/ Need help with progressing

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James Potter - on 16 Apr 2012
Hi guys, i have just turned 16, and have been climbing 5 years now, at around 6b-6c on bouldering and climbing, I have started to go more often to the local indoor gym and have only been outdoor bouldering once, and am looking into it, but I was wondering how should I improve the fastest? At the moment I just turn up and climb, simples! However, I have been stuck on 6b/6c's for around 6 months and I just wanna move on.

Thanks,
James
jkarran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to James Potter:

How/why are you failing above 6c?
jk
James Potter - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran: I'm not so sure, it seems to me that it's everything, i can hold onto the holds, but when going for the next one i either don't get to it, or grab it and fall off. I just feel a bit lost when trying them :/

Thanks,
James
jkarran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to James Potter:

That's not a lot to go on :)

Are you leading? Assuming so: Are you totally comfortable above the bolts, clipping and falling (not just jumping)? Are you tatally comfortable with your belayer... No questions asked... you fall they've got you?

Are you pumped once you've fallen? Do you rest properly? Did you warm up properly before that?

Are you onsighting, something like onsighting (there are a couple of lads at my local wall who do everything ground-up, makes for slow progress but they appear to be having a whale of a time) or are we talking strictly redpoint here? Assuming so: What are your redpoint tactics like?

What's your efficiency like, do you repeat moves, dither, forget sequences, clip in-efficiently? Do you climb statically or quite dynamically? Do you climb fast or slow? Is it controlled or frantic?

Do you find stopper moves on routes? How/Why do they stop you?

What's your bouldering like? Not just grades, strengths and weaknesses... what do you avoid, what are you good at?

Do you believe you can climb say 7a (or 8a for that matter!)? Have you seen others do it, people you can compare yourself to? What can you learn from others at your wall, especially those climbing well but differently (girls perhaps)?

Can you exploit meagre resting opportunities, even if just to shake out or chalk up? Resting is a skill, there are some standard 'tricks' that can be applied to various features to get the most from them.

Are you fit? Are you exhausted at the top of a hard pitch?

Have a think, answer the questions as best you can (in your head if you like). Look at the answers, is there room for change or improvement?

jk
James Potter - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran: with leading i dont generally climb walls because i have no other belayer other than my dad. He's great at it and falling is no big deal, but i do get pressured by myself not to fall when about to clip in..
I am, however going to try and find a decent climbing mate, not sure how to go about it though :/ oh well ill work something out.

Yeah, when i fall im pretty much pumped, and what do you mean by "rest properly"? and i try and warm up but im pretty lax and just climb :)

By onsighting, im guessing you mean if i plan the route carefully, sometimes i do, sometimes i dont, redpointing is usually how i go about things as you have thought correctly, i normally just imagine climbing it, what tension, where key but hidden holds are, etc.

My clip-ins are fairly efficient, but that may be something i still need a little bit more practice on, i climb fairly statically, i climb at a medium pace, i dont like to rush it, but i also dont like to waste energy/time. well, i would like to think i dont climb frantically, but i do feel that there is a presence of it.

i am normally fine if a hard move is in the middle of a climb, it seems to really put me off if its near the bottom or top, i dont know why..

I have been primarily bouldering for a while now due to the limited availability of my belayer, i normally go for moves that have a lot of tension and balance, and i love heel hooks (:D) and i am not so good at long, dynamic stretching boulders.

When i watch someone do a 7a, etc, i just dont understand how they can do it, i try their way of doing it but i still dont seem to be able to..

"Can you exploit meagre resting opportunities, even if just to shake out or chalk up? Resting is a skill, there are some standard 'tricks' that can be applied to various features to get the most from them."

i do my fair share of shaking out and chalking up, but would you care to explain what are the standard "tricks" that you mention?

i am fairly fit, 5" 10, i weigh 9 stone, and i am generally pretty exhausted at the end of a hard pitch but i thought thats just how it goes?

Thanks,
James
biscuit - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran:

You should patent that post.

I'm off for a think about my climbing :0)
Kevin Woods - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran: Yeah, that was a brilliant post.
jkarran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to James Potter:

Ok, so the main thrust of my previous post was to get you analysing your climbing objectively.

Bearing in mind that it's *you* that has to figure this out I'm not going to go into too much depth, you'll gain more from playing with a handful of simple ideas to see what works for you than working through a detailed plan.

> with leading i dont generally climb walls because i have no other belayer other than my dad. He's great at it and falling is no big deal, but i do get pressured by myself not to fall when about to clip in..
> I am, however going to try and find a decent climbing mate, not sure how to go about it though :/ oh well ill work something out.

How much/often are you climbing? Are we talking mostly toproping here or bouldering or what? Are you trying to change the focus of your climbing from one game to the other?

To get good at leading you need to do a lot of it, you need to be totally at ease on that end of the rope whether you're cruising or pumped out of your mind and slapping. Climbing relaxed saves energy and enables you to flow freely.

Ask at the wall, they may know of other youths looking for partners. Talk to your dad about it, he probably likes climbing with you so factor him in.

> Yeah, when i fall im pretty much pumped, and what do you mean by "rest properly"? and i try and warm up but im pretty lax and just climb :)

Ok, something specific: Pump! There are a few things you can do:
Avoid it... warm-up, think feet, dynamism, relaxation, speed, grip variation
Delay it... Shake, rest, train endurance, think feet
Deal with it... keep going, there's more in reserve than you think! Rest when you fall

Resting properly is subjective. It can be allowing a minute or two after a failed RP before checking out the crux again. It can be taking your shoes off to belay for 20min before your next burn. It can be knocking the session on the head early when it's not going well so you're fit for the next one.

> By onsighting, im guessing you mean if i plan the route carefully, sometimes i do, sometimes i dont, redpointing is usually how i go about things as you have thought correctly, i normally just imagine climbing it, what tension, where key but hidden holds are, etc.

By onsighting I mean turning up at the bottom and climbing to the top or falling trying. I include in that the ground-up approach where you lower off after a fall then try again from the floor, it's more similar to OS than RP.

Redpointing is all about the preparation, knowing what's coming, knowing what's needed then getting on with it efficiently.

> My clip-ins are fairly efficient, but that may be something i still need a little bit more practice on, i climb fairly statically, i climb at a medium pace, i dont like to rush it, but i also dont like to waste energy/time. well, i would like to think i dont climb frantically, but i do feel that there is a presence of it.

Mix up your pacing, see what happens. Remember when lifting the rope your arms are weak, legs are strong. Unless there's a tactical advantage in clipping above your head you should generally avoid it.

> i am normally fine if a hard move is in the middle of a climb, it seems to really put me off if its near the bottom or top, i dont know why..

Seems sensible. Spooked by the height or just drained?

> I have been primarily bouldering for a while now due to the limited availability of my belayer, i normally go for moves that have a lot of tension and balance, and i love heel hooks (:D) and i am not so good at long, dynamic stretching boulders.

Work the heel hooking into your routes, see how that works for you. Try experimenting with momentum, bounce from stable position to stable position, you can often avoid some very hard pulls by carrying a little momentum into a move.

> When i watch someone do a 7a, etc, i just dont understand how they can do it, i try their way of doing it but i still dont seem to be able to..

Keep at it. Look for the weaker guys/girls, say hello, ask if they can offer any pointers.

> "Can you exploit meagre resting opportunities, even if just to shake out or chalk up? Resting is a skill, there are some standard 'tricks' that can be applied to various features to get the most from them."
> i do my fair share of shaking out and chalking up, but would you care to explain what are the standard "tricks" that you mention?

Grooves - Various bridging.
Aretes - Open handing opportunities, chance to squat down on your heels, chance to access less steep ground briefly.
Cracks - Various jams and torques.
Walls - Balance, high foot pulling, low foot pushing.
Steep walls - Jams behind jugs, grip variations, outside edges of hands, high foot pulling low foot pushing.
Roofs/Overlaps/holes - Kneebars, armbars mad improvisation

You won't always get a full rest, reducing the load on your arms is often all you need. More time spent playing on the bouldering wall will leave you with more options for unloading an arm mid route when you need to shake it out. There are hands off rests

> i am fairly fit, 5" 10, i weigh 9 stone, and i am generally pretty exhausted at the end of a hard pitch but i thought thats just how it goes?

Dunno, I'm usually gasping and sweating at the top of a hard pitch but it does get less bad the fitter I am.

jk

Jonny2vests - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran:

Wow. Are you a PhD student? Work avoidance issues perhaps? :)
jkarran - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jonny2vests:

Bored at home, should have gone climbing.
jk
samthom - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to James Potter: Seriously now, write this down in a leaflet and sell it!
Nath93 - on 16 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran: I'll never look at an indoor wall or hold the same way again, Great post !!!!
James Potter - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to jkarran:
Pretty much all i can say is WOW at that post! thanks!
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James Potter - on 17 Apr 2012
In reply to jk: sorry for the double post but:

Thanks for the tips do do with pump, will try them as im going off climbing now :)

> spooked by the height or just drained?

well, sometimes spooked by the height, such as the other day when i was practically doing the splits at the top of the wall.. hamstrings killing me after that!

> can you exploit meagre resting opportunities?

from what you have listed thats about what i do currently, i do anything for a rest.. from some crazy unorthodox knee bar to just a quick pull in the the wall if im really tired..


Thanks for all the advise!


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