The ability to plan both prior to leaving the ground and whilst climbing is the key to reading routes, although with more experience comes more options. For most climber we are talking about reading a route from the ground up – onsight, the ability to do so will help you to plan the route and identify places to rest, place gear or even points of no return on some dangerous routes. All this added information will help you remain calm and focused during your ascent.
Although for the beginner, just interpreting the guidebook so you are on the correct line can be another barrier to success. As such this section will go from the most basic of skills for understanding how to extrapolate a guidebook too and description on the crag and then take you beyond that into the realm of pre-planning your climb and re-planning whilst on it as new information comes to light.