Climbing: My Happy Place

The routes have been reset! Yey!

I’ll be climbing by myself for three weeks – what? I’m not sure how I feel about this, but my buddy won’t even be in the country, so I guess he has a good excuse.

Now, these routes. They might be my favourite set so far – it’s possible I think that every time.

There are two super great things about this set though:

  1. I can do all of the black routes – including the one on the steep overhang wall. This is pretty great and it means my warm up is quicker and doesn’t beat my morale down.
  2. There is a tunnel-focus. Yep. In the mini cave under the style and grace wall, two routes. A pink and a blue. Toe hooks, heel hooks and screaming core ahoy. It’s amazing.

There are only two blue routes I’ve chickened out on. One is back to my nemesis of not trusting my left hand to reach and grab. I’ve been doing lots of dead hangs to combat this. Problem is, I’m also finding that I’m chickening out on my single arm dead hangs. I really need to beat this and it’s top of my list. More on it later.

The other blue just had me stood right near the top of the route, a bit lost and easily distracted. There was a hole bunch of kids there, their concept of personal and/or climbing space is not the same as mine. So I just bottled it and climbed down. I may also have been excited to find out what was around the corner (tunnel!).

I’ve decided to set myself targets for the next three weeks climbing by myself:

Focus on form

The fact that I can do all of the black routes and that they are on all sorts of different walls, is something I really should take advantage of. I’m going to aim to have them all wired and really concentrate on technique in all of the different scenarios.

Nail the tunnel

I need to finish at least one of the tunnel routes – they both have a start and middle in the tunnel and then top out. So it’s a mixture of different types of strength. I’m excited about this one. To be honest, even if I don’t get it, I’m pretty thrilled at the type of training it will be.

Complete some new routes

This is bravery-based. I am going to pick some new routes and figure out how to do them by myself, without the advantage of working out the problems with my climbing buddy. Of course, if I end up talking to strangers to figure it out, I’m okay with that.

I dreamt I climbed with someone else the other night. I don’t know who it was. The face was strangely familiar, I think it was probably one of the guys I’ve seen at the climbing wall. Anyway, the point is, I felt guilty in my dream for climbing with someone else. It was like I’d cheated. But, I learnt new things. None of these fantasy lessons were there when I woke up, not that they’d be useful anyway.

Back to my dead hangs. I read an article about grip strength and training. This shouldn’t surprise you, I spend most of my time reading about how to train and improve technique. This guy was talking about how important grip strength is, and how often it is overlooked. How people don’t let their hands and forearms do what they are built for. His example was about seeing huge guys with massive upper bodies lifting impossible weights, but having to strap their hands to the bar to do it. Sounds silly really.

The point is, he validated my dead hang training. He even wants to see a rise in the question “how long can you hang for?” rather than “how much can you lift?”

Needless to say, I loved him for this. So, the focus is to continue with the dead hangs, pull ups, and hanging crunches. But to add more emphasis on single arm hangs and fat bar hanging. I’ve read this in other articles – how it is more difficult to grip a bar with a larger diameter. Most often you see people wrapping towels around whatever bar they are training with.

Also on the training list for the tunnel is a set of planks. This includes elbow, full and side planks. And a whole bunch of push ups. I’m trying to do these every day but I’m failing at the moment because I’ve been so tired. Okay, I’ll go and do them now – back in a minute.

Planks done. Push ups later.

Did I mention I’m excited about this and what it could mean for my climbing? I think it might be time for me to admit I have a problem. I’m also considering trying out a new climbing gym this weekend, after I’ve done the park run. Woop!


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