/ Your experience.. an apprenticeship in bouldering to routes

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noxah - on 21 May 2013
I've been bouldering on and off for just under two years, I can flash V3 most of the time, V4 takes several attempts and working V5s - I climb at all London walls. I go on a few trips a year and climb routes outdoors but never manage to get up anything harder than a 6b, my head game isn't where I want it to be, I get pumped too quickly and find it difficult to read routes. I never really get around to real redpointing. I definitely feel I should be able to climb harder and things start to look really interesting in the 7s...

I know more or less what I need to do to get my routes grades up, climb routes and get mileage in and climb outdoors more often, which I'm going to focus on as soon as I recover from my finger injury but I'm wondering peoples thoughts and experience on going from an apprenticeship in indoor bouldering to outdoor routes.

How was it? What did you have to work on? What's possible? What to expect? Timeframes etc.

Looking forward to your responses,


Nathan
w.pettet-smith - on 21 May 2013
In reply to noxah: well no ones being very forthcoming so heres my two pence worth. Indoor bouldering will put you in very good stead in terms of a powerful base- your arms core and fingers are plenty strong enough to be climbing in the sevens!i cant think of any 7a sport routes that i have done with a crux harder than v3/v4.
it seems you already know that getting your head in gear and getting out lots are the main things you need to concentrate on,route reading will build naturally when you get on the rock. but you didn't mention anything about doing routes indoors. so do more of that! it seems a pretty important step between indoor blocs and outdoor routes to me. do some fall practise, get a good partner and get yourself to portland
in terms of timing- totally depends on loads of factors, mainly how much you get out.In my limited experience it seems a lot of people can start indoor climbing and be doing low 7s outside within 1-3 years.
good luck pal, and remember the main thing is to enjoy yourself!
Howard J - on 22 May 2013
In reply to noxah: I think you're trying to do too much at once - pushing your grade while trying to sort out your head and learning to read routes. Settle for trying lower grade climbs which will allow you to develop the other skills you need.
Offwidth - on 22 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

Ask the experienced outdoor climbing locals how realistic your wall's V grades are as they might be a bit soft. If they are accurate the only thing you may need to physically get up the routes is more stamina training. 6b should be a path once you are used to outdoor bolt leading and have your head in, if you normally flash V3.
Quiddity - on 22 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

This:
> climb routes and get mileage in and climb outdoors more often

and this:
> get around to real redpointing

are the right things. Transferring skills to rock generally just needs a bit of mileage and experience, although climbing well on routes might involve a shift in your style of climbing. When you are bouldering you are nearly always trying to pull as hard as possible; when you climb routes you almost always want to be pulling the absolute minimum you can while still staying on the holds. This usually involves transferring as much weight on to your feet as possible. Climbing routes indoors, and spending more time on problems that require technical footwork on smaller/marginal footholds, would be a good investment of your time.
RockSteady on 22 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

Can't speak directly from experience as I started on routes and went to bouldering for more power. I wish I had started out the other way though as I think bouldering develops your strength and technique together like nothing else.

As above, check with experienced locals whether your indoor wall is grading accurately. I think some of the London walls are a bit soft, others tough - if you're consistently flashing V3 at all of them then you certainly are underperforming on routes.

Get outside and build up your experience. But you may as well try a 7a or 2 and just try to redpoint them properly. Raw Deal at Cheddar is a bit soft at 7a and very bouldery - only 12 moves, might suit you - I think it's more of a V3 problem with bolts.

Try boulder 4x4s (4 V2s in a row might start you off) and circuits to build up power endurance, do some outdoor days where you just do easy volume and get into the flow of climbing outside, and pick a couple of routes to properly redpoint, climbing bolt to bolt, working the moves.

I think your boulder strength adds up to F7b or even F7b+ on the right routes, so with a bit of experience you should be going well.
turtlespit - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah: check out Robbie Phillips articles on here for details on 4x4s and 3x3s. Also look for the article on here about 'clip drops' (falling practice).

If you primarily boulder inside, try a whole month of roped climbing only (not even boulders to warm up - use the F3/F4 routes for that).

If you don't already, climb outside with people who have more outside experience than you do.

Another point is to figure out why you're failing on harder routes outside:
* can't read the moves?
* not committing to the moves above a bolt?
* not finding rest points on the route?
* not enough rest between each attempt at the route?
* only trying the route once and writing it off as too hard?
* deliberately falling off/resting on a draw because you think you'll fall off the next move anyway?

Hope the UK summer is kind and you manage to get outside a lot!

Morgan Woods - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

I have a fairly solid trad background from 1986 but never pushed it, only climbing up to grade 20 in Oz. Around 2003 i started to get into euro sport climbing and red-pointing and have been fairly solid in the 7's ever since. Not done much bouldering but V5 is about my max. Most 7b/c routes only have a V3/4 crux on them which i think is a good way of assessing how hard you can climb.

If an E5 is 6c to top rope you should be able to technically climb it.

If a 7b has a v3 crux you should be able to send it with a bit of practice.

Eliminate the weaknesses from your climbing style (poor footwork might be one for example), gauge your technical level and then climb at that level in all the genres, then try and build on that over time.
Luke Owens - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

I can only compare outdoor bouldering to outdoor routes.

I'm currently bouldering solidly at V5 and have done one V6.
I've redpointed three F7b's.
I went from F6b to F7b in about a year and a half thanks to redpointing experiance.

Food for thought: I have friend's who boulder V7/V8 who are having trouble redpointing a F7a route. Their limiting factors from what I can gather are probably:

Lack of redpointing experiance and tactics
Lack of route reading skills
Lack of experiance on the sharp end

If they got good at all of the above that kind of strength should get them to F8a.

Personally bouldering V5/V6 I feel i'm nowhere near my route grade limit. That strength should atleast get me to F7c.

Just work on the three things I mentioned above, I personally think experiance on routes counts for a lot.

Get on some F7a's and see how they feel. Depending on how that goes you can up the ante or try more at the F7a mark.
jkarran - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

I've no experience of the indoor to outdoor transition except for the annual and increasingly embarrassing rust removal at the end of winter.

Climbing routes requires some skills you won't have developed through bouldering, things like forward planning, resting, clipping, controlling your nerves, controlling your grip. Then there's redpointing, in itself a skill that needs to be developed. There's also the physical aspect, routes require more endurance than boulders, you may have an excess already, you may need to look at it.

Climbing outside, especially technical limestone and even more so if you hope to do it well onsight requires some significant effort in familiarising yourself with the rock. Learn how and where holds form on your crag so you can anticipate where they might be if you can't see them. Learn what works for feet and what doesn't, you'll struggle to see the footholds to begin with as the grades go up but they're all there, you just have to spot them then learn to use them.

I'd suggest starting out with no expectations gradewise, start easy and work up. If you fail to onsight it redpoint it. As the grades get higher you'll start to get an idea for what's worth an OS attempt and what's not, one of the key skills with redpointing is identifying where an OS try is a waste of energy. Learn to use a clip stick safely and efficiently. By the end of the season you should have a good feel for where you're at and a new set of skills.

I don't know what London V4 is in real money but you'll not need that kind of indoor bouldering power for vertical ish limestone anyway so a grade comparison would be fairly pointless.

jk
hdog76 - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

Is it me or does this read like nonesense, what is an apprenticeship from indoor bouldering to outdoor climbing?

Heres my tip stop climbing with an fixation on grades, buy some guide books of some amazing areas of which there are a lot in the uk, study the history/ development of the routes, get outside and enjoy the climbing for what it is an adventure, then you wont worry about whether a V4 boulder problem inside will help you climb outside because it wont. As was pointed out above climbing outside requires lots of different skills that can only be learnt by doing it.

Just get outside and climb - it doesnt matter if you are on a classic multi-pitch VD or a technical E grade route so long as you enjoy it, your apprenticeship will be the enjoyment of learning and basking in the amazing places it will take you.
Jon Stewart - on 24 May 2013
In reply to hdog76:
> (In reply to noxah)

> Heres my tip stop climbing with an fixation on grades, buy some guide books of some amazing areas of which there are a lot in the uk

> Just get outside and climb - it doesnt matter if you are on a classic multi-pitch VD or a technical E grade route so long as you enjoy it

Your advice applies to trad, it looks like the OP is interested in sport climbing. There aren't inspiring areas in the UK, adventure, history or anything like that, only grades!
Quiddity - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There are plenty of inspiring, adventurous and/or historical sport routes in the UK, it's just you generally need to be climbing in the 7s to do them, as well you know.
Eagle River - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yeah, Malham cove is a right uninspiring shithole.

:-)
LastBoyScout on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:

Sorry, mate - bouldering wasn't invented when I started climbing, so we just had to start on easy real routes and work up from there ;-)
JimmyKay - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Ignorant.
Jon Stewart - on 24 May 2013
In reply to JimmyKay:

So touchy. I was pointing out that you can't apply the advice "just go out and climb amazing routes" to UK sport climbing. It's not the same as trad where in every good area there are inspiring, classic routes at every grade. As Quiddity says, you need to be climbing in the 7s before you can get on a decent sport route in the UK, and even then the areas are extremely limited.

I know some people think Portland is inspiring low-grade sport routes - I think it's mediocre and rather dreary.
Quiddity - on 24 May 2013
JimmyKay - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I was replying to 'There aren't inspiring areas in the UK, adventure, history or anything like that, only grades!'

I agree that below 7a is pretty crap.

I don't think Portland has very inspiring lines. But Anstey's, LPT, Malham and Kilnsey all have some pretty mega lines.

In your reply I do understand where you are coming from. I've always agreed that if you climb under 7a you should stick to trad as it's much better quality and in higher abundance.
Jon Stewart - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Quiddity:

Looks OK I guess. I'm not going back - worst climbing trip I've ever been on. Can't remember a single route I did, but do remember worrying that I'd find my car windows smashed in when I got back from the crag.
ads.ukclimbing.com
hdog76 - on 24 May 2013
In reply to JimmyKay:

I understand what your getting at but the yorkshire guide books are full of venues that are adventurous/ interesting and pretty inspriring, and there are now a mix of grades. not loads of easy stuff but thats why an apprenticeship in climbing encompasses everything and should include trad, bouldering, sport, winter.

- exploring places like trollers ghyll/ Giggleswick in yorkshire easy routes arent always high quality but the reason we climb is surely about the experiance if not we should just work out in the gym and save petrol.
Flinticus - on 24 May 2013
In reply to noxah:
Well, I've just (last week) started indoor lead climbing after two years, interrupted with an injury, of bouldering & bottom roping. Generally like yourself grade wise bouldering, getting V5s sometimes in a flash, sometimes never, depending on the style of the problem and how I'm feeling. Bottom roping 6c+ (one 7a but I think it was easy for the grade)

In the last week, I've done 6a+ indoor lead routes and found them easy. However I then seconded a route, picking a 7a, and looking to unclip the belays as I went up. I made it most of the way but twice, when I had difficulty in unclipping, I grabbed another route's hold to keep on (still reluctant to take that fall!). So while a sequence of moves, if translated to a boudlering situation, may be V3/4, and I would expect to get it, doing such a sequence high up, clipping or unclipping, tired from the climb up, pulling up the rope etc, its a different ball game.

Next visit I will move onto 6b lead routes.
Jon Stewart - on 24 May 2013
In reply to hdog76:
> (In reply to JimmyKay)
>
> ...an apprenticeship in climbing encompasses everything and should include trad, bouldering, sport, winter.
>
> - exploring places like trollers ghyll/ Giggleswick in yorkshire easy routes arent always high quality but the reason we climb is surely about the experiance if not we should just work out in the gym and save petrol.

There are a lot of opinions on here that start "climbers should..." and they're held more by bearded/trad/alpine types rather than the beanied/clip-stick/send-it-dudes.

Climbers "should" not have to do anything in particular: there is a wide range of stuff on offer from the UK's crags (sadly not much inspiring low-grade sport). It's like a buffet, isn't it? Some people are vegetarians, others just like the dirty sausage rolls or maybe quiche (although it's a bit gay), some will go for the Indian selection, while others will pile their plates full of everything.
Quiddity - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

^ totally agree with you here, however.
Jonny2vests - on 24 May 2013
In reply to hdog76:
> (In reply to noxah)
>
> Is it me or does this read like nonesense, what is an apprenticeship from indoor bouldering to outdoor climbing?
>
> Heres my tip stop climbing with an fixation on grades, buy some guide books of some amazing areas of which there are a lot in the uk, study the history/ development of the routes, get outside and enjoy the climbing for what it is an adventure, then you wont worry about whether a V4 boulder problem inside will help you climb outside because it wont. As was pointed out above climbing outside requires lots of different skills that can only be learnt by doing it.
>
> Just get outside and climb - it doesnt matter if you are on a classic multi-pitch VD or a technical E grade route so long as you enjoy it, your apprenticeship will be the enjoyment of learning and basking in the amazing places it will take you.

Here's my tip, you play the games you want to play and not judge others and spout unsolicited advice regarding theirs.
Ramblin dave - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
I'm not going to judge others. but as the OP might be one of the apparently considerable number of people who just assume that you should start with sport when you first go outdoors, I think suggesting that they might be better off finding a way of getting onto some trad is fair comment. It doesn't have to be particularly difficult, dangerous or expensive and it has the potential to be more rewarding than low grade sport in the UK.

If OTOH the OP has already tried trad properly and decided it isn't for them then fair play.
Mark Warnett - on 24 May 2013
If you want to improve your sport climbing grade (totally legit - virtually all climbers i know are goal / grade driven) then work on your stamina, ideally outdoors and indoor lead walls, not just stamina exercise on boulder walls. I suspect you will improve quickly as you have the strengh, add this to stamina and 'nous' and you could be climbing low 7's quite fast

my unsolicited but genuine further advise would be give trad a go, as give or take 90% of the best routes / areas / experiences in this country are trad in my opinion etc. i rekon a lot of london climbers get no further than the harrissons / the cuttings which is a shame. i was exclusively bouldering / sport for the 1st 5 years climbing and regret i didn't get the rack out before then!
Mark Warnett - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Mark Warnett:

I realise I've just repeated your own advise to yourself in my last post. Lets say you are climbing indoors 3 times a week, twice doing routes focusing on stamina, and once bouldering to keep up power. You regularly practice taking controlled falls both inside and out so you get comfortable with this and are confident pushing on above the bolt, and not slumping on the rope at the first sign of pump. You aim to also climb outdoors once or twice a month, and find routes to work. I would have thought red pointing a 7a within 3 months very achievable. 7b after 6 months - maybe longer, i found quite a jump between 7a+ and 7b.

Does that help?
Jonny2vests - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> I'm not going to judge others. but as the OP might be one of the apparently considerable number of people who just assume that you should start with sport when you first go outdoors, I think suggesting that they might be better off finding a way of getting onto some trad is fair comment. It doesn't have to be particularly difficult, dangerous or expensive and it has the potential to be more rewarding than low grade sport in the UK.

Why suggest trad when he's asking about sport though? You might as well suggest caving, there's lots of good caving in the UK after all, which might theoretically end up being more rewarding.

Sport is cheap, safe and there's plenty of it, especially if you embrace redpointing. And FWIW, I think learning sport before trad will often open more doors than learning trad before sport.
johncoxmysteriously - on 25 May 2013
In reply to hdog76:


>it doesnt matter if you are on a classic multi-pitch VD or a technical E grade route so long as you enjoy it,

Ah, but it does, it does.

In reply to someone else:

The "magnificent" Walking the King?!? Good grief.

jcm
ROBBIEB - on 25 May 2013
In reply to Eagle River: Goredale is even worse, trollers gill needs flattening !
ROBBIEB - on 25 May 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart: Trow Gill, Robin Proctor Scar (Norber) the dales is teaming with moderate, sport routes !

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