/ thread on bouldering and improving trad grade/climbing
I read on a thread here that if you are happy to climb at VS on crags and mountain routes there is no need for you to boulder, why is this?
Is this something to do with that most outdoor bouldering in most areas starts at V0 5a (hard VS - E1)?
What some people write here may sometimes be BS.
'No need'? There's never any need, not for any of it...
I am still climbing easy stuff but I have managed a HVS and a few VS climbs. E grades are definately beyond my abilities right this second but I have managed at least one V3 puzzle on sandstone.
I'm happy to have a crack at anything I like the look of really (mobility willing). This doesn't stop me from having a pop at low grade bouldering or easy solos and I am finding that doing so is increasing my confidence and ability on other climbing.
Clearly I'll climb what I feel like climbing, regardless of grade, and as my experience advances I'll be able to try more and more interesting routes. Many of these will be harder than I climb now (with luck :) )
I find that bouldering is a different game to top roping or Trad (done no outdoor sport routes yet) but it has prepared me well for the few Solos I've done.
Nothing is redundant if you enjoy it and I'll bet there's something to learn on almost any route/puzzle if you look closely enough.
Because this is UKC
Some people say some very strange things on here with little justification. You can climb trad perfectly well and to quite a high standard without ever doing any bouldering but in climbing areas offering a good mix of trad and bouldering most people will do a bit of both.
There is lots of easier bouldering around, it just doesn't always make it into the books, you just have to explore when you get there. The starts of routes can be often climbed as easier problems.
I guess some folk just enjoy mountain VS. Though I prefer to push myself a bit more, I can understand that viewpoint.
VS is seen by many people as a grade that is fairly easy to achieve without specific training - so, most climbers, with a bit of time and practice, will be able to climb VS. But if you want to climb harder than VS, it might help to actually train your strength in specific ways, and so bouldering might help. Does than help to explain it for you?
BTW I'm not saying any of this is true - lots of people climb harder than VS without using bouldering as a big part of their training.
I have never bouldered, I find it boring, but my best leads are F7a and E5. Perhaps I could have improved on that by bouldering. I'll never know.
This does help explain it to me.
I mainly indoor boulder and got up to F4+ on toprope without any specific training.
I think they might have been talking about outdoor bouldering.
I will have to search for the thread.
I do not remember the thread OP or the name of the thread but I will search for it and post the link.
I wish I could do those grades. Can you do high Scottish Winter grades and alpine grades of that standad two (IX,9 and ED onwards)?
Hello Grad North.
That is very impressive.
You could become a mountain guide with those grades.
Thanks for the advice.
Here is the link as I said and also the actual thread that stated that.
In reply to Microwired22:
For me, yes, no question. Bouldering and highballing have enabled me to develop improved finger strength, power/power-endurance, confidence and composure in stressful situations, quicker move/route reading ability etc etc etc.
Having said all that, the value of bouldering largely depends on your own personal goals and ambitions. If you are happiest on easy mountain routes or crag VS then bouldering is not essential, unless you really enjoy it.
However, if you are thinking of improvements, what is it that you want to improve? I find it useful to have specific goals/routes in mind; then working back from there in order to identify what type of climbing/training might be most beneficial/achievable.
If you're not sure, then its just a question of putting in the mileage, in whatever area of climbing most appeals to you, and enjoying the ride until inspiration strikes.
I think what he is saying boils down to:
"If all you want to do is climb up to VS, then you don't need strength acquired through bouldering."
This has cleared up alot for me.
Myself I am an indoor boulderer (apart from a bit of indoor and outdoor toprope) and I would love to boulder outdoors (only done a tiny bit).
I hope with all my bouldering strength and a some weight loss I can atleast climb above E1 5b.
> I hope with all my bouldering strength and a some weight loss I can atleast climb above E1 5b.
This has probably been explained to you before...
if you mean you hope you can LEAD above E1 5b then you need a lot more than just bouldering strength and weight loss - you'll also probably need some stamina, depending on the route, but much more importantly you'll need skill in reading the route and placing gear, as well as the 'head game' of staying calm when you're out there on the sharp end.
If, however, you're talking about top-roping or seconding, then the grade E1 5b doesn't really apply. E1 (like aby trad grade) applies to a lead ascent. 'Seconding E1' is meaningless to be honest, you should only really say you've seconded 5b.
I do mean LEADING above E1 5b.
By stamina do you mean strength endurance or cardiovascular fitness?
As for skill in route reading I was taught this Neil Gresham at a 1:1 coaching session which I he also taught me other staff like breathing and silent footwork.
I can build strength endurance and power endurance by such boulder activities like 4x4s and 3x3s.
I have read Trad Climbing + and Crack Climbing and may watch the Plas Y Brenin and BMC video Rock Climbing Essentials.
> Hello ripper.
> I do mean LEADING above E1 5b.
> By stamina do you mean strength endurance or cardiovascular fitness?
> As for skill in route reading I was taught this Neil Gresham at a 1:1 coaching session which I he also taught me other staff like breathing and silent footwork.
I have no doubt that Neil is a fantastic coach but reading a route and learning to place gear effectively and economically is something that takes a lot of practice to get good at. It's great that you have a target of leading E1 5b but I'd suggest you should work your way up through the grades and get lots of experience leading outdoors before you try it.
Savvas as mentioned before reading books, watching videos and going on courses is a good thing but it doesn't really have a direct correlation with what the grade you'll be able to lead.
If I was you I'd stop fixating on grades and enjoy the climbing your do. If you do ever lead a traditionally protected climb then start at the very easy grades and see how you go. Just enjoy it for what it is.
I am not going to get killed.
I can climb while pumped and know about advanced gear placement.
Do books and video's keep you psyched?
I like steep and vertical climbing V1-V3 circuit problems.
Are indoor walls a good place to practice route reading?
I practiced it alot on Friday on one problem.
> Hello ripper.
> Are indoor walls a good place to practice route reading?
> I practiced it alot on Friday on one problem.
I'm sure that was/is useful but I was talking about route-reading outdoors, where there is no line of coloured holds to follow. Unfortunately it's not something you can really practice indoors, so when you climb outdoors I would definitely recommend starting on easier routes and giving yourself lots of time to get used to reading the rock and figuring out the moves. Also lots of time to get used to placing gear. "knowing about" gear placement is definitely not the same as being used to doing it!
I think some indoor walls have feature walls where there are no line coloured holds to follow just features that supposed to imitate real rock.
What do you mean by easier routes? For most people E1 5b is very hard.
Are you saying for me E1 5b is possible?
I am going on a North Wales meet with the London Mountaineering Club and I asked an experienced climber at Mile End Wall for some areas to climb in that would be dry and low lying he suggested Gogarth, Tremadog and Llandudo.
Another good idea is to place gear going across and not up and to rate for placements out of 10.
Also seconding would be a good idea.
By 'easier routes' it's likely he meant v-diff, severe, up to VS.
I don't think much of the idea of rating your gear placements (beyond shit, ok and bomber). Better to just go with gut feeling, otherwise you might convince yourself something's good when it aint or use an unnecessary belay of multiple bomber anchors.
I actually think rating placements at ground level is a good idea. I use a system of rating out of 10. This allows the 'trainee' to get the hang of what's bomber, good enough, only just ok and not really any good at all, in a non serious non pressured environment. I normally spend about 30 mins to an hour (or more) on this depending how quickly they pick it up.
I get the 'trainee' to place multiple difference bits of gear and then rate their own placements. This is also useful when they are on lead as I can ask them to rate their last bit of gear giving me a reasonable idea how safe they are.
Savvas I would suggest for your first few trips just seconding (no leading) would be a good idea. When/if you decide you are ready for leading don't be a hero start on the easiest safest single pitch climb you can around Moderate or Diff and progress through the grades one by one making sure you are climbing a good few climbs well at each one before progressing to the next.
Also until you know what you can second I'd stick to single pitch stuff that you can easily escape from (ie no abseil in stuff).
> Savvas I would suggest for your first few trips just seconding (no leading) would be a good idea. When/if you decide you are ready for leading don't be a hero start on the easiest safest single pitch climb you can around Moderate or Diff and progress through the grades one by one making sure you are climbing a good few climbs well at each one before progressing to the next.
> Also until you know what you can second I'd stick to single pitch stuff that you can easily escape from (ie no abseil in stuff).
When I suggested starting on easier routes I meant exactly what Stevo says above. Don't even think about E1 5b until you've got lots of practice under your belt on outdoor routes - start with Diffs, work your way gradually through the grades, get lots of practice seconding before you think about leading. don't stress about the grade anyway, just enjoy it.
Oh, and I wouldn't advise Gogarth for a first outdoor trip - or at least I wouldn't advise the sea cliffs, but there are some suitable routes on nearby Holyhead Mountain.
> I actually think rating placements at ground level is a good idea. I use a system of rating out of 10. This allows the 'trainee' to get the hang of what's bomber, good enough, only just ok and not really any good at all, in a non serious non pressured environment. I normally spend about 30 mins to an hour (or more) on this depending how quickly they pick it up.
> I get the 'trainee' to place multiple difference bits of gear and then rate their own placements. This is also useful when they are on lead as I can ask them to rate their last bit of gear giving me a reasonable idea how safe they are.
Is that better than 'shit', 'ok', 'decent', 'bomber'?
I haven't been on here much recently, and I'd forgotten about you and your slightly bonkers questions.
For me yes its better because more graduations better describe the borderline cases between the four you describe. For example lets say 6 out of 10 is the border between only just about ok and good enough, the 'trainee' may well report a nut as either, however if they rate it as 6/10 I get a better idea that it really should hold a fall but is a bit borderline and placing another bit soon is quite a good idea.
My point wasn't really that rating out of 10 is better anyway, it was that I do find worth in the trainee placing and rating ground level placements prior to the lead. Firstly it lets the trainee experiment which initially can take quite a long time, secondly it allows me to correct and concentrate on the gear issues clearly pointing out what was wrong / right with a placement (which can be hard if you are removing pieces after they've lead a route) and finally it establishes a communication of the rating system I'll later use when they are leading to help prevent serious injury.
That's great news Savvas, I hope you have a really good time. The people you're going with will have a good idea where to go to suit the weather and the group's abilities.
It's a very good way to learn. Wrap up warm, ask plenty of questions (I'm sure you will) and enjoy.
Thanks for your advice and warm words.
I am looking forward to my trip a lot.
Apart from seconding this is my favourite learning way.
The way you use the word trainee makes you sound if you are training guides or instructors.
Thanks for all your advice.
He suggested Wen Zawn on Gogarth because the rock is solid.
Then I spoke to the guy again and he agreed with me about seconding and placing gear as you go along to start of width.
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