The Best Training Plan for Beginners

So you’re climbing Whites or Silvers at STONE or Xinyi, or you’re stuck in the easy 5.10′s. How do you get better and start crushing the Yellows? How do you make the leap from flailing up the routes at Y17 to conquering the technical routes and monster overhangs at Neihu?

Hit the weight room? Do more pullups? Hang off the fingerboard? If you are reasonably fit(at a reasonable weight for your height, able to do 5 pullups), the answer is probably not.

Kris Hampton outlines the perfect  training plan for you at The Power Company Climbing Blog, guaranteed to take you into the next grade, if not more.

Besides this beginner oriented article, The PCC blog also contains many other gems for intermediate and advanced climbers, such as this article about properly warming up for your project.

The Stick Clip

Route at Backdoor have a crazy hard, sketchy start? Stick clip it.

Made from tools often found at the crag; tape and a big stick, stick clips are a way to clip the first bolt from the ground and thus secure the start.

Climbing Magazine shows you how:

Training Principle – The 1.01 Law

Recently an image has been making the rounds on Facebook in Taiwan, of a plaque made by a Japanese schoolteacher, which we thought is relevant to climbing.

A rough translation of the plaque reads

The law of 1.01 :  1.01365= 37.8
The law of 0.99: 0.99365 =0.03

In layman’s terms:

  • When we eek out 1% more effort every day, our abilities can grow almost 38 times over the course of a year.
  • When we slack off 1% every day, our abilities diminish greatly over the course of a year. (to 0.03 of our original ability)

Is this principle literally true? Probably not.  You are not going to be climbing 38 times harder from spending 1% more time training everyday, and you’re not going to be a weakling a year later if you slack off 1% of the time.

However the general principle holds — pushing yourself just that 1% more beyond your previous limit every day,  can have a huge exponential effect over time — and the reverse holds if you slack off!


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Walking the Rope

When climbing an overhanging route or a roof, a fall will often leave you hanging in space, unable to get back on the wall.. what to do?

Climbing magazine shows you how to Walk the Rope also has a good explanation of this cool technique


Check your Draws! Rope side and Bolt side Carabiners

One of the golden rules of using quickdraws is to be consistent about using one side for the bolt and one side for the rope. But why do we do this?

Because this can happen.

Bolt worn rope-side carabiner

Normal Wear on Rope Carabiner(closeup)

Bolt wear on a Rope Carabiner(closeup)

Carabiners are made of strong, but soft aluminum. Bolts can very quickly cut sharp burrs and edges into the metal, things you don’t want your soft rope to be running over.

Pssh. It’s just a scratch. 

Actually ...DMM has conducted tests and indicated that in just a few, normal(Factor 0.4) falls on a bolt-worn carabiner, nicks and grooves like these can cause  severe damage on a rope.

click to watch DMM’s video

Whether or not a bolt worn biner causes immediate danger to you, at the very least it will greatly accelerate rope wear, and no one wants that.

Identifying Rope and Bolt Side

With solid gate carabiners, the straight gate is the bolt side, the bent gate is the rope side of the quickdraw.

straight gate up

With wiregate carabiners, both gates may be straight, or one may be very slightly bent and hard to tell, and so it is absolutely essential that your wiregate draws have different color carabiners. If for some odd reason that’s not possible, consider using colored tape to mark the top biner.

make sure your wiregates have different color carabiners

If you are not sure which side is bolt side, look at the dogbone; the tighter side of the dogbone is the rope side.

Make sure to be absolutely consistent in which side you use.


-Prevention: Don’t share draws, but if you must , be careful about who you give your draws to, and make sure they understand which side is which.

-Regular Inspections: This is just another reason to do periodic checks of your gear. This particular bad draw was spotted while cleaning my gear, which you should be doing regularly anyways, especially if you go to sea crags like Long Dong. In fact, you should do it now! Go on, we’ll wait for you.


Climbing is a dangerous activity. Your safety is your own responsibility. This article and other information on this site is meant to supplement and not replace professional climbing instruction.