Have you ever watched a professional climber and wondered how they move so smoothly? Understanding how a climber gets from a loud and flailing beginner to a graceful climber gliding up the wall can be a little bit confusing. Using proper technique for your feet is one of the best ways to help improve your climbing and make it smoother.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the quiet feet technique. This technique is a great way to help improve your climbing ability and make your movements more smooth and purposeful. From discussing what the technique is to giving you some great drills to practice the technique, we’ve got it all here!
What is the Quiet Feet Technique in Climbing?
What is quiet foot climbing? Quiet foot climbing is a technique used by many climbers to help improve their overall footwork on the wall. By using this technique, you will improve the precision of your footwork as well as conserve your energy as you climb. Quiet foot climbing is practiced by both beginners and advanced climbers, as well as everyone in between.
The basic principle of quiet foot climbing is simple: to climb quietly. While climbing, make sure you think about placing your feet with purpose and moving them slowly and methodically to the hold that you want them to be on. The opposite of quiet feet climbing would be flailing around and allowing your feet to skid down the wall before landing on the hold you want.
By paying attention to how you place your feet, you are able to get your foot on the hold more precisely and use less energy than you would otherwise. Kicking the wall, scraping your foot down the wall or replacing your foot many, many times are all ways that climbers create noise and can throw their balance off.
What is silent feet climbing? Is it different from quiet feet climbing? This article is filled with silent feet or quiet feet climbing tips, as they are different terms for the same technique. Regardless of if you call the technique silent climbing or quiet climbing, it is a great tool for you to use to improve your climbing ability and your overall focus.
How to Minimize Foot Noise While Climbing?
In quiet feet climbing, minimizing the noise of your foot on the climbing hold is simply a way for you to think about the way that you move your feet. Minimizing the noise your foot creates is not actually the goal, but it is a great way to trick your mind into achieving the goal, which is moving with purpose.
When you move with purpose on the wall and place both your feet and hands with purpose, you move more smoothly, and you make less noise while climbing. The best way to minimize foot noise while climbing is to pay attention to how you place your feet and don’t stomp your way up the wall. It might sound silly to say that somebody is stomping on a tiny climbing hold, but if you watch beginner climbers, they often stomp on the holds making lots of noise and having to re-adjust their feet frequently.
Although we’re talking here about minimizing the noise your feet create while climbing, the ultimate goal is to improve your foot placement and minimize the amount of energy you are using. Conserving energy while climbing is essential to your success as you start climbing harder and longer climbs. Placing your feet with purpose as opposed to dragging them all over the wall will help conserve your energy meaning that quiet climbing will save you energy while climbing.
3 Techniques You Can Use to Climb Quietly
There are lots of techniques you can use to climb quietly, but these are a few of our favorites.
1. Jingle Bell Drill
Although typically used with young children, the jingle bell drill can be used by any climber. The basis of this practice technique is that you attach something to your feet that makes more noise than your feet otherwise would be making. In this case, most climbers use a jingle bell attached to the heel of their foot. As you climb, you listen carefully for the noise of the jingle bell and come down and repeat the climb if you hear any noise.
This is a great way to work on moving with purpose and smoothly, especially if you have already started practicing this technique. If you are a particularly stompy or loud climber, you may find this technique frustrating at first, but that’s okay. Practicing will help improve your footwork and make your climbing more smooth and quiet.
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2. Sticky Feet Drill
The sticky feet drill is a particularly simple drill as it is all in your mind. Instead of focusing on the noise your feet create, think about your feet as having tape stuck to the bottom of them. Every time you move from one foothold to the next, you may only move your foot once, and once you place that foot down, it cannot come up until it needs to move to the next hold.
This drill will allow you to focus on how you are placing your feet on the holds while inadvertently making you move more quietly and purposefully. If you place your foot in a poor position and you are unable to use the foothold as well as you would like to, you will learn for next time how to place your foot better. This drill is designed to trick you into paying attention to foot placement each and every time you move your feet.
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3. Traversing Practice
Traversing or climbing side to side as opposed to up and down is a great way to work on footwork. You can traverse along the base of rope climbs; if nobody is climbing on them or around a boulder area, either will work. Traversing allows you to stay low to the ground and not worry about height or ropes as you practice your footwork.
By traversing the same section of the wall multiple times, you can get a good feel for all the holds on the wall and how they feel under your feet. Traversing is a great place to practice the sticky feet drill or just focus on the noise that your feet are creating. Traversing is one of the best climbing tips out there and can be used to practice almost any technique.
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How to Improve Footwork for Climbing
- Climb more
Ultimately the best way to improve your footwork for climbing is by climbing. It seems simple, and that’s because it is. By simply spending more time on the wall, you will start to develop a better feel for where you should place your feet on given holds as well as begin to understand how to move your body more efficiently up and across the wall.
- Watch other climbers
Using these drills is a great way to start practicing how to improve your footwork. Another great thing you can do to help improve your footwork for climbing is to watch other climbers. Watching other climbers either in the gym or online is a great way to begin to understand techniques. When you see others climbing in a particular way, you may be more inclined to try climbing with purpose climbing with straight arms or climbing with quiet feet.
- Hire a coach or guide
You can always look to a climbing coach or guide for more help. Most outdoor climbing areas can recommend some amazing guides, and most gyms have some stellar coaches that are all willing to help you work on your technique. These coaches and guides are trained not only in climbing techniques but also in how to help you learn these climbing techniques.
Wrapping Things Up: Silent Feet or Quiet Feet Climbing Tips
Climbing with quiet feet might seem like a pointless activity, but as you practice it more, you will likely see your overall footwork improve. Moving your feet with purpose will allow you to use less energy and move more smoothly up the routes. Although we’ve only given you a few drills to practice these techniques, there are plenty more that you can find online, learn from a coach or guide or even create your own to help you practice working on quiet feet climbing.
Looking for more guides? Check out more of our climbing tips here.
Here are a few to help you out: