Nine Common Beginner Climbing and Mountaineering Mistakes To Avoid

4. Over-gripping


As a species blessed with opposable thumbs, dexterous fingers, strong forearms and accustomed to utilising these attributes when wishing to keep something in our grasp, the natural tendency during first ventures on the rock is to grab on and squeeze for dear life. This approach, however, is counterproductive. When squeezing our arm and hand muscles for all they are worth we speed up the build-up of lactic acid, and creator of that nasty burning sensation which is apt to turn our muscles and fingers feeble and uncooperative in no time at all.


The result, in most cases, is being lowered off the climb prematurely. A cure for this progress-hampering tendency is to practice only a few feet from the ground in order to build up trust in our points of contact with the rock, particularly our feet (bouldering gyms and training are excellent ways to learn and/or correct over-gripping). Eventually, we come to see how little force is actually required to stay balanced, thus saving the strength in our forearms, hands and fingers for later in the climb.

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