Crushing Tip #28

crushing tip 28

Traversing: 3 Reasons to Add Laterally Inclined Routes to Your Routine

by: Dan Morrow

In climbing, to “traverse” is to climb sideways across the rock face. This is opposed to the normal upwards movement normally associated with rock climbing. I’m here to tell you that horizontal climbing is not just allowed, but awesome.

Now some of you may be saying, “but I want to go up.” Well, up is great! I too wish to climb to great heights and conquer the gnarly routes of the world. But, there are a lot of great reasons to periodically turn your back to the ascent and learn the joys of the more laterally inclined routes.

Reason number one; it’s great as a warm up!
Put on your comfy rock shoes, the ones where your toes aren’t forced to bend like an old mans’ rheumatic knuckles. Get in the zone, play some phil collins or whatever gets you in the mood to crush. Forget about the world outside with all it’s boring, non climbing related issues.  Try out different walls and sections of the gym and see which one tends to be the best warm up for you, mentally and physically. Just remember you are warming up, don’t go too fast and remember to stick on something that’s pretty easy for you. Explore the range of motion of your arms and legs and take lots of rest steps, when you get too pumped, just hop off!

Reason number two; it’s great training for specific techniques.
I used to have this bad habit. Whenever I matched feet on a small foothold, I had a tendency to bend my arms excessively at the elbows and over exert myself by squeezing way too hard on the rock with my hands. Now, I’m still no master matcher, but I have improved greatly by practicing that same move over and over again. Where did I do this? On a traverse! Do you grip holds harder then you need to? Do you forget to watch where you place your feet? Maybe you simply forget to breath? Those are habits that need repetition and intention to break, and an extended traverse is a great opportunity to reforge!

Reason number three; it’s a great way to meet people.
In a gym, climbing up is generally a two person activity. But exploring the alternative plane of the traverse is a shared experience. There can be tons of people on the same traverse at any given time.(especially during warm up for our kid classes) Maybe you and I will bump into each other on your next sideways climb!  You could even follow behind me for my sweet warm up beta.

There are a lot more great reasons to love traversing, and maybe you can come up with some other good reasons to add traversing to your repertoire. Then, once you get your x axis climbing skills dialed in, treat yourself and find a sweet traverse outside somewhere. I hear this one is pretty rad: