/ Ageing Trad climbers - how to see cracks up close to place gear

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paul wood - on 08 Aug 2017
Hello Oldies,,,,,,,
I am reaching that age where I am leaning out on my arms to see my gear placements.
What do people do to get over this as my arms aren't as strong as they once were either?

I cannot be the only person to face this. Any advice?
danm on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

Take up sport climbing?


(Sorry!)
Gordon Stainforth - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I'm an oldie no longer climbing, but leaning out on your arms is exactly what you need to do, being a lot less strenuous than holding yourself locked into the rock on bent arms. I mean: the upper body leaning out, with the waist still close to the rock. Like this, you can also see the gear placements a lot better, particularly if you have to look sideways into a flake crack, for example. Straight arm technique is one of the valuable lessons to be learnt from indoor walls/sport climbing. Surely I don't have to tell you that the thing that really matters is how your feet are placed?
Martin Bennett - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I now wear vari focal glasses and find they do the trick, though, since they come with the "close-up" (reading) magnification at the bottom I find I have to move my head a bit to get the best out of 'em. Works though. For climbing it'd actually be better to have 'em reversed i.e. "close-up" bit at the top where you're peering at handholds and gear placements, and the longer vision part at the bottom, the better to pick out footholds (or is it a patch of lichen?!). I dare say they could be made thus but would no doubt cost an arm and a leg.

I find one of the pluses of vari-focals is since I wear 'em all the time I spend less time looking for my glasses. And they're great for driving - can see the road and the instrument panel at the same time.

Friends swear by contact lenses but all my attempts to try 'em so far have ended in sore eyes and frustration.

By the way I'm no longer ageing but wholly aged!
Fraser on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

Get some glasses?
Peter Milner - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:
My optician suggested wearing a contact lens in one eye only (because with climbing you need to see both far ahead and close-up). I haven't got round to trying this yet - it sounds a bit mind-bending, and I wasn't entirely convinced. But I'd be interested to know if anyone else has tried it?
Post edited at 13:43
paul wood - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Martin Bennett:

I wear glasses for distance.

I haven't tried varifocals but I might go for this. The optician has suggested some "multifocal" contact lenses. These apparently have concentric circles of alternating near and long distance prescriptions. I am trying these today but I am finding both close and far are impaired.

I can see better up close without glasses at all so maybe the cheapest solution is to knock a lens out of my old glasses which will leave me closer to Pete's suggestion.

Thanks for the suggestions.
Mark Collins - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

Slabs
Rick Graham on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Peter Milner:
> My optician suggested wearing a contact lens in one eye only (because with climbing you need to see both far ahead and close-up). I haven't got round to trying this yet - it sounds a bit mind-bending, and I wasn't entirely convinced. But I'd be interested to know if anyone else has tried it?

I think it depends on the focal range of each eye, with or without a lens.

My wife has different focal range set up in each contact lens, she quite likes it for her eyes.

I don't get on with contact lens or varifocals. Often manage to place RPs by looking outside the glasses lens, works for me. 64, very short sighted in one eye, slightly in the other.

I have found it easier to read without glasses since about 48. Apparently aging reduces short sightedness. My distance vision has definitely got less bad recently.

If you don't wear glasses already it might be worth experimenting with different strength reading glasses.
You will probably have to strike a balance between seeing RP placements, your footholds and the top of the crag.

I have also had a pair of glasses made up with one clear lens and one prescription, works a treat for some jobs, not needed them for climbing yet.
Post edited at 14:01
nniff - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

My wife sometimes just puts one contact lens in.

I'm thinking about these:

https://theorienteeringshop.com/Compass

The Cutaways apparently are quite ageing, but look like they might be worth a punt

There are also bifocal safety glasses available cheaper than the bifocals above:
http://www.straightlines.com/BiFocalSafetySite/bifocal-safety-glasses?page=bi-focal_safety_specs
abseil on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

> ....Any advice?

What I did was went to Specsavers [I know, I sound like an ad], told them about my vision difficulties which were similar to yours, then followed their advice and also bought their best lenses. Problem solved, not cheap but worth it to me. Good luck.
Thugitty Jugitty on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

Varifocal contact lenses. Apparently they don't suit everyone but they do the trick for me.
paul mitchell - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to abseil:

Just as back in the day, with Yorkshire Technique, Silent Tight.
hazeysunshine - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Thugitty Jugitty:

I tried varifocal contacts with rubbish result: good for close up - reading/placing gear, and for distance - watching the rain approach. But footholds are a blur - disaster!
I wear distance vision contacts - which for some reason improves everything. If I need detailed map-reading I use poundshop ready readers
ads.ukclimbing.com
Will Hunt - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

A monocle is not only easily removed when not needed, but will also add a touch of class to your crag apparel; giving you the visage of a pre-war pioneer.
steveb2006 - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

Ive had to pack in wearing contact leneses for distant vision as near vision has become rubbish in them - so now wear glasses and shove them up a bit to peer closely into cracks ( - keep them tied round my head with a 2mm chord and small toggle. Not completely ideal but works ok and obviously unaided eyes need to be ok for near sight.
Did try varifocal contact leneses but didnt get on with them

Steve
Sean Kelly - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:
When I was about halfway up Birdscarer at Telegraph Hole, Bird Scarer (E2 5c) one of my varifocal lenses fell out and trying to focus with one in and one out is next to impossible. So I just climbed as if reading braille, ie. feeling and caressing the rock.
ps. I found the lens at the base of the cliff!
Post edited at 15:24
nniff - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Will Hunt:

> A monocle is not only easily removed when not needed, but will also add a touch of class to your crag apparel; giving you the visage of a pre-war pioneer.

This might be the answer!

http://monoclemadness.co.uk/vintage-silver-monocle.html

My wife will finally concede that I have completely lost the plot and am now thoroughly eccentric. Plus 1 prescription should do the job perfectly
duchessofmalfi - on 08 Aug 2017

Assuming your distance vision is good or corrected using contact lenses then a cheap pair of reading glasses will make a huge difference 1.5 dioptres sets your vision to be in focus at 2-3 feet which is normally enough, much stronger and you'll be able to see the crack in front but not the gear on your harness.

I carry a pair to read the guide book and to climb when the light is low, I can still see well enough when the light is good. Cheap is good because you take them off, lose them or break them. Folding is extra handy. A string to catch them may look naff but is very handy.

If you wear glasses experiment with a cheap pair +1-1.5 more than your driving glasses (ie if your prescription is -5 try -4 or -3.5).
Post edited at 17:59
ian caton on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Peter Milner:

Tried it. A varifocal in one eye. Great for day to day. Didn't work for me and climbing. I place gear all over the place, arms length mostly and with the lense that's the most blurred bit!
ian caton on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to nniff:

Orienteering glasses, good for placing gear by your waist or a little higher. They will make it tricky to see footholds.
ian caton on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I am going to buy another pair of supermarket reading glasses and take one of its arms off. Much easier to put on that way. Keep in a chest pocket. It's not often that I place gear right in front of me. Reckon if I can hang on to place gear i can do the glasses thing if I really need to.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I'm an optometrist and I gave out a bit of free advice on this thread here:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=649050
Jon Stewart - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> If you wear glasses experiment with a cheap pair +1-1.5 more than your driving glasses (ie if your prescription is -5 try -4 or -3.5).

You can't buy minus lenses off the shelf, only +1.00 - +3.50 ready readers.
springfall2008 - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I wear glasses!
Hooo - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I took Jon's advice and use monovision contact lenses - my dominant eye is corrected for distance and my other eye has a +1.25 prescription, which is what I'd need for reading glasses. It works surprisingly well, and I only notice it if I think about it.
If you don't need glasses for distance you could try the same thing with a pair of reading glasses with one lens removed. If this works, try a contact lens in one eye only.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

> I am reaching that age where I am leaning out on my arms to see my gear placements.
> What do people do to get over this as my arms aren't as strong as they once were either?
> I cannot be the only person to face this. Any advice?

You can do it with your eyes shut. Just take your weight on your arms and ask the lady to place your gear.

Stone Idle - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

I use varifocals with a retainer. See fine. Still got the specs. And the hearing aids.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Turfty on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Peter Milner:

This is what was recommended to me. Works really well (for me).
mgce25c on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

In addition to the glasses option, an idea would be to start to associate gear size with the placement through feeling. For example, I know that if I can get a tight fit finger lock, then a Red DMM nut should place well there. If I have a tiny bit of wiggle room, it'll be a grey etc etc. This obviously doesn't work with sizes smaller than the fingers but I find it does speed up my placements, including confidence with blind placements.
Nigel Coe - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

A single disposable lense works for me. Ideal for days on the hill (looking at the way ahead and the map), meetings (looking at the other participants and your notes), and climbing (looking at the rock above and up close, and the guidebook).
After a day or so with a single lense, one's brain integrates the views from both eyes so it is seamless. (Apparently subjects of an experiment with prismatic glasses that turned the view upside down saw it 'the right way up' after a while.)
Good luck, Paul!
steve taylor - on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to paul wood:

It's Specsavers Elite Range varifocals for me. I've been using them for a couple of years now and I've got used to them.

They are better than wearing nothing, but I have to tilt my head sometimes to see footholds properly.

A friend wears a single contact lens, and this works for him, but I'd need to wear one for long distance and one for short distance. I might try it when I'm next in the UK for a decent period of time to attend al the appointments required.
mgb - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to steve taylor: This is quite a common problem as you get older, I tried climbing in glasses but did not like it, I went to my local opticians explained what I wanted to do, they gave me an eye test, then I was told come back in a few days, so they could have a think about it , the result is, I now wear contact lens for climbing, one eye is for distance and the other eye is for close up, works a treat, these are daily ones so when I get home from climbing I just take them out, I can also drive in them no problem, I also use another pair for climbing trips, which you can leave in for 7 days without removal, which saves taking them in and out every day, I have been using them for quite a few years now and have never had any problems

Phizzers - on 19:29 Mon
In reply to paul wood:

A £1 pair of reading glasses from the pound shop(!) And a bit of string does it for me. It costs less than a mouthful of beer so it doesn't matter if you break them! I always buy 2 pairs, just in case. And I do have a big gob.
Cary Grant on 21:01 Mon
In reply to paul wood:

Pince nez is the way forward.

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