Valentines Day at the Climbing Works

I went training at the Climbing Works on Friday. Coincidentally it was also valentines day and I saw quite a few couples climbing together. Did I climb with my OH? Nope. He climbed with a mutual friend and I had training to do! Diane did keep me company which I apprecidated. Training can be lonely at times.

When mulling over my training aims for Friday, I realised that I have overly focused on steep terrain, at the expense of my other weaknesses such as moving from insecure holds. To redress this, I decided to work on this on Friday. After warming up on some of the new pinkle set (the OH completed it and said it was ‘fun’), I started back on the yellows and whites.

The key mantras that I have running through my head pretty much every session are these:

  1. Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

  2. Some days will just be harder than others, especially in the middle of a training programme

  3. Focus on the aim of the session rather than the grade of the climb

These were certainly on my mind on Friday! I find the yellows and whites very hard – and so they should be as they’re towards the top of my level.

I worked about 6 different yellow and white problems. A couple I had tried previously (as they covered both steep and insecure holds), and a couple I had not even bothered looking at.

The first problem that I tried was a yellow problem that I had tried previously. It involved some good starting holds and then a pop to a ball shaped hold, getting feet sorted and another pop to a fairly good hold. At first I couldn’t even get to the ball, I didn’t have enough pop off my foot to catch it. After doing some foot faffery, I figured out a way to reach up and get the ball in control. I then had to use tension to keep my foot on and quickly move my hand from the starting hold to a good crimp about my chest height. Once my hand was there, I could ‘easily’ move my foot to the starting hold and give a good shove with my foot. I actually managed to get to the next hold on the lip, but I couldn’t latch. I didn’t have enough tension to really catch hold of it. My shoulder started to fatigue so I decided to move on.

The next problem was also a yellow, but on a slab this time. It required a balancy high step and I kept barndooring off from. Eventually, I managed to get my toe on the hold, while standing on tip toes in a rather precarious position, but I could not get enough weight transferred to my toe in order to keep myself on. In the end, I called it a day and moved on to something else. I had progressed on that move but, it was not to be!

I tried a couple of more problems, including a white one which was mainly a horrid, horrid grapple with some huge slopers. I could hold the two starting holds, and get my heel up, but I couldn’t hold the position to get my hand to the next hold. But still – I held some holds on a white!

I did top the final problem of the session. It was a yellow with a good sloper hold and some pinches thrown in as well. I felt really good and confident on it, and according to my friends, I climbed it in fine style! By the time I topped it and came back down again I knew that I was done for the session. I was pleased with my effort. I kept my psyche up, even though I didn’t see particularly concrete signs of improvement i.e. topping out. However, I could keep the aim of the session to the foreground and remember that I wasn’t necessarily going to see massive improvements, but the small ones such as being able to catch holds and move between holds, are still important.

I think I might do an easier session next time in order to top things and be able to move efficiently between holds. One problem of working hard moves and to the top of my ability is that it gets a bit bitty at times. I’m looking forward to my next session already!

Some stats:

  • Warm up: cross-through traversing, L-R and R-L; some pinkles
  • Main session: using insecure holds. Worked 6 problems in the yellow and white circuit. Topped 1; progressed between yucky holds on 3/5. Added an intermediary hold on 1 problem, and then were able to progress even further.
  • Cool down: dynamic moves between green holds. Some popping and some skipping holds

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Playing around with insecure holds

My aim for Wednesday focused on using insecure holds. My plan said:

• Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible • Main session: Insecure holds (Z4) explore foot positions, body position, one foot vs two feet • Warm down: easy problems missing out holds, dynamic

My session was more like this:

  • Warm up: using the outside of my feet, playing with the 5.10 dragons that I was contemplating buying. Do some travers-y and cross-through climbing
  • Main session: definitely working at Z4! Mainly focused on one section of the Wave and playing with different handholds.
  • Warm down: some nominally dynamic swinging around on big holds.

I actually did quite well. Diane was back and was awesome at giving me pointers, and as a result I managed to move around a neon yellow pinch hold that I’ve really struggled holding. It took me a good half dozen goes to work out where I needed to put my feet to actually hold it and be stable enough to match and then go up to another hold. I never managed to complete the problem, but I did get to the point where I could do the starting moves without any real difficulty. I fatigued before I could link them, but I felt like there had been real progress.

I then tried another problem which included not so great holds. This was a black problem and part of the ‘elite’ circuit. I started it half way through, and it took a while to figure out where to put my feet to move up. I was very excited when I managed to catch the sloper/triangular shaped black hold. It took me a couple of goes to get. By this time I was pretty tired and while I didn’t feel like I had done that much, it took a lot more effort to do even the two moves that I was trying.

I decided to warm down after trying the black problem one more time. I went into the traversing corridor and swung between holds, occasionally hopping a bit. It wasn’t the best warm down ever, but I was tired by this point and it was time for Wetherspoons.

I was really pleased with my effort on Wednesday. I set out my training plan and stuck to it as much as I could. I was able to keep the goals to the forefront of my mind and that helped me not feel like I was ‘failing’ or not climbing properly. I also felt like I could train the next day – which was part of my schedule so that was a bonus!