We all know the usual drill at the wall. You approach the wall; find your holds, which are all the same colour and scramble up hoping for success. However sometimes you might find yourselves at a smaller wall where the jumps between grades are massive, where the routes haven’t been changed in a while or when you happen to be at the wall when there aren’t many people around. In this case, there are games you can play with yourself or others to inject a little difference to your climbing day!
Before you get started on any of these games, it’s important to warm up full, to avoid injury and to make a judgment about whether the game is a good match for you. The goal is to improve, not to prove anything to anyone else or to injure yourself. Remember that it’s good to start easy and build up. In fact, starting with success is evidenced to improve your confidence, so start small and build bigger.
Tap to Unlock
This game involves following the same colour route as usual. Your hands can start at the starting hold but if you wish to go any higher with your hands you first have to ‘unlock’ the hold by tapping it with your foot and then you are able to use the hold with your hands. A game, which gets you warm very quickly and challenges your flexibility.
If you’re in a pair and have your own bit of wall, which no one else is using, feel free to create your own route using any of the holds. One of you can start by creating the first three moves and then comes off the wall for a rest. As each of you alternates climbing the wall, you add an extra hold each time. It can be quite an endurance task both physically and mentally, as you have to climb the route in the same order as you keep extending it.
How long can you last?
How many times can you go round the circuit wall before you have to drop? Challenge yourself with a buddy or against yourself and see if you can improve each time. This is a great game if you regularly attend the same wall, because you can test yourself over a number of weeks and build up both skill and endurance. Watching other people do this task is a great way to learn different techniques for approaching the same problem.
Step up on to the wall and see how many holds you can touch with either your hands or feet. Once again this enables you to challenge your flexibility and practice counterbalancing your body’s weight so you can reach further out with one hand. Challenge your climbing buddy and see who can touch the most!
Time to skip out leg day
Why not try and do a route on an overhang only using your hands. Sure you can muscle your way up but if you try and do the motions of running you can swing into the hold above. It takes a bit of getting used to but it enables you to use your body in a more efficient way when you try another overhang route with all four limbs.