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Hangboarding pulleys


Original Post
Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485

I am weak and making an effort to get stronger. I'm almost done with my first ARCing cycle and already I'm noticing some nice benefits to my outdoor climbing. Now I need to get the hangboard spiffed up so I can take weight off all those non-jug holds for the next phase :)

Are "nice" pulleys required for this task or is there something available at the hardware store that will work?

Brett Brotherton · · Arvada, CO · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 120

I've been using some hardware store pulley's for my rock rings without a problem. They are not taking much weight and if by the slight chance they failed it would not cause any harm.

Monomaniac · · Morrison, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 17,425

Hardware store pulleys are fine.

On a side note, its worth considering whether hangboarding is the most effective use of your training time at this point in your career.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485

Hangboarding as an effective use of my time...I think it is but I'm open to hearing opinions. Here is some background.

I don't climb a lot of sport but for the sake of numbers, let's say I climb most easy 12's in the gym within a few tries but mid 12 to easy 13 can have stopper moves for me. I climb "hard" routes relative to my bouldering strength though I have done very little outdoor bouldering. Yes I realize it's gym climbing but with a pregnant wife it's easy to get a solo work out in when I don't feel like rigging lines or when I need to crank out a workout quickly. Plus it's a concrete way to see improvement vs outdoor climbing where reasons for success or failure on a route can be less well defined.

Most of my outdoor climbing is trad which tends to keep me more conservative gradewise. Unless I'm with a select few partners I'm not comfortable taking trad falls. I've been climbing consistently for almost 2 years, gradually increasing intensity to 4 or more times a week. I've been doing focused ARC workouts for the last ~6 weeks though not exclusively meaning I still climb outside when I can or somedays I climb harder gym routes. I intend to run through the "beginner" rock prodigy schedule for a complete cycle and see what the effects are.

Monomaniac · · Morrison, CO · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 17,425

No need to defend "gym climbing". The people who talk shit about it are generally clueless gumbies that suck at climbing (oops, is that not PC?).

Anyway, it sounds like you may be more skilled than your profile currently indicates. IMO, if you cannot climb 5.12-, you should spend all of your time improving your technique and/or working through any mental issues that might be holding you back. Other people disagree on where that threshold is. It sounds like you may be well into the 5.12 grade, so this could be the right time for you. You're obviously a highly successful athlete and no stranger to hard work, so in any case the time will not be wasted. If done "right" hangboarding monopolizes a lot of climbing time, which can be a serious detrement if you need a lot of time on the rock to hone your technical skills. On the other hand, if your wife is pregnant, and you rarely get time on the rock anyway, hangboarding is a very time-efficient way to get worked, and it doesn't require a partner.

I think you have a good plan--trying out the rockpordigy program to see what happens. Your open mind should help quite a bit too.

One other side-note: you hinted at the possibility of a major weakness:

"...Most of my outdoor climbing is trad which tends to keep me more conservative gradewise. Unless I'm with a select few partners I'm not comfortable taking trad falls...."

Addressing that may be the most effective way to improve your climbing. On the other hand, if you climb a lot in Eldo, that is probably a wise attitude.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485
Monomaniac wrote: One other side-note: you hinted at the possibility of a major weakness:
Other weaknesses, yes I have them for sure. Hopefully I can work on them concurrently (drills during ARCing for example). I have been climbing cracks a lot more lately which lends itself to pushing grades vs Eldo but I definitely am still moving slower in pushing grades on gear. I also have been pondering the "stiff finger make good footwork" and how it applies to me. When I can hang onto a given hold without rushing, I have time to move my feet properly thus make the next move easier.
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

chris,

from what i read, i think you are probably at the right spot for adding some hangboarding. my experience over the last 10 years is that when i was hangboarding (the first 5 years) i climbed 2 letter grades harder than the last 5 years (dedicated gym climbing). one of my problems is that i have a really hard time getting the gym climbing to transfer over to my outside climbing. it is just too different to the climbing i tend to do. also, i am climing more gear routes around the boulder area, and on these routes i generally work on them until i am pretty sure i won't fall, which takes longer.

regarding your inability to sack up for harder trad routes (totally joking!), the boulder area in general is not that conducive to a sane person doing so. i ran into 2 boulder guys at bell buttress last summer, both of which climb very consistently in the 12 range on gear. i asked them to recommend some good fairly well protected trad routes in the boulder area. after pondering for a bit they kind of chuckled and said that there really aren't that many. i have found a few though...

anyway, good to see you are putting a plan of attack together, keep us posted on your progress.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485
slim wrote:one of my problems is that i have a really hard time getting the gym climbing to transfer over to my outside climbing. it is just too different to the climbing i tend to do.
gym climbing and transfer...I agree that it's not easy to get direct transfer esp for places like Eldo. At first I was seeing very very little transfer outside except for ice climbing (holding jugs and fluid movement). If I focus less on the super overhung lead wall and climb 11 and up routes I'm slowly finding more transfer. ARCing is making a big difference in being able to take my time outside when onsighting.

Even the cracks indoors can be good for training. I know that I'm less technically proficient on finger cracks and so I will drill upstairs at the BRC on fingers and thin hands and it seems to be helping. Too bad it's raining right now or I'd go rig my lines and see if I can send my mini project which has a finger lock crux on it.

The trick, at least for me, to getting better with any sport is to figure out weaknesses large and small and work on them. I *think* hangboarding will address some weaknesses I've observed but we'll see!

Wifey is awake, time for breakfast number 2 :)
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

what's your proj that you are riggin on, just out of curiousity.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485

Just "Destroyer" on the choss pile in front of the dome :) I've half assed bouldered the start a few times when going to the Dome but never roped up and actually tried it. I wanted to test out adding a Cinch to my TR solo setup the other day so I went over there and was playing around. I didn't bring any gear for a directional though which I need to do next time. Short approach and top anchors are good for rain threatened days and the overhanging 9+ next to it is rather gym like, ha. Plus it's in the shade a lot. The rock is sort of chossy though so it will be more like headpoint on lead as I'm not intending to whip.

JonathanC · · CO · Joined May 2008 · Points: 5
Chris Plesko wrote:Now I need to get the hangboard spiffed up so I can take weight off all those non-jug holds for the next phase
(Assuming I'm reading this correctly) I would think that a couple of exercise/resistance bands would work as well... I'm not sure how they compare in price, but I think you could adjust the amount of assist by changing the tie-off point, etc.
Mike Anderson · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Nov 2004 · Points: 3,130

I bought crappy hardware store pulleys in the beginning (10 years ago? Man, has it been that long?)...always planning to upgrade and I never have. In theory, a better quality pulley will have less friction and make it easier to have consistent weights. With my crappy pulleys, I find there are spots where the pulley gets stuck a little bit and you can kind of cheat by hanging at that height. In the grand scheme of things, though, it's not that big a deal.

Re. gym climbing transferring to trad...I think you have to be disciplined in what you climb at the gym. Most climbers would prefer to climb "fun" steep juggy routes with big feet, but that's not how most real routes are. If you force yourself to use the smallest feet, or only features, and climb more vertical routes, you will have better transfer.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

i use a small climbing pulley for my pulley setup and it seems to work well. i would definitely recommend a pulley setup over a rubber band sort of setup, for consistency (as mike notes). with the weights you can keep strict records and use your time at work to plan your workout.

in the gym i stick primarily to the vertical to slightly steep techy routes, but i still find they use WAY too many big slopers which make my crimping strenght waste away while providing huge footholds to quicky ruin my footwork. there are usually a few routes in the gym that aren't like this, but it still prepares you a lot better for rifle than for most of the front range climbing.

i might try a hybrid plan (hangboarding and gym climbing) this winter, but i think most of the season will be a bit of a wash, primarily recooperating from an injury.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485

Yea pulleys have got to be better than the bands. I have some bands now, re-purposed from my ankle PT work but they're not repeatable enough. With pulleys and weights (or water jugs) it's easy to get a trackable/repeatable process which is what I'm ultimately after. I'm not opposed to spending money but if hardware store pulleys have worked for 10 years then that sounds fine for me. Plus it will give me something to do now that it's pouring instead of the 5 hr bike ride I had planned.

Slim you don't like the giant sloper cones that stick out from the wall?? Haha. I mean they're fun and all but when I began to realize big holds = giant feet then I knew I needed to start being a little more picky about my route selection. I think the juggy overhangs are good for me for other reasons but not for likeness to outdoor climbing.

Good tip about using only small feet or features Mike, I'm going to incorporate that into some gym routes to make them more realistic.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

one of the things i really don't like about huge holds on vertical-ish gym walls is that they are like a mine-field of broken ankle opportunities.

Brian Vajda · · Boulder, CO · Joined May 2006 · Points: 10

Are you using a Minitrax for TR soloing? That can double as a pulley.

Chris Plesko · · Westminster, CO · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 485
Brian Vajda wrote:Are you using a Minitrax for TR soloing? That can double as a pulley.
Nope. Cinch and Petzl Basic. I would like to try a minitrax but since I spent $35 on the Cinch and $14 on the Basic, so far a cheap MT has eluded me. Does the MT work as a two way pulley?
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

i've switched over to a petzl basic (from a modified grigri) and really like it so far. feeds really well, really secure,. only problem i've had so far, which was totally boneheaded on my part, was climbing until it was up against the anchor knot. made it a little bit of a pain to release.

James Arnold · · Chattanooga · Joined Dec 2008 · Points: 55

I am using hardware store pulleys with like 8mm static and they seem just fine. I had dismantled a wall hauler initially and used another crappy plastic petzl unit (with an old climbing rope), but strangely due to physics and angles the hardware junk actually worked better in my rig.

Andy Laakmann · · Bend, OR · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 2,005

Time commitments are going to limit my outdoor climbing to once a week (at best), so I am thinking of putting up a hangboard for at least one or two sessions per week to at least keep *some* contact strength.

Any instructions on how to rig the above-described-pulleys to take weight off?

It's for my wife.... really ;)

(I just don't want to get injures so I'd rather focus on low weights for a while)

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

andy, when i am facing my hangboard, my pulley is set up approximately 3 to 6 inches behind it. the key is to set the elevation of the pulley such that the rope coming down to your harness won't be rubbing on the back of the hangboard. wish i had a photo handy.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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