In the rock climbing world, the mantle is a pretty unique move and one that beginners or those who are just getting started with rock climbing usually wouldn’t attempt mantle climbing until they have enough climbing experience under their belts. For those who are ready to give it a try, below are the steps involved in mantling climbing, plus some tips to help make things easier.
3 Steps on How to Do Mantle Climbing
Mantling climbing consists of executing three essential moves. Note that the order of the steps involved may need to be re-arranged or mixed up depending on the nature of the boulder lip being traversed.
1. High Step
Mantle climbing generally starts by performing a high step. Here, you need to bring your foot up as high as it is necessary, sometimes bringing it way past your hips. A high, well-placed foot is essential in helping you maintain your balance and hoist your body all the way up through the mantle. In any case, the higher your foot is, the higher your weight will be; hence, putting your body in a more favorable position.
Foot placement will vary depending on the situation. Sometimes, you’ll need to fix your toes on a hold below the lip of the boulder, while other times you’ll need to execute a heel hook for added pulling power over the lip. These types of scenarios is where having the right rock climbing shoes can help immensely.
2. Initial Pull
The objective of the initial pull is to achieve a balanced locked-off position so you can move a hand without falling off. In this step of mantling climbing, you’re going to rely on your arms to pull your body above the lip. In addition, you’ll also be using your feet which you set in place earlier.
3. Palm Press
After locking-off over the lip, you’ll need to perform the palm press. Here, you’ll flip your lower hand and use it to push yourself over to the top. There are two variations of the palm press which climbers use when mantling climbing.
The hand-in palm press is where you rotate your hand inward or towards your body so that your thumb is pointing down to the ground. This method of the palm press allows for higher initial pushing power generated by the shoulders and triceps.
As opposed to the above, the hand-out palm press is where you rotate your hand outward so that your thumb is pointing away from your body. It will be more challenging to push with this palm press variation initially, but it’s an excellent position to be in when your weight is over the lip.
After executing those steps, you should be able to hoist yourself up and over the mantle.
Mantle Climbing Tips
Much like advanced rock climbing techniques, mantling involves employing certain techniques and skills in order to climb over a lip. Aside from learning the steps above and properly executing them, there are certain tips that can help make the process easier.
Aside from physically training for rock climbing, you also need to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead. When you decide to take on a mantle, then you need to commit to doing so. If your confidence falters in the middle of the move, you’re most likely going to fall and flop on your back. If you don’t think you’ll make it, it’s better to bail early and try again later.
This is one of those climbing scenarios where you’ll want to have a generous amount of climbing chalk on your hands before ascending. So take some time to dip your hands into your climbing chalk bag beforehand. Make sure you get some on your palms. Mantels will sometimes require more than your fingers.
If you think you can chalk up while hanging at the lip, then that’d be great. However, you can do what other climbers do. That is, you can dab some chalk on the legs of your climbing pants or climbing shorts and give it a quick slap before you commit.
Practice makes perfect, so if you want to get good at mantling then you’re going to have to devote enough time for practice. Unfortunately, not many indoor climbing gyms offer opportunities for practice. There are some where you can find free-standing boulders on which you can practice on, but again not all gyms offer the same amenities.
That said, if you really want to practice mantling, then your best option would be moving from indoor climbing to the outdoors. If you do, be sure to keep the session as safe as possible. This means setting a bouldering crash pad in place and having a climbing buddy who can assist if things don’t go as planned.
Q: What is a mantle in rock climbing?
A mantle refers to the transfer of motion from pulling to pushing. In rock climbing, moves and techniques generally require the use of pulling maneuvers. However, mantling will require the use of pushing motions in order to get over a boulder lip (much like when you’re getting out of the pool from the poolside instead of the pool ladder).
Q: How do you make a mantel?
Mantling generally involves executing three essential moves: the high step, initial pull up, and the palm press. More specific details about how to execute these moves are outlined above. The moves need not be performed in the said order. It will be up to you to determine which you should do first based on the climbing scenario.
Q: How can I improve my climbing flow?
Climbing flow is basically a state of mind where climbers become hyper-focused and all self-consciousness disappears. To improve climbing flow, climbers need to match their skills to the level of the challenge, mental tactics, and physical training. Also, we can better access flow once we find ways to worry less about what other people think and doing away with negative thoughts.
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Mantle climbing is certainly not for the faint of heart, but the satisfaction you’ll get after overcoming that precarious boulder is one of the best feelings any climber can get. When mantling climbing, be sure to execute the moves properly and keep the tips above in mind. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.