How to hold onto slopers
If there is a type of hold that climbers hate it would be the dreaded sloper. It is not a hold that inspires confidence, especially on exposed routes with dodgy footholds. And many climbers bail on moves that involve slopers ending their chance of sending the route. Sloper holds are a challenge for even the most seasoned climbers. These slippery, round holds require technique, strength, and a little bit of luck. If you’re looking to improve your sloper game, keep reading for some tips, tricks, and ridiculous puns.
To hold on to slopers having crazy finger strength is not the answer. Thus spending more time on tiny 2mm crimps on a hangboard does not really help. It is more effective to improve your technique, confidence on slopers and a huge pair of stainless steel balls will go a long way.
What is a sloper
First things first, let’s talk about the anatomy of a sloper hold. These holds have a rounded surface with no distinct edge to grab onto. They can range in size from small and subtle to large or even massive. Some slopers even have multiple surfaces/textures to grab onto, making them even trickier.
Technique to hold a sloper
Engage your whole hand
Now that you know what a sloper hold is, let’s talk about the correct technique to use on slopers. The first step is to engage your whole hand. That’s right, don’t just rely on your fingers to grip the hold. Imagine you’re wrapping your hand around a large beach ball, using your entire hand to distribute the weight evenly. This will help to reduce the strain on your fingers and increase your overall grip strength.
Next, keep your elbow close to your body. This will help to engage your shoulder muscles and distribute your body weight more evenly. It will also help to prevent you from pulling away from the wall, which is a big no-no in climbing. Pulling away from the wall can cause you to lose your grip and fall. If situations allow, always keep your elbow straight when holding a sloper as it reduces strain on your forearm.
Use your body weight to your advantage. When holding onto a sloper keep your body weight directly underneath the sloper lean your body into the wall and push your hips and shoulders forward. This will create more surface area between your hand and the hold, giving you a better grip. You can also try shifting your weight from one foot to the other, which can help you find a more stable position.
Don’t overgrip. It’s tempting to squeeze the sloper hold as hard as possible, but this can actually make it harder to hold onto. Overgripping can cause your muscles to fatigue more quickly, reducing your overall endurance. Instead, try to relax your grip slightly, focusing on engaging your entire hand and using your body weight to your advantage. Think of it like holding a baby chick – you don’t want to squeeze too hard and hurt it, but you also don’t want to drop it. Using just the right amount of strength can make holding onto a sloper easy and effortless.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. As with any climbing technique, the key to holding onto sloper holds is practice. Start with easier slopers and work your way up to more difficult ones as your strength and skill improve. Remember to focus on engaging your entire hand, keeping your elbow close to your body, using your body weight, and not over-gripping. And most importantly, have fun with it! Climbing is supposed to be enjoyable, even when you’re struggling to hold onto a sloper.
Holding onto sloper holds requires a combination of proper technique, body positioning, and practice. By following these tips, you’ll be able to improve your Sloper grip and tackle more difficult routes with confidence. Just remember to take it slow and focus on proper techniques. Keep your elbow close to your body, use your body weight, don’t overgrip and practice.