Rock climbing seems to be one of the coolest sports to all those adrenaline junkies out there. And getting it right is all about following a few techniques and executing the right moves.
However, at times, you may reach quite challenging points during your climbing journey, and it may seem almost impossible to take even one step higher. What comes to the rescue is advanced climbing techniques like deadpoint climbing or deadpointing.
Are you already aware of this move and want to learn more to leverage your climbing skills? Or do you simply want to learn it right from the very scratch? Scroll down for an in-depth guide that explains what is a deadpoint in climbing and how to do it.
What Is Deadpoint Climbing?
Literally speaking, deadpoint is when something reaches the peak of its movement and weighs almost nothing for a short span of time. The object then begins to weight again as gravity exceeds the upward momentum of the object and pulls it down.
In rock climbing, deadpointing is an expert technique and a highly controlled dynamic move used in difficult parts of a climb. It involves the climber extending their body in a way that they can get to the next difficult hold without falling down or losing their footing.
Deadpointing is the specific point or spot on the rock where the force of gravity is pulling you down, and you don’t have any direct hold to reach. Deadpointing can be called a surprisingly short-lasting chance to grab the next seemingly impossible-to-reach hold instead of falling away from the wall.
While the situation may seem scary, the climber must not give up and employ this advanced technique by turning their hips inward with their feet fixed on the ground and reaching the next hold while facing the wall. This is the time when the climber incurs weightlessness for a very brief moment and must make the judgment immediately to prevent a fall.
How to Deadpoint in Climbing?
Even those who have years of experience may find deadpoint climbing a hard-to-master technique. However, the right understanding of the move is all it takes to learn how to use it effectively.
Once you learn that, it will help you push your limits and improve as a climber while reaching new heights in your adventure experiences.
While the exact position of your body at the moment may affect the preparations for a deadpoint, here’s what you need to do to deadpoint.
Step 1: Put your feet firm on the surface
The very first step to executing a deadpoint is to keep your feet firm on the ground and make sure that they are stable. Your feet define the point from where you push yourself off for generating force.
And that’s why unstable feet are likely to cause disbalance or an accident with that major swing during the dynamic motion. You may fall off the climb if your feet slip while you are creating momentum for the deadpoint.
Step 2: Turn your hips inward
This step is crucial to preventing a fall and surviving the climb successfully. When your body is in a constricted position, you are unable to generate ample momentum to grab the next hold.
That’s why deadpointing requires you to quickly turn your hips inward, further bringing your body closer to the wall. This helps you maintain the right balance as your body is already extended. This movement shifts the center of gravity for your body to the point from where you can easily take a leap.
In other words, it lets you take advantage of the rules of inertia and prevent a fall. Climbers must execute this step at the right time, extending their bodies and reaching for the hold. Turning the hips inward and moving them forward generates forward momentum as well as upward momentum.
The forward momentum keeps you close to the wall, while upward momentum brings you close to a seemingly unreachable hold. Lastly, the repositioning of your hip allows you to send a vertical push with your feet and lets you reach the next hold and move upwards without pulling you back.
If you usually have stiff muscles, it is crucial to stretch before rock climbing.
Step 3: Reach for the next hold
The next step is to extend your hand for the hold and grab it right at the moment when gravity starts pulling you down. You need to use the short span of time when your hips and feet experience weightlessness and have some momentum.
This makes sure that gravity has minimum effect on your body, and it doesn’t recoil until you grab the next hold. Shifting the center of gravity of your body prevents you from falling for a brief period of time. It’s crucial to act swiftly and perform this step while still having your hips in the inward movement, not after.
When you are moving the hips inward, make sure to do it in a way that allows you to reach towards the next hold. The idea is to aim, move your hips inwards, and go for the grab altogether.
Make sure to focus on the targeted hold and calculate the distance before you launch your body towards it. It’s crucial to rightly calculate the distance before actually attempting the move. Avoid losing focus from the targeted hold even for a fraction of a second once you make the move.
Step 4: Watch your timing
Timing is the most important element to pulling off a deadpoint since you need to reach the hold at the short moment of weightlessness and not when going upward or when going back down.
If you fail to club the last two steps into one perfectly fluid movement, you may end up over-reaching and missing the hold. This makes it troublesome to catch on your way down, or you may not be able to reach it at all.
When Should You Use Deadpoint in Climbing?
Mostly, expert climbers use deadpoint as it’s quite a dynamic climbing technique. It’s not a move that you come across very often in those practice sessions or climbing sessions, unlike most other climbing techniques.
However, it has always been a crucial element of the professional climber’s move list. Despite being a very tough move to break, deadpoint in climbing helps in scaling some of the most challenging routes.
So, when should you exactly go for deadpoint climbing?
Typically, deadpointing is only used in situations when the body of the climber is at full extension, and they can’t grab the next hold easily.
Deadpointing then helps them grab holds that may seem almost impossible to reach statically. The technique is executed from a position that the beginners may consider a point of no return.
Why Is Deadpoint Climbing Important?
Deadpoint цlimbing uses inertia to help you perform a challenging movement that can not be executed with physical strength alone. The right timing, control, proper use of momentum, and stability are prerequisites for a successful deadpointing move.
You get the required stability and the push essential to extend the upper body through your legs, further letting your bodywork similar to a spring. However, it’s crucial in climbing as it allows you to reach and grab hold of seemingly very distant rocky supports that you reach with a direct approach or simple movements.
Controlled Dynamic Moves and Deadpoint Climbing
To execute a successful deadpointing, you must be perfect at controlled dynamic moves, i.e., motions where a part of the body is stable while the other part moves in a well-synchronized fashion. You generate the push from the hips, further matching your hand movements with the same.
Typically, climbers are in full extension before going for deadpointing, and that’s why the technique allows them to get back into a relaxed position and have a stronger grip on the holds. This proves to be no less than a boon when you are dealing with steep climbs and difficult terrains.
Controlled dynamic moves rely more on quick action, timing, and momentum instead of stamina or strength. The fact that it’s all about planned movements rather than physical strength makes even the most challenging climbs manageable.
All it takes is to keep your eyes glued to your path, use the right moment, and stay focussed on what you need to grab. The highly dynamic moves that make deadpointing possible surely require some technical skills to perform.
Leg strength and position
Legs provide power to most dynamic moves – while some climbs need larger footholds, others may call for smaller ones. Your legs can bend and extend to push your upper body in a spring-like motion while also saving you arm strength for the climbing process.
Always make sure to put the foot opposite to the point of hold at a higher position than the other while keeping the feet stable in the foothold when you are going for the deadpoint. Never place your feet above your hips, but make sure they are as high as possible for achieving greater propulsion.
Generate momentum with your hips
All the dynamic moves in hill climbing derive power from the legs, just like jumping. However, deadpointing calls for generating most of your upward and forward momentum not with your feet but with the hips.
What will help you learn how to generate momentum with your hips is to practice the movement. Practice by bringing your hips towards the wall on climbs to be master the skill of momentum generation by repositioning the hips.
Positioning of the arms
When you push yourself upwards with your legs, your arms must be straight and extended towards the hold so that you get the maximum vertical benefit. If you are on a steep climb, you may need to draw out your arms more.
As stated above, you are only weightless for a brief moment when you have to attempt the move, and that’s why the right timing is what saves your life here. In fact, all the dynamic moves of climbing have timing as the key element.
From the very start to finish, you must synchronize each step of the deadpointing with another, including the thrust, your position, the release, and the grab to achieve the right movement.
How to Move Your Hips While Deadpointing?
The idea is to fix your feet in place while you move your hips for deadpointing. A climber is at full extension when they need a deadpoint, and it’s difficult to create forward motion when the body is at full extension.
That’s why, before you move the hips in towards the wall and in the direction of the hold you are going for, you should drop your hips a little lower to prepare yourself for the move. Further, you need to use your feet to push yourself upwards while grabbing the next hold by pulling your hands towards it.
The key is to bring your hip towards the wall in the direction of your movement to align the center of gravity of your body and direct its momentum.
Common Deadpoint Mistakes to Avoid
The fact that deadpointing counts as an expert technique also makes it necessary to be careful about many things. Here are a few mistakes you must avoid when deadpointing to prevent the move from going wrong.
- Avoid overshooting. We may feel likely to push and pull as hard as possible when reaching far, but this can be dangerous. It can make you miss the hold or have to catch it on your way down, which can lead to a tendon injury.
- Don’t lose body tension. Core strength is the key element to keeping your body active while climbing. Never lose body tension, and make sure your core stays strong and straight to transfer power from the legs and hips inwards into the upward body movement.
- Staying fixated. Avoid staying fixated while going up and staying tall as you may need to drop your hips down sometimes to generate the momentum that propels you higher.
It won’t be an overstatement to say that the technique of deadpoint is of the most effective moves that can make those challenging climbing routes possible!
When it comes to mastering the technique, it’s all about following the step-by-step process with utmost care and focus, and you can perform this dynamic move just right. Whether you are an aspiring rock climbing enthusiast or a skilled climber, learning this technique will surely take your skills to new heights of awesomeness.
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Last Updated on December 27, 2022 by Roger