Rock Climbing Tactics

Rock Climbing Tactics

This section contains some articles on how a tactical approach to climbing a route can improve your performance, with exercises and activities to help you further develop good climbing habits. Some of these tactics are competition specific whilst others are for redpointing, onsight climbing, trad or sport specific. Above all though these tactical approaches to climbing are a really good way to focus on a part of your performance which can be changed in what can seem like a minor way but have a major impact on your climbing.

Much of the improvements in this area come down to increasing the efficiency of your climbing rather than increasing your physical ability. As such many of these exercises and activities can have an immediate effect on your climbing. Which can mean that you can either climb at your max grade with less effort or occasionally an increase in the grade you climb.

These new tactful behaviours we suggest often need to be repeated many times on routes below your grade so you can repeat them enough times that the new behaviour overwrites old habits that may not be as efficient. As such it is best to start trying to apply these tactics on route that are easy for you, so you have some cognitive space to consciously apply them to several pitches before they become ingrained behaviour.

List of Sub-sections for Rock Climbing Tactics

Warming up will get the heart, lungs, muscles, joints and tendons ready for action, If you don’t warm up you risk getting flash pumped or injured.

rock climbing tactics

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.


Climb harder is all about efficiency and saving energy, as such finding and using a hands-off rest or a little respite whilst on a route is a key tactic.

Even express can occasionally fluff clipping the rope into the quickdraw when they are leading, if this is on the crux you could lose vital seconds correcting it.

The ability to quickly identify possible gear placements and then choose the right piece of gear first time, all whilst placing it from an optimal position will save you energy.

This section looks at tactics to employ to help you onsight a climb.


This section looks at the tactics you can employ to help you redpoint the hardest routes you can climb.

Selecting what gear or even rope systems you take on a route may seem like a very simple tactic, but it is one that will save you energy and help lead to improvements.

While we can learn a lot from watching someone climb a route, this is also about utilising modern online sources of information and your friends to gain an advantage over the routes you aspire to.

Knowing when to shake out and even how long to do it for on a route can be a lot harder to determine than you might think.

Mental skills for climbers

Whether you are bouldering or repointing hard routes you need to be resting the appropriate length of time between goes, will help you climb at your max for longer.

Costa Blanca Climbing Holiday

This is about long and short-term planning, where you want to try and arrive at the bottom of the route or routes you want to climb at the right time for you, your fitness and the conditions on the route.

Jumping for holds

Competition climbers might want to lunge to hang a hold or in the case of bouldering climb modern parkour-esque problems