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mr.tastycakes


Jan 26, 2012, 2:13 PM
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The perils of training in a commercial climbing gym
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[Rant]

Does anyone else feel like they're swimming upstream when trying to train in a commercial gym? I seem to annoy or get annoyed by other people on an almost weekly basis. After a month and a half in the gym, and still a solid month and a half away from Spring climbing, I'm losing hope. For example...

"ARCing" - No fucking way. I only attempt to ARC during off-peak hours, nevertheless there's always some goddamn noob breathing down my neck 10 minutes into the workout. Invariably. Apparently you can run on a treadmill for 20 minutes at every fitness center in the country with no issues, but try to run laps on a 35 foot gym route for 20 minutes and you're an inconsiderate asshole. So I've been told while belaying my partner, and in no uncertain terms. The auto-belay? Forget about it! Noobs (and parents who can't be bothered to learn to belay their kids) are attracted to it like flies to shit. Bonus points for being asked to turn over the auto-belay by a pair of climbers.

4x4's and Roped Laps - They're easier to pull off than an ARC session, but still quite perilous. First off, your chances of actually completing a proper 4x4 with the prescribed rest period are not very good in the typical gym. Even if you let everyone else around you know you'd like to do the workout (which usually requires patiently explaining what the hell a 4x4 is), someone else can always show up and start a boulder problem as soon as you've dropped off the top, mid-set. Then, someone else is on the wall when you should be starting your next set. A partner can help to control traffic, but again, you're doing multiple laps on a route or boulder problem, and the average gym climber can't think of any reason why you'd do that...other than to be a selfish, inconsiderate prick.

Hangboarding/Campusing - Seriously, forget about it. Like interval training, your chances of actually completing your workout with the right rest periods are slim. Give it 5 minutes, tops, until someone comes up and starts doing pullups on the jugs in front of his rental-shoe-clad girlfriend.

But, what can you do? I suppose I could just put in my headphones, crank the volume, and ARC to my heart's delight, protestations be damned. I could try to explain what the hell I'm doing, but I fear I don't have the patience for that. Or I could admit defeat, that the climbing gym isn't really a place to train, that the gym cares more about selling fucking birthday parties than being a place where athletes hone their skills, and that the gym is primarily a playground for non-climbers and children who think it's some kind of adventure.

I'm losing hope, folks. Or, I think I may be understanding, more clearly than ever, just what climbing gyms are all about. Is the spring here yet?

[/Rant]


jindap


Jan 26, 2012, 2:30 PM
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let me take a guess...you must climb at Brooklyn Boulders.Wink


macblaze


Jan 26, 2012, 4:17 PM
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Try climbing between 9:30 pm and closing? That's the best strategy at our gym... Or 1 pm on week days... Other than that you might see if the university has some walls; our university does and most of the climbers are climbers not n00bs


noahfor


Jan 26, 2012, 7:14 PM
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what do you mean by "right rest periods" in regards to campusing/hangboarding?


guangzhou


Jan 26, 2012, 7:32 PM
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mr.tastycakes wrote:
[Rant]

Does anyone else feel like they're swimming upstream when trying to train in a commercial gym? I seem to annoy or get annoyed by other people on an almost weekly basis. After a month and a half in the gym, and still a solid month and a half away from Spring climbing, I'm losing hope. For example...

"ARCing" - No fucking way. I only attempt to ARC during off-peak hours, nevertheless there's always some goddamn noob breathing down my neck 10 minutes into the workout. Invariably. Apparently you can run on a treadmill for 20 minutes at every fitness center in the country with no issues, but try to run laps on a 35 foot gym route for 20 minutes and you're an inconsiderate asshole. So I've been told while belaying my partner, and in no uncertain terms. The auto-belay? Forget about it! Noobs (and parents who can't be bothered to learn to belay their kids) are attracted to it like flies to shit. Bonus points for being asked to turn over the auto-belay by a pair of climbers.

4x4's and Roped Laps - They're easier to pull off than an ARC session, but still quite perilous. First off, your chances of actually completing a proper 4x4 with the prescribed rest period are not very good in the typical gym. Even if you let everyone else around you know you'd like to do the workout (which usually requires patiently explaining what the hell a 4x4 is), someone else can always show up and start a boulder problem as soon as you've dropped off the top, mid-set. Then, someone else is on the wall when you should be starting your next set. A partner can help to control traffic, but again, you're doing multiple laps on a route or boulder problem, and the average gym climber can't think of any reason why you'd do that...other than to be a selfish, inconsiderate prick.

Hangboarding/Campusing - Seriously, forget about it. Like interval training, your chances of actually completing your workout with the right rest periods are slim. Give it 5 minutes, tops, until someone comes up and starts doing pullups on the jugs in front of his rental-shoe-clad girlfriend.

But, what can you do? I suppose I could just put in my headphones, crank the volume, and ARC to my heart's delight, protestations be damned. I could try to explain what the hell I'm doing, but I fear I don't have the patience for that. Or I could admit defeat, that the climbing gym isn't really a place to train, that the gym cares more about selling fucking birthday parties than being a place where athletes hone their skills, and that the gym is primarily a playground for non-climbers and children who think it's some kind of adventure.

I'm losing hope, folks. Or, I think I may be understanding, more clearly than ever, just what climbing gyms are all about. Is the spring here yet?

[/Rant]

So you go to a commercial climbing gym and you are upset that they have other members? Maybe you can use the money you spend on membership to build your own personal wall at home, buy a treadmill wall perhaps.

The whole gym's climbing membership doesn't revolve around you. of course, you could also ignore those other guest and keep running laps, who cares what they think of you. Unless the gym staff is asking you to quit or you are breaking some rules that is.

The way I see it, you can be upset by doing what the other guest want you to do, or you can upset the other by doing what you want. The choice is yours.

Noobs, beginners, and birthday parties are one thing that helps keep a gym in business so the more serious climbers like you have a place to climb during the week and off season.


olderic


Jan 26, 2012, 7:41 PM
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You V.S.C.'s crack me up with your ill concealed attempts to show off. Not fooling anybody. Would you train for a world cup downhill on the bunny slope at a commercial ski area? And get pissed when someone got in your way? If you seriously want to do all that baloney go do what the X.S.C.'s do and build your own dedicated venue. Don't whine about the $$$ - the private barebones club won't set you back any more. It will just lack the pizazz, Shouldn't matter if the goal is to "train" and not to see and be seen.


camhead


Jan 26, 2012, 7:42 PM
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noahfor wrote:
what do you mean by "right rest periods" in regards to campusing/hangboarding?

that's probably what people at the gym ask the OP as he's between sets.

just do some basic research on hangboarding and you'll figure it out.

edited to say, god, I love my small, dusty co-op bouldering gym.


(This post was edited by camhead on Jan 26, 2012, 7:43 PM)


avalon420


Jan 26, 2012, 8:30 PM
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olderic wrote:
You V.S.C.'s crack me up with your ill concealed attempts to show off. Not fooling anybody. Would you train for a world cup downhill on the bunny slope at a commercial ski area? And get pissed when someone got in your way? If you seriously want to do all that baloney go do what the X.S.C.'s do and build your own dedicated venue. Don't whine about the $$$ - the private barebones club won't set you back any more. It will just lack the pizazz, Shouldn't matter if the goal is to "train" and not to see and be seen.
That bunny slope stuff made me laugh good c: Seriously thought Sharma rising should go buy his own f/n hang board. "perils", what false advertising. I came in thinking this would be would be about gumbie dropping draws on peoples heads & belayers writng down girls # while OP was pulling through a crux. Nope, just whining about the people who whine. Dose your gym only have one of each machine??? No, but I bet there is 1 hang board & one of each route.


noahfor


Jan 26, 2012, 9:12 PM
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Well, I would think that if the campus board and hang board were being used to train power and strength that the exact length of the rest periods would be of little consequence as long as they met some minimum length of time.


Traches


Jan 26, 2012, 9:15 PM
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Sounds like your gym sucks, sorry about your luck.

It's a balance really, a crowded gym sucks for the obvious reasons, but then the owners have more money to invest back into it, whereas a quiet gym will generally be a crappier gym.


Kartessa


Jan 26, 2012, 10:23 PM
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Buy a hangboard, build your own wall, harden the fuck up and just climb outside, buy ice tools, get laid, go to the gym early, go to the gym late.

Essentially: Quit bitching.


jt512


Jan 26, 2012, 11:58 PM
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Kartessa wrote:
Buy a hangboard, build your own wall, harden the fuck up and just climb outside, buy ice tools, get laid, go to the gym early, go to the gym late.

More like, "Harden the fuck up, look the n00b in the eye, and inform him that you're going to be on the route for 20 minutes."

Like Guangzhou says, they're paying the bills so you can train. So, remind them what they're fuckin' there for.

Jay


(This post was edited by jt512 on Jan 27, 2012, 12:00 AM)


sungam


Jan 27, 2012, 12:47 AM
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mr.tastycakes wrote:
I could just put in my headphones, crank the volume, and ARC to my heart's delight, protestations be damned.
I go for this method, it works excellently.


sp115


Jan 27, 2012, 7:31 AM
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jt512 wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
Buy a hangboard, build your own wall, harden the fuck up and just climb outside, buy ice tools, get laid, go to the gym early, go to the gym late.

More like, "Harden the fuck up, look the n00b in the eye, and inform him that you're going to be on the route for 20 minutes."Like Guangzhou says, they're paying the bills so you can train. So, remind them what they're fuckin' there for.

Jay

Gyms are social clubs. End of story.


mr.tastycakes


Jan 27, 2012, 8:06 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
So you go to a commercial climbing gym and you are upset that they have other members?


Pretty much. Well, almost. The place has gone nuts with these "groupons" and "living social" deals and there's a heavy influx of new climbers. And it sucks. The "brahs"/gym rats are not the problem; they know what a 4x4 is.

In reply to:
Maybe you can use the money you spend on membership to build your own personal wall at home, buy a treadmill wall perhaps.

I'm an apartment dweller.

In reply to:
The whole gym's climbing membership doesn't revolve around you. of course, you could also ignore those other guest and keep running laps, who cares what they think of you. Unless the gym staff is asking you to quit or you are breaking some rules that is.

The way I see it, you can be upset by doing what the other guest want you to do, or you can upset the other by doing what you want. The choice is yours.

Yup. I'm leaning towards cranking the iPod and just doing it.

In reply to:
Noobs, beginners, and birthday parties are one thing that helps keep a gym in business so the more serious climbers like you have a place to climb during the week and off season.

Yes, I know, but it's a tough pill to swallow. In truth, the local gym is really good in terms of terrain and route-setting. The route-setters are all very talented climbers that set hard, creative stuff.

One other idea I had was asking the route-setters to concentrate the more difficult routes and boulder problems in certain areas. If one wall is all V4 and up, or 5.11 and up, it would help tremendously.


lena_chita
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Jan 27, 2012, 8:20 AM
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It honestly sounds like your location is a large part of the problem. Sorry to be stereotypical about New Yorkers, but yeah, sounds like NYC kind of thing. (My family lives in NYC, btw, and I visit there regularly, which included visiting the climbing gyms, so I do know what I am talking about. People there are way more uptight and inconsiderate than in other gyms I have visited).

So what can you do, other than the things that you already mentioned, such as doing the training in the off-peak hours, etc.?

I would say, recruit a few friends to do the training with you. If there is one guy trying to do 4x4s, the wall section looks not busy/fair game to others. If you have 2 guys climbing next to each other, and two more standing on the ground cheering and waiting to get on for their turn, you look like a cohesive group, and it is more likely to deter a random guy from jumping in on that section (not to mention the fact that the guys on the ground can do the explaining/ask people to wait).

If you are climbing in a largish gym, talk to the people in charge about setting up a dedicated "training area". It wouldn't have to be large, and it can be roped off, or the signs could be put up, saying that this area is for training, so people who do the training instead of just climbing have preference.
We don't have this luxury in our gym, but one section, containing systems board, campus strips, cracks of various sizes and a hangboard IS a training-gets-preference area. Whenever there are groups of newbies climbing in the gym, the belay staff points out those walls and says something like: on the wall over there, you have to observe special rules. You cannot step on any of the big holds/blocks, feet only go on little holds. And if you see someone there doing laps, make sure you stay out of their way.

The powers that be in your gym might be willing to incorporate "training area" into their wall stripping/route-setting rotation schedule, if you ask them super-nicely. E.g. something like this section of the wall is for training only for 4 weeks, then it gets completely stripped, and the next section becomes training area, to be stripped 4 weeks later.
This may be a long shot, but it wouldn't hurt asking, right? For all you know, maybe the people in charge would actually like the idea of putting a "gym training team" together, specifically for people who want to train.

And beyond these ideas, you can always try setting up your own co-op gym, open only to serious climbers. It would be an investment and a hassle to set it up, but the payback would be good, too.


mr.tastycakes


Jan 27, 2012, 8:33 AM
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olderic wrote:
You V.S.C.'s crack me up with your ill concealed attempts to show off. Not fooling anybody. Would you train for a world cup downhill on the bunny slope at a commercial ski area? And get pissed when someone got in your way? If you seriously want to do all that baloney go do what the X.S.C.'s do and build your own dedicated venue. Don't whine about the $$$ - the private barebones club won't set you back any more. It will just lack the pizazz, Shouldn't matter if the goal is to "train" and not to see and be seen.

I can't follow your alphabet soup, but I did enjoy your psychoanalysis. The roots of my ostentation must be buried deep in my unconscious mind, because my conscious mind thinks I look like an idiot when I'm training. ARCing is pretty much the antithesis of showing off. You get sweaty and worked on easy routes. The Brahs working the V11 are not impressed by me doing 4x4's on their warmups. Showing off is sending that V7 you have wired in front of the new girl in yoga pants...then downclimbing the problem she was working...when you were supposed to have an easy endurance day.


mr.tastycakes


Jan 27, 2012, 8:45 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
It honestly sounds like your location is a large part of the problem. Sorry to be stereotypical about New Yorkers, but yeah, sounds like NYC kind of thing. (My family lives in NYC, btw, and I visit there regularly, which included visiting the climbing gyms, so I do know what I am talking about. People there are way more uptight and inconsiderate than in other gyms I have visited).

Don't worry, Lena. Real New Yorkers are not offended when people say New Yorkers are rude; in fact, it's something we're quite proud of.

I know the head route-setter so I'll bounce some of those ideas off him. Thanks.


ceebo


Jan 27, 2012, 8:49 AM
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Traches wrote:
Sounds like your gym sucks, sorry about your luck.

It's a balance really, a crowded gym sucks for the obvious reasons, but then the owners have more money to invest back into it, whereas a quiet gym will generally be a crappier gym.

This is true. The gym i work at is goverment funded (aka we get nothing). We can barely afford the staff never mind up to date climbing holds. The advertising is none existent.. since we have 0 budget and the number turn over is 15 people at best, with 6-7 being the norm. The quality of the climbing is still very good though, so it amounts to a personal climbing gym for those who do attend. Most of the comments from people who attend their are ''we don't have to fight over routes here''.. so that kinda sums it up. Also helps that it costs almost half the price of comerical.. pluss no charge for teaching people to belay etc. Its madness how much people pay for inductions to comercial gyms.

The comercial gyms have far greater veriation in climbing holds and they can afford to hire in profesional route setters to constantly change things up. They have far better staff ratios and far better refreshment facilitys etc etc. Its no wonder more people go to such places.

However the prices are sky high and their packed full of kids and week end warriors. I only find myself going to such gyms for the bouldering and a nice change from familiar grounds. Boulder walls don't seem to get as packed since their mainly only used for the first/last 10 min of a kids party.

It could well be a culture thing, british are very polite. Mostly i can do my training on the bouldering/campusing and people will try to keep out of my way. Ofc sometimes i see that a person just has priority in what they are doing so i be respectfull and let them go on. Usualy that would be if i am traversing around the bouldering cave and somebody just started a problem a few M ahead. Is np just to have a little shake out till their done.

I never have to fight over campus/hang boards at comercial gyms. 95% of people who attend such gyms seem to have no such interest in those. I don't care to conclude why.

Ofc thats just me, im probably lucky. If it is so bad then you can altar your training so that it does not require such a large portion of walls or so. Their will be ways around it.


(This post was edited by ceebo on Jan 27, 2012, 8:52 AM)


olderic


Jan 27, 2012, 8:53 AM
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mr.tastycakes wrote:
olderic wrote:
You V.S.C.'s crack me up with your ill concealed attempts to show off. Not fooling anybody. Would you train for a world cup downhill on the bunny slope at a commercial ski area? And get pissed when someone got in your way? If you seriously want to do all that baloney go do what the X.S.C.'s do and build your own dedicated venue. Don't whine about the $$$ - the private barebones club won't set you back any more. It will just lack the pizazz, Shouldn't matter if the goal is to "train" and not to see and be seen.

I can't follow your alphabet soup, but I did enjoy your psychoanalysis. The roots of my ostentation must be buried deep in my unconscious mind, because my conscious mind thinks I look like an idiot when I'm training. ARCing is pretty much the antithesis of showing off. You get sweaty and worked on easy routes. The Brahs working the V11 are not impressed by me doing 4x4's on their warmups. Showing off is sending that V7 you have wired in front of the new girl in yoga pants...then downclimbing the problem she was working...when you were supposed to have an easy endurance day.

Well the soup was a response to some R&I (Rock and Ice magazine) TNB (Tuesday Night Bouldering) articles a while back that poked fun at Very Serious Climbers - the ones that throw wobblers if their schedules or regimes get upset. I did made up the XSC (eXtremely Serious Climber) bit to point out that most climbers that really are good and serious aren't going to worry about going to a commercial gym to train. They have figured out better ways to do. Dating my self (again) here but some may recognize the old saw about "the hardest moves ever done" - and the reference to "a woodie in Sheffield"

Any way - as has been pointed out upthread - commercial gyms are..well commercial. If you can provide financial incentives for them to provide a training (what ever your definition of that entails) component to their facility then it will happen. Just remember that your incentive has to be better then one to add more b-day party terrain.

Another more devious approach that might work if some of the ownership/management are climbers. Engage them in your training regime.


mr.tastycakes


Jan 27, 2012, 8:59 AM
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jt512 wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
Buy a hangboard, build your own wall, harden the fuck up and just climb outside, buy ice tools, get laid, go to the gym early, go to the gym late.

More like, "Harden the fuck up, look the n00b in the eye, and inform him that you're going to be on the route for 20 minutes."

Like Guangzhou says, they're paying the bills so you can train. So, remind them what they're fuckin' there for.

Jay

Gold.


ecade


Jan 27, 2012, 9:21 AM
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Noobs and advanced climbers alike can take some 10-20 minutes to finish a route that is well above their grade their warm-up/onsight grades. Accordingly, why not just be honest and explain, you don't need to be a dick though. Most noobs are scared enough just by entering the gym, and being a douche bag just shows that deep down, you're likely scared too.
when I do laps its well below my project grades, something around what I'd warmup on. I just explain what is happening and climb back up.
If you are climbing at this gym regularly, surely some of the more seasoned Noobs will likely know your face too so it wont be such a surprise.

but ya, perhaps in NYC Jay's talk is considered polite and proper and its just an issue of cultural relativism, but in Canada, we generally talk to people like human beings, like we're equal, and not as douche bags. amazing how many more flies you catch with honey... just a thought


Partner cracklover


Jan 27, 2012, 10:04 AM
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ecade wrote:
Noobs and advanced climbers alike can take some 10-20 minutes to finish a route that is well above their grade their warm-up/onsight grades.

Last night a woman wearing bike gloves was on the route next to the one my wife and I were warming up. My wife and I each led the route and lowered off before the woman got to the top. And she never hung once! She just kept getting stuck and unsure of what to do.

GO


Partner j_ung


Jan 27, 2012, 10:17 AM
Post #24 of 76 (6052 views)
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Posts: 18687

Re: [olderic] The perils of training in a commercial climbing gym [In reply to]
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olderic wrote:
You V.S.C.'s crack me up with your ill concealed attempts to show off. Not fooling anybody. Would you train for a world cup downhill on the bunny slope at a commercial ski area? And get pissed when someone got in your way? If you seriously want to do all that baloney go do what the X.S.C.'s do and build your own dedicated venue. Don't whine about the $$$ - the private barebones club won't set you back any more. It will just lack the pizazz, Shouldn't matter if the goal is to "train" and not to see and be seen.

You've gotten very angry.


Kartessa


Jan 27, 2012, 10:48 AM
Post #25 of 76 (6010 views)
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Re: [ecade] The perils of training in a commercial climbing gym [In reply to]
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ecade wrote:

but ya, perhaps in NYC Jay's talk is considered polite and proper and its just an issue of cultural relativism, but in Canada, we generally talk to people like human beings, like we're equal, and not as douche bags. amazing how many more flies you catch with honey... just a thought

Sez yew. We gots lots of mindless douchebags in our neck of the woods. Ever been to Toronto?

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