I just started mountain biking (although as a youth I spend many days street riding so I feel very comfortable on a bike), mainly staying on paved and fire roads. I've now attempted some more challenging trails. Descents I can handle without a problem. It was a little scary at first dropping down a solid rock 1-2 feet high, and say dropping 10 feet vertically over a very short and rocky horizontal stretch. I might not have the greatest technique, but I always feel in control and well balanced. Sometimes going down hills with lots of small rocks, I can feel the rear slipping, but can compensate for that.
The two biggest problems I'm encountering is going uphill with lots of obstacles (roots, logs, rocks), and just in general sections that are a continous path of 1-2ft rocks or larger boulders.
The first problem - should I just try to hop on top of everything with my front tire and shift all my weight to the front? Once I lose momentum, there is no option but to walk my bike up. I can usually make it part way, but then my bike just stops, and I have to tip over to one side.
The second problem - I've encountered areas where there is a stretch of nothing but rock with lots of dips and rises (ranging in .5 to 2ft+). If I were to just wheel my bike over this terrain, it would not work because the pedals or crack would just get caught. I can't get by without constanting lifting the rear of the bike up over certain areas. My pedals and crank arms are already scraped up pretty good from at least trying to overcome these obstacles riding. Do I just need to look for the "right" path in these situations where my bike could actually clear the terrain, or does this involve mounting your bike strategically on rocks and hopping through course?