A strong but sore session at the Climbing Works

I was feeling the 8-9 hours walking in my back, knees and hips on Sunday morning. Everything felt creaky – including my fingers (which is weird as I hadn’t climbed since Friday). However, it was Sunday and to the Works we went. 

The prerequisite to any climbing session. Photo: CanadianKate


I really, really hurt warming up to the point that I stopped climbing for a while and used the largest rungs on the campus board to slowly wake my shoulders and hands up. My finger was feeling tweaky so I kept my feet on when campusing and taped up once I felt like I had enough heat in my hands.

When hiking yesterday, the OH and I had been chatting about how I could break into the higher grades. While I definitely have the strength, what generally holds me back is popping and being able to stretch to get a hold, and then pull on it. Once I get to a certain level of ‘stretch’, I don’t feel like I can pull on it, and generally jump off. I thought I would start addressing these things in my climbing on Sunday.

Instead of simply focusing on them and excluding all else, I decided to keep the two key approaches (popping/stretching) in the forefront of my mind, and see if I could incorporate them into my general bouldering. I know that I don’t react or train well by simply focusing on my weakness – I lose my psych and generally feel like a failure. So, I started popping between big holds when warming up and then chose some yellows and wasps that I hadn’t tried previously that looked a bit poppy.

I flashed a yellow which I hadn’t climbed before – simply by popping between some relatively big holds. I did feel like I worked for it though! And it was a roof (my favourite form of climbing for some reason).

After trying a couple more warm-up style problems, I wandered into another room, and started to work a Wasp which is the total opposite of my style of climbing. It requires reach, balance, the ability to foot swap on small holds and bravery. But, as I want to improve on all of these things, I persevered for about 10 minutes, trying all different ways of making the move that continues to shut me down.

I managed to get into a position so that I can reach out and grab the really useful crimp/undercut from the starting hold, but then I couldn’t move from it. I was too stretched out. I tried swapping feet, smearing, hopping and all sorts, but the foothold that I need was around my belly button, and I was pretty much face-pressed into the wall. I’m pleased that I managed to find a position to ‘stretch’ to the next hold on the problem, and I think I’ll be able to figure out a sequence that works for me before the set gets taken down. However, I’m also a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the move, and hold the stretched out crucifix move, but I’ll keep trying.

The next problem that I tried was a yellow on a slab/overhang. It was quite straightforward to start: a rockover to a bobbly hold, skip the sloper and then match on a smallish, but good crimp. The crux move was going out to the final hold. There was an intermediate hold, but it was crap and after a couple of attempts, I tried eliminating it and going to the final hold. I just missed it on my 2nd go. After a rest, I tried again and latched it. Matching was a bit of an issue, and I did ‘latch’ for about 1/2 second. I will try again next session.

We tried a couple more yellows, blacks and murples. By this point my back was very sore, so I decided to stretch out my hips and cool down. The OH was pretty much done as well.

I felt like I had a really positive session, even through it didn’t start that way. However, I really need to sort my back out before starting to train in earnest again.

Some stats:

  • Topped 3 new yellows
  • Topped 2 new blacks
  • Worked 3 wasps
  • Topped a ‘pinkle’ with a scary move