/ Reachy problems a problem for short climber - improve dynos?

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Chalky-Monkey on 27 Aug 2012

Been doing indoor bouldering, leading and top roping for about 3 years.

I'm quite short (about 5ft) and i often find that, especially when bouldering, I can't reach many holds a lot the people I climb with can. My general bouldering level is around V5; i have reasonable strength and flexibility but struggle with a lot of dynamic moves and avoid them at all costs.

I want to improve my climbing grades but reachy problems are becoming increasingly problematic. Is improving dynamic movement the best thing for me to work on and what would be the best way of going about this?

Thanks a lot.
hoodmonkey - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey:

Yes, is the short answer (no pun intended).

I used to have a similar problem as, while I'm not as short as you,
I'm still well under average height.

There are several things you could do to improve:

1. Basic campussing for contact strength and dynamic movement

2. Get on easy problems you know you can do, but miss holds out, to force yourself into long, dynamic moves

3. Work on lock-off strength to enable you to lock off poor holds with one arm and therefore provide yourself additional cm's of reach

4. Ignore specific problems at the wall and just spend a session every week bouncing between far-spaced holds, popping for finishing jugs, cutting loose on roofs etc., etc.

I found that adding dynamic climbing to my repertoire opened up higher grades and consequently loads more problems inside and out.

Good luck

Chalky-Monkey on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to hoodmonkey:
Thanks a lot I'll work on those.
cliff shasby - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey: You could work on core strength,im a short arse and have the same problem,yesterday i could'nt start a route because i was way to short to reach the pockets,i had to use two undercuts and a high step and all the core strength i had to make the move.

Im got pretty good core strength which i think ive developed inadvertently by being short and having to lock off/high step/over reach/stop the barn door etc.

But of course sometimes that problem/route is just not for the short...!.

cheers cliff...
Chalky-Monkey on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to cliff shasby:
Yeah some problems really aren't made for short people The best thing would be to grow but sadly I've stopped that now...
Thanks cliff
stonemaster - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey: You may wish to check out someone called Lynn Hill. Good luck.
Chalky-Monkey on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to stonemaster:
Ok thanks
turtlespit - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey: My girlfriend is 5'3" and we have another friend who is 5'. Dynamic climbing really helps - though best to practice it on juggy easy routes/boulders first.

At lot of top female climbers are quite short - Lynn Hill is 5'1", Alex Puccio 5'2", Sasha Digiulian 5'2" and many other examples. Certain routes and boulder problems will favour the short, either because you'll have smaller fingers (those tiny crimps will feel bigger) or you'll be able to get your feet higher without getting too bunched up. (whereas the 6' tall guys will have to have their knees around their ears - I've had this happen to me with my girlfriend cruising up an F7a+, and me getting hideously bunched up and falling off).

Problem is a lot of climbing centres set routes based on an average height (or worse, set for just the tall), and don't throw in extra foot holds for the really short. Solution is get out on real rock on routes and boulders that aren't reach dependent.

Finally, here's a grade conversion chart that I've found accurate comparing boulders and routes outside - http://www.camp4.com/rock/index.php?newsid=148 . Bouldering V5 should give you all the strength and technique to lead F7b+ (though endurance and feeling comfortable with falling on lead will come into play).

Chalky-Monkey on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to turtlespit:
Thanks a lot, that's really helpful! Yeah crimps are ok for me, better than slopers. Even other girls I climb with have a few extra inches and just end up yelling "reach" at me when i'm on the wall. Only been out on the real rock once, should probably do it a bit more.
andi turner - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey: I believe Lynn Hill said something along the lines of "There's no excuse for a lack of reach, only a lack of power".

Take solace in the fact that you will be naturally a lot lighter being smaller and be able to generate more power in a smaller space. Overhangs should be your forte!

Finally, I've known loads of climbers over the years, some small, some tall. The littel ones who moaned and always went on about "easier if you're tall", never came to much. The ones who never mentioned it became very accomplished climbers.

Today I'm having a Brown/Whillans day, so I'll sign out with another quote (which I'll no doubt get wrong), when Joe Brown was asked what he did when he couldn't reach a hold he replied "well, I climb upto them"...
Flinticus - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to turtlespit:
What's that Font (sandbag) grading all about?
jkarran - on 28 Aug 2012
In reply to Chalky-Monkey:

> Only been out on the real rock once, should probably do it a bit more.

That might be your problem. Outdoors the best option is usually just to pick different holds (usually for your feet).

Without seeing how you climb it's hard to say whether you're fully exploiting the reach you potentially have available. If you're convinced you are and that your static technique is already very good then yeah, it's probably time to get a bit more dynamic.

A more dynamic style can be quite effective anyway, especially so when bouldering indoors.


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