/ Paralysis by Analysis?

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Goucho on 09 Sep 2017
Looking over the various threads recently, it struck me that a lot of people seem to be going into the minutiae of detail regarding their climbing.

From requesting almost forensic beta on routes, coaching advice, planning stuff years in advance, and training regimes including psychology and diet.

I saw one thread where people were discussing the best scales to get, and how they weighed and measured body fat every day, combined with a highly disciplined calorie controlled vegan diet.

Whilst I can understand that level of regime for the Ondra's of the world, it struck me as a bit extreme and over the top for moving from f6a to f6c.

And of course, thanks to the interweb, there is a plethora - no, make that avalanche - of information and opinions at our fingertips.

Yet despite all of this, combined with all the advances in equipment, climbing walls etc, the average grade being climbed today seems to be no harder than back in the comparative dark ages of forty years ago.

It's made me think - rightly or wrongly - that maybe all this information, is too much information? Maybe people are possibly over thinking their climbing, resulting in a form of paralysis by analysis?

That maybe it's better to simplify things, not complicate them?

Or, to quote Nike, 'Just Do It'.

Let the dislikes begin
Wayne S - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:
I kinda said my piece along a similar line on the training for alpine thread. It appears some feel the need to train before they can start anything.
Maybe they need pre training, before the training phase.

I can't help but to feel that there is an element of avoidance going on at times.

alx - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

This has cropped up a number of times and I have had similar conversations with friends about people's never ending quest for researching and implementing micro tactics whilst they neglect the basics.

There is also the broader societal attitude of wanting immediate improvements at any cost with no view to the longer term impacts on their health.

alx - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

What they need is the pre-workout to the workout!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVAbrob85hs

Wayne S - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to alx:

Looks like hard work to me, maybe I should pass and just go climbing! So do you think my climbing will decline if I sack off all the training and just climb every day?
paul__in_sheffield - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Well said. There's a thread at the moment about building starter racks. Actually some very good advice.
A long long time ago I bought a second hand canvas rucksack. The deal also involved some old second hand climbing gear, furry slings, bonatti 'snapper' crabs, some early wires and some hexes of indeterminate make. This became my lead rack which I put into the pot with the guys I climbed with and this took us up the grades and all over the UK and Europe. I think most people would be appalled now ;-(
The seller was one S. Bancroft esq. so it was completely sh****g by the time I got it!
Ade in Sheffield - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

But what's he ever done on grit ?
Now, that John Allen is a different kettle of fish !
;-)
Goucho on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Well said. There's a thread at the moment about building starter racks. Actually some very good advice.

> A long long time ago I bought a second hand canvas rucksack. The deal also involved some old second hand climbing gear, furry slings, bonatti 'snapper' crabs, some early wires and some hexes of indeterminate make. This became my lead rack which I put into the pot with the guys I climbed with and this took us up the grades and all over the UK and Europe. I think most people would be appalled now ;-(

> The seller was one S. Bancroft esq. so it was completely sh****g by the time I got it!

Could have been worse.

You could have bought a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from him
bouldery bits - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
> I kinda said my piece along a similar line on the training for alpine thread. It appears some feel the need to train before they can start anything.

> Maybe they need pre training, before the training phase.

> I can't help but to feel that there is an element of avoidance going on at times.

To build upon this point - training is about finding the problem, then working to fix the problem. If you've not done much of the activity you are training for, there won't be much chance of actually understanding the demands and requirements of the activity.
Post edited at 23:09
paul__in_sheffield - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> Could have been worse.

> You could have bought a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from him

Those would be the ones he wore busking in the 'hole in the road'.....
ukb & bmc shark - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

In reply to Goucho:

Yes. A dearth of info has been replaced by surfeit. Dave Mac said much the same in the preamble to 9 out of 10. Despite the confusion the facilities and info do help. I contend people are generally climbing harder but it is expressed through sport climbing and bouldering rather than trad climbing which is probably what you are alluding to.

You get good at what you do. I'm much stronger than in my 20s (mid 80s-90s) but my trad grade now is rubbish. Then it was pretty much the only game climbers played and practiced so smaller wonder the average trad grade was relatively good compared to now.

Physical training doesn't help if all you do is hang in longer placing more gear (guilty). Trad climbing is more about the head and the best training is more trad climbing. I keep promising myself I'll do more but quite frankly it's a bit of a faff and scary...
Big Ger - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Have to agree, there seems to be a dearth of joy being imposed upon what used to be the life confirming event of; "going out to the crag with a bunch of mates, and doing whatever routes we're capable of."
Hugh Mongous - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> "going out to the crag with a bunch of mates, and doing whatever routes we're capable of."

You'd have to get some first ;-)

Wayne S - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

Hi,

Nail on head! Equally I guess the amount of stuff to hang your hat on increases, i.e. If you feel that you are good at certain training elements you will concentrate on that. I'm sure Dave Mac and 9 out of 10 was mentioned above and that he covers a similar theme. Interesting the point that maybe Sport and Bouldering have improved on average and that trad may not of. I don't actually agree in its entirety, I think all areas have improved on average just at different speeds. Arguably UK trad climbing was simply more mature at the point of initial comparison.
olddirtydoggy - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Isn't it the same with all things. Look at the hiking info when really it's putting one foot in front of the other. Kit drives me up the wall, especially when some mates can waffle on about kit for hours. Imagine buying one of everything in an outdoor shop and then the uselessness of most of it comes apparent.
Big Ger - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Hugh Mongous:

Oh if only....
TheFasting on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I think you might have been reading a lot into that thread if you think it was about training rather than going out to climb. The question was about how to best spend your time climbing. Considering that the responders were nearly unanimous that I should do things differently, it seems like it was smart to ask that question.
MFB - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Whillans training program allegedly focused on fags and beer as a consequence many climbers of that generation did something similar
Today's top performers all train, the results and methods are promoted in the media
We're all fashion victims.
ianstevens - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to MFB:

> Whillans training program allegedly focused on fags and beer as a consequence many climbers of that generation did something similar

> Today's top performers all train, the results and methods are promoted in the media

> We're all fashion victims.

Fashion victims who are no longer overweight and with a reduced risk of lung cancer though.
TheFasting on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:
On one hand you have the guys trying to get better at climbing by only spending time on the hangboard and not actually climbing. Apparently there are a few of those based on what I've seen online. On the other hand you have guys who only climb and never do anything else ever. The truth must be somewhere in between, right?

Especially on this forum I've noticed since I joined last year that there's a bit of a culture for aversion to training. Like an idea that training is somehow bad for you. And because of this I've been told in threads, that were completely unrelated to what I do in the gym, that pull-ups won't help me climb better or that I shouldn't do lifting of any kind because it won't help climbing. A lot of assumptions being made. Truth is, I don't do it to get better at climbing. I just like doing pull-ups and lifting.

I think that's pretty specific for this forum though. Most places online you get told to spend more time climbing than anything else. But very few places do people seem to aggressively discourage doing anything else.

Now if someone answers this with a comment referencing the old "being stronger makes you heavier" myth, I'm gonna pop a gasket (but that's not something only people here say, that's ubiquitous, although I see some spreading the truth around the interwebs).
Post edited at 09:04
paul__in_sheffield - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:
The logbooks show trad averaging MVS (Dave Mac comments on how poor the average level of trad is in 9 out of 10), Sport at 6a+ and bouldering steadily increasing and currently V3 average.

For me, I'm much stronger than I was 37 years ago when I started, and bouldering harder. I only climb trad on rest days on trips away now, sub-punter multi pitch for fun. Every time I do, I really enjoy it but (as alluded to by Shark above) find the whole faff and climbing to faffing ratio mind boggling.

I wonder if the base position is that the number of climbers in the uk has exploded, but if you're into trad, then living more than say a two hour round trip from outdoor rock is not ideal unless you're really dedicated. This might lead to heavier reliance on the minutiae of gear, training etc, when the answer is you need to get out more.
Goucho on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to MFB:

> Whillans training program allegedly focused on fags and beer as a consequence many climbers of that generation did something similar

There's a lot of urban myth regarding Whillans. True, in his latter years it was very much fags and beer, but if you look at him in his late teens and early 20's during his prime 'rock' era, he was in superb physical condition.

> Today's top performers all train, the results and methods are promoted in the media

Nothing wrong with that. If you want to operate at the highest levels of any sport - especially if it's the day job too - training and diet are critical.

I just think that when ordinary climbers start following the same regime, it all starts to get in the way of the actual fun and adventure of climbing.

Some of my best days on the rock have been spontaneous spur of the moment routes.

> We're all fashion victims.

Or sheep?

Goucho on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> The logbooks show trad averaging MVS (Dave Mac comments on how poor the average level of trad is in 9 out of 10), Sport at 6a+ and bouldering steadily increasing and currently V3 average.

> For me, I'm much stronger than I was 37 years ago when I started, and bouldering harder. I only climb trad on rest days on trips away now, sub-punter multi pitch for fun. Every time I do, I really enjoy it but (as alluded to by Shark above) find the whole faff and climbing to faffing ratio mind boggling.

> I wonder if the base position is that the number of climbers in the uk has exploded, but if you're into trad, then living more than say a two hour round trip from outdoor rock is not ideal unless you're really dedicated. This might lead to heavier reliance on the minutiae of gear, training etc, when the answer is you need to get out more.

A two hour round trip used to considered just round the corner, and four hours + each way considered a normal weekend.

Are climbers today just more lazy, or is it all driven by the need for instant gratification, which itself is driven by the technology based social media society we now live in?

Goucho on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:

> On one hand you have the guys trying to get better at climbing by only spending time on the hangboard and not actually climbing. Apparently there are a few of those based on what I've seen online. On the other hand you have guys who only climb and never do anything else ever. The truth must be somewhere in between, right?

> Especially on this forum I've noticed since I joined last year that there's a bit of a culture for aversion to training. Like an idea that training is somehow bad for you. And because of this I've been told in threads, that were completely unrelated to what I do in the gym, that pull-ups won't help me climb better or that I shouldn't do lifting of any kind because it won't help climbing. A lot of assumptions being made. Truth is, I don't do it to get better at climbing. I just like doing pull-ups and lifting.

> I think that's pretty specific for this forum though. Most places online you get told to spend more time climbing than anything else. But very few places do people seem to aggressively discourage doing anything else.

> Now if someone answers this with a comment referencing the old "being stronger makes you heavier" myth, I'm gonna pop a gasket (but that's not something only people here say, that's ubiquitous, although I see some spreading the truth around the interwebs).

I'd be interested to see exactly how much, in real climbing terms, all this training and analising by average climbers, translates onto the rock?

There is such a thing as training for trainings sake, and, training as a placebo.
paul__in_sheffield - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> A two hour round trip used to considered just round the corner, and four hours + each way considered a normal weekend.

> Are climbers today just more lazy, or is it all driven by the need for instant gratification, which itself is driven by the technology based social media society we now live in?

Hi there Goucho,
Just from a personal point of view I think it's important to get out during the week, so a two hour round trip to closest rock would be absolute max. Preferable is Hunters Bar to Burbage, but I have always been a crag rat ;-)
JR - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Physical training doesn't help if all you do is hang in longer placing more gear (guilty). Trad climbing is more about the head and the best training is more trad climbing.

The headgames are easier if your arms aren't telling you you're going to fall off though. I think if you're used to sport climbing, knowing the sport grade of a trad climb makes a difference to your head game approach.
paul__in_sheffield - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> There's a lot of urban myth regarding Whillans. True, in his latter years it was very much fags and beer, but if you look at him in his late teens and early 20's during his prime 'rock' era, he was in superb physical condition.

That certainly looks the case in pictures of the young Rock and Ice members. This begs the question as to why they didn't climb harder? What's it down to, waiting for the next advance in footwear and protection?
John Gill in the States and many in Europe were training and translating it into climbing harder outdoors than the UK contemporaries.
TheFasting on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

My personal experience is limited to only climbing for climbing-specific training. When I can't climb I spend a lot of time reading about it however. I have seen tons and tons of accounts of people who spend most of their time hangboarding who didn't improve at all once they went back on the routes.

I have many years experience in a sport prior to this and paralysis by analysis is definitely a trap some guys fall for. Especially when you get sucked into all the programs promising quick results.

In reality it turned out for me that it barely matters what program you choose. The only thing that separated the best from the mediocre in that sport was consistency. If you just kept training, even bad progress turned into huge results over time. The guys who switched programs every month never got there.
Hugh Mongous - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:

> .... I've been told in threads, that were completely unrelated to what I do in the gym, that pull-ups won't help me climb better or that I shouldn't do lifting of any kind because it won't help climbing.

On a personal level, I once spent 3 months working away from home. The job was in Sheffield, about 5 mins from The Edge, so I got an unlimited pass for the duration of my stay. I trained like a daemon

planetmarshall on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> The logbooks show trad averaging MVS (Dave Mac comments on how poor the average level of trad is in 9 out of 10), Sport at 6a+ and bouldering steadily increasing and currently V3 average.

The low average trad grade is the price we pay for the onsight ethic. There's so much value placed on the onsight that climbers (including myself) put off ascents maybe for years until they are 'ready', the result being that they are never ready because they aren't prepared to fail.

Compare this to progression in sport climbing where failing is part of the process. I'm not suggesting MVS climbers suddenly start throwing themselves off E5s, or even that the onsight ethic is a bad thing, but it is what it is.

duncan - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Congratulations on finding a slightly novel spin on modern-life-is-rubbish. At least you've put some analysis (ho ho) into your idea rather than being completely Farage about it. Not surprisingly, you've found one or two other old men to agree with you. It's complete crap though.

You have conveniently forgotten the folk who spent entire alpine seasons in the 70s propping up the Bar Nash. waiting for beaux temps, which never quite arrived...paralysis by any other name.

You have conveniently forgotten the gear freaks who were just as prevalent back then despite having far less choice to analyse.

You are confusing correlation with causation. You’ll have noticed climbing is now a mass participation mainstream activity rather than the preserve of maladjusted weirdos it was in the 70s and 80s. Not surprisingly most current participants are not quite as committed to type two fun or death and serious injury as we were. That trad. and alpine climbing standards have not risen en mass has everything to do this and very little to do with your thesis. Other areas of climbing, like bouldering, that are just as subject to information overload have had unimaginable increases in standards. Current climbers warm up on our generation’s unclimbed last great problems. Analysis seems to be working for them.

Finally, you have conveniently forgotten your (and other grey hairs') admirable recent achievements have been attained by the brutal application of every last advantage current knowledge and analysis gives us. Oh the irony!
Big Lee - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> Yet despite all of this, combined with all the advances in equipment, climbing walls etc, the average grade being climbed today seems to be no harder than back in the comparative dark ages of forty years ago.

> It's made me think - rightly or wrongly - that maybe all this information, is too much information?

I think there's lots of good training methods that can be taken on board, whatever grade you climb at. Not just to get better but also to prevent injury and stay generally healthier. There's always going to be a lot of bollox on the internet but then I'm sure there were people talking bollox before the internet's creation. Now those people have a twitter account or a blog and so it's easier for them to reach a larger audience. As with anything, a reliable source and a bit of fact checking usually goes a long way I think.
Roberttaylor - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to MFB:

This seems to be a common trope; ignoring the huge amount of walking he did as a young man, being at the crag every weekend and working in a hard, physical job....

Of course, when you're past it and a bit angry at the world, as I guess he was in the end, it's a way of making yourself seem hard, to say 'we never trained, just drank n' smoked'. A way to put one over on the guys who did, or do, train.

A defensive, upsettingly common excuse, sanctioned by a society that views trying hard with a degree of disdain. Crabs in the barrel.

R
MFB - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:
Whillans- I agree he was hard-core but I think the hard living image struck a chord and was a great excuse to enjoy beer and fags

I'm not really a fan of training (climbing gym -only gym where no one breathes hard or sweats) but if I can't actually get out and climb I want to do something everyday to progress the climbing thing, I just do something I enjoy, mainly something aerobic.
Edit - Robert Taylor -yes
Post edited at 12:02
Hugh Mongous - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:
> ... that pull-ups won't help me climb better or that I shouldn't do lifting of any kind because it won't help climbing.

I once (whilst away from home for 3 months) did shit loads of climbing specific training - circuit boards, bouldering, dead hangs, etc. Did this about 4 times per week. Got back home expecting to crush (I think that's the modern vernacular). Didn't. Was about the same. My wife however, did bog-all except for two 10 min sessions a week of pull ups. In the 3 months she went from not being able to do any to (just about) being able to do a grand total of 4 at once. Whilst I had stood still, she had gone up two full grades from around 6a to around 6c (basically around my level). Git!

Make of this what you will. What I made of this is that she worked her weaknesses (basic upper body strength) better than I did. So if that's your main weakness, then pull-up training will probably have a positive effect on your climbing ability. Either that or she's a lying sod and had been training like a daemon to blow me off. Wouldn't put it past her to be honest.
LakesWinter on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

Won't the MVS average grade also take into account the fact that lots of people go and climb a few easier routes in a session as well as any harder ones? A better measure would be usual best grade led in a session or something, but that's harder to calculate. Even if the best grade commonly led in a session was HVS (as I would guess it to be), then that's still very low.
Wayne S - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to LakesWinter:
I am not entirely sure how UKC calculates average grade, a large portion of my climbing is VS-E1, as soon as I solo a handful of easier routes my average drops and remains at MVS. By volume the vast majority is VS upwards......
Goucho on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to duncan:
> Congratulations on finding a slightly novel spin on modern-life-is-rubbish. At least you've put some analysis (ho ho) into your idea rather than being completely Farage about it. Not surprisingly, you've found one or two other old men to agree with you. It's complete crap though.

Either I've not put my thoughts across succinctly enough, or you've chosen to misinterpret them?

I'm not being critical of training in itself, but the extreme levels some people seem to be getting into.

Going down the wall a couple of times a week, fine. Spending two hours a day hanging off a fingerboard is maybe overkill? Recognising that power to weight ratio is pretty crucial to performance, and cutting down on the pies and beer is one thing, but obsessing over it to the point of going on an extreme diet and weighing yourself and measuring body fat with calipers every day, is not healthy.

The reality is that an ounce of weight, and an extra half a percent of body fat, is not going to make the difference between success and failure on a 7a sport route. It probably won't make any difference on an 8a, or even a 9a?

The same goes for beta. No matter how much you've got, you've still got to get on the route and climb it. Knowing there's a small sloper for the right hand, won't make it bigger, or make you able to use it.

> You have conveniently forgotten the folk who spent entire alpine seasons in the 70s propping up the Bar Nash. waiting for beaux temps, which never quite arrived...paralysis by any other name.

Having spent a reasonably large amount of time propping up the Bar Nash during the 70's and 80's, contrary to reputation, most people spent more time climbing, often in less than ideal conditions, than getting pissed and playing table football.

> You have conveniently forgotten the gear freaks who were just as prevalent back then despite having far less choice to analyse.

Nothing wrong with being a gear freak. My comment was that there does not seem to much of a correlation between the improvements in gear, and average grades climbed.

> You are confusing correlation with causation. You’ll have noticed climbing is now a mass participation mainstream activity rather than the preserve of maladjusted weirdos it was in the 70s and 80s. Not surprisingly most current participants are not quite as committed to type two fun or death and serious injury as we were. That trad. and alpine climbing standards have not risen en mass has everything to do this and very little to do with your thesis. Other areas of climbing, like bouldering, that are just as subject to information overload have had unimaginable increases in standards. Current climbers warm up on our generation’s unclimbed last great problems. Analysis seems to be working for them.

I've no doubt the really good performer's are warming up on what we're the hardest boulder problems back in the day, but I'll bet the majority aren't?

> Finally, you have conveniently forgotten your (and other grey hairs') admirable recent achievements have been attained by the brutal application of every last advantage current knowledge and analysis gives us. Oh the irony!

On my recent ascent of the Eiger NF, I actually used the same axes (Chacal & Baracuda) that I used on my previous attempts in the 80's, although I will give you the fact my clothing is the latest, and the modern weather forecasting and conditions information was most welcome
Post edited at 15:50
Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:
Excellent post, couldn't agree more.

My philosophy to climbing, after learning for over decade and so getting to know roughly what my strengths, weaknesses and motivations are, is as follows:

- Know yourself well. I'm into climbing because I'm a sensation-seeker. The sensation I seek from climbing is the euphoria of successfully climbing a dream route, trad, onsight. When this happens (and my god it's rare) the buzz lasts for days, or even months. In fact, it's so deep that it's integrated into the fabric of my identity (nowt wrong with a bit of psychobabble - I'm being genuine here). This is why one reason I go climbing. Another reason is to do something fun rather sitting around getting pissed, or just descending into introsepection and despair. Obviously most people have other options like spending time with their family or going to the garden centre, but that's not the case in my life. I live (and I exaggerate here) on the tipping point of a good life of climbing, profession success and a fulfilling social life versus a descent into alcoholism, drugs and despair. So going climbing rather than drinking is rather important.

- So what are you trying to achieve? For me, I want to be climbing classic, brilliant routes at the top of my ability. Specifically, that's big routes on the mountains and seaclifs around E3/4. This is realistic, because I'm not interested in training and progression for the sake of it, but I've got loads of time to do what's required to climb at this level (I've done it before, I know I can do it) so it's attainable. But I also need regular enjoyable climbing. Pottering up my favourite routes I've done loads before, exploring new boulder circuits, etc is fun. Failing on some hard route that looks dirty and scary is not so fun, for me. I'm not going to spend time on something that'll improve my climbing when I could be doing something which is nourishing to the soul.

- As I am a lazy man with very little self-discipline, I will work towards a long term goal, as long as doing the work is fun in itself. With this in mind, I have to find ways to improve at climbing (to get to my modest E3/4 goal) that I'm actually going to do. This ain't going to involve climbing on shitty bolted limestone when I could be doing some decent climbing instead, or finger boarding, or dieting, or much other than going climbing really.

- Learn from others, but don't assume that their philosophy is anything like yours. There's no point in me asking an 8b sport climber how to get better, because they simply won't understand my climbing 'philosophy' or motivations, and their advice will be useless. I need to find someone who understands my perspective, who therefore can give appropriate advice. (As it happens, I think I know just the guy, and I'll email him in the next week or so).

So, yes, all the technical info available around can be pretty unproductive, but a bit of *self* analysis should end not in paralysis, but in growth (or in just staying the same if you're happy where you are, but that's not human nature).
Post edited at 15:36
Goucho on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Climbing is certainly good for finding out what's really on the inside. It's also good for developing what's on the inside too.

But one of the things I love most about climbing, is that it puts a wonderful perspective on just how insignificant we are when compared to mother nature and the universe in general.

I might be a bit odd, but I find the fact that I'm basically just a pointless group of atoms, wonderfully cathartic and weirdly reassuring
Post edited at 16:21
Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> I might be a bit odd, but I find the fact that I'm basically just a pointless group of atoms, wonderfully cathartic and weirdly reassuring

People sneer at nihilism, but they don't understand just how jolly it can be.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBRqu0YOH14
john arran - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

When I was very young I got chosen from our tiny school to sing a short solo at a nearby abbey. I was chuffed, as many would be, to be chosen, special, unique.

Then when we got there it turned out it wasn't a solo performance after all, just that I was the only one from our school, singing along with dozens of others from dozens of other schools. A bit disappointing really.

So it is with human existence. If you're of a religious bent and believe humans are somehow the chosen ones, isn't it just a little dispiriting to think you're just one of 8 billion or whatever similarly chosen ones? What's so special about that? - it's a number I can't even comprehend the size of.

But because I don't subscribe to such teachings, I'm left to make my own sense of the world. What I see now is how unique I am. How unique each of us is. Nobody in the whole world of an unimaginable number of people is quite like me. That makes me feel far more special. That makes me feel like my life is worth trying to make something of. While it lasts.
1poundSOCKS - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> That maybe it's better to simplify things, not complicate them?

Each to his own. Some people like to just go out and climb, some like to research the best scales. I find the discussion interesting. Although maybe not scales .

It's not like anyone cancels a day at the crag to read a long article about redpointing tactics.
galpinos on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:

> On one hand you have the guys trying to get better at climbing by only spending time on the hangboard and not actually climbing. Apparently there are a few of those based on what I've seen online. On the other hand you have guys who only climb and never do anything else ever. The truth must be somewhere in between, right?

Climbing is a skill sport. At the lower grades the biggest gains are to be made by improving ones skill level by climbing a lot. At the same time, one will get stronger. However, as one gets better and stronger, gains are harder one and one has to resort to specific training methods to target weaknesses.

> Especially on this forum I've noticed since I joined last year that there's a bit of a culture for aversion to training. Like an idea that training is somehow bad for you. And because of this I've been told in threads, that were completely unrelated to what I do in the gym, that pull-ups won't help me climb better or that I shouldn't do lifting of any kind because it won't help climbing. A lot of assumptions being made. Truth is, I don't do it to get better at climbing. I just like doing pull-ups and lifting.

Grumpy old tradsters will bang on about about not "training" but most people now "train" to some degree, if you include going to the wall as training.

When it comes to people dismissing pull ups and weightlifting, they are useful additional traing but only if you have one the maximum amount of actual climbing you can take that week. If you only climb twice a week, your gains at climbing by adding a third climbing session would be a lot bigger than adding a weights session.

> I think that's pretty specific for this forum though. Most places online you get told to spend more time climbing than anything else. But very few places do people seem to aggressively discourage doing anything else.

> Now if someone answers this with a comment referencing the old "being stronger makes you heavier" myth, I'm gonna pop a gasket (but that's not something only people here say, that's ubiquitous, although I see some spreading the truth around the interwebs).

People still think of weightlifting as fat big strong dudes. Think "Worlds Strongest Man". However, massive quads are little use on a 9b sport climb so they would be excessive weight. They might help you on an alpine snow plod though......
Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to john arran:

Welcome to Pete and Bernie's philosophical steakhouse.
john arran - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Welcome to Pete and Bernie's philosophical steakhouse.

like
ukb & bmc shark - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> The logbooks show trad averaging MVS

Of course we don't actually know what the average grade was in 1987, 1977 and 1967 if logbooks had been around. We assume it was at least MVS but maybe it was actually HVD.

Gordon Stainforth - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to ukb & bmc shark:

> Of course we don't actually know what the average grade was in 1987, 1977 and 1967 if logbooks had been around. We assume it was at least MVS but maybe it was actually HVD.

No, I think it was quite a lot higher than that. Because it was more dangerous, and there were fewer people climbing, you saw rather fewer completely incompetent bumblies. Just about everyone I saw climbing then was operating competently at between Severe and HVS (i.e. average grade really must have been about VS). I'm talking mostly about the North Wales scene. I didn't go to grit for the first time until 1969, I think.
Misha - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to TheFasting:
For a start, define training - it's a loose concept. There's structured training, following a programme which will mostly be based around doing specific routines at the wall (including finger boarding etc), as well as some more general cross-training (core, weights, running etc). Then there's simply going to the wall a few times a week, perhaps trying to be a bit structured around the sessions but not following a proper programme. As for winter climbing, there's dry tooling (which in itself can be structured, e.g. doing laps on a route) and you can also do ice axe pull ups.

Either way, some training is better than none, whatever your level. However you have to consider what's really holding you back - it could be technique, head game or simply general experience of climbing outdoors (volume of routes, different rock types, different types of moves etc). In that case all the physical training in the world won't help because you have to address the real issues first. This is why the benefits of physical training don't really kick in until you're fairly experienced and climbing in the mid grades, although there will be some benefit at lower grades as well, particularly for people who aren't naturally sporty.

To put it another way, you don't really need to train to progress through the lower grades but there will come a time (at a slightly different level for everyiobe) where you'll need to do some unstructured training and eventually some structured training. I think this is what people are getting at - it's not a general aversion to training, more a case of focusing on the real issues.

In answer to Goucho, yes, some people overthink things and can end up focussing on the wrong things. However there will also be people operating at a decent level where the small details will count. And then there will be people who just try to wing it. Think I'm in the latter camp!
Misha - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
E3/4. Takes a bit of time but no big deal if you've done it before.

Climb trad as much as you can, as in every weekend when you haven't got family or important social commitments. This will mean travelling a lot to get away from the rain and could mean ditching less important social commitments if you have a lot of those, however would have thought you'd be able to fit most stuff in as you work less than five days a week. You really need to travel, no other way about it, and you will need to do limestone trad if that's the only stuff that's in condition, again no other way about it! Climbing a couple of times a month won't get you there, E3/4 is a step up from E1/2. Volume and variety are key.

Build a solid base of tough E2s, get on some well protected E3s, build a solid base of tough E3, get on some well protected E4s, sorted! You've climbed at that level before so shouldn't be that hard. Be prepared to fall off and fail at times of course. You can onsight your way to E1 but you can't onsight your way to regular E3/4. Failure makes you stronger in the long run. Got to be safe of course but you've got the experience to judge that.

Indoor climbing / bouldering twice a week (or more if not out at the weekend). This is important, again E3/4 is a step up from E1/2. Don't need structured training, just stamina and power endurance stuff. Needs to be pumpy and painful at times. Kendal wall is perfect as it's high. Also circuit boards and climbing non stop on boulder circuits. You need the ability to hang around figuring stuff out and placing gear, then recover enough to do 5c/6a moves above gear. If you don't like indoor or lactic pain, you will regret it when you're off route on a Red Wall E3 some way above some shitty RP... I say that in jest but Lakes mountain routes can be dirty and wet as you know, so fitness will pay dividends and you needs indoor time for that. Only a couple of times a week though if you're also getting a couple of days out. Bimbly days out climbing up to E1 don't really count by the way. E1 won't get you up E3 or E4. Regular enjoyable climbing at lower grades is fine if that's what you want to do but it really doesn't count for the purposes of getting to E3/4.

Sport climbing and outdoor bouldering - only if you can't do trad due to weather etc. Don't really need it for E3/4.

Got to travel though. If you sit at home looking at the rain, it won't happen.

I should add that this is what worked for me. Other people have different strengths and weaknesses so may be different...
Post edited at 01:41
deacondeacon - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> Looking over the various threads recently, it struck me that a lot of people seem to be going into the minutiae of detail regarding their climbing.
It's a climbing forum, what do you expect? It's a website where sad, obsessive losers (this includes me) can talk to other sad, obsessive losers about everything and anything to do with climbing. TBH I find it much stranger that others come here for never ending political rants/debates and 'which car to buy' threads. Their has got to be better places for these chats but to each their own.

> From requesting almost forensic beta on routes, coaching advice, planning stuff years in advance, and training regimes including psychology and diet.

> I saw one thread where people were discussing the best scales to get, and how they weighed and measured body fat every day, combined with a highly disciplined calorie controlled vegan diet.

> Whilst I can understand that level of regime for the Ondra's of the world, it struck me as a bit extreme and over the top for moving from f6a to f6c.

> And of course, thanks to the interweb, there is a plethora - no, make that avalanche - of information and opinions at our fingertips.

> Yet despite all of this, combined with all the advances in equipment, climbing walls etc, the average grade being climbed today seems to be no harder than back in the comparative dark ages of forty years ago.
Average grade is meaningless. My average grade is about HS but I climb up to E4 (and have dragged my way up to E6). It just means that I still enjoy easier routes. If I go to Stanage on a damp day and bang out 50-60 easy routes it makes a massive difference to my average grade but who cares.

> It's made me think - rightly or wrongly - that maybe all this information, is too much information? Maybe people are possibly over thinking their climbing, resulting in a form of paralysis by analysis?

> That maybe it's better to simplify things, not complicate them?

> Or, to quote Nike, 'Just Do It'.


> Let the dislikes begin

I here comments like this all the time, particularly by the older lot down the wall. The truth is there are tons of people 'just doing it' but the old duffers don't see it. they only get out once a year, probably some midge infested bank holiday Monday at Birchen and wonder why there are swaythes of climbers struggling up vdiffs.

As for the 'over complicating things' comments, particularly about training you may be right, some people do over complicate things but so what? Leave them too it. If someone wants to obsess about training let them do it, it doesn't matter.
I'm a great believer in mileage in climbing is the best for climbing but sometimes training can help immensely and that's coming from someone who would often climb 1000 routes a year (but probably 2000-3000 if I logged repeats.
If I'm not training I drop down to about E1/E2 and when I'm training I'm climbing about E5. That is a very positive correlation that persuades me to go down the wall when I don't fancy it (and I always love it once I get there, it's still climbing).

All this 'better in my day' stuff is just patronising bollocks. There are people climbing some of the harder sport and boulder problems on their first couple of years climbing, we have Japanese boys (as well as Americans)coming over and treating our death routes like boulder problems, girls keeping up with boys, like Mina smashing 'unfamiliar' at Stanage which is an amazing line at the busiest crag in Britain but most boys are too scared to get on it.
Every year Chee Tor gets more and more popular, as well as High Tor.
Ethics are on the whole followed strictly and bolts and pegs are only placed with some very heavy concideration (usually).

Climbing was great then, it's great now, and it'll be great in the future. There's nothing better than pissing about on some rocks.

Goucho on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

Interesting post.

I just can't figure out what it's a response too?

It certainly isn't my OP, which was simply some comments on the possible over thinking and over analysis of some people's approach to climbing these days.

But we'll done for getting the stereotypical and clichéd comments about older climbers into it.

paul mitchell - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

Climbing is like cycling.Most people are punters and happy to be so.
HeMa on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

I think the trend for the least 5 or so years (maybe 10) has been indeed towards goal oriented and systematic training. Also the I-want-everything-now mentality and sometimes hectic lifestyle easily drives some people towards all these training things...

Think of the Abtronic 2000 from late 90s (get stellar abs, while drinkin' beer and eating chips on the sofa watching the telly). So instead of focusing on normal aspects and building a solid foundation, you wish to go from punter struglin' on 4c boulders to flashin' 8a in half a year ;).

Oddly enough, generally these people enquiring about such things tend to be young, perhaps not their physical age, but certainly the time they have climbed. Or they have climbed a long time at a punter level (never really thinkin' why their progress has stagnated) and suddenly wish to make a bit jump in their performance (for what ever reason).

For the records, my training has always been simply to climb (indoors or outdoots, prefer the latter) and listen to my body. Sure, if I have some goals or trips planned, I might focus a tad more on said discipline (mixed, bouldering or alpine or what ever). But it's hardly "training"... at least in a systematic way. But it is still training, and lots of old geezers don't realize that... Which is why the key word is either systematic or smart ;).
deacondeacon - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

> Interesting post.

> I just can't figure out what it's a response too?

> It certainly isn't my OP, which was simply some comments on the possible over thinking and over analysis of some people's approach to climbing these days.

It was just a general response to the whole thread rather than to you in particular, sorry if it came across like that.

> But we'll done for getting the stereotypical and clichéd comments about older climbers into it.

Whatever

Jon Stewart - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

> All this 'better in my day' stuff is just patronising bollocks. There are people climbing some of the harder sport and boulder problems on their first couple of years climbing, we have Japanese boys (as well as Americans)coming over and treating our death routes like boulder problems, girls keeping up with boys, like Mina smashing 'unfamiliar' at Stanage which is an amazing line at the busiest crag in Britain but most boys are too scared to get on it.

> Every year Chee Tor gets more and more popular, as well as High Tor.

> Ethics are on the whole followed strictly and bolts and pegs are only placed with some very heavy concideration (usually).

> Climbing was great then, it's great now, and it'll be great in the future. There's nothing better than pissing about on some rocks.

Great post. And glad to hear Chee Tor is on the up, brilliant crag.
Jon Stewart - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Misha:

Thanks for all that Misha, you're totally right. I started off this summer climbing hard E2s, but the weather and a lot of bad luck got in the way. The Lakes 'scene' is non-existent, so I rely a lot on facebook and UKC for partners. This means getting f*cked over, time after time. I make plans knowing that there's a 50-50 chance I'll end up soloing long mountain routes and fellwalking/running when I've organised a day's climbing. I have a great time doing this, I love being up on the fells on my todd, but it's no good for getting on the harder routes.

I'm starting to get to know a few of the climbers who operate at the E3/4 level - a lot of it is about finding regular partners you enjoy climbing with of course. I absolutely love the Lakes, so I'm loathe to spend days off driving when there's so much I can do here, even with no mates or showery weather.

I do like training at the wall too and I'll get myself an appropriate training plan and regain the level of fitness I had when I was climbing well. I could never do hard moves, but I could hang on forever until I worked out a way to make it not hard. Plus, I'll always boulder, because I don't winter climb so it's the soul food of the winter. Got loads of Yorks, Lancs and the Country to explore from here, when the cold dry days arrive.
Misha - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
If you've got stamina, you can do E3/4 and a fair few E5 6as as well. Fair point re winter bouldering and it should make you stronger as well. Do you know George N? GPN on here. He's in Kendal.
I like climbing - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to Goucho:

One of my climbing partners took some scales to the Castle recently - can't remember why but within a couple of minutes there was a queue to use them. We were all discussing food, muscle weight etc - it was v interesting.
Everyone I know wants to get better - I know I do and any info has it's value. As to the point about people getting better I think it's v hard to generalise.
Jon Stewart - on 12 Sep 2017
In reply to Misha:

Climbed one of the best routes this year with George - Tumbleweed Connection.

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