/ Disparity in Lead Grade on Different Climbing Styles

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The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
I'm sure most climbers experience some disparity in their lead grade when moving from wall climbing, to overhanging ground to slabs or from balancy/technical to thuggy/thrutchy for example.
Just noticing that the disparity in my own lead grade seems to be getting ever wider: on steep ground only reliable at VS 4c with a reasonable success rate at HVS 5a, on slabs pretty smooth on E1 5b with a good chance of pulling off 5c moves.
Anyone else have a similar issue (or the reverse). Suggestions to redress the balance in my grades are welcome too, it's not that I avoid steep climbing (having done lots at Swanage) so not just "climb more steep stuff" please!
jkarran - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Why do you back off the steep stuff, are you intimidated or do you pump out and fail onto the gear?

If it's the former then I feel your pain. If it's the latter then you could get fit and improve your tactics :)

jk
Alun - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> so not just "climb more steep stuff" please!

Umm...well...

...errr....

...(whistles)...

...it is what you need to do...!!

In general I am like you and better at more technical thin climbing than beefy overhangs. However in the past I have managed to get fit and tick off some steeper stuff too. The trick is to improve your endurance. What worked for me was to traverse endlessly, well within your grade, but on an overhanging section of rock/wall. Think 200m of traversing on jugs without stepping off. Practice shaking out every few metres. Keep at it until you can barely hold on to the biggest jug (ideally around 20-25 mins). Then start doing the same on a steeper section of wall. Do that a few times a week, for a month or two, and I guarantee you'll notice improvement.

The only problem is that its deathly boring, so make sure you pack an iPod with some good music or podcasts or something.
Alun - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to jkarran:
> Why do you back off the steep stuff, are you intimidated or do you pump out and fail onto the gear?

> If it's the former then I feel your pain. If it's the latter then you could get fit and improve your tactics :)

Incidentally, I found that training to fix the latter really helps with the former. Having the confidence to know you can recover on a jug helps you relax and stops you from overgripping and pumping out.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to jkarran: More often the second one, although not immune to getting intimidated by steep ground. I'm OK at single hard pulls (through a roof for example) but sustained steep stuff does me in - fitness certainly part of the problem, I know how to work on that, but tactical adjustments are slightly more mysterious, suggestions?
Alun - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Oh an one more thing - losing weight really helps. When I was sport climbing my hardest (which is not very hard at all, in the grand scheme of things) I was a good 4-5 kilos lighter than I am now, I'm pretty sure it made a big difference.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun: Yep, I am no stick man at over 15 stone :-( Lost some pounds earlier this year, but fear they have crept back on.
puppythedog on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: There is a big disparity between what i can do where and when. I reckon a reasonable chance at E1 on steeper limestone like climbing. Up to E2 maybe E3 5c on slabs (have onsighted one E3 5C)on rock with features.
On Grit and Granite VS is a good shout, maybe more with more experience.

I know the why, some of them I am simply not practiced at.
Blue Straggler - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> Oh an one more thing

Is this a Columbo impersonation? :-)
mattrm - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I still can't quite believe that you're that heavy, you don't look it. But yeah, loosing a stone (or three) would mean that you'd be super strong and you'd cruise the steep stuff. As you've got monster forearms from hauling your current weight up routes, if you could keep the muscle and loose all the flab then you'd fly up routes.

I find that sustained steep stuff does just involve, going for it. Get some good gear in and then, hoof it.

Circuit boards at the wall are excellent for getting the miles in on steep stuff. If you can do sets of 4 with a few minutes rest inbetween each set, you'll get the endurance in. So that's a good way to do steep stuff (with out just saying, climb more steep stuff).
CurlyStevo - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
Having been heavy myself I suspect to lead E1 you must have good foot work, when I was heavier than you I know that's what got me up a lot of climbs even at the VS level.

Of course good footwork is still important on steep ground but it is only going to take you so far. IMO loosing weight is going to make a bigger difference than trying to work on technique further or indeed endurance. You may well find once you get your weight down to the normal BMI range that you're a much better climber than you gave your self credit for and up your game significantly! (not only on steep ground)
Bulls Crack - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

A long term climbing partner of mine used to get pumped-out on steep E1's but also managed stuff such as: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=68598 !
Ciderslider - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: +1 to most all of that - but I think that even on steep ground you could never get to the stage where you couldn't give yourself advantage by better technique (which is going to conserve what finite energy you have).
But having said that cutting out the pies is always gonna help (power/weight ratio) god knows I should know (but the pies, and the beer, and the curry taste so darn good).
Ciderslider - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: I've found that indoor bouldering helps as you can swing around on steep juggy stuff with no fear - and ultimately you will get stronger and more confident on steep ground (knowing you're good for more than just one hard pull - oh err misses ;-)
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Cheers for the post and email. I'm sure you are right about the weight loss being a route to grade gain on steep ground. It is some comfort to think my footwork is reasonable to get me up E1s on slabs, tend to think of it as one of the better facets of my climbing these days.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
> But having said that cutting out the pies is always gonna help (power/weight ratio) god knows I should know (but the pies, and the beer, and the curry taste so darn good).

A familiar dilemma :-)
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
> (In reply to The Ivanator) I've found that indoor bouldering helps as you can swing around on steep juggy stuff with no fear - and ultimately you will get stronger and more confident on steep ground (knowing you're good for more than just one hard pull - oh err misses ;-)

Most of my indoor climbing tends to be bouldering these days, actually thinking reps on the autobelay might be more use - burn more calories, shed pounds and build endurance - a good plan in theory!
Ciro - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to mattrm:

> I find that sustained steep stuff does just involve, going for it. Get some good gear in and then, hoof it.

I found the opposite - my juggy spanish limestone redpoint best went up two grades in a very short space of time, just by learning to rest more and take my time instead of going for it.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack: Assuming the devilish climb you refer to is of the technical slabby variety then. E1 - E6 is a pretty wide gap, makes my 2 grade disparity look inconsequential.
Surely there must be some folks out there who excel on steep ground and flounder on slabs, be interested to hear what might lead to this state of affairs.
victim of mathematics - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I'm exactly the same as you - good at technical slabs, fine with a burly move or two, both up to 5b/5c, but feel as though I could easily die every time I get onto steep 5a ground.

My strategy is to studiously avoid going near anything steep.

I should go to the wall and climb steep stuff, but I hate leading indoors (more because it's dull, although there is an element of not enjoying focusing on things I'm bad at) and I'm so terrible at climbing steep stuff that I fall off circuit boards so quickly that there hardly seems any point. At the moment I'm trying to eat less pies in the vain hope that circumvents any need to train.
AJM - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

> Surely there must be some folks out there who excel on steep ground and flounder on slabs, be interested to hear what might lead to this state of affairs.

Lack of practice, or lack of inspiration to try as hard (really giving it everything requires mental commitment to what you're doing). I'm a crap grit climber because I don't find it massively inspiring and therefore don't do it very often, and hence when I do I find I don't understand the rock. But despite climbing on granite about as infrequently I try harder because I am more inspired and so achieve more.
victim of mathematics - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
> (In reply to The Ivanator) I've found that indoor bouldering helps as you can swing around on steep juggy stuff with no fear - and ultimately you will get stronger and more confident on steep ground (knowing you're good for more than just one hard pull - oh err misses ;-)

But most indoor boulder problems are too short to replicate the amount of time you spend hanging around on a steep trad route working out the moves and placing the gear. I think indoor routes are a much better thing to be training (even better some kind of structured plan doing laps until you die of pump).
CurlyStevo - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
Do you climb indoors regularly Ivan?

I think as you move up to the harder HVS and E1 climbs on steep ground, the combination of being able to hang on to place gear and the pumpy nature of the moves does tend to make it much easier the lighter you are.

I'm sure you could train for this (although you may find you create new fun injuries doing this when heavy ;) ), I doubt its the moves them selves at the HVS level holding you back more likely the combination of factors...

I think it can't be underestimated how much more enjoyable the climbing is when my weight is closer to my ideal level too, as well as obvious health benefits.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Not sure I like the implication that I am borderline morbidly obese in there ;-)
In the general way of things I am moderately fit, although dropping weight would certainly help with my climbing. I climb indoors once or sometimes twice a week, mainly bouldering, but thinking more lead endurance work might be part of the progress recipe.
Alternatively there is the VofM approach of studious avoidance :-)
Being a new Dad is another factor in all this - time intensive plans are unlikely to come to fruition. Looking to make gains without devoting too many more hours, so weight loss and slight readjustments to my indoor wall sessions seem the best bet.
Kirill - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I don't really excel on steep ground but I am simply terrible at slabs. What led to this state of affair? Possibly the groundfall from a slab early in my climbing days. Right now I am happy to try a steep E2 with gear, but would steer way clear of a VS slab.
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Kirill: Between us we'd make a half decent climber! Or a proper mediocrity if you mixed the wrong bits :-)
Jonny2vests - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to Ciderslider)
> [...]
>
> Most of my indoor climbing tends to be bouldering these days, actually thinking reps on the autobelay might be more use - burn more calories, shed pounds and build endurance - a good plan in theory!

So your overweight and you don't do routes indoors... If you insist on bouldering, then at least do some circuits, your muscles need an efficient blood supply.

Strategizing really helped me. Reading routes from the ground, spotting cruxes, gear and rests, taking rests, getting psyched before a crux, being positive, embracing ego and self belief. Remembering to enjoy it.
Big Lee - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I think the secret is being honest with ones weaknesses, then identify what specific training needs to be done. I think it is easy to do the opposite and stick to what comes naturally.
CurlyStevo - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
So it sounds like its an endurance thing, probably just doing more steep climbing will help too, I doubt its actually doing steep individual UK5a/5b moves if you boulder regularly.
GridNorth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Kirill: Generally speaking slabs tend to be less protectable and more run out but I'm quite confident whenever I can get the weight onto my feet although this over confidence has led me into some scary places at times.
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Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Lets have less about weight and more BMI: I'm 27 and still better at steep than walls and slabs but when my BMI was 23 I was better at slabs (my main answer explaining the difference is bunion growth). If you are 6' 5", 15 stone is in the healthy range.
Skip - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I find thin, technical slab climbing easier than steep juggy stuff. As a result i now spend my indoor time targeting step/overhanging routes. Weight is no issue, 6'1" and around 11 stone.

I met a couple at Baggy Point this year. She was slim,he was broad and strong, yet she excelled at steep, juggy/thuggy stuff, whereas he excelled at thin technical slabby stuff. You may expect the opposite.
Skyfall - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Yeh, I got to E2 onsight on slabs and 'walls' the right side of verticle but rarely steep (never got past HVS on steep). I just climb too slowly! Well, ok, I was intimidated by steep and did pump out as I didn't train on it at all. Double whammy.

I went through a heavy sports climbing phase and started to find steep ridiculously easy (compared to before) which fed back into confidence on steep trad (as another poster said). So, I'd say train steep (wall and sports).

Oh, and lose some weight. I lost a stone at the start of this year (13.5 down to 12.5 - 6ft) and my grades jumped. You can't get that effect by training harder for a similar period of time.

I've also found that getting injured has a great impact on footwork. Always come back as weak as a kitten but get back to previous grades quite fast due to training weak and improving technique/footwork. Then as you get stronger you get a turbo boost effect :) But I wouldn't advocate getting injured and it sounds like you may be pretty good technically given your current weight/BMI as another poster pointed out.

Ignore what grades I am actually climbing, I've been in and out of injuries for the last couple of years. But I do believe the above is a fair representation of what has had the most impact on my climbing.
Jon Stewart - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> (In reply to Ciderslider)
> [...]
>
> But most indoor boulder problems are too short to replicate the amount of time you spend hanging around on a steep trad route working out the moves and placing the gear. I think indoor routes are a much better thing to be training (even better some kind of structured plan doing laps until you die of pump).

That's right. I haven't started going to the wall yet, but I'll give you a shout when I do. Feel free to spur me along.
alasdair19 on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: your spread technically isnt that bad eg 5a to 5b.

can you climb cracks properly? all jams should be a rest for your fore arms. if not your giving away a lot of rests which are reflected in the

grade, ditto flexibility for bridging, heel hooks and other weirdness.

do some dead hanging so you get used to a real awful pump it may give you some confidence and prevent you over gripping/freaking out when things get steep.

2nd hard trad, dog things, yo yo whatever it takes as there is a massive gap between onsighting e1's and HVS's (plural intentional) do it in baby steps and dont be afraid to 2nd a route and then lead it.

try training at the wall rather than faffing about eg 4x4 - 4 consecutive routes maybe be a letter or more below your onsight, 4 times.

bring a towel to wipe up your sweat...
The Ivanator - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Skyfall: Thanks for the detailed post, suspect I already knew weight loss was one key factor, but hearing it from quite a few corners makes me a little more determined to shed a few pounds.
I fancy I could shed a stone and maintain the loss, 13.5 stone is the lightest I have ever been as an adult and I was pretty lean at that weight, but that was 20 years ago and the motivation I had then to complete 600 sit ups a day has somewhat evaporated.
When I initially posted I guess I was more interested in hearing about other climbers experiences of style to grade disparity, the advice on improvement was kind of a secondary thing. So more tales of the E5 overhang monsters that flounder on technical ground (or vice versa) are particularly welcome.
Cake - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: I find I have to have a totally different approach to slabs and steep stuff. I recently led Chequers Buttress (steep, hard hvs)and had to totally mentally prepare myself to give it everything with far less gear than useful just to get up it clean. I also led Erb (E2 hard bits are slabby) and its so different mentally. I could simply look at the next three moves through the crux from a complete rest. A very different game
Skyfall - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I know it's very different to trad, but my bolt clipping grade (genuine real world onsight) went from 5+ and the occasional 6a (when getting up some bold slabby E2's) to fairly sold 6b/+ by dropping some weight and training steep. Although due to injury I didn't get to take it further and into trad, I can assure you that steep HVS felt like piss.
Jon Stewart - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Cake:
> (In reply to The Ivanator) I find I have to have a totally different approach to slabs and steep stuff. I recently led Chequers Buttress (steep, hard hvs)and had to totally mentally prepare myself to give it everything with far less gear than useful just to get up it clean.

You mean Chequers Crack? Way harder than Erb!
Skyfall - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

No, it's CB on his logbook. I was left a bit nonplussed by that. I wouldn't really put CB as steep, maybe slightly technical and reachy/dynamic. Also, 100% bomber gear (genuinely).
Ciderslider - on 07 Oct 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics: Not if you do laps without touching down - I sometimes boulder until I can hardly hold the steering wheel of my car to get home - it's certainly helped with my trad - in the ideal world I'd live in Hathersage and be able to trad and boulder outside all the time - but I live in sussex :-(
Jon Stewart - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Skyfall:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> No, it's CB on his logbook. I was left a bit nonplussed by that. I wouldn't really put CB as steep, maybe slightly technical and reachy/dynamic. Also, 100% bomber gear (genuinely).

Odd. Not a strenuous route, bottom of the grade.
999thAndy on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
So you're a new dad and therefore very time limited, probably sleep deprived and could lose a few pounds. In your place I'd be chuffed to get up an E1.

I'd try and lose the weight, as this doesn't require any time, keep going otherwise as you are and have a re-assessment in 12 months when junior isn't feeding every 5 mins.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> Lets have less about weight and more BMI: I'm 27 and still better at steep than walls and slabs but when my BMI was 23 I was better at slabs (my main answer explaining the difference is bunion growth). If you are 6' 5", 15 stone is in the healthy range.

I used to be over 30 BMI and lost a lot of weight about 7 years ago. I didn't notice much difference until I got under 27 BMI, however every full integer BMI point I lost under that translated to around a + grade on sport until I got down to around 25 BMI (roughly my current BMI too). I'm pretty confident if I lost another full BMI point now I'd be climbing another + harder on sport. I find it helps with all styles (slabs, cracks, overhangs etc), but certainly the lighter I get the more attractive steep stuff gets and the less I pump out.

You could argue what does it matter that I can climb a bit harder being lighter? However I think the climbing is much more enjoyable when you are limited by what you have learnt you can do with your body rather than by the extra unneeded weight you've accumulated over the years. Also I find the actual climbing is more enjoyable when I'm lighter and fitter and my body complains less (ie feet less sore, less injuries etc). Another advantage is the prospect of falling on to gear is a lot less daunting both in terms of the reliability of the gear AND the consequences of the fall assuming the gear holds.
Offwidth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Indeed to all of that! Come on Ivanator what's your BMI (or how tall are you)?
The Ivanator - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
> So you're a new dad and therefore very time limited, probably sleep deprived and could lose a few pounds. In your place I'd be chuffed to get up an E1.

I'm liking this assessment, makes me feel a good deal more positive :-)
As our son came to us via adoption from Ethiopia he is past the feeding every 5 minutes phase (now 17 months), and a good sleeper, but charging around everywhere and demanding a lot of attention - this is of course a pleasure, but limits my climbing opportunities.
avictimoftheDrpsycho - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Skyfall:

No, he has CC logged as led, and CB as seconded.
The Ivanator - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth: As I said earlier the point of the thread was primarily to discuss the disparity in various climbers lead grades on different terrain. It seems the thread has become rather focussed on how others think I can improve - I have a good idea already and to be honest have not been told anything on this thread that I wasn't previously aware of.
I do not particularly want to enter into a critique of my BMI which even when I was properly lean and fit in my early 20's was at the upper end of the healthy scale for my height.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
so you've changed your mind then? Its just in your opening post you mention.

"Suggestions to redress the balance in my grades are welcome too"

Without people having a reasonable knowledge about you I doubt people will really be able to suggest much. Height, build and weight seem pretty relevant to this to me.

Anyway.......
cb294 - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Welcome to the club. My personal grade spread is highly dependent on my body weight, although even when I am light (relatively, i.e. 902 - 95 kg) I am good at balancy slabs as well as jamming and offwidth cracks and anything thrutchy, but steep pumpy stuff is killing me.

I am currently on a 2/5 diet which is working wonders unless interrupted by conference debauchery, so letīs see how this will help.

CB
The Ivanator - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: It was a secondary point, and suggestions outside the obvious lose weight and train harder on steep ground (I am aware that these things would help) would be of interest.
Was more interested in the whole grade disparity discussion though, if you read the whole post I think that is clear (ish).
I don't mind a few reminders of the obvious things I could be doing, but when it starts becoming a public discussion of my BMI I would rather redirect conversation...
puppythedog on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog:
> (In reply to The Ivanator) There is a big disparity between what i can do where and when. I reckon a reasonable chance at E1 on steeper limestone like climbing. Up to E2 maybe E3 5c on slabs (have onsighted one E3 5C)on rock with features.
> On Grit and Granite VS is a good shout, maybe more with more experience.
>
> I know the why, some of them I am simply not practiced at.


This is my post from above, the disparity in my grades has nothing to do with weight and is entirely to do with exposure to the different styles. I was on Little Brown Jug the other week, I got stopped by the Mantle simply because it did not occur to me to Mantle. It hasn't come up in my climbing experience. I rocketed up the lay-back crack which is supposed to be the tough bit. that was a VS and yet I would expect to get up most limestone E1s generally.

999thAndy on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to 999thAndy)
> [...] past the feeding every 5 minutes phase (now 17 months), and a good sleeper, but charging around everywhere and demanding a lot of attention - this is of course a pleasure, but limits my climbing opportunities.

nail/head. Given that I think you should be making sure you don't let the grade gap widen for now, rather than trying to make improvements in one area or another.

Personally I don't like slabs much as they're usually bold, a steep wall is OK (if the gear's OK) and anything overanging *has* to have bomber gear to tempt me, hmmmm I spot a pattern emerging...
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:
I'm a bit like you my weakness is bold climbing. Not sure I really want to become a lot more bold though seem to remember some saying about there not being many old bold climbers and I ain't a spring chicken anymore ;)
GridNorth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: I thought that most people considered the crux of LBJ to be lower down at the start of the pitch. The layback is just an easy juggy romp. The peg that protected the crux has now gone prompting the CC to upgrade the climb despite there being a good nut placememt nearbye. Regardless it is slightly more serious now. As to grade? We could debate that forever. I've done it in both states and would consider it top end VS either way.
puppythedog on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I thought VS was fair, I also just realise it wasn't LBJ that stopped me it was Anvil Chorus. LBJ was fine with a deffinate difficult bit.
GridNorth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to puppythedog: Ah that's another story. There have been quite few accidents over the years on that one.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
The only good gear I could find on little brown jug was:

Shite micro nut very close to the peg, cam blocking the crucial hand hold (there are other handholds but they didn't feel VS 5a), poor offset in the crack to the left (it would have been ok if the ropes had been comming from the left instead of the right) or a very good nut at foot level before you move up to do the crux, when you are on the crux you'd be looking at atleast a four metre lead fall including rope stretch on to the bomber nut, not what I'd expect for VS 5a.

I suspect you could get a tricam into the handhold and not make it unusable.
Jonny2vests - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> Was more interested in the whole grade disparity discussion though, if you read the whole post I think that is clear (ish).

Yes, BMI is tripe anyway (1.3 x weight, divided by height to the power 2.5 works much better :-)

It's pretty clear that I'm terrible at slabs. I have studiously avoided many three star classics in my usual grade range and chickened out of others like Great Slab & that E2 at the roaches that begins with E. I'm a much more confident climber on steep stuff, always surprises me to hear stories of intimidation on steep ground. Fair enough if there's no gear, but I see nothing intimidating about the prospect of falling into space. Slabs, on the other hand. And they're usually shite for gear too. I really don't get what possible pleasure people extract from climbing slabs.

Well travelled responders might ask 'why the fook did you move to Squamish then?'
GridNorth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: My recollection is that the nut placement was just above where the peg was and that it was OK. I was on a CC meet at the time and I remember discussing with some of the luminories present that I wasn't convinced that an upgrade was justified. I'm willing to concede however that it is borderline.
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CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
" I really don't get what possible pleasure people extract from climbing slabs. "

Even when I lead a slab near my limit without faffing (a rarity) I still finish it feeling a bit cheated like I haven't actually done any 'proper' climbing....
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
What size nut (micro, small, med or large)? I'm pretty sure I eye balled all the potential gear as I was there for quite a while ;)
Jonny2vests - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> " I really don't get what possible pleasure people extract from climbing slabs. "
>
> Even when I lead a slab near my limit without faffing (a rarity) I still finish it feeling a bit cheated like I haven't actually done any 'proper' climbing....

Yeah. And I feel like amputating both feet sometimes too.
climbingpixie - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Like a lot of climbers I used to be much better at bold slabby routes and terrible at anything steep or pumpy. I remember thinking I was going to die of pump on Altar Crack the weekend after I'd onsighted Comes the Dervish! And I lost count of how many VS jamming cracks I'd failed on while I was happily ticking off soft touch low extremes. It was pretty embarrassing really!

Nowadays my lead grade is much more consistent, partly due to losing some weight and training on steep ground (especially spending some quality time on the circuit board) but also because since I broke my ankle bouldering I've been much more nervous on anything bold. It also helps that I had a crack climbing epiphany in Lofoten and now I love jamming.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
yes unless it was a pretty slick lead which normally much means it must have been well under my limit, my feet are usually in a lot of pain, and its not the shoes per se!
GridNorth - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Sorry can't remember. It's the sort of move that plays to my strengths rather than my weaknesses and a few grades in hand so I probably didn't pay too much attention. In fact I had soloed it a couple of years before this.
CurlyStevo - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
OK im pretty sure I got a micro to stick in the crack you mentioned but I had so little faith in it that I took it out again! (and I do trust good micro nuts). I'd be willing to accept there was a better one in that crack that either I didn't have on my rack or didn't wiggle in the right way.
Cake - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to willexodus: Yes, I did mean chequers crack. But steep stuff at E2 would really struggle with I think. I have been trying to address the situation with sport this summer, but I something like the Dangler or Rasp totally freak me out from the bottom.
The Ivanator - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Re. LBJ: I led pitch 3 and am pretty sure I got a good small nut in near the peg stub (can't recall what number, but not a micro, perhaps a rock 2 or 3), seemed like a solid placement to me and the move was low in 5a, didn't seem more than mid grade VS to me overall, very surprised to hear of an upgrade. Still it is more of a thin move than a steep one, so plays to stuff I'm half decent at.
Jonny2vests - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I've always though of it as the quintessential Cornish VS exam. I think anyone that can onsight it can rightly call themselves a VS leader.
Kris on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

Coming to your original question, I find that improving every style of climbing is like starting climbing again. I was rubbish at crack climbing until I moved to Chamonix. What really helped was intentionally seeking for easy but sustained grade routes and climbing with accomplished crack climbing partners who I can watch and learn from.

Something that has not been mentioned here is sports climbing. How can you do more routes in a day is to climb them bolted - in this way you can improve on the technique. I started to go to Finale to climb steep sports stuff when I realised that nothing else seemed to help. I am slow, so it has taken me a year to really twist that knee in when I need to push my body up... Again, it helped heaps to climb with people better than me. I saw their technique, and once they'd put the quick draws in place and come down, they just jerk the rope down and ask to take the 'draws down... :o

I climb when I have time to climb, working from home, so it is a huge luxury in life, I know! What may have similar effect is one week climbing trips to sports destinations occasionally?
CurlyStevo - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
Well reading the comments on LBJ since I tried it earlier this year not one person mentions good gear around the crux on LBJ, in fact all comments on gear in this area of the climb mention is being problematic. I'm good at placing and finding gear and I'd be very surprised to hear there was a good 2 or 3 nut placement around the decaying peg.

Either its very hard to spot and most people miss it (and to be honest that would still mean I was having a very bad day as I was around there looking for gear for about 20 mins!), or the rock has changed. Ofcourse one mans bomber nut is anothers shoogly psychological gear, perhaps you trusted the nut in the crack near the peg a lot more than I did.

Anyway,
Stevo
The Ivanator - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: It was June 2011 when I did the climb, so some change in the rock is certainly possible in the interim, the peg was just a rusted stub, but I distinctly recall wodering why it had originally been placed when there was good natural gear available adjacent.
Like you say it is possible that the nut was not as good as I assumed at the time, but I am not a super bold climber either and would have needed to feel reasonably secure in the placement before doing a 5a move.
I think judging by recent comments in logbooks there is a good chance the rock round there has changed in some way.
GridNorth - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo) I distinctly recall wodering why it had originally been placed when there was good natural gear available adjacent.

You forget that when the route was originally put up that the gear available was not as good as it is today. It's also possible that the crack has cleaned up somewhat. It's hard to believe but the place where everyone fell off on Vector back in the 60's and 70's was at the foot of the upper groove on pitch 3 as you could not at that time get either gear nor your fingers in the crack.
johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

>I think judging by recent comments in logbooks there is a good chance the rock round there has changed in some way.

Pat Littlejohn wrote in the Count House logbook that a hold had been chipped on the crux of LBJ. I forget when exactly.

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

>It's hard to believe but the place where everyone fell off on Vector back in the 60's and 70's was at the foot of the upper groove on pitch 3

I always *do* find that hard to believe, although I know it's true!

jcm
johncoxmysteriously - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

>The layback is just an easy juggy romp.

I was going to say; I think the layback is actually situated on Anvil Chorus, but I see everyone has now agreed on that.

In my experience the bit of LBJ people have trouble with is the very top crack, but having said that those people normally walk round it, so it comes to the same thing.

jcm
garycrocker - on 09 Oct 2013
Climb more steep stuff. Sorry!
Offwidth - on 12 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

My memory matches yours for gear near the peg. I wasn't intimidated by the move as the moves up looked reversable and when I got there the hold was surprisingly good. I thought the "5a" crux wasn't even top-end 4c, and the whole route was about mid-VS (the top was a surprise but I blasted through). The climber in front of me put a cam in the handhold at the crux and fell a few times. I had a good look due to this and I'd say it would be tough but bomber VS 5a with a cam blocking the hold.

I don't get how people are hurting themselves on Anvil Chorus: is it bad luck, incompetance or laziness? It's certainly well enough protected to prevent bad accidents. Slightly harder than LBJ I'd say. Upgrading on such a basis is a slippery slope and in risk terms can be counter-productive(soft grade ticks attract lemmings)

Back to BMI, sure it's unreliable but we have little idea how overweight someone is without some measure including height.
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
Yeah when I backed off LBJ I hadn't climbed much this year as I often lay off over the winter apart from ice (ie no rock or plastic). I imagine I'd find the move much easier just now and would be fine with foot level gear. I'd like to try it again sometime soon.

I agree with you regarding Anvil Chorus, loads of good gear, probably quite high in the grade VS climbing but I'm not convinced worth HVS, still I've done easier HVS's too.
Calder - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>
> I don't get how people are hurting themselves on Anvil Chorus: is it bad luck, incompetance or laziness? It's certainly well enough protected to prevent bad accidents. Slightly harder than LBJ I'd say. Upgrading on such a basis is a slippery slope and in risk terms can be counter-productive(soft grade ticks attract lemmings)

I understood it to be a result of gear unzipping up the corner crack - a result of the stance being a bit off to the side but facing directly into the crack. Relatively easy to reduce this risk though - don't fall off!
CurlyStevo - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Calder:
So the book mentions for Anvil Chorus to make sure you place directional gear at the base of the crack etc. However when I lead it I bridged up the corner and then laybacked the last 2 metres. I found the gear was in the main bomber nuts and hexes that could already take sideways pulls if well placed and didn't need to especially consider getting gear in for a sideways/upwards pull at the base of the crack. I was 100% confident in the gear if I fell off and there was no shortage of it either. I thought it hard in the grade but very well protected.
Calder - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Yeah, I know - OW asked how it happens so I explained the mechanism. I figured this is what he was asking but maybe on reflection it was rhetorical...

Anyway, There's more than one guide. And not all of them mention the directional thing I don't think.
puppythedog on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to Calder: I found the mantle was hard, the crack just a bit physical, i struggled to get good bridging.
JimmyKay - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I've done more than 250 font 7's and only one of those (yes one) was a slab.
JimmyKay - on 14 Oct 2013
In reply to JimmyKay:

I do enjoy slabs though!
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Get back... its an absolutely stonking route and the best bit is the crux upwards. I remember watching some young lad top out who was pushing his grade a bit and as happens in such situations from time-to time he had gone fully into "the zone". His eyes were almost shining!
teflonpete - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Calder)
> So the book mentions for Anvil Chorus to make sure you place directional gear at the base of the crack etc.


I thought it said to place a piece of multi directional gear at the top of the corner crack before you traverse right to the mantle on to the stance. That's what we did, so that if the second had to rest on the rope, there wouldn't be any force on the rope to lift the gear and pull it out, thus allowing the second to swing away from the corner.

Bomber nuts and hexes all the way up the cracks though. :0)
Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:

Why on earth would you need to be told to do that?. Its hardly a climb where it isn't obvious. Doesn't everyone leading multi-pitch VS know well extended multi-directional pieces are advisable when changing direction on a climb? What happens when climbers who need that sort of advice go on a similar route without it?

There was a similar problem with Autumn Flakes: dont traverse too high, it says when many (partly as a result?) ended up climbing too low on much harder and very bold terrain facing a really nasty swing back right. Take care to locate the easiest traverse line would have been far better (or as per Rockfax say where it is relative to a clear feature). Think twice before inclusion and if you must put in specific safety advice ensure it doesn't push someone from the frying pan into the fire would be my advice to editors.
teflonpete - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to teflonpete)
>
> Why on earth would you need to be told to do that?. Its hardly a climb where it isn't obvious. Doesn't everyone leading multi-pitch VS know well extended multi-directional pieces are advisable when changing direction on a climb? What happens when climbers who need that sort of advice go on a similar route without it?


Calm down dear, I was only saying that's what I thought it said in the guidebook, not that I or any other VS leaders NEED that sort of information printed in the route description for every route. Can't remember which guide, think it was the CC West Penwith (North) guide.

As for Autumn Flakes, I've led the top pitch with no trouble at all, but I know a good, solid E4 climber with a wealth of experience on Cornish Granite get it wrong and end up off route.
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Offwidth - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete: It's the inclusion in the guidebook I'm worried about not you.
John2 - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to Offwidth: I believe that there have been a number of fatalities on Anvil Chorus. I imagine the guidebook authors were attempting to lessen the number of future accidents.
sheelba - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
I'm the same I can lead 6c slabby short climbs and struggle on 6a simliarly with trad I can climb much harder on slabs and corners. I suspect some of it is lack of strenght and endurance but if I'm honest I think a lot is psychological. I tend to panic when I'm getting pumped.
CurlyStevo - on 15 Oct 2013
In reply to teflonpete:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
>
> I thought it said to place a piece of multi directional gear at the top of the corner crack before you traverse right to the mantle on to the stance. That's what we did, so that if the second had to rest on the rope, there wouldn't be any force on the rope to lift the gear and pull it out, thus allowing the second to swing away from the corner.
>
> Bomber nuts and hexes all the way up the cracks though. :0)

Just checked; the 2000 definitive guide says to place directional gear at the bottom of crack not the top. Generally its more of a problem when you climb up after a traverse as gear can actually be pulled up rather than when you traverse after climbing up when there will nearly always be a strong downward component to the force
Offwidth - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to John2: I imagine they were. I still think its much wiser just to say take care with protection as the route has had fatalities when people messed this up. Once guidebooks start to teach people how to climb inside route descriptions where does it stop? The only exceptions to me would be things like where key runners are hidden.
Rob Davies - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator: Part of the disparity you notice may be that grades of slabby climbs in the UK are, in my experience, over-stated relative to grades used in areas where there are lots of slab climbs - like Tuolumne or Colorado or La Pedriza or Handegg. In the UK we simply don't get much experience of long slabby friction pitches and it takes time to adjust.

I no longer get surprised when, for example, I set off on what should be an easy 5.7 slab in Colorado (5.7 = 4b, according to the usual conversion tables) but find that it seems to have moves of 5a or even 5b. And 5.9 (supposedly HVS 5a) on South Platte slabs can sometimes take you into what seems like 5c territory.

If you like climbing slabs, try visiting some of these other areas - it's a real eye-opener!
Offwidth - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to Rob Davies:

Add a grade at times in Joshua Tree. I think the truth is in the middle: UK friction slab grades are often too soft and US are often too hard. Mind you I did do a bold fristion VD at Eastby a few months back that was at least HS 4a and possibly VS 4b.
Gabe Oliver - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

I think everyone's naturally gunna have disparity in their ability and that'll be reflected in your grade performance. It's also reflected in the subjectivity of climbing grades in general; 1 man's 4b might be another man's 5b (maybe slight exageration)
I'm afraid though matey, it is where the training phrase "work your weakness" comes from!

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