Where are you based? Climbing with different people will help with your confidence and will keep climbing fun, put a post on here and i'm sure you'll get plenty of offers. Also there's nothing wrong with being a severe climber, there are plenty of climbers who are happy to climb around that grade and never push it any further.
Have you ever had any coaching? I had a lesson with Adrian Berry and it made a world of difference to me, he concentrates on trad tactics and mind control issues and I think you would definitely see improvements. Also we're all inconsistent, that's what makes climbing so much fun the odd day when everything locks together and everything seems easy and smooth are what makes climbing worthwhile, they are few and far between for all of us.
Your logbook shows that you're never getting on the lead, that's no good for your climbing and or your route reading.
I'm gonna say it, your boyfriend sounds like a douche, Climbing (particularly single pitch) is an activity where people operating at different levels of difficulty can still climb together. I climb with friends who only top-rope up to mates who climb E8. Unless your doing commiting multipitch it doesn't matter.
Good Luck, I'm sure VS 4c is a very achievable goal for you. :)
If you can climb Font 6a+ indoors, that would imply that you have strength to spare outdoors and you can probably already do VS 4c. This is a situation I have been all too familiar with. Equally, it sounds like you have already given this some thought and identified 2 areas to improve, and both are weaknesses that can be improved with a little focus. I'd say this is a good start.
I'd probably think about your head most of all - what are the issues? Do you lead? Do you want to lead? What is going wrong at the moment? If it's a fear of falling, then you need to do some conditioning - start by sitting on the rope, then slumping on it when it isn't tight, then build it up until you fully trust the system to hold you. It feels scary, but it works. If there are other issues, then a similar approach will probably work there too.
Route reading can also be worked on easily. All it requires is a little time looking at a route or problem before you set off, working out how you might climb it. Then as you are going, remember what you thought. You will probably find you do things differently to how you imagined. The final step is to think back afterwards and compare reality with your expectation. As you gain experience, these will become much better aligned. It can be hard to remember a whole route's worth of moves, so it's better to practice this bouldering, or for sections of routes. The other thing to do is to play about on boulders and the starts of routes. Experiment and build up a knowledge of how the rock feels and how best to use the holds.
I'd also say that it might be good to climb with someone other than your boyfriend - too much familiarity can drop the normal 'tact barriers' that we use with other people. It's very common to see couples arguing and being fairly unkind to each other at the crag.
You should quit your boyfriend, not climbing. A decent boyfriend should be on your side. The fastest route to improvement is to climb more with supportive people who are also looking to improve and who value your improvement.
Tell him to f off and have a chat with other climbers.
I had the same problem years ago (not progessing through the grades, not the bf issue- yuk) and was given encouragement by the great Colin Binks who told me to just enjoy my climbing and not to worry too much about the grades. At the time I was climbing with a really good male partner, and although he never critisided or commented- in fact, Chris was endlessly patient and helpful- just watching him swarm up a climb I hadn't a hope of depressed me. Funnily enough Colin's advice worked- from seeing myself as a kind of a failure, I sort of abandoned the "competition" as it were with myself and relaxed...and my grade improved and of course I could now enjoy the climbing for what it was.
Incidentally, Chris and I ways found stuff that we could both climb, (outdoors he would often lead, and I could manage as second, although I did my share of leading too- I'll never forget the epic Chris had on Normale at Sa Gubia that I was happy wombling up practically as a solo- it's a head game, see) so there was never any fuss about me having to just be a belay bunny or him ripping up an easy climb just for my sake.
Being a good climb partner is as much if not more about being a great belayer as both being able to climb the same grade.
>"My boyfriend will no longer climb with me because he says I will never improve"
Maybe he's right! Perhaps your current attitude and tactics don’t lend themselves to quick improvement in trad. Your bouldering ability certainly suggests you have the potential to climb harder trad grades but some people find the trad head game a formidable obstacle to overcome.
It's difficult to say where confidence can be found – everyone’s different. From here it looks like you need to push yourself beyond a comfort zone of low/safe boulder problems and top-roping. You need to prove to yourself that your bouldering strength/fitness is more than enough to safely lead a well protected VS.
Just go do it (in an incremental but definite purposeful progression).
There are going to be, what feels like, a few leaps of faith along the way but I suspect that with sensible route choice, the dangers will be more imagined than real.
Excellent advice. The b/f sounds a complete waste of space. To the OP try joining a local club where you are likely to get the support you are looking for.
For something more direct, the three things I found that quickly showed results were learning to jam (some good UKC video on that), spending lots of time thinking about what my feet were doing whilst climbing, and bouldering circuits indoors to improve endurance.
Well, the fella sounds nice!!
If you're short of a supportive partner I live in Sheffield and will happily hold the rope for you and encourage rather than ridicule!!
I found that the difference between climbing severe and VS was purely in my head and that the moves weren't that much harder. My mates encouraged me when I was leading something I found hard, and I returned the favour when they were on the sharp end! That's how climbing partnerships are supposed to work.
For the record my missus climbs with me and has little or no desire to improve above the level you are at but will have a go at seconding me on anything I can drag myself up! I've never considered telling her she's rubbish and I don't want to climb with her anymore! I love the days we spend out in the hills and wouldn't change it for anything!
What has happened when you've tried harder routes? You say you have mind control issues, is that freezing, backing off routes or simply not getting on them to begin with?
It sounds to me that your self confidence has taken a knock and you need to find supportive partner/team then simply get out there and enjoy your climbing. With the right support you'll move up the grades as and when you're ready. You're almost certainly already good/strong enough, it sounds like what you need is encouragement.
I've been climbing indoors since 2008 and F6a+ is still my limit. Maybe it always will be.
Re leading VS 4c, my advice would be:
Get professional trained, so that you really trust your gear, rope-work and route finding. I had a week at Plas-y-Brenin that made a huge difference. It made me a lot more positive.
Try to second a grade or two harder regularly (HVS 5a/5b). My cracking VS 4c came after a year of climbing with more HVS climbers.
HS 4b is still a good grade! I found April Crack hard enough and backed off Byne's route last time I was at Stanage.
Especially: if you love climbing then DON'T GIVE UP.
With climbing comes a lifetime full of learning and improvement that's one of the joys of it. There is no hurry to get to particular level, there are thousands of good routes at every grade. You ARE progressing, don't put yourself down just keep climbing and figure out how to keep enjoying it instead of getting hung up on the grades.
Go to new places to climb if you can, that's one of the many other joys of being a climber - it takes you to wonderful places. You also learn new skills on different rock types.
I notice a lot of the climbing in your logbook is on the Peak Gritstone. Grit is a wonderful rock, many of us learnt on it, but it does not suit everyone's natural climbing style.
At around VS certain techniques become fairly important on grit such as jamming and smearing, much more so than on many other rock types at the same grade. It is one of the harder rocks for those who mostly climb indoors to adapt to. If you are bouldering font 6a+ you probably can climb VS even if you can't get it on grit.
Can you jam? Do you have good footwork on smears? Are you strong/ confident enough to tussle through a section of strenuous laybacking? Do you find and take rests before or after a difficult section?
If not see these as opportunities for learning and improvement, not failings or weaknesses. Take the time to work on them, get help from friends who also climb if they can.
Notice the type moves or sequences you can't easily do, do they have any common thread? If so you could focus your efforts on learning how to approach these type of challenges, physically and mentally.
Where are you based? Where else could you get to to try other venues and rock types? North Wales? The Lakes? Portland? Forest of Dean?
Do you have other people to climb with apart from your other half? If not you should find some, it's good to have a range of climbing partners you can learn from them all and have more fun.
Do you lead? I don't notice any leading in your logbook. Do you lead indoors? or on sport routes? Do you want to lead? Or do you just want to consistently second Vs 4C?
Professional coaching can be a real help with physical techniques, rope work and safety and also importantly with the mental aspect of climbing.
It can be a very worthwhile investment.
However if you can't afford it there are a lot of experienced rock climbers out there, some of whom like to help others along the way.
That's how I learned, I got a lot of that kind of help when I was in my first few years of climbing and I like to pass that onto folk these days.
If N. Wales is in striking distance and you want to get out climbing when the weather improves you can drop me a PM.
I did my first rock climb in 1986, then my first lead (an HS, but never mind that) in 1992.
I still back off quite a few VS routes and have never onsighted harder than HVS (and my "chickening out" rate at HVS is high!)
You don't need to measure progress or "enjoyability" by some arbitrary ratio of improvement:time.
Many thanks for your help
My wife is in a similar situation (She hopefully doesnt have the boyfriend issue though!). We moved up to manchester not too long ago so she lost a lot of her climbing buddies, so she's joined a womens club in Manchester https://www.facebook.com/WomensClimbingClub and is now able to climb with all sorts of different levels of climbers, so gets to take things at her own pace, i think they also have coaching sessions too.
If you're not near Manc im sure there must be other clubs nearby that do similar things.
Just hope I can find nice people to go outdoors with soon.
If you are ever going outdoors let me know.
I'm sure many club members would appreciate an enthusiastic second, more leading for them!
Without being rude have you actually looked?
How about this one, http://www.sheffieldclimbing.com/edgeclub.php
perfect for beginners and people looking for partners.
Or these guys http://www.peakclimbingclub.co.uk/joining-the-club/ who are happy to have newcomers climb with them.
isn't this girl in a similar situation to you http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=537798
she's got loads of replies.
You seem to be making this much harder than it needs to be. Email a club or post on lifts and partners mentioning you're a beginner. You'll be fine :)
Being honest: quit now or MTFU.
+many, ditch the boyfriend.
I took my wife, 10 year old and 3 year old to the bouldering wall on Sunday and whilst I have been at this game for a couple of years (so still pretty average) I was absolutely thrilled to see them all having a go, despite the fact that they were all patently useless, even by my meagre standards.
We all had a laugh, took the mickey out of each other and had fun but do you know what, we will all be slightly better this Sunday.
Become independent by using the bouldering centres more often so you dont need his help and also improve your power and dynamics and then join a group of likeminded people who encourage and support you, not behave like an arse.
The boyfriend needs to be much nicer to you because eventually he won't have anyone to belay him whilst he's doing all the leading on the routes you are doing!!!
If you want some instruction then the Climbing Works in Sheffield does the adult improvers class on a weds night (bouldering obs) but the techniques they show you help in all aspects of your climbing. Gets you meeting other people too who may be having the same issues as you outdoors! i.e me! hehe!
> +many, ditch the boyfriend.
That's a bit harsh to get from a one line forum post, IMO. But maybe ditch him when you're climbing. Myself and my girlfriend have quite a good "open relationship" when it comes to climbing - we go away on club trips or with groups of mates, and have the option of climbing together if we want a fun, chilled day or climbing with other people who are closer to our respective levels when we want to be "productive".
It's possible that always climbing with someone who's more capable than you and who takes the lion's share of the responsibility is actually holding you back a bit as well as him, and subconsciously preventing you from becoming more independent and confident in your climbing. It might be really good for you to learn to lead (very easy) stuff, and then you can go and teeter up diffs with another novice leader while your boyfriend goes and gets beasted on harder stuff with someone else.
haven't been climbing for ages but thinking about heading up to the peak in the next few weeks, if you wanted to meet up for a climb you would be doing me a favour as i only really want to get out some easy(ish) routes so now pressure
Everyone's being very harsh on the boyfriend here. There are many couple of different climbing abilities, and that can make them incompatible climbing partners.
I think the OP's boyfriend should learn to appreciate easy days with her, but also be allowed to climb with his peers who encourage him to improve at his level.
Mmm... not sure this is the best way to go. The trouble with not leading is that it makes you more scared of leading. And truth be told there's not that much to learn in terms of gear and rope-work, but it's much easier to start early and build up your confidence with the picture than get strong then have to take a huge step back when you realise your strength doesn't immediately translate because you can't hold it together on the sharp end. Weirdly often once you're confident on lead it's a lot easier to stay in control and focussed than when seconding.
If partners are a problem bouldering outdoors, maybe throwing in the odd highball but easy problem can be a good start. And if you're already climbing indoors get on lead as much as you can, even if it's really easy stuff.
As my abilty grew I was then able to lead eaiser climbs myself. I delt with the fear issues by having more abilty than needed for the routes I was on. It didn't matter if I was run out because I knew I was in control of my situation on the rock and so felt safe in that situation. I suppose it's a bit like not being scared of being run out while walking up a flight of staires, a fall backwards could harmfull, if not deadly but you are so in control of the situation it does not bother you because you know you won't fall.
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