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What Is Edging in Rock Climbing?

Edging in rock climbing is an advanced skill that requires physical and mental strength. Gaining leverage on small holds while scaling a mountain can be tricky, and edging is an advanced technique that requires both physical and mental strength to master. In this article, I’ll explore edging in detail—from understanding how it works and avoiding common mistakes to tips for improving your skillset so that you can climb confidently.

What is Edging?

Maintaining stability on a near-vertical or vertical face while engaging in rock climbing and mountaineering can be achieved through edging, which requires the toes to press against tiny crevices, notches, or protrusions. It requires precise foot placement and controlled pressure applied with the toes against small ledges, cracks, or protrusions.

Using edging, climbers can employ their feet as leverage points to ascend steeper terrain more effectively than relying solely on arm strength. By edging, climbers can use their feet as leverage points to help them ascend steeper terrain than they could otherwise manage with arm strength alone. The goal of edging is to create more stability when attempting difficult routes by allowing the climber’s body weight to be distributed over multiple contact points instead of just one (e.g., two feet rather than one).

Negative edging necessitates pushing down onto more diminutive holds, such as crimps or flakes, while positive edging calls for pressing the toes into larger footholds like pockets or slopers. Smearing requires sliding your foot across level surfaces without truly standing on anything, and heel hooking entails placing your heel against something before hoisting yourself up with it.

Mastering this technique will give you greater confidence when taking on more advanced climbs since you know that even if there aren’t many handholds, you can still rely on good old-fashioned “footwork” as a backup plan.

Edging is a fundamental technique in rock climbing that allows climbers to progress up more difficult routes. Gaining proficiency in the correct methods can increase your edging abilities and heighten your rock climbing aptitude.

How to Edge Properly

Edging is an important skill for any outdoor enthusiast to master. Knowing how to edge properly can help you traverse tricky terrain and stay safe. Here are some tips on finding the right foot position, applying pressure to the edge, and maintaining balance and control while edging.

1. Find the Right Footing

When finding the right foot position, start by placing your feet parallel with each other on either side of the rock or ledge that you’re trying to climb up. Position your toes outwards so that they make contact with most of the surface. This will give you more stability when it comes time to apply pressure onto the edge later.

2. Apply Pressure to the Edges

Once you’ve found good footing, it’s time to apply pressure onto your edges. You want enough weight on them so that they grip firmly into whatever surface you’re climbing but not too much where it feels like you might slip off at any moment. Think of this step as “hugging” yourself onto whatever object you’re attempting to climb – if done correctly, this should keep both feet securely planted in place until further progress can be made safely.

3. Maintain Balance and Control

Finally, maintaining balance and control is key when edging up a wall or cliff face – no matter how experienced or confident one may feel about their skillset. To do this effectively, try keeping your arms slightly bent while slowly shifting body weight from one leg/foot combination over another to maintain a steady pace throughout the ascent; remember, slow and steady wins every race. Additionally, if needed, take regular breaks along the way – even if only for a few seconds – just make sure to get back into proper form before continuing.

Edging properly is a skill that requires practice and patience, but once mastered can help you climb with more confidence. Mistakes when edging may arise from not properly weighting the edge or over-utilizing one’s hands for support; however, these can be circumvented by keeping your feet in line with the wall and applying pressure appropriately.

Common Mistakes When Edging

Edging isn’t for the faint of heart – it’s easy to mess up. Here are some of the most common mistakes:

1. Not Placing Enough Weight on the Edge

One of the most common mistakes when edging is not placing enough weight on the edge. Shift your body weight to the sides of your feet, aligning them with the wall for better control and equilibrium when edging. Shift your weight to the edges of your feet and keep them aligned with the wall for greater control over movements, maintaining equilibrium while edging.

2. Not Keeping Your Feet Parallel to the Wall

Another common edging mistake is not keeping your feet parallel to the wall. To avoid this error, focus on keeping both feet level with each other at all times and being perpendicular to the wall or surface you are climbing. If done correctly, it should feel like a natural extension of your body’s movement rather than something forced or unnatural.

3. Relying Too Much on Your Hands for Support

Finally, relying too much on your hands for support can also be a major issue when edging. While using some hand pressure is important for maintaining balance and stability, relying solely on them for support can cause fatigue quickly and lead to an early end to any climb session. Instead, try using small micro-edges along with proper foot placement and technique to keep yourself balanced without relying heavily on handholds or grips throughout a climb session.

In conclusion, several common mistakes are made when edging, such as not placing enough weight on the edge, not keeping your feet parallel with the wall, and relying too much on your hands for support. These can all be avoided by focusing on proper foot placement techniques combined with small micro-edges to maintain balance without overworking oneself during outdoor climbs sessions.

Common mistakes when edging can be avoided with practice and patience. One can hone their edging abilities to become a more experienced climber with the correct guidance.

Tips for Improving Your Edging Skills

Practicing on smaller holds is the best way to improve your edging skills. Start with small edges and gradually increase the size as you become more comfortable. To further refine your technique, strive to maintain parallel foot placement and apply the right amount of pressure to the edge. As you practice, focus on keeping your feet parallel to the wall for maximum efficiency. You should also be mindful of applying enough pressure to the edge without pushing too hard or leaning back away from it.

Increasing your foot strength and endurance is another key factor in improving your edging skills. Ensure you are doing exercises targeting both areas, such as calf raises, toe taps, and single-leg squats. These can all be done at home or in a gym with minimal equipment needed, so there’s no excuse not to do them. Additionally, if possible, try taking regular climbing classes where instructors can give feedback on how well you are using your feet while climbing, which can further help improve technique and form when outdoors or indoors.

Finally, visualizing yourself successfully climbing is one of the most powerful tools for improving edging skills quickly – even if it’s just in your head. Imagine each move before making it; what kind of foothold would work best? What type of handhold would provide stability? Visualization helps reduce fear because instead of worrying about falling off during an ascent, climbers can think about how they will reach their goal safely by planning out each step ahead of time mentally first before physically executing it later. Therefore, take some time out every day (even just 5 minutes) and imagine yourself easily conquering challenging climbs.

FAQs in Relation to What is Edging in Rock Climbing

What is edging in rock climbing?

Edging is a technique used in rock climbing to maintain balance and stability on small holds or edges. It involves placing the inside edge of your shoe onto the smallest possible hold and using it as an anchor point for leverage while pushing down with your foot, rather than relying solely on handholds. This technique requires precise control over body weight distribution, allowing climbers to stay balanced even when standing on tiny footholds. Edging also helps conserve energy by reducing fatigue caused by constantly shifting one’s grip from one handhold to another.

How do you climb edges?

Climbing edges requires a combination of skill, technique, and strength. To be successful in climbing edges, it is essential to have proper foot placement and body positioning while using both hands for increased stability. You should also use proper body positioning while climbing by keeping your center of gravity over the wall or rock face you are attempting to climb. Additionally, it is essential that you utilize both hands when possible, as this will provide more stability and leverage for each move. It is important to maintain concentration throughout the climb to execute each move securely and with assurance.

What is a Gumby in climbing?

Gumby is a slang term used in rock climbing to describe someone with advanced skill and experience. A Gumby is a highly experienced climber with an advanced level of skill, and they possess the physical strength, technical ability, and problem-solving skills to tackle complex routes. Gumby climbers also have knowledge of proper safety techniques such as rope management and belaying. They may be able to perform dynamic movements or use specialized equipment like cams or tricams when necessary.

What is the first rule of climbing?

The first rule of climbing is to always use proper safety equipment and techniques. This includes wearing a helmet, using the right type of rope for your climb, inspecting all gear before use, and having an experienced partner. Be vigilant when climbing by monitoring the environment around you; this includes assessing weather, terrain characteristics, and potential dangers. Finally, avoid overexerting yourself or putting yourself in unnecessary danger when attempting more difficult climbs.


Edge-scaling can be a fantastic way to test your abilities and refine your craft. With the right technique, you can become an expert climber quickly. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s part of learning to edge properly. Remember these tips for edging, and soon enough, you’ll be ready for more advanced climbs.