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mrronoah


Nov 22, 2013, 1:09 AM
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No progress since starting lead climbing?
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I am a 16 year old guy and I started lead climbing almost 5 months ago and I dropped a few grades, which is understandable but I have made no progress at all since. On top rope I was (still can when I top rope) red pointing (Australian) grade 21-23. Since starting lead I am red pointing 16s. It has been almost 5 months and I am still only red pointing 16s. It is really frustrating! The worst part is that 16s are so juggy and simple. A moderately fit person who has never climbed before could top rope a 16. No matter how long i project something I can not flash anything above 16.

I have tried zig-zaging and up-downing climbs in which I can flash but still nothing. My coach says he thinks I am 'death-gripping' the holds (I don't feel like I am) because I am not used to lead climbing. He said the only thing I can do is keep leading as much as I can. I trust him but it's been a long time with no progress. I train every Monday and Friday and then sometimes a 3rd day somewhere.
I just get pumped so quickly on lead. Currently I am a much better boulderer than lead climber, in the V4/5/6 range.
Is there anything I can do? Has anyone else experienced this?
Would appreciate the help, thanks.


JAB


Nov 22, 2013, 1:12 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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mrronoah wrote:
I am a 16 year old guy and I started lead climbing almost 5 months ago and I dropped a few grades, which is understandable but I have made no progress at all since. On top rope I was (still can when I top rope) red pointing (Australian) grade 21-23. Since starting lead I am red pointing 16s. It has been almost 5 months and I am still only red pointing 16s. It is really frustrating! The worst part is that 16s are so juggy and simple. A moderately fit person who has never climbed before could top rope a 16. No matter how long i project something I can not flash anything above 16.

I have tried zig-zaging and up-downing climbs in which I can flash but still nothing. My coach says he thinks I am 'death-gripping' the holds (I don't feel like I am) because I am not used to lead climbing. He said the only thing I can do is keep leading as much as I can. I trust him but it's been a long time with no progress. I train every Monday and Friday and then sometimes a 3rd day somewhere.
I just get pumped so quickly on lead. Currently I am a much better boulderer than lead climber, in the V4/5/6 range.
Is there anything I can do? Has anyone else experienced this?
Would appreciate the help, thanks.

Do you take falls? I.e. do you climb until you fall, or do you ask your belayer to take a while before you fall? If the latter, that's the problem you need to tacke.


mrronoah


Nov 22, 2013, 1:33 AM
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Re: [JAB] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
Do you take falls? I.e. do you climb until you fall, or do you ask your belayer to take a while before you fall? If the latter, that's the problem you need to tacke.
If I am going to keep going up the climb then it is easier to take. If I am attempting to flash or giving the move one more shot I will generally take a fall. But I will admit I am not completely comfortable with unplanned falls.


(This post was edited by mrronoah on Nov 22, 2013, 1:36 AM)


JAB


Nov 22, 2013, 2:27 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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I suggest you change this approach. Always* climb until you simply can't hold on anymore. This last 5% of your strength is the key to improve. By not giving your max effort your muscles develop much more slowly.

* assuming you climb inside with a competent belayer. If climbing outside, you need to assess beforehand, where on the route a fall might not be a good idea.


granite_grrl


Nov 22, 2013, 6:17 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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I think you're having head issues with leading. Hesitation, overgripping, etc. I would suggest when you go climbing to spend only part of the time leading and activly working on these head issues (practice falls perhaps, but also just getting milleage will make you more comfortable on the sharp end). But then also spend time on top rope practicing movement and deveopping strength.

Perhaps read the Rock Warriors way, which is a mental training book. Without climbing with you I can't suggest stratagies to improve your mental game, but this book can help you identify issues and stratagies yourself.


rocknice2


Nov 22, 2013, 7:04 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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mrronoah wrote:
I just get pumped so quickly on lead. Currently I am a much better boulderer than lead climber,

This could be for many reasons including fear of falling, bad clipping position, negative head space, overgripping, fear of succeeding ...etc

Try TR climbing a route just above your lead capability. Then try the same route on a mock lead. Then lead it. This may help to narrow down your issue(s).


(This post was edited by rocknice2 on Nov 22, 2013, 7:04 AM)


Partner cracklover


Nov 22, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Re: [rocknice2] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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rocknice2 wrote:
mrronoah wrote:
I just get pumped so quickly on lead. Currently I am a much better boulderer than lead climber,

This could be for many reasons including fear of falling, bad clipping position, negative head space, overgripping, fear of succeeding ...etc

Try TR climbing a route just above your lead capability. Then try the same route on a mock lead. Then lead it. This may help to narrow down your issue(s).

It's hard to tell without watching mrronoah climb, but there's another possibility:

Maybe you have very poor endurance, and when toproping, you are able to climb very quickly from rest to rest. However lead climbing requires you to stop, get in a static position, let go with one hand, clip, and sometimes readjust, all before you can make the next move. It may be that your endurance is so poor that you cannot do this without running out of juice and pumping out before you finish the climb.

If this is the case, work on endurance. Ask your coach - he or she should be able to make suggestions.

GO


ban1


Nov 22, 2013, 2:26 PM
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Re: [cracklover] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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I remember when I first started leading I had the same trouble and after searching the interweb for some magical solution. I realised maybe I was death gripping,scared of falling etc...

I found the best thing to do is BREATH. just climb slow(think tai chi) and control breathing.

hope it works


Fred20


Nov 22, 2013, 3:05 PM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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one thing i think is interesting to consider is just because the routes are graded easy, doesnt mean the fall is easy...and usually it is diametrically opposed.

so just because the route maybe easy...it may have a large fall consequence if it's not exposed and if the route may have low fall consequence

falling into space off an overhung 5.xx is completely different than being whipped into the wall that has jugs u could slam into


Pedrolius


Nov 22, 2013, 9:07 PM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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I assume this is all at the gym.

Are you leading the same climbs you are top roping?

Or is the lead wall a different section of wall to the top roping section.

In the gym I started climbing in the lead wall was imposing and a 14 meter overhang, whereas most of the top roping was vertical or a bit overhung and mostly 9-10 meters.

I had the same problems but it was because it was a different style of climbing. I could only do super juggy routes on the lead wall because it was more overhung than the other walls where I could pull on the crimps and slopers. But thats what REALLY steep climbing is all about (from my experience anyway) until it gets to the higher grades. Pulling on jugs, getting pumped and falling on moves that should be easy.

Is it like this in your gym or are you going up the same routes you top rope easy and struggling hard on lead?

Do different people set the lead routes?

Just keep doin it. Relax. Get used to falling, get used to feeling the fear and climbing anyway. You'll get there. Enjoy climbing.

Moving forward, here are two techniques I have learned from the internet which is the best place to learn anything:

Trick yourself by repeating the words "top rope" as you climb, and if you say it enough you will send.

Just top rope everything!


mrronoah


Nov 23, 2013, 2:32 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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I am doing the same climbs on lead as top rope. I think I may be subconsciously scared of leading to some degree. Which makes it a lot harder to deal with. I also think that practicing static positions will help.
Lets say that the problem is with my mentality. What can I do to help it? I will definitely buy that book and I can try climbing until I fall, but is there anything else?


rocknice2


Nov 23, 2013, 5:26 AM
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Do a mock lead and you'll see if it's a mental issue or not. To be clear a mock lead is where you lead on one rope but are on TR with a second rope.

Answers won't really help until you find the right question to ask.

You mentioned improving static positions. Do you TR everything dynamically?


potreroed


Nov 23, 2013, 8:49 AM
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Maybe you need a new coach?


mrronoah


Nov 23, 2013, 9:19 AM
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Re: [rocknice2] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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rocknice2 wrote:
You mentioned improving static positions. Do you TR everything dynamically?
I guess I meant practice stationary more so than static. I generally climb fairly slow and controlled on TR just more swiftly than lead. But when I'm on TR I never have to stop and hold the position at the clips and I think that may be a big part of why I get so pumped on lead.
I am a lot stronger physically than in my forearms and fingers if that makes sense. No matter how hard the body positions are on the climb, my fingers or forearms go long before anything else. I rely much more on slow controlled movements than dynamic movements (although, I can dyno if the situation presents itself).


rocknice2


Nov 23, 2013, 5:24 PM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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Sounds like you aren't getting into good clipping positions. The need to hold on single handed to make your clip requires a balanced stance. Keep climbing.

Get some above from someone at the gym. You're not hoping to get great info on the internet. There is no way to access what the problem is.


djh860


Nov 24, 2013, 4:48 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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The answer is to lead more pitches. Getting a good lead head is like sharpening a knife by hand. It just takes time to wear away the mental states that hold you back just as it takes time and repetition to wear the metal to get a sharp edge. Lead on!


mrronoah


Nov 29, 2013, 2:43 AM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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Just in case anyone cares, since making this post I have been climbing until I fall and it seems to be helping my confidence a bit. I'm still a little hesitant but a lot better than two weeks ago. Two routes that I have been red pointing for a while I flashed over the last week. So thanks everyone :). I need to work on my endurance because that is also part of the issue but climbing until physical failure has been very beneficial so far. So hopefully I can be flashing 5.14d's by next week :D.


Pedrolius


Nov 29, 2013, 5:56 PM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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Sweet! Good effort Mrronoah. Excited for you!

It's good to hear some people's internet advice has kinda helped someone for once... Now we will teach you how to multipitch trad and set up anchors.

Jokes.

Just to clarify though:
Onsight a route = climb to the top without falling on the first attempt ever, knowing nothing about the moves.
Flash a route = climb to the top without on the first attempt ever, having been told the moves or seen it climbed by others.
Redpoint a route = climb a route to the top without falling after trying and falling on all previous attempts.
Repeat a route = do a route you have done before in the same style you did it.

Eg: "i tried to onsight the route but fell at the fifth bolt. I worked the moves, came down, and had another few goes. On my third attempt I repointed it. Steve was belaying me. He put his shoes on and flashed it. He is training for his project, so he repeated the route right after lowering. What kind of name is Steve anyway?"

The idea is also that you can't really claim an onsight/flash/redpoint if you are on toprope. BUT that's with outdoor sport climbing. In the gym a lot of routes have no other option but to toprope

Here is a short climbing jargon list to keep you informed. Sorry, not trying to be dick but jargon is confusing and some people would be a dick if you said the wrong word...

Keep up the good work! Soon you will be leading things with the same confidence as you top rope. Get on those 5.14s. Might as well start working them now!

Leading is way more fun anyway.


jb2100


Jan 21, 2014, 1:05 PM
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Re: [mrronoah] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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Are you a pro lead climber now?

What helped me a lot was this, stop top-roping completely. That's right, no more top roping. This is good for a few reasons, the first being that you get comfortable leading quickly since it's now the only type of climbing (except perhaps bouldering) that you do.
The second is that you will very quickly learn what is and is not within your limit, and you are actually far less likely to get in over your head on a route.

I am a firm believer that if you don't have the balls to lead a route then you have no business climbing it in the first place, the exception being TRing it to learn the moves with the intent of leading it later. Now I know plenty of people that disagree with me here, but they don't tend to take climbing as seriously as me, and that's fine, there's nothing wrong with top roping and loving climbing. But if you want to learn how to lead climb, if you want to improve in the grades, you gotta push your limits, not just physically, but mentally.

Another thing I do every time I get down from a climb is try and analyze what I could have improved on or did differently. Did I mess up a sequence? Did I overgrip on holds that could have been held with less strength? Did I forget to breathe? Aim to improve each time you get back on the climb, even if it's just by making one single move more efficient. Do you have a section of your project wired? Then climb it faster, which will save your strength for later on. Bottom line is be aware of all the things people have told you about how to climb better, and make sure you're incorporating each and every one of them in your climbing. This is my general checklist of things I have to do when I'm leading climbs at my limit:

Focus on breathing
Don't overgrip
Climb as fast as you can without messing up sequence, and maintaining good technique
Milk the rests for all they are worth, but know when it's time to move off of them
Break the climb into sections and just focus on climbing the individual sections, don't worry about climbing the whole route.
Be able to visualize every single move from bottom to top
Focus on the movements, forget that you are leading until you need to clip, just treat it like a boulder problem
In reference to the last, don't forget to clip, make sure clipping is incorporated into your sequence
If you aren't clipping the rope into the draw on your first try (meaning you bring the rope up, touch it to the draw and pop it in, no fumbling) then you can and need to improve your clipping
Make sure you've tried all possible beta for the crux sequences and pick the one that works best for you
Tell yourself that you will succeed
If you already know that the route has safe falls then completely forget about falling, don't let it factor into the equation whatsoever, don't hold back on an important move because you're afraid of the fall
And probably most importantly--When you're on the wall if you go for a hard move you're afraid of, you might (and quite probably will) fall, but if you don't go for it you WILL fall. 95% probability of failure is preferable to 100% probability


Disclaimer: All of the above assumes one has already taken the proper safety precautions associated with lead climbing. Don't back clip, don't let the rope go behind your leg, make sure you know where all the bad fall zones are, know how to fall properly, and don't get on a route if you can't lead it safely.


(This post was edited by jb2100 on Jan 21, 2014, 1:09 PM)


gblauer
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Jan 22, 2014, 12:10 PM
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Re: [jb2100] No progress since starting lead climbing? [In reply to]
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Great post JB.

I don't TR anything in the gym...ever. No matter what the grade, I lead it. If I fall, I fall. If it looks like I will fall before the first or second bolt, I may run up and preclip so that I don't break an ankle.

The other thing I do is lead lap sets of 3 or 4. I run up the same route 3 or 4 times in a row to get in 100+ feet of lead climbing. You don't have to do the same route if it's too hard. Lead the hard route first, chase it with something easy then go back to the hard route. It helps build endurance.

Another endurance building exercise...I ususally do this as my last climbing sequence of the night.

Pick a pretty easy climb that is down climbable. Lead to the first bolt, clip, then down climb do not touch the ground. Lead to the second bolt, clip, then down climb. Lead to the third bolt, clip and down climb...do this until you have run the entire climb end to end, then down climb. It's a great way to build endurance (you are on a TR during much of this effort).

Enjoy the journey to your greatness. If it was so easy, you wouldn't appreciate the destination.


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