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NEW ARTICLE: A Tale of Two E1s, by Peter Thomas (TRNovice)

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
"My first E1 attempt failed. My second one succeeded. In the year between, I climbed nothing harder than VS. So what made a difference?"

Looking at climbing E1? Want some advice?

Read More: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=810
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Special thanks to TRNovice for re-submitting "the psyched cut". It was appreciated.

Jack
 Michael Ryan 01 Aug 2008
Oh My Gawd...

"So, a recommendation from a trad climber who likes easy mountain routes: if you want to lead harder, buy a bouldering mat and a beanie! "
 Paz 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

One's got F6a+ climbing and the other's F5/5+.
PeterMRodgers 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

This is quite a familiar story for myself, im happy at anything < VS, and i am looking to push on.

If you can onsight, V1 V2 and push at V3 there is no reason why you shouldnt be trying E1's if you are compentant with gear and not a numpty.

Ill let you know how i get on.

Good article.
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to PeterMRodgers:

I can't boulder anything harder than V1 but I can lead E1 5b no problem. My mate can boulder V4 and can just about do E1 5b.

I am thin and do lot's of aerobic exercise, he is built big and boulders three days a week.

I reckon one way to E1 is to be bold and have endurance fitness so that you can recompose yourself after a hard move. E1 5b isn't always strenuos. E3 6a is strenuous, I reckon bouldering would be good for that.

It depends on what the individuals weakness are.
 Tom Phillips 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:

I agree there, I think the way to improve a grade at this level is to improve endurance. Get a shunt and find a local crag suitable for training. Bouldering improves power, but doesn't do much for real endurance similar to that needed for E grades.

Still feeling fresh when doing the crux moves makes a huge difference
 p3t3 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:

Thats a good point, but there is alot of difference between a 50 metre pitch E1 and a 10 metre pitch E1. Stamina i suppose would come into it.
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Thanks for publishing this .

In reply to All:

Not a lot of stamina required for slabs in general...
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

Ok put it another way, what is the most efficient way to train to be leading E1?

First off I had been climbing for a year or so up to HVS back in 2003 and had a break for three years

...until Spring last year.

I started just about able to do HS at Swanage. It then took me 7 days of outdoor rock climbing over four months to get to E1 and a further 23 days outside over the next 10 months to get to E2. (with three months off to recover from a serious shoulder injury in between). I try to get down to the local wall once a week.

How many days bouldering over how many months did it take you to get your first E1? And does that then prove that bouldering is an efficient way to E1?
Yorkspud 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:

How many days to get to E1? I've no idea, not something I kept a record of - didn't see it as relevant
 Mr. K 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Good article, thanks.
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Yorkspud:

I didn't keep a record either, I deduced it from my log book today.

TRNovice says: "if you want to lead harder, buy a bouldering mat and a beanie!"

And I say "Aerobic endurance / stamina and boldness are important"

That's the subplot and hence the question.
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:
> (In reply to TRNovice)
>
> And does that then prove that bouldering is an efficient way to E1?

It was for me, and therefore might be for others. Your experience was different. It's a free world.

fijibaby 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:
Good stuff. It's made E1 for me seem much more 'do-able'.
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

It doesn't demonstrate that it was efficient which seems to be the message in your article. It just demonstrates that if you do loads of bouldering you will get to E1.

I'm giving my experience as a counter point and asking the question, would you have got to E1 faster by training for aerobic endurance and practicing being bold on trad routes?

 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to fijibaby:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
> Good stuff. It's made E1 for me seem much more 'do-able'.

To be honest, if I can do it, so can anyone .

 Blue Roses 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll: It's not really that simple is it? It depends on other things, like your "head for leading", what other sports/training you do etc etc? What else do you do out of intestst.

You do sound like you progressed with not doing a lot of climbing, one day at the wall outside and maybe one day outdoors, but that's not really the point of the article is it?

Anyway, good article.

 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:

Perhaps you should submit an article about the most efficient way to get to E1, I would certainly read that.

In the above, I'm just commenting on what worked for me (and assuming that it might work for some others, though clearly not everyone). I don't think I mentioned efficiency anywhere.
 miku979 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Thank you, that was an interesting article. As you say, different ways of training work for different individuals, and I'm sure that peeps in general are aware that a holistic approach to training is what works best.
What matters really is that targets are achieved and progress is made: so congratulations on your achievements and keep them coming! I'm looking forward to ticking my first E1 too, but a poorly shoulder and sometimes a lack of confidence get in the way. All the best ;-)
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

You are avoiding the question.
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:

I didn't pose the question - you did, or are you just spoiling for an argument?
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Vis a vis the caption on the second photo - any chance of the powers that be could change the logbook grade of StS to E1 from the current E2. I have mailed the crag moderator twice to no avail.
 RocknRoll 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

Your article is in effect an argument in favour of bouldering as training for trad.

I'm not spoiling for a fight but I am interested in a discussion or reasoned argument. You tentatively engaged in the argument and said that stamina wasn't required on slabs after a view was given by myself and others. I subsequently responded to you and clarified my argument, from that point onwards I felt your answers have been evasive. I pursued your evasiveness in the spirit of healthy debate.

I'm happy to leave it at that.
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to RocknRoll:
> (In reply to TRNovice)
>
> Your article is in effect an argument in favour of bouldering as training for trad.

For me (and maybe some others)? Tick.

> Your article is in effect an argument in favour of bouldering as the most efficient training for trad.

For everyone? Cross. For some? Maybe. cf. the intro to Hard Grit.
 AJM 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

That (the grade of StS) is a bit of a joke isn't it - I'm not saying its either, but it'd be far nearer the mark graded HVS than it would E2.........

Should get on Fools Gold soon....

I tend towards the slabby and bold for my hardest trad onsights, but my hardest sport onsights have been routes where the crux is quite short and 'ard followed by a rest and easier climbing above........ funny how I do it differently on each rocktype. Although mind you if my experience of 6a bolted limestone slabs is anything to go by then a 6b+ bolted slab must be, well, interesting.....

In response to the debate, boldness is good for pushing grades. Yup. In terms of stamina vs strength, I tend to think of it that if you are ridiculously over strong for a grade that brings a stamina all of its own. If you have the ability to hold on forever that won't necessarily get you through a bouldery crux. A mix of the two is probably optimal, but raw strength will get you a long way.....

AJM
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to TRNovice)
>
> Should get on Fools Gold soon....

Was debating whether to give it another go, instead of downclimbing off of E2s. Certainly a very safe way to do 5c climbing!
 abarro81 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Tom Phillips:
> (In reply to RocknRoll)
>
> Bouldering improves power, but doesn't do much for real endurance similar to that needed for E grades.

You never do cruxy routes where the hard bit is short and powerful? There's a lot of uk routes that have good rests followed by powerful sections trough a buldge/roof/balnk section then back to decent rests.
Obviously everyone prioritises training depending on what style of routes they want to do, but power helps a lot on almost anything. Also, as AJM pointed out, getting strong means you don't get as pumped or powered out on other stuff too...
What's the quickest way to these grades? Usually - get ok at slabs, get bold, pick a soft touch. That doesn't mean it's what you want to train for. Anyway, I think TR's point is a good one: bouldering makes you better at trad. It's one a lot of low/middle grade climbers don't think about and I think the article might make some consider it.
 Sean Kelly 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: These are 2 very different climbs, one is top end E1 and the other is a soft touch for E1, although both have good gear just below the crux. There is a very polished important smear on Fool's Gold and the sequence above the initial crux is superb climbing as opposed to very repetitive slab climbing on the other route. The only way to compare you climbing style, technique, fitness whatever is to do the same climb again with similar conditions/gear. And even then prior knowledge does make for easier climbing. Obviously to really evaluate your climbing you need to have lots of experience at the attempted grade, and HS is not E1.
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Sean Kelly:

I did the 5c crux on FG and failed after this (on the 5b bit). If I had failed the 5c bit, it wouldn't have made much of a contrast with a 5b climb I agree, but that's not what happened.

NWR has StS dead in the middle of its graded list FWIW, unless you generally think all slate is soft touch (not an uncommon opinion, even among some slateheads).

Fiend seems to think FG is classic E0 territory from what I recall.
 Keith Jones 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:
Good article. I personally think that bouldering gives you the confidence in being able to do the technical moves, which then helps the head game. This "should" then translate into trad climbing provided you can do the gear.
FWIW my experiences probably reflected yours in that I enjoy slate except I did Launching Pad as first e1, so only bolts to clip!
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Keith Jones:

Failed Holy, Holy, Holy last year (for reasons that could make another article). Didn't like the look of the polished dishes on LP before the first bolt that much .
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

BTW if I appear grumpy at all on this thread, I've just got back from the US on the red-eye and am horribly jet-lagged - it gets worse with age .
 Keith Jones 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:
If all goes well Holy might be done this summer, found LP to actually be small ledges and all of a sudden I was at the first bolt(and yes I did put a runner into Holy Holy - at my level of competence it would be foolish not to)
 osh 01 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice: Good routes to try at the grade would be Californian Arete (somewhat bold, but technically easy, I really enjoyed it); Sterling Silver (soft touch for the grade, looks easier than Fools Gold, which I haven't done); Gnat Attack (again somewhat bold, but the crux is just by the bolt); or Combat Rock on the edge of Twll Mawr (gets soft touch E1 on the Slate Wiki).
 TRNovice 01 Aug 2008
In reply to odr:

Thanks. Have SS on my E2 possibles list. Isn't CA effectively a solo? Climbed GA on <whisper>top-rope</whisper> on a PyB course back in the day, so not top of my list for a non-onsight climb. Don't know Combat Rock, will check it out.
 Keith Jones 01 Aug 2008
In reply to odr: Good routes to try at the grade would be Californian Arete (somewhat bold, but technically easy

This is e1 4c in my guide, which makes it a bit of a chop route. Think I'd prefer to try something like Fool's Gold, although harder (and should be within the OP technical ability ) is at least is well protected which helps the head game.
Bouldering is only training for harder bouldering, harder bouldering is a week in Font and Font is only training for Almscliff.

A mat is somewhere for the dog to rest and a beanie keeps your ears warm.



Surely it all depends on the nature of the route - as with any grade, E1s come in all shapes and sizes. Some E1s have distinct technical cruxes with not much need for stamina, no complicated gear placements and no head issues. For such routes it will be sufficient to be technically proficient and bouldering will get you there. Other E1s are not massively technical but are stamina fests or have little and/or poor gear. Bouldering won't be much use for those, climbing lots at HVS will be. Same goes for any grade you are trying to break into.

My first E grade was a well protected but pumpy E2 5b. Bouldering won't have made that one easier, nor had I done much bouldering at that stage.
 TRNovice 02 Aug 2008
In reply to Misha:

Something that got lost in the edit was that I had done a lot of bouldering in Bishop, which tends to have longer, high-ball problems, which help with both head issues and endurance. Not all bouldering is on 3m problems.
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: I think bouldering is a great way to build strength (short problems - good for crux moves) and power endurance (longer problems/traverses - good for longer crux sections).

It's rare that I can really 'train' leading trad routes. I can't max-out repeatedly to gain fitness in the same way as I can bouldering.

On a less technical level bouldering is great for building up your 'repertoire of moves', trying new things, gaining confidence on rock types and practising trying very hard (which is a difficult skill to master).

On a mental level (which is just as important as a physical level) bouldering is great because you gain lots of experience and familiarity with the rock, and you might climb much harder technical grades than you are aiming for on a trad lead - hence building a mental buffer zone, knowing you've climbed 5c earlier in the week, when the route you're attempting is 5b.

So advice from me - bouldering is good for your trad at E1 level.

Nice article TRNovice.

Jack
 TRNovice 02 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Thanks Jack, glad to hear it works for E8 as well as E1 .
 goneforever 03 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

The piece just illustrates that E1 can be a broad grade, and all other things being equal, you can fail on an E1, and succeed on another.

I had to work hard on Fools Gold when it was still E2 5c, and would say it was a hardish E1 with a definite toughish crux move.

Seams the Same is an entirely different kettle of fish, yes, E1, but with no move as hard as FG, as the technical grades suggest. I found it much easier.

It's a bit like comparing having a go at the Tippler, failing, then succeeding on Millsom's Minion the next day after a decent warm up.
 TRNovice 03 Aug 2008
In reply to Martin76:

I agree, but...

As mentioned above, I did the 5c crux on FG, so my reasons for failure were other than tehcnical difficulty. Similarly, my reasons for success on StS were not just down to it being an easier technical (and less well-protected) climb. As with most leading it was mental issues IMO.
 Stuart S 03 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

> Thanks Jack, glad to hear it works for E8 as well as E1 .

Also worth noting the parallels between Jack's comments, and how Dave Macleod made use of the bouldering traverses on the Sky Pilot wall in Glen Nevis as part of his endurance training for Echo Wall...

 TRNovice 03 Aug 2008
In reply to Stuart S:

Also how many of the top climbers regularly boulder as well...
 Quiddity 04 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

Even without considering the crux on FG, though, the 5b section is sustained and quite pumpy laybacking from what I remember, and you've just had to pull quite a strenuous 5c crux out of the bag. Whereas the 5b bit of STS is short (the crux) and slabby and in-balance. So even though they are both 5b, it's still not comparing like for like IMHO.

I do think STS and FG are quite different kettles of fish (though I've not led FG) but I do agree with the main thrust of the article. I'm not sure it's the way forward for everyone though - I think the bit that holds me back on routes is sustained, pumpy climbing and longer routes, just because bouldering doesn't prepare you for that stuff.
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to plexiglass_nick:
> (In reply to TRNovice)
>
> Even without considering the crux on FG, though, the 5b section is sustained and quite pumpy laybacking from what I remember

Yes, that was the bit that I struggled with. I found the 5c crux easier than the prospect of sustained 5b above. Though I should emphasise that, as I wasn't really bouldering at the time, this wasn't as a result of this.
 goneforever 04 Aug 2008
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

I never quite understood why FG came back down to E1. It's well protected, but there's plenty of it!
 adam06 04 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice: i've top roped fools gold and wouldnt try leading it... ive lead seems the same and it quite a bit easier. if ur looking for an even easier E1 go for looning the tube! went from HS on rhyolite to E1 on slate in about 3 weeks.
 Morgan Woods 04 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:

i think this was a useful article for the aspiring E1 leader.....you picked yourself up and dusted off the shame of failure and got back on the bike....result!
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to adam06:
> (In reply to TRNovice) if ur looking for an even easier E1

I'm mostly failing E2s nowadays, but thanks anyway .
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to TRNovice)
>
> i think this was a useful article for the aspiring E1 leader

Maybe for the aspiring Ex leader as well. BTW an ellipsis has three dots. The Oz education system in action again ;-).
 Morgan Woods 04 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:
> (In reply to Morgan Woods)
> [...]
>
> BTW an ellipsis has three dots.

Is that what it's called...anyway i was improvising.
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:

You were clearly going for the onsight post ;-).
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

*cough*

Further to my comment above, any chance of the grade being changed to E1 from the current E2 on the logbooks (as below)?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=7408
 Morgan Woods 04 Aug 2008
In reply to TRNovice:
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
>
> *cough*
>
> Further to my comment above, any chance of the grade being changed to E1 from the current E2 on the logbooks (as below)?
>
> http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=7408

good point...did the confusion arise because Stevie Haston soloed the first ascent and just gave it a speculative grade?
 Quiddity 04 Aug 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods:

I think (someone correct me?) it's because it cleaned up and some of the holds have improved.
 TRNovice 04 Aug 2008
In reply to plexiglass_nick:

That's what it says in the slate guide.
 TRNovice 26 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

Did someone post something and think better of it (Al Evans and his post-post deletion fetish maybe) as this magically just popped to the top of the forums???
 raphael 26 Aug 2008
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC:

TR Novice,

Under the line, I wasn't certain that I should be there

Intuition

It had been easy, it had felt natural, it had felt that I was meant to be there and meant to be doing this climb

Intuition

So you can climb E1, and more importantly you also came to feel the value of listening to your heart and not your mind.
 TRNovice 26 Aug 2008
In reply to raphael:

I've always gone with the percentages on head versus heart - in my experience, head tends to be right at least 8 out of 10 times and I prefer those odds .

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.