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Nymeria

The climbing club (Nov 2013 - ?)

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This PVP (PVS?  player vs. self?) challenge will continue indefinitely, and the goal is to continue improving your climbing skills while helping all of your fellow climbers by sharing videos, tips, techniques, advice for relevant exercises, and more.  It's also a great place to just talk about climbing, vent when you're frustrated, or have the rest of us cheer you on when you finally get that route you've been projecting.  :)

 

There are no real rules for this PVP.  Just set some climbing goals for yourself, hang out here, talk about climbing, and occasionally update on how you're progressing with your goals.

 

 

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And, since I started the thread, I'll start with some goals.  In the semi-short term, I'd love to complete a V4 and a 5.11.  I was actually very close on a V4 before the walls were re-set, and I'm reasonably close now on another one.  I'm also close-ish on a 5.10+/11-, which would be a good stepping stone for the higher grades.

 

But aside from grades and goals, one of my short term goals is to concentrate a lot more on my footwork.  I've frequently encountered routes where I feel like I'm not strong enough to get the moves, and yet after I receive advice on proper foot and body placement, the moves are pretty easy.  I'm also really bad at remembering to smear on the walls and get a good push when there are no footholds.  So, even though I often feel like I'm thinking about my feet and using them, I'm still focusing too much on my hands while not quite being effective enough with my feet. 

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I think I can quote happily get on board with this!

 

Grades and goals-wise... I only have a rough estimating of what sort of grade I'm at right now. For actual climbing it's around HVS (and I figured I'd put in a handy conversion chart!), although apparently I'm doing slightly higher grades indoors due to the way my local centre sets routes. Bouldering, well... I have no clue. Realistically, my goals grade-wise would be strictly climbing, and it would be to comfortably make the transition to E1 routes outside and E2 inside.

 

The footwork thing I get, I need to improve mine as well. We had a movement skills day through uni not so long ago and that proved I still have a lot to learn about footwork and movement on the wall in general.

 

So, short term goals would be to A) figure out what grade I'm bouldering at, B) focus more on my body's movement as a whole, and C) get over my fear of autobelays. Seriously. They terrify me...

 

Shame I can't go climbing for the next few weeks... :(

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I'm sorry you can't go climbing for a few weeks.  :( 

 

I may be against the grain with this, but I don't actually think it's that important to focus too much on the grade.  All of the gyms out there seem to be pretty inconsistent with the grading.  For me, it's more about using the grade to see progress, since we don't really have too many good ways to assess progress other than being able to complete higher grade routes.  And it's a great way to detect personal weaknesses.  I know if I'm struggling on a V1, there's probably some sort of move or technique that I need to practice a bit more. 

 

And I'm totally with you on being uncomfortable with autobelays.  I hate feeling that subtle upward tug of the rope when I'm climbing, and it completely throws my balance off.  Plus, it messes with my mind and makes me feel like I need to hurry up with my climbing.  Ugh.  It's weird, because in theory it should be easier to climb with the autobelays, as they give a 30-40 lb assist, but I really climb horribly when on them.  Thankfully, I don't really ever need to use autobelays, because I either boulder or make my husband belay for me. 

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Oooh, love this PvP! I'm in.

 

I'm working on V2s right now - I've hit the limit of what being tall and somewhat strong will get me, now I need to develop some technique and a lot more strength. And I definitely need to pay more attention to my feet, too! There's an interesting route I'm working on right now that lets you use any footholds you want, you just have to stay on the marked handholds. It's funny, because having lots of choices for footholds is almost paralyzing to me, and I realize I have no idea which holds would be good ones to get me where I'm going. So that's my current project - I won't be able to get to it this week because of the holiday, but next Tuesday I should be back on the wall.

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I'm sorry you can't go climbing for a few weeks.  :(

 

I may be against the grain with this, but I don't actually think it's that important to focus too much on the grade.  All of the gyms out there seem to be pretty inconsistent with the grading.  For me, it's more about using the grade to see progress, since we don't really have too many good ways to assess progress other than being able to complete higher grade routes.  And it's a great way to detect personal weaknesses.  I know if I'm struggling on a V1, there's probably some sort of move or technique that I need to practice a bit more. 

 

And I'm totally with you on being uncomfortable with autobelays.  I hate feeling that subtle upward tug of the rope when I'm climbing, and it completely throws my balance off.  Plus, it messes with my mind and makes me feel like I need to hurry up with my climbing.  Ugh.  It's weird, because in theory it should be easier to climb with the autobelays, as they give a 30-40 lb assist, but I really climb horribly when on them.  Thankfully, I don't really ever need to use autobelays, because I either boulder or make my husband belay for me. 

 

I get where you're coming from with not focusing strictly on the grade. I'm half and half, really, which I think comes from being surrounded by people obsessed with pushing their grades all the time. Heh, I'm quite content to do it at a slower pace, far more time to focus on technique!

 

It's partly the whole machine aspect that gets me for the autobelays. I know it's theoretically safer than a person, but it isn't as reassuring (as in there is a person right there), it doesn't listen to what you say to it... The tugging isn't so pleasant either. Give me a person any day, or you're right, it's time for some bouldering.

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I agree with the terror of autobelays, for the same reasons as iatetheyeti. I'm also afraid of heights, and I know that I would get all the way up there and not be able to let go and then I'd be stuck until I fell, and it'd be the most terrifying moment of my life, and probably people would laugh at me.

 

*ahem* Apparently I've spent some time thinking about this...

 

As for my climbing goals, mine are a little more general at the moment. One is to just go consistently, which is part of my challenge. Another is, I just decided today, to end each climbing session with an endurance-type workout, wherein I climb one or two easy top-rope routes for the first 3 plywoods (about 12 feet or so), over and over again until I can't any more. I think I'm going to structure it as I would any other 'set' of an exercise, where one time up and down is one rep, and I'll try to work up to 3 sets of ten, or something. That part I haven't figured out yet, but I like the structure of something like that so it feels less willy-nilly when I'm doing it.

 

As for a specific project, I'm stuck on this one green one (on the bouldering wall) where all I have to do is reach up to get the last hold, but no matter where I put my feet, a lower hold hits my hip (or crotch, depending on the angle) and makes it so I can't quite reach. There's gotta be a way around it but I can't figure it out... For the record, green is the second level of difficulty, but I don't know what it would correspond to in the 'official' grades.

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I'll admit that I'm guilty of grade chasing or at least grade obsessing, but I know that it would be better if I didn't feel that way.  Part of it is that while lifting weights or running are pretty boring for me, there's something appealing about how easily you can quantify progress.  For climbing, though, the grades (especially for bouldering) cover a lot of ground, and you tend to be stuck there a long time, so it's easy to feel like you're at a plateau, even if you're actually improving at a normal rate.  So I'll chase the V3s and V4s, just because getting them reaffirms to me that I'm getting stronger and picking up technique.  :)

 

I love the endurance drills, Obax.  I'm trying to do something similar by making sure I do at least one top-rope route each session.  Doing a bunch of easy boulder ones back to back would be a great idea, too.  I'm definitely weaker on the sustained, endurance based stuff. 

 

Aeryn, my gym also does some routes that are marked "any feet."  I usually find them much trickier at first, since the optimal foot placements and body movements are much less obvious than they are when you have limited footholds.  But on the good side, if someone else shows me how they do a move, but I'm not capable of whatever move they did, at least I have a lot more options to come up with a different way of doing things.  :)

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Do any of the rest of you have some sort of strength limitation that is holding you back, and if so, what exercises are you doing to improve things?

 

Other than the obvious grip answer, I've been encountering a lot more routes where I'll have a small toe-hold, I'll basically have to be squatting with my butt resting on the heel of that foot and the other leg hanging down, and then I'll have to push-up with minimal handholds.  So, I've been working on my pistol squats, in the hopes that I can build that strength.  If I don't have good handholds in that position, I'm just kind of stuck in that deep, one legged squat on the wall, and I can't really push up. 

 

Technically, pistol squats and just about any one leg squats are supposed to drive through the heel.  But for all of us climbers, we're usually going to be in a position where we need to drive through the toes and ball of the foot.  So, I've modified my pistol practice to be on my toes rather than heels.  But, I'm not sure whether there's a real reason why proper-form squats always drive up through the heels, or whether it's just a convention to do them that way.  It's a shame that the "Ask Waldo" thread is gone. 

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My main strength limitation at the moment is upper body, and other than climbing itself I'm not doing anything to improve, though I'd like to be. My lack of a pull-up bar is what holds me back, I would love to have the opportunity to work on that independently of climbing, or on days when I don't/can't make it to the climbing gym. They don't even have a pull-up bar there, and I have yet to figure out a way to attach my resistance band to a climbing hold... I did try assisted pull-ups by using my leg to push, but didn't see much progress at the time, probably because I was never able to use my leg consistently, so it always provided more assistance that it should have...

 

Other than that, my main issues are ones of coordination and fear, both of which will just take practice to get past.

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Do any of the rest of you have some sort of strength limitation that is holding you back, and if so, what exercises are you doing to improve things?

 

Definitely grip, though all I'm doing for that right now is hanging off of a pull up bar until I drop off of it. If I could get away with drilling some climbing holds into my bedroom wall I would, but my landlord dislikes us enough already with me doing that!

 

Lower body strength is definitely something that needs worked on, and like you said, pistol squats seem to be where it's at. The only slight problem with that is that up until recently I've not been able to do pistol squats on both legs due to a broken toe. Heh, it's amazing how much breaking such a small thing can ensure you can't do much at all. So essentially I've had told hold myself back or risk severe unbalancing. Fortunately it's fixed itself up enough for left leg pistol squats now!

 

Aside from that, I reckon what's really holding me back is the severe lack of endurance. I can scuttle up one fairly middling climb, take my time on a second one of equal or easier grade, then find that my limbs have jellified and I need an hour out before I can even think of attempting another one.

 

 

Other than that, my main issues are ones of coordination and fear, both of which will just take practice to get past.

 

I hear you on the coordination issues...

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Hey guys!

 

Pretty much a beginner here.  Still have a few V0s that I can't quite finish at my gym (in my defense, they have some pretty tough moves right at the end, lol).  Also working on one particular V1 and inching my way through.  I think 5.8's are pretty much my limit for top-roping at the moment.

 

For right now, I'm just focused on going consistently.  Now that school is over, I hope to take some lessons and learn more about technique.

 

Ugh, I HATE autobelayers.  They drop you like a stone when you let go and they make weird noises.  Super glad I have my husband with me.

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I'm in! 

 

I'm still a bit in post-injury training (got a bit of skin ripped off while climbing a while ago and it got infected, not pretty to see). So my pre-injury level was:

V0 [3-4]: 100% completion. 

V1 [5A]: 100% completion 

V2 [5B-5C]:80% completion sometimes there are some moves that still elude me for some reasons (usually because they are scary)

V3 [6A]: 50% completion

V4 [6B]: Only solved one until now. 

V5 [6C]: Still a distant dream :D

 

I'm slowly getting back on V2, V3 maybe next week. 

 

What I need to work on: 

100% completion on V2: being scared should not be a reason to fail.

More consistent V3. I can solve half of them, that's not enough

Work on V4: still above my level but working on them is still important.

Smoother moves: my friends made me noticed that my feet are really aggressive, falling noisily on the holds. Same with my hands. I need to be more in control of my moves.

Stop complaining about "morpho". Sean mcColl is only 169cm and is a great boulderer/climber. Ok it's still 10cm taller than me but that's also a proof that you don't need to be Adam Ondra (180cm) to be a good climber. If I can't reach a hold, it's just that I'm not strong enough. Maybe it's easier for tall people but I shouldn't care about that. Climbing should be a relationship between me and the wall, I shouldn't care about the other.

 

What is my training schedule.

Bouldering 3 times a week (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday)

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Welcome aboard, Quietmuse, ReachingForTheStars, and Nuala!  Nuala, that's a cool way to break things down to see progress.  I'd estimate that I have 100% completion of V0, 95% of V1, 75% of V2, maybe 30% of V3, and for V4s, I've once managed to get every single move on the route, but I couldn't put it together and do it cleanly. So, I'm still at 0%. 

 

So, one of my big climbing frustrations is that my grip is relatively weak.  I know that pretty much everyone feels that way.  ;)  What do all of you do to help build grip strength?  Do you just climb often enough to fatigue your grips?  Do you do a lot of hangboard exercises, and if so, what's your program for that?  Do any of you do things like grip putty or rice buckets?  Have you noticed huge improvements?

 

I mostly train my grip by climbing twice a week and doing home climbing wall hangs once per week.  I recently installed a hangboard, but I don't have a solid program.  I'm not sure how often you're supposed to work on the grip.  My hands are usually pretty tired the day after climbing, and I don't want to risk injuring them.  I'm still not sure what the optimal program is to maximize grip strength gains while minimizing injury and preventing having crappy climbing sessions from going to the gym with my grip already tired. 

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I have tried a rice bucket in the past and liked it well enough, but was never consistent enough with it to say whether it made a difference or not. Grip work is a tough one for me, I find my wrists really flare up when I push my grip a lot, and have yet to decide if it's a case of 'no pain, no gain', or a case of 'back off or you'll hurt yourself for realz'. Probably it's a bit of both...

 

For now all I'm doing is the endurance-type climbing, wherein I climb an easy route up and down repeatedly without touching the ground. The part of me that's challenged most by that is my grip, so it's grip work by default.

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I'm with Obax, jealous of y'all's partners and such - I think I've gone through 5 climbing partners in the 1 to 1 1/2 yrs I've been climbing.  Autobelays may not be my friend, but at least I get to climb.  I've been strictly autobelay/bouldering for 3 weeks now, which kinda stinks.  A buddy just texted me yesterday and is all fired up to go, so I might actually tie into something tomorrow.  I need to get back on lead, as I've totally been slacking.  Back to the 5.9/5.easy overhanging lead test route until I can get my head straight again.

 

I'm at about 5.10- consistently (top rope, 5.8 to 5.9 lead) and maybe V3 depending on the setting style.  Goals?  Maybe 5.11-?  My weakness is, like everyone, probably grip strength.  I noticed last week there was a couple points where I was able to grab a pinch and just haul on it until my feet could get back on.  My downfall is always big slopers/round holds (the open hand or friction style grip?)

 

What am I doing to try to improve?  Shrug...keep climbing?  Currently my strategy is strength training to better my climbing ability as well as all-around fitness.  I also tend to prefer routes/problems that emphasize technique/balance over strength.  Yeah, I know, that's cheating.

 

Anyway, that's me.

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Maybe if I repeat this sentences enough, I will end up by believing in them!

 

"It's not morpho, it's just that my crux is different than yours"

 

"I'm sorry for tall people, they miss all the fun parts of the problems"

 

"I'm Jain kim can solve some 8B with her 153cm, I can solve a 6A with my 159cm! No excuses!"

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I'm especially whiny with the height thing.  I'm not actually short at 5' 6.5" (169 cm), but I climb with my 6'2" husband (188 cm).  It's so frustrating seeing him more or less skip the tough parts of a problem because he can just reach the hold without having to do any intricate footwork, or he can sometimes skip the crux move altogether.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's a good thing that I'm forced to do all of the footwork and can't cheat by having super long reach, because it's forcing me to develop better technique.

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I'm especially whiny with the height thing.  I'm not actually short at 5' 6.5" (169 cm), but I climb with my 6'2" husband (188 cm).  It's so frustrating seeing him more or less skip the tough parts of a problem because he can just reach the hold without having to do any intricate footwork, or he can sometimes skip the crux move altogether.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's a good thing that I'm forced to do all of the footwork and can't cheat by having super long reach, because it's forcing me to develop better technique.

 

You're the same height as Sean McColl!  That's a proof of awesomeness :D On his website I have found this comment from him:

 

 

I’m about 169cm tall, almost 5″7 as you probably found out. I do run into moves that are long for me, but as long as I can physically span the moves, I usually find a way to do it. This being said, the problem might be a few V grades harder if you can’t keep your foot on. Take a 5 foot move into a pocket. For the people that can keep their feet on, they will do it static and hit the pocket very nicely, the smaller climbers will have to jump into the pocket making them have to actually aim.

 

I try to always remain positive and believe that there is a way that I can do the move. Even I get frustrated in competitions when I find the problems are unfair. Normally at the world cup level, they try to be consistent with the problems. I might also recommend suggesting to the route-setters to add some higher feet, because there are even smaller women that can climb that grade as well and if a person in the 5″6, 5″7 range is finding the move reachy, it will feel even crazier for someone a few inches smaller.

 

Good luck!

 

See, even him can be frustrated too :tongue:

 

Anyway, I think your BF is in the wrong here. A boulder is like a math problem, what's important is not giving the answer but show all the processes that lead to the answer. Anyone can put a formula in a calculator, no good math teacher would give points for that. I even had a math teacher who gave you full points if your reasoning was right and the final answer false. I had the revelation Tuesday while I was working on a V2+, the problem was really interesting with some neat moves that required some fingers strength, balance and positioning. Moves you can see frequently in some higher level problems. And one guy (probably around the size of your BF) just skipped most of the holds (and all the cruxes obviously) and went to the top directly and in my mind I was thinking "what's the use of doing that?" sure he went to the top but he learned nothing in the progress.

 

That said, jumping right to the end of the problem has also another tricky problem: it may lead to injuries later on. Muscles are one thing, they are effective and grow quickly, but tendons are something that strengthen really slowly (takes a few months I think), up to V2-V3 the holds are still quite good and even the crimps are not too bad. Starting V4+,  the hand holds are getting really difficult to grip and will require some very strong hands and fingers. If your BF has not trained his hands enough because he avoided these tricky little holds before, he may encounter some serious problems. 

 

One in all, in the long run you will win because you will have better hands and better techniques! So, instead of envy, pity your BF because he is losing so much of the fun :tongue:

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I'm especially whiny with the height thing.  I'm not actually short at 5' 6.5" (169 cm), but I climb with my 6'2" husband (188 cm).  It's so frustrating seeing him more or less skip the tough parts of a problem because he can just reach the hold without having to do any intricate footwork, or he can sometimes skip the crux move altogether.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's a good thing that I'm forced to do all of the footwork and can't cheat by having super long reach, because it's forcing me to develop better technique.

 

Heh, same here! Except at a shade below 5'4" I am kinda short... And the majority of the people I climb with are taller than me. Most by quite a margin as well. In a way, it makes it more satisfying to complete a route that they've just reached their way through without much skill at all, though it does get quite frustrating when they're belaying for you, yelling at you to just reach out. You know, when you're stretched as far as physically possible anyway and the hold you want is still a foot away...

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I'm glad my husband, who could reach for some holds that I couldn't, generally chooses skill over reach.  Although, sometimes I'll whine that he's taller when he completes a move that I couldn't, but then after I watch him do it and try to use a similar technique, I realize it was all in my head and with the right skills I can do it just fine!

 

I really need to work on not swinging like crazy and getting more control so that I don't tire myself out.  I'm getting better, but I need to work on it more!

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My BF is a bit taller than me too (172cm or something?) but he is also chooses skills over reach. He knows that I often struggles at finding some solutions because of my height and is always helping me to find them. As a result, he has a good technique and despite being smaller than many other men, he just solved his first V6+. So Technique > * :D

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