/ do people who climb E11 7a have natural talent?
have natural born talent? Can the rest of us just train harder and be them?
Does training give confidence or is confidence on these climbs something you have to be born with? I used to bottle out of many grit climbs
because I did not have the stamina to hold on for long on a climb of sustained technical difficulty.I reckon stamina gives confidence.
But what gives you the confidence to do a climb like Braille Trail
at Burbage edge where a slip from the top holds is a certain trip to hospital whatever your stamina levels!
I think genetic luck and a good head trump 'talent', whatever that is.
I'd have thought that to operate at that sort of level, one must have natural born talent in addition to commitment and training. There are plenty of people who could not physically do 7a moves, regardless of the head game, simply by virtue of their range of joint movement.
I'm not sure you can divorce mental attitude from 'genetics'. I think the mental ability to train hard is part of the 'gift' that top performers have.
> I'd have thought that to operate at that sort of level, one must have natural born talent
Yeah, but I think talent needs a defining. I can understand the phrase 'talented snooker player' more easily than 'talented climber'.
I listened to a great podcast about this ages ago:
I particularly liked the bit about Bill Gates (starts at 12:48).
Some innate talent - but a *lot* of hard work.
While never having climbed E11 7a I used to get asked this kind of question quite often and people seemed surprised by my response, so I wrote the following article to explain how I felt I had got close to the top of the sport without having shown any early promise:
On dangerous routes it's clear to me that people vary enormously in their approach; some keep a good margin by being way stronger and technically better than they need, others tune their judgement well so they can perform very close to their physical limits. Both approaches work but for different people with different strengths.
I think you are right when you say believing you can do climbs of a high
difficulty is important but practise gives confidence and helps a lot with self-belief.I have good finger strength for slabs and walls but have never climbed an extreme grit overhang because I am not skilled (practised) enough at jamming.I live in warwickshire where there are no crags.
People who live in sheffield for example can spend time on gritstone crags and boulders after work most days if they want to.I think training for specific rock types is important.
I liked this article, possibly because it mirrors my experience almost exactly (subtract a grade or three). This is a regular question here and usually an opportunity for people to queue up to justify their mediocre performance with the old 'lacking in natural talent' canard. Legitimizing laziness by calling it an inherited characteristic is frankly laughable.
Hazel Findlay talking about training boldness through graded exposure (she doesn't call it that, but that is what she is doing): http://www.thebmc.co.uk/hazel-findlay-fear-of-falling
I saw him falling from Rhapsody on the Committed dvd and he did not seem scared at all and he says he doesn't like dangerous climbs.
The E11 7a grade must be for sustained technical difficulty on this climb.
But if you see James Pearson fall on the dvd from Walk of Life he sounds
very worried indeed!
But presumably to climb E11 you need to be both technically brilliant and very strong and then perform very close to your limit as well.
That's what they would have said about climbing E9 a dozen or so years ago, and about climbing E7 some years before that. Now people are often dismissive of E7 headpoints as they're seemingly possible by anyone willing to put in a bit of effort and practice. There's no reason why the same won't one day be the case for E11, although I don't expect that day will come any time soon.
Sorry John but you're being too modest. Inate talent I'd say is almost imposssible to spot from first efforts at climbing. The combination of the ability to respond to good training without injury and develop the psychological strength needed for hard bold routes are not contained within everyone.
Back when I started climbing the few naturally talented climbers stood out from the rest of us, they did hard things and stayed in control in highly dangerous situations, whilst we (the majority) were more circumspect - we didn't want to die!
Fast forward 45 years - with superior gear, bouldering, sport climbing, training, indoor walls, headpointing etc, etc, etc everyone gets the chance to do hard stuff - but I bet there aren't any more naturally talented climbers around!
Good point but seemingly virtually impossible to say with any certainty after the fact how much chance played a part and how much could be classed as innate talent. I know of lots of climbers who I would have said had far more innate talent than I but who were never able to reach their apparent potential due to overtraining, accident or environmental factors.
My theory is that I never was strong enough to injure myself in training! Needless to say I ended up concentrating more on the hard, bold stuff to compensate.
I would imagine most people could train themselves for the "bold" part of it if they are so inclined, but the physical side will be a combination of training and genetics.
Might be excuses, but there are certain moves I'm just not built for - 18st (overweight, but I reckon my ideal weight is about 15st or thereabouts, which is still not light!) with long legs in proportion to arms which seems to make certain sit-starts disproportionately difficult, say, particularly where they involve friction rather than actual holds.
The skinny waifs with super strength and a more monkey like build (longer arms and shorter legs) definitely seem to have genetics on their side...
Reading and then applying all the info in 'Training for Climbing' and 'The Rock Warriors Way' will get you close to your physical and mental limits.
At the end of the day people have to decide the whats,whys and wherefores of the things that they do. We all have the potential to do amazing things and quite often the only thing that limits us is ourselves.
Can you train body shape? Not really, or not beyond increasing and decreasing the levels of fat and muscle.
The question is - on hard routes are there moves that suit every body shape, or do certain shapes have an advantage. My observations are that a more monkey like shape (not me, then!) has a definite advantage simply because of the physics of levers and the likes, and more weight (even if muscle) can be a big disadvantage because you don't get more friction on vertical or overhanging rock just because you're heavier.
> I would imagine most people could train themselves for the "bold" part of it if they are so inclined,
I would say the very opposite, you can train and boulder and redpoint 'til the cows come home - but if you haven't got it 'upstairs'.......
I agree with this.I think you have to the brains to know how to train properly for a given route,have a good memory of how to do certain kinds of moves and and the ability to tell yourself that you have a high probability of making a move successfully because you succeed on that type of move nearly every time in a bouldering situation.
But I think at the very top end of climbing difficulty knowing that
you are establishing the hrdest route in the world may help motivate
you to take a little bit more risk than you normally would.
> Inate talent I'd say is almost imposssible to spot from first efforts at climbing.
I disagree. I take lots of kids to the wall for the first time. Some "have it" straight away. Others don't and probably never will. The occasional one even seems, very annoyingly, to have been born with the sort of finger strength I can only dream of.
Might be a question to ask the Army, as I guess a big part of their job is to train people to perform well when under great risk to their life?
My personal take on it is that I can actually perform very well under that kind of pressure, but I don't like to deliberately end up in that position. So I wouldn't set out to climb something that was very run-out (I don't even overly like falling off leads indoors where it's as safe as it'll get!), but I have ended up inadvertently in that position by having started to climb something that looked OK from the ground without reference to a guidebook, then found it was quite run-out, but what gear there was wasn't good enough (in my view) to lower off, so left with very few options (and being not very good at downclimbing) I decided to finish the route. While it wasn't stupidly difficult, I was making moves I wouldn't make above the clip in an indoor wall where lowering off would be an option, even though falling off would have seriously hurt.
Psychology is a strange thing...
Here's a comparison, then - I'm 33 as well, started climbing regularly when I was about 31 (though I'd done the odd taster type session a few times before that e.g. in Scouts).
I tend to end up at the wall about once a week, though sometimes a lot more than that, yet I seem to be toproping about 6a and leading 5+ (though I have got as far as 6b, mainly on slabs - overhangs are a massive weakness) and having great difficulty getting much above that - not that I'm not trying!
So I suspect there is some sort of difference there.
> I disagree. I take lots of kids to the wall for the first time. Some "have it" straight away. Others don't and probably never will. The occasional one even seems, very annoyingly, to have been born with the sort of finger strength I can only dream of.
More likely that the good ones have already spent a lot of time climbing trees or their local climbing frame.
Same again. I kind-of had the feeling I wanted to as a kid, but I also got scared very easily and so wasn't sure.
It was only when the Pinnacle opened in Northampton (and Big Rock in MK very shortly afterwards) that it was feasible to get a climb in in the evening without a long drive, so I had a good chance to get into it regularly.
'Inherited' maybe so but its quite obvious even with kids that some are naturally much better on concentrating on tasks than others.
People are different in their innate mental ability just as much as they are different in their physical ability
I'm pretty sure you can tell as there is plenty of research on this subject for various elite sports training. I do agree with pretty much else you say, especially that having the talent goes nowhere without the right training and hard work.
I climbed Heartless Hare at Froggat with the E3 siderunner only after an
american climber who had already done the route and fallen told me what gear to place.When I believed the gear would hold I did the climb.
This is very true with sports based purely on performance. Climbing is luckily as much about the mental imagination as the physical though, so body type is really no excuse. We're miles off the limit.
If 15st would be a BMI of 20, I reckon this makes you about 7 ft tall?
6' 4" but quite heavily built, particularly in the legs from a lot of cycling.
You're making the mistake of assuming that the middle of the "OK" range is where everyone has to be. It's a range to take into account body types.
So at that height it suggests a range of 78 to 92kg, ish, using the graph at the below URL, which is (quick Google) between 12.28 and 14.4 stone. So maybe 14 is a better target, though I did once manage (before I climbed) to get down to 13.5 and a lot of people said I looked unhealthily skinny. Since I've climbed I have bulked out a lot on the upper body, so I suspect that low would be really unhealthy and would definitely require a loss of muscle mass.
So maybe I should aim at about 14 stone 7 rather than 15 stone.
Wasn't trying to suggest that was where you had to be, just pondering! (My BMI isn't 20 either!)
I agree with you:some people are naturally better coordinated than others for certain tasks:I could not shuffle a deck of cards and split them like a poker dealer can no matter how much training I do.And some people
have an aptitude for figuring out the right sequence of moves on a climb.
A lot of climbers who find holds they canrt see on dyno moves amaze me!
> have natural born talent?
>> How about a variation on this post? How many E11 7a climbers can find their way from point A to point B on a high hill, in poor conditions? Can they navigate in fog, cloud, heavy snow etc? I thought that this was a mountaineering site, but perhaps I have been mistaken. Your post suggests that is is a gymnastic site.
> >> How about a variation on this post? How many E11 7a climbers can find their way from point A to point B on a high hill, in poor conditions? Can they navigate in fog, cloud, heavy snow etc? I thought that this was a mountaineering site, but perhaps I have been mistaken. Your post suggests that is is a gymnastic site.
Almost a troll.
This is the rock climbing section of the forum!
> This is the rock climbing section of the forum!
>> Point taken
>> Thank you for the "almost" but my point remains.
Seems an unnecessary dig on your part.
> >> Thank you for the "almost" but my point remains.
What point? Do people who can handle a bit of shitty nav have natural talent? Of the three Raphsody ascentionists I know of, I reckon they've all had their fare share of that.
What we call "natural talent" in any activity is mostly an inclination to put in the thousands of hours of work and effort it takes to become really good at it. To be that motivated you probably need to have some kind of physical and/or mental aptitude for it as well, but most of it is down to sheer hard work. Of course, if you really enjoy what you're doing then a lot of it won't feel like hard work.
Climbing ability, as so many other things, is down to nature (genetics or variations in the DNA sequence) and nurture (training, nutrition) and for many sports the ration is 50:50.
It is clearly not only 'thousands of hours of work'. Take NBA basketball players. The key 'talent factor' is body height and even with millions of hours of work that does change minimally at best. Also researchers have tested the grip strength in a million Scandinavian subjects and I recall that the difference between the strongest and weakest was 20-fold. Thus if you are at the lower end then E2 is probably the upper ceiling whilst you need to be at the higher end to have an E11 ceiling.
Haven't read the whole thread but go and read Matthew Syed's book 'Bounce' who discusses the whole natural talent vs hard work & training debate. Very enlightening.
I come from a very sporty background, so it could be I had a better amount of strength and body awareness than others when I started out. I think it probably also has to do with attitude towards training though; I will get out every chance I have, and prioritise climbing over most other things.
> Haven't read the whole thread but go and read Matthew Syed's book 'Bounce' who discusses the whole natural talent vs hard work & training debate. Very enlightening.
Haven't read the book but have heard him interviewed and thought his arguments came over as a somewhat simplistic and his conclusions appeared be given an unwarrented degree of certainty.
Interesting critique here:
My general view in climbing, as in many things, is that utter bl**dymindedness and refusal to give up and accept defeat even when the odds are so far against you it would be insane to continue beats talent, focussed training and ambition any time...
Tall people may have an advantage at basketball, but being tall doesn't make you a good basketball player, and being short doesn't mean that you can't become one. However when starting out, tall people may find that they enjoy basketball because their height gives them an immediate advantage over other novice players, and that may encourage them to find the motivation to put in the work to become good at it.
Ten thousand hours of practice to become extra talented!
Albert Einstein said he only achieved what he achieved because he worked harder than others.He made himself a genius.
But he also took the right advice and got help from
great mathematicians and read the right books by certain philosophers.
It is also possible that some luck came into his life and that his was the right mind at the right time for the right problem.The current outstanding
problems of physics have not be resolved in more than 50 years since his death despite more and better educated people being around.It is thought
that the mathematics required to solve the outstanding problems of physics
has not been invented yet.Perhaps it will created by a lucky dicsovery one day.Apparently einstein could not understand the most complex mathematical arguments of his day.
But I reckon as far as sport goes some people have naturally got superior
stamina and balance and power.My flat mate tony could smoke and run 5 miles after no problems .I dont smoke and could not run five miles no problems and am not particularly unfit.But I do believe that most people can do most things in life better if they have the right training method and encouragement and desire to succeed.And I think for most of us we have to enjoy the training or we wont persist with it.Persitence is a big deal.
Elsewhere on the site
Perhaps the perfect Xmas gift for the climber in your life... Wild Country's Crack School has two of the worlds best crack... Read more
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
Will Sim and Andy Inglis have made the second ascent of VIII,9 on Ben Nevis, followed by Will making a rare... Read more
The release of Peter Jackson's new film The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on 12th December may not appear to link to... Read more
PowerFingers is a simple, easy to use product which is incredibly effective for Climbers who require finger strength and... Read more