The silent feet exercise is something I picked up on during one of my first reads through The Self Coached Climber. It stood out to me because it seemed relevant, easy to try, and immediately challenged my climbing technique paradigm. The aim of the exercise is to teach precision in foot placements. If your foot makes noise, you’re not placing it precisely.
The Goal: Place your foot exactly where you want it, every time you move.
The Challenge: Two climbing partners, attempting silent feet on every climb for an evening’s training session, and more importantly, keeping score
The Prize: Eternal glory and a six pack of beer
- Climbing precisely can often mean climbing slowly, especially on an unfamiliar route
- Climbing slowly is easier in the first half hour than the last
- It’s easier to be silent on overhang than on slab
- I have not mastered the art of the silent smear
- The silent feet challenge did force some pre-planning in foot placement, but not more than I do ordinarily. I was only forced to think 1-2 moves ahead most of the time.
The winner … not me. :(
My friend and I climbed a different number of routes over the course of the night, so we took an average of total noises/total climbs. The final scores in noises/climb were 4.27 for my victorious friend and 4.30 for myself. Close!
I bought the six pack on the way home from the gym, quite graciously. You can be sure I’ll be thinking silent in anticipation of next time!