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The Problem with Warn Ups
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By Kayte Knower
Nov 21, 2008
paralysis by analysis
It sounds simple, just warm up right? But it isn't. My climbing partners are really strong, and they frequently warm up on my projects. It isn't practical to drag the whole crew to another area just so I can warm up. So, I've gotten in the habit of top roping the warm up, since I'm less likely to overgrip and hurt myself while on top rope. While this solves one problem, it creates others. Since I am choosing to top rope a route that I am capable of leading, it feels like backing down, and I find myself in a more timid mental state all day. Also, I feel a lot of pressure to just hurry up and not hold up the stronger climbers. I hesitate to engage a climb that scares me because I know it may take a long time, and I might (God forbid) start crying mid route. While this passive attitude makes life easier for my partners, it's making me feel less and less confident in my ability to lead. Any suggestions?

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By Rob Kepley
From Westminster,CO
Nov 22, 2008
Yosemite Valley..
If your crew isn't willing to accommodate your warm-up, well they are pretty inconsiderate.

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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Nov 22, 2008
Everyone is different when it comes to warming up, but I would guess that most people would climb stronger (myself included) if they spent more time getting a good warmup in. Warming up is more than getting the blood flowing in your forearms, it is also about getting your mind in the right place. I remember an interview I read about 12 years ago with JB Tribeaut, he would spend hours warming up doing like 6-10 .12's and .13's before jumping on a project. At the time he was most likely one of the strongest climbers in the world.

Anyways the point is...don't blow off your warmup. If your friends value climbing with you they will not mind an extra belay. If they were climbing with Graham or Sharma I am guessing they would still want to make sure they got a good warmup so that they could crank their projects.

Here are a couple ideas on how to get a warmup when you are on hard routes:

- Climb the bottom 1/2 of the route or climb up to the crux several times.
- Pull through on a few draws....dump the ego, the warmup is more important.
- Leave a rope fixed on a route you like to warmup on and do several laps on a minitraxion while your friends are climbing their warmups.
- Do a lap on TR then lead the route, just make sure you don't get flash pumped.

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By Hank Caylor
Administrator
From Golden, CO
Nov 22, 2008
Pure bliss..
Rob and Kevin are right on...tho I don't know what a minitraxion is Kevin.Kayte, if you are related to Jay Knower than I imagine the gang you hang with is wicked fit overall......and you all climb at Rumney which is a notorious haven of steep freakshows. As an alternative thought, though I've never been to Rumney.

Maybe try to find a chunky garbage section off cliff(if there is one) and establish a little warm-up route or two of your of your own, and then do it 3 times, rest, drink water, meditate with pranayatha breathing techniques(optional, could be replaced with a bowl) and fire that shit! No matter what have fun.

Hankster

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 22, 2008
Stabby
It just seems to me that Jay has to have some Kayte days, where it is your agenda on the tick list. Your warm-ups, your projects, etc.
Also, maybe find some other partners you could ropegun for once in awhile. Days apart are good for the marriage too.

If Jay starts to act bored or non-plus, then have him climb with all of his fingers taped together.

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By Kayte Knower
Nov 22, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Thanks for all the responses, but I worry that I have made it seem like my partners and husband are not supportive. This really isn't true, and not what I meant by this post.

I consider myself blessed to have such knowledgeable and talented climbers as partners. They are wonderful teachers and their support has helped me up a lot of routes. I think it's understandable that they have their own agenda. After all, I have one too.

In my opinion, there are simply times when you have to warm up quickly or in less that ideal circumstances. For instance, if you are climbing long multi-pitch, and the first pitch is the crux, there isn't time for a warm up pitch. Also, a lot of amazing cliffs start at 5.12. Whether it's due to short days, the absence of moderate routes, or mountain weather, sometimes you just don't have the option to walk around and find a warm up that is comfortable for you.

So, the question remains, what is the best way to deal with these less than ideal circumstances? I like Kevin and Hanks ideas of running a route on top rope or just getting warmed up, egos aside, even if you have to go bolt to bolt or top rope.

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Nov 22, 2008
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
Thanks a lot guys. Now I'm in trouble.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Nov 22, 2008
Kayte where are you going that you can't find a warm up? Even if you're at Waimea you could still hop over to Bonsai fairly easily. Main cliff has lots of 11-12 stuff..

That is one good thing about me climbing harder than my gf.. i warm up while i'm getting her milage for the day. That way when it takes me a while to work on a project she (hopefully) feels like she's done some stuff.. Then i try to balance back and get her to do a few routes either between burns or after i'm done trying.

I don't think i warm up quite hard enough since my endurance isn't where it should be i am afraid of burning out between rope gunning and not taking as much rest. :shrug:

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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Nov 22, 2008
Half Dome
Holding up the "stronger" climbers??? About to cry mid-climb because of some jocks waiting on you below??? Something is wrong here.

If you are feeling pressure to climb fast or you need to relax and your partners need to encourage it...not check their watches as you tie in. Take your time and if they can't deal - call them out on it and discuss a solution. Don't back down from what you need to do simply because these guys flail on Dave Grahams warmups.


My techniques for warming up:

1. Climb an easy climb. Ego or impressing someone isn't even a factor...it's a warmup. Climb something that isn't a walk, but isn't super cruxy.

If it is too easy and the only option - climb it a few times...downclimb or lower and redo the crux a bunch. TR is fine and should be a good way to RELAX and let the movement flow. Bolt to bolt...who cares?...the point is to prepare yourself for harder climbing later.

If you need to get the mental prep by leading a climb - why not climb something easy to get the confidence up and the flow going. Climbing at your limit or something scary defeats the point of warming up.

TR, bolt to bolt, pulling on a draw or batmaning through a crux in order to warm up (with lack of an easier climb) is totally fine. In fact you would be smart. Stage your rests and climb it in sections if you want. If you are on TR, mentally dial yourself in...visualize the clips, or pretend to make them. Make it work for you. Don't get caught up in if it is TR or bolt to bolt...the goal is a lead climb later. There isn't style points for a warmup. When you are trying to send a 5.13 do you care about the 5.11 you've already sent? No. And even if you have to warm up on your project...unless you are gunning for some Onsight, who cares how you warm up on it. Hell aid the crux if you want.

2. Run around at the base (seriously), boulder at the base, pushups, pullups, anything to stimulate blood flow. Do some forearms curls. Climb up on the rock a few feet, pull in, push out, smear, stem, pinch, mantle...whatever. Beat the crap out of these losers stressing you out.

3. If you are multipitching it, short on time and need to bust: first slow down a bit and get warm regardless...warming up on the 5.12 crux first pitch might end up with a lot of flashpump, TAKE, and little SEND. Definitely slower overall. On your way there hike hard and carry something in your hands to work the arms maybe.

Sounds like you aren't holding them up as much as their impatience is holding you up. Or you are needlessly stressing yourself out if these guys are cool. If you climb at Rumney there are TONS of climbs on the way to the hard stuff...if you partners can't take the time to visit another crag so you can warm up properly...that's pretty lame.

If it's the husband who is being such a selfish brat or contributing to it...well there are ways to punish him! :) My wife can give you some pointers. Ha!

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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Nov 22, 2008
Half Dome
I'll second the idea that if you are at Rumney, Shag, Cathedral...plenty of warmups on the way to the hard stuff. NO excuse for the crew not walking 5-10 more minutes for you. If they don't enjoy the 5.9-5.12 classics...their loss.

I went to climb the Rostrum in Yosemite once. It was after 2 hard days of climbing...which was a mistake as I was super tired and sore - this only added to the no warmup issue. You hike from the top in and I think there is one other climb that starts down there, but not easier. The first pitch is the easiest pitch and logically should have fallen to me since 75% of the climb was beyond my leading ability at that point. However, I know I suck leading trad right off the bat. With a partner who leads 5.13 (and onsighted the climb except for the OW) I should have said that I need to follow first to relax and get warm and dialed in. I was definitely intimidated down there and sore and unsure if I could even do the climb. In the end I climbed horribly up the first pitch, super nervous, totally on edge, and ended up not leading another pitch I was so jacked up from the easiest pitch on the route.

I wish I had either not lead that pitch or climbed twenty feet, stopped, lowered down and reset myself. I felt pressure at that moment as he stressed the need to get going and told me "it's only 5.9" (even though he was a super supportive friend and an amazing partner).

The moral of my story is that you have to be honest with yourself and your partner. Realize what you need to set yourself up for success and communicate that. There are two ends to every rope.

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By Jon Ruland
From Tucson, AZ
Nov 22, 2008
sending Hard Day at the Orifice
your partners are significantly stronger than leading 12a trad and 13a sport? jesus.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Nov 23, 2008
Jon Ruland wrote:
your partners are significantly stronger than leading 12a trad and 13a sport? jesus.


Tis true.. they are one strong group hehe in the .13 trad .14 sport area Even kayte's warm ups are routes i'd like to get on one day :P

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By Richard Fernandez
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 23, 2008
Crack Test Dummies EPC
One Idea; Cut a broomstick about 18 to 24 inches; 36 inches of cordalette with a five or so pound weight on one end and attach the other to the center of the stick. Put some tape on the ends of it bit wider than your hands and voila! a wrist/elbow/forearm warm-up thing you twist backwards and forwards to wind the cord around the stick. Hope this helps.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Nov 23, 2008
Rich that would be fine for the gym but i doubt she's gunna want to haul that around to the crag with her.

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By Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Nov 23, 2008
Summit of Chasm View
Kayte Knower wrote:
My climbing partners are really strong, and they frequently warm up on my projects.


Well, your warm-ups are projects for many of us. That's pretty kickass.

Kayte Knower wrote:
...I might (God forbid) start crying mid route.


I would too on 5.12 or harder routes....

Seriously, I think it's very helpful to climb once in a while with different partners, people who have varying abilities and strengths. Getting out with stronger partners helps with improving your technique, but taking climbers out who aren't as strong as you helps build confidence and a stronger lead head. And with your rope gun abilities, you'd be doing a nice social service for your local climbing community. :)

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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 24, 2008
The West Desert...it's not just for climbing, suck...
Richard Fernandez wrote:
One Idea; Cut a broomstick about 18 to 24 inches; 36 inches of cordalette with a five or so pound weight on one end and attach the other to the center of the stick. Put some tape on the ends of it bit wider than your hands and voila! a wrist/elbow/forearm warm-up thing you twist backwards and forwards to wind the cord around the stick. Hope this helps.


Except this doesn't do anything to actually warm up an athlete the way an athlete is supposed to warm up.

Can you imagine an NFL player grabbing a theraband anchored behind their head and then just doing repetitive wrist flexion/ulnar deviation against it overhead (to simulate the terminal portion of releasing a throw) as their pre-game "warm up"?

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By Kayte Knower
Nov 24, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Paul,

I really appreciate your long response. Your story on the Rostrum has happened to me many times, just not on the Rostrum :) It's good to know that that sort of stuff doesn't just happen to me! By the way, I think that "only" is a four letter swear word when it comes to climbing.

MY PARTNERS ARE WONDERFUL. This is not a case of them putting pressure on me. It's more about the differences in our abilities, my attitude that I am "in their way," and my natural desire to push myself. I have learned so much from these guys. However, I think I often lose perspective and put pressure on myself to keep up. I would guess that this has more to do with ego and pride than anything else, or worry that they won't want to climb with me if I make too many demands.

I think I need to adopt the attitude you describe: "Hey, who cares what it looks like, or if you've lead it before, just get the warm up you need and who cares how long it takes." The crew will just have to wait or take a walk with me.

I've been trying the "just get warmed up" attitude, but half-heartedly. Oftentimes, a well intentioned soul at the base stops me to say, "Hey, you should really condsider leading that," or, "that crux isn't so bad, I just put my foot here blah blah blah." I let that get to me. Even if there is no one at the base to say it, always in the back in my mind I'm irritated that I'm not going for it, because that is the feeling I LOVE. Then I get stuck in my head and let it effect the rest of my day, instead of just making the warm up what it is.

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By Kayte Knower
Nov 24, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Also, I do realize that there are plenty of warm ups in the area, which I love dearly. I'm talking more about situations where warming up nice and slow isn't practical. AKA - getting a late start, lots of wet rock or snow, areas (not Rumney obviously) where the 5.13 climbers bolted the easier routes to prove their manliness.

And Richard as for the broomsitck contraption, I think that's great way to start things off at camp - also good tendonitis remedy. Obviously, as has been pointed out, not too practical to carry it in the pack, and doesn't give enough of a warm up.

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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Nov 24, 2008
Waiting for lift-off, Thin Air(5.6) Cathedral Ledg...
Jay Knower wrote:
Thanks a lot guys. Now I'm in trouble.


Yes Jay, you certainly are.

You know what the real answer is Mrs. Knower; simply ditch the Jays and climb with me, I'm not nearly as strong, I'm crazy enough to get an early start and I'm ever so incredibly handsome.

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By Kayte Knower
Nov 24, 2008
paralysis by analysis
Oh Ladd I love climbing with ALL of you. Really, this is very much MY issue --performance, and accepting your limitations, and all of that. Your post made me laugh, but the real issue is not my partners. Now I'm in trouble!

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By Richard Fernandez
From Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 24, 2008
Crack Test Dummies EPC
True it will only gently warm-up your wrists and forearms etc. just clip your water bottle(s) to it and you don't need to carry any extra weight. We use a six pack!

Cheers

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nov 24, 2008
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
Jay Knower wrote:
Thanks a lot guys. Now I'm in trouble.


Ha ha ha. Well, maybe the dog house could use a space heater and a bouldering pad.

In all seriousness, you can also warm up by doing a little easy bouldering at the base of a route that has a hard first pitch. But you have to spend the time to do that. Often it's just too boring to warm up.

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By Arnold Braker
From golden, co
Nov 24, 2008
Since I'm kinda lazy, I often neglect going to a wall where I can get a proper warm up. Instead, I will sometimes climb half of a hard route with a more moderate start, especially if it has fixed draws. If my project is sustained without well defined tweaker cruxes, sometimes I'll warm up on the project and hang every couple bolts, essentially turning it into 5 or six moderate boulder problems.

I feel this works great for the muscles, but not as well for the mind. I have to work a lot harder to turn on the "try HARD, pull till you pop go for it attitude" mindset that hard projects require.

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By Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Nov 24, 2008
Summit of Chasm View
Kayte Knower wrote:
MY PARTNERS ARE WONDERFUL. This is not a case of them putting pressure on me. It's more about the differences in our abilities, my attitude that I am "in their way," and my natural desire to push myself. I have learned so much from these guys. However, I think I often lose perspective and put pressure on myself to keep up. I would guess that this has more to do with ego and pride than anything else, or worry that they won't want to climb with me if I make too many demands... The crew will just have to wait or take a walk with me.


Sounds like you've got figured it out. Now Jay doesn't need to worry about furnishing the doghouse.

I'm guessing your partners don't think you slow them down or hold them back. If their goals were really that different from yours, chances are they'd climb separately. Seems like a good group of people you're getting out with.

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By Kayte Knower
Nov 25, 2008
paralysis by analysis
JasonH wrote:
going bolt to bolt or only climbing half a pitch a couple times to warm up. You know, just to keep things simple and not to slow others down. But it makes my day less enjoyable and I don't feel like a really warmed up right...my guess is you...were more hoping to find a good way to warm up at a hard wall without really climbing hard right off the bat - which I've really got no solution to. Sure you can grab a draw here or there, or tr, but that doesn't really get the mental attitude going and is moerately demoralizing before hopping on the project and trying to give it a real burn. \


Hi Jason,

The validation is really nice. I've never seen you warm up that way - bolt to bolt or whatever - more proof that it is perception. There is always someone stronger right? I think the biggest problem for me it the demoralizing part, which for me can be more than a small thing. The best example is this fabulous route called Techno at Waimea. It took a long time for me to lead that route, and doing so is in my top five climbing memories. The route is safe to lead, but not comfortable. You know me and heel hooks :)

So these days I've denigrated it to the top rope warm up, and I hate doing that every time. It pokes little holes of doubt in that memory. There is always an excuse - I can't feel my toes, the fixed draws are too old, there are a couple of scary clips, the crux move can hurt my shoulder, I come in really hot if I don't get the perfect belay, I'll be spent for the day if I lead it...blah, blah, blah. These excuses have some merit, but the fact remains that I'm just scared. Instead of doing the route anyway, which would be so empowering, I back down. Neither my mind, nor my body, is prepared to try that route when I am not at my best.

I'm thinking that this winter I may start going bolt to bolt instead of the TR. It really bums me out to TR it.

FLAG
By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Nov 25, 2008
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
*** wrote:
Sounds like you've got figured it out. Now Jay doesn't need to worry about furnishing the doghouse.



I guess I dodged that bullet. Whew...

FLAG


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