A lot of people hate slab climbing, but they love being passionate. Climbing slabs requires good skill, accuracy and confidence. Learn a few tricks and you’ll find that you’re much better prepared to endure the long weekend on the friction plate or tackle this weird incline problem at the gym.
- What is Slab Climbing?
- At what angle does the slab go up?
- Why does everyone hate slab climbing?
- Slab Climbing Technique - Tips and Tricks
- Slab Climbing Exercises
- Slab Climbing Shoes
- Is Friction Climbing Slab Climbing?
- What is the most difficult slab climb in the world?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is Slab Climbing?
A slab climb is any climb that is less than 90 degrees, like any wall you can learn how to move forward. You can also find friction plates, which are angled plates that rely primarily on friction rather than a specific hold.
If the lift tilts back during lift, the vertical lift is vertical if it is a lathe. A cliff or wall in a room can have all three edges on the same wall, but usually the rise is mostly at the same angle. Slabs are usually the simplest of the three corners, but are highly dependent on securing and protecting them.
At what angle does the slab go up?
A slab climb is technically any angle less than 90 degrees from the horizontal. A drop of 90 to 5 degrees is more related to vertical ascent, but still counts as overlap. Slabs can be toned from various angles, and generally steeper “larger angles” are more difficult. However, this has more to do with features and rocks than angles.
Low Angle / High Angle Slab
Loose – Low angle means lighter angles, probably around 5070 degrees, large angle means anything above 80 degrees or close to vertical. A complete slab climbing set from start to finish. Reminiscent of an old clothes iron (hence the name), it offers great friction plate climbing all day long. There are more difficult routes as the angles range from 40 to 60 degrees, but the smaller angles make the climb fairly easy.
Lighter irons are typically installed in hours by dedicated locals. The shallow angle allows climbers to rely on lubrication and friction techniques when there is no hold at all. Falls can still be fatal.
Why does everyone hate slab climbing?
There are two main reasons people dislike slab climbing.
- Accidental Falls – It’s easy to slip at any time without warning when you’re not grabbing anything and relying entirely on the friction of your feet.
- Fall Hazard – Falling high above the last guard on the stove can cause your body to fall onto rough stones or a cheese grater scratching textured walls. You can also hit holds or volumes indoors, and shelves and wood outdoors.
Another important thing that often happens to newbies is relying too much on their hands. Indoor pathways have hooks protruding from the wall with multiple leg support points. In the open air, the first easy route will most likely be a slab with a hold that tends to fit into the wall and requires more reliance on small friction parts for support. Here your arms will be more balanced and your legs will do more.
How to Fall Safely on Slabs
Falling helps a lot. When climbing a slab, be aware of the great dangers below you, such as handrails or uncomfortable-shaped big toes. Plan ahead and be prepared to push it slightly off the wall to avoid being underneath. Keep your hands in front of you during the descent.
Do not want to tilt your head back, walk horizontally, keep your body straight, and bend your knees. This can cause you to fall on the rope, which increases and absorbs some of the force. Then bend your knees as you swing to prepare to hit the wall.
All of these fall techniques can be applied to slabs on rocks. Push out, decide where to land, and touch both feet with your knees bent as usual. The only added thing here is that you have to keep an eye on the large volume or coasters that stick out below.
Overhangs are considered easier to overlap than overhangs. This is usually because overhangs require more arm and body strength. Slab climbing and vertical ascent are usually more technical than the same level of overhang, but there are differences in how they are used.
Slab Climbing Technique – Tips and Tricks
The Slab Climbing Technique is the foundation of good footwork and good balance. Practice leads to excellence!
- Move slowly– If you have a well-balanced body and take the time to focus on your movements, you will feel the point of balance when working with cunning movements. Your feet whenever you are. This gives you more control, the ability to turn when needed, and the ability to raise and lower your heels. Most importantly, if your heels are straight, you can bend them slightly better towards the rocks. See slab climbing #1 below.
- Step Back – If you are standing on a large railing or large area, move your feet as far away from the wall as possible. This further increases the forward tilt angle, making the posture more stable.
- Hips Through Toes – It is recommended to bend straight forward on a low angle slab and have good body contact with the rock. You’ll actually find that this angle moves your feet away from the stone. Instead, bring your hips back and keep your hips over your toes. The hips are the center of your weight, and the pressure on the rock will push you down, not backwards.
- Heel Drop – Drops the heel down so that the rubber touches the rock more when the foot support is most of the stroke. This works very well on slabs with low inclination angles.
- Use palms-Rest your palms against a hook-free wall to keep your body stable. Some climbs require palms down and fingers down, relying on porous hands sticking to rocks for a little extra push.
- Starting with Right Foot – Before standing, move hips over the foot you will be standing on. The weight on the foot puts more pressure on the foot and the provides better contact with the support.
Slab Climbing Exercises
To show you how important it is to kick your heels back, do this simple exercise against a wall right now!
- Stand facing and close to a vertical wall, feet shoulder-width apart, toes and nose touching the wall.
- Your heels should point back and you should be able to stand up easily.
- Now try turning your heel inward so that it touches the wall. This will simulate not only your toes, but your foot against a wall.
- It would be harder to stand leaning against a wall without peeling it! This should show how important the forward bend is and why the rear heel is especially important in slabs.
- This exercise is about finding balance. Think about where your centre of gravity is and where your points of contact are and where they should relate to each other.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes in front, and your thighs between your feet.
- Now try to balance on one leg while keeping your hips in the same position. Almost impossible, or at least very difficult?
- Now return to the starting position. Move your hips to one leg, then lift the other leg off the floor. The balance should be easy.
- This indicates that the thigh or lower body (centre of gravity) should normally be centred on the foot (contact point) before balancing or pushing up.
Slab Climbing Shoes
Slab climbing shoes for slab climbing. But in general, for slabs with low inclination angles, I think you will need soft shoes that are very small in size.
This deforms the shoe and can make strong contact with the stone. This is a shoe with a focus on lubrication for lighter, lower angle friction plates. The Mythos Eco is a great option for comfortable climbing on long slabs that require a lot of friction due to their large foot patches.
Steep angle stiffer slabs require more edge-oriented shoes. It will be tighter and a tighter fit, but still have to be comfortable for small edges. The katana lace is a great shoe for cross-country skiing and vertical climbing. They will definitely smear but would be perfect for microcanning. They are very versatile and we have a long review of Katana Lace for you to read too.
Is Friction Climbing Slab Climbing?
Yes, most friction climbing is slab climbing, but not all and most people refer to slabs when talking about friction climbing. Friction plate is a type of plate climbing that doesn’t have many holds, and most footholds and handholds are primarily friction related rather than specific edges or holds.
Friction climbing can also mean that hold is reduced to friction only. Some of the toughest rocks in the world have no real hold, and there is increased friction on both sides of the rock being pulled by hand, often referred to as a “squeeze” path.
You can also use a technique called “pushback” or “overlap” that uses most of the friction to push outwards. This is common with a “tahedron” or inner corner and a “chimney”, i.e. two separate walls within reach. Take a look at Johnny Dawes (again) in the quarry below, a legendary climb from a narrow dihedron to a fully protruding chimney!
What is the most difficult slab climb in the world?
The world’s most difficult plate climb is “Cryptography” 9b (5.15b), climbed by Alessandro Zeni in early 2020. It is an intersection where two already very difficult routes, Bain de Sang 9a and Bimbaluna 9a/+, are adjacent to each other. The new route is being evaluated because it takes the toughest part of the two ascents and adds a new traverse between the two ascents and does not take into account the rest of the previous ascents.
Cryptography 9b is the world’s most difficult plate climb.
The is the most difficult slab climb in the world as there are few decent holds at steep angles that are not vertical. Almost all grips are small crimps and, most importantly, a pair of pockets for one finger. Alessandro wore La Sportiva Katana lace recommended by our article on the best climbing sneakers.
England’s toughest plate also has another uphill climb. Meltdown is Route 9a at the Dinorvig shale quarry in Llanberis, Wales, like Quarryman above. First discovered by Johnny Dawes in 1985, first shipped by James McHuffy in 2012, and cloned by Ignacio Mulero in 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is a slab wall climbing?
Slab climbing is a form of rock climbing in which the surface of the rock is a slab that is less than 90 degrees from the ground. Slab climbing, also known as friction climbing, often prioritizes leg work over hand and leg support, as opposed to vertical or overhang climbing, which supports arms and legs.
How do I get better at climbing slabs?
To get better at slab climbing, check out this video.
What is the hardest slab climb in the world?
One of the toughest slab climbs in the world is the Art Attack (5.14b) by Sasso Remeno, Italy.
What is slab rock?
A slab is a rock surface that is less than 90 degrees perpendicular to it. Climbing a slab requires a good understanding and use of your legs, balancing and jumping with great friction. This foot technique is called smudging, and the hold you use is commonly referred to as a friction hold or stroke.
How does traditional climbing work?
Trad climbing or Traditional climbing involves transporting and installing guards (chokes, cams, etc.) instead of securing them with pre-installed bolts. Traditional climbing is almost always done outdoors on real rocks with no pre-installed bolts. Sport climbing is often done outdoors, but regularly on climbing walls.