Climbing Footwork Basics

Climbing footwork

rock climbing footwork

Climbing Footwork Basics are the most essential part of climbing and the root to excelling as a climber is footwork.  A mix of art, style and balance good footwork can make all the difference in your climbing skill-set. Here are a few different techniques to practice that will make your footwork better.  If you are an experienced climber, you’re probably going to find this article lame, it caters to beginner climbers and addresses the basics of climbing footwork.  Regardless, the basics always help and should be practiced over and over.

 Toe jamming

Toe jamming works great for crack climbs.  Toe jamming is like hand jamming with your feet.  Place your toe at and angle in a crack.  Find a crack with parallel or hourglasses sides.  Place your foot at the widest part of the hourglass and work it down to enter where it narrows. Cam your feet and turn clockwise or counterclockwise to jam your foot in the crack.  You can stand on a jam and it will be just as secure and sound like placing a cam.


Place your foot on any minuscule feature for angled slab.  Keep your ball of the foot pressed onto the rock or feature and apply pressure.  Keep heels low while varying your weight upward and  vertical.


Place your shoe with toe inward towards the rock.  Put your shoe on edge by pressuring your toe in and down.  Find a good balance  between being in and out from the rock to get good purchase with the edge of the shoe. Usually an area from toenail to the joint in the ball gives the best bite on there rock.

Outside Edging

Like regular edging but with the pinkie toe side of the foot. This is helpful in keeping your body in and hips close to the wall you are climbing.




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