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walldancer


Jul 13, 2009, 5:59 PM
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how to keep up, no pun...
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What can a girl do to increase strength and keep motivated to keep climbing with a partner who is much better than them?Mad
I practice technique and workout, but am being outclimbed at an excellerated rate.Crazy
Any suggestions to improve on skills?
Have been introduced to climbing about 2 years ago and would like to get better but feel stuck at a certain level, which is not a high level let's say....Tongue
I feel one area to improve on is my fear, not in my belayer but in my own skills.


Partner happiegrrrl


Jul 13, 2009, 6:22 PM
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Re: [walldancer] how to keep up, no pun... [In reply to]
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You made another thread about your fear(panic attacks), which leads me to wonder if the issues are arising when you are right at your limit, or if you're having the issue no matter the level of difficulty. Also, are you referring specifically to when you're leading, or is that not part of the equation?

If it's happening at the apex of your ability, while on lead, it may help to take it down a grade or two and regain your footing, so to speak. Sort of a way to calm down.....

Also, comparing our ability to someone elses isn't really all that helpful. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


lena_chita
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Jul 13, 2009, 6:50 PM
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First of all, why do you climb? The motivation has to come from you, and only you know what motivates you. Why are you persisting in doing something that terrifies you? Why do you want to get better at it? Are you climbing b/c your boyfriend climbs, and you are afraid that he won't like you if you don't climb better? Are you afraid that your climbng partners will ditch you if you can't keep up? Do you climb because overcoming the fear and doing something you are afraid of gives you a sense of accomplishent? Because climbing is cool?

it sounds like the fear is a major thing you are dealing with, so I would spend some time trying to figure out what i is that you are afraid of.

If you are not trusting yourself (not sure what it means), you need to practice whatever it is that you are weak at in a safe setting-- e.i. if you are not trusting your feet, you work on your footwork on toprope.

If you are afraid of heights, you have to learn to focus on your immediate surroundings, the circle within 6 feet of you, and block out the exposure. Orif you are afraid of falling, you need to practice some falls in a safe setting-- again, it depends on what exactly you are afraid of.


granite_grrl


Jul 14, 2009, 5:09 AM
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What style of climbing are you doing? When I used to do a lot more trad climbing it was a little harder climbing with my husband because I'd make him follow me on a bunch of climbs that were oh so easy for him. Things work out a lot better now that we sport climb more because it's easy for me to work on my route, he can work on his route and we'll just strip our own draws at the end of the day.

Also, when I started getting serious about sport climbing it helped me start climbing quite a bit harder too, which narrows the gap. If you feel that you're stuck at a certain level you need to shake things up a bit. Start pounding away at the routes you're bad at, spend weeks on the same route if you have to.

As for fear, it's a complicated issue. You have to start by figuring out what you're scared of and why before you can start chipping away at it.


acacongua


Jul 14, 2009, 6:29 AM
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Travel to the RRG in October and take one of our many clinics that will be offered at Rocktoberfest - Arno's Warriors Way sounds good for your situation or there will be specific training courses offered.

Fear is a leading issue in hindering climbing. Once I calmed down, I started climbing harder and onsiting. Look at your diet - are getting enough protein to recover those muscles? Are you hydrating? Those could factor into you not getting stronger.


clausti


Jul 14, 2009, 8:05 AM
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Re: [walldancer] how to keep up, no pun... [In reply to]
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walldancer wrote:
What can a girl do to increase strength and keep motivated to keep climbing with a partner who is much better than them?Mad
I practice technique and workout, but am being outclimbed at an excellerated rate.Crazy
Any suggestions to improve on skills?
Have been introduced to climbing about 2 years ago and would like to get better but feel stuck at a certain level, which is not a high level let's say....Tongue
I feel one area to improve on is my fear, not in my belayer but in my own skills.

take some time and climb with at least one person who is not your main partner, especially if your main partner is also your significant other.

And don't be ashamed of toproping. self-loathing isn't productive, and you're not a worthless rock climber just because you aren't leading exactly 50% of the routes on a trip. i find i lead more and harder routes when i'm not reacting to my own perceptions of other people's opinions of girls who toprope.

but if you find yourself chickening out and then being like "damnit, i so could have finished that climb. i could have done that, but i just got chicken because i knew my partner would rescue me," then climb with some people who are around or below your technical ability. you may find that you have deeper reserves than you thought when nobody else is going to climb that last route again to get your shit back.


wonderwoman


Jul 14, 2009, 8:19 AM
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clausti wrote:
but if you find yourself chickening out and then being like "damnit, i so could have finished that climb. i could have done that, but i just got chicken because i knew my partner would rescue me," then climb with some people who are around or below your technical ability. you may find that you have deeper reserves than you thought when nobody else is going to climb that last route again to get your shit back.

Very good advice. I've done this to myself twice this season, and both times I felt like I died a little bit inside. Okay, well maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic, but I did get really angry and had a hard time forgiving myself and moving on. I'm determined not to set myself up like that again. It makes climbing extremely unfun!


blueshrimp


Jul 14, 2009, 1:40 PM
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Re: [walldancer] how to keep up, no pun... [In reply to]
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I can understand this question.

I am a shorty (5'1) and when I climb with very good partners who are also tall I cannot improve by watching them and their always wanting to get on hard routes intimidates me and worries me that I'm holding them back when I want to get on easier routes.

The solution which worked for me was to start going to the gym by myself. Luckily there were a couple of gyms nearby with very good bouldering and every time I'd go I'd try to work harder and harder problems little by little.

Once I was able to see an improvement by doing just bouldering (i.e. I could see that now I could do problems that I couldn't do before or equivalently I was now warming up on harder problems) I got on the autobelays to build up stamina.

Guess what happened?

Now (after about 4 months of doing this) I climb at almost the same level as my erstwhile belayer who climbed 2 grades higher than me when I started the bouldering by myself....AND he's 5'10, heh! :D.


Oh, and practice leading. Don't ever toprope. That helped me loads. No excuses for toprope unless it is a really attractive route that you want to just try for fun and is at least 2 or 3 grades higher than you typically climb. When you train at the gym I think proportion of lead to toprope should be something like 95% to 5%.

Oh, the other toprope excuse is when you playfully speed climb routes 2 grades slower than you and you race your belayer.

So in summary: boulder lots, toprope seldom, lead always. Good luck!


(This post was edited by blueshrimp on Jul 14, 2009, 1:43 PM)


clausti


Jul 14, 2009, 2:13 PM
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Re: [blueshrimp] how to keep up, no pun... [In reply to]
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blueshrimp wrote:
Oh, and practice leading. Don't ever toprope. That helped me loads. No excuses for toprope unless it is a really attractive route that you want to just try for fun and is at least 2 or 3 grades higher than you typically climb. When you train at the gym I think proportion of lead to toprope should be something like 95% to 5%.

emphasis added.

i'm not sure that statements like that are really helpful. why do you need an 'excuse' to toprope? granted, if you want to get better at leading then leading is going to be helpful. but i don't feel like shaming people for top roping is helpful or, really, valid. there are lots of areas that you can toprope without leading, and realistically, nearly any sport climbing outing will have opportunities to toprope, if you want them.

sometimes when my lead head is shit, (and it comes and goes with a pretty large amount of variation) or when i'm just not feeling strong, or whatever, i will just toprope all day. and you know what? if i'm not feeling like leading, i have a hell of a lot more fun toproping a bunch of pitches than choking down a couple of leads. and, eventually i get stronger again, and my lead head comes back with my strength.

i mean, surely, if she wants to lead she should feel like she can require that her partner go with her to routes that she wants to lead instead of trying his or her preferred routes, but i kind of think the phrase "no excuse to toprope" is bullshit. whose permission does she, or anyone else, need to toprope instead of lead? is there an umpire going- your fun is valid because you're leading, your fun is tainted because you toprope? i don't think so. as logn as you're honest about what you've done, that is the only rule.


erisspirit


Jul 14, 2009, 3:00 PM
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clausti wrote:
blueshrimp wrote:
Oh, and practice leading. Don't ever toprope. That helped me loads. No excuses for toprope unless it is a really attractive route that you want to just try for fun and is at least 2 or 3 grades higher than you typically climb. When you train at the gym I think proportion of lead to toprope should be something like 95% to 5%.

emphasis added.

i'm not sure that statements like that are really helpful. why do you need an 'excuse' to toprope? granted, if you want to get better at leading then leading is going to be helpful. but i don't feel like shaming people for top roping is helpful or, really, valid. there are lots of areas that you can toprope without leading, and realistically, nearly any sport climbing outing will have opportunities to toprope, if you want them.

sometimes when my lead head is shit, (and it comes and goes with a pretty large amount of variation) or when i'm just not feeling strong, or whatever, i will just toprope all day. and you know what? if i'm not feeling like leading, i have a hell of a lot more fun toproping a bunch of pitches than choking down a couple of leads. and, eventually i get stronger again, and my lead head comes back with my strength.

i mean, surely, if she wants to lead she should feel like she can require that her partner go with her to routes that she wants to lead instead of trying his or her preferred routes, but i kind of think the phrase "no excuse to toprope" is bullshit. whose permission does she, or anyone else, need to toprope instead of lead? is there an umpire going- your fun is valid because you're leading, your fun is tainted because you toprope? i don't think so. as logn as you're honest about what you've done, that is the only rule.

I'm with Clausti on this one.

I'd add to it, but I think she pretty much summed it up


tavs


Jul 14, 2009, 3:26 PM
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Another endorsement of clausti's point, ditto to everything she said. I will add something:

The implication that there's nothing to be gained/learned from top-roping is absurd. Example: the last two times I've been out climbing, I've ended up TR'ing a route (one each time) that was the same grade as my hardest sends (and I should note, I don't project routes, so my hardest redpoints in the last few years have all come within a handful of tries...so this isn't a grade I can send but only with a crap ton of work; it's a grade I can send reasonably). In both cases, I watched a partner who climbs a few letter grades harder than me struggle on lead, even to the point of having to grab draws because they couldn't make the clips.

When it came to my turn, I had a choice: I could try leading the thing, most likely going bolt-to-bolt, probably not being able to make some of the clips cleanly, and as a result climbing in a stop-and-start, unfluid manner. Or I could try the route on TR, focusing on the moves themselves, trying to link as many as possible, hopefully climbing more smoothly, and learning more about the route in order to later lead it in better form. I chose the latter, and in the process a) got a better climbing workout (since I wasn't taking everything 4 moves); b) figured out how I could best do the moves; and c) used unclipping the draws as a way of feeling out the best clipping holds/positions.

Bottom line: you CAN learn quite a bit by top-roping, sometimes more than you can learn by fighting your way ugly-style up on lead.


clee03m


Jul 14, 2009, 3:49 PM
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"What can a girl do to increase strength and keep motivated to keep climbing with a partner who is much better than them?
I practice technique and workout, but am being outclimbed at an excellerated rate.
Any suggestions to improve on skills?"

First read Rock Warrior's Way. If this doesn't work, then I say dump the partner who is making you lose motivation. I can tell you there are plenty of partner both better and worse than you who will help motivate you and not the other way around.

"Have been introduced to climbing about 2 years ago and would like to get better but feel stuck at a certain level, which is not a high level let's say...."

I understand your frustration. I was on a sport climbing plateau for so long, I was starting to think I will stay there forever. One day, my husband became unavailable (for test prep), and I started climbing all the time. And like magic, I am now improving. Climb all the time. Train using books like Self Coached Climber.

"I feel one area to improve on is my fear, not in my belayer but in my own skills."

Once again, I think you need to read Rock Warrior's Way. And leading frequently makes fear ease up. Kind of like behavior therapy to overcome phobia. Of course TR is fine. Some of my favorite projects started because I TR'ed. Otherwise, I wouldn't have thought I would be able to lead it at that grade.

And don't forget to have fun. Don't we all agree that climbing is one of the most fun things we have ever done?


walldancer


Jul 14, 2009, 5:34 PM
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Hey thanks for the replies. Some really good tips for sure.
I appreciate the advice.
I wanted to clarify, I am not competing with my partner or comparing but am trying to find ways I can improve because I felt I have been in a lull for awhile now and not improving.
I am leading and toproping in answer to some peoples questions. I am going to tr a little bit more maybe until the fear and abilities improve a bit. I will lead below my range until I feel comfortable with that range then move up 1 at a time.
I am also gonna try climbing with other people because we are so different in skills and builds, I will learn more that way and probably push myself farther and harder.
My technique definetly needs some work and I will practice that when on tr.
I will try and read that book for sure, for many reasons.
My diet should be ok, I have been specifcally watching it the last month and keeping hydrated.
What kind of workouts are good for climbing other than climbing that may improve my skills? I currently run, go to climbing gym, hike and kayak.
Thanks again all.


clausti


Jul 14, 2009, 6:24 PM
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running is good to keep you thin, but the #1 thing that will help your climbing is probably core strength. so work that. being strong enough to keep your feet on the wall and always being able to put them right where you want them will help a lot.


lhwang


Jul 14, 2009, 9:59 PM
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Can I ask how often you're going to the gym and what you're doing to seriously train?

I was stuck at a plateau for a long time. In retrospect, it's not surprising since I was only going to the gym once a week and not really focusing my efforts in any way. From mid November to now, I've pushed my onsight grade by 3-4 letters by going to the gym 2-3 times a week and working systematically on my weaknesses. I would have liked to go 4 times a week but that was just too much with work/family stuff.

You've gotten lots of great suggestions. I'll second the recommendation for the Rock Warrior's Way and the Self-Coached Climber. The SCC has sample training plans that you can use that are pretty handy. I also like How to Climb 5.12 and John Long's How to Rock Climb and Advanced Rock Climbing. And there is a neon fluorescent book (Performance Rock Climbing?) that is helpful too.

Above all, like so many people have already said, stop comparing yourself to others.


blueshrimp


Jul 15, 2009, 11:25 AM
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Oh, and one last thing.

The exercise that I found helped ME improve technique the fastest was to boulder.

Boulder, boulder, boulder. If a route (not boulder) gives you trouble on a particular move, find a boulder wall and practice THAT move many times with small variations. Let's say a route gives you trouble on a high step. So go to the bouldering wall and practice a high step as similar as possible to your route's until you can get it. Once you got it, on the same bouldering wall, make small variations: use smaller holds, change the distance, change the foot, change a handhold, etc. Then go back to your route and the high step that gave you trouble is now a routine move. Cool huh?

Boulder. That's what I found improved MY technique the fastest.

Again, everyone is different, so this may not work for you.

And of course, for lead head/fear issues, for ME, nothing helped me more than to stop toproping.

You may be different, of course.

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