/ Best climbers in the world....are climbing wall trained.

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Michael Ryan - on 12 Aug 2014
Best climbers in the world....are climbing wall trained.

We all know it of course, but many like to rail against those gym-trained sport climbers who want bolts everywhere, lack adventure and are dumbing climbing down....

......like 'the "Plastic Prince," also known as Nico Favresse who started out in a climbing gym in Belgium and now climbs 5.14 trad, 5.14d sport and 5.13 big-walls.'

interesting little article

http://www.rockandice.com/lates-news/tnb-the-outsiders
DubyaJamesDubya - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

And your point is?????
3 Names - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

No shit sherlock!
stp - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

Did you watch the actual Psicobloc comp?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4fDC0Xc-Rw

It's actually pretty entertaining and looks terrifying with bigger falls than most of us have ever taken off a route.

I think the biggest factor of indoor walls is that they allow climbers to get into the sport at a very young age. They're also important for the UK because of our crap weather and limited crags. I would guess that now more time is spent climbing indoors than outdoors, a trend that is likely to increase in the future.
top cat - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

Non of the regular wall climbers I know are any good at trad...........but they are fit.
paul mitchell - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:
I've seen Dawes on sight some hideous 7a English probs that other rated climbers,wall trained,couldn't even hang the holds on.He used to ab projects,as he says,seemingly impossible,and repeatedly try the moves.That makes one rather strong,too.

People always try to generalise on this site.Training is indeed the key,but it doesn't have to be indoors.

For example,trying the 'impossible' groove at Burbage South on a rope would be great training.Around 7B/C English.Far harder than what you will find on most plastic holds.Ditto the 'blank' wall right of Zorev on Burbage.I've pulled on on that wall.Possible for a world class climber.
Post edited at 12:14
Offwidth - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to paul mitchell:

I'd rather people stay away from such projects unless they are seriously thinking of headpointing. You dont need to risk trashing the best unclimbed features on grit for training...there is tons of rock better suited for that.
deacondeacon - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

Got to agree with you there. That project in the first lawrencefield quarry looks battered.
llanberis36 - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

I agree with paul, training for routes is not just about pulling hard, anyone can get strong at the wall and elsewhere, its about learning about the rock, how it feels, body positions, how to use holds the best, where and how to clip, none of this can you get pulling on resin. Oh and did i mention zen....

shark - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to paul mitchell:

Interesting though that in his autobiography that Dawes' early "training" was buildering at his school and home - some of them horribly highball. Obviously a local climbing wall wasnt an option back then but it sounds like he was doing the nearest thing available.
Jon Stewart - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to top cat:

> Non of the regular wall climbers I know are any good at trad...........but they are fit.

Are you sure? All of the good trad climbers I know also climb indoors. I think you may be kidding yourself. Good climbers tend to be good climbers. They can climb hard boulder problems, climb hard indoors, redpoint hard sport routes and they can climb hard trad routes too. There are a minority that stay away from trad, but in the UK they're in a minority.
HeMa on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to llanberis36:
> its about learning about the rock, how it feels, body positions, how to use holds the best, where and how to clip

Indeed, plus naturally be strong/fit enough...

> none of this can you get pulling on resin.

Bullshite to quite extent. Sure, you won't learn where to clip on a particular route but you will learn where it is best to clip and so on.

The New NickB - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

The best climbers train hard, these days chances are a lot of that climbing will be plastic.
Offwidth - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to The New NickB:

Not wood? ;-) I wish they could award a medal for stirring , Mick so deserves some recognition.
top cat - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to top cat)
>
> [...]
>
> Are you sure? All of the good trad climbers I know also climb indoors. I think you may be kidding yourself. Good climbers tend to be good climbers. They can climb hard boulder problems, climb hard indoors, redpoint hard sport routes and they can climb hard trad routes too. There are a minority that stay away from trad, but in the UK they're in a minority.

Yep, I'm sure. They just don't have the head for trad...half a move above a runner is too far for them! Slight exaggeration, but they sure aren't going 2 moves above pro! {I did say the ones I know...YMMV}

Jon Stewart - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to top cat:

> Yep, I'm sure...{I did say the ones I know...YMMV}

I think your sample size might be affecting your conclusions. The correlation between climbing well at the wall and being rubbish at trad is, I think, a negative one.
stp - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to llanberis36:

> I agree with paul, training for routes is not just about pulling hard, anyone can get strong at the wall and elsewhere, its about learning about the rock, how it feels, body positions, how to use holds the best, where and how to clip, none of this can you get pulling on resin

I think its more accurate to think of resin as just another type of rock. When you go from say limestone to gritstone at first you'll find it pretty hard. It's a very different style of climbing, as would be granite or slate or ...

Pretty much all experienced climbers know this and lower their expectations and grade when first climbing in an area that is new to them.

The main difference from indoor to outdoor climbing is that there is far more choice for footholds on real rock and that can be a little a confusing at first.

Everything else though is the same. If you really think you can't learn the other skills you mention indoors then I'd guess you haven't spent much time at a modern indoor wall with good routesetting. Modern climbing walls are an excellent way to learn how to climb and the results speak for themselves.

stp - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to top cat:

> Non of the regular wall climbers I know are any good at trad.

That's almost certainly down to the fact they're not interested in it. Think about it. The skills of trad climbing are no different from any other kind of climbing apart from placing nuts. That's a specific skill you need to learn but its not a particularly difficult skill. I think most people could become proficient in couple of weeks if they set their minds to it. It's not rocket science, just learning to judge which sized nuts fit where best.

andrewmcleod - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

e.g. see Ondra on the grit.
Michael Ryan - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

> Did you watch the actual Psicobloc comp?


I stayed up late to watch it live Steve.

George Fisher - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

> Did you watch the actual Psicobloc comp?


I did, from a spot next to the pool by the commentary booth. (I was at the OR trade show and helped with the lighting for the comp) It was pretty amazing and yes, looked terrifying. There were a couple of 13/14 year old kids climbing in it who had to jump from the top as there was no way off the back.

The winner of the women's got through the open qualifiers the night before and I believe she was a gym climber foremost. Several of the competitors were largely gym climbers I think.





1poundSOCKS - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

I think you're underselling the specific skills for trad climbing, if you think you can learn them in 2 weeks.
top cat - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:
> (In reply to top cat)
>
> [...]
>
> That's almost certainly down to the fact they're not interested in it. Think about it. The skills of trad climbing are no different from any other kind of climbing apart from placing nuts. That's a specific skill you need to learn but its not a particularly difficult skill. I think most people could become proficient in couple of weeks if they set their minds to it. It's not rocket science, just learning to judge which sized nuts fit where best.

Plus: rain / wet rock / wind /midges / sun / weight of rack / exposure / insecurity of protection / insecurity of belays / insecurity of holds / holds that look nothing like a wall hold / approaches [distance and effort and time] / climbing with sack / vegetation / animal life / double ropes / reading a guide book / navigating to crag / navigating off crag / climbing in the dark / navigation in the dark / sea cliff abseil approaches / abseil retreats / jams [rare on walls], finger pockets [never seen one an a wall, but there will be a few I'm sure] / lay backs [ditto] / polished rock / nasty landings / climbing in bulky clothing / chalk not working [goes slimy when wet]/ prussiking or aid, in the dark / long retreats when slightly injured / missing last orders.....

What have I missed? Oh, placing gear. :)

There's no wonder they not interested. [Actually, the folk I'm thinking of all climb trad, leading VS on a good day, mostly below that. Hence my original statement, which is correct as far as it goes. Which isn't far...only the folk I know.] I was just saying......

ian Ll-J - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to 3 Names:
> No shit sherlock!

You're wrong....

http://www.climbing.com/news/study-finds-fecal-veneer-on-gym-holds/
Post edited at 21:32
Lord_ash2000 - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to top cat:

I think you might just go climbing on really poor days at damp, chossy crags.

All bar one of the best trad climbers I know (climbing up to E6-E8'ish)Are wall bread. In the UK I think we hype all this mystical knowledge of trad rock which makes the difference but the fact is in 95% of cases just being fit and strong will see you through most stuff.

Experience of course helps in some situations (mainly when things start to go wrong) but generally avoiding climbing wet, slimy loose crap routes is pretty easy to do.

As for the rest, yes crack climbing is more a skill you pick up but most of the rest you can just beast through if you're strong enough and fit enough. of course you might not be able to match your tech grade a the wall for a bit but it'll soon come.
keith-ratcliffe on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

Mick Fowler, Adam Ondra, Shauna Coxsey, Alex Honnold, Dave McLeod are all at the top of their game in their own climbing genre - and all different. So what do you mean by the best?
Michael Gordon - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

They are all amongst the best. But how many were climbing wall trained?

Fowler - nope
Ondra - probably
Shauna - yes
Honnold - ?
MacLeod - more 'Dumby trained'?
stp - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> I think you're underselling the specific skills for trad climbing, if you think you can learn them in 2 weeks.

I don't think so. I remember climbing at Pembroke after not climbing trad for several years. The first few days were awful. I was getting massively pumped and just couldn't choose the right size piece of gear at all despite climbing routes that were well within my ability technically. However by the third for fourth day it all clicked and I was fine. If you can pick the right sized piece from your rack first time and can choose the best placement (down to common sense) you can climb safely on trad routes.

AlanLittle - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to shark:

> Obviously a local climbing wall wasn't an option back then

Maybe not for the first year or two of his climbing career, but Johnny spent lots of time at the Oxford Iffley Road wall and Manchester Uni MacDougall Centre in the early 80s. Probably other places too, but those were the ones I was around at the same time.
AlanLittle - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

> Best climbers in the world....are climbing wall trained.

Yes, and?

This has been true since Pete Livesey & co in the 70s.
Duncan Bourne - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

> Best climbers in the world....are climbing wall trained.

Couldn't agree more

> We all know it of course, but many like to rail against those gym-trained sport climbers who want bolts everywhere, lack adventure and are dumbing climbing down....

separate issue though. ALL the best climbers trad or sport will have to put in some training to stay at the top of their game and that will involve climbing walls to some extent
Michael Ryan - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to AlanLittle:

> This has been true since Pete Livesey & co in the 70s.

.....and mammoth all-day-Sunday sessions at the Richard Dunn sports centre in Bradford in the 80s.
1poundSOCKS - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

So you had trad climbed before? I think you've just explained why you picked it up so quickly.

What do you mean by common sense? Something you're born with, or something you need to learn?
Michael Gordon - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

I agree that placing gear well is very simple in theory, but picking the best placements and the right sized pieces first time is very much down to experience, not 'common sense' (whatever that is!).
pebbles - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Lord_ash2000:
"the fact is in 95% of cases just being fit and strong will see you through most stuff."

I'v met a fair few strong young lads who believed this and were thoroughly perplexed why their indoor grades didnt translate outside! It helps, but it isnt everything.
Post edited at 10:44
Offwidth - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to pebbles:
Agreed...having led an E5 but then got spanked on a trad HS doesnt indicate a solid extreme leader to me. A lot of the wall bred stars did the mileage on real rock to be rounded..
Post edited at 11:19
stp - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

By common sense I just mean things like choosing solid placements and realising things like that flake might snap if if downward force is applied here or a fall here is going to lift out certain bits of gear.
stp - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I agree which is why I recounted my Pembroke experience. You do need some practice at it but I really don't think its very hard to learn. A few weeks and I think most sport climbers would be fine with it. But of course if they haven't had some recent practice they're going to find it hard at first, not feel safe, feel comfortable falling etc.
andrewmcleod - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

People must be significantly overglamourising the technical difficulty of trad rope and gear work if they think the effort involved to learn that skill set is any any way comparable to the training and effort required to say climb 8a (or probably even 7a).

I would be surprised if the difference between indoor climbing and sport climbing, in terms of required effort to learn the skills, was smaller than the difference between sport and trad.
Michael Gordon - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

>
> I would be surprised if the difference between indoor climbing and sport climbing, in terms of required effort to learn the skills, was smaller than the difference between sport and trad.

Either way, the difference between the indoor wall and trad will obviously be greater still.
ads.ukclimbing.com
purplemonkeyelephant - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> They are all amongst the best. But how many were climbing wall trained?

> Honnold - ?

In a documentary on him it shows some clips of him at a wall where he supposedly spent much of his youth before he was old enough to bigwall.

I way prefer outdoor climbing for all the obvious reasons, but if you don't understand gym climbing then come and live in London for a few years. Then you might get it...
1poundSOCKS - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

Indoor to sport only adds clipping quickdraws to bolts and tying off at the top. Or is there something else?
andrewmcleod - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Rereading my post I wasn't that clear. I mean the difference between indoor and sport, which is climbing on rock instead of plastic plus minor ropework, is probably more of a difference than between climbing on sport and trad which is just some more ropework (plus some psychology but if you are good at indoors/sport, which I am not, you are already falling off lots already).

I also don't think that climbing on plastic and on rock is massively different; if you climb 8a indoors you will still climb much, much better than me outdoors even if you have never done it before.
3 Names - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to all:

I reckon im probably the best climber in the world and im always down the wall.

Michael Gordon - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> Indoor to sport only adds clipping quickdraws to bolts and tying off at the top. Or is there something else?

reading the rock
Offwidth - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

I thought this thread was about high performers. If the move to trad was so easy why do we see compartively few high extreme headpoints let alone onsights (or their equivalent grades in the US or elsewhere ). Since technical difficulties are quite low compared to the sport and bouldering ability of the stars, the head game must be way harder than you imply. Your 8a point is daft, of course they climb better than you (as you're a low performer like the majority) but why can't they all soon get to cruise high E grades.
andrewmcleod - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Offwidth:

> [...] but why can't they all soon get to cruise high E grades.

Presumably they don't want to? If you are falling off all the time you have presumably lost the fear of falling off safely, and only have the (entirely legitimate) fear of injuring yourself. This may very well not be correct though!
dagibbs - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

> The main difference from indoor to outdoor climbing is that there is far more choice for footholds on real rock and that can be a little a confusing at first.

And no tape / coloured holds to tell you where to put your hands next. (Though, sometimes, chalk will do that for you.)

Put together, really the big difference is that outdoors you need route-finding, whereas indoors the route is laid out for you, and you just have to figure out how to execute the moves.
Michael Ryan - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> Presumably they don't want to?

I wonder if 'they' take sugar.

Offwidth - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Ryan:

Too many calories :)
stp - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to dagibbs:

> Put together, really the big difference is that outdoors you need route-finding, whereas indoors the route is laid out for you, and you just have to figure out how to execute the moves.

Yeah I agree, though some routesetters are able to set surprisingly difficult to read moves. But generally, because they're more obvious, indoor routes tend to be more physical for the same grade.
1poundSOCKS - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That's a complex skill, that will gradually improve over the years. Experience is essential. But I was referring to the extra skills you need to get started as a sport climber. I certainly couldn't read the rock when I made the transition from indoors to sport climbing, but it didn't stop me sport climbing. I needed to learn quite a bit more upfront before I started to trad climb.
DaCat - on 14 Aug 2014
In reply to dagibbs:

> And no tape / coloured holds to tell you where to put your hands next. (Though, sometimes, chalk will do that for you.)

> Put together, really the big difference is that outdoors you need route-finding, whereas indoors the route is laid out for you, and you just have to figure out how to execute the moves.

The problem with getting to the right coloured holds is, when you start getting into the higher grades you need good technique, a huge amount of flexibility as well as strength and stamina. Imagine all these other colours you could grab but you can't because if you want that grade you have to stick with the route set.

I find the great outdoors easier than gyms. I prefer the great outdoors to gyms and I honestly find my grade often drops a notch when I climb indoors because depending on the route setter, they are often seriously evil.

dagibbs - on 15 Aug 2014
In reply to DaCat:

> The problem with getting to the right coloured holds is, when you start getting into the higher grades you need good technique, a huge amount of flexibility as well as strength and stamina. Imagine all these other colours you could grab but you can't because if you want that grade you have to stick with the route set.

I don't find it is the need to ignore -- I guess I've been climbing in gyms long enough that I'm used to that. What does get to me, though, is when that little tiny hold I need is blocked by a big jug for an easy route, and if it were outdoors, I'd just be using the big jug. And, not trying to look around some big jug to figure out how to place my feet on something small below it.

> I find the great outdoors easier than gyms. I prefer the great outdoors to gyms and I honestly find my grade often drops a notch when I climb indoors because depending on the route setter, they are often seriously evil.

I can't say that I find outdoors or indoors easier -- route grades vary so much from gym to gym, and from crag to crag that I find things just aren't comparable. But, I do far prefer the outdoor experience.

DaCat - on 15 Aug 2014
In reply to dagibbs:

Good point Dagibbs. Another is that little pinch that is just out of reach for my 5ft 4 frame. On the rock I can't always follow the chalk marks because quite often I just can't reach them but my little frame often gives me an advantage on the rock as there's normally a little something that's of no use to the taller person. On indoor walls I don't have that choice. I either reach that necessary pinch or I don't. Another thing is, you can usually reliably smear your feet on rock. The gym I occasionally go to has gloss paint on vertical walls and its like smearing on a polished surface.

I find outdoor easier probably because I learnt all of my climbing outdoors. The indoor gyms are great when it gets too cold and wet but as soon as the sun comes out, I know where I want to be.

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