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dave76


Jan 16, 2012, 2:39 AM
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route reading
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hi all,
I was wondering if you guys have any nice drills to improve route reading skills. In theory, it should be possible, given a configuration of holds, to identify the best body position if you wanna be stable, and the best movement sequence in a given direction.

I've realized that while I am reasonably good at coming up with good sequences while on the rock, I find it very hard to effectively predict a sequence of moves through a route with good precision. More often than not, my prediction is reasonable on easy terrain, but it gets worse and worse as I get closer to my limits.

One drill is to predict your moves every time you attempt the route, possibly recording yourself. I've started doing this since I read about it in "Redpoint".

I was wondering if you have others.


On a similar note, what I find I am lacking at is the ability to consciously say things like: "this is a configuration where an inside flag would be better than drop knee". I understand this is a hard thing to do, and the decisions we take are often the result of experience. However, there are probably very precise rules that, if understood, could lead to a faster learning curve. I was wondering what you guys think of this.


eric_k


Jan 16, 2012, 3:22 AM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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The past year i have been trying to do the same thing. I have had good results by doing as much onsight climbing as possible. When I would go to the crag I would try to climb only routes I have never done before. Also I tried to visit as many crags as possible since each area has its own climbing style. I think this payed off since at the beginning of the summer I was regularly onsighting 6b+ and this fall when I was in siurana i was onsighting around 7a easily.

Onsight climbing teaches you to react quickly look for rests and plan your attack. Thats my humble bit of input.

Eric


ghisino


Jan 16, 2012, 7:28 AM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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dave76 wrote:
what I find I am lacking at is the ability to consciously say things like: "this is a configuration where an inside flag would be better than drop knee".

warning: this conscious process is valuable when reading the climb from the ground or from a rest but counter-productive if you're right in the middle of a hard section.


Other than that, assuming that we are talking of popular sport climbs on real rockwith some chalk traces:

-unless you spend hours zooming on each single feature with goggles, or the route is very short and overhung, you will never have 100% accurate and detailed beta as for a flash.
You should first try to spot the key elements such as obvious rests, the general line of the climb, any smoother or steeper section, any areas where the climbing seems really unclear or there might be several options...This information can be essential to develop the general strategy of your ascent


-for hand sequences, spot the traces left by climber's thumbs. With a little experience you will see that they tell exactly how a given hold is taken (which hand, which angle).
This should provide very clear sequences for some sections and sometimes hints for the general flavour of body positions and footwork
Rests are usually much more chalked than any other hold.

-key footholds are easily spotted on the fly as they tend to be shiny and black but they are hard to see from the ground...

-thickmarks usually point a crux feature.

-Keeping a sense of how far features are can be tricky part. Many find that walking backwards as your reading progresses upwards helps.
Sometimes you can also "cheat" a little by looking at other climbers on nearby routes...


i can't think of any drills other than visually reading every route you climb (even known ones), and making an assessment after the climb: how many unexpected moves/features/sections did you find?
Also, looking back at the route after you've climbed it might help: having previous knowledge of the route, do you recognize the single movements?


for indoor routes, the main differences are
-thumb marks are a little harder to read
-footholds are much more visible
-routes ralely offer options or alternative beta


dan2see


Jan 16, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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I've never been able to pre-plan a climb.

I used to climb with a couple of smart guys who were good at math, and analyzing. They'd stand on the ground and take a minute to pre-plan the route hold-by-hold, then up they'd go. Worked for them.

But when I tried to analyze and plan, it would work until I got off the ground.

So I chose to just get up there, and let my body do the climbing. This worked well, although occasionally I'd have to step down a bit and try again. My skill-level and success was just as good as theirs (even better sometimes) so I decided to go with the flow.

When it feels good, I know I'm doing it right. And it usually feels good.

Honestly, sometimes I'd look up to a route I just did, and say "Yikes! Did I really do that?"

I tried discussing this with my analytical buddies. But they'd kinda look at me and say, "If you can't figure out how to climb it, how do you expect to get up there?" I'd kinda look at them and say, "If it works, why worry?"

We didn't understand each other. But we did have fun, climbing.


shockabuku


Jan 16, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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A coach I know teaches to start at the midpoint and read it to the top at least once, maybe twice, and then start at the beginning and read it up once or twice. That way, while on the ground, you focus most at the upper part of the route which is usually where you're most tired and have the least focus.


flesh


Jan 20, 2012, 2:25 PM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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Three things.

1. spend once a week onsight climbing, whether boulders or sport or trad in or outside... only give yourself one try. See my mock comps thread in this section under search as well.

2. climb more mileage, if you aren't clear on all the different types of moves and body positions, you can't predict them.

3. visualize the climb before you climb it, start by deciding which hand goes where and in what order then based on those hand sequences pick the best foot sequences and body positions. Allow for yourself to predict incorrectly and let your intuitiveness take over if something doesn't go as planned.


bearbreeder


Jan 21, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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everyone is different ... heres what i find helps

1. dont get tunnel vision ... when yr at yr limit you often only focus on a particular hold without seeing others, or good rests

2. milk those rests ... find em, use em

3. learn how to reverse moves back to those rest if need be ... especially after a gear placement, hard clip, or if you cant figure it out

4. look for feet ... when when is pumped or scared, one focuses on the hands too much

5. look ahead for yr placements ... the moment i place a piece i glance up and take a look at the rough gear for the next piece ... i might put that in my mouth if needed at that time

6. climb more ... nothing helps more than this

7. climb with someone better ... they can tell you how yr screwing up


GeckoBat


Jan 21, 2012, 7:17 PM
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Re: [dave76] route reading [In reply to]
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Good thread! I've been thinking about asking this question as well. I've set some personal goals and this info is helpful. I struggle with trying to plan my climb. Once I leave the ground, all bets are off and I find myself moving more instinctively than following what I anticipated. Climbing a lot of different routes helps me recognize how I solved a similar problem on a similar route so I guess this goes to the tip of "Climb a lot of different routes".


ceebo


Jan 25, 2012, 5:56 PM
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Bouldering is great for this. The easiest part is figuring out hand movements, foot movements take allot longer to get right. Takes a while to start getting most moves pre planed then climbed in that exact plan.. but it helps a great deal if you know as many climbing moves as possible.

I think bouldering is the best becuase the distance is allot smaller and easier to manedge. Then you get to climb it and quickly have feed back on what you got right/wrong.

Also, watching other people climb is such a great way to help visualisation..better still if you watch people around your height.

Its realy a worth while thing to learn, when you get better at planing full routes it also makes you much better at planing few moves ahead on the fly (as in rock that was not visable from the ground).


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