Step Up Your Game: Intermediate Climbing Techniques

Cracking climb moves left you reeling? We’ve been there too, realizing the beginner techniques just don’t cut it anymore. In this article, we’ve curated our top-recommended intermediate climbing techniques to help you ascend from novice to savvy climber smoothly.

Journey with us up the rock face and feel your climbing skills soar!

Intermediate Climbing Techniques

In this section, we will explore three intermediate climbing techniques: flagging, stepping through, and heel hooks.


Let’s delve into one of the most crucial climbing techniques called flagging. It’s a stepping stone to advancing from beginner to intermediate levels and plays a pivotal role in boosting your climbing skills.

  • Flagging is all about balance, it involves using your leg as a counterweight to maintain balance while moving your other limb.
  • Primarily, there are two types of flagging – inside and outside. Inside flagging means your body stays inside of your planted foot whereas outside flagging suggests that body moves outside of your planted foot.
  • This technique can be significantly improved through cross – training exercises aimed at enhancing core strength and flexibility.
  • Contrary to some beliefs, mastering flagging is not just about the physical action but also understanding when to apply it. It becomes crucial when you’re on an overhang or dealing with sparse holds.
  • To effectively use this technique, focus on controlled movements rather than momentum. A high lunge or push could throw you off balance which may hinder proper execution of this move.
  • This technique also finds its place in various indoor climbing drills often found in bouldering problems or sport climbs.
  • One noteworthy point is that improper or no warm – up before starting can be detrimental for this kind of movement due to the strain it puts on muscles and joints. So, always prioritize warming up before getting into action.
  • Practicing flagging consistently will aid in fine-tuning other advanced climbing techniques as well provided it’s complemented with other important exercises like step-ups for single-leg strength training.

Stepping Through

Stepping through is a crucial intermediate climbing technique that can help you navigate tricky sections of a route with more control and efficiency. Here are some tips to master the stepping through technique:

  1. Begin by identifying a foothold or feature on the wall that you can use as a stable base for your foot.
  2. As you approach the foothold, focus on maintaining balance and proper body positioning.
  3. Use your momentum from the previous move to initiate a controlled step onto the foothold, ensuring that your foot is securely placed.
  4. Keep your core engaged and maintain tension in your muscles to prevent any unnecessary movement or wobbling.
  5. Once you have successfully stepped onto the foothold, transfer your weight onto that foot while keeping your body close to the wall.
  6. Be mindful of keeping your upper body relaxed and avoid tensing up, as this can hinder your movement.
  7. Continue to look for the next hold or feature on the wall that will allow you to transition smoothly into the next move.
  8. Practice stepping through on various routes and bouldering problems to develop this technique further.

Heel Hooks

Heel hooks are an essential intermediate climbing technique that can help you navigate tricky sections of a climb. By using the heel of your foot to hook onto holds or features on the wall, you can gain better stability and control. Here are some key points to remember when using heel hooks:

  1. Encourage momentum: Utilize your body’s momentum to generate power when executing a heel hook. This will allow you to move fluidly and efficiently through the climb.
  2. Choose the right foothold: Look for a foothold that is suitable for a heel hook. It should be large enough for your heel to comfortably fit on and provide enough grip to support your weight.
  3. Position yourself properly: When approaching a section where you plan to use a heel hook, position your body in such a way that allows you to fully extend your leg and bring your heel up towards the hold or feature.
  4. Engage your core: As with any climbing technique, engaging your core is crucial for maintaining balance and stability while executing a heel hook. Keep your core tight throughout the movement.
  5. Apply pressure: Once you have hooked onto the hold or feature with your heel, apply downward pressure to create more friction and ensure a secure grip. This will help prevent slipping or losing control.
  6. Use caution: Heel hooks can put strain on your Achilles tendon and calf muscles, so it’s important to listen to your body and avoid overexertion. If you feel any discomfort or pain, take breaks as needed and gradually build up strength in this technique.


In conclusion, mastering intermediate climbing techniques is a crucial step in progressing from a beginner climber to an advanced one. By incorporating flagging, stepping through, and heel hooks into your climbing repertoire, you can enhance your performance and take your climbing to the next level.

Remember to continue cross-training and practicing various drills to continually improve your technique. So get out there, challenge yourself, and keep pushing the limits of what you thought possible in rock climbing!


1. What are some intermediate climbing techniques that can help improve my skills?

Some intermediate climbing techniques include heel hooks, toe hooks, flagging, and drop knees. These techniques can help with balance, stability, and efficient movement on the wall.

2. How do I practice and master these intermediate climbing techniques?

Practicing these techniques involves consistent training and focus. It’s important to start with easier routes or bouldering problems that incorporate the specific technique you want to work on. Gradually increase difficulty as you become more comfortable and proficient.

3. Are there any safety considerations when using intermediate climbing techniques?

Yes, safety is always a priority in climbing. When practicing advanced techniques, it’s crucial to have proper equipment such as harnesses, helmets, and crash pads if bouldering. Additionally, make sure you have a spotter or belayer depending on the type of climb.

4. Can I learn these intermediate climbing techniques without professional instruction?

While it is possible to learn and improve your skills through self-practice and observation of experienced climbers, receiving professional instruction from certified guides or coaches can greatly enhance your learning process. They can provide valuable guidance and correct any improper form or technique that may lead to injury or inefficient movement on the wall

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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