/ Climbing Moves

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her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
I guess this has likely been asked before but was interested to see what everyone's thoughts are on this and I suppose the answer doesn't really matter due to climbing being a personal thing. Whats your opinion on people using their knees? A good example of this would be a move that requires a high step but instead the climber puts there knee up on this to gain the ledge or something. I reckon there is a lot of other scenarios but this seems a pretty easy example. I personally feel like this isn't really a climbing move but that's only my opinion. I think I may have done it a once or twice on a few routes when I started out and I felt like I was cheating. I can no doubt can do these routes without this method now due to more experience. Would also be interested to hear if people think of similar situations.
Climbthatpitch - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:
Nothing wrong with a technical knee from time to time
Post edited at 10:32
BarrySW19 on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Climbthatpitch:

A good knee bar is a thing of joy.
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to BarrySW19:

I'm not speaking about knee bars though. I'm talking about putting a knee on a ledge instead of a foot, a totally possible move given I was flexible enough.
Phil Anderson on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Why on earth would it be cheating!? It may not win any style points, but there's absolutely nothing ethically wrong with it at all.

I'll happily use a knee if it's the easiest way up a piece if rock. The problem with using a knee is that once your weight's on it, it can be hard to get off it again, but if that's not an issue (topping out or moving onto a big ledge for example) then no problem.

Caveat - If I do use a knee I expect to get some banter from my mates about the lack of style
Offwidth - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Climbing allows the use any part of the body to acheive movement. The main common problem with the knee moves you describe are they can lead to inefficient movement or potentially even leave you stranded (seen this require a rescue...leader stuck on knees on a narrow ledge on a boldish face). Yet, knee use can help at times and not just knee bars or knee jams ... there is sometimes useful counterbalance on the lip of a roof or taking weight efficiently on a ledge (a route like Orpheus wall is a technical grade easier if you know how to use your knee on its ledge).
GridNorth - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

There is nothing "wrong" with it but as Offwidth suggests it's surprisingly easy to find yourself stuck and unable to straighten up and get back on your feet. I have been known to use a knee a time or two but would prefer to get my foot on the ledge in the first place. I'd say it's possibly more to do with body position than flexibility.

Al
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Phil Anderson:
In reply to Offwidth:
In reply to GridNorth:


Thanks all for clearing that up. I can see why it would be harder to get off your knees in certain positions and it looks like there is some sort of agreement that its OK to use a knee or whatever body part for that matter. I think my question has been answered, cheers all!

Jon Stewart - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

As others have said, knees can be great. There's a 2 classic boulder problems in the Peak that I do by putting my knee on the lip of a roof so I can make the hand-move - we're not on about knee-bars here, we talking about using the knee as a foot. It works and I'm sure it's the most efficient method.

However, crawling onto a ledge on your knees *is* genuinely climbing badly. It's a bad way to approach getting onto the ledge, it's not efficient, it can leave you in a ridiculous can't-move position, and of course it's really ugly. This latter point is of course just a spurious value judgement, but surely we do all want to climb nicely as that's a huge part of the fun. I hate scraping my way up stuff, looking like a tit who's well out of their depth. I like the incredibly rare occasions when I climb smoothly, confidently and efficiently. Crawling when you should be climbing is the antithesis of this.
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think that's the direction I was coming from when you speak about crawling onto a ledge on your knees. I just don't think its great technique, if there is no other way then use of knees might be the case but in the case its was a move that could have been made without climbing terrible and throwing a knee up. I'm of the same view point, I'm not into scrappy climbing either but as you said once you get out your depth all things tend to count. I have been in that position before haha!
C Witter on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

"Any fool can climb with their feet, but it takes craft and cunning to climb with your knees!"
steveriley - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

When I first started, 'knee!' was a common cry of foul amongst my group. Now I'm old, creaky and less flexible I have to quieten the voice in my head when topping out on certain boulder problems
Offwidth - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

It's often fear that leads to this bad practice; ironic really as it normally increases risk. I'd forgive people using kness inelegantly on a top-out when really tired or mentally shredded though.
Dell on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Simply sew a pair of climbing shoes to the knees of your trousers.
Hey presto! You've instantly doubled your chances of finding a good foothold.
gethin_allen on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Surely the only really bad thing about using your knees is that it hurts and you'll knacker your knees and trousers. But if the options are crawl over the top on hands and knees or fall off I'll go for the former.
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I agree - there is some situations where you could basically box yourself in making it pretty much impossible to get out, unless the move is reversible. I think with top outs my view can be the same.
keith-ratcliffe on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
I am sure I have seen a clip on UKC of a well known climber topping out with a knee struggle after an epic last few moves. I can't remember where or who it was.
Post edited at 16:01
Fiona Reid - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:
I use my knees all the time for rock, winter and indoor climbing.

I'm small and not terribly flexible so often end up with a knee on a hold and then standing up onto the same hold. It can be a bit precarious and those with more flexibility/reach can likely do the same move much more gracefully but it's what works for me.

If I can't get my feet on a ledge but my knee will reach then I have no issue using briefly and then standing up onto my feet from there. I don't think it's cheating. It's certainly not any easier and the potential for screwing it up is higher as you still need enough space to get stood up on the hold. So far I've always managed to extricate myself but it's been close on one occasion. That said, without using my knees I'd not have gotten up the route at all.
Post edited at 16:15
alan moore - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

There is some old footage of Arthur Dolphin soloing the classic VS's and HVS's at Almscliff in which he constantly makes quick, efficient use of his knees. He's clearly not struggling or using bad style; in fact, looks quite effortless...
Michael Gordon - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Generally it's poor technique in summer (i.e. it doesn't help!), but invaluable in winter.

Alternatively if it's good enough for Seb Grieve...
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to alan moore:

Sounds interesting, post a link if its online! Cheers!
her_t6 - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Fiona Reid:
Thats fair enough, i was mainly asking to see what everyones views are on this. I never really thought to take height into consideration so thanks for highlighting that. I agree its not any easier but as i said above if theres no other way then yes i would maybe use a knee myself. The question was based around say myself, where a ledge is at perfect height for me but i chose to put my knee on it rather than figure out a move that could get me on it foot first, which i think for this situation would have been more technique thing rather than height. I now know theres no rules around what you use on the body to gain height.
Post edited at 17:33
Martin Bennett - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

I think "try not to use your knees" is good advice for a beginner as, as others have pointed out, it's often hard to get off 'em again. Once experienced you're in a position to judge when a knee might be beneficial. And there are assuredly such situations.
oldie - on 07 Sep 2017
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> I think "try not to use your knees" is good advice for a beginner as, as others have pointed out, it's often hard to get off 'em again. Once experienced you're in a position to judge when a knee might be beneficial. And there are assuredly such situations.

Concur. I do it a lot, especially as I often can't get my leg high enough! I sometimes wonder if people ever fall off simply because they don't even consider using a knee.
PS Have large pussey scabs and scrapes on both knees at present after escaping rough sea while traversing coastline.
Oceanrower - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Ok in caving. Frowned upon in climbing.
Tomtom - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

As far as I know, a use of the knee is acceptable in climbing if someone, preferably the climber, shouts 'alpine knee!'

Not being an alpine climber, I can only assume knees are common practice?
I like climbing - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

> I guess this has likely been asked before but was interested to see what everyone's thoughts are on this and I suppose the answer doesn't really matter due to climbing being a personal thing. Whats your opinion on people using their knees? A good example of this would be a move that requires a high step but instead the climber puts there knee up on this to gain the ledge or something. I reckon there is a lot of other scenarios but this seems a pretty easy example. I personally feel like this isn't really a climbing move but that's only my opinion. I think I may have done it a once or twice on a few routes when I started out and I felt like I was cheating. I can no doubt can do these routes without this method now due to more experience. Would also be interested to hear if people think of similar situations.

No problem with knees. I use everything ........
springfall2008 - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

I've done this once or twice, but you end up with bruised knees which isn't nice Having learnt more technique since I'd generally avoid it and use a high foot instead.
DerwentDiluted - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

No one mentioned the use of a wedged knee as a fixed anchor yet?

Technically known as a 'Boysen'...
Ramblin dave - on 08 Sep 2017
In reply to C Witter:

> "Any fool can climb with their feet, but it takes craft and cunning to climb with your knees!"

"We were bound for Stanage, the greatest citadel of knee-using bumblies."
richard_hopkins - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

I've heard that people pay good money to hear about Doug Scott using his knees...

bouldery bits - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to her_t6:

Using your knee...

So what! I'm the master of the skull jam, no hands chin rest and hip cam.
Hugh Mongous - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to richard_hopkins:

> I've heard that people pay good money to hear about Doug Scott using his knees...

Can't help think a few people would like to use their knees on Doug Scott.


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