A deadpoint is a climbing technique where the climber dynamically stands up on their feet to a reach a hold, and at the brief moment before they fall back to the ground, they grab the hold with one hand and regain control. The climber will maintain one or both of their feet on the wall and usually will be at full extension when making the move.
The deadpoint is one of the coolest climbing moves. Just picture yourself standing up with all your might to reach a hold that seems impossibly far away. You’re getting closer and closer. But suddenly your body starts falling.
What do you do? You use all your upper body strength to grab the hold, your right leg swings up in the air to help stay on the wall. You look legit and the whole crag applauses your flawless technique.
Not all of the above may happen. But you will look legit executing a flawless, full extension deadpoint. We covered our favorite tips and common mistakes to avoid the next time you deadpoint.
What is a deadpoint?
A deadpoint is one of climbings controlled dynamic moves. It’s not a static move and it’s not quite a full on dyno. When you deadpoint, you are standing up on both or one of your feet and bending your knees to stand up quickly.
Unlike a dyno, the deadpoint is a controlled dynamic movement. You will need to act swiftly while deadpointing, but you won’t be removing all four points of contact off the wall like in dyno.
As you accelerate up, you reach for the hold that you’re aiming for. There will a brief moment when you’re at your apex and you can take control of your movement by holding on to the jug, crimp, or sloper.
Where did the name deadpoint come from?
The deadpoint wasn’t named after a famous climber, like Gaston Rébuffat. But when you deadpoint, you’re making a controlled dynamic move up to a hold. And what goes up must come down.
At a certain point, you’ll reach your apex and gravity will pull you back down to the ground. This moment of weightlessness when you’re not accelerating or decelerating is your deadpoint.
The deadpoint is also known as the apex. But it’s easier to refer to as a move as a deadpoint rather than a longer phrase.
- Identify the hold that you will grab at your apex and position yourself directly below it
- Plant your feet on solid holds
- Keep your hips close to the wall while you’re standing up
- Maintain body tension as you grab the hold, you can kick a leg out like Janja Ganbret to maintain balance
- Commit to the move, but fall in a controlled manner to avoid injury
How do you perform a deadpoint?
- Set four points of contact on the climbing wall
- Bend your knees into an athletic position, preparing for a dynamic move
- Focus on the hold your moving to
- Commit and powerfully accelerate
- Use all your physical strength to grab the hold and maintain your balance
In order to perform a deadpoint when rock climbing, there are a few things we need to be ready for. Since it’s dynamic, there’s a chance we might be falling to the ground uncontrolled. Get our landing zone protected with crash pads and cleared of any debris. Practice falling when bouldering, it’s a skill and can prevent some gnarly injuries.
Here are four easy steps to go through before you attempt a successful deadpointing move.
1. Set Four Points of Contact
When we say four points of contact, we’re referring to our hands and feet. It’s critical to have your feet firmly planted while deadpointing.
Your body will be at full extension and the last thing you want is to slip off the wall and land on the ground awkwardly. Trust your feet, but verify that they are on good holds and ready to go.
Ideally, your two hands will be on a jug to give you the most explosive power. But if they aren’t you’ll need to make do.
As you deadpoint, only one hand will be taken off the hold. You should always have three points of contact during the move.
2. Bend your Knees
You may not need to bend your knees as much as you were going into a full points off dyno. But you need to be ready to produce some force and propel your body to the next hold. The best way to do this is to bend your knees and start getting into an athletic stance.
Depending on how much energy I have, I will go through this motion a few times and keep my eye on my target hold. I’ll think through and visualize my whole body making the move.
If my target hold is directly above me, then I’ll draw an imaginary line from me to the hold. I will do my best to align my center of gravity directly below and follow the same line as I explode to the next hold.
While I’m getting in position, I also stare at the target hold for at least 3 seconds. All I’m trying to do is hone in my hand-eye coordination on the hold I need to grab. I’ll make a note of the hold distance and if I need to grab it an angle or any other specifics.
Now that we’re in position to launch to the next hold, all we need to do is stand up and grab it right?
Like a lot of things in rock climbing, it’s easier said than done. At a perfectly vertical crag with no incline, deadpointing to the next hold directly above you is straight forward. All you need to do is accelerate with enough force so you reach the hand holds.
But on steeper climbs this will get a bit trickier. If you keep your hips too far from the wall, then you’ll be fighting against gravity in multiple axes. Think about your hip position so you have inward movement towards the wall as well as up it.
4. Grab Hold
What goes up, must come down thanks to gravity.
As your standing you may feel like you’re in an insecure position. The only thing to keep you from falling is quick action to grab the hold at your apex.
You may feel weightless for a brief period. This is the perfect time to strike. If you’re at full extension, it may feel a little frightening. This is where your practice falling comes into play, so that if you do go down, you’re in control and at less risk for getting injured.
How do you identify a deadpoint when climbing?
When you’re deadpoint climbing, you’ll be looking for a decent amount of distance between the holds. When you see a far distance between holds and it looks impossible to make a static move. Then your brain needs to start thinking about alternative solutions.
Dynos and deadpoints are the two most common dynamic climbing techniques. The main similarity between the two is that you’ll be rocking or launching yourself in the move. The main difference is between the two is that while deadpoint climbing, you’ll be maintaining one of your feet on the wall.
What body tension do I need for deadpointing?
Body tension is one of the most important concepts in rock climbing. Many beginner climbers think that they can just get by with their arm strength and physical brute strength. But there will come a time when you won’t be able to do a move unless you have good climbing technique.
We’re really talking about what we need to do to stay on the wall. As you progress through higher grades, we have gravity pulling us down. And our momentum will begin to pull us off the wall as we make moves.
One of the best competition climbers in the world, Janja Garnbret has a trick that she uses on all of her dynamic moves. Watch any of her competitions and you’ll see one of her legs kick backwards when she grabs the hold she is reaching for. This helps her keep her center of gravity closer to the wall for just a split second longer and maintain her balance.
This is kind of like flagging, the foot opposite to my hand making a huge reach will kick out to help me maintain balance. So if my right hand makes a huge reach, then my left leg will kick out to help stabilize.
Before you line up for a deadpoint, think about how to keep your hips close to the wall. Are you going to need to bend your upper body to reach the hold? How do you need to turn your hips?
How do I practice deadpointing?
Our hips play a very important role in deadpointing. And if you’re feeling any stiffness or tightness in your hips, than it is important to focus on stretching. If you’re working a problem that has a deadpoint crux, warm up with a few deep seated squats just to get warmed up.
To help address my own inflexible hips, I try to follow a quick stretching routine every few days. I’ve found that consistency has been a huge help for improving flexibility in my hips.
One off my favorite videos is this yoga video:
Precision means grabbing the hold properly and with the right timing. The easiest way to practice this is to go to the rock wall at your local gym. If they have a spray wall that’s even better but not necessary.
All you need to do now is do a series of deadpoints that increase in distance incrementally. For the first round, find a hold that’s a foot away and make a dynamic move to grab that hold. Take your time and don’t rush. It may not feel like a lot at first.
Once you feel comfortable, increase the distance to the next hold. Keep doing this until your reaching full extension. The more you do this movement, the more comfortable you will feel.
Controlled dynamic moves can be tricky to practice. An important tip to keep in mind here is to be wary of your fall zone and how you will fall. There have been some seriously injuries caused by dynoing.
My favorite place to practice dynamic movement is low on the bouldering wall. I don’t want to fall too far if I mess up. I like to stand on the first few foot holds off the mat and then launch to a hold close by.
I will use the spray board to practice these and mark my own holds that seem good for this movement. But it doesn’t hurt to ask the staff or routesetters if they have any good routes in mind that are good for practicing dynamic movement.
When should you deadpoint?
You should deadpoint when the distance between you and the next hold is too far to reach with just a static movement.
A good indicator of this is that if it seems like the climb suddenly disappears and then starts back up again. If you think that a hold fell off, there’s a chance it might have. But there’s a greater chance that you need to deadpoint.
You also may be able to deadpoint through a crux if you’re tall enough. A deadpoint is a great way to skip a few holds if you’re trying to move faster or conserve some energy and not do an awkward move.
Common Deadpoint Climbing Mistakes to Avoid
- Not preparing your fall zone
- Not committing to the move
- Not focusing on the hold your aiming for before making the move
These are some common deadpoint mistakes that climbers make when deadpointing for the first time. Every time you climb, you should be thinking about the risk involved with falling. Is there a rocky landing that the crash pads can’t protect? Is there a ledge that you could hit while taking a lead fall?
Move commitment and focus are common mistakes climbers make when climbing in general. Not committing to a slab move means that you won’t have enough friction to stay on the hold. Daydreaming while on slab could mean a long slide down the cheese grating rock.
Another thing to keep in mind is to grab the hold at your apex. If you grab a crimp while your force is gravity pulling you down, you could put yourself at a higher risk of a tendon injury.
Keep these things in mind the next time you climb and you’ll see improvements in your overall performance.
Where should your hips be positioned while deadpointing?
The position of your hips will be very dependent on the climb. But in general, it’s a good rule of them to keep your hips close to the climb.
As you accelerate during your deadpoint, keeping your hips in will help you generate more upwards force. If your hips are far back, then the force you generate will be pushing you up and out.
But sometimes big volume holds can get in the way and you may need to adjust. Use your best adjustment and think about how your hips will factor into your move.
Readers also asked
A deadpoint is a climbing technique where the climber stands up quickly and grabs the hold at the apex of their acceleration.
It is one of the most fun climbing techniques where it looks like the climber is jumping to reach the next hold.
The deadpoint in climbing is a move where the climber makes a dynamic move to reach a far away hold. The climber maintains three points of contacts during the move.