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Feb 7, 2013
Pulling the crux on Gemini
I've been wondering for a long time whether certain pro-climbers use steroids. A common misconception is that steroids will make you big, and therefore wouldn't necessarily help with climbing. This is simply not true. It depends on your training. What do you think? Are pro-climbers using steroids?

grego
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 7, 2009
99 points
Feb 7, 2013
Me
No. There is so little money in climbing that it would be impossible for a climber who makes al of their income from climbing (excluding Graham, Sharma, etc) to afford it. Pro climbers make laughable amounts of money. Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Joined Aug 18, 2006
620 points
Feb 7, 2013
Traverse by HWY 41 Cave
I use it to make my nuts offset. William Domhart
From Ventucky, CA
Joined Sep 22, 2011
9 points
Feb 7, 2013
Hiking in the Adirondacks
Ryan Palo wrote:
No. There is so little money in climbing that it would be impossible for a climber who makes al of their income from climbing (excluding Graham, Sharma, etc) to afford it. Pro climbers make laughable amounts of money.


Not totally true. Alex Honnold supposedly made over six-figures last year...
Aaron L.
Joined Feb 25, 2010
52 points
Feb 7, 2013
Ryan Palo wrote:
No. There is so little money in climbing that it would be impossible for a climber who makes al of their income from climbing (excluding Graham, Sharma, etc) to afford it. Pro climbers make laughable amounts of money.


Steroids aren't that expensive. According to a poll on a steroid forum it seems to average around $100-150 per month ( thinksteroids.com/forum/steroi... ). I'm sure many pro climbers could afford this if they really wanted to, and it probably already rivals the amount that most spend on beer and/or pot.

I'd agree that most climbers are clean, but I'd bet that there are a handful that aren't.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Feb 7, 2013
Nice place.
It is very possible. Many athletes at the professional level get approached about performance enhancing substances. In the past there have been many track and field athletes (some stars and many unknown) that have abused performance enhancing drugs. The life of a professional track and field athlete is hardly glamorous in the United States. Unless you have multiple world or Olympic titles to your name, you're probably living quite humbly as a "professional athlete".

That said, I believe that performance enhancing substances may be much more prevalent outside of the US only because we haven't yet tapped into the large amount of marketing possibilities in the US climbers. While many other climbers around the world are beginning to dress like Nascar drivers.

I guess I'm not accusing sponsors such as La Sportiva or Scarpa for providing steroids or other PED's, but there is a lot of pharmaceutical wheeling and dealing that happens outside of the athlete's eye that makes these items more affordable.

My personal knowledge in this area comes from a good friend that is 3-time Olympian in the pole-vault (2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London). Numerous times we've spoken about what happens in the shadows of world renown sporting events and how often people "test positive" for something and the news never surfaces. Having trained with him for years, I can promise you that he is clean, but, when athletics get to the world stage, I can assure you that PED's get offered about as often as weed at a John Mayer concert.
Tane Owens
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 16, 2010
903 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
El Chorro
Aaron L. wrote:
Not totally true. Alex Honnold supposedly made over six-figures last year...


I find that very hard to believe. Who is your source?

I tried to get the spot in that Citi commercial. The pay was good, but not anything out of the ordinary. I can't imagine a guy like Honnold agreeing to do a commercial for a bank if he didn't need the money.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Feb 7, 2013
Pulling the crux on Gemini
I agree. My guess is that ALOT of pro-climbers, or even amateur climbers, use steroids. One serious concern is that climbing is unique because it requires so much of very small tendons. Too much strength, without corresponding thickening of the tendons could lead to serious injury. grego
From SLC, Utah
Joined Aug 7, 2009
99 points
Feb 7, 2013
Ryan Williams wrote:
I find that very hard to believe. Who is your source? I tried to get the spot in that Citi commercial. The pay was good, but not anything out of the ordinary. I can't imagine a guy like Honnold agreeing to do a commercial for a bank if he didn't need the money.


You able to share what ballpark the pay for that commercial was? I also wouldn't be surprised if they offered more money for more recognizable climbers like Honnold.

I really have zero sources, but I don't think 6 figures would be that outrageous for a professional climber in a good year. Between a full-time sponsor and then the odd one-off things here and there, I could see it adding up.
Ian Stewart
Joined May 17, 2010
166 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
El Chorro
Ian Stewart wrote:
You able to share what ballpark the pay for that commercial was? I also wouldn't be surprised if they offered more money for more recognizable climbers like Honnold. I really have zero sources, but I don't think 6 figures would be that outrageous for a professional climber in a good year. Between a full-time sponsor and then the odd one-off things here and there, I could see it adding up.


I never got a final number because, well, because they had probably already talked to Honnold. But let's just say I have more money in my checking account right now than they were going to pay me. I was in NC at the time and offered to fly myself out there. The only response I got was that it probably wouldn't be worth it.

But it's all about the contract you sign. Some people get paid every time a commercial airs. It also depends on WHEN the ad airs and how long it runs for. If he had a good agent/lawyer, he could have gotten a great deal and made thousands or more. I am in the UK and don't have a tv so I have no idea how long the ad ran for, how often, etc. Finally, Honnold is not part of a union, so there is really no telling. It would be interesting to know for sure. I'd also be interested to know how much the Coors mountaineer guys get. Probably more than Honnold did.

Of course he did that commercial in 2011 and the above poster said Honnold made six figures "last year" so who knows. I just don't think he makes that much. He lives in a van and owns no property.

I could be wrong.
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Feb 7, 2013
Ryan Williams wrote:
I find that very hard to believe. Who is your source? I tried to get the spot in that Citi commercial. The pay was good, but not anything out of the ordinary. I can't imagine a guy like Honnold agreeing to do a commercial for a bank if he didn't need the money.


I remember reading that Honnold earns six figures in the New York Times article about him after he soloed the Triple, which isn't that suprising considering he was on 60 Minutes. Also Honnold never seems to want money (he stills spends a lot of time living in a van). He could have been in the CitiBank commercial as a way to promote the sport of climbing, as he is the only climber that a normal audience has a remote chance of recognizing.
Josh.Wood
From New York City
Joined Apr 6, 2012
55 points
Feb 7, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I seriously doubt that Honnold is the kind of guy that would be juicin'.

I also assume that real pro climbers (especially those that compete and especially in the us) would not be using. Not sure what the euro-standard is. But, I really have no idea.

Now, some of the egomaniac local gym-bros projing on the pink route; wouldn't think twice about it for some of those duders. I'm almost positive some of those guys are on the juice.

Also, I think I remember reading somewhere that steroid use weakens tendons or at least does very little in the way of developing them in correlation with muscle fibers... but I'm no scientologisterator.

Also, steroids are generally just lame (unless used medically for post-injury related rehab and procedures of that ilk).
Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
357 points
Feb 7, 2013
Just speculating, but I suspect that juicers would still be quite prone to tendon injuries. Maybe even more so. Making it not really worth it. But I don't really know. Superclimber
Joined Mar 7, 2009
1,481 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
My experience with being around people using roids is they tend to always be pissed off to all shit. One side effect to roids is increased anger. So, that is often a tall-tail sign. If an athlete went from being normal to always pissed off, there is a reasonable chance that s/he is using roids. 20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
665 points
Feb 7, 2013
20 kN wrote:
My experience with being around people using roids is they tend to always be pissed off to all shit. One side effect to roids is increased anger. So, that is often a tall-tail sign. If an athlete went from being normal to always pissed off, there is a reasonable chance that s/he is using roids.


now now now

are we saying that ondra is a roid user?

maybe he should return all his sends ... i mean if someone had to return yellow jerseys ;)
bearbreeder
Joined Mar 1, 2009
1,931 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
El Chorro
I stand corrected. Sorry everyone.

New York Times

Now, who was it that was talking about the cheap 'roids? If I knew I could make a hundred grand a year from climbing, I'd of starting juicing a long time ago...
Ryan Williams
From London (sort of)
Joined May 10, 2009
1,468 points
Feb 7, 2013
While not exactly the same as steriods, probably about a dozen years ago at the gym I frequented, a number of guys used creatine. Some of these were guys who only climbed 5.9 outside who felt they needed the juice to bump up into the .10s. I suppose it was easier than actually working on their technique. Rather pathetic actually. Given that precedent, I have to imagine there are a number of people equally motivated to use steriods for whatever goal they have in mind. Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Joined Nov 9, 2007
137 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
Belay
I doubt it's an issue in the pro climbing scene.

However, there are a couple of guys at the gym I've seen who look like walking HGH commercials.
Peter Franzen
From Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 1, 2001
4,021 points
Feb 7, 2013
Me again!
I would say no but I don't frequent the world cup scene and I don't live in Spain. I don't see how someone could climb on roids and not hurt themselves. Seems like genetics are a better bet than roids in this case. J Q
Joined Mar 11, 2012
58 points
Feb 7, 2013
I remember reading somewhere that steroids can weaken tendons, which is pretty much the opposite of what a climber needs. Also, what gain would a climber have from gaining muscle mass?

So far as I know from my time in the industry and knowing a decent number of climbers who make a living climbing, steroids arent even on the radar of any of them.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,393 points
Feb 7, 2013
Me
yeah, im not so sure roids would help all that much. In climbing, the winner is the thinner. What would really help, especially with route climbing would be EPO. Something like a 20% boost in red blood cells.

Out of morbid curiosity, I did a quick search. Looks like a treatment would set you back about 1500. Multiply that by 6 or 7 cycles and all of your world cup earning would be cannibalized.
Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Joined Aug 18, 2006
620 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
Hogwarts: Imperio Direct (5.13a)
I come from a background in pro cycling so maybe I'm jaded, but it would not surprise me to find out that there is performance enhancing drug use in pro climbing. I bet homologous blood transfusions would really help for route climbing; especially in recovery to be able to do multiple burns on some of the new super-routes that are getting put up. Alvaro Arnal
From Aspen, CO
Joined May 2, 2010
1,519 points
Administrator
Feb 7, 2013
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place t...
Ryan Palo wrote:
yeah, im not so sure roids would help all that much. In climbing, the winner is the thinner. What would really help, especially with route climbing would be EPO. Something like a 20% boost in red blood cells. Out of morbid curiosity, I did a quick search. Looks like a treatment would set you back about 1500. Multiply that by 6 or 7 cycles and all of your world cup earning would be cannibalized.


I would agree that in Honnold's case EPO would be a better choice, not that I think he does, just saying. Also, because the UIAA or whatever group is trying to get climbing into the Olympics, at least the World Cup has to abide by WADA rules and thus the athletes are tested. Sharma was stripped of a medal several years ago in a bouldering world cup, I believe, though it was not for something that would be considered "performance enhancing".

As far as cycling goes. Apparently every year there are at east a few people in the amateur ranks busted for something. Usually it is the people that are close to "making it pro" or guys that used to be really good and as they age they want a little something to keep them where they were.
LeeAB
From ABQ, NM
Joined Aug 3, 2008
10,131 points
Feb 7, 2013
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suck...
John Wilder wrote:
what gain would a climber have from gaining muscle mass?

Steroids can be skillfully used to aid in recovery and not add mass. So they're not as one dimensional as many people think. A number of endurance athletes (including tiny women) have been busted for testing positive. They definitely didn't have extra muscle mass as the giveaway.


Ryan Palo wrote:
What would really help, especially with route climbing would be EPO. Something like a 20% boost in red blood cells.

I disagree unless you're a mountaineer. Most technical climbing isn't limited by one's lack of ability to deliver O2 cells to the tiny muscles which fatigue the fastest. I am pretty sure your body can easily handle the O2 demand for finger and elbow flexors. EPO is really good for those athletes requiring major O2 delivery to large muscle groups involved in continuous sub-maximal exertion. Not typically the description of most route climbing.
Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Mar 5, 2007
2,474 points
Feb 7, 2013
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suck...
20 kN wrote:
My experience with being around people using roids is they tend to always be pissed off to all shit. One side effect to roids is increased anger. So, that is often a tall-tail sign.

And acne! (Not sure if that is a "tall tail" sign though...;-))

Probably varies with dosage and frequency of usage, but it's true that steroids plug into androgen receptors in the brain--and there are a lot of em!
Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Mar 5, 2007
2,474 points
Feb 8, 2013
Self protrait
Is this thread about steroids or pro climbers` pay checks?
Steroids and climbing - probably maybe likely but not prevalent. It's not sustainable long-term.
Honnold making over $100k - maybe but the guy said on Enormocast recently he couldn't afford Vail if he didn't have the hook up.
Ima Fred Knot
From Victoria, Seychelles
Joined Jun 8, 2011
45 points


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