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Rock Climbing Tips Wanted

Ambulance Chaser

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I have just begun rock climbing at an indoor gym. I can muscle through 5.6s pretty easily, but have trouble with most 5.7s, which require technique. What is the best way for me to improve? Is it a simply a matter of climbing a lot?
 

Nouveau Pauvre

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
I have just begun rock climbing at an indoor gym. I can muscle through 5.6s pretty easily, but have trouble with most 5.7s, which require technique. What is the best way for me to improve? Is it a simply a matter of climbing a lot?
Do you go to the Earth Treks climbing gym? A close friend of mine is an instructor (and a competition climber) and I can get you in touch with him. Edit: I can't emphasize the value of proper coaching enough. Rock climbing is, unfortunately, not very intuitive and having good help makes a world of difference. At the beginning stage, you really want to make sure you have decent equipment, chalk and that your shoes fit correctly - they should actually be very tight at first. It's a whole lot of fun and you jsut qnat to get out as much as possible. A common novice mistake is to focus too much on upper body, it should really be about 70% legs and 30% upper body. This is where technique can really come in handy.
 

West24

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
I have just begun rock climbing at an indoor gym. I can muscle through 5.6s pretty easily, but have trouble with most 5.7s, which require technique. What is the best way for me to improve? Is it a simply a matter of climbing a lot?

maybe you should think about not sucking so much.
 

Mauby

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
I have just begun rock climbing at an indoor gym. I can muscle through 5.6s pretty easily, but have trouble with most 5.7s, which require technique. What is the best way for me to improve? Is it a simply a matter of climbing a lot?

In a word, yes. Practicing & experience will make you a better climber. As your flexibility improves, so will your climbing. You'll see it's sort of like playing chess, where you have to think 2-3 moves ahead so you don't end up getting stuck. I've been climbing, indoor & outdoor, for years. Get out of the sport while you still can, or else, you'll end up looking at $85 Arc'teryx chalk bags, etc.
 

Milhouse

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Climb a lot. Preferably outside rather than in a gym. Preferably in the mountains. Preferably on snow and ice covered rock. Don't fall. Take cold showers so you get used to the cold. Practice meditating and relaxing to the sound of a carabiner snapping shut (it helps). Have fun.
 

borderline

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I think climbing is very intuitive. It just takes time to develop finger strength and arm strength. Use your legs. Look at where you are placing your feet, do not just flail wildly. If you have a pull-up bar at home it will help. Also, don't overgrip. By trying to crush every hold you will get tired fast. Finally, try to keep your arms straight, it saves strength.
 

Nouveau Pauvre

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^ "By trying to crush every hold you will get tired fast. Finally, try to keep your arms straight, it saves strength."

Those are both very true. Keep those in mind.
 

Ambulance Chaser

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Thanks for the tips, guys. Someone told me, "Climb with your legs, not with your arms," and I've been trying to follow that mantra. I think many 5.7s require moves like heel hooks that I don't know how to do yet, and I bought a book to help in that regard. Sounds like I need to read a little, climb a lot.

Magician, I belong to ET Rockville. I'm going to climb some more and take ET's Intro to Movement class before thinking of getting a coach.
 

billiebob

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A base level of fitness helps, but as a beginner you are much more limited by technique than power. The gym is the best place to learn this fast. Do some pullups, pushups, dips, leglifts, and lose some weight on your legs and ass. On routes harder than 5.10 or so your ab strength becomes much more important, especially on overhanging routes.

Bouldering is the best way to build power, but it's easy to hurt yourself just starting out doing hard moves. Avoiding injury like a popped tendon or tennis elbow in the first couple of years isn't easy because your muscles get strong so much faster than tendons. Traversing is great for building technique and forearm endurance. Just stay moving on an overhanging wall for 30 minutes using any holds. I maintained a decent level of climbing fitness for years just by traversing in the gym and bouldering.

Climbing tends to suck people in pretty good. It basically took over my life for 15 years to the detriment of everything else. Not climbing for a year or so has given me the opportunity to enjoy a wider spectrum of activities.

Have fun and stay safe!
 

rjmaiorano

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
Thanks for the tips, guys. Someone told me, "Climb with your legs, not with your arms," and I've been trying to follow that mantra. I think many 5.7s require moves like heel hooks that I don't know how to do yet, and I bought a book to help in that regard. Sounds like I need to read a little, climb a lot.

5.7s should not really require any heal hooks, or things like that.

Climbing is more just about getting out (either on rock or the wall) and climbing and climbing. The more you climb the better things get.

A few mini tips:

-Like you said, climb with your legs, not your arms.
-keep your hips as close to the wall as possible. Controlling your hips will get you through a lot of technical spots
-As you develop contact strength and tendon strength do your best to climb with an 'open hand' as opposed to 'crimping' - this will avoid injury and get your hands stronger for a wider variety of holds.

Have fun.
 

borderline

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
I think many 5.7s require moves like heel hooks
No one has ever said this in the entire history of climbing
. When you think heel hook, think 5.11.
 

adversity04

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At first I read through this and I was like "Holy balls he can start doing V7s" the I realized my mistake


Just climb more and get involved in the community. I found climbers to be very open to helping each other out and laid back. Everyone was where you are at one point or another.
 

Chesley

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Something that helped me, and still does, is watching/climbing with people who are better than you. I'm in the 5.9-5.10- range and a friend I climb with climbs in the 5.11c range. Things I get stuck on he has very little trouble with. So I can get him to climb sections I'm stuck on and watch what he does.

Be as fluid/smooth as you can manage.


To help build some strength and endurance:
At the end of my climbing sessions in the gym I like to pick a route I can climb easily, climb it, then climb down it over and over until my forearms are totally useless.
 

Jared

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Originally Posted by rjmaiorano
5.7s should not really require any heal hooks, or things like that.

+1
Unless your gym is very sandbagged (underrated), if you can't at least struggle your way up a 5.7, then you're either in very bad shape or are doing something completely wrong (like trying to pull-up your way up). Any competent climber should be able to quickly critique you: just ask anyone standing around at the gym.

Once you hit 5.8 you'll need to start learning flagging but you should be able to do at least some 5.8 climbs with instinctual technique.

Originally Posted by Chesley
Something that helped me, and still does, is watching/climbing with people who are better than you. I'm in the 5.9-5.10- range and a friend I climb with climbs in the 5.11c range. Things I get stuck on he has very little trouble with. So I can get him to climb sections I'm stuck on and watch what he does.

But don't try to apply 5.11c techniques to a 5.9 route! I climbed with a guy who spent too much time watching me when he was just starting out. Instead of looking for the obvious sequence on a 5.8 he would start switching feet and reaching through...
(Perhaps this is where the OP learned about heel-hooking?)
 

random-adam

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I started climbing at ET Rockville & Columbia about a year ago and go maybe 2x weekly -- I pulled off my first 5.11b no-takes last week, it was a good night.

Get comfy doing a few 5.8 climbs before you take the intro to movement. There's some helpful stuff there, and you'll be in a better position to use it after a month or so of climbing.

Move deliberately. I took a friend out for his first time climbing on monday and he climbed like a sloth: very slowly... but very consistently, and with surprising precision for a n00b. I found myself learning from HIM.

If you see a tall guy at Rockville wearing wire-framed glasses, a flower print chalk bag (...long story), and blue shoes w/ green laces, say hi.
 

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