/ Training: Font 6C Boulderer to F7C/E5 Leader

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Brian Pollock - on 24 Jul 2013
Like many on UKC, climbing has become a bit of an obsession and in the last year or so I have started to put a considerable amount of effort into improving.

Roughly, my ability/experience (in terms of grades) can be summed up as:

Indoor Sport - F7A (onsight)
Indoor/Outdoor Bouldering - Font 6Cish (worked but always attainable, pushing for Font 7A)
Trad - E1 (onsight)

Long story short, I have decided to put some effort into 'training' as opposed to just climbing. My goal is to go from the above to:

Sport - F6C (onsight)
Bouldering - F7B
Trad - E5

At present I boulder indoors roughly 3 nights a week for 2 hours at a time. I usually get 1-2 trad sessions in as well, one night midweek and/or one day at the weekend. I also usually get one outdoor bouldering session per week. So I'm climbing roughly 4-6 days per week.

I'm now experimenting with adding on 1.5-2hrs of sport routes after boulder sessions, climbing 7A and above (mostly onsight tactics, climbing until failure). Also redpointing 7B.

My question is, will this result in the gains I'm after if I continue with my current regime as is or should I be approaching training in a more structured way.

Essentially, recommend me a training plan to go from a Font 6C Boulderer with crap endurance/ power endurance to an all round Font 7B Boulderer who can also onsight F7C and E5.

Also, is this realistic?

jkarran - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

> Also, is this realistic?

In what timeframe and how much experience do you already have?

It's a fairly ambitious goal whatever the answer.
jk
lowersharpnose - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Quite clearly your trad leading is way behind your bouldering and indoor sport climbing abilities.

When I was onsighting F7a on ply inside, I was onsighting lots of trad E4s. I only ever did occasional bouldering and I am sure very few E4s that I did required beyond F6b bouldering ability.

You need to climb more trad, why don't you?
biscuit - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Aside from the training aspects i would suggest that Font 7b boulder grade is too strong and sport 6c onsight is not enough for E5.

It's not easy to say for certain as all routes have different characters but i've never bouldered harder than F7A+ ( one of them ) and have never come across a move i can't do in isolation on routes up to 7c.
Unless you're naturally strong this is also going to be the hardest physically to attain.Having said that i am a strong believer that you can't be too strong - it always helps.

Most E5's ( again this is not science ) are around 7a sport in difficulty. Many are more than this and many are less than this but it's just an attempt to put a figure on it.There's a good article about it here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3068

You need quite a bit 'in hand' to deal with the psychological side of climbing trad. However if you're talking about headpointing an E5 rather than on-sighting you may not be too far off.But 6c does seem low to me.

If you get strong by getting your bouldering goal, get fit by sport climbing lots and then get lots of mileage in in trad ( whilst maintaining the strength and fitness ) there is no reason why you can't hit those goals.

Brian Pollock - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

I have only been trad climbing for a couple of months so I expect my limit is a fair bit about E1, but for obvious reasons I don't think it's wise to jump into leading E3-4 without building up a foundation of experience.

I think my trad climbing will come on a fair bit just through doing more trad so that isn't too much of a concern.

My main issue is really that I lack endurance / power endurance and want to train this to improve my sport/trad climbing. But I also want improve my bouldering which probably means getting stronger.

So essentially, how do I make gains in endurance, power endurance and strength without sacrificing one for the others?

Say to 1-2 years for the timescale.

biscuit - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:

My bad - and yours. You've got a typo and it reads 6c onsight so disregard my previous comments about the disparity between that and trad grade.

You're a young lad with plenty of free time so there is no reason why you can't get this done.

You can try and keep everything going at once as you are or focus on a weakness for a while. If your PE is crap work on that for 6-8 weeks then go for your next weakest point.

However you've got to remember to maintain your strength and endurance. This can be done with just one session a week whilst you prioritise other goals.

Plenty of people have achieved this just by climbing alone and not training - not to say that whatever sessions they do down the wall/crag weren't focussed at working a particular area. Then you get the best of both worlds. Training effect and climbing.

Don't get bogged down in training detail. Doing something is much more important.

Dave Mac's 9 out of 10 climbers is excellent at cutting out the crap and telling it how it is. It's about hard work and grind not spreadsheets and graphs.

Go for it while your in the situation you are. Once you get older and families etc come along time becomes less available.
biscuit - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to biscuit:

Loads of stuff on the net about imporving different aspects of endurance and stamina.

Have a search on here and UKBouldering.com and learn as much as you can.
Brian Pollock - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

*above E1 (not about)
Brian Pollock - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Sorry, lots of typos....to clarify, my goal for sport climbing is F7C.
Liam Brown - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

As a starting suggestion.

From Neil Gresham: http://www.climber.co.uk/categories/articleitem.asp?item=728

A common mistake is to mix up bouldering and routes on a random basis. You will get better results if you do them in separate sessions. A great approach is to do two routes sessions and one bouldering session per week.



lowersharpnose - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

To increase your endurance, climb lots of routes indoors. Forget the boulder on these sessions. Warm up on a couple of easy routes then put away about 15 routes over the next copuple of hours 6a - 6c. Maybe do laps on one route.
conorcussell - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock: I basically did this last year. E1/2 and 7a+ in January - E4 o/s E5 second go and 7c by June.

All i did was go sport climbing a lot, do 4x4's when training on lead indoors and get on the harder routes.

I found once climbing harder sport everything else came together and stamina was the way to get there. You might want to get a little stronger for some 7c's but working one can give you that.

I would say split your sessions up though, bouldering and then routes in one session means you will just have a poor quality routes training session. To prioritise endurance you could do 3/4 sessions of 4x4's on lead or long circuit sessions a week and one power/strength session after a rest day.

I've never got much better at bouldering though so can't help you with that!
lowersharpnose - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to lowersharpnose:

I am not suggesting you sharply up your trad grade. Take it steady learn, your trade, enjoy yourself and the challenges. Climb with some experienced heads and get your gear placement and ropework sorted. You grades will improve.
Luke Owens - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

What type of routes are you looking to exceed in?

Are you looking to tick a local E5, F7c & Font 7B?

If you have specific routes/problems in mind you can train for that style.

For example I find technical short routes easier and can redpoint my hardest grade in this style but right now i'm consentrating on my anti-style of steep routes/problems thus having to drop my grades considerably and take a hit on the ego.

If you were on-sighting F7c's trad E5's should feel well below your limit and your not likely to encounter any moves hard than Font 7A on sport F7c's.

But as I said it all depends on the style of routes.
Ally Smith on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Luke Owens:

I'm sure if you had "6C" strength and everything else was really well tuned - good aerobic stamina and power endurance then you could climb 8a. Not every 8a, or even that many in the UK, but a Euro style 8a could definitely be climbed whilst comparatively "weak".

"7A" strength could get you up anything from 7a to 8a in the UK depending on how well the other bits of the system work.

On-sighting E5 after getting consistent on 7A and redpointing a 7c (on-sighting 7a+/b?) should be a simple matter of learning some good trad "craft" and getting confidence form doing lots at a lower grade.

Timeframe? Anything from 6mths to several years depending on how un-balanced your energy systems are?
biscuit - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to C Chestwig; Treacherous climber:
> (In reply to Luke Owens)
>
> I'm sure if you had "6C" strength and everything else was really well tuned - good aerobic stamina and power endurance then you could climb 8a. Not every 8a, or even that many in the UK, but a Euro style 8a could definitely be climbed whilst comparatively "weak".
>

That's what i am hoping for ;-)
GridNorth - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock: If it's any help, my bests are F7a sport and E5 trad, but not enough to consider myself an E5 climber but I did consistently climb E4. I have never trained or bouldered, at least not seriously. I just climbed sport and trad. A LOT.
Brian Pollock - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

It seems like I might be better incorporating more specificity into my training. I have noticed that I am definitely underperforming on routes due to starting off the back of a pretty full on bouldering session. My performance tends to drop off after 2 or so routes at 7A/7A+ and I struggle to complete routes without rests.

Assuming I want to train strength, power endurance and aerobic endurance would the following be a better idea for making more pronounced long term gains in specific areas whilst maintaining other areas, how does this sound?

Strength:

2 x 2-3 hour bouldering sessions focussing on problems at my limit
1 x 1.5 hour beastmaker / fingerboard session (i.e. 45 degree beastmaker board at Glasgow)
1 x 4 hour sport routes session, aiming for volume mostly below my limit (Say 6B+ to 7A).
1/2 x trad mainly for fun.

Power Endurance:

2 x 2-3 hour bouldering sessions focussing on volume below my limit (Font 6A-Font 6C)
2 x 4 hour sport routes session, aiming for good mix of volume/intensity (6C-7B).
1 x 1.5 hour Beastmaker / fingerboard session
1 x Trad for fun.

Aerobic Endurance:

3 x 4 hour sport routes session, aiming for volume (F6B+ - 7A)
1 x Beastmaker / Fingerboard
1 x bouldering session focussing on volume below my limit (Font 6A-Font 6C)
1 x trad for fun.

Would it be better to alternate these on one week basis or focus on each schedule for longer, say 2-3 weeks or more?

I understand a lot of what works will come down to the individual and avoiding injuries so there would be room for tweaking if something felt too intense / not intense enough (I doubt it).
davo - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:

Hi Brian

Strength and endurance parts look good to me.

Power endurance looks a bit strange to me. Personally I do circuits of about 20 - 30 moves with all the moves feeling hard but not utterly desperate. Tend to work a circuit then when I can do it 3 times in a session I make it harder. Also do some route sessions but these tend to be trying to either redpoint routes that are hard for me or 4 x 4 s.

Hope this helps Dave
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Misha - on 24 Jul 2013
In reply to Brian Pollock:
What strikes me is your trad onsight grade is way below where it should be considering what you can boulder and lead indoors and how much training and outdoor climbing you do. As you say, that's due to a lack of trad mileage. So all you really need to do to dramatically improve your trad grade is get on more trad, do some safe but hard routes to get experience of falling off in a safe manner so you learn to trust the gear, focus on outdoors climbing technique and don't forget mental preparation if you don't have a natural good head for trade. Rather than doing more purely physical training. With you existing physical level you could already be leading in the E3/4 range, with some carefully selected E5s.

I can tell that from my own experience - I struggle with bouldering above Font 6a (particularly outdoors) and very rarely onsight above F6c+ (again particularly outdoors) but I'm fairly solid at E3 5c and will happily try E4 6as, I just don't always get up them clean. So I'd say you've already got sufficient physical ability to climb at this level. Perhaps just shift the focus more to stamina and some power endurance as that's what you need for trad.

For the bouldering and sport climbing goals you probably need to do more physical training but I don't climb at that level so am not the best person to ask...

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