When an injury pushes you to work on some weaknesses and discussing climbing terms and techniques.

A few weeks ago I overdid things for my fingers on an overhang with crimps and ended up tearing a ligament in my right ring finger. So I was banned from any climbs with crimps or pinches on my right hand for a while (which is a lot of climbs, too be honest). Although I'm starting to be able to use the hand fully again, I think I'll be having to tape it for some time to come, as I still can't straighten it fully and it's still looking bigger than it ought to be.

I guess it has at least pushed me to work on my nemesis a bit more, the dreaded sloper! If you're wondering what on earth I'm on about at this point, then it seems to be a good time to talk about technical climbing terms a bit. Hopefully I don't bore you to sleep, unless that's just what you need right now.

Talking of crimps and overhangs, this is one I got banned from after the injury:


In the photos above, these are some mini jugs I'm holding, so not a big issue, however, the majority of the climb was crimps, as you can see in this next (sorry, slightly blurry) photo.


Or maybe you can't see, because it's a small crimp and is covered by my hand. This wasn't the climb I injured myself on, that was even more crimpy and overhung all the way up. "Crimp" basically means a hold you can only get your fingertips onto and "overhang" means a wall that leans towards you, so that your body weight is always falling away from the wall as you climb.

The following is an example of an overhang I could work on without doing further damage to my finger:



While these look like nice large holds, they are actually a mixture of jugs and slopers, which made it one of my less favourite climbs, but also a climb I needed to practise more. It includes a section where I need to lunge for a hold, the one in the second photo. Lunges and dynos (short for "dynamic move" where all limbs leave the wall in a jump) are my weak points too and it didn't help that I was lunging for it with my injured hand, which made me more nervous. If you look at how my hands are placed on the hold in the first image, they are just cupping the hold and almost flat. This is the mark of a "sloper" where you can't get a fist like grip on the hold. It's not the worst sloper, so it's good a practice hold to start giving you a feel for using that type of hold. The ball shaped ones in the next photo are a little better, as they allow a little more curve for the hand, so they are also good starters for the sloper style of hold.

A similar level climb with more obvious slopers, was on a slab wall. So while it was scarier in a way, it was also easier on the arms. A "slab" is a wall which slopes slightly away from you. It allows you to put more of your weight through your feet, rather than having to use your arms constantly.


The trick with slopers is to keep your weight under them. In this case, the slopers were on their sides, so the trick was then to push your weight away from them using your feet. The moment you stop pushing, your weight swings away from the wall in what is called "barndooring", because it's like a door swinging open on its own weight.

Then came an interesting part, because the next hold faced the opposite way to the rest. Some people tackled it by swapping their weight direction, but they then had to swap back for the next hold, which I didn't really have the strength to do. So my approach was to lean my weight into it from the side I was on:


From there I could reach up with my other hand to catch the next hold:


Then I'd need to keep the pressure on pushing away from that reverse facing hold with my right hand while I got my feet back up to do their work again.


Once my feet were up I could then reach over to the crimp on the right (don't worry, I could use uninjured fingers for that one) then pull in on that and the sloper at the same time to keep my weight centred as I worked my feet up.

Once standing the slope of the wall meant you could balance to touch the tiny, almost symbolic, finish hold with both hands to complete the climb.


Due to my physical strength not being particularly great, I tend to use as much technique as I can to get me up a climb. Keeping as close to the wall as possible is the first advice for anyone, but sometimes you need a bit of technique to help you do so. Barndooring is not an uncommon occurrence when you start to get holds that aren't placed fully horizontal. Sometimes you can counter the swing purely with arm strength, but sometimes you need a little more technique to keep your body into the wall. These techniques come in handy on overhangs as well. At some point you'll likely come across terms in climbing like "heel hook", "toe hook" "hand jam" or "knee bar". These are all descriptions of using a particular body part to help hold you in place and how they do it is in the description of the technique. The ones I most commonly use are toe and heel hooks. The following climb demonstrates the use of a heel hook to keep me into the wall as I lunge for not so great holds on a slight overhang.


From this position near the start, the next three holds require a bit of a lunge to keep you into the wall. On a vertical wall you could probably do them statically, but with any overhang your weight is always coming away from the wall, so you need to pull in and go quickly.

Once I caught the first lunge, I could have lunged again for the left hold, but by hooking my heel in early it kept me in and centred enough so that I could reach for it almost statically.


Then the next hold was a horrible little round lump on top of the volume, so I needed all the help I could get lunging for that.


It's not the most graceful looking position, but that's not something you're worrying about when you're trying not to fall off a wall. From that point on it was plain sailing, with jugs to the finish. Just unhook the heel and bring the feet up higher.


Then on the same section of wall comes a demonstration of a toe hook for a later climb. This was a climb where I would barndoor off once I matched my hands on that hold if I didn't get my toe hooked onto the hold around the corner first. I've seen much stronger people do it without the toe hook, though.


I'll have to leave the knee bar demonstration for another time, if I can remember to get photos. I've never done a hand jam, which are rare on indoor climbs anyway, but as it sounds, you jam your hand in a gap to keep you on the wall while you make the next move. Gosh, the things we'll do for our sport...


Good tip about staying as close to the wall as possible, I also try to form triangles with hands at the top and a stable base with my feet, stops me from working against gravity and getting tired out to quickly.

Is this from the Kent town gym?

Yes, Kent Town is our nearest, so we mostly go there.

A stable base with feet is great, when they give you something more than tiny toe holds. 😅 What do you mean by triangles with your hands?

I love hearing all the in crowd terms for a niche interest like this. You could've literally made them all up, and I'd still be sitting here, nodding sagely; happy in the knowledge I'm now well informed.
Damn, you're fit though.

I'm pretty sure I've nodded sagely when people discuss terms that I've not heard before. 😆 There are still plenty of moves I don't know yet and have likely never used. There's a group of climbers who warm up on the hardest climbs I do and do all the hardest climbs in the gym. They come in when the new climbs get set and us amateurs sheepishly give them a clear wall and try to figure out exactly what they are yelling at each other on the wall.

Damn, you're fit though.

Thank you. It's kind of relative isn't it, though? I don't feel very fit when I see what some of the other climbers can do, so I only feel fit in comparison to newcomers. At this age you have to work harder to even stay at the same level. 😆 In the end I do it because I enjoy it, which is what gets you furthest.

I was thinking the exact same thing. I do not have to upper body strength to just hold on like that. It is impressive and amazing. I bet climbers all give great massages.

Firstly: I LOVE your red hair (strawberry blonde?)

Secondly: I did not mute you!! I am so sorry at .... whatever the matrix glitched on. Thanks for gettting @riverflows to contact me. This happened to me last year but I assumed it was one of my kids. Now? Hmmmm . It is really bizarre. I just UNMUTED you and followed - AGAIN. I'm sorry that you thought I was upset with you. It's not at all the case. I keep seeing your comments pop up but then when I go to read - gone - nothing.

Thirdly: I LOVE your red hair ..... did I already say that? So impressed with your climb! I don't even know if we have such a thing in SA. I definitely would get my kicks - and exercise elsewhere. Hope the finger isn't too painful

😆 I just call it ginger. No idea of the gradients, but I had a friend who was strawberry blonde and it was very blonde with a hint of orange, so I figured that was the benchmark for strawberry blonde.

I want to say what an odd glitch, but I think these things happen quite a bit. I've noticed I'm having to refollow people I was sure I was already following. Initially I thought maybe you'd accidentally hit mute, but apparently it's not as straight forward as that, so then I got paranoid. 😅

Whatever the term is; your hair is beautiful. Any shade of red is my favourite hair colour

For someone "with physical strength not being that great" you're a great anatomy study XP

Tearing finger ligaments (fingerments?) sounds uncomfortable x_x

Of course all those little things have names, should have figured XD I love lunges but other people don't love it when I do them because the auto-belayer doesn't always keep up x_x (maybe I just need to stop jumping up walls with dodgy auto-belayers XD). I usually do them to try to bypass overhangs because I don't love them either x_x

Careful on the finger while it's healing :)


That's got to be the correct term.

maybe I just need to stop jumping up walls with dodgy auto-belayers XD

Or you could boulder so you don't need to deal with any belayers. 😁 All those ropes and harnesses just get in the way, anyway. 😉

I rather like overhangs as long as they give me something to hang onto. Now slopers and overhangs are just plain cruelty and deserve avoiding.

Being super careful with the finger, because I'm not healing at the rate I used to when I was a spring chicken. I also need to regularly remind myself that I can't keep up with spring chickens either.

Ouchy - having had tendon and ligament surgery on both hands (at different times) I am literally FEELING IT as I read.

Nice pics!! Strong women for the win!!

I got some cool gadgets after my surgeries to actually work on the flexibility and strength of my fingers - rubber band resistance, a little physio ball and a sort of grip thingy. They've been super helpful and have the added plus of reducing my stress-induced jaw clenching. 🤣

I hope the healing is smooth and easy.

having had tendon and ligament surgery on both hands

Oh, that sounds awful. That's not where I want to end up! I'll have to look into this gadgets when I'm better healed.

I've always wanted to try this sort of thing, though since I'm a rather clumsy person, it's never actually happened. Though I do feel that, if I ever would, I'd be a little more prepared having read this. I'm sorry about your hand.

PS: You've got a great figure! :)

I can attest that I am also clumsy. This has possibly helped a bit, though.

You've got a great figure! :)

I'm blushing now, thank you. I'm not so enamoured by my skinny spider legs, but as they say, you only want what you haven't got.

You are hardcore!

Haha! No, but there are definitely some hardcore climbers there. If I go more than twice a week I end up injuring myself. I need the days in between to recover. I'm getting too old to bounce back. 🤕

Enjoyed reading this. I dont climb any more simply because no climbing near me - although there are a couple of indoor climbing walls in a few gyms. I lived for 12 years in the S.E. Asia climbing Mecca - Krabi. Was many years spent sport climbing on the limestone cliffs around there. Reading your post brought back all those memories.

Sounds amazing. Hopefully they weren't as crumbly as most of the outdoor places seem to be around here.

Limestone is defo too soft for trad climbing as you no doubt know, but for bolted sports routes its just fine. Most of the routes are well maintained and re-bolted regularly, and re-anchored too. Come check it out one day....

photo source: https://www.viator.com

Would love to, but the way things are going the chances of us affording to travel ever again are remote.

That's a stunning, yet slightly unnerving photo, with those precarious looking spikes. Was this an area you climbed yourself? We don't have any bolted routes locally. Would probably have to travel a bit for that. I haven't done lead climbing for over 20 years! I like the freedom of bouldering.

Oh my gosh... I miss climbing when I see your photos here! So nice to be reminded that this used to be a part of my life (and could be again!). Thanks for sharing and hope your finger is healing well! Sending !LUV

BTW, is it only in Sports Talk Social that people are writing about climbing? Or are there other climbers hiding elsewhere on the blockchain @minismallholding?

I never thought to check if there was a specific climbing community. I just have and there's this: https://peakd.com/c/hive-164125/created, but it's not particularly active. If you get back to climbing and post on it you'll have to tag me. Maybe we can start getting some activity happening there again.

Ooooh. Thank you! 🙏 (Newbie learning how to navigate this platform still!)
The closest I'm doing to climbing at present is hiking up "mountains" (read: big hills in Australia that happen to be called Mt/Mount Something or Something Mountain 🏔️🚵‍♀️🗻🤭😅).
I shall follow along on your adventures and see what happens with my own climbing down the track.

Our biggest local hill is called Mt. Lofty, but it's no mountain, just aspiring to be one. 😆 It's been a while since we hiked that.

🤣 !LOL

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It'd be curtains for all us.

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This was great, a really detailed post about climbing. It was cool learning about these "heel hook", "toe hook" "hand jam" or "knee bar". My friend is always asking me to go climbing with her, but I still haven't gotten around to it.

You're missing an opportunity and should go with her. 😁

I am impressed and you looked very fit. I used to watch this kind of sport way back in the 1990s if there's a gym nearby I will be glad to try it.

It's certainly a more popular sport than it was back then. There are many more women doing it as well.

Indeed (^_^)

So good to see there is other climbers on hive! It would be awesome to have a CHALK community.
Just found this post because I published a climbing themed post in Sportstalk social.

I had a conversation with someone else a while back that got me looking to see if we had any climbing communities on here. Pretty sure I found some, but they weren't very active. Maybe we need to start populating one and write a bit more! 😆

Do you mainly boulder outdoors? We've looked at outdoors, but most of the local rock is pretty crumbly and subject to change at nature's whim. 😅

Sorry about your injury and I hope it heals soon.

I seem lost though, what is this sport called? Or is it just some kind of exercise?

This is climbing, in particular bouldering, which is fine without ropes and harnesses.


I haven't t tried it out before though. Now that I know, it won't be a bad idea to have the experience.


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