/ Grades. If you were 64 years old....
I'm pretty sure I've heard of 8a and E5 being climbed by sixty-somethings, but that's a pretty rarified level at any age. I doubt if anyone achieves those grades without a certain amount of pain, how much of it is down to age is hard to guess.
I suspect that everyone's experience is going to be different; we're all going to age in different ways and some of us may find ourselves more restricted than others. Luck of the genetic draw to some extent, although I guess we can help by looking after ourselves long-term.
I've never entirely understood the term "respectable" with regards to climbing performance. Whose respect are you seeking?
How long has the 64 year old been climbing, and how frequently?
I've always said that I wanted to be able to climb 5.10 (E2) forever. It is a life goal of mine to be able to onsight at least mid 5.10 for a very long time. But I am 29 and my starting point would have been very different from others. Some days I feel like I won't even live to be 64, so who knows what will actually happen if I make it there!
Grades are not important. Sure they are a way to evaluate your progress and keep motivated, but it is really up to you what you think is respectable. Where I grew up, there are A LOT of areas that open up if you can climb 5.10 trad. Maybe where you climb that grade will be different, or maybe that doesn't matter to you.
If you are climbing at age 64 you are WAY ahead of 95% of people that age and most younger people as well. I know plenty of 34, 44, and 54 years olds who can't walk up the stairs w/o getting winded.
Your body is right, you can't expect to climb like you were 20 again.
My climbing partner and I had a 2:1 session with Steve McClure at the start of the year and discussed training and improvement plans. His advice was very specific to our current abilities and ages. I'm now 49 and have been climbing for almost 17 years.
Steve recommended not climbing more than 3 times a week, and emphasised being fit and maintaining that fitness and specifically not getting injured. At our age (and presumably more so at yours) rest and recovery is almost more important than the actual time spent training. If you make sure you make the most of your training sessions and use your time efficiently, there's no reason why 3 sessions a week isn't sufficient to continue to improve.
You've not mentioned the levels you currently climb at, or if you boulder so this will probably influence how you might best seek improvement. The older you get, the more suited your body will become to endurance routes rather than shorter more powerful ones. It's a gradual decline in men I believe from their mid 20's, but don't quote me on that. There are several really decent training books out there and I recommend you try some of them. 'The Self Coached Climber' and '9 out of 10 Climbers' are probably the two best known. I suppose it also depends on where you want to improve; is it trad routes, sport routes or bouldering? You have to tailor your training to suit your target(s). From my experience, most climbers don't really train, they just climb - admittedly sometimes a lot - and assume it's the same thing. It's not. If you really choose to apply yourself and are serious about it, there's almost certainly no reason why you can't improve. A word of warning though: you do have to be ready to embrace the boredom and a certain amount of short-term pain ;)
I'd also strongly recommend doing what I did and have a personal session with a decent coach, it'll be money well spent.
I think I am trying to say. Climb what you enjoy and enjoy what you climb, and don't let the numbers influence you too much.
I'd say push yourself - but gently. No-one likes comfortably running along on tick over.
For me it's very important to enjoy the climbing - the movement - in the moment and not in retrospect. Trying to on sight things that are just a little too hard for me gives me no pleasure at all. I hate climbing into positions where I'm all wrong handed, lurching from one mistake to the next, shaking with the effort and risking injury. Work the routes to death then execute them perfectly! Unashamed maximum beta is the way forward.
Keep fit, and it's all a mind game. I know a few guys around that age, who regularly climb grade V/VI in winter without any fuss...... Their wives probably wouldn't be happy if they knew though!J
Ok fair enough, training is out, but I have to say it sound a wee bit like you want your cake and eat it too ;) But seriously, I'd have thought with a bit of focus and not much 'proper training' you could get to leading F7a in a year if not less. A trad target would be a bit harder to pin down as the route styles could vary lots, and it depends more on how good your head is in potentially stressful situations. I'd have thought that 3 decent, focussed sessions a week could get you leading 7a, as long as you're not too inflexible or overweight.
I like jon's suggestion that "Unashamed maximum beta is the way forward."
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Yeah, but what did Dylan ever do...?
I´m not 64 quite yet but I´d expect to be a couple of grades down on my peak. Unless of course I give up the beer and cigs and decide to take climbing seriously then who knows:-)
We were climbing with Rustie Baille a few weeks ago and he´s still handy enough in his 70´s.
Strange question. If you want respect and you don't think you are achieving what you should you have to train in a focused way to get better. Why is it important to you to reach certain grades ? What does it matter ?
You will get more 'spect climbing HVS with a 19 year old DWS pin up belaying than you will doing E6.
At least in my books.
Well, I'm 63, so feel quite well qualified to speak ...
Your first huge mistake is to see climbing grades as static; the real truth is that your grade will change from day to day, and, of course, when you are young/starting out, it will be improving virtually day by day. So your question, straight away, is very odd. Almost the kind of thing a non-climber might say in their ignorance.
Let's step back. Why on earth are you talking about grades? Is that really all climbing means to you? Even more baffling: why on earth should anyone be having to explain what climbing means to those who climb.
If you substitute the question 'what would you consider to be a respectable speed to read?' for your thread, and follow the absurdity of that through, you may perhaps get a gist of what I'm on about ...
Anyhow, to get back to your original question, 'what would you consider to be a respectable grade to climb at on trad and sport?' Well, there quite literally is NO respectable grade to climb on 'at sport'? The question is so artificial that it just leaves you gasping for any kind of intelligent answer. Trad is a horrible word. Let's just call it adventure, which, thank goodness, is as strong as ever.
Obviously, any young, keen, fit climber nowadays will be leading VS quite early in their first year, and be doing quite badly if they haven't got to HVS or E1 by about the end of the year. I would think that most fit, keen, dedicated climbers would be pecking away at around about E2/E3 at the very least in their second year (approx equivalent nowadays of HVS in the mid-sixties, when I started).
Sorry. I'd probably had a bit too much vino (had been at a NYD party all afternoon) ... But it's still a v difficult question to answer/hasn't really got an answer. The reply I eventually gave was really only meant as a very, very vague guideline - and I'm sure no one would be able to agree at all on this.
> Well, I'm 63, so feel quite well qualified to speak ...
Not necessarily, it just means you're 63.
Best not post after midnight, those are two of the most inappropriate, unhelpful and pompous posts I've read in a long time.
As U know there's no reason why you cant climb at a level you did 20-30 years ago , its the amount of Paineze tablets ice baths and rests in between ripping your body apart that count
So if you climbed 7b/E5 before there's no reason why you shouldn't now.
Main thing is enjoying what you do, not how 'ard things are.
I've just apologised for it.
Just saw that. However, as I was writing mine it hadn't been posted (I was toning down my own), so my apologies for my comments seeming to come in after yours.
I'm one month short of my 69th birthday and have just got back into climbing after major surgery in Oct 2012. I am comfortably leading 4s and 5s indoors again, and looking forward to getting outdoors in the Spring when I anticipate leading long multi pitch trad routes in the V Diff to VS range.
I would say that I am delighted to be back climbing again and the sheer enjoyment of being able to do the sport vastly outweighs chasing grades.
Gordon, apology accepted. I'm sorry to hear that you are no longer able to climb.
> I'm one month short of my 69th birthday...
f*ck me, i always assumed you were one of the mid-30s crowd.
Over the years it seams to me (as a general rule) climbers who are good when they are young are good when they are older (assuming they don't pack it in) and those of us who are mediocre when we are young.......
Chris (62 and still bumbling!)
Indeed. I can never understand why some people seem to think that achievement/pushing your grade is somehow incompatible with all the other joys of climbing.
My observation is that once people start using age as an excuse, they tend to give in to it and go into terminable decline. Having said that, you need to be realistic about recovery and injury prevention. I know plenty of inspirational climbers still full of energy and enthusiasm in their sixties.
It's worth mentioning that I want to climb harder because it opens up new rock for me, not to boost any ego. I've done most of the good climbs in N.Wales, the South West, the Peak and Lakes.
In reply to GridNorth:
. . . What with New Year and all I'm trying to decide if I should try a little harder this year or content myself with what I can currently do. The thing that's a little hard for me is that I feel like a "punter" by todays standards and yes I admit it my ego is taking a hit. . .
. . . I'm sure we all start the new year hoping to climb well, often and interestingly. I'm older than you, and as I wrote in a recent thread I missed climbing 6c at 63, but quite like the idea of aiming for 7a at 70, and know that to achieve such a target I'll need
to "train" more than I want to (will do), so probably that's out. But at the start of the year much seems possible, and there's always that possibility of settled dry weather spreading over all climbing areas from early on (which is usual) until October (fat chance!). Personally I want to keep up my standard at least, and post 60 that's realistic enough, aches and pains willing, anything more is a bonus, but not vital to my enjoyment.
As for your ego, and your apparent dread of being recognised as a "punter" I can only say you must climb on some devilishly hard rock with hard-nosed types all pointing their fingers at you. I've climbed with people of all ages, and no-one who's climbing at E4 plus, and with only a handful upto trying E3s on occasion. E3 is NOT punterdom in my book!
Fair enough & I do sympathise with that - I get niggling injuries if I train for 2+ times a week! Seems to boil down to wanting to get better at our age - perhaps there's more scope for me there!! Maybe climbing better will have to mean something other than climbing 'harder'? Good luck anyway, and make the most of the active time you have.
Amen to that!
Sorry. Someone had to. :-)
On a more practical note stop or reduce the amount of fingery indoor routes you do ! It probably isn't even the best way to train.
Other ways to train to maintain or improve your grade could include steeper routes with larger holds, weights, diet, yoga spring to mind. Think creatively about ways to work around your limitations.
Also are you an inveterate crimper? Varying your grip to open hand stuff can spread the load.
Final tip - after climbing try soaking your hands in a sink of warm water. That can alleviate joint and tendon pain. Works well for one climber I know
Dear GridNorth, If you're 64, don't train at all, and lead F6b+ indoors and E3 outdoors, then either (a) you're quite exceptionally talented, (b) you were once climbing at a much higher grade than this and still have the residual ability or (c) you belong to a different species than I do. I don't think anyone's going to deny you respect.
I'm two years behind you (62) and around two grades behind you. I still enjoy my climbing immensely, but I'm under no illusions that I will be able to maintain this standard without training. Currently I do approx 3 sessions per week, either indoor climbing or pull-ups when I can't get to the wall. Fortunately I'm now retired so I've less problem finding the time.
Realistically, some time in the next ten years I'll probably have to accept that I can no longer climb all the routes I used to do. I'm almost deliberately saving up some "Classic Rock" ticks for when that day arrives. I still hope to be enjoying it whatever the grade, and with at least a good helping of "self-respect" whatever anyone else may think!
I am 71 and still climbing at my highest grade - V Diff (and Alpine PD).
Hope this makes you feel good.
> I am 71 and still climbing at my highest grade - V Diff (and Alpine PD).
> Hope this makes you feel good.
It makes me feel good! I`m 61 and if I can be climbing V diffs in 10 years that will do me.
Wow, just read all the posts and feel inspired, you guys are all climbing strong and well in your sixties and seventies, I'm never going to moan about my age again.
Just set the goals you want to achieve this year (routes not grades?) and get out there.
I hope that I can be climbing as well and keen to get better / set goals in 30 years as it’s what I get enjoyment from.
I know a few Older people thatr climb. One lady i met was Onsighting 7a easily, She was still really fit and retirement meant she had heaps of time to travel and climb.
Realistically most older climbers slow down a little, But people climb in 70's and 80's so 60's are young
Do what you feel happy with, Enjoy climbing and the rest of your life find a balance where You don't hurt but still feel challenged.
A view from another mid-60's climber:
1. I'm very happy that I'm still able to climb regularly in my sixties, and I still enjoy it immensely
2. Most of the time I kid myself that grades don't matter, but sometimes, right day, right time - they do and I try a bit harder
3. Despite occasional lapses of caution, its fear of injury that affects how hard I push myself nowadays, because things take longer to heal and I don't fancy long lay-offs - I've had a few.
4. Amongst my 'super vet' acquaintances, some are cranking very hard indeed, the rest of us are happily bumbling along in the 4's, 5's and 6's, and having fun between VDiff and VS. Falling off at these grades is more painful than a spidery dangle at the Grande Grotte, hence point 3 above.
Egos are hard things to swallow though, but if you succeed, they'll leave by another exit, and that's a relief to savour!
Exactly right. As a coffin-dodging, grumpy, overweight old bumbly (64 on Sunday!), I find that anything over about 6c generally involves twisting of the upper body and inevitable injury with a long lay-off. And the self-denial required to get back down to a fighting weight just isn't there any more.
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