The End of Sweatpants in Public (5.13c), Cascade Canyon, Colorado

He actually fell headfirst into the cliff and needed staples to close the wound on his head afterward. But he came back and sent the route later! “I decided to skip the last bolt, which I did many times in practicing the route, but the rope got stuck around my leg and knee pad and was unable to release the rope. It really sucked.” he told Rock and Ice later.

19. Boulder Pad Miss – Sprained Ankle

Thankfully nothing more happened to him. Technically not a climbing whipper, but he is like 25ft+ high so I thought it’s worth to include it!

https://youtu.be/9_KsZB9eB0M

20. Huge Victory Whip Off Omaha Beach 5.14a

Oh man, this is a huge whipper from the top of the route!

Conclusion

If you liked these clips and climbing, make sure to read some of my other posts like the best climbing and bouldering shoes of 2020 and my guide to building a quick and easy DIY hangboard setup for your apartment without drilling walls.

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

How Hard is Rock Climbing? And How Hard is Bouldering?

Feel free to leave me a comment; I’m always happy to get some feedback!
Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Bouldering Foot Placement Basics – 8 Easy Steps and 8 Drills

I want to talk about the basics today. Basics as in basics of bouldering foot placement. It’s one of the most underrated aspects for many beginners.

When people start with bouldering, they usually focus on their hands only. If you’re rested and fresh, nailing a route is easy if you have solid upper body strength. And many gyms are very arm-focused too, as they have lots of overhanging routes with huge jugs to grab on the lower grades. But using only your arms will quickly wear you down, and the sight of beginners finishing their session early after 30 min with arm pump is a common one at any gym or crag.

Once beginners start to focus more on foot placement and leg technique, they feel very wobbly in the beginning. And they make many mistakes – sloppy footwork results in bad foot placement. Try to listen if someone climbs, and you’ll quickly notice if she is a master of foot placement. Silent, quick and elegant movement usually tells that someone knows how to use their feet while beginners are often loud and bang the main portion of their soles on the footholds.

I want to dedicate this complete post only to bouldering foot placement and the basics of proper foot placement. Many posts handle all the different topics of bouldering technique, but I think you cannot overrate and over practice footwork, especially if you want to improve your grades. Good foot placement will also save you lots of strength and energy in your arms. So, keep reading to learn how to build your bouldering on a solid foundation, feet first…:D

Put your shoes on and it’s go-time!

Why Is good foot placement important for bouldering?

Climbing and bouldering are very arm heavy sports. There is no way around it, top professional climbers you will see a certain type of athlete dominate, and they all have relatively strong upper bodies. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder for climbing, that kind of muscle mass is probably more impeding than helping, but compared to other sports, climbers have a relatively high amount of their (overall low body mass) concentrated in the upper body. Why this post then? Why do people tell you foot placement is so important and that it’s the most important aspect in bouldering? When I started bouldering most people told me that my foot placement was more important than what I did with my arms. Here is the answer: foot placement is so important because most people neglect it completely. And if we assume that 60% of bouldering is arms, then you still have 40% that comes down to leg and footwork.

But if you neglect them, you will always be 40% under your maximum ability. Your legs are the strongest muscles in your body by far, and leaving them out means you miss out on potential. Your legs are also much more enduring than your arms, as they are made for holding the majority of your body weight when you walk and stand. If you take walking, for example, your arms are more or less useless while your legs do the work – that’s why they are so strong. Every time you climb a stair, it’s like a little workout for your legs.
By learning correct foot placement and foot placement technique you can achieve your full potential.

Your legs have greater strength, power, and endurance than your arms. To see why that might be, consider the act of walking. While your arms dangle by your side for the entirety of a typical day (assuming it’s not a day filled with bouldering), your legs are carrying your entire body weight around — step after step after step, for thousands of steps each day. In case you don’t believe me yet, just compare the world records for the bench press and squat:

If you have a solid bouldering foot placement technique it will help you save strength and energy in your arms, while using your already strong legs.
There is a famous quote in Better Bouldering from John Sherman where he says that you should let the big muscles of the legs help you reach higher ground, while your arm muscles should actually only do positioning and balancing. I couldn’t add more to this, that’s what bouldering foot placement technique comes down to.

Bad foot placement means your upper body will wear down quickly, you will get forearm pump more often and faster, and your training session length will be shorter. Chances of injury for elbow and shoulder will also grow as you constantly run into the risk of overstressing the small shoulder muscles or elbow joints. Good foot placement will make you tackle harder problems, climb longer and progress faster. That’s why you should work on your footwork technique, and these basics of footwork placement will give you a good starting point.

Know the Different Areas in a Bouldering Shoe

Before we get into our techniques and drills, let’s talk shoes first. Good climbing shoes LINK are the one and only piece of gear that you really rely on when bouldering.
No matter what you think about them, they are your main contact point with the wall and as such you need to understand how they work. For beginners, climbing shoes look like a rubbery mess, but there is intelligence behind the design. If you know how to use which part of the shoe, your foot placement will become more efficient and better. Knowing what to use where will also help you develop a beta for onsighting a project or boulder too, and it’s important to build solid bouldering foot placement and technique.

Toe Section

This is the part where your toes touch the rock. When you climb, you should usually have your weight centered around this area, and try to avoid touching the wall with anything else. Exceptions are heel hooks and side edges. This part of the shoe is not only the most stable part of the shoe, it’s also the most precise area. And when you use it correctly, it allows you to easily pivot and adjust hips and feets. You can also stand on your tip-toes, which is great to keep balance. If you don’t use your toes you miss out on mobility and reach, and also face the risk of slipping. To understand the toe box, lets look at the thee different parts of it.

  • Front
    If you place the front part of your shoe on a hold, this is a frontstep. Frontsteps are the basic moves when bouldering, and mastering them is key to proper foot placement. With the front of your feet you can super precise. Pivoting is very easy when you front step. But there are some footholds, like thin edges for example, where front stepping is not the best idea. On these footholds, frontsteps have a very small shoe-to-rock area, and that makes it slippery. Being perpendicular to the wall is sometimes a problem too, as it pushes your hips away from the wall which makes you spend more energy to hold and limits potential reach. In these cases you should press hips against the wall and utilize the inner and outer edge of the toe box to gain more stable hold.
  • Inner Edge
    If you use the inner or outer edge of your climbing shoe this is called edging, read more the details of it here. Using the inner side of the shoe is a great way to get more contact area on to the rock and increase friction and hold on thin ledges and edges. It also opens your hips and helps you get the hip closer to the wall, which is good for preserving energy and maintaining hip mobility. Close hips are also good to have maximum reach. A disadvantage of this position is that you have less flexibility when maintaining this position, as it impacts your ability to pivot. Inside edging with both feet is called frog legging.
  • Outer Edges of the Shoe
    When you place the outer edge of the shoe on a foothold it uses your small toes. As they are smaller and not as strong as the big toes on the inside of your feet, this kind of edging is not as stable as inside edging. But this kind of foot placement can be used to perform the backstep. If you don’t know what backstepping is, watch the video down below.

Arch

The midsection of your shoe. Generally speaking, try to avoid using this section for footholds. The climbing shoes have rubber here mainly to protect your feet and when you do crack climbing or twisted moves between rocks where you need to lock yourself in position. For normal climbing, avoid using the main sole of the shoe as much as possible. If you watch someone climbing and she or he uses the midsection of the shoe, often with a lot of noise when placing feet, it’s a typical sign of poor foot placement technique.

Heel

This is the back end of your bouldering or climbing shoe. This part of your shoe is used for hooks. Hooks are important for certain moves, but not for stepping on to regular footholds. For most climbers, hooks become important once they reach certain grades of difficulty, as hooks usually require lots of leg strength, flexibility, and core stability.

8 Keys in Order to Build Superior Bouldering Foot Placement

You know which part of the foot to use for certain situations. But now you need to learn the basics needed to have a solid foot placement technique when climbing or bouldering. The aspects presented here are very important and you should keep them remembered. It’s also helpful to think about them before you start your training session to focus on them. My advice is to try and improve single aspects initially.

  1. Use your eyes and look before you place your feet
    Look where you step. Before you do anything, always do a visual assessment if possible. Not only can you identify the quality and potential of a foothold, it will also help you to place your feet correctly. Both things are important.
    a) Identify FootholdsWhen you try hard boulders or climbing routes, identifying a good foothold quick and effortless is priceless. If you cannot do it, you will find yourself in situations where you use a lot of energy just by holding yourself in position and searching for the next foothold. I know i messed up many problems and routes as a beginner because my eye was not trained to identify potential footholds. This skill is especially important when you climb outside, where there are no marked footholds. Good footholds are often hidden under other rock features, and assessing them in terms of weight placement and potential to support upwards movement is crucial.
    b) Watch feet placement
    Keep your eyes on the feet while you place them. It makes a huge difference for good foot placement in bouldering when you keep your eyes on your foot while you move it. Most beginners have only a quick glance at a foothold, and then carelessly slap their foot on it. And they usually pay for it by needing to readjust their feet. You should do it better: Move your feet as slow as necessary while watching them. Eye the exact point of the rock where you want your toes placed, and don’t look away until you place your foot. If you develop this careful attention, you will notice that you slip less and less with time, and soon you will be super confident and precise. You will also be quick once you get started with a route, as you find new footholds effectively and fast
  2. Be precise
    When you place your feet, you should only need one try to do so. This means you place your foot exactly where it belongs at the first try. When you have precise foot placement, you save energy on stalls and re-positioning, as both cost a lot of arm energy. Think about it: While you fiddle around to have your feet placed right, all the energy comes from your arms while you hold yourself in position. And sometimes margin of error on small and thin edges is simply to small to be sloppy, and you take a fall if you mess it up. If you become precise, you will also become elegant and efficient.
  3. Place feet silently
    When you place your feet while bouldering, they should make almost no noise. Noise usually means you had too much momentum and the rock stops your feet, which means you lack control over your movement. Lots of noise mean no control, no noise means good control. If you cannot execute a move fast without making a lot of noise, you need to work on control. Try to climb routes extra silent, even if it means to execute movement slower. Go and climb a lesser grade if needed, but work on that foot placement control. Once you become better and more controlled, you can work on execution speed again.
  4. Trust your feet and legs
    There are many situations where you need to place enough weight on your foot in order to maintain a stable position. If you don’t trust your feet in these situations it will mean you take a fall. Most beginners don’t trust their feet because they are afraid they will slip and fall. And because they lack trust, they don’t place enough weight on their feet, which results in a fall. It’s a vicious circle. But you can break it, by going all in and putting some “blind” trust into your feet. After a while, you will extend your comfort zone easily by increasing the difficulty of the foothold step by step. Keep trying to step on footholds that you don’t tust in a controlled environment, where you gradually decrease the amount of energy of your arms while holding, and increase the placed weight until you have maximum weight on your toes.
  5. Climb with sticky feet
    Sticky or glue feet means that you have the ability to place your feet without readjusting. It’s a consequence of being very precise, to a level where you can place your foot on a hold and it sits almost perfectly – without any readjusting. Constant readjusting burns up precious energy and endurance, and you can easily practice this skill by climbing boulders without adjusting the feet and trying to spend more time before you place your feet and trying to be precise.
  6. Proper hip movement
    All climbing starts in your hip. It’s the single skill most people neglect, and for good foot placement you need good hip technique. Keep in mind to keep your hips as close to the wall as possible and to initiate movement with your hips.
  7. Grab holds actively with your feet
    When you grip a hold with your hand you don’t just lay your hands on them and wait if it works out. You grab and squeeze (but don’t overgrip!). But when it comes to foot placement, many beginners passively place their feet on the foothold and are done with it. What you should do is actively step and grab a foothold with your feet. Activate your muscles, step on your tip-toes if needed and try to really hold and “draw” the hold with your feet. You will notice a big difference regarding the amount of energy needed from your arms to hold a position this way – the more you actively hold a foothold with your feet, the less energy is needed from your arms.
  8. Use the feet to propel upwards movement
    Try to imagine you’re doing a super hard one legged squat when you actually progress vertically. Activate your leg muscles, and don’t just pull yourself up with your arms. Once you feel the burn in your leg muscles you know you are using them correctly.

8 Drills for building foot placement techniques fast

I put together some helpful drills to execute, to make learning proper foot placement easier for you. Include them when you do gym climbing sessions or outside. It doesn’t matter if you boulder or rock climb, they work for both.

1. Drill to train precise foot placement: Corks on Footholds
A great way to practice precision is the cork method. You pick a simple traverse on a nearly vertical or vertical wall and place wine corks on the footholds. Now your goal is to traverse and use the footholds with the cork laying on top of it, but doing it without kicking the cork of the foothold. This way you need to be very precise and gentle when you place your foot. Don’t worry if you are super slow, this is not about being fast. Remember the saying: Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. It’s all about controlling the movement and being smooth.

2. Another Drill to train precise foot placement: One-time placement game
Climb some boulders with imaginary glue on your feet. Once you place your feet, you’re not allowed to adjust them. Try to find the right position at the first try, then commit for the foothold and continue.

3. Drill to train foot placement and body positioning: Tennis ball drill
This drill helps you train how you position yourself on the wall. You need 2 tennis balls and a slab wall. Now hold the 2 balls in your hands and climb the wall, without holding anything. You are allowed to place the ball with your fist for support. Remember to push on your feet to hold position on the slab. You can also use your fists for this drill if you have no tennis balls.

4. Drill for more calve strength: Tip-toeing
If you need more power in the calves and upper feet, deliberately train tip-toeing. Find a level surface and then press up from the ground to stand on the front part of your feet, if possible only the toes. Hold the position for some seconds, do 10 repetitions for 3 sets, wait a minute between the sets. If you build strength in these muscles, it will be much easier for you to maintain a balanced position on a tiny foothold.

5. Drill for switching feet: Warm up with traverse and switching feet
Find a traverse wall, and use it for warming up. While you traverse it, practice different styles of feet swapping. You can use the foot on top of other foot method or any other method. Some good tricks are shown in the video below.

6.Drill to learn trusting your feet: Tape on footholds (Only do in the gym!)
Put some shiny tape over footholds and then climb them. You will only be able to hold onto them if you put maximum pressure on your feet. This way you will build up confidence and trust in your foot placement, as the friction of the footholds is reduced. But don’t do this on difficult routes and don’t forget to completely remove the tape afterward. Please also refrain from this drill on natural rocks!

7. Drill for accuracy and tension: Toe-stabs
This drill improves both precision and tension in your feet. With you standing away, have a friend to point to a foothold near the ground. You can also chose it yourself. Then balance on one leg and try to touch the foothold with your other feet as quietly as possible.

8. Climb outside
Admitted, this is not really a drill that teaches you a certain part of foot placement. But it’s super important to keep climbing outside. Only there you need all the skills, including the vision to read the different foothold types. So go outside and climb on real rock!

How to Study other Climbers for Good Bouldering Foot Placement

Bouldering is a sport where you can learn from others. Reading about great foot placement is good, but watching good climbers is super important too. Next time you’re at your gym, watch some good climbers climbing and how they place and use their feet. You can also watch some videos of professional climbers. Adam Ondra and Alex Honnold are both super controlled climbers with great foot placement. Keep an eye out for these things when you watch other climbers or videos:

  • Which part of the foot touches the rock
  • How do they use their core and lower body to relieve their arms
  • What are they doing with their eyes and head
  • How long do they keep both eyes on the foot when they place it
  • Are they adjusting the foot placement often?
  • What are they doing with their hips to initiate movement?
  • What kinds of rest positions do they use and how do they place their feet when resting?
  • Which part of their foot touches the wall or rock

Conclusion

Foot placement is a basic skill, and like most basic skills it requires hours of training to mastering it. The good news: It’s a linear process, and even if you only spent 2 hours per week on dedicated foot placement training you will quickly notice gains in the difficulty of bouldering you can do.  Training foot placement and footwork will make you a better boulderer and also transfer to sport and trad climbing. Don’t be like many beginner boulderers who only train their arms, but focus on your legs and feet too. Your legs are your strongest muscles, and they are a great tool that will save you energy and let you climb more difficult boulders.

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Reviews

Best Climbing Shoes for 2020 for Boulderers and Climbers

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Climbing shoes are one of the essential climber gears. That is why you need to make sure you buy the best pair for your style of climbing. On the other hand, with tons of different styles of climbing shoes available to select from, it can be overwhelming to choose the best pair that will suit your preference and budget. To help you pick the right climbing shoes, here are the tips you need to follow. We also put the best climbing shoes for 2020 for boulderers and climbers to the test!

Climbing shoes have a  short history, they were only invented in the second half of the last century. But they have gone a long way from there, and for 2020 there are some interesting new concepts like 3D molded climbing shoes with inlay socks and really aggressive beginner shoes, targeted for gym climbers.

What Sort of Climbing You Do Most?

The first and perhaps the most essential factor to consider when buying a climbing or bouldering shoe is to know what kind of climbing are you into. Are you into bouldering, alpine climbing, or sport climbing? Crack climbs, face climbs, or slab climbs?

Different kinds of rock climbing need different types of equipment. What is more, they also need various features and properties in bouldering or climbing shoes. Like for instance, boulders often use tighter shoes which they can pull off fast between climbs.

Choosing the Best Type of Closure

The most popular shoe closures are Velcro and lace, even if slippers are slowly becoming a new style. Selecting the best kind of closure is a personal choice and somewhat about fit. Start by choosing a type of closure and then searching for bouldering shoes which fit your fit. You can also try on many shoes and from the ones which fit, pick the type of closure that meets your needs and preference.

Velcro

Advantages

  • For those with an average foot, ho big toes or crazy archers but the small middle section, this type of closure fits excellent.
  • Velcro is faster than lacing, and three straps will provide further adjustability
  • Velcro’s that has split tongues help fit a wider foot.

Disadvantages

  • Often, this material can be loose when you are climbing at a high grade for a continued amount of time.
  • Sometimes Velcro’s can loosen (compared to a lace-up) when you’re climbing at a high grade for a sustained amount of time.
  • The closure of Velcro might add bulk while climbing and cause pressure points

Who Can Benefit from Velcro Shoes?

This is ideal for everyone, most especially boulders because of the speed in putting on and taking off.

Lace

Advantages

  • This type of shoe is useful when you have oddly, fussy shaped feet as you can customize the fit, like tighten the lace at the toe. You can also loosen in the mid-part to have a room for high volume feet or high arch feet.

Disadvantages

  • It takes time to put on and take off

Who Benefit from Wearing Laced Shoes

This is ideal for trad climbers who need a versatile fit. This is also perfect for sport climbers who climb aggressive routes.

Slipper

Advantages

  • Extremely fast to put on and take off
  • It is an automatic fit, so there is no closure to stress about
  • Some models come with a strap made of Velcro, which adds more safety to keep your heel in the right place and lessen slipping.

Disadvantages

  • Climbers with wide foot might find restrictions to the elastic
  • If the only closure is made of stretchy material, you may find limitations in performance during aggressive maneuvers because the shoe might stretch or slip.
  • Wide-footed climbers may find restrictions to the elastic.
  • When the only closure is stretchy material, one may find performance limitations during aggressive maneuvers as the shoe may slip or stretch.

Who can Benefit from Wearing Slipper Shoes?

Boulders love the quickness of this shoe in getting it on and getting it off. While trad climbers enjoy less bulk as well as pressure point while rock climbing.

Choosing the Best Material

Boulders shoes are available in various materials, so it is important to choose one that meets your needs and preference. Some of the best materials are:

Leather

In case you have fussy or oddly shaped foot which does not seem to like a climbing shoe, then leather might be the best choice. Leather expands when there’s pressure so that it can provide a comfortable fit as this match to your foot over time.

The disadvantage of this expanding is that it makes it challenging to know the right size. It depends on the kind of leather, and it will be more or less stretchy. In general, the leather shoe will expand .5 to 1 shoe size. However, there is an exception, and the LA Sportiva Mythos are renowned for quickly stretching additional 1.5-inch sizes. How big the shoe stretches depend on how tightly it is fitted to start with- a tighter one will expand or stretch more.

Leather is breathable compared to synthetic components. So, your foot minimizes sweats and the shoe airs more, which reduce the smell. This doesn’t alleviate all odors. However, it helps. This material can smell just as gross when aren’t aired out properly after using. So, carry and store your climbing shoes in an open area with lots of fresh air to dry out properly.

Important Considerations

When your shoe does get disagreeably smelly, it is harder to clean a leather model as it stretches when wet. Lined leather climbing shoes do not extend as much. However, they are less breathable.

Synthetic

A synthetic bouldering or climbing shoe is more accessible to size compared to leather models as it has minimal stretch. If you are looking for a boulder shoe which will not alter sizes in due course, then synthetic is the best choice. On the other hand, the lack of stretch does not mean it is vital to get a precise fit-out of the box.

Even if this material can get smells caught in them easier, they are easy to maintain. Most synthetic boulder shoes available will not acquire water damage. Like for instance, the famous LA Sportiva Oxygym’s, this were made to be submersible and washable. A lot of synthetic bouldering or climbing shoes are vegan-friendly as well.

Hybrid

A hybrid climbing shoe can be a good choice because it is easier to size with less stretching. However, it conforms to the exceptionality of your foot in specific areas. However, it all depends on the situation as well as the ratio of leather to artificial materials.

The way you will take advantage of this type of climbing shoes is to look for a model which fits well all through your feet, but could be a bit tighter in the leather parts. This is perfect as those leather parts are able to stretch in order to have a room for knuckles and wider hear.

Sizing Tips on Climbing and Bouldering Shoes

Bouldering and climbing shoes must feel completely snug in your foot. There should be no spaces or dead gaps, which will lessen sensitivity. Spaces or gaps under the arch or in the heel can cause your shoe to slide and slip in when your cam your toes or heel hook into a splinter.

Try-ons should be done around the time when the feet is a bit bigger.

Pay attention to concise climbing shoes. The upper part will stretch; however, the shoes will not get longer as you get them in.

Keep your mind to the rear of the heel. Stand on your toes to ensure the shoe does not press devastatingly on Achilles tendon.

Every model or brand has its sizing. Begin with your standard shoe size down or up to get a comfortable fit.

Try on many different styles and brands. The best bouldering and climbing shoes are those which fits you perfectly. Therefore, take time and try out many pairs.

Unisex Climbing Shoes

A lot of bouldering shoes available on the market today are unisex. When the female’s specific version is on hand, the choices usually are less. Some manufacturers provide women version available in purple and pink color, whereas other manufacturers market a gender-neutral low volume option. Men have low volume feet and decided to buy bouldering shoes for women for a perfect fit.

Top Climbing and Bouldering Shoes Available

The best climbing shoe depends on your chosen fit, closure preferences as well as climbing styles. It is extremely hard to choose, so we have made it simple for you. Below are the top picks for the best climbing and bouldering shoes for 2020. Check this out!

SCARPA Veloce climbing shoe (Unisex)

 

best climbing shoes for 2020
Scarpa Veloce

This is among the top climbing shoes for 2020. After going a lot of shoe demo’s SCARPA figured out something interesting, first time climbers would attempt on the most progressive climbing climbing shoes and like those best, although they would be using those advanced shoes sized much too big.

Conventionally, beginner climbing shoes have been reasonably stiff without downturn and asymmetry. This is better when a climber is learning to climb outside on tall concrete walls. The stiff sole helped to feet keep on the smaller holds.

As of 2019 and 2020 however, many rock climbers start to climb at climbing gyms indoor. The holds there are usually much bigger and on overhanging walls— climbing shoes which are downturned and flexible help for these kinds of grips. Therefore, SCARPA made a shoe intended for this type of beginner climber. Also, they made a new last which will encourage climbers to acquire the right fit in this comfortable and softer downturned shoe.

Check prices on Amazon

Pros

  • Downturned beginner shoe – one of the rare ones!
  • Comfortable even for beginners
  • Good for overhangs and boulder problems

Cons

  • No cons known yet


Mad Rock Vision

best climbing shoes for 2020
Mad Rock Vision

For many years, Mad Rock has been creating compression-molded pieces in their climbing shoes, from three dimensional molded rubbers which cover big toe-patches to three-dimensional molded heel cups. At this point, the company has taken a big step and has created a climbing show with an outer layer that is 3D molded. This essential feature allows for a considerable reduction in wasted rubber. What is more, it also allows the designer to move the rubber easily if they want to make thinner and thicker parts on the shoe to make sure a right and comfortable fit. This results in a more comfortable shoe that performs well too.

To have a room for this rubber construction, there is an inner sock which will integrate the midsole. The inner sock offers either a hard or soft midsole option. It also comes with closure made of Velcro. Still, there are lots of special details to come like the price and the release date.

Pros

  • 3D molded
  • Inner sock

Cons

  • No cons known yet

La Sportiva Cobra 4:99

best climbing shoes for 2020
La Sportiva Cobra 4:99

La Sportiva Cobra 4:99 is the first shoe ever made intended for speed climbing. This began from the La Sportiva Cobra, and the company cut down all the bulkiness. The 4:99 is extremely light as the sole rubber goes halfway. The rear has been stripped to have small structure because this is not needed for climbing the speed road. It also comes equipped with less heel pressure, super-soft heel for an ideal and comfortable fit. It also comes with non-sticky rand on the side to avoid catching on holds.

Check prices on Amazon.

Pros

  • Comfortable and good for speed climbing
  • Super soft

Cons

  • Less pronounced heel

La Sportiva Genius

best climbing shoes for 2020
La Sportiva Genius

From the people who initially brought you climbing shoes, this La Sportiva Genius is indeed the result of climbing shoe technology’s many developments and ingenuity. More than just the advancement of the No Edge idea, this Genius model lends the best characteristics from the arsenal of La Sportiva for its style and design. The outcome is a climbing shoe which can edge with precision and support while providing edges as well as barely-there nubbins. On the other hand, this is also perfect for steep climbing.

A lot of shoes made for steep climbs are sensitive and soft but doesn’t have enough fit for its incredible softness when it comes to techy on-feet-styles. For La Sportiva Genius, it does outstandingly well at both.

Check prices on Amazon.

Pros

  • Supportive and very sensitive
  • Offset lacing style for a glove-like fit
  • Most excellent edging performance

Cons

  • Very Expensive

Black Diamond Momentum

best climbing shoes for 2020
Black Diamond Momentum

Black Diamond is one of the best makers of climbing. In fact, they have been in the business for many years and recently released a new model, the Black Diamond Momentum.

This shoe is intended for beginners- providing an easy on and off style, flat shape design as well as superb breathability. It comes with exceptional knit uppers- helpful where you want is and loose when you want to breathe. It is made of synthetic materials which mitigates stretch. Therefore, sizing will be not a problem opposed to climbing shoes made with leather uppers.

Loop and hoop tabs make this shoe easy to get on and off. It comes with soft midsoles flex, which allows the wearer to get familiar with the sense of holds under the feet whether you are smearing or climbing . The outsoles come with Neofriction rubber, which provides for the same sensitivity and thickness. You can wear this climbing shoe all day without pressuring your feet.

It has Velcro closure that might not be perfect for all, however for a newbie gets the task done. It is cheap, which makes it appealing for newbie climbers who are buying their first-ever climbing shoe.

Check prices on Amazon.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Cheap
  • Sizing is not a problem

Cons

  • Less sensitive

Butora Across

best climbing shoes for 2020
Butora Across

Are you searching for a climbing shoe which is not only convenient and high performing, but also available for a reasonable price? Then look no further than Butora Acro. A lot of climbers praise the box fit of this model. A lot of users are noting that there is a similarity with La Sportiva Solution. Butora integrates “F5 rubber sticky” to harden micro features as well as slabs to make it superb.

This shoe has unwanted space in the heel. Butora Across is not as sensitive as many of the boulder shoes available; on the other hand, the stiff integrated sole offers an excellent edging platform. No pain when climbing rocks!

Check price on Amazon.

Pros

  • This is available in two types: narrow blue and wide orange
  • Amazing toe hooking prowess due to the integrated sticky rubber uppers
  • Good price

Cons

  • Less sensitive
  • Too much space in the heel

La Sportiva Tarantula

best climbing shoes for 2020
La Sportiva Tarantula

For those starting rock climbing, La Sportiva Tarantula is the best choice. Few climbing shoes are reasonable at similar quality as well as versatility. A lot of advanced climbing shoes place your foot in a hostile position, which is painful as well as not necessary if you are only starting. Even if this shoe does not have the accurate style of the other expensive models, that can be a benefit. The La Sportiva Tarantula climbs almost everywhere; cracks, gym as well as multi-pitch routes.

Check price on Amazon

Pros 

  • Reasonable
  • Symmetrical shape
  • The flat style keeps your feet in a calm position

Cons

  • Too soft
  • Not an accurate fit

Take the Time to Do Research

Reading this guide emphasizes the idea of how to look for the best and perfect climbing shoes.

On the other hand, you have to ensure that you do a bit of research, as well. Keep in mind that climbing shoes are considered a big investment. Take a look at the nearest gym or crag. Ask climbing partners or friends what they are using and why they choose them.

You are encouraged to read previous clients’ reviews (climbing shoe companies provide customer reviews on their website) for the designs you are considering.

Buying climbing shoes is a time-consuming task. However, it will be worthwhile once you get the best pair.

Keep on reading our other review for the best climbing pants for 2020, and our post that shows you how to build a  hangboard set up inside your apartment without drilling walls.

 

 

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Climbing and bouldering hand care – how to tape flappers to the palm?

If you talk about climbing and secrets to become good, one of the surprising things good climbers speak about a lot is skin. It seems that the condition of skin makes a big difference when climbing, which makes sense. It’s your main contact point to the rock (together with your feet). Skin injuries are common, and flappers are one of the most annoying injuries. A flapper is a large piece of skin ripping open on your skin, often caused by blisters opening up due to friction. They are painful, and the sensitive, open skin they expose make climbing painful. Typical advice is to tape them, but how to tape flappers to the palm if they happen? What’s the best way to keep the skin in a working condition – taking a break is sometimes no option. Read on for details.

This post is not (mainly) about healing flappers

Note that this post is not how you prepare your skin for fastest healing. Keeping climbing and making the skin heal in the fastest time are actually two very different things. And they contradict each other: Preparing to continue climbing might introduce further damage to your skin while preparing for healing requires rest at some point. Whenever you continue climbing with skin injuries, you risk extending the amount of time needed to heal up. You introduce the chance of more skin injury to the already soft, damaged, and exposed tissue.

Ask yourself the question: Do you want to continue climbing now, or make sure you heal up as fast as possible. And then act. I’ll present you some strategies to continue climbing in this post.

What is a flapper

You can get a flapper from most grips and holds, but they typically arise when you hold large jugs, etc. where lots of palm or finger area is involved.
Flappers usually occur because calluses on fingers or palm become too thick. While calluses are great, and the hardened skin protects from injuries, if the callus is too thick, it can get pinched between the hold and your finger, and eventually rip open.
You even feel this, when you put big forces on your grip on large holds. Make sure to grip properly when you hold big holds – aka use a shallow hold and try not to put a lot of force on your palm. This also trains your fingers more.

Longterm flapper prevention

Some words of advise: Long term it’s better to prepare your skin to prevent flappers as good as possible. You can do many things for your skin, but there are 3 things that are top priority:
1. Sand down your callused pads and fingers before climbing. Flappers come from climbing in large jugs, and gripping holds them with as much hand as possible. That’s why they rarely happen on routes with tiny handholds and often happen in bouldering gyms, where the easy routes consist of super big jugs. The smoother your skin is in terms of calluses, the less risk of flappers.
2. Harden your skin – climb a lot. By climbing a lot your skin hardens, and if you keep sanding down your calluses you will have very hard but “flat” skin, which minimizes potential surface for flappers to happen.
3. Keep your skin moisturized – chalk and rock climbing make your skin super dry. Super dry skin is also more prone to calluses and flappers, so make sure to use a hand balm. I love “climb on”.

Quick 2 minute routine before bed for Longterm flapper prevention

I usually sand down 2-3 calluses with 80 sandpaper for 3 minutes, until there is still hardened skin left, but the skin is not excessive. I then apply a good layer of the balm for the night. This quick routine helps two ways: I keep calluses small, minimizing risk for flappers. I also keep the hardened skin beneath the calluses in good condition, as to climb on works wonders to heal little abrasions and micro-cuts. By doing it before I go to bed, I also don’t have to worry about some of it spilling on my clothes, etc. – I can use a good portion, and overnight my hands will soak it in. Try it; your skin will feel really good in the morning.

When the flapper happens

Sometimes flappers happen, even though you try to prevent them. There are two options now: Skin is still hanging on your palm or skin came off. If skin came off, there’s not much you can do to tape it as it’s already gone. If there is skin left, it can make sense to cut it off too. Especially if you want to keep climbing.

Cut off edges

Try to cut off the edges of the flapper with a nail clipper or scissors, or even chew them off when you’re outside. This is crucial to prevent further tearing, as excess skin can keep tearing. It’s like a bag of candy – if you open it the wrong way, it tears down to the bottom. Dry the exposed fresh skin and apply some chalk to it if you want to keep climbing. Note: This will be painful, and it’s better to take a break and let it heal for the night. But sometimes, you need to keep going, take multi-pitches, for example. In this case, you can also apply the following techniques for flappers WITH some skin left.

Tape it up to keep climbing

If you intend on climbing more that day, then tape it up and go but once you’re done, take the tape OFF. Letting the air at your wound is one of the best things you can do speed up recovery.
If you wonder how to apply the tape exactly – the best way is to tape a long piece to your wrist, then go around your fingers and go back to the wrist. Go in a line that covers the flapper. This way the tape is anchored to wrist and finger and does not come off so easily. I made a photo of how you should apply the tape below.

Glue it up – the smart alternative to taping flappers

Gluing the open skin is another good method. While tape can come off, and it will do it even faster if you sweat, the glue holds much longer.
The skin under the flapper is ultra-sensitive; that’s why it makes sense to put another layer on top. You can use medical glue for this. This acts as a skin replacement and also seals off the wound. Medical glue comes in two ways: Made for human use and made for animal use. While the animal use is non-toxic too, it’s technically not FDA approved. That doesn’t mean its harmful; it just means there have been no human tests or the company had no money and resources to go through the excessive FDA approval process.

Stay away from household super glue

how to tape flappers
I would not recommend to use household glue

Don’t use Krazy glue or super glue. While Super Glue and medical glue are chemically pretty similar to each other, I would still stay away from Super Glue and Krazy Glue. They most likely have no damaging long term effects (and there are many climbers using them to glue skin and cuts, split fingertips, etc.), but they can irritate your skin and cause foreign body reaction. And their fumes have been found to cause liver damage and eye irritation. And they haven’t been tested for use on skin (neither animal or human use), nor have they been tested for human use. I would instead opt for either Dermabond or Vetbond.

Expensive: Get Dermabond or something similar

Dermabond is made to close wounds and skin abrasions as well as surgical incisions. It is approved and safe to use, but a package costs 150$+. If you have the money, go get a package, it’s great stuff.

Cheap option: Vetbond or liquid bandages

how to tape flappers
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, get some Dermabond. At least it’s made for animal skin!

Vetbond is made for animals, so it’s non-toxic for use on skin. It’s not FDA approved – so, I cannot give you medical advice. As the name says, Vetbond is designed for animal use. But the glue works well on both human and animal skin, keep in mind it works for pigs and monkeys – and pig and monkey skin is as close to human skin as you can get.
But as it’s not FDA approved for human use, it means it hasn’t gone through the long and tough process of the FDA. If you read about the topic, there are many people using it for human wounds too, including me.
A lack of an FDA approval does not mean it’s toxic. It just says the company didn’t want to go through the expensive process of approving it, which also includes approving the packaging and so on.

Let it dry out on the air when resting

Letting the air at it will dry it out, and that’s what you want for flappers like these. I find that often I can climb on it again even when the wound is only halfway healed because it’s so dry — it doesn’t hurt or get torn further.

How to use Skinglue like Dermabond and Vetbond for flappers when to continue climbing or bouldering

This is not a longterm treatment. But if you need a quick and dirty fix to keep climbing with a flapper, follow this method. It works decent and keeps you finish your day of climbing. But you should try to rest and heal up afterward nonetheless.

1. Clean the area around and inside the flapper

Make sure your flapper or abrasion is clean enough. Let blood push dirt and bacteria away; you can also use some wound disinfection.

2. Stop bleeding if there is any

Stop bleeding with gauze or tissue by applying pressure.

3. Keep palm skin slack while applying

Make sure your palm skin is slack, so don’t tense your hand.

4. Apply the first layer of glue

Line up the skin (if there is skin left) with the wounds outer edge and apply a layer of the glue to the exposed flapper. It will seal the wound directly and immediately. If you have no skin left, apply a patch of Vetbond over the exposed fresh skin – it will act as a skin replacement, and protect the sensitive skin below.

5. Let harden, repeat 2 times

Wait a few minutes, repeat the process 2 times, to have 3 layers of glue.

6. Keep glue away from wool, cotton, etc.

Make sure to keep the glue away from cotton, leather or wool. These materials will cause a heat reaction with the liquid glue, causing burns.

7. Use water or saliva to harden the glue

The glue hardens by contact with water and thus will harden when in contact with blood. If your flapper does not bleed, spit on it while gluing. You can also moisturize the area of the flapper with some water.
The glue will come off over the course of 5-7 days.
You can reapply it if you like.

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Reviews

Best Climbing Pants 2020: The Top 16 for 2020!

We put 16 of the best climbing and bouldering pants on the market through the wringer for 2020. Prana Stretch Zion (women’s equal counterpart is the Prana Halle Pant) is our winner, closely followed by the AP pants of Mountain Hardware. We also included a low budget option to find the best climbing pants in 2020.

Climbing uniquely challenges clothing, especially once you climb on real rock. You basically use your pants in a way that would destroy regular clothing within a short time. An ideal climbing pants pair should be both very durable, breathable, and maintain mobility.

Our 2020 Review

These goals are usually going towards opposite directions, but thanks to excellent fabrics and smart design, there are many top-notch climbing pants for 2020. Our top 16 climbing pants of 2020 are mostly great picks, and if you stick to our recommendations you won’t go wrong!

Some of the pants we tested won’t be continued in 2020, but you can still get them at a huge discount online, and they offer the perfect opportunity for a bargain. We have marked these as discontinued, so you can go bargain hunting!

UPDATE

As new pants are released by the different brands, we reviewed these and continue to review new models, so this list will grow over time! That way you will always find an updated list of the top climbing pants in 2020 here. Some of the pants we tested have been on the market for some time but experienced minor or major improvements, so we felt it’s worth to retest them in their current version.

Choosing the perfect pair of climbing pants comes down to what type of climbing you are doing in which climate and under what circumstance, that’s why we included a little guide as well. Read more for details!

Use the quick list to directly jump to the review:

Prana Stretch Zion Pants /Women’s: Prana Halle Pants – 97/100

Short Facts:

  • Material: 97% nylon, 3% spandex
  • 5 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 1 zip thigh
  • Weight: 385 g (13.6 oz)
  • A built-in belt that is adjustable
  • Leg snaps can be rolled up

Prana Zion pants are well designated and crafted with perfectionism.  Being both functional and good looking, they have the potential to be the all-rounder pant for 2020. No matter if you go rock climbing, bouldering, traditional climbing or just hang out at the crag.

What we really liked about them is the stretchy material, which feels very polished and is abrasion-resistant. On top of that, it dries fast when it gets wet, which makes it perfect for spring and autumn climbing. They don’t cost a lot and are both warm and breathable.

And they come with ventilated inseam gusset, a built-in belt, five pockets with mesh inlay to store whatever you need and some roll up legs for more ventilation in the summertime.

Prana made a real candidate for the best rock climbing pant with the Zion, this doesn’t change in 2020. If you compare them to pants like the Arcteryx Gamma pant, they offer better value for the money

Pros

  • suitable for any type of climbing, bouldering
  • very durable and breathable
  • stretch a lot, thus comfortable
  • belt included
  • price is reasonable
  • dry quick, robust and abrasion-resistant
  • ventilation top notch

Cons

  • not as warm and insulating as some of the other pants

The best outdoor climbing pants of 2020: Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pant / Outdoor Research Women’s Ferrosi Pant

Short Facts:

  • Material: 86% nylon, 14% spandex
  • 5 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 zip rear, 1 zip thigh
  • Weight: 345 g (12.2 oz)
  • Cuff closures with draw cords

A close follow-up to our top pick, the Ferrosi pants are a favorite of our testers. They feel ultra-comfortable, almost as if climbing naked. Thanks to the thin and light fabric, they offered perfect mobility and breathability.

They were the best pants in terms of breathability and mobility!

I personally would wear them even when relaxing on my couch in favor of sweatpants.

To our surprise, they also were pretty abrasion-resistant and durable, as well as protective. Weatherproofing was top-notch, and even when climbing outdoors in colder air, they felt warm and comfy. Ferrosi pants are reasonably priced too: If you can get them on a discount, they are a steal.

Plain and simple

Our only complaint is that they lack additional features. They do have a cinch system for the leg cuffs, but it works not so great, and the waist is non-adjustable, which means you need a separate. Some might consider this a plus, but the design was almost a little too simple for our taste. But if you prefer minimalistic, no-frills pants, Ferrosis are your go-to pants.

A debatable topic is their look – they are not very fashionable, but we think for a technical climbing pant, that should not be your main focus.

For the all-round best pant, the Ferrosis didn’t make it by an inch. But they are the best climbing pant for outdoor climbing, no matter if you boulder, sport climb or trad.

Pros

  • best for any type of outdoor climbing, bouldering
  • most breathable pants in the test
  • large thigh pocket
  • cheaper price
  • lightweight and comfortable, almost like wearing nothing
  • surprisingly warm
  • ventilation top notch

Cons

  • style is not super fashionable

Best looking and fashionable climbing pant: Prana Axiom Jeans

Short Facts:

  • Material: 99% organic cotton, 1% spandex
  • 4 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear
  • Weight: 306 g (10.8 oz)

While the Mountain Hardwear AP Pant does look slick too, Pranas Axiom Jeans are still the best looking climbing pants.

Fitted, stretchy jeans are stylish, and there no way around it. And we have to admit that they excel in mobility too. It was almost surprising, but Prana somehow managed to blend denim with stretchy material. The result is pants that look like jeans but climb like every other good climbing pants. Thanks to the diamond gusset crotch, your legs are pretty movable too, and stepping high on a difficult boulder or when topping out of a route is easy and comfortable.

Their other big plus is the looks: If you take your time and try them on, they look pretty sharp thanks to their fitted cut.

Get the looks

The obvious additional strength is the looks. Appropriately sized, the Axioms have a straight but fitted cut that sits nicely and looks sharp. If you don’t know it, you will not even be able to pick them out from normal jeans.

As they are denim, however, they are not as comfortable as regular climbing pants. And if you have thick quads and calves, or are overweight, you need to size them one size bigger than normal.

Everyone else should size them one size smaller than normal, as they are cut pretty loose.

When it comes to outdoor climbing and weatherproof, they are not that suitable. While they are still comfortable to wear when hiking, as soon as things become humid or wet, the denim fabric is mediocre. And it is not as abrasion-resistant as some of the nylon blends. As such,  we cannot recommend them as hardcore outdoor climbing pants. But if you need a versatile all-rounder to wear to the gym, bouldering and for the evening beer to your local pub, they are our top pick.

Pros

  • very flexible and stretchy material, although being denim
  • gusseted crotch area
  • best looking pants in the test
  • fitted cut is sharp and sizes well
  • lots of leg mobility

Cons

  • not so great weatherproofing, which is to expect for denim
  • abrasion resistance on the surface is only mediocre, although the inner part of the pants are durable
  • no reinforced knees
  • no length adjustment possible

Patagonia Venga Rock Pant

Short Facts:

  • Material: 73% organic cotton, 24% polyester, 3% elastane
  • 5 Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 1 side
  • Weight: 408 g (14.4 oz)

If you look for an eco-conscious pant, don’t look further than the Patagonia Venga Rock Pant. This one looks so good, you can even wear it when going to the pub, but comes with a breathable and stretchy finish.  They are also good to climb in, although they lack an ankle cinch, which we think is a bit of a downer.

They do have a gusseted crotch, a toothbrush holding loop, and reinforced knees. Makes them an excellent choice for people who love to boulder and climb cracks, but not so great for long alpine routes due to the missing ankle cinch,  which means you cannot close them.

Pros

  • Great mobility and flexibility
  • Reinforced knees
  • Good pockets
  • Gusseted crotch area
  • Breathable
  • Toothbrush holder loop is practical
  • Robust and comfortable

Cons

  • No ankle cinch
  • Pretty expensive

So Solid Leggings

Short Facts:

  • Material: 78% RECYCLED polyamide
  • No Pockets
  • Weight: 200 g (7 oz)

These eco-conscious pants are made of 78% recycled polyamide. So Solid makes Leggings for boys and girls. Granted, you have to be a bit of an extrovert to rock these pants as a guy, but this is something we liked.

When it comes to performance, it cannot get any better than against-the-skin tight – they so comfortable and stretchy, that it’s like you’re climbing naked. As stretchy and thin the material is, it’s still relatively resistant to abrasion, although you shouldn’t expect it to work like a thick pair of pants from jeans fabric.

With their gusseted crotch and breathability, they also give you a nice level of breathing. It’s up to you if you like the style and the colors, but these pants work!

Pros

  • stretchiest pant we reviewed
  • abrasion resistant for a leggings
  • you will make new weird friends when you wear them
  • gusseted crotch
  • warm for being so thin
  • suitable for indoor climbing and bouldering

Cons

  • a bit pricey
  • don’t wear if you don’t like attention
  • no pockets whatsoever
  • less warm and durable than the other “real” pants

Arcteryx Gamma Rock Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Arcteryx Gamma pant: Great but expensive

Short Facts:

  • Material: 84% nylon, 16% elastane
  • 3 pockets: 1 rear, 2 hip
  • Weight: 362 g (12.8 oz)

These pants are a little bit heavier than some of the others but other than that they are fantastic. Water-resistant, flexible but warm and very breathable they tick many of the features we wanted.

The nylon material makes them also durable, and the designers cleverly implement features: A chalk bag loop, integrated belt, four-way stretch, gusseted inseam and lots of pockets work well in day to day climbing.

Thanks to the protective knee area, you have some protection here as well.

But they are expensive, and one pair of these pants cost you twice the amount of the other pants, so be aware.

Pros

  • Perfect for alpine and trad climbing
  • Mobility is great
  • Warmth is suitable
  • Gusseted crotch and integrated belt
  • Weatherproof
  • Chalk bag loop

Cons

  • very expensive
  • heavy

Mountain Hardwear Yumalino Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Best winter pants: Mountain Hardwear Yumalino pants

Short Facts:

  • Material: 88% nylon, 12% elastane;
  • 5 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip, 1 side
  • Weight: 550 g (1 lb 3 oz)

This is the perfect pant for autumn and winter climbing. They’re easily the warmest pants we tested, and are made with a super comfy soft fleece lining.

Thanks to the softshell exterior shell they’re also water repellent and great for cool weather outdoor climbing. The gusseted crotch makes them mobile as well, combined with the stretchy material. For further protection, MH reinforced the knee area.

But they are the heaviest pants in our test, and the material makes them unsuitable for summer climbing.  If you’re looking for a cold-weather, durable and warm alpine and trad climbing pant these are perfect for you. If you have the change to spare, they’re pretty expensive.

Pros

  • best  for trad and alpine climbing
  • very warm
  • comfy soft lining
  • durable weatherproof exterior
  • reinforced knees

Cons

  • too heavy and warm for summer climbing or bouldering
  • expensive

La Sportiva Talus Rock Climbing Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Functional and good looking: La Sportiva Talus
Short Facts:

  • Material: 96% Nylon, 4% Spandex
  • 4 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip,
  • Weight: 420 g (14.8 oz)

La Sportiva’s Talus pants look awesome and are functionally designed.

Including protected knees, gusseted crotch and integrated sleeve for a toothbrush, they also sport a handy loop for your chalk bag.

Made from 100% synthetic material, they’re breathable and comfortable. As the elasticated waist has a string-tie included, they also fit really well with harnesses – no belt needed!

We liked these features a lot, but the pants are pricey, and the material felt a tad less high-performing compared to the Gamma, Venga or Zion pants from above. They also lack an ankle cinch.

Pros

  • comfortable
  • elastic and adjustable waist
  • integrated loops and sleeves for brush and chalk-bag
  • reinforced knees
  • gusseted crotch

Cons

  • expensive
  • no ankle cinch

La Sportiva Arco Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Roomiest pant we tested: La Sportiva Arco

Short Facts:

  • Material: 97% cotton, 3% lycra
  • 4 pockets: 2 rear, 2 hip
  • Weight: 360 g (12.7 oz)

Our secret tip for 2020. They’ve not continued anymore, but if you can get them on a discount, they’re a hot tip. They have more flexibility and comfort than almost all of the other pants, and if you look for roomy pants, these are your best bet.

Coming with a foldable waist, reinforced knees, integrated toothbrush pocket as well as a gusseted crotch we think they’re intelligently designed.

Fit is super relaxed, offering maximum movement range, and it makes them very comfortable.

Thanks to the bottom hem cinch you can also adjust them easily and while they are not really warm and water-resistant, we still can recommend them to boulderers, gym climbers and summertime crag climbing.

If you look for alpine and trad climbing pants, these are not the best choice. They come in nice and bright colors too!

Pros

  • foldable waist
  • reinforced knees
  • toothbrush pocket
  • awesome ankle cinch
  • gusseted crotch
  • roomy and comfortable
  • breathable

Cons

  • not warm at all
  • not water-resistant
  • not great for trad and alpine climbing

Ucraft Xlite Climbing Pants

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Reasonably price: Ucraft Xlite Climbing pants

Short Facts:

  • Material: 92% polyester, 8% Spandex
  • 4 pockets: 2 hip, 2 side, zipped

Ucraft Xlite are a nice pair of pants, which are made from super light and stretchy material. They’re priced affordably, and although they’re not the most durable pants out there, our testers liked the features they had. For the money they pack a lot of nice extras: Elasticated waist, reinforced knees, zipped side pockets and breathy materials.

Ucraft also gave them a chalk bag loop and a sleeve for your toothbrush – a nice addition!

With the ankle drawstrings, you can also convert them to 3/4 length pants or even shorts in the summertime. We think these pants are solid all-round pants if you don’t want to go alpine climbing.

Pros

  • reasonable price
  • gusseted crotch
  • integrated chalk bag loop and toothbrush sleeve
  • stretchy material
  • breathability good
  • low price alternative to Gamma or Arco pants

Cons

  • not warm enough for cold-weather or alpine climbing
  • not really rugged materials, fabric peels of easily
  • front pockets a bit too shallow for our taste

Topo Designs Climb Pants

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Topo Designs Climb pants

Short Facts:

  • Material: 98% cotton, 2% spandex
  • 4 pockets: 2 hip, 2 side, zipped

Topo Designs’ Clim Pants are another solid all-rounder. We don’t see them perform on the same level as their competitors in terms of materials or stretchiness, but they are a bit cheaper too.

Features are good, with a gusseted crotch, lots of pockets, integrated belt and a nice chalk bag loop. Breathability and mobility are pretty decent too, but if you want to tackle really nasty boulder problems, you might want to look for other pants.

For long alpine and trad climbs, they are solid though, although they lack water repellency.

Pros

  • stretchy cotton-lycra blend
  • integrated belt with chalk bag loop
  • gusseted crotch
  • enough pockets
  • breathable and lightweight
  • warm enough for longer trad climbs

Cons

  • not as flexible  as similarly priced competitors
  • not water repellent

Almost number one: Mountain Hardwear Men’s AP Pant / Mountain Hardwear Women’s AP Skinny Pant

best climbing pants 2020

Short Facts:

  • Material: 75% cotton, 23% nylon, 2% elastane
  • Pockets: 2 hip, 2 zip rear, 1 velcro thigh
  • Weight: 204 g (7.2 oz)
  • leg snaps to roll up

These pants are not winning any particular awards, but they were strong in all areas and really versatile.

They look excellent, and the fabric feels durable and pretty technical. They’re very warm and weatherproof and still look like slacks. In terms of fashionability, these are the close follow-up of the Axiom jeans. You can comfortably take a stroll around town in them.

Featurewise, they come with velcro thigh pockets, two zipped rear pockets. An exciting feature is the reflective stripes inside the calve area, which is really handy when you roll them up for cycling or hiking at night times.

Although they lack an adjustable belt, they still fit snug if you size them right.

Problematic is the stiffness, as it meant they sometimes rode up or down when climbing longer routes – we had to adjust them from time to time. Not a significant problem, but compared to the other pants, they were not as strong in terms of fit.

The fabric also felt a little less comfortable and breathable compared to some of the other pants.

Pros

  • excellent looking fabric, almost like wearing slacks
  • reflective stripes inside calves, great for cyclists when rolling them up
  • good weatherproofing
  • good warmth
  • velcro thigh pockets and zipped back pockets

Cons

  • mobility not as good as other technical pants due to stiffer material
  • fabric not super comfortable

E9 Rondo Slim

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Personal favorite: E9 Rondo Slim

Short Facts:

  • Material: 97% cotton, 3% elastane
  • 3 Pockets: 2 hip, 1 rear
  • adjustable waist with elastic band
  • cuff closures with cords, work well

E9 offers its classic Rondo pant as a slim version this year. They come with a chalk bag loop, 3 deep pockets, and offer premium flexibility. Despite the slim cut, they are still roomy enough to tackle hard boulder problems and challenging sport climbing routes.

They are not the warmest pants out their, although they are very breathable. And if you plan on climbing outside in humid conditions, stay away from them, as they are made from cotton and not waterproof.

But if you need a reasonably priced (they can be founder under 50$), boulder and sport climbing band with an awesome ankle cuff system and sporty slim-cut offering good mobility the E9 Rondo Slim might be the right pick for you.

Pros

  • great mobility and comfort
  • lightweight
  • breathable
  • cheap
  • ankle cuffs work really well
  • durable fabric

Cons

  • no closure on pockets, not so great for alpine or trad climbing
  • not really warm
  • not water repellent

Long-Term Test Notes

I, Arne Henricks, owned my personal pair of E9 Rondo for years. I actually have 3 pairs of them and wear them on any occasion be it in the alps on via ferratas or my local crags and to the gym.

They still hold up, even after years of abuse, and I haven’t treated them really good, tearing over rock, scraping on boulders or plastic. I love how they are super comfortable and get the job done without being pricey.

The deep pockets are tight enough to fit a phone snug, and while they’re not perfect for alpine climbing or wet conditions, they pretty much can do anything else. In winter I wear some thin panties to stay warm, it works for me. I even have a pair of shorts from E9.

Patagonia Men’s RPS Rock Pant / Patagonia Women’s RPS Rock Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Patagonia RPS Rock Pant

Short Facts:

  • Material: 52% nylon, 48% polyester
  • Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 1 zip thigh
  • adjustable waist
  • cuff closures with drawcord that do not work however

We didn’t really know what to think about the Patagonia RPS pants.

Yeah, they might be comfortable, but Ferrosis way more comfortable. They are mobile, but the Zions were way more flexible and offered greater mobility.  In terms of style, the Axioms and AP pants looked better.

The Patagonia RPS are not bad pants, they have good features and ar well designed. But they don’t excel in any area. They are protective and breathable, but they lack a good cuffing system. The cinch on the ankle could not keep our testers ankles free of dangling fabric.

And they are not cheap, so as a result, they range somewhere in the middle of our contenders. We cannot recommend them as the first pick for any category, however.

Pros

  • mobility good, but not perfect
  • breathability good, but not perfect
  • durable fabric

Cons

  • won’t really excel in any area
  • price is not really cheap
  • cuff system won’t work too well to keep cuffs away from ankles

Black Diamond Notion Pant – Men’s / Black Diamond Notion Pant – Women’s

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Black Diamond Notion: Sweat Pants for climbers

Short Facts:

  • Material: 98% cotton, 2% elastane
  • Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear
  • Drawstring elastic waistband
  • Elastic cuffs

Black diamond created a weird pant here, using soft cotton and a drawstring waist. There are no zip pockets, which makes them not suitable for longer outdoor climbing or hiking in our opinion, and the cuffs are simple one-size-fits-all elastic.

These pants want to live indoors. For gym climbing, the stretchy cotton is fantastic and offers great flexibility. If you want, you can also use them for yoga or any fitness class. Breathability: Check! Comfort: Top notch!

But that’s it, they’re neither waterproof nor warm, and we wouldn’t recommend to use them for longer trad or alpine climbing – the soft material would just rip – the Notions were the least durable pants in our review. And the missing pockets might be nice indoors when you don’t need them, but outdoors the lacking zip pocket is a real problem.

Pros

  • mobility really nice
  • comfortable

Cons

  • not really suitable for outdoor climbing – least weatherproof pants of the test
  • not really durable
  • cuff system won’t work too well to keep cuffs away from ankles

Budget Option: Carhartt Washed Duck Dungaree Work Pant

Best Climbing Pants 2020
Carhartt Dungaree Work Pant: Not made for climbing

Short Facts:

  • Material: 100% cotton
  • Pockets: 2 hip, 2 rear, 2 utility, hammer loop

We included these work pants as a budget option, and in fact, you won’t need to buy them from Carhartt, but any other brand will probably work.

But to be honest: They are no match for the other pants. The fabric doesn’t stretch, the fit is not forgiving nor cut in a way that suits climbing moves, and they have no breathability.

Looks are not great either, with wide thighs and calves you will look bulky even if you’re athletic. They come with six pockets, which are all utterly useless as they have no zip, no closure and tend to loose whatever you store as soon as you go vertical or overhanging.

Since they are not particularly comfortable, their only strong suit is durability – as they are working pants, they won’t rip easily. The lack of a cuff system is annoying as well, given the wide cut on the calves.

If you look for climbing pants, don’t buy them. They might be good for work, but even for the price they come at we cannot recommend them as climbing pants.

Pros

  • cheapest pants
  • durable, as it’s a working pant

Cons

  • not that mobile, as they are not really made for climbing
  • heavy fabric does not stretch
  • fit is restricting motion
  • utility pockets are not really much use when climbing
  • no cuff system

Match your climbing pants to your climbing style

Sport climbing, bouldering, and indoor climbing

All the above types of climbing involve moves that are fast, dynamic, and athletic. And these moves require a greater range of motion from the climber and thus the pants. Pants for these types have a gusseted crotch and maximum flexibility by using materials with high elastane percentage.

Alpine and trad climbing

While you need flexible and stretchy pants when you go climbing alpine and traditional routes, these features are not the most important ones here. On long traditional or alpine climbing routes, you need warm, comfortable, and breathable pants. They can be a bit heavier but should feature closable pockets, maybe even microfleece lining and a durable, water-resistant finish.

Materials for the perfect climbing pant – things to consider

The materials decide how your pants will perform. Besides the cut and features like gusseted crotch area, materials are your number one thing to consider.

1. Flexibility

If you try to go cycling in a ballroom dress, you will fall. Same goes for climbing, if you wear the wrong pants, you won’t have a good time. Flexible pants are king, and if you have pants from a flexible material, it will allow you to make super stretchy moves. Levis 501 might look cooler but trust us: When you bomb your project because you lack 5 inches of movement on the last move, you’ll quickly consider climbing plants.

Stick stretch Cordura and lycra or elastane.

2. Breathability

Not just in summer, but also warmer spring days need breathable pants. If you’re on the wall on a longer route, things quickly become warm when exposed to the sun. Good climbing pants offer a high level of breathability and come with smart ventilation features.

3. Durability

In the past, you had to choose either heavy, durable pants or lightweight linen style pants that ripped easily. Today, this changed, and you have both lightweight and durable pants thanks to synthetic materials

But the general tradeoff of a stiffer, heavier and more robust or ultra-flexible and thin pant is still there. Trad and alpine climbers usually prefer less flexible but more durable pants, and boulderers and sport climbers like their pants more flexible.

4. Comfort

How comfortable your pants are, come down to the discussed points above as well as features like gusseted crotches, ankle cuffs, and elasticated waists. Another factor is built quality – wrongly placed reinforcements or seams can chafe your skin after long climbing sessions. In general, if you want comfort, go with stretchy pants.

5. Main materials of the pants we tested

All the pants we tested had a wide array of different fabric types and material blends used, and they behave differently. Most pants were however made from either nylon or cotton or some mix of both. It makes sense to discuss the differences between these two material types.

Nylon is the gold standard of outdoor clothing. It comes in all kinds of different proprietary mixes, but nylon fabrics usually offer low weight, excellent breathability, and a high level of elasticity. They also dry easily, and many are waterproof. It is a synthetic material, so this means it starts to smell if it’s not washed correctly.

Cotton, on the other hand, is natural and softer than nylon. It’s also very breathable and relatively durable, although there are many blends of nylon that offer supreme durability compared to cotton. Cotton is also heavier than nylon. You can also dry it in a commercial dryer, which is an advantage.

If you need breathable pants, you should try a lighter pant like the Ferrosi or Notion. If you need a very functional pant with lots of features and protection, you should try the Prana Stretch Zion or the AP pants.

Keep in mind that the fabric will also change the fit of the pants. If it’s possible, try the pants on in person, and refer to our fitting guide.

The warmth of the pants

Hypothermia sucks, even if you save some weight in your pants. Don’t skimp on weight if you tend to feel cold. Climbing outdoors is a serious sport, and hypothermia is no fun. If you go trad and alpine climbing in colder weather, stick with warm pants and forget about weight savings.

If you go crag climbing and bouldering, it’s ok to opt for thinner pants, but for alpine climbers, we recommend fleece-lined pants, unless you climb somewhere really hot. Mountain weather can change quickly!

Features on climbing pants

These handy features are nice to have and can be really helpful. Also if you still wonder why climbing pants are a good idea when you boulder or climb, read my post or watch this video.

Gusseted crotch

A gusseted crotch means added material in the crotch area, which is fantastic for male climbers – as it’s anatomically better. Especially when you do yoga moves or dynamic climbing moves.

Drawcord or ankle-cinch

This is needed to adjust the length of the pants, and you can also use it to convert them to shorts or 3/4 length pants.

Toothbrush holders/toothbrush pockets

A brush is perfect for cleaning footholds and handholds in a route, which is important on some more frequently climbed routes. A holder for your brush is handy.

Zippered pockets and/or closable pockets

If you climb alpine routes or multi-pitch you definitely want a closable pocket of some sort, be it zip, velcro or buttons. Searching for small items in your backpack quickly becomes cumbersome otherwise. All of the pants we tested to find the best climbing pants 2020 had at least two pockets in the hip area and one in the rear. Except for the leggings, but they kind of run in their own league.

While some of them had zippers on the pockets, this is actually a debatable feature, some like it, some hate it. We think closable pockets are a must for alpine or trad climbing pants.

What we find essential is the thigh pocket, this pocket adds safe storage for cellphones or keys by having a closure system. A feature all of our testers loved, as it keeps valuables safe and does not interfere with a harness.

Cuff system

A cuff system keeps loose and too-long fabric away from your ankles.

This can be to ventilate, but also if you want to avoid to step on your pants all the time when precise footwork is needed. And it’s also nice to see your feet without flaps of fabric blocking the line of view. Pants like the Zion, AP Pants and some others have cuff snaps. Other pants like the Rondo slim or the RPS and Ferrosis sport cinch systems, with is nice. Other pants have roll-up cuffs, but no closure system. While the Stretch Zion pants and the RPS pants have an integrated belt, some other pants have either elasticated waist or drawstrings.

If no fitting system is given, you need to try them on for exact fit.

Chalk bag loop

An integrated loop for chalk bags on the rear or the side is very nice, especially if you boulder or free climb without a harness.

How to find the Best Climbing and Bouldering Pants for Your Needs

Climbing and bouldering pants are no magic, the manufacturers usually take some very flexible and mobile pants which are made from a durable material. Then they add some pockets and things like loops and cinches and change parts of the pant like the crotch area for even more mobility.

We would choose a very mobile and flexible pair of pants with lots of freedom of movement over a stiff and clunky pair of pants any day. But the next priority should always be the comfort and good features. When it comes down to these aspects, there are some differences to keep in mind.

How We Test Climbing Pants

When we test pants, we usually wear them doing routes and problems in the gym. That’s our first line of testing, to see how the pant performs in a controlled environment but without the environmental influences like cold weather, rain, and real rock.

After the gym test, we wear them bouldering outside and doing some sport climbing and/or trad climbing. This is our test where we also test how warm the pants are if they are rainproof and how abrasion resistant they are when you do crack climbing etc.

We also wear them for other activities sometimes, such as hiking, walking, mountain biking, and yoga, to see how they perform in day to day activities. Then, after testing, we rate them in these three categories.

Freedom of movement & mobility performance

Could we move easily wearing the pants? Did they resist certain moves when climbing or bouldering? Was stretching the legs possible without the pant interfering?

Level of comfort and breathability

Were the pants comfortable even when wearing them for longer periods? Did they breathe, or did we feel clammy or stiff when wearing them? Did they cause rashes on certain parts like the crotch area, ankles, etc.?

Bonus features, versatility, and practicability

Good pants should be versatile, so we review and rate how easy you can use the pants for different styles of climbing, bouldering, and so on. Bonus points if they hike and approach well. We also adjust the rating if they make our live exceptionally easy or hard, for example, if they need special care when washed.

Summary

Here are the best climbing pants with their score:

Happy climbing!

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Climbing – how to project

Most of the new routes you tackle need training, and if you try hard routes you will almost never climb the first try. Look at the pros when they redpoint climb a route (unsure what redpoint means, read my article), they almost seem the flow through the route. Precise legwork and sequences of moves are not just coincidence, top climbers spend hours and days of work to study the route and perfectly execute every tiny move. I’ll write about some of the tips that have helped me in the past, to make projecting a bit easier for your future new climbing goals. If you’re unsure how to project most efficiently, read on.

Misconceptions about projecting a route

Working on a project route is not just trying the route time after time until you can climb it “somehow” to the top. Projecting a route is an art, and I’ll break the process in different phases and steps. A lot of the thoughts also apply to boulder problems, so feel free to apply the knowledge there too.

Climbing new routes and understanding that your resources are limited

If you climb, it’s all about how you manage your resources. Climbing is a big game of resource distribution and dedication after you understand the basic moves and trained them enough. Strength, energy and mental focus are precious and limited, and if you burn them up on the first feet of a route you’re doomed for failure. That’s why you need to allocate these resources in an effective way – it pays off! Some of these strategies took me a while to learn, but when I did it clicked.

Step 1: Learn the beta in order to learn how to project

Beta is all the knowledge about the route you can get. This does not necessarily mean to deliberately start scrambling and going full power to reach the anchor. Instead, it can be smarter to tie in toprope and have a look at some of the difficult sections. Think about how you would place yourself ideally for maximum efficiency. Are there any holds that could support these positions? If not, can you change a position a bit, to make it possible to hold it, sacrificing some efficiency but gaining a new way up the wall? Once you figure out a good position, find consecutive holds, maybe even write them down in a notepad. After a while, you will have a sequence which you can then link together with other sequences already found.

Step 2: Get rid of your ego

Whatever you do while researching a route, get rid of any false ego you might attach. This is research mode, there is no room for ego games or a false sense of pride. Use your clip stick, and possibly top rope wherever possible. When you approach a route this way, it will feel awkward initially. You will hang there in toprope like a beginner, but you need to escape from this feeling. After a while, you will check different ways to grab holds, connect moves and sequences, and your climbing will become more efficient. Make sure to take all the time you need in step 1, and don’t worry if you look stupid while you do it. Fewer people will care about it than you think, and if you send the route later on – it was worth it!

Step 3: When you have a sequence, work through it

If you find a sequence that feels good, try to climb it in one approach. Your route will actually consist of a sequence of sequences, divided by really tricky moves and rests. So, make your way through the sequences and use the rests to rest up.
If you completed this, and have a mindmap of cruxes, sections and rest points you can continue with step 4.

Pro tip: Take a break from your project

Continually working on single moves or hard sequences wears you down, not only physical. Make sure to take a break from your new project every now and then. Don’t be afraid to leave your project alone for some days. It’s better to stay away from a project for some days, then letting it destroy your optimism and fun.

Step 4: Success is a chain of small accomplishments

Every hard section in your project can be considered a route in its own regard. Begin with the easiest sections and work your way up, ending with the hardest parts. Once you can do all the sections isolated, try working on connecting them. Doing it this way keeps you in the loop for repeated accomplishments, and you stay motivated. And it’s easier to analyze failures too, as you see which part of the route is hardest for you.
You can then start optimizing your approach for that section.

Step 5: Divide the route into 2 parts and finish them isolated

If you can do all the single sections, and also worked on connecting them, it’s time to divide the route into two sections and do it this way. Only once you are able to finish the route successfully this way, you should move on to try sending it in one go.

Step 6: While you work on the send attempt, if you fall that’s most likely your personal crux

Since you are able to do the sections individually, and also in two parts, if you still fall while redpointing the route, this is your personal crux. You need to work on the section where you fall again. Chances are high that you need to work on endurance of mental focus, as you can tackle the section when climbing it isolated. The easiest way is by using overlapped climbing. This means you start below the crux, and make your way to the next rest, and then again to the top.
You also might need to find a more efficient way to climb it when doing the route in a redpoint attempt. What works for isolation mode or two-section split, might not work for redpointing.
When you finish the overlap climb, increase the overlap, that is starting from further below the hard part. The logic behind this approach is that you usually never start a hard section fresh, but with some built-up fatigue, so it makes sense to train that way. Continue to grow the overlap until your overlap starts from the ground – voila, you’re now redpointing the route.

Step 7: Isolation mode

If you need to work on an isolated part of the route, keep things like bodyweight placement in mind. Are you using the holds the right way? Should you flag instead of going frontal?

Step 8: Tackle mental issues and problems by freeing yourself from your beta – change is good!

Sometimes you can train and practice as much as you want, but you still fall in the section when trying the redpoint. This can have multiple causes, maybe something physical needs to be changed? Your beta might also not be correct for a redpoint, so step back and approach the route in a different way. Someone once said that a crazy person tries something the same way over and over but expects different outcomes. This is especially true for climbing and bouldering. You need to realize that your way of trying a route is not always the best. Some of your moves are only in your sequence because you started the route with certain moves. If you change your beginning, you might end up finding a smarter way up. This applies for the complete route, so stepping back from your tunnel-vision or “perceived the only solution”, talking to other climbers and just brainstorming will help you out of this rut.

More tips

Manage what you expect and relax
Don’t always expect to send a route. It’s about the process, not the outcome. If you master the process and get used to accepting the perfect execution of a smart process as a reward, ultimate success will come over time. Your goal should be to do your best to try and climb hard and smart. Relax into a redpoint attempt, nothing good ever came from overly stressed tryhard climbing. Instead, remember why you climb: To be outside, tackle hard problems and have fun.

Conclusion

Working on projects to redpoint is necessary when you become a better climber. Keep yourself motivated, and follow the mentioned tips, and sooner than you think you’ll be able to climb harder routes than ever. Read my other guides about training like the post about edging, how to prepare for climbing and bouldering and my post about systematic training for people if you have a busy schedule.