Climbers advice for a newbie please!

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  • Climbers advice for a newbie please!
  • xcgb
    Member

    I have been climbing at an indoor wall for a few weeks and I want to improve!

    Any recommended reading (ideally on the web)?

    I feel that i lack technique and use way too much energy getting up the walls, my friends are better than me and it shows!

    I am doing it as its fun exercise (cant bear Gyms) and i would like to do some proper outdoors climbing too

    My centre does offer tuition but Its £40 for an hour 1-1 so i wanted to have some grounding before i consider that

    Ta
    Oracle

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    OK best way to get better at climbing is to climb more.
    Other than that if your carrying any excess time to shed it 🙂

    Footwork is key and having a decent, comfy pair of rock shoes helps a lot.

    I feel that i lack technique and use way too much energy getting up the walls, my friends are better than me and it shows!

    My centre does offer tuition but Its £40 for an hour 1-1 so i wanted to have some grounding before i consider that

    At this point ask your mates. Do they make suggestions on technique/approach to problems? Watch how others move and tackle things and basically copy them!
    Try some bouldering but not many places do good well thought out lower grade stuff. Nottingham was brilliant for it.

    As for proper climbing wait until the weather is nice. It’s great but going on a group outing will involve standing round and huddling a lot!

    Where are you based as some walls are much better than others for good low grade climbing rather than jug ladders.

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    feet > hands

    Push yourself up the wall with your feet/legs, your hands/arms are just for balance.

    Technique is the way in which you twist and contort to allow your legs to do the heavy lifting.

    Try doing simple climbing games, like:

    – climb an easy wall without ever lifting your hands above your eye level (this will teach you to gain height by moving up the wall, rather than reaching or grabbing and monkeying your way up which will use lots of energy and tire you out).

    – climb with a bell on your harness, try not to ring the bell (this’ll make your movements smooth and will teach you to conserve energy and make static moves, rather than wasteful dynamic jumping about)

    Watch girls climb. They tend to have less upper body strength, so they’ll climb with better technique to compensate.

    Go bouldering, but keep it smooth; no flailing around!

    Dave

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    Join a club.
    If you’re in the North West, the Karabiner Mountaineering Club is excellent.
    Have a look on the web.

    Most clubs won’t actually teach you though.
    That £40 would be money well spent.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    More weight on your feet, think about moving in balance rather than just going upwards. Place your feet carefully, then trust them and weight them, even if they occasionally let you down. If you want to reach the next hold, think about getting your feet higher rather than just stretching and grabbing.

    Smoothness is a good skill to have. Pick an easy route/problem and try to climb it exceptionally smoothly and cleanly. When you can do this, increase the grade.

    cultsdave
    Member

    Check out http://www.ukclimbing.com
    Its similar to singletrack but for climbers.

    xcgb
    Member

    Wow Cheers chaps!

    Where are you based as some walls are much better than others

    Guildford so have Craggy Island which seems pretty good to me! loads of variety havent been brave enough to go on the bouldering areas as the guys on there are pretty good!

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Watch what other people do on boulder problems (just above the grade you are climbing at),then try and copy them.
    Most people are fine at giving out tips or explaining what they were trying to do.

    xcgb
    Member

    Push yourself up the wall with your feet/legs, your hands/arms are just for balance.

    I think i do the opposite to this!

    Echo what everyone else has said – use your legs! Concentrate on shifting your centre of gravity so you can use the strength in your legs to straighten yourself up, thus heading up the wall.

    Try to keep three points of contact as much as possible, climb as statically if you can.

    Find a really easy route on a slab (ie something that’s less steep than vertical) and try to climb it with one hand behind your back.

    mogrim
    Member

    I’d spend the money, if only for the security aspect – get someone who knows what they’re doing to teach you. I did a two-day (small group) course in September, there’s no way I could have picked up the safety tips on my own. (The actual course I did won’t be much use to you: it was in Spain…)

    mark90
    Member

    I’ll echo………..feet and watch girls climb*

    *Try to watch their technique, rather than just enjoy the view 😉

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Guildford so have Craggy Island which seems pretty good to me! loads of variety havent been brave enough to go on the bouldering areas as the guys on there are pretty good!

    Ignore the shirt-off beanie-clad poseurs. There will be more people of your standard than theirs.

    It’s good to climb with a similarly skilled mate though, even bouldering. Bit of competition and peer pressure can be productive.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Yup,most girls climb better ..fact 🙂

    xcgb
    Member

    Ignore the shirt-off beanie-clad poseurs

    ha thats exactly it!

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Oh, and don’t get injured. Beginners are far more vulnerable to tendon injuries when training indoors. Your muscles get strong way before your tendons do, so give them a chance to catch up before crimping like **** .

    Coupled with general pulling too hard, not in control and feet slipping unexpectedly, and the sound of popping fingers can be heard far and wide.

    ewen
    Member

    Hello,

    If you like theory, then the ‘self coached climber’ is a great reference book, and you get a dvd with some exercises:

    Also check out this article by my friend john. http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4383

    Other than that, climb with people better than you where possible, and Remember that climbing better and climbing harder are different.

    and maybe consider getting some input/professional coaching if you’re serious about climbing.

    hope this helps

    Ewen

    xcgb
    Member

    Thanks again guys!

    dave c
    Member

    Another useful thing to remember when learning to climb is to keep you body close in to the wall. It helps keep your weight on your feet and off your arms.

    globalti
    Member

    Keep arms low to reduce tiredness.

    Don’t just move upwards; look at dynamic sideways moves as a way of overcoming a problem.

    Climb more on real rock.

    Get toes lopped off for keeping closer to the wall.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    oracle – I’m like you, loving it and its almost replaced my mountain biking, which is saying something considering I’ve been mtb-ing 20+ years.

    I’ve been bouldering a year a half and I get what you’re saying, I wanted to improve quickly and get to the harder stuff and looked for coaching but like you said its expensive and to be honest most people are pretty much self taught. I’ve even heard two staff recently say that the best thing is to learn the basics and then let people find ways to improve themselves, so coaching like you get in other sports isnt there in climbing.

    As others have said the believed best way seems to be practice practice and practice, watch and climb with better climbers to see how they work problems and then try it yourself. Bouldering will improve your technique without doubt and I prefer it as I can then climb without needing anybody to belay.

    I’m usually bouldering at craggy2 or white spider if you fancy meeting up. Mostly white spider as its closer. I’m only about font 6b at spider and 6a at craggy2. I like to class myself as an intermediate but having spoken to other climbers I think I’m going to be a beginner for a few more years yet. 😉

    ewen
    Member

    ‘coaching like you get in other sports isnt there in climbing’

    I would politely disagree with that statement. there is a wealth of coaching knowledge and coaches out there.
    historically there hasn’t been much coaching, but these days there is loads going on. Like any sport, coaching is key.

    see below for coaching resources:

    http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php?topic=16421.0

    Ewen

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Personally I’d save my money for now – you may want bouldering coaching at some point in the future, but you may have a better idea then of what areas need to be fine-tuned. £40 for an hour sounds like an awful lot.

    You can learn a lot by watching other people climb and trying to copy them.

    However, if you fancy moving outdoors, a rope techniques course somewhere like Plas Y Brenin is fantastic fun.

    Outdoors can be so much more fun than indoors.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    most of the coaches I’ve spoken to are in there at the start teaching basics, knots and safetly, not moves and training to improve. I also paid for a coaching session at westway and learnt very little for my 40 quid. My experience clearly differs from your own. Perhaps this is due to the sport being still comparitively underground compared to others.

    the teaboy
    Member

    I climb very occasionally. I always know what I want to do but can’t always work out how to do it and my weight pulls me away from where I want to be.

    It takes me a few goes to work out how to plan where my weight needs to be to make a particular move but, once there, it seems easy.

    My brother is awesome at this – he seems to glide up the rock. He’s brilliant at planning his way up a route.

    CaptJon
    Member

    ti_pin_man – Member
    most of the coaches I’ve spoken to are in there at the start teaching basics, knots and safetly, not moves and training to improve. I also paid for a coaching session at westway and learnt very little for my 40 quid. My experience clearly differs from your own. Perhaps this is due to the sport being still comparitively underground compared to others.

    I think you’re confusing it with caving.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    hmmmm, this is inspiring me to have another go at climbing. Did a fair bit at Uni about 10 years ago but not done any since. Always preferred bouldering because I’m no real fan of heights! Trouble is there seems to be a bit of a dearth of climbing centres where I am (Kent). Has anybody been to Revolution in Broadstairs? Seems to be biggest/closest to me. Hours tuition only £25 as well which seems alright.

    pedalgogue
    Member

    I would recomend bouldering as the best way to improve technique as it is easy to practice moves in isolation and without a real fear of falling. I found the best way to improve technique was (in no particular order):

    a) Experiment with foot position (inside edge vs toe tip vs outside edge vs heel, etc), hip position, shoulder position.

    b) As a general rule of thumb keep your hips in to the wall and elbows down and try not to crimp every thing. Open handed style is harder at first but you will be less prone to injury and develop stronger, more adaptable grip strength. Tendon injuries take forever to heal.

    c) Pick a problem/group of moves and try and do them in as many different ways as possible. See what works best in any given situation.

    d) Watch others of similar build to you and see what you can learn (good as well as bad). Watch girls too, as mentioned above women tend to lack the brute strength of many men so often have better technique to compensate.

    e) Muscle memory plays an important part and this includes remembering the bad ways of doing things so beware of repeatedly doing the same move incorrectly, once you have a move dialled practice it repeatedly to ingrain it.

    f) It is all about balance and centre of gravity. Think a problem through in your head before you do it and imagine the positions you would need to be in, try it and see if you were right.

    g) Unless you are on an overhang then most of the support should be coming through your legs, subtle changes in foot position can make all the difference.

    CaptJon
    Member

    Do any of the universities have a wall? Mine does and it was dirt cheap to learn: 3 x 2hr sessions inc shoe and harness hire for £35!

    Premier Icon ricardo666
    Subscriber

    Did a taster session last year in a climbing shop in ambleside.

    Then went onto a climbing course when I returned home.

    http://www.awesomewalls.co.uk/courses

    Top roping I’m fine with, but my bouldering and lead needs some practice.

    I get into a situation where i’m supporting most of my weight on my skinny arms, and thus start to flag.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I feel that i lack technique and use way too much energy getting up the walls, my friends are better than me and it shows!

    I started typing this before all the comments appeared, so a lot has been said already. But yeah.

    Climb with your legs rather than your arms. As a rule of thumb, your legs are for power and your arms are for balance / holding on, certainly when starting out. From a static position, look to move your legs higher first, then your arms, rather than continually reaching upwards.

    Between climbs, watch other climbers (unless you’re belaying, in which case, watch your leader).

    having a decent, comfy pair of rock shoes helps a lot.

    +1. Apart from anything else, with your own shoes you learn what they can and can’t do, which means you start to trust your feet more, which builds confidence.

    Gotama
    Member

    xcgb – the craggy bouldering area at guildford is rubbish. Its tiny, the bulk of the set is for good climbers and its very cliquey, particularly on weeknights. The wall at surry sports centre by the uni is much better for bouldering imo. Lots of easier sets if you’re starting out and i found it was a much more friendly crowd.

    xcgb
    Member

    Capt Jon yes good idea, but my uni is £90 for 3 2hr sessions, however they do offer this!

    Step 3. Open Sessions
    Our open sessions are here to help you to get the most out of your climbing. We have an experienced member of staff available to help you progress with technique tips or just a friendly face to have a chat with. These sessions allow you to get as much or as little input as you need and also allow you to meet up with other climbers in a relaxed and social environment.
    There is no need to book and no extra cost, just come along on the night!

    Might be worth a punt

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    Get some mileage in. Climbing’s a feel thing – start building your library of moves that you can start to internalise and draw on when you meet something similar next time. Try something without getting bogged down in the grade occasionally, you might surprise yourself. Most people are pretty friendly once you scratch under the surface.

    semuc
    Member

    You could also try the climbing wall at Surrey Sports Park. The bouldering area is much bigger than Craggy’s so has a much larger range of easier problems, some of them are quite good. (you also avoid the shirt off, beanie hat wearing mob)

    Have a go at traversing the bouldering wall, it’s great to help with footwork and balance.

    The climbing with your legs thing will come over time though. I remember having been climbing for months with people telling me this but never really understanding what they meant, or how to do it. At some point though it just clicked and made a huge difference.

    xcgb
    Member

    Gotma
    OK thanks for that, I have never been to the Surrey Sports park wall but will go over and have a chat with them. Bouldering seems like a fun thing to do when you dont have a belay buddy

    Oh and thanks again for the help all of youse

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    Craggy2 Sutton isnt cliquey <sp?>, just lost of folks having a laugh and bouldering.

    Caving? lol, so sharp you must have cut yerself with that one 😉

    Gotama
    Member

    ti_pin man – Never been to the Sutton one although have heard it is good, i was referring to Guildford which most definitely is.

    Bouldering is great fun. When at Surrey Sports Park in the climbing section try and grab hold of the young ish blonde haired guy that’s an instructor, sorry can’t for the life of me remember his name. He’s by far the best climber and is a good guy. Also worth checking as i think MOnday and Thursday are ‘social’ nights where the instructors, namely blonde guy, provide bits of instruction for free.

    tyredbiker
    Member

    A guy at craggy once came up to me (who was eyeing up a overhang route) and said ‘oh haven’t you done that one yet?!’ Climbed it and then started doing press ups by my feet. I didn’t know how to respond to that so edged away slowly.

    I’m happy to be a climbing buddy for people in Surrey- not very good, but can offer advice/heckle encouragement!

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    A guy at craggy once came up to me (who was eyeing up a overhang route) and said ‘oh haven’t you done that one yet?!’ Climbed it and then started doing press ups by my feet. I didn’t know how to respond to that so edged away slowly.

    There’s one at every wall. 🙂

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