Some I've noticed:

  • V0 – hanging by one's arms; shifting weight for balance; pushing with one's legs
  • V1 – pinching, edging
  • V2 – laybacking, pockets, backstepping, flagging
  • V3 – 'more strength'?

'More strength' is what it feels like you're missing when you can't do a problem – better technique is unimaginable. It's also obviously needed too.

What other techniques should I be practicing, and looking for opportunities to use – and at what grades?

Here's the top Google search result for me just now for "climbing grades chart" so feel free to use any grade scale:

Yes, this question is similar to this existing question:

This question is, in a sense, the 'inverse' of that other question. But I'm not a route setter, nor am I devising my own pitches or problems. I want to know a rough ordering of techniques and their at-least-approximate association with various grades. I understand that there aren't hard-and-fast rules and that there are lots of reasons why this is.

But I've already supplied several examples of techniques that, in my experience at least, seem to only be necessary at certain grades. I'm sure there are more. What are they?

I also understand that, in fact, basically any technique may be required at fairly low grades, i.e. V3-V4.

But some techniques, e.g. bicycling; or certain types of problems, e.g. roofs, overhangs of greater than 30 degrees; just don't seem to reasonably be expected at lower grade problems. I dispute, for instance, that a problem with a 60 degree overhang, for more than one or two moves, could reasonably be graded a V1. That absolutely contradicts my (limited) experience and I can't imagine that anyone would expect climbers at a V1 grade level to be able to climb such features consistently.

  • Tl;Dr this isn't how it works. I have climbed 60 degree overhangs that are v1 and short slabby climbs that are v4. Grade == difficulty, the moves involved are secondary.
    – user2766
    Sep 15, 2017 at 9:39
  • @Liam I dispute that literally any grade could require any technique. I understand that it may be approximately true for most grades, but I want to know the correlations and associations there are, however few they may be, or fuzzy the connection. Sep 15, 2017 at 14:30
  • This isn't a duplicate. Yes, this is related to how grades are assigned or given, but it's ridiculous to expect new climbers to be able to grade any climb. Grading climbs should only reasonably be expected of experienced climbers. Thus, if nothing else, the audience and beneficiaries of this question are very different than those of the supposed potential duplicate. Sep 15, 2017 at 14:33
  • New climbers don't grade. Grading is a purely subjective process based on experience, it isn't a technical exercise. I'm sorry but what your looking for doesn't exist. I've seen roofs with v0 climbs on them. It's just got big bucket holds to make it easier.
    – user2766
    Sep 15, 2017 at 14:37
  • @Liam That seems crazy – expecting V0 climbers to climb a roof, regardless of how big the holds are. I couldn't climb a roof, tho I can consistently climb V2s. More generally, you seem to be disputing that grades mean anything; not just that they're fuzzy or approximate, but literally meaningless. Have you also seen V0 problems with tiny holds that require crimping too? A V0 can't be a meaningful grade and yet also potentially require any amount of strength or any climbing technique at all. I'd dispute that a V0 could even reasonably require a heel hook, let alone a toe hook, for example. Sep 15, 2017 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


While there may not be certain techniques or hold types you see much of at lower grades (slopers, dynos, and crimps come to mind) I don't think you can generally equate specific techniques to specific grades - everything will just get harder as you go.

Additionally the type of rock, angle, and holds encountered will vary significantly from gym to gym to outdoor area. You could have v8 with all slopers, all tiny pinches, or all micro crimps. Generally as you noted, holds get smaller/steeper/more overhung and technique needs to be more refined as you go up in difficulty.

The need for 'more strength' often translates many different ways. It can be a lack of muscle endurance, a lack of power, a lack of tendon strength, or a lack of technique, among others. Pinpointing the specific area of weakness can be challenging, for example, feeling like you don't have the endurance to complete a specific problem could actually be a symptom of not using the proper technique.

How can you figure out what technique might be helpful in a given situation?

Go to your bouldering area at peak times and watch people who are better than you try problems that are around (or just within) the limit of your ability. See if they incorporate specific movements like flagging or matching, watch how they shift their weight through the problem, and where + how they place their hands and feet on the holds...then try it yourself. It may also turn out that you just can't hang on to a certain hold and, yes, need more pull/grip/crimp strength.

If you're trying to get better at climbing generally (especially bouldering or sport, less so trad) a hangboard regimen is a decent place to start. This will help build some of the tendon & forearm strength that is often lacking when starting out. Do be careful, as hangboards put A LOT of stress on parts of the body that don't normally deal with that kind of stress, and it is easy to injure yourself if you go too hard to fast.

If you're thinking about getting serious in training I'd highly recommend Eric Horst's book training for climbing lots of good info about physiology, training ideas, and sport-specific areas to target weaknesses in your abilities. It had some basic plans, and a lot of information on how to craft a training plan specific to your own needs.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 16, 2017 at 5:27

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