/ Climbing friends and not.

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Chay - on 19 Jun 2012

Just a quick discussion on something I've found that should maybe factored in to peoples climbing.

For most of my climbing, bar the last couple of years I've always had very regular parters, not only that but good friends. Due to this I found it easy to be motivated, we pushed eachother to improve and not only enjoyed the climbing but being in eachothers company. We (in all cases) both progressed quickly and safely within climbing whilst enjoying and wanting to get out all the time.

During the last couple of years, these people have sinced moved away, work etc and we maybe climb together once or twice a year. So I've been climbing with many (LOTS) of different climbing partners and have found that my climbing is almost back to when I first started S/HS at best. I know these people are safe yet never push myself or eachother and the company is never entirely comfortable due to not really knowing eachother that well. I find it difficult to be motivated and frankly, don't enjoy climbing anything like I did because it factors out all the pro's that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

My question being; Is it just a problem with my personnal motivation or do people find this a common problem? How did you overcome it and remain motivated and push yourself on a personnal level without the help of a partner?

Thanks, sorry it's long winded!

Scarab9 - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

I notice I climb better, harder and more confidently with certain people too. I know others that feel the same. Annoyingly the ones I climb best with live a bloody long way away! <grumble>
Frogger - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

I've found that some people have a motivating effect on you, some don't ... but for me, it's not dependent on how well I know them.

In fact I took a break from my usual climbing buddies recently and met up with a group of new faces for a couple of days... and even though they weren't known to me, I climbed well and confidently, unexpectedly leading a HVS (which is good for me). I also did many more routes than usual, as most of my friends want to go to the pub by 3.30pm!!

Chay - on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22: Thanks for your thoughts guys.

I understand what you mean that certain people seem to have a motivating way about them and if they're motivated it rubs off on you.

I think perhaps it's the consistency kind of thing, if i'm friends with the people i go climbing with and do so regularly, all i have to worry about on the day is the climbing, the fun comes easily, the laughs, the jokes etc but if the person is new, it seems more forced, more to think about and thus stresses me a little and i tend to enjoy it less.

Al Randall on 19 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22: I have a similar problem i.e. lack of partners. Not getting out is what tends to de-motivate me and I was so desperate that I advertised on here for a partner to go to Kalymnos in May. I was a little concerned but needlessly, we had a great time. He could second anything I could lead and I think that I managed to increase his confidence in himself.

I think that you gain confidence in a partner and it takes some considerable time to really gel but it doesn't take long to get some idea of a persons competence and abilities.

harold walmsley - on 20 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:
It can work the other way as well. One of my long term climbing partners and friends had a surge in form and started climbing much better than me. When doing multi-pich trad it became too easy for me to just back off and let him lead it. He never pushed me to get on with it, it was all me. I had to change partners (regretfully) to get myself back into taking full responsibility.
PaulWatson - on 20 Jun 2012
I think the issue may be related to anxiety, some pairing are more relaxed together than others. Anxiety makes you under perform in any field

I climb with a lot of different people as I am part of a large inclusive group. As a relative beginner I find this useful as I pick up different tips and tricks the whole time. My climbing is greatly affected by whom I climb with, The "I've never fallen" brigade who make me keep well within myself and back off things, to the "we can do it" types who cojole and encourage me up hard stuff. Interestingly the quality of my climbing usually adjusts up or down to match. So one day i'm hapilly leading HVS 5a then I'm escaping an HS 4b.

I dont mind this, I consider all my partners to be friends and I can usually learn something - we have a strong social side as well which is important.
markez on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

*Indoor climbing*

I don't think I can relax when climbing with people who have another motivation to climb. Not sure what the trigger is, as only recently back to climbing but a lack of genuine enthusiasm for my climbing is perceptible.

ATM I take a lot of pleasure when others are climbing, and feel best when there's a smile on the partner I've just lowered.

It sounds like you have the passion for climbing; I wonder if your partners are bringing the same enthusiasm. The grade drop is interesting. Do you feel that your partners would be comfortable if you were climbing at the level you want ?
Chay - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22: Thanks to everyone for the responses to this.

I find it difficult to understand and to put into words why i don't seem to climb as well without a regular partner so i was more interested i seeing others points of view. It seems to be a very personal thing.

I think my problem is anxiety as mentioned. I find it difficult to meet a new person, asses if i'm happy with them and climb at my best all in the same day. It becomes a stress so, i tend to just climb something i know i can cruise without thinking about it. Whereas if i know the person, know they're competent etc i can just concentrate on climbing my best.

That to me is my main problem.

andic - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

People I usually climb with are either the guy who taught me (most of) what I know, a good friend who I started out with or a couple of noobs i've taken under my wing. I occasionally reply to partner requests on here or put up my own but when I do i feel a lot of pressure over a follow up. It's not that I don't want to have more regular partners it is just that I have too many commitments outside climbing to develop a partnership with more than the 3 or 4 guys I already climb with and the prospective partner loses interest because i come over as unreliable.
andic - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to andic:

but to answer OP I am pretty relaxed about my belayer and generally trust other climbers unless they are obviously incompitents. I'd climb upto VS with anyone, HVS/e1 with any of my regulars and a solid looking stranger and if I was pushing myself only my most regular partner would do
Jon Stewart - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

I'm in comparable situation, in that I used to climb with the same bunch of mates who've now all moved away/got married or whatever. Nowadays, I climb with loads of different people, the majority of whom I met on here. 'Cause I quit my job and became a student, I've often got free time when others haven't and so I very frequently climb with some random off UKC.

For me it works brilliantly. I really enjoy climbing with someone new, and haven't had any bad or uncomfortable experiences yet. I've got loads of regular partners who I've now got to know really well, and we climb well together. It's also really interesting climbing with people who have different approaches, strengths, ambitions and often people can take you out of your comfort zone. For example, I climbed with a guy who was really into long, adventurous traversy routes on sea-cliffs, which I would otherwise have avoided as "too much faff, not enough hard moves". As a result I've done brilliant, adventurous, spectacular routes I might otherwise have not bothered with.

My advice would be to climb with folk from here, until you find regular partners who you climb well with. I've found that being really specific about what you want to do (grades, crags, even specific routes) means you get few replies, but replies from people who unsurprisingly have the same or complimentary goals. When you find someone who's passionate about the same stuff, but maybe has a different approach that you can learn from, I expect that a rapport will build immediately, no matter how different your personalities might seem if you met in a different context. I've found that age/gender/background etc have absolutely no influence on who's great to climb with, so I'd always advise to make no judgments (I'm not saying don't have a quick peek at what they've posted lately!).

Hope that's helpful somehow. Good luck!
Jon Stewart - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to andic)
> but to answer OP I am pretty relaxed about my belayer and generally trust other climbers unless they are obviously incompitents. I'd climb upto VS with anyone, HVS/e1 with any of my regulars and a solid looking stranger and if I was pushing myself only my most regular partner would do

Because I've had only good experience with climbing with strangers, I'm perfectly happy to jump straight on a hard route. Bit risky perhaps, but I normally find that after a bit of communication (posting on here, arranging the climbing) it's really obvious if someone knows what they're doing. After a cuppa before setting off, plus a chat on the walk-in, I'll have decided whether it's a good idea to ab into a big sea cliff with someone...
andic - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That is a fair point, it's pretty obvious if someone has "romanced" their experience and ability once you have spent a few hours driving across the country together

BTW has anyone ever been on a completely blind date, ie a partner tells you he is bringing a mate or two along and you are expected to climb with one of them without knowing any more than: Yeah Fred's alright, nice kid...
Daniel Heath - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

I find psyche level is more significant than how well I know them.

Of course it takes a bit of care to get into climbing with someone new, as you find out how keen each of you are to push it.

I've climbed with a new partner once or twice and had a completely cold experience.

But if they're psyched to push it, then it usually works out really well.
mick.h on 26 Jun 2012
In reply to GingerBread22:

Completely the opposite......

I always used to climb with the same 3 guys, as life progressed and we climbed together less, I joined clubs and sought out new partners. Some of the new partners were climbing harder and my grade was pulled up accordingly.

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