Why are climbing walls so different to real rock???????????


Original Post
paddyrock · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 25

Why do the vast majority of the routes i climb indoors feel more like ladders with crimps thrown in?? Should i blame the setters?? Or is this just the difference between indoor and out door??
More importantly how can designers of climbing walls hit the mark better when setting routes or building walls??

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

Walls are flat with holds put on them. Real walls are not like this, they are if anything flat with cuts into them to create holds.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234
paddyrock wrote: Should i blame the setters??
Probably.

Which gym?
paddyrock · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 25

I climb in Oakland GWPC.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,516

If this bothers you, shop around for a new gym.
Or switch to indoor bouldering?

The top-rope routes at my favorite gyms are nothing like what you describe. Utterly brilliant creative route-setting. Moves every bit as interesting as outdoors -- and more sustained at the same level of difficulty.

Key difference indoors even for interesting routes is that there are fewer options for what to choose for each move than in good outdoor rock. Especially for feet.
Also for hands: On outdoor limestone tends to require lots more "feeling around" on the many many potential handholds to find the best one.

Indoor setters could "fix" this difference to some extent by installing more "sucker holds".

I still prefer climbing outdoors -- if the rock is really interesting. But now that I've been gotten accustomed to truly creative interesting indoor routes, I more often find myself disappointed with old "classic" outdoor pitches as not being interesting enough to be worth the extra time and effort to get to try them.

Ken

Kent Richards · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 3
paddyrock wrote:I climb in Oakland GWPC.
It's related to what ViperScale said, but more a matter of the particular rock. There are juggy outdoor routes that somewhat feel like juggy gym routes, outdoor cracks that somewhat feel like good gym cracks, etc.

Climb the stemmy corner routes to the left of the smokestack, the ones on the other side of the wall from there, and the ones on the far right wall next to the street. They are reminiscent of stemmy corners you'd find outdoors near the Bay Area.
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,516
ViperScale wrote:Walls are flat with holds put on them.
Flat walls are a choice of the manager of the gym.

There's lots of ways to create angles. Easy for a manager to attach big features to create non-flat surfaces for route-setters to place holds.

The (non-flat) aretes at my favorite gyms are used by well-managed routesetters to create amazing routes way better and more sustained than all but a few outdoor aretes.
Same with dihedrals.

I find nowadays I'm often disappointed with outdoor aretes and dihedrals because they're not as sustained interesting (or sustained in difficulty) as the arete and dihedral routes I get to climb all the time indoors.

Ken
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165
kenr wrote: Flat walls are a choice of the manager of the gym. There's lots of ways to create angles. Easy for a manager to attach big features to create non-flat surfaces for route-setters to place holds. The (non-flat) aretes at my favorite gyms are used by well-managed routesetters to create amazing routes way better and more sustained than all but a few outdoor aretes. Same with dihedrals. I find nowadays I'm often disappointed with outdoor aretes and dihedrals because they're not as sustained interesting (or sustained in difficulty) as the arete and dihedral routes I get to climb all the time indoors. Ken
Seen alot of them but none of them that really replicate what it is like outdoors without making a wall that can't change.

Not saying you can't make intresting routes in a gym just they aren't like a naturally formed route outdoors. That said dihedral routes may be boring outdoors because they are a 500ft lie back with not much else on them due to how they were formed.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

Yeah, blame setters. I'm one, so...

My little gym doesn't have cracks, nor anything in that class. It does have overhangs, corners, and some volumes, but it is still lots of flat surface with stuff, very obvious stuff, sticking out.

I have tried to work holds to allow for chimney type moves, laybacks, etc., but most people will just try to turn a straight line of holds they could layback off of, into a jug ladder.

For myself as a climber, indoors is almost entirely hands and feet, put hand there, move feet, etc. Outside, my entire body gets in the act, whenever possible. Shoving a hip against one wall, a knee across the way...whole upper torso manteling at the top. Just doesn't happen inside.

And, at the local gym that does have "cracks", the stinkin things are only inches deep. Forget about using a forearm, let alone a knee.

Ah well.

This is all hugely variable between gyms, I'm sure! I just aim to do my best with what I've got, both setting and climbing.

Best, Helen

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165


Take this section of wall here, you can't really replicate that in a gym without making a wall that will forever be the same route. There is no set of holds you can screw in that will make it climb like this.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
ViperScale wrote: Take this section of wall here, you can't really replicate that in a gym without making a wall that will forever be the same route. There is no set of holds you can screw in that will make it climb like this.
Would you mail me one of these, please?
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

You mean a basically fixed route wall?



Not the best pictures but you get the idea you can make a completely textured wall but it really restricts what you can do with settings and I find they are worst than a flat wall when it comes to changing routes around. The gym I normally go to has a couple of feature cracks that go from the ground to the top of a 30ft wall that honestly don't work the best for jamming and are rarely used for routes so are mostly ignored, maybe used for feet on a route once in a while. They would have been better off with just more flat wall.

doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 212

It's an outdated notion that artificial climbing facilities need to resemble real rock or formations. I think they are expensive to build, very hard to modify and therefore they just become stale. Very shortsighted, IMO. Artificial walls need to be modular and adaptable to new styles of climbing. I don't enjoy climbing human-made cracks, they are usually painful and are super boring. You can achieve better results by gaining overall strength and power by climbing/training on face holds.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 25
paddyrock wrote:Why are climbing walls so different to real rock?
By design.

Artificial walls should not be necessarily similar to real rock. Because we climb on real rock and use gyms to train for climbing. Training and performing are different activities. There is no need to mimic performing environment at training playgrounds more than needed.
Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 20

Let's be honest, climbing gyms are a bunch of gymnastic equipment, either for recreational fun, or to get stronger for outdoor climbing (which has it's own technique to master). It's no wonder that the strongest climbers at a gym spend tons of time on the most abstract of gym amenities; hangboards, campus boards, the 45 degree bouldering wall, and sometimes: rings.

Could you imagine if a weight lifting gym that only had weights and equipment that looked like big rocks, and tree trunks, so they look/feel similar to what you'd find on the ground of a forest? It's cheesy enough in World's Strongest Man comps.

It's like wondering why runners train on oval running tracks. Why are these tracks basically the same? Why aren't they varied as my favorite singlerack trail? Why are people with a past as track and field athletes now crushing more local 100 mile trail races?

Jona Dul · · New Milford, CT · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 15

with a simple wall you can sort of imitate some stuff, but not 100% obviously. i go to The Cliffs gym in new york mostly, and they have some lovely formations that generally resemble the surrounding area's boulders(i'm just mentioning what i know and climb) and yet they can add and switch holds, it's lovely and takes one vaguely familiar problem and turns it from a sit start going up into a standing start traverse with a dyno around an arete. gym walls are pretty darn good when they are simple

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

Because they are fake. It's Not a real rock and the gym is Not rock climbing. It's plastic climbing. It's going to a GYM. you can get super strong in a Gym but it's not rock climbing.

Nathan Self · · Louisiana · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 20

Seems like the setter thinks you need to work on your crimpin'.

Route setting can be much better than that...

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
ViperScale wrote:You mean a basically fixed route wall? Not the best pictures but you get the idea you can make a completely textured wall but it really restricts what you can do with settings and I find they are worst than a flat wall when it comes to changing routes around. The gym I normally go to has a couple of feature cracks that go from the ground to the top of a 30ft wall that honestly don't work the best for jamming and are rarely used for routes so are mostly ignored, maybe used for feet on a route once in a while. They would have been better off with just more flat wall.
Point taken, well made, totally agree. The "featured" gym I went to was disappointing, too.

Still wish you'd mail me that big hunk of rock.

Snow's up to my knees now, mid thigh if I hit a snow plow drift. And only commie pinkos shovel public sidewalks, so... :-(

OLH
Nathan Self · · Louisiana · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 20
Old lady H wrote:Yeah, blame setters. I'm one, so... I have tried to work holds to allow for chimney type moves, laybacks, etc., but most people will just try to turn a straight line of holds they could layback off of, into a jug ladder.
This confuses me. Are these people successful in turning your laybacks into jughauls? That shouldn't be possible. Are you using crimps and rails to create these moves?
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120
Nathan Self wrote: This confuses me. Are these people successful in turning your laybacks into jughauls? That shouldn't be possible. Are you using crimps and rails to create these moves?
This was a section with a right angle to work with. So, flattish holds (medium edges, probably) set so they are sideways, parallel to the right angle wall, (essentially making a third wall) in a straight line. Stem, lie back with feet on wall, or, if you are a midget old lady, back to the wall, and chimney. Or see good size holds in a line and use them in the most boring way possible. I did add a note to the route, so people could at least give it a shot.

H.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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