How to Climb Smoothly? Mixed Climbing Quick Tips

Chicks Mixed Climbing Clinic participant learning how to climb smoothly, Camp Bird Road, Ouray, Colorado. ©Kitty Calhoun 

Diane, M learning how to climb smoothly at Chicks Ouray, Colorado Mixed Climbing Clinic, Ouray, Colorado. ©Kitty Calhoun

How To Climb Smoothly?

Learn how to climb smoothly by staying in balance with precision and purpose.

What the heck?

Join us for our Ouray, Colorado Mixed Climbing Clinic where we’ll take a deep dive into understanding climbing in balance with precision and purpose.

Meanwhile, consider the following tips about balance, precision, purpose and the powerful tools of visualization and breath.


My Pilates instructor once told me, “Use stability to provide mobility.” It is the same in mixed climbing. You must learn to keep your core and all of your limbs perfectly still. This all-body-stillness supports the stability and balance you’ll need to move your next tool or foot up. Then the trick is to shift your balance and stabilize under your newly placed tool or over your newly placed foot.


Mixed climbing is an aspect of climbing that especially demands precision because the holds tend to be smaller. However, smaller does not necessarily mean harder. If you’re in balance, then smaller holds can be more useful than larger holds that put you out of balance.


Watch a graceful climber and you’ll notice that she’ll slow down and study the next sequence of moves from a relative rest position. Then, once she begins to move again, she’ll commit without hesitation to each move. It’s as if she has glue on her front points and picks. She does not stop and “shop around” for holds.

Climb Smoothly with the Powerful Tools of Visualization and Breath

Visualizing in small detail is as effective at building brain engrams as doing the actual movement itself.  Yet visualization takes discipline. It takes practice to slow down and focus on running a play-by-play movie of yourself as a climbing super star.

Breath connects mind to body. Use your breath as a tool to keep yourself moving calmly and efficiently. Start by simply reminding yourself to breathe. It is very common to hold your breath when the going gets tough. Then you can work your way into more specific techniques. Try inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose combined with a pursed-lip out-breath.