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Gyms are for rock masters!!!
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Partner angry


May 3, 2008, 9:26 PM
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Gyms are for rock masters!!!
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Ok, maybe the title is a little over the top but I'm going to go on a long tirade right now (less than a rant but not a question either).

I think pulling plastic is bar none, the HARDEST discipline to master in rock climbing. I give major props to those so called "gym rats" those little bastards are some of the fittest climbers on earth.

I'm quite serious (all my trolls have homosexual inuendos). I climb about 4-5 days a week weather permitting. This ranges from big multipitch routes, to fixing an entire sport crag and assaulting it with my mini-trax, to 9 pitch days in Indian Creek, to crack bouldering, campus training, slab climbing, ice, mixed, and even sport. Name the style and I'm pretty well versed.

By a long shot I'm not the best climber out there but I can hold my own. Except at the gym. I am usually too tired to pull hard after 2 routes. My personal best is three at my limit. On my absolute best days I have climbed about 2 letter grades below my best sends outside, and that is a very rare day. It takes about 1 hour to completely drain me and I will fall on routes with ratings I wouldn't think twice about free-soloing.

The holds stick out, they're marked, but god-damn gym climbing is hard.

I declare, at the onset of this post, that gym climbing is the most advanced form of climbing. I'm not talking about coolest location, beautiful routes, moves, or a drum circle at the camp fire. I'm talking about the most in-your-face fully hard place you can climb.

The motherfucking gym. Plastic has my utmost respect.


wmfork


May 3, 2008, 10:16 PM
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No shit! How else do you explain being able to red point honest 12+ on gear but not having much of a chance of sending a 12+ with pre-placed draws in the gym??? Mad props to those that can pull hard in the gym.


coastal_climber


May 3, 2008, 10:17 PM
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So how many posts do you want this one to be?



>Cam


wmfork


May 3, 2008, 10:25 PM
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OT! Be serial here!!!


macblaze


May 4, 2008, 12:39 PM
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angry wrote:
Ok, maybe the title is a little over the top but I'm going to go on a long tirade right now (less than a rant but not a question either).

I think pulling plastic is bar none, the HARDEST discipline to master in rock climbing. I give major props to those so called "gym rats" those little bastards are some of the fittest climbers on earth.

I'm quite serious (all my trolls have homosexual inuendos). I climb about 4-5 days a week weather permitting. This ranges from big multipitch routes, to fixing an entire sport crag and assaulting it with my mini-trax, to 9 pitch days in Indian Creek, to crack bouldering, campus training, slab climbing, ice, mixed, and even sport. Name the style and I'm pretty well versed.

By a long shot I'm not the best climber out there but I can hold my own. Except at the gym. I am usually too tired to pull hard after 2 routes. My personal best is three at my limit. On my absolute best days I have climbed about 2 letter grades below my best sends outside, and that is a very rare day. It takes about 1 hour to completely drain me and I will fall on routes with ratings I wouldn't think twice about free-soloing.

The holds stick out, they're marked, but god-damn gym climbing is hard.

I declare, at the onset of this post, that gym climbing is the most advanced form of climbing. I'm not talking about coolest location, beautiful routes, moves, or a drum circle at the camp fire. I'm talking about the most in-your-face fully hard place you can climb.

The motherfucking gym. Plastic has my utmost respect.

I absolutely hate posts like this. Just where is the tongue-in-cheek factor situated in this. I get out like 6-8 times a year times for about 4 years. That's not a lot of outdoors. My hardest climb to date is a 5.10 which is what I consider a no-brainer in the gym. But move for move, grade for grade I really suspect indoor s is harder. I wanna believe! I should be climbing harder outdoors...

But... how do I know? the uncertainly is killing me. If I show up a a new crag and try and take on a 10c, am I just wasting gear? All those bail biners I will have to leave behind.... aaaargh who made up this silly-ass system any way!!!Smile

The only solution I see is to move to Squamish or Yosemite or Vegas or somewhere and climb ever day... I wish...


(This post was edited by macblaze on May 4, 2008, 12:42 PM)


crimping_bum


May 4, 2008, 1:31 PM
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Re: [angry] Gyms are for rock masters!!! [In reply to]
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I think that Gym routes have a certain unique style to them that you don't see as much outside. After all, all gym routes were created by a person. Outdoor routes are people using existing features and creating a route. But in the gym the setter creates every move and sequence from scratch. This allows for a whole lot more creativity and diversity which helps when trying to make something that is truly kick ass.

But I still think rock is better than plastic . . .


originalpmac


May 4, 2008, 3:05 PM
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personally, I think gym climbing sucks. The only thing it has going for it, is rainy days, and staying in shape. that said, I think gym climbing has developed some truly horrendous ethics. A younger generation of climbers, cutting their teeth on plastic routes may be able to send hard, but the notion of always setting routes in a controlled environment, I believe leads to people chipping holds. And that sucks. gym climbing is climbing only in the sense that you are physically moving up, that is it. Gym climbing sucks. Period. Smile


Gmburns2000


May 4, 2008, 5:15 PM
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Depends on the gym. Some sandbag just for kicks, some are soft because that's just how they manage grade consistency, and some gyms have setters who don't know how to set properly (e.g. - instead of using the perfect hold to make a certain move harder, they just turn the hold they've already plugged say, "There! That's makes it harder").

True, gym climbing keeps me stronger, but I have to say that I climb way harder in the gym than I do outside (mid-11s in the gym, easy 10s outside on sport and 5.9 max on trad these days). To be honest, I think that's more typical than your point above. Maybe outdoor climbing instills a fear that keeps people from climbing harder outside, but it's kind of tough to follow that logic when one actually climbs harder inside than out.

edit: typo


(This post was edited by Gmburns2000 on May 4, 2008, 5:16 PM)


IBarrett


May 4, 2008, 7:44 PM
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I love the rock gym! I think it is a great place to learn w/o killing yourself when you are first starting out. I think that no matter how much outside climbing I do, I will still come back to the gym. I love the different routes/problems and all of their technicalities. Besides, when it is 115 degrees outside this summer and I am trapped in this town, I think a/c is gonna be a good thing.


chossmonkey


May 5, 2008, 4:19 AM
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H3ll iz l0ngR 4 Angry!!!!11!!!1


Partner wormly81


May 5, 2008, 5:27 AM
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Angry,

First off; props on your mini rant/non-question/tirade. I know a good post when its impossible to figure out where the true beliefs end and the complete and utter bullshit begins. That being said...

I learned to climb outside and put in maybe 200 days of climbing with a visit or two to the gym. I did some sport, followed on gear, became a leader, and then expanded into winter climbing. The perspective that drove my foray into traditional and winter climbing was a goal of moving further and further away from the hordes of climbers. When I started ice climbing, it came as a complete shock to me that ice was a significantly more limited resource than rock. I came to the conclusion that its near impossible to have a career (i.e. climb the weekends) and have climbing be something you share only with your partner and nature. The same mentality that has me driving 600 miles a weekend in the winter is not unique to me; there are less crowded places to climb but its just plain stupid to think that you can climb unencumbered by a social presence.

Its also important that I mention that during this time, I did little else than work and drink during the week. I would say my particular line of business requires high energy output over a longer than normal work week but I may be blowing smoke up my own ass (note that this self-important BS flows freely between my job and climbing... I have noticed this is a cornerstone of the sterotypical climbers mindset). So along I went... climbing my ass off on the weekends and working my ass off during the week.

I invested alot of time in learning and (hopefully) became a competent leader. I was happy with the results but realized that in the grand scheme of things, I was climbing like shit. Note I am not speaking to the mental aspects here but simply the physical component. I was weak and found myself unable to lead on gear consistently. When a route was difficult (pumpy) to protect, I failed miserably because I couldnt hold on. I came to the realization that in order to climb the mega-classic climbs, all I needed to do was be able to consistently lead 5.10 on gear. As much as I saw this as not the most difficult goal to reach, I felt I could not reach it climbing two days a week.

Around the same time I moved out of the city (and away from the booze). Turns out theres a gym 3 miles from my house and I started bouldering to release stress (instead of drinking beer). I forgot how much I enjoy a good thrashing. Watching 5 year old kids float V6 while I was getting shut down on easier problems was a very interesting experience.

I guess my point is that the gym always seemed to be the complete opposite of what I loved about climbing. In hindsight, that mindset was probably a crutch to insulate myself from the fact that I was not physically climbing harder. Bottom line is, I do not regret the time I spent climbing easy routes and learning to be a leader. I figure that I came to a point where a paradigm shift was necessary to capitalize on that effort.

I'm still a work in process but I know for sure that I have never started a rock season this strong. 12 months ago I would have staunchly espoused the idea that gym climbing was antathema to the purity and beauty of rockclimbing. I guess now I'm just going to capitulate and say... different tools for different goals.

Best,

Jeff


Partner j_ung


May 5, 2008, 5:44 AM
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Angry, it's all about what you're used to. I've gone through long periods during which the only climbing I did was indoors. During those times, real rock seemed far harder. Nowadays, climbing almost 100% outside, when I do hit the gym, I leave with my ass in my hands.


granite_grrl


May 5, 2008, 7:29 AM
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The gym kicks my ass. Pirate


T-Bone


May 5, 2008, 7:57 AM
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At my gym we don't use the yosemite scale. we rate the route with a G and a number. G1 is a jug haul. G2 is ~5.6-5.8; G3 is ~5.9; G5 is 5.11+

I have learned a lot at that gym, between forays to the adirondacks. Creative routesetting can even make gym routes that require crack-like movement, which is an interesting experience.


lena_chita
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May 5, 2008, 8:01 AM
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angry wrote:
Gyms are for gym masters!!!.

Fixed that for you!



Seriously though, it depends on particular persons and circumstances.

Contrary to the "gym rats will have their asses handed to them on real rock" sentiment that I've heard expressed many times, I personally know some strong long-time-gym-only climbers/boulderers who were leading 5.12s (successfully) the first time they ever got on real rock. I know people who only get out to real rock maybe once or twice a year, climbing in the gym only for the rest of the time -- and kick ass when they do get out.

the reverse is true, too -- I know people who have been climbing outside for decades who come into the gym and flail on a simple 5.9 toprope on an overhanging wall-- because they are used to less-than-vertical climbs, and that overhang just kills them.

Of course, I also know the swaggering-gym-climber-who-wimps-out-on-real-rock types, the scenario that everyone likes to laugh at when they want to prove that gym climbing is not real rock-climbing... but it is not the only possible scenario by any means.


Partner angry


May 5, 2008, 8:23 AM
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There is no place that I go that I can get such a consistent ass whooping.

I haven't decided whether I'm going to go try a 12d crack climb or 12d sport route after breakfast today. Either way, I know I'll make more progress than even a 12b at the gym. And I'll be able to climb tomorrow, not destroyed for 3 days.

The gym is fucking hard.


kyote321


May 5, 2008, 9:11 AM
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i think the issue with gyms is that many are not made to train, they are made to trick.

training is a flow of moment at a given grade. tricks are what the routesetter often does to 'simulate the outdoors' or 'not make indoor climbing too easy so noobies get all happy then get shutdown outside.'

only a handful of gyms actually train people. most are absolutely obsesssed with sandbagging - and mostly among themselves. you don't want to be the only gym in town that has realistic grades - that would brand you as the sportclimber's gym.

i do long routes in the gym and that is about it. the bouldering grades are so laughable that it would be funny except that i waste a lot of time and energy finding a route that really is the grade i want to climb.

got shut down on 5.11 in the gym last week, then flashed a solid 12 outside over the weekend and worked a hard 12.

best not to take the gym, gym, scene, or the smell too seriously.


Valarc


May 5, 2008, 9:42 AM
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angry wrote:
There is no place that I go that I can get such a consistent ass whooping.

You didn't mention which gym you go to, but being in Colorado I could take some guesses. There's a reason a LOT of the big SCS and ABS comps get hosted in CO... the state has one of the highest concentrations of kickass gyms and amazingly talented routesetters. It's also worth noting that a lot of those big name routesetters (who often set for American comps and the flashy showmanship that goes with comp setting) tend to emphasize bouldery problems, whether you're on rope or not. When one of these guys sets a 30-foot 12c indoors, it will probably be a consistent string of V4/V5 moves, designed to squeeze as much hard climbing as possible into that little gym. There will be no 11b climb with a 12c crux when these guys are turning the wrench.

My point? Assuming you are serious, which I still have my doubts - if the gym is surprisingly hardcore for you, it's likely due to your location. Visit some gyms on the east coast and you'll likely think gyms are soft and sort of pathetic, as the skill of the routesetters over here isn't as consistently awesome.


Partner angry


May 5, 2008, 3:20 PM
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kyote321 wrote:
got shut down on 5.11 in the gym last week, then flashed a solid 12 outside over the weekend and worked a hard 12.

Pretty much the same story here.

Don't get me wrong, I don't take the gym very serious but that place crushes me and I'm relatively competent outside.

Valarc, I typically go to RnJ and they have fantastic route setters, those bastards!!


dagibbs


May 6, 2008, 12:36 PM
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I've done a fair bit of indoor climbing, at a fair variety of gyms, and a bit of outdoors.

The biggest difference I've noticed is that indoors you always know where your next hold is, you just have to figure out how to get to it, while outdoors you often don't know where your next hold is, so you move up the rock and try to find a hold.

And, the gym experience really varies, as does the ratings on the routes. Short gyms tend to have routes that are more bouldery -- a 5.9 will be several 5.9 moves; taller gyms are more likely to have a 5.9 be a long series of 5.7 and 5.8 moves with a couple 5.9 crux moves.

(I've climbed at 17 different gyms, mostly accross the USA though a few in Canada and one in Germany. I've climbed at about 4 or 5 local crags, but nothing big name.)


munky


May 6, 2008, 1:48 PM
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It just a matter of getting used to the environment. If you climb at the Creek regularly, it will start to feel easier. if you climb in the Valley for a few seasons, the big long hard free routes will start to feel easy. if you spend a fall at the NRG you will be cranking there as well. And if you spend a few months getting used to the plastic blobs and assorted trickery holds that are now used in a gym you will find that you'll be able to read the routes better and start cranking at your level in no time. Gym climbing seems to be less technical and play to power whereas outside climbing is much more technical and in general less power oriented.


Partner angry


May 6, 2008, 2:00 PM
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Re: [munky] Gyms are for rock masters!!! [In reply to]
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No

I can go to an area I've never ever climbed and onsight within a grade of my max the day I show up. Within 3 days, I'll be able to climb up to my limit there. I've proven this to myself time and again.

I can spend 5 months in a gym and still get crushed each and every time.

The gym is harder, face it.


shanz


May 6, 2008, 2:38 PM
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gym ratings are subjective - seems like i work harder in the gym than i do outdoors. and the gym kicks my butt at times beyond that, in a gym its all plastic, theres no beauty as there is outdoors. I have spent 2-3 hours at the crag just checking out the formations and checking out possible routes. In the gym i just see plastic nothing seriously interesting to walk around and look at. i pick a gym route and jump on it. The gym has also taught me to move in ways that my crag doesnt(due to each crag having similar rock formations).. I still say that gyms are for training but real rock is why i climb


hafilax


May 6, 2008, 2:57 PM
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It's probably just my gym but I find the fitness needed in the gym to be completely different from that for our local rock.

In the gym:
-the foot holds are huge
-the routes are short and vertical to overhanging
-the holds are ergonomic

Outside:
-the footholds are smears or jams
-the routes are long and less than vertical
-the holds are jams or crimps

It's two different disciplines. I don't sport climb much though and have been told that my gym and outdoor grades will be closer since the fitness and techniques are more similar.


dagibbs


May 6, 2008, 6:52 PM
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shanz wrote:
gym ratings are subjective

ALL ratings are subjective. But, if a lot of people climb and talk about a route, then it's rating is more likely to be subjectively close to other ratings.

At some gyms, routes are rated based on consensus, at others the setters decides the rating, at still others it is a combination.

Outside, it is (almost) always consensus of the climbers.

shanz wrote:
nothing seriously interesting to walk around and look at.

I've found, actually, that gyms often have a good concentration of some of the best scenery around. :)


(This post was edited by dagibbs on May 6, 2008, 6:55 PM)

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