Any climbers here?

Deeko

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
30,215
11
81
So, my membership at the godawful 24 hour fitness just ended, and my friend, who is an avid rock climber, has been INSISTING that I give climbing a shot. He thinks I'm a natural and that I'll be an outdoor "lead climber" (whatever that is) if I apply myself. So, since I despise going to the gym in the winter (mostly due to the influx of christmas/new years resolutioners) I've signed up for a 3 month membership at the local rock climbing gym (stone gardens, to the seattleites). I still have a squat rack/adjustable bench in my apartment so I won't COMPLETELY suffer from a lifting standpoint.

So anyway, any climbers here? Picked up my gear, got these shoes and this harness. After a couple of weeks, I'm doing 5.9+ and some (not most) 5.10 routes, up to V2s in bouldering. Any tips or suggestions from the AT crowd?
 

SWScorch

Diamond Member
May 13, 2001
9,520
0
76
I've gone climbing a few times (some indoors, some on real cliffs) and it is freaking hard!!! Not only do you have to be strong, you have to be very flexible too. Newbies tend to do a lot of climbing by pulling themselves up with their arms; don't fall into this trap: use your legs as much as possible! That said, climbing, and even bouldering, is very fun and a great workout. I don't know very much about the gear, but the shoes and harness look pretty good I suppose. Oh, and get a chalk bag if you can; it helps immensely.
 

imported_Imp

Diamond Member
Dec 20, 2005
9,148
0
0
Done it twice 9 years ago, just went for a beginners lesson today (3 hours). Learned the knots, tie in and belaying with a gri-gri. Best I can climb now is 5.5-ish.

I forgot how high you go. Almost freaked out the first time I did the 40 footer and kept looking down. I'd love to keep climbing, but don't have a partner and all my buddies are probably not into it.

My biggest concern is belaying. If I drop, whatever. If I drop the other dude, it's going to bother me. Today, they paired me up with a 'wider' dude who weighed quite a bit more than my 5'4", full-bodied frame. Without twisting the rope at the top to increase friction, I kept getting pulled off my feet.

The last climb I belayed wasn't confidence inducing. I had the cam (?) lever open to let him down, and forgot to twist at the top beforehand, so I got yanked up and forward a meter or two twice. Even got rope burn on my brake-hand, but somehow, I held on and kept my hand down, so there was enough friction to not be an issue. Luckily, I only hit trouble when he was 10ft off the padded floor. There weren't any floor anchors, then again I'm not sure if they would have helped.

Well, I seripusly have to practice belaying more though. I'm sure every climber could.
 

EvilYoda

Lifer
Apr 1, 2001
21,200
9
81
It's a great time and a good workout. There's a good rock gym right down the street from my office so I'm lucky...speaking of which, I need to go back soon. I wish I had a partner to climb with consistently as that makes it a lot more fun.

Your body type can be very important, but proper form (as always) is still the biggest thing.
 

RyanW2050

Senior member
Sep 2, 2005
311
0
0
I've been climbing 3 times a week for about 6 months now. Unfortunately i live in florida so it's 100% indoor, but I have a good gym near me. I can climb most 5.11s on toprope and boulder V4-5.

I love it. When I started climbing i was a skinny nerd coming off of a 4 year WoW addiction. Now, i'm still pretty skinny but i've gained around 10lbs of muscle and i really enjoy seeing myself become better and better the more I work.

I was looking at your shoes, they look more like a shoe for long outdoor climbs than a sporty indoor or bouldering shoe. I would look into the Evolv Optimus Prime, Pontas, or the La Sportiva Katanas after a few months and you want to start doing harder bouldering and stuff. Go to a climbing store to make sure you buy the right size. They should be borderline painful to walk in and you should not wear socks with them.

Also, prepare for your hands to be in a constant state of pain due to ripped up skin.
 

dakels

Platinum Member
Nov 20, 2002
2,809
2
0
I love climbing and need to get back into it. I have never done much indoor climbing though. I always had access to some nice outdoor natural places. I find it both relaxing and terrifying at the same time. I have a fear of heights yet I love climbing.

I live an an urban area now (NYC area) but indoor climbing walls are fairly prevalent now. I also have rotator cuff damage that makes climbing a bit more difficult.
 

GoSharks

Diamond Member
Nov 29, 1999
3,057
0
76
I've been climbing 5+ years, have been to the top of several 5.13a leads, and pretty quickly done V8 in the few times I've bouldered outside. I try to get out as often as possible, which has been once or twice a month recently... darned winter has finally showed up.

Originally posted by: Imp
The last climb I belayed wasn't confidence inducing. I had the cam (?) lever open to let him down, and forgot to twist at the top beforehand, so I got yanked up and forward a meter or two twice. Even got rope burn on my brake-hand, but somehow, I held on and kept my hand down, so there was enough friction to not be an issue. Luckily, I only hit trouble when he was 10ft off the padded floor. There weren't any floor anchors, then again I'm not sure if they would have helped.
What do you mean twist at the top? Do you mean running the rope over the right hand side lip of the Gri-Gri? I have found that doing so makes the lowering smoother, but if you want more friction, try running it on the left (sharper) edge or straight out over the silver piece.

The trick to lowering with a Gri-Gri is to only open the cam just enough so that the rope able slide through at a comfortable speed to start out with. After that, control the speed with your brake hand, not by the lever. If that's not clear to you, it is the brake hand that should be the main control for the speed of descent, not the lever/cam. The cam should be position such that you can comfortably able to control the speed with your brake hand.

Getting yanked forward and up isnt really a big deal - when I belay lighter people (which doesn't happen often.. I weigh 120#) on lead I will typically jump up a little when I feel the rope catch. Doing this this will soften the catch for the climber and reduces the force felt throughout the system.

Don't fall for people telling you to get "better" shoes. Until you learn good footwork, specialized shoes will not matter as long as your feet are secure (ie the shoes fit, and there isn't any dead space).

I climb just fine in the Mad Rock Flash, which many of you may assume them to be beginner shoes.

Probably a good tip for you would be to learn how to turn your hips into the wall. Don't feel that you need to be square to the wall at all times. Watch your feet and try to put them in the right place the first time. Any fidgeting with your feet just means that you are wasting energy.
 

imported_Imp

Diamond Member
Dec 20, 2005
9,148
0
0
Originally posted by: GoSharks

Originally posted by: Imp
The last climb I belayed wasn't confidence inducing. I had the cam (?) lever open to let him down, and forgot to twist at the top beforehand, so I got yanked up and forward a meter or two twice. Even got rope burn on my brake-hand, but somehow, I held on and kept my hand down, so there was enough friction to not be an issue. Luckily, I only hit trouble when he was 10ft off the padded floor. There weren't any floor anchors, then again I'm not sure if they would have helped.
What do you mean twist at the top? Do you mean running the rope over the right hand side lip of the Gri-Gri? I have found that doing so makes the lowering smoother, but if you want more friction, try running it on the left (sharper) edge or straight out over the silver piece.

The trick to lowering with a Gri-Gri is to only open the cam just enough so that the rope able slide through at a comfortable speed to start out with. After that, control the speed with your brake hand, not by the lever. If that's not clear to you, it is the brake hand that should be the main control for the speed of descent, not the lever/cam. The cam should be position such that you can comfortably able to control the speed with your brake hand.

Getting yanked forward and up isnt really a big deal - when I belay lighter people (which doesn't happen often.. I weigh 120#) on lead I will typically jump up a little when I feel the rope catch. Doing this this will soften the catch for the climber and reduces the force felt throughout the system.

The 'twist' as in the belayer circling around the climber once or twice to create a twist at the top of the wall (pulley of top-rope) to increase friction. The instructor said that it should increase friction so that a lighter belayer wouldn't be constantly fighting the weight of the heavier climber.

I probably cranked the lever too wide open with my full left hand. In the future, I'll try to use one or two fingers. Now that I think back, I probably let go of the rope when my brake hand got burned. Somehow I managed to close the lever enough that the braking action yanked me forward, thus closing the lever further. One major mistake was probably standing too far back, thinking that it would help to decrease the vertical component of the force.

I've been reading up on proper belaying since, and hope to improve. By the sounds of it, being pulled is actually good since it dissipates some of the energy the climber feels. The next time I go, I'll probably spend an hour practicing by having the climber jump off the wall 5 feet from the ground.

Oh, and my tits still hurt 2 days after climbing (forgot to stretch)... you heard me.
 

GoSharks

Diamond Member
Nov 29, 1999
3,057
0
76
Originally posted by: Imp
The 'twist' as in the belayer circling around the climber once or twice to create a twist at the top of the wall (pulley of top-rope) to increase friction. The instructor said that it should increase friction so that a lighter belayer wouldn't be constantly fighting the weight of the heavier climber.
That is something that I recommend that you get away from. Twisting the rope at the anchor will make things more difficult for the belayer and the climber. The belayer cannot belay by feel as well because he will have to apply more downward pressure on the rope to pull it through that system at the top. In addition, you will be unable to judge how much slack there is in the system on the climber-side (by feel) because the twist

I say by feel because there will be no way to keep your eyes on the climber for duration of a longer climb. It is important for you to get the feel as to how much slack there is in the system just by knowing the amount of force that is required to pull down the rope on your end. The twist screws with this and you can't really tell if there is too much slack or to little in the system.

For the climber, the twist is annoying because if he ever has the need to downclimb, he might have to physically pull down the rope by hand, instead of just having it flow with his body.

If you are worried about getting pulled into the wall because you aren't using the twist, just stand underneath the anchor. Holding the climber up shouldn't be a strain on you because you are using a Gri-Gri.

There isn't really anything wrong with using your whole hand on the Gri-Gri lever. Just pretend you're lowering with a regular non-assisted belay device and you'll be fine.

In a gym, there is only one downside to being pulled up a bit - the climber has to regain what he lost. No big deal. (Outside can be a different can of worms depending on the route.)
 

Deeko

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
30,215
11
81
Originally posted by: RyanW2050
I've been climbing 3 times a week for about 6 months now. Unfortunately i live in florida so it's 100% indoor, but I have a good gym near me. I can climb most 5.11s on toprope and boulder V4-5.

I love it. When I started climbing i was a skinny nerd coming off of a 4 year WoW addiction. Now, i'm still pretty skinny but i've gained around 10lbs of muscle and i really enjoy seeing myself become better and better the more I work.

I was looking at your shoes, they look more like a shoe for long outdoor climbs than a sporty indoor or bouldering shoe. I would look into the Evolv Optimus Prime, Pontas, or the La Sportiva Katanas after a few months and you want to start doing harder bouldering and stuff. Go to a climbing store to make sure you buy the right size. They should be borderline painful to walk in and you should not wear socks with them.

Also, prepare for your hands to be in a constant state of pain due to ripped up skin.

I spent a long time talking to the guy at the store about the shoes - its a small, climbing specific store so he knew his stuff. Basically, the shoe I went with is a very good all-around shoe - it doesn't specialize at any specific task, but its capable of all of them. I tried on about 20 different shoes (mostly evolv, la sportvia, and 5.10's). These felt like they fit my foot the best, and felt right on the wall - they had a little mini climbing wall to try them out with.
 

Deeko

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
30,215
11
81
Originally posted by: GoSharks
BTW weightlifting and doing pull ups will do nothing.

I've been a powerlifter for 5+ years now - I don't lift for the sake of climbing.