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Frequency of Pinches on Routes
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skellie


Nov 22, 2012, 8:08 PM
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Frequency of Pinches on Routes
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When gym bouldering, I find that my lack of pinch strength is what prevents me from doing many problems. I've found this at a number of gyms.
However, I have almost never encountered a hard pinch on any sport route outdoors, and rarely on any boulder problems; and I've climbed at quite a variety of areas.
It seems that outdoors, most pinches can be turned into a sidepull with thoughtful use of footwork; but in the gym the limited feet force you to use the hold as a pinch.
Has anyone else found that pinches are FAR more common in gyms than outdoors?


namoclimber


Nov 22, 2012, 8:25 PM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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I climb a lot of granite and would say yes mostly but if you find yourself on tufas in a limestone over hang you'd be swearing me for that. But i would say its 80% correct.


mc


Nov 23, 2012, 4:54 AM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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I donīt climb Multi-pinch routes if possibleWink
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shotwell


Nov 23, 2012, 7:34 AM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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It really depends on where and what you climb. I find a lot more pinches in the southeast US than, say, Bishop. Pinch holds are still probably far more common in the gym, but that is due to the protruding nature of modern modular holds.

If you don't like the setting in your gym give your setters some feedback. If they don't know that their customers don't like the problems they set it will never change. Of course, you could also use it as an opportunity to improve your pinch strength.


skellie


Nov 23, 2012, 8:36 AM
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shotwell wrote:
Of course, you could also use it as an opportunity to improve your pinch strength.

That's my point! I've recognized pinches as a weakness, and I've been specifically training them. However, as I'm training them, I can't help but think that it's not actually helping my outdoor climbing.

Also, just out of curiosity, what are some routes in the SE that have pinch cruxes on them? I've climbed quite a number of routes up to 5.12 around there, and I can't think of one. Maybe they're found more frequently on harder routes? However, I've had this discussion with a friend who climbs well into the 13's, and he couldn't think of any, either.


(This post was edited by skellie on Nov 23, 2012, 8:39 AM)


shotwell


Nov 23, 2012, 8:56 AM
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skellie wrote:
shotwell wrote:
Of course, you could also use it as an opportunity to improve your pinch strength.

That's my point! I've recognized pinches as a weakness, and I've been specifically training them. However, as I'm training them, I can't help but think that it's not actually helping my outdoor climbing.

Also, just out of curiosity, what are some routes in the SE that have pinch cruxes on them? I've climbed quite a number of routes up to 5.12 around there, and I can't think of one. Maybe they're found more frequently on harder routes? However, I've had this discussion with a friend who climbs well into the 13's, and he couldn't think of any, either.

Well, I was thinking primarily in bouldering. Stone Fort has the eponymous 'The Pinch,' and numerous other wide pinch based problems. Of course, you pinch a lot of small hold combos there too. I remember pinching quite hard on a small crystal thumb catch for the undercling of 'Cleopatra.' Rocktown certainly has a bunch of pinch oriented problems, though typically slightly harder than you would expect to find on 5.12. I'm not sure about Horse Pens 40 as I haven't gone yet, but I'm guessing there are more than a few just from looking at the style.

Small hold pinches were pretty common for me in the Tablelands of Bishop but not in the Buttermilks.

I only recall ever facing a big smooth pinch hold as a crux on a 5.12 sport route once, but I do remember pinching a lot of pocket combos on vertical to slightly overhanging lines in the Red. I also remember a fair bit of pinching on arete climbs in the Red. 'The Infidel' had a lot of thumb catches in the small hold section (despite not being quite 5.12.) 'Reload' has a boulder problem style top out, which I remember using a pinch to surmount.

Again, less common than inside. I find them mainly by pinching a pocket and a crimp, or a crystal and a crimp. The added hand strength from working pinches of all sorts seems to make a big difference to me.


acorneau


Nov 23, 2012, 9:24 AM
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"Lucky Strikes" at Reimers Ranch...




gunkiemike


Nov 24, 2012, 7:18 AM
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Wait, you're saying that gym climbing isn't like the real thing?


Partner camhead


Nov 24, 2012, 8:04 AM
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Re: [gunkiemike] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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As others, especially Shotwell, have said above, pinches are most frequently found on limestone tufas, and on Southeastern sandstone. It would be quite possible for a well-rounded sport climber, especially in the Western US, to climb his or her entire career without ever using a pure pinch move.

However, what nobody has said here is that training pinches in the gym is not just beneficial for pinches outside. Pinches are a great way to build finger strength with less potential for injury than on small crimps. Pinches will also help your sloper technique, and many pinch routes in gyms will also be core-intensive.

So, in summary: working pinches in the gym can't hurt you, and can make you a better overall climber.


Xavieous


Nov 24, 2012, 9:58 AM
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skellie wrote:
shotwell wrote:
Of course, you could also use it as an opportunity to improve your pinch strength.

That's my point! I've recognized pinches as a weakness, and I've been specifically training them. However, as I'm training them, I can't help but think that it's not actually helping my outdoor climbing.

Also, just out of curiosity, what are some routes in the SE that have pinch cruxes on them? I've climbed quite a number of routes up to 5.12 around there, and I can't think of one. Maybe they're found more frequently on harder routes? However, I've had this discussion with a friend who climbs well into the 13's, and he couldn't think of any, either.


The more overhanging craigs at The Red have some pinchy routes. Off the top of my head I remember a certain 5.11C route that we were doing as a warmup, thinking it was a 5.10B. The crux was this slightly overhaning Washboard pinchfest for 10 feet.


johnwesely


Nov 24, 2012, 4:46 PM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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I am trying really hard to think of Southeast sport routes with pinches, and I can't unless bread loaf holds count.


Partner camhead


Nov 24, 2012, 5:24 PM
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johnwesely wrote:
I am trying really hard to think of Southeast sport routes with pinches, and I can't unless bread loaf holds count.

Mostly at the Red. Stunning the Hog, Spank, Dirty Smelly Hippie, Different Strokes... Still, almost all of the holds on those routes can be used as slopers, as opposed to obligatory pinches.


lena_chita
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Nov 25, 2012, 8:39 AM
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Re: [camhead] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
As others, especially Shotwell, have said above, pinches are most frequently found on limestone tufas, and on Southeastern sandstone. It would be quite possible for a well-rounded sport climber, especially in the Western US, to climb his or her entire career without ever using a pure pinch move.

However, what nobody has said here is that training pinches in the gym is not just beneficial for pinches outside. Pinches are a great way to build finger strength with less potential for injury than on small crimps. Pinches will also help your sloper technique, and many pinch routes in gyms will also be core-intensive.

So, in summary: working pinches in the gym can't hurt you, and can make you a better overall climber.


Took words out of my mouth!

Anecdotal evidence:

A guy likes to use crimps a lot, and has been climbing for a while. I had convinced him to work on systems board with me, and he had the most trouble on pinches. After doing it semi-regularly for couple months, he went on a climbing trip, and commented, after coming back, that he now finds that he uses his thumb where before he was purely crimping, it makes a lot of moves easier, and he feels that it has helped his climbing.


shotwell


Nov 25, 2012, 2:04 PM
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Re: [camhead] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
I am trying really hard to think of Southeast sport routes with pinches, and I can't unless bread loaf holds count.

Mostly at the Red. Stunning the Hog, Spank, Dirty Smelly Hippie, Different Strokes... Still, almost all of the holds on those routes can be used as slopers, as opposed to obligatory pinches.

Elephant man falls in the same category.

Truthfully, I'd be hard pressed to find an 'obligatory' pinch on moderate boulders or sport routes. You can almost always be strong enough to find another way. I probably pinch (if you count using thumb catches) on every route and the majority of boulders that I get on. Just a little stylistic habit I guess.


skellie


Nov 26, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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Thanks for the helpful responses guys. I had forgotten about the "adjoining pocket" style pinches that are pretty common at the red (a la Twinkie).
But, I think we've also confirmed that pinches are way more common in the gym than outside. I think I'll still keep working pinches in the gym to improve my general finger strength since crimp strength certainly isn't holding me back.


kennoyce


Nov 26, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Re: [shotwell] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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shotwell wrote:
camhead wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
I am trying really hard to think of Southeast sport routes with pinches, and I can't unless bread loaf holds count.

Mostly at the Red. Stunning the Hog, Spank, Dirty Smelly Hippie, Different Strokes... Still, almost all of the holds on those routes can be used as slopers, as opposed to obligatory pinches.

Elephant man falls in the same category.

Truthfully, I'd be hard pressed to find an 'obligatory' pinch on moderate boulders or sport routes. You can almost always be strong enough to find another way. I probably pinch (if you count using thumb catches) on every route and the majority of boulders that I get on. Just a little stylistic habit I guess.

The bolded portion is correct, while pinches might not be obligatory on most routes, they can certainly make a move easier if used the right way.


guangzhou


Nov 27, 2012, 6:33 PM
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Re: [skellie] Frequency of Pinches on Routes [In reply to]
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skellie wrote:
Thanks for the helpful responses guys. I had forgotten about the "adjoining pocket" style pinches that are pretty common at the red (a la Twinkie).
But, I think we've also confirmed that pinches are way more common in the gym than outside. I think I'll still keep working pinches in the gym to improve my general finger strength since crimp strength certainly isn't holding me back.

No, just the areas and gym you climb. Climb overhanging limestone and you'll have plenty of mandatory pinches. Pinches you can't crimp or use as a slopper.

Pinching is a skill that a climber can add to his or her repertoire. I find myself doing a lot of knob pinching when I climb in Toulome and Pinnacles. Just a different type of pinching from the stuff I pinch on limestone. Both require a very similar muscle.


kennoyce


Nov 28, 2012, 7:03 AM
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guangzhou wrote:
skellie wrote:
Thanks for the helpful responses guys. I had forgotten about the "adjoining pocket" style pinches that are pretty common at the red (a la Twinkie).
But, I think we've also confirmed that pinches are way more common in the gym than outside. I think I'll still keep working pinches in the gym to improve my general finger strength since crimp strength certainly isn't holding me back.

No, just the areas and gym you climb. Climb overhanging limestone and you'll have plenty of mandatory pinches. Pinches you can't crimp or use as a slopper.

No, just the overhanging limestone you climb. I've climbed plenty of overhanging limestone that doesn't require any pinches whatsoever;)


flesh


Dec 15, 2012, 1:28 PM
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My take on training pinches, almost useless. The difficult pinch problems in the gym are plentiful and I've to date done one boulder problem that requires difficult pinching. In otherwords, there's many crux moves on pinches in the gyms and very rarely outside.

I've bouldered in bishop, yosimite, happys, sads, moab, joes, ibex, LCC, castle rock, both of them, fontainebleau, the draw, etc......

The only pinch crux I can think of outside is The worm turns in joe's valley.

When I climb in thailand, there's pinches, but they are never what makes the route difficult.

I wouldn't spend much time training pinching. Unless you want to climb the worm turns or compete in world cups at gyms.


moose_droppings


Dec 15, 2012, 4:29 PM
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There are a boatload of routes in the Black Hills granite that require pinches.


guangzhou


Dec 15, 2012, 6:43 PM
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Simple answer, climbing is a personal pursuit. If you find pinching usual to your climbing, than use it. If you don't find it useful, don't do it.

Personally, I like being well rounded with my climbing skills. When I find a weakness, I work on it.


Syd


Dec 16, 2012, 2:16 AM
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It's not how common pinches are, it's where you find them. My last project (sandstone) had just one pinch, the crux. It was a flat rounded lump. There's no way you could side pull on it.



sp00ki


Jan 17, 2013, 5:45 PM
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The thing i've noticed is once you get to the V5 or V6 and up grade, you start to see pinches a lot more. Even when it's subtle, using a thumb "catch" ends up becoming more and more essential in the problem's beta. I can't speak for routes because i haven't visited as many crags as bouldering areas, but it seems to be the same with sport climbing, and even moreso with sandstone.
So while pinches aren't an issue for you now, and are probably over emphasized in the gym, as the grades get higher trying to turn a pinch into a sidepull will get you booted off of many a boulder, especially if you want to climb anything past 25 degrees or so.

And another thing-- once yr pinch strength is on par with yr other strengths, you get the added bonus of doing stuff like pinching crimps and small slopers which transforms flat sidepulls and angled cobbles on routes into bomber rests to clip or chalk or shake.

Like drop knee or toe hook, using your thumbs to pinch is a weapon you'll be very very glad to learn sooner than later.


(This post was edited by sp00ki on Jan 18, 2013, 8:50 AM)


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