/ Slopers

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keith-ratcliffe on 21:08 Wed
I don't seem to be able to unlock the key of slopers.
I have recently watched climbers on a Moon board at Kendal and videos here on UKC of boulderers who both seem to be able to hold on to holds that I would just slide off.
So what is the mechanical key to using sloping holds?
deacondeacon - on 21:44 Wed
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
Get your elbows below the holds, Use your core to keep your body static . Give them a good brush before holding them. try and use any slight features on the hold for extra friction. Slopers are very often also pinches, if it's possible get that thumb working, then use it.

Kahti - on 21:50 Wed
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I'm definitely not a sloper master, but have improved a lot recently after 3 weeks in Font!

I've found shoulder strength is the key. You tend to keep your whole arm in tension more than on other holds.
That and experimenting with spreading your fingers different ways. Sometimes just a slight replacement of a finger allows it to catch on a previously unseen micro nubbin.
I'm not sure there's any secret "key" to them. Just mileage to build up the required muscles. Be careful though, I found out the hard way how easily they can damage your shoulders, and its almost as unpleasant as tennis elbow.
TobyA on 21:55 Wed
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I'm lousy at slopers but particularly so indoors - almost always this just seems to be I get sweatier hands than many - I'll look at my palm after trying to hold a hold and all the chalk will be gone, while a mate's hand will still be white. I've never really found anything to do about that in warm conditions, but basically try climbing gritstone slopey routes (problems) at this time of year and you may find you have more luck.
Greasy Prusiks on 21:57 Wed
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

It's all about getting your weight at the right angle to the hold so you can pull in the direction that best uses the hold, if that makes any sense.

Imagine a typical sloping break that's parallel to the ground (think gritstone). That hold is only any use if you pull directly down on it because that's how friction is generated, the higher your weight is and the further it is out from the wall the less you can pull down and hence the less friction you can generate.

I find it helpful to imagine a line going straight the hold perpendicular to the bit you're going to put your hand on. The idea is then to get yourself so you can pull in the direction of that line (or at least closer to it).

Failing that get stronger ;-) .

Hope that helps/makes sense.
elliott92 - on 22:04 Wed
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Body position is the key
L 8dreams - on 22:35 Wed
bouldery bits - on 22:43 Wed
In reply to 8dreams:

I was literally just about to post that vid.
Greasy Prusiks on 08:26 Thu
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

I wonder if any dislikers would like to share what they disagree with? I'm definitely interested if there's a better sloper groping technique out there.
Shapeshifter - on 09:28 Thu
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

> I wonder if any dislikers would like to share what they disagree with?

"Failing that get stronger ;-)"

Exhibit 'A' m'lud - clearly the poster is unaware that UKC is now a banter-free zone and is only a place for serious discussion of many of the key issues of the day.

UK Bouldering might be more your thing youth ;)

Bulls Crack - on 09:47 Thu
In reply to bouldery bits:

Getting loads of people to watch you seems to help
GrahamD - on 10:02 Thu
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

In my very punterish experience, not being half hearted is the key to slopers, and crap foot holds. Make your mind up and commit to pulling or standing on the hold.
Greasy Prusiks on 10:05 Thu
In reply to Shapeshifter:

Of course I'd forgotten the banter ban.

I thought it was because I'd posted three paragraphs in a row about climbing rocks.
TonyB - on 10:31 Thu
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

As others have said, body position combined with core and shoulder strength is almost certainly the key. One way to demonstrate this is to go to a fingerboard, find some slopers that you can't hang (or slip off within a second). Try again but get a mate to gently push your back so that your body hangs directly under them. You'll probably find that if the level is right you can hang the sloper. Try again but get your friend to push you with just one finger. It's a very subtle change in body position that makes it possible. The real difficulty is generating the tension to push your body into this position, this requires strong shoulders and core, which the people on the Moon Board/UKC videos probably have in abundance.

I also find that it helps generate tension in the arms if you don't hang them straight armed, but have a bend in the arm. This depends on the angle of the sloper and what other holds you have. Certainly for dead hanging a poor sloper, a bent arm is easier.

SenzuBean - on 10:50 Thu
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I would also add that excellent feet/body position (i.e. hips twisted really well), and tension/compression in your legs (really push on those footholds, don't just lazily stand on them) will reduce the need for you to be yarding on the sloper in the first place.
Graeme Alderson on 11:35 Thu
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

One Sloper is bad enough, we don't want multiple Tom's ;-)
stp - on 16:24 Thu
In reply to TonyB:

> The real difficulty is generating the tension to push your body into this position, this requires strong shoulders and core

The body tension required is nicely demonstrated on the video that 8dreams posted above. On the V12 traverse it looks like he's having to maintain a partial front lever to keep as much of his body weight on the other side of the plumb line as he can.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78MlribAX3Y
Offwidth - on 19:45 Thu
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

Wear UKC dislikes like a badge of honour.. so many children post here and there are so many post truth discussions that Sloper's old antics look positively adult. It was a good post almost worth a UKB wad point at a distance.
Greasy Prusiks on 20:12 Thu
In reply to Offwidth:

Oh I treasure my dislikes.

What's a wad point?
springfall2008 - on 20:12 Thu
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> I don't seem to be able to unlock the key of slopers.

As well as what others said about body position above.

If you also have your other hand on a different hold you can often create the positive pressure you need without having your body weight in the "correct location"

Imagine a vertical edge with one hand around it - you could layback on the edge (body weight position) or you could pull your hand onto the edge using your other hand (+ arm) as leverage - ideally both holds will be working together. Now you have the tension between both arms your body would be free to move.

ukb shark - on 20:15 Thu
In reply to stp:

> On the V12 traverse it looks like he's having to maintain a partial front lever to keep as much of his body weight on the other side of the plumb line as he can


Are you kidding? It's evident that he's just fooling himself that the holds are holdable and then tricking himself by moving his body so he floats between holds and just touches them along the way. And is as strong as fukc
Timmd on 01:58 Fri
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
I remember as a teenager talking to my brother about using gravity to hold onto holds while I was in my 'climbing nut' phase , and reckon what I was getting at is what greasy prussics posting about being in the right position relative to the hold to be able to use friction to hold onto it - since gravity is pulling you down, you need to be below the hold to use it (gravity) to create the friction to stay holding onto the hold, plus having arms slightly bent, and having enough core and shoulder strength to be able to exert some pressure/keep you in position I think. Simple ;-)

I guess you could do worse than going bouldering on sloping gritstone a lot while it's cold (or Northumberland sandstone if you're futher north), it could naturally fill any gaps muscle wise which might be holding you back in being able to hang onto slopers and sloping breaks.

Before I developed dodgy elbows I found that mixing bouldering on gritstone with climbing indoors quite complementary. Time to try and sort them once and for all before I'm not in my 30's anymore...
Post edited at 02:08
HeMa on 06:19 Fri
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> So what is the mechanical key to using sloping holds?

Stay low...

... and grow bigger hands to increase surface ;)
keith-ratcliffe on 21:12 Sat
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
Thanks to everyone who responded to this topic - I found lots of useful pointers to improvement. This was one of the most fruitful posts I have made recently.
Andy Hardy on 22:05 Sat
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Not in my experience
davidalcock - on 22:15 Sat
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Body tension and weather. Go and try Beachball in summer then winter. For me temperature makes a huge difference on slopers, but I seem to be in the sweaty palm camp.
JJL - on 22:42 Sat
In reply to 8dreams:

That's great - thank you
cha1n on 08:30 Sun
In reply to 8dreams:


Good advice here, though I remember watching this whilst fairly new to climbing and not being able to comprehend some of the points.

I think being good on slopers takes some body awareness and isn't always about pulling hard.
carr0t - on 08:53 Sun
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

A lot of good tips have been mentioned. As a beginner the key to slopers (along with many other holds that dont really feel good at first) is good footwork and body positioning / balance.

climbing is all about distributing as much of the load downwards as you can. Once youve got good feet, try to grab the hold in different ways and weigh it slightly differently. these tend to feel much better in some directions than in others and its not always as clear cut as edges or jugs. bone crushing hand strength is not the answer.
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Timmd on 17:14 Sun
In reply to carr0t:

I never quite got there before tweaky elbows, but it seems like as you move higher up relative to the sloper you're holding onto - the lats and core become more important for keeping being able to 'compress' downwards onto them.
carr0t - on 20:11 Sun
In reply to Timmd:

Sort of. The holds are all differently formed. they have the odd dimples, sometimes a bit of a depression to set a thumb, sometimes a bit of an edge right at the back of them, some are just round, etc. correct foot placement will tend to give you more purchase on these because you will be weighing them differently. some of these you can weigh while they are overhead, while others need a bit more of a side pull on them.

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