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jt512


Aug 9, 2005, 3:03 PM
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Toproping for flow
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I'm not sure if this WW material per se, and it probably isn't original either, but I wanted to mention this "trick": Sometimes I find myself stuck in a climbing mode in which I climb haltingly and hesitant about making committing moves. When this happens on a route, I sometimes find it useful to toprope the route once and pay attention to how I climb the route on TR, when I feel safe. Usually, I find that I climb faster, smoother, with greater willingness to make committing moves. Then I remind myself that this is how I climb when I'm not worried about falling, and then I lead the route with the image in mind of how I just climbed it on TR. I often find that I am then able to lead the route in the same manner that I just TRed, more smoothly and with greater commitment.

Anybody else do this, or have similar "tricks?"

-Jay


alpnclmbr1


Aug 9, 2005, 3:22 PM
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I use a similar trick. Skip the first two bolts in order to ensure the proper frame of mind.

Normally, I avoid a tr because it can often make it harder to attain an appropriate frame of mind.

Other ideas:
Warm up by down leading a route.
Skip every other bolt.

Ie: Something that is more mentally challenging than your project will be.

Also
Speed climbing and skipping holds.


wonderwoman


Aug 9, 2005, 6:06 PM
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In reply to:
Other ideas:
Warm up by down leading a route.
Skip every other bolt.

What is down leading? Does that mean down climbing after you've lead a route? And if so, how do you skip bolts?

I like the idea of TRing the climb first. I can definately see where I tense up and become stiff when I lead something that I would normally flow up on TR. It's as if I become a different climber altogether. I think I'll try that suggestion.


jt512


Aug 9, 2005, 6:15 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Other ideas:
Warm up by down leading a route.
Skip every other bolt.

What is down leading?

Down leading is down climbing and unclipping as you go; thus you are on lead.

-Jay


andy_reagan


Aug 9, 2005, 6:30 PM
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So, decide for yourself if you think toproping a climb before EVER getting on it on lead is a good idea, or of a warrior mentality. I don't think this is what Jay is talking about and further I don't think its a good idea. I have succumbed to this idea a time or two and usually regret it.

Personally I don't find that it helps too much to toprope a climb if I am not feeling the flow, though admittedly I have only tried this tactic a couple of times. Usually if I start getting hung up (pun intended) on a route I will leave it for another day. No reason to beat your head against a rock wall. I prefer onsighting (or at least 2nd/3rd try redpoints) to "projecting" sport routes, anyways.

Here's what usually works for me to "feel the flow":

I usually do a longer than average warmup. I like to lead 2 or three routes well below what grade I am currently pushing, say 2 number grades below. These are usually climbed well within my aerobic ability. Then I like to do a couple more routes a number grade below. By then I am thoroughly warmed up, hopefully in a good frame of mind, and its time to jump on hard (for me) stuff. I usually like to warmdown on at least 2 routes (or at least a couple laps on one route) that are 2+ number grades below.

I like doing a high volume warm up and warm down. I think it helps prevent injury by thoroughly warming up and warming down and probably has some benefit on cappillary growth. Obviously you take what the rock gives you so an open frame of mind is critical (sometimes there's not a plethora of warm up/downs). Further, this helps me get into "the flow," which has always been linked with my hardest sends.

Peace,
Andy

ps cool topic!


arnoilgner


Aug 9, 2005, 7:13 PM
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Hi Jay,
"Trick?" Think about this. What is the goal, climbing the route without falling or improving as a climber? Doing the TR thing will probably help create an image of how you can climb the route in a flowing way. Doing this, however, insulates you from "feeling" the true consequences of the situation.

If the goal is to become a better climber then you don't want to insulate yourself from the situation. You want to come face-to-face with your fear of falling, which is probably what is keeping your climbing from flowing. Sounds like you need to do some falling practice. Anyway, to become a better climber you don't want to use techniques to trick yourself into achieving some goal, even if it is to create flowing climbing. You want to be honest and face your fears squarely. Better to ask, "Why is my climbing not flowing?" and work on that.
arno


unabonger


Aug 10, 2005, 7:08 AM
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In reply to:
If the goal is to become a better climber then you don't want to insulate yourself from the situation. You want to come face-to-face with your fear of falling, which is probably what is keeping your climbing from flowing.

I see this point and agree with it--if your intention is to overcome the fear of falling, toproping won't help. And if Jay is talking about "real" routes, rather than warming up or getting back into the groove after a break then I agree. I think distinctions are in order here, also.

Isn't "flow" about more than overcoming fear of falling? It is about the warmth and motion of the body and mind moving smoothly and with full attention. I often toprope my first warmups so that my body gets engaged and smooth. On subsequent warmups (or even the same warmup) I will lead to help engage the "lead head".

This is different than the insulation you mention, rather it is a deliberate strategy to engage various skills. Toproping gets a bad rap but in my mind it can be without a doubt, the purest, most free form of climbing. There are no bragging rights. No one remembers the First TR ascent. Or any TR ascent. It matters only to you. No fear, no ego. You vs the rock without the distractions of danger or social status. An open minded climber might find themselves learning some subtleties of climbing under such conditions, I think.

UB


unabonger


Aug 10, 2005, 7:20 AM
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In reply to:
Something that is more mentally challenging than your project will be.

I can dig that. Go flail on a v9 and your v6 project will fllllooooowwww next time. This type of "supercompensation" works for me physically and for toughness against pain, but otherwise your suggestions are geared toward increasing your comfort with risk. I've done some of those things and found they didn't really make me more comfortable on other runouts. In other words, "supercompensating" by trying something riskier still doesn't make the original climb seem safer....

UB


hazael


Aug 10, 2005, 8:33 AM
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IMHO top roping may help you if you want to check the moves and examine the route again... but it will not help you at all for leading.

It seems you have some problems in reading the route while you are leading (cuz of fear i think), and you can become a better reader by leading a lot (specially trying to onsight easy routes, perhaps 1 number level down your normal climbs)

Once you are good in reading the next correct movement, you will be flowing better in the routes you wanna climb.

greetz


alpnclmbr1


Aug 10, 2005, 9:35 AM
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Your body knows what to do. Most times that you stop or hesitate on a climb, it is because your mind got in the way of letting your body do its thing.

You ever notice how the advice to "do one move at a time," often works to get someone moving again. Most times it make little difference what that move is. Just the physical act sets things back in motion.


jt512


Aug 10, 2005, 9:44 AM
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In reply to:
Hi Jay,
"Trick?" Think about this. What is the goal, climbing the route without falling or improving as a climber? Doing the TR thing will probably help create an image of how you can climb the route in a flowing way. Doing this, however, insulates you from "feeling" the true consequences of the situation.

Maybe I should have called it a technique rather than a trick. If I find that if I'm leading a route too statically, nervously, etc., what TRing it does is it shows me how I would climb the route if I weren't concerned at all about falling. I'm not sure I agree with your point that this insulates me from "feeling" the true consequences of the situation. The true consequences of the situation (in the cases I'm thinking of, anyway) is that the falls aren't dangerous. My problem is that on lead, if there is a choice between doing a sequence statically and doing it dynamically, I'll sometimes choose the static sequence (especially on sight), even though it is less efficient. I'm more willing to do the dynamic sequence on lead after I have experienced it on TR; it's the same sequence on lead as it is TR, after all, I reason.

In reply to:
You want to come face-to-face with your fear of falling, which is probably what is keeping your climbing from flowing. Sounds like you need to do some falling practice.

Could be.

-Jay


noell


Aug 10, 2005, 10:22 AM
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I used to experience the same sort of dilemma, and ultimately, it was my goal to always be able to lead any route I set my eyes on. So here is what happened- my climbing partner 'took away' my TR priveledges. :P Basically, if the falls were safe (ie no scary slab run out on a route that wasn't in my ability)then I lead the route. Which is basically every route I ever want to do anyway.

Here is what happened- I have become used to leading all the time, and therefore, I climb the same whether I am on TR or on lead, with no differences in how I will do moves (dynamic or static). Honestly, now, TR is annoying - the rope gets in my way! I am more comfortable to go for stuff when all I see is that next hold/move/ledge.

So.. my advice is that if you want to feel that 'flow' when you are leading, then lead. It'll come with time. The TR bit will only prolonge the suffering, in my opinion. :roll:


Partner gamehendge


Aug 10, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Since I don't put too much emphasis whether I onsight or flash a route, I often TR a route that is above my current redpoint level. It helps me work out the moves in my mind. I also climb it stopping @ all the bolts finding the best stances. The only time this isn't the case is if I really want to climb a route and I am the only one in my group that can attempt that grade. Then it's fiesta de la whippers. :D


belayingis4play


Aug 10, 2005, 11:12 AM
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A few weekends ago while my friend and i were working on our project and after my partners attempt I decided to employ the yo-yo technique. While climbing to the forth bolt (where my partner was spit off) I noticed that I was doing some of the moves differently. This was because I was more less on top rope and it changed the movement. In light of this I have started working on my proj only on lead. Also it is amazing what we can do when we are in a scary situation. Some of my best moves have come when I was staring a 20 footer dead in the face. Forget about the fall and crank the move, but still be safe.


flipnfall


Aug 10, 2005, 2:06 PM
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BTW, that's an excellent way to train for a route. I lead routes I have TRd much more easily.

GT


degaine


Aug 10, 2005, 2:50 PM
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In reply to:
Hi Jay,
"Trick?" Think about this. What is the goal, climbing the route without falling or improving as a climber? Doing the TR thing will probably help create an image of how you can climb the route in a flowing way. Doing this, however, insulates you from "feeling" the true consequences of the situation.

If the goal is to become a better climber then you don't want to insulate yourself from the situation. You want to come face-to-face with your fear of falling, which is probably what is keeping your climbing from flowing. Sounds like you need to do some falling practice. Anyway, to become a better climber you don't want to use techniques to trick yourself into achieving some goal, even if it is to create flowing climbing. You want to be honest and face your fears squarely. Better to ask, "Why is my climbing not flowing?" and work on that.
arno


Hi Arno,

Sometimes top roping resets me mentally. If on a given day the fear of falling takes over, I'll top rope a climb similar to hitting the "reboot" button on the computer. With the relative safety of a top rope, I focus on the moves, and then re-realize, "hey, I can do this, why all the fuss?" Then, when more relaxed mentally, I'll take off again on lead. This may or may not be on the same climb.


fracture


Aug 10, 2005, 2:54 PM
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Depending on the goals, I think this tactic is great if it actually helps you. (And if it doesn't become a crutch, etc).

What I mean by depending on the goals, is that sometimes you may be interested in (as Arno says) "improving as a climber". Other days are more performance oriented, and you may just want to do anything you can which will help you send the route.

Sometimes when I get on a new route which has a dyno to a hold I can't reach from the last bolt, I'll want to stick clip up to the next bolt so I can feel the target hold before trying it. I feel like if I learn that sort of move without the extra mental baggage (worrying about whether it is sharp, where exactly to hit it, etc) I'll learn it better.

This isn't quite the same, but it seems like the same basic tactic and seems like there's the same question: maybe (for onsighting purposes) I should just try to get over that kind of stuff and try to hit those things (and maybe cut my skin a few times, but so what). That may be the case, but a) I'm not all that interested in onsight climbing (haha :D) and b) even if that were a goal doesn't mean every day I'm out climbing I should be working on it. Some days I'm just working on learning the moves on a new route, and learning a new dyno while climbing scared or timid might just make it take longer to redpoint the route.

How's that for some rambly thoughts. :)


jt512


Aug 10, 2005, 3:18 PM
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In reply to:
Depending on the goals, I think this tactic is great if it actually helps you. (And if it doesn't become a crutch, etc).

What I mean by depending on the goals, is that sometimes you may be interested in (as Arno says) "improving as a climber". Other days are more performance oriented, and you may just want to do anything you can which will help you send the route.

Whenever I climb (ok 99% of the time; the other 1% I'm doing pure redpoint-or-bust climbing) I'm trying to improve as a climber. I consider learning to climb more dynamically one aspect of becoming a better climber. If I suspect that I'm climbing a route too statically, then one way I can find this out is to take the mental game out of the picture, and compare how I climb the route on TR with how I've been climbing it on lead. On TR I may climb faster, smoother, and more dynamically, which then confirms my suspicion that I've been holding back, so to speak, on lead. Once I see that, I find it simple to transfer the more dynamic moves to lead. I think that occasionally I don't even see the more dynamic sequence on lead; out of (phantom) fear, subconcsiously, I only see the "safer," more static sequence, and I am left with only a vague feeling that I'm climbing too statically. Then, taking a TR burn opens my eyes to climbing the route with a freer, more dynamic approach.

In reply to:
...maybe...I should just try to get over that kind of stuff and try to hit those things (and maybe cut my skin a few times, but so what).

Well, that is one reason I started this thread. I certainly find the technique useful; but in the back of my mind I wonder in the long run I would be better off never doing it -- mind you I don't do it often as it is -- I lead climb >95% of the time.

In reply to:
Some days I'm just working on learning the moves on a new route, and learning a new dyno while climbing scared or timid might just make it take longer to redpoint the route.

Few climbers (I guess noell is an exception) would argue that it is never helpful to toprope. In learning a new route, toproping hard sections can certainly be more efficient than leading them, if for no other reason than you don't have to expend energy repeatedly yarding yourself back up the rope after falls.

-Jay


roboclimber


Aug 10, 2005, 4:00 PM
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Jay,

On really steep routes, do you have any tricks for setting a toprope? It seems that if the route is steep enough, leading it is the only safe way to keep from grounding on a fall, especially in the first few feet of the climb.


jt512


Aug 11, 2005, 10:17 AM
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In reply to:
Jay,

On really steep routes, do you have any tricks for setting a toprope? It seems that if the route is steep enough, leading it is the only safe way to keep from grounding on a fall, especially in the first few feet of the climb.

As you know, you'll back clip the rope the draws Other than that, the only "trick" I know is spotting the climber until he is high enough off the gound.

-Jay


unabonger


Aug 11, 2005, 10:33 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Jay,

On really steep routes, do you have any tricks for setting a toprope? It seems that if the route is steep enough, leading it is the only safe way to keep from grounding on a fall, especially in the first few feet of the climb.

As you know, you'll back clip the rope the draws Other than that, the only "trick" I know is spotting the climber until he is high enough off the gound.

-Jay

Right. Toproping is more hassle than its worth if the route overhangs much at all. It's ok on well wired moderately steep routes, but onsighting steep TR is harder than leading it. Unclipping? Yech.


fracture


Aug 11, 2005, 4:07 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Depending on the goals, I think this tactic is great if it actually helps you. (And if it doesn't become a crutch, etc).

What I mean by depending on the goals, is that sometimes you may be interested in (as Arno says) "improving as a climber". Other days are more performance oriented, and you may just want to do anything you can which will help you send the route.

Whenever I climb (ok 99% of the time; the other 1% I'm doing pure redpoint-or-bust climbing) I'm trying to improve as a climber.

Cool. I probably ought to have that mindset.... But in reality I'd say 60% of my time is spent thinking short-term about sending particular routes; on road trips this probably jumps to 90%.

D'oh. :D

In reply to:
Few climbers (I guess noell is an exception) would argue that it is never helpful to toprope.

I have no idea whether this applies to noell, but I'd even go so far as to say that in the same way that some climbers have mental issues with leading, other climbers have mental issues with toproping.

I'm sure you've met the type. These are the kinds of guys who claim stick-clipping is "cheating" (or stick-clipping more than N (for an arbitrary value of N) bolts is "cheating"). In my experience they often seem to be secretly significantly less comfortable with lead falls than they try to let on. :lol:

If you're interested in sport climbing, ultimately the goal should be to be comfortable enough (with everything) to use the best tool for the job. Sometimes (well, actually I'd say the vast majority of the time) this means leading. Sometimes it means leading with a bunch of bolts stick-clipped (:D). Other times (low-angle routes with hard clips or whatever), fully toproping the route is the way to go. Sometimes this means skipping a hard clip (if it is a safe fall), and running it out to the next one.

It's all the same if your interests are in the actual climbing.

I find it hard to see how toproping "for flow" as you describe could actually harm your ability to be comfortable leading, anymore than taking some long falls would make you less comfortable with short ones (or vice versa), so I doubt you'd be "better off never doing it". It's just another tool in the bag---and I'd say your technique sounds pretty cool. I think I'm generally pretty dynamic, but if I had the same problem with reverting to "more comfortable" static movement, I'd try what you're doing and see if it could help. (Maybe in combination with additional falling practice, as Arno was suggesting).

8^)


shank


Aug 11, 2005, 4:43 PM
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If the falls are clean, then I see no reason to top-rope it. Isn't it part of the process to mentally access the risks involved and determine whether the risks are worth the reward on your way up? I can see what you are saying about doing it TR making it easier to commit to the moves when you lead it afterwards, but I think it also subtracts from the learning experience.

And, if you miss the move, I think everyone could use some falling practice.

Thoughts.


arnoilgner


Aug 15, 2005, 8:57 AM
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Hi Unabonger,

Yes, your point is well taken. Distinctions are important. I think toproping is a valuable way to climb, as working a route is also a valuable tool. It also really depends on what we want out of climbing. One way isn't better than another.
Be well,
arno


arnoilgner


Aug 15, 2005, 9:05 AM
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Hi Jay, Your Aug 10th post below:

"I'm more willing to do the dynamic sequence on lead after I have experienced it on TR; it's the same sequence on lead as it is TR, after all, I reason."

I think it is helpful to understand our intention behind our actions. It sounds like you are wanting to create an image (kinda like visualizing) of what climbing would flow like so that when you go on lead you can climb up to that image. I do think this can be helpful. Just be honest with yourself about covering up any fears of falling.
best,
arno

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