/ 7a within the year?

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michaelofthegraham - on 12 Apr 2019

Hi all. After shoulder surgery for a couple of SLAP tears and rotator cuff damage in late August, I started tentatively climbing again in January/February and have finally got back into the swing of things. I didn't climb at all last year and my progress was truly halted by the time off, injury and surgery. Now I am back on the walls and rock, I want to make up for lost time.

I have given myself the goal of climbing a sport 7a by the end of the year, and was wondering what people more knowledgeable than I think about this. I currently climb about 6a without problems and 6b/6c on a good day. What would it take to achieve this goal in terms of practice, regime, strength training? I boulder twice a week, go to the local indoor wall once a week and get out whenever I can at the weekends. I am open to all and any tips/information/training advice on how to progress in the next few months and see if I can achieve this personal bet with myself

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jackob - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

Not a lot by the sounds of it .just some repointing and commitment to working a route. 

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1poundSOCKS - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

> I have given myself the goal of climbing a sport 7a by the end of the year, and was wondering what people more knowledgeable than I think about this. I currently climb about 6a without problems and 6b/6c on a good day.

Are you talking about 7a onsight? Or are you happy to work a route?

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Siderunner - on 12 Apr 2019

Without knowing any specific weaknesses you have then it'd be a case of needing a little more of everything.

I'd do a combination of working limit boulders and aerobic mileage for a month then change it up to PE like 3x3 boulders and lapping routes.Then get on some 7as and see if you can project one ... and if not train the thing that lets you down.

Don't neglect physio and get lots of fall practise in ... there's often a big difference in confidence at taking falls between those I see stuck at 6b and those operating in the low 7s.

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jkarran - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

> I have given myself the goal of climbing a sport 7a by the end of the year, and was wondering what people more knowledgeable than I think about this. I currently climb about 6a without problems and 6b/6c on a good day. What would it take to achieve this goal in terms of practice, regime, strength training?

Assuming 6b/c are onsight grades and not one-offs in a backwater gym it sounds like 7a in a session is as likely as 7a in a year. Learn to redpoint.

That said, looking back on a lot of niggly chronic injuries I was too keen to ignore I'd set the goal of having a good year building condition and enjoying climbing without getting hurt. If you happen to get to 7a in that time (can't see why you wouldn't if you get on some) then great but if you obsess over a number you're more likely to do yourself another mischief.

jk

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Iamgregp - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

Interesting thought.... I'm normally fairly solid at around 6b and am starting to redpoint some 6c's so I'm at a similar level.

Do I think I can redpoint a 7a by the end of the year?

I don't think it's impossible, but I'll need to keep working hard this year, and I'll need a bit of luck too - avoid injuries as much as possible, and find the right 7a that suits my style.

I'd give myself 8/1 on making it, but at those odds I'm willing to try!

What odds would you give yourself?!

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Tru - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

1.Psychology

Getting better at climbing or anything really is about being ok with failing. Coming away from a weekend's climbing or a session down the wall with no sends but lessons learnt and training achieved is a subtle shift in mind set that will see you climb 7a and beyond.

2. Fingers

People who tell you its all technique are either rubbish or already have strong fingers.

Warm up properly, take rest days but always train your fingers either by hard bouldering or structured fingerboarding.

3. Tactics.

Do: Warm up, Experiment with beta, complete all moves, link sections, send.

Don't: Climb in the sun, eat a massive sandwich, get distracted by easier climbs, fail to rest.  

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Iamgregp - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Tru:

Thanks, all good advice!

I'm good on 1. I took a course and have no qualms about taking falls

2. is a problem for me, my fingers aren't as strong as they need to be, but I've just hung a beatmaker in the house.  Just need to start using it now!

3. Solid advice, particularly experimenting with beta, need to train my mind to not just go for the first solution to the problem that it comes up with!

Will let you know how I get on late December! 

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jkarran - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Tru:

> 2. Fingers People who tell you its all technique are either rubbish or already have strong fingers.

> Warm up properly, take rest days but always train your fingers either by hard bouldering or structured fingerboarding.

My fingers were strongest when I was 19-20 years old but I could never do much with them, I was too green and they were too fragile, the upshot being they were pretty much chronically injured for a decade of fun but moderate climbing. Early 30s with fingers still giving chronic dull pain but otherwise much fitter, much more flexible than I had been in years, better on my feet and tactically with a good sense of what was and wasn't possible I got to redpointing mid-high F7s. I was starting to run into strength issues (including fingers) on some harder routes but motivation petered out as my toes started playing up before it ever became a really serious limitation. I was never reliably bouldering V4 in a session and never used a fingerboard or specific finger training (other than a super soft squeezy ball to help keep the joints mobile).

There's more than one way to skin a cat.

jk

Post edited at 15:23
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Tru - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

Point 1. Was about failing not falling. Fear of falling is easy to get over, fear of failure is a much harder battle.

Let me know if you need a belay, always keen to climb with psyched partners.

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Presley Whippet on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Tru:

2. Feet, much more important. 

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WB on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

Yes. You can do it.

Work out which route or where you want to climb your 7a. Train to meet the criteria of the route, power or endurance or whatever it is. Set monthly goals with progression to help you get there, but don't get hung up if you don't meet these goals, its the big one you are after. Use training cycles. a few weeks of progressive training followed by a rest period. start the next cycle at a level equal to halfway through the previous cycle. Get out as often as possible and try 7a's already - get a 'feel' for them.

If you can (honestly) climb 6c already you will smash it. But even if 6b is more realistic i think you can do it.

All the best 

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Alex@home - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

Find a route that you want to do and put the effort into doing it. 

1) Strength isn't everything. Some years back my fingers were as strong as they'd ever been (did my one and only 7a+ boulder) but I couldn't do the 7a route I was trying. A year later I wasn't nearly as strong but I had more fitness and more patience and I got up the same route in a session.

2) Redpointing technique is important. Get a clipstick (if you don't already have one) and don't even try the moves until you've got the rope through the anchors. Then feel for where the holds are and work out moves and sequences with the rope above you. You'll waste far less energy than trying to work out moves when you're facing a fall. If you/your belayer don't have an auto locking belay device then get one. If you're not used to doing this you'll be spending a lot more time hanging on the rope than normal and they make belaying much easier and safer

3) Don't worry if you don't manage it. Injuries suck big time. The main thing is to enjoy climbing and not get injured again. I just had 2 months off with a(nother) impingement and I can't do things I could do last year. But I can climb and that's the important bit

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najki_2000 - on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

I was climbing similar grades in the year I redpointed my first 7a. I could get up 6as no problem and do 6b/6b+ in a couple of goes (after figuring out beta first). I had just spent winter doing lots of bouldering in winter bouldering comp with a mate. Then a lot of people around me started climbing 7as so I decided to give one a go - and did it in three sessions. So in my case it was just a matter of trying one. I think you can definitely do it

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Exile - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:g

I've avoided injury this year by spending about a 1.5hrs of my climbing / training time each week (which is usually about 8hrs total) doing antagonistic exercises to avoid shoulder / elbow / finger injuries, and it's worked really well. I do 20 minutes various exercises as part of a warm up and then press ups and some TRX exercises at the end of the session. 

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zv - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

I don't think it's unreasonable at all. I climbed my first 7a at a time where my previous best redpoint was 6b and was onsighting about 6a+.

I just focused on my strengths which at the time was bouldering so found a bouldery route while on holiday, took me 3 sessions.

I think the two main ingredients to success on a similar grade jump are:

Bring able to boulder the moves from the rope either immediately or after some working. Don't be afraid to spend a few sessions sussing them out.

Having a good flow when you climb, without overgripping and going for it rather than worrying about the fall. Falling is often an unpleasant proposition in the lower 6s but is often very safe in the 7s and higher 6s (dependant on route and belayer of course ;) ).

Let me know if you want any route suggestions for a particular area and good luck on your journey. It's great fun having a goal!

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GridNorth - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

It's perfectly possible but I'm not sure my situation is a fair measure.  I climbed several 7a's in my 50's, mostly at Portland and then went off the boil a bit. When I was 68 and climbing mostly 6a/6b I decided I wanted to climb 7a again before I hit 70 so this was more or less within a 12 month period.  I managed it, just, but bear in mind I do not train and I only onsight. A month in Kalymnos one Easter followed by another month in October did the trick.  I did not climb much through the summer, perhaps once a month. For me hitting 6c requires some effort and 7a requires a hell of a lot more.

Al

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ti_pin_man - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to michaelofthegraham:

yes, totally achievable and some have good advice above.  the only addition I would say is pick your 7as routes to suit your preferred type of climbing and then the grade should be viable.  

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L Wiley Coyote2 - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

>  I've just hung a beatmaker in the house.  Just need to start using it now!

> Be careful with it. It is very easy to injure yourself if you are not REALLY warmed up before you go on it

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Iamgregp - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Tru:

Oh shit, so it was!  Sorry, must read more carefully....

Fear of failing, that's something worth working on.  Get really frustrated when I don't get up something I feel a I should be able to get up.  Need to be more humble!

Will certainly shout you for a belay if I'm free - though you've an impressive ticklist so not sure I'm really in your league - I'm a loooong way off giving DNA a go.....

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Tru - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

It's more important to have a partner keen to push themselves rather than climb the exact grade as you. I'd be psyched to climb with someone looking to send their first 7a.

Sometimes climbs at the next level seem impossible and anyone who can climb them must be amazing, but trust me I'm a right punter I just did the right sort of training and fumbled my way to the top.

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Iamgregp - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Tru:

Agreed - that's so true - I was proper psyched when my mate led his first route indoors a few weeks back, only a 5 but the buzz was awesome...

Defs be cool to climb together.  What are your climbing plans over the summer?  We're going to Finale in a couple of weeks, then hopefully a few trips to Dorset over the summer and then a week or so in Kalymnos in September.  Any of them line up with your plans?

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seankenny - on 16 Apr 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

Finale is a wonderful area but don’t expect to push your grade! Do expect to learn a lot about technical fingery vertical limestone climbing.

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Iamgregp - on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to seankenny:

Yeah I'm excited to try out a new area, technical is good, like a bit of that...

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