/ Still feeling like a newbie after nearnly 3 years

edhawk21 - on 13 Jun 2017
So iv been climbing fairly regularly for the past 3 years or so, but I still feel like iv just started really . I may know more about trad, rope systems and technical details but I still feel my actual climbing isn't anywhere near it should be. Is this because I don't climb for more then 6 hours a week? is this because I'm not pushing myself? or is this because I have other hobbies like running and mountain biking? I just feel a bit demoralized at the moment about the whole thing.
wurzelinzummerset on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

>Is this because I don't climb for more then 6 hours a week?

Depends on what you do in the six hours. I've climbed three times in the last 7 days and probably only done a similar number of hours, maybe a few more, albeit indoors. Roughly speaking I've done 60 routes within my onsight grade, had a dozen or so attempts at stuff around 7a/7a+ (which I can't get up clean), done 30 or so easy boulder problems, a handful of traverses, plus fingerboard/campus board stuff. So, you can do a lot on 6 hours. Having said that, I regularly see people who've only been climbing for a year or two who scamper up routes I'd not have a chance on. So, my climbing is probably nowhere near where it should be by most peoples measure, but I enjoy trying anyway.

johncook - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

I have been climbing for 50 years and I am still learning, eg. new techniques, equipment, my head space etc. I am not worried because I enjoy my climbing. I do not let grade chasing interfere with my enjoyment. I do want to climb harder because there are some amazing routes just out of my 'ability' range (and some, a long way out but still look good and maybe in the long term doable!).
Enjoy your life, whatever you are doing!
1poundSOCKS - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

> I don't climb for more then 6 hours a week?

Is that 6 hours climbing, or just 6 hours at the wall?

Bouldering is a good option if you're short on time, it's more intense and you won't spend half your time belaying.

> is this because I'm not pushing myself?

Maybe. Important to push yourself, when it's safe to do so. So indoor/sport climbing are a great way to progress. Get comfortable falling. And treat it as training if it is training. I spend most of my time indoors not getting up anything.

> I just feel a bit demoralized at the moment about the whole thing.

If you're keen there's a ton of information out there about how to train and progress. You just need to commit to doing something about it and put the effort in.
Offwidth - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

Climbing is a fabulous activity in that, above a base level, whatever your standard there is always loads to enjoy at whatever individual challenge you wish. If you want to improve, my top tip would be arrange to climb with better climbers outside (post for partners here or join a club) and if you remain motivated, add a proper training schedule and back this up with good research to make sure you maximise gains whilst minimising injury risk. What makes me most sad about relative beginners is those who throw themselves at things too hard and end up crashing from one injury to another... tendons take time to strengthen so an initial slow and steady approach to improvement in the game is usually a good thing.
brianjcooper on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

> So iv been climbing fairly regularly for the past 3 years or so, but I still feel like iv just started really .

It can be a long, but enjoyable, apprenticeship. Like John, I've been climbing for nearly a lifetime, along with other pursuits, and I'm still learning and loving it. The bottom line question should be "do you really enjoy climbing"? If "YES" then just go out and have fun and stop 'bashing' yourself. Maybe pick a few 'classic' routes as an incentive.
I've still got several that are burning holes in my soul.
brianjcooper on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to johncook:

> I have been climbing for 50 years and I am still learning, eg. new techniques, equipment, my head space etc. I am not worried because I enjoy my climbing. I do not let grade chasing interfere with my enjoyment. I do want to climb harder because there are some amazing routes just out of my 'ability' range (and some, a long way out but still look good and maybe in the long term doable!).

> Enjoy your life, whatever you are doing!

A kindred spirit.
edhawk21 - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

iv recently been doing more outdoor stuff (like dogging up 6a+ routes at mason lees) so when I went indoors and struggled on 5s at the climbing works it felt like I'm clearly doing something wrong.

I think I'm my own worst critic sometimes as I like to achieve goals and tend to set high ones. I wanted to have climbed a 7a sport route in some fashion this year but I guess sometimes you have to be realistic with yourself.
I do love climbing, but maybe my love of it is hampered by my love of striving for certain goals.

It would be nice to be climbing HVS/E1 trad also but again these things seem a long way off .
Robin Woodward - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

I think climbing with partners who climb harder is a real booster, particularly for trad, I often find that I improve or regress to the approximate level of my partners. However, for me, a lot of climbing is head game. My technique has definitely improve over the last 4-5 years, as has my rope craft etc., but my climbing peak grade-wise was probably in my first year when I was throwing myself at E1's as that's just what we did.

Also I think climbing trips are a great way to improve your grade. I've only ever been on 2-3 sport trips, but each time I start at 5a and end up at 6b+ in a week (before not climbing sport again for another year). With trad my improvement in my first year mostly came from three or four 4-10 day trips where we just went at it.
thebigfriendlymoose - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

I've been climbing a fair bit longer and still feel like a punter (and indeed am, relatively ). To my mind, such feelings are less due to comparisson against absolute standards, and more to do with the ability of the people you climb alongside. The key to both getting better and being at peace with your own level is to use such petty dissatisfactions as fuel for trying harder. You cannot do anything about your own genetics, but you can make sure that if you do fall short of your goals, it's not for lack of trying.

And, 6 hours a week seems plenty - its what you do during that time that is key (if I try to climb for more than 2 hours on a steep board, I'm ruined for 3 days). At least, I hope that's the case - most of my recent day's climbing have comprised stick-clipping up my project, having 3 (well-spaced) goes, and then going home before the midges gather!
galpinos on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

Well, set a goal, set a time frame and train for it if that is what motivates you. Redpointing a 7a sport route isn't that hard, you just need to put some effort in. If that's really what you want, then maybe get a coach to watch you climb, spot your weaknesses and put a plan together to help you achieve that?
Offwidth - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to galpinos:

Actually for some people getting to sport 7a is quite hard. I just don't believe this story that anyone can get trained up equally, even if relatively fit, healthy and disability and injury free. Some people simply take to climbing much more than others. Something with a wider population participation in formal training, like running, shows this: following well planned training patterns can lead to wide differences in performance for the same effort and keenness for fit and healthy newish runners.
Fiona Reid - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

Don't get so hung up on the grades, just concentrate on enjoying yourself and climbing stuff you like the look of rather than just because it's a specific grade.

I've been climbing over 12 years and figure I'll always be learning new stuff but I guess that's part of why I enjoy it.
springfall2008 - on 13 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

Perhaps you just need some focus? Looking at your last few routes in your logbook the grades are all over the place, if you an onsight VS then why are you climbing VD? I'd suggest setting yourself a goal and a way to work towards it... in my case I wanted to be able to on-sight HVS so I first on-sighted a load of VS's and then started on an HVS repeat and then an HVS onsight. Personally I avoid leading anything below VS as my weekly climbing time is too short to "waste" time with routes below grade.

Sports wise, 6a+ can be hard (in comparison to VS) and it's easy to fail, but again if you set yourself a goal first to climb 6a onsight and then 6a+ you will get there. Honestly I doubt unless you are quite talented that you could get to 7a (outdoors) without more than 6 hours a week climbing as it requires serious amount of fitness and technique.
edhawk21 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to springfall2008:

Yeh see iv been torn between climbing classics (and getting my gear placements down) easy stuff and climbing stuff that is at my grade or pushing myself outdoors. indoors I don't really care because I don't feel I missing much by not climbing 4s :p
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Wayne S - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to edhawk21:

Hi, it's easy to get a bit demoralised, but if climbing was easy, then it really would be no fun. If your logbook is about right, then I would suggest you need to get out and get some volume of climbing done without chasing grades so much. But equally a stiff F6a+ at Masson Lees is hard, and gives and indication of what a steep E1 feels like. Why would you expect to cruise this? Be kinder to yourself, go climb 50 F5's and an equal amount of HS Trad, (or whatever is your steady grade). Enjoy them all whatever the grade, then hunt out something that plays to your strengths a grade higher, repeat as necessary. A couple of hours of bouldering a couple of times a week is quite time efficient and packs a lot of learning/training in.

Climb a lot with an open and inquisitive mind and it is impossible not to improve. Isn't it 10,000 hours till mastery? That's a lot of climbing!