/ Pensioner's rock grades

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paul wood - on 02 Apr 2013
I am resisting the suggestion that I will soon be too old to rock climb (I am 44 now) and it got me wondering how hard the more senior members actually climb.

Can you tell me what grade you or your friends climb?

I guess I am only interested in leading outside trad and sport.

I recall climbing with a guy who cruised a tough E3 after a hip replacement.


Chay - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: I wouldn't think of it as you're nearly over the hill; I have seen and climbed with many people 50+ that cruise up E grade climbs that I could only dream of climbing!

Dave Birkett must be 40+ and he's climbing mega hard! Johnny Dawes is climbing hard again too..just to name a few!

C
GridNorth - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: I'm almost 65 and can climb E3 and F6b+ on a good day. I climbed my hardest routes at the age of 55/56 when I did several F7a and E4 routes with a couple of E5's thrown in for good measure. I'm in the CC and there are plenty of members who operate at similar levels.
Chay - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: in fact, Dave Brikett must be nearer 50 something..
Rog Wilko on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: 44??!!?? You're nobbut a youth!
Rog Wilko on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko: And anyway, what do grades matter? There are great things to do at any grade.
Chay - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko: Couldn't agree more; grade chasing is all well and good but enjoying the climbing, position, the company etc is what counts.
Jonny2vests - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

Feeling old at your age is just giving in to self invented psychological pish. After hearing Fred Becky talk the other week (90) I certainly don't feel like I've peaked yet.

Jon
Aged 43 and 3/4
Jonny2vests - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:
> (In reply to Rog Wilko) Couldn't agree more; grade chasing is all well and good but enjoying the climbing, position, the company etc is what counts.

I think grade chasing matters, if you want to chase grades. For me, my most exciting and memorable cragging adventures have been when I've been breaking new ground.
Chay - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: Don't get me wrong, pushing yourself and working towards grades if very enjoyable; I was just trying to say that as long as you enjoy company, the climbing, positions etc any grade can yield a great day out.

Even when I was like at my best, I didn't climb at my limit everytime I went out; though I suppose everyone has a different relationship with climbing and where they find enjoyment.

Either way; 44 is definitely not too old to climbing hard!

C
MikeTS - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I climbed today with Andrea, aged 81. He led a VS
The Pylon King on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I'm 48 and i led a VD the other day. I did top rope it first though but i was well chuffed.
Wiley Coyote - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

Our team are all the wrong side of 60 but the oldest (a genuine pension book carrying oldie) did a 7b last week. B*stard!
SteveoS - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

Steve McClure must be 40+ by now, he's still climbing pretty well.
cuppatea on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I'm 40 and I fell off a plastic "4" at the weekend.

rug - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I was told recently that Al Cowburn decided that when he turned 70, he would (out of consideration for his family) stop soloing above E1. He is still soloing easier stuff now - at the tender age of 83.

Rug
KlaasW on 02 Apr 2013
I'm 48 and a half and started climbing again after a 25 year break. I'm certainly already better after a year than when I was 18 because training facilities are so much better, especially bouldering walls. Did an F6b lead but there are plenty of people much older than I who are much better. What a preposterous idea that you might be an OAP already!
nbonnett - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

We were only saying the other day these young pups don't realise how lucky they have it these days.
johncook - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: Just about 64 (not saying where party is as all the UKC freeloaders will turn up!) Started aged 17. Stopped age 33. Restarted aged 56 and am now leading HVS/E1 (nothing to do with TPS) outdoors, 6b clip-up and 6c indoors. Can't boulder to save my life.
Aim is to be on interesting E2 by the end of the year is the weather ever gets warmer. I don't climb for grade, I look at a route and if it looks good I will try. If I fail it goes on the hit list for when I have improved. Try to avoid routes with crimps, the arthritic fingers hurt like shit on them!
Some mornings at the Edge I am the second youngest and the worst climber there out of about 15 or so people, think they call themselves the old grumblies or something!
GridNorth - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: I don't chase grades but there is no denying that I get the most satisfaction from getting up a quality route that is challenging and near to my limit but which I complete in good style and in relative comfort. That just happens to be E2 at this time. Next year it might well be VS or if I am lucky E4.
Rob Naylor - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I didn't *start* climbing until I was 42. OK, I'm still crap....but I saw Rowland Edwards lead an E4 when he must have been 72.
Stu Tyrrell on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: I have done all the hard grades now starting all the easy stuff again, this time to enjoy - 66


PS
Well not that hard!
Stu Tyrrell on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to Stu Tyrrell: Forgot to say my mate is 77 and still climbing a lot, see below.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=118444
oaktree - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:
4 years later,mike's still doing things like this + more

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=119127

i think he did "the nose" in same year
Rog Wilko on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
> (In reply to Chay)
> [...]
>
> I think grade chasing matters, if you want to chase grades.

But grade chasing is bound to end unhappily isn't it? Unless you pack up climbing as soon as you notice any deterioration in performance.
RockSteady on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

My Dad's 60 and is getting up F7b+s and V6s and still improving...
danm - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

On a recent trad climbing trip to Morocco, each morning we'd get beaten to the start of a route by a climbing team of "experienced" lady climbers. They would then proceed, without fuss, to disappear up said route at great speed, and usually be back at their car before we were more than halfway through our pitches. I decided to call them the Pensionators - very inspiring to see.
jas wood - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: Bloody hell matee 44 ! my mater is 68 and still seconds upto E3 and leads the odd HVS (beleive me they need to be odd !) he also up until last year he was involved in witnter stuff upto 5.
IF you have the will you can carry on till a ripe old age and why not !
macfoot on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: Jas Wood should know better, i am 70 on 17th
useful on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:
44? Don't give up just yet!

I'm only 41 and only just starting outdoor trad leading (seconded E1 5b a few times last year).
ads.ukclimbing.com
paul wood - on 03 Apr 2013
Thanks for the replies.

Its great to hear their are plenty of people still progressing or maintaining their level as they get older.

I look forward to another 30+ years.....Hopefully I will have learnt to use my feet by then

aultguish on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:
I think I'm 45………is this the dentists?
Jonny2vests - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to Rog Wilko:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
> [...]
>
> But grade chasing is bound to end unhappily isn't it? Unless you pack up climbing as soon as you notice any deterioration in performance.

You could use that argument for any activity where age is a factor. To which the moral would be; never try at anything.
useful on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:
Do. Or do not. There is no try...
Bagged my first HVS 5b trad lead last night,which is not bad seeing as I only started leading on Monday (Diff).

Onwards and upwards (both metaphorically and literally).
Fraser on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I turned 50 the other day and sadly failed to meet my target of redpointing F8a outdoors. It better happen this year though; if it doesn't, it won't be for lack of trying that's for sure! Hoping to tick off at least a couple of 7c+ projects in the next few months. Trad wise, I'd hope to get some E4s and E5s this year.

Friends I climb with of a similar age are doing slightly better than these grades.

At 44 you've still got plenty in the tank. Just don't get injured.
Ciderslider - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: Just a boy !
I'm 51 and have been at it just two years - led 6b+ indoors onsighted a couple of HVS and hopefully gonna bag myself an E1 this year.
The only thing I've noticed is that when I hit 50 I realised that I can't abuse myself so royally ie not so many pints afterwards and also taking a bit more care to warm up.

What is nice though is looking at peeps young enough to be my sons and seeing them thinking how can that old git get up that when I can't
Ciderslider - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to Ciderslider: Don't agree with grade chasing but it's nice to have targets and push yourself. But it doesn't matter as long as you are having fun unless you're climbing chalk (that's just wrong - those deviants disgust me ;-)
jon on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to Ciderslider:
> Don't agree with grade chasing but it's nice to have targets and push yourself.

Bit of a contradiction there, Slider!
ripper - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: I'm 47 in a few weeks, I like to think I'm still slowly improving year on year, or at least not going backwards - tend to cllimb with a bunch of people much younger than me which might help! indoors I got a 6c+ onsight and a 7a clean at the third attempt last week (ok they're softly graded!), outside have ticked a smattering of E2s and have my eye on a particular E3 later this year, as well as wondering about one E5 slab which shall remain nameless. Starting with osteo-arthritis (heberden's nodes) in my fingers, and my circulation to the hands is crap, and I don't have quite the energy levels of youth but hope to still keep pushing it for a good while yet...
paul wood - on 04 Apr 2013
Many seem to have got the idea that I was suggesting 44 is too old to climb. That certainly was not my intention.

You know the story.....inactive younger guys at work say "isn't it about time you stopped that.....at your age". The usual banter.

It got me thinking about all those tough old geezers (an ladies) so I thought I'd ask.

Thanks again....

8a at 50 is impressive......good luck I hope you get it.
GrahamD - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to jon:

> Bit of a contradiction there, Slider!

Not generally at Swanage there isn't - its not somewhere for soft touch grades and its usually a challenge.
Ian Parsons - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

> You know the story.....inactive younger guys at work say "isn't it about time you stopped that.....at your age". The usual banter.

Retirement seems the obvious solution - less unhelpful banter and more time to climb!
Ciderslider - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to jon: Yeh I suppose it does read that way mate, but what I'm trying to say (in my old confused geezer kind of way) is it's not all about grades but having fun with mates indoors or out and then the pub after. It's also learning from the days where it doesn't go quite to plan (and having a laugh and pisstake after).
But on those days where it all comes together (and you get up something you never thought you could do) well that's a bit special.
So yeh it's not all about chasing grades but I personally like to push myself and subsequently get a real buzz when I manage to contradict that little voice in my head that says you'll never be able to do that you're to shit/old/useless/fat/old.
Ciderslider - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay
>
> Dave Birkett must be 40+ and he's climbing mega hard! Johnny Dawes is climbing hard again too..just to name a few!
>
> C

I don't think that you can lump people like that in with mere mortals like us - Birkett was probably born climbing E8, and as for Dawes I think that he was sent from another planet to show us earthlings how to climb.

Also David Bowie is well old and is still producing music which is far better than most stuff you hear (yeh I know his not a climber, but if he was he would probably be able to climb E5 in his ziggy platform shoes)
JimR - on 04 Apr 2013
Sean Kelly - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: My climbing partner Harry http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=177877&updated=2882, managed to second Grim Reaper (E3) in fine style yesterday and he's 75! He should be climbing harder but it was his first route of the year.
Then again here we have Mick Ryan (69 at the time) at Gogarth... http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=119127
ian Ll-J - on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: Managed my first 8a at the age of 44 after suffering a slipped disc a few months earlier. It's all about how hungry and motivated you are....
alasdair19 on 04 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood: the obvious example if not allready mentioned is rab carrington. 8a on bols and I;ve seen him making e3 look very easy. os not so sure but if he tried e5 or e6.
Trangia - on 06 Apr 2013
In reply to paul wood:

I'm 70 next year and lead up to VS. I tend to chose "enjoyable" rather than "testing" routes. I'm not thje slightest bit interested in proving anything, just having a good time. I would also describe myself as a fair weaher climber, the days of setting off in rain have long gone as I try to avoid "epics" these days. If it's raining I go walking instead.

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