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New and experienced climbers over 50, #3

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Alicia Sokolowski · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 1,100

I'm not over 50, but you guys are my first stop every visit to MP.  I despaired when I saw the locked thread, so made this one, titled according to John's suggestion.

Get to work, you guys have 999 posts ahead of you!

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 181
Lori Milas wrote:Dallas... I love all that you share!  With all the posting here it's easy to miss something, or not respond... but you had me worried when you described a heat stroke.  Was this recent?  And are you ok?
In another post you mentioned that it is Barbara who loves climbing... but I don't remember what you said about yourself
Heat stroke, couple of years ago.  It got my attention.  It took nearly 2 years but I have had my heart and other parts tested. I am just older and out of shape.  I didn't pay my dues back when in my 40's and 50's.  Now it's going to take more work.

Barbara is a kitten, she just loves to climb.  And like a kitten she will go up things without knowing how to get down.  I am the gear head.  I figure stuff out, study materials, breaking strength, self rescue, aid climbing, etc.  While she has the heart of a climber I just enjoy it.  We'll be doing this for a long time and we are slowly getting better at it.

Actually, my routine now is one Ener-C pack and a Nuun tab in a liter bottle... ).  It could help Barb with her hypoglycemia.
I will look into that, thanks for the tip.

 the first time it occurred to me that game-changing injury or death might come ... from a mental lapse. ... Will there come a day when we 'forgot where we put our keys' only the 'forgot' part is to properly tie in, or make sure we are on the same rope system.  
I watched my mom sink into severe dementia. We are a long way from forgetting to tie in.  But forgetfulness is a part of aging.  It's important to remain honestly self aware, there will come a time when we must stop doing activities because we become a danger to ourselves and others.  It was difficult to take her drivers license away because she couldn't remember how to get home nor how to use a cell phone.  It's also different for every individual.

Ok. I think this is really an internal pre-birthday check... I've been reviewing all systems, 
63 is coming up in a couple of weeks.  

I guess.  Took a look in the mirror, took a look in my heart... have wound up in a total life review, most welcome, but kind of startling in ways.  Hopefully it all ties up with a great liftoff in my aluminum lawn chair and weather balloons... or the equivalent adventure, perhaps next week in Joshua Tree.  

 willingness to give what you have to the effort.  No expectations of sending the climb, but the willingness to give it everything and to learn and to be present.  As in life...  

Well said.
Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 181
Alicia Sokolowski wrote: I'm not over 50, but you guys are my first stop every visit to MP.  I despaired when I saw the locked thread, so made this one, titled according to John's suggestion.

Get to work, you guys have 999 posts ahead of you!

Thanks for doing this!

wendy weiss · · boulder, co · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 10

Since we've been talking about things that can go wrong if you have (even a momentary) lapse of attention, I'll throw in a warning about the mistake that everyone thinks they could never make because "I COULDN'T BE THAT STUPID," which is thinking you're clipped into the autobelay when you're not. Yes you could. Not only have people been seriously injured and killed doing this, but if you talk to gym climbers about it, a surprisingly large number will tell you that they've done it and been lucky enough to realize -- or have someone else spot -- their mistake in time.

Just want to put that out there.

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 175

If you're out of hearing range, either indoors or outside... is there a universal "Oh, shit!" signal that a climber could recognize?  Like... ?  Or... don't move, you are not on a rope! 

Unless my belayer screamed at me, I would not have known I was in trouble.  A scream might not have helped much, either.  Very busy night, lots of noise... 40 foot walls.  And outside, especially in the wind... impossible to hear.

I was thinking of yanks on the rope, or some kind of SOS signal a climber could feel.  I'm sure there is such a thing... what is it?

And yes... we've had some deaths in our gym because the belayer was tied in to an adjacent rope, the climber was not attached.  Lots of preventable oopsies. 

Speaking of... I was just taking a moment to review Double Cross this morning, for a do-over next week if possible... but I didn't realize that a whole thread had been devoted just to this one route, and largely about the number of deaths from that one climb.  How in the hell can that be?  it was DIFFICULT (for me as a beginner)... never thought of it as deadly.  Is it possible that it's just leader-error... top roping should be absolutely safe, right?  RIGHT???

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 863
Alicia Sokolowski wrote: I'm not over 50, but you guys are my first stop every visit to MP.  I despaired when I saw the locked thread, so made this one, titled according to John's suggestion.

Get to work, you guys have 999 posts ahead of you!

Alicia! Yay! Grab a marshmallow and cozy up to the fire, anytime!

Best, Helen
Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 588
 Tr can be safe. but not 100% safe.
ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

Thanks Alicia!

Lovena Harwood · · MA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 400

Thanks Alicia!!

Was at my local gym this morning! It's minutes from my house and I like their women's only fitness room and their weight training classes. But most of all I like their climbing tower with 5 autobelays and a crack wall! Oooohh la-laaah!

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 588
My gym. Fresh air kind only.
Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 175

I’m looking forward to some time climbing outdoors so I can give some sore body parts a rest.  I have blisters on my palms but didn’t want to miss a last session at the gym so I gerry rigged a solution—a splitter glove worn backwards. It saved another layer of skin.

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 181

How young?

I had a really good time belaying this young lady and her little sister.

Tom Hickmann · · Bend, OR · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 35
Jon W wrote: How about Goals and training regiments to attain them.

We all know that training and results change as we get older.  How do the "more seasoned" climbers get stronger? Anyone still train like they did when they were younger?
  • I train 6 and sometimes 7 days a week, and I definitely did not do that when I was younger. The difference is that I mix it up. I limit climbing to 2 to 3 days a week. Other days are a mix of weights and cardio. After the age 50 muscle atrophy is a real problem. I have a workout gym I go to in the mornings, climbing gym on evenings, and outside on rock other days. I have found it takes a lot more now to maintain strength than it ever used to.

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 588

I'm 56 I find if I take a few weeks off I climb way stronger and better, no gym weights or Gym plastic.

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 588
Little Paige
Russ Walling · · · Joined Oct 2004 · Points: 3,417
Tufa scum aftermath a couple days ago.... a post mostly so I can find this new thread
Lovena Harwood · · MA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 400

No training for me! Just climb (indoors or out) 2-3 days a week...I usually choose climbing over weight training classes.  And golf 1-2 days a week. And when I travel, besides climbing and golfing, I always try to get some hiking in as well. For me, moving, getting out of the house to meet with friends and family, and eating clean is key for my happy place!

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 175

Speaking of training...  Senor, I thought of you and laughed yesterday when Ryan added downclimbing to our new wall laps.  Somehow I thought climbing down would be a piece of cake... but as I began to step down, already pretty tired, Ryan continuously let out slack, and I felt like I might free fall.  It was tremendously difficult for me!  I yelled down "HEY! Take up the rope!" and all I got was "NOPE!"    That was a quivering, shaking, trembling experience.

Back when I made that first post I think I proclaimed "All climbers are 27." (because it seemed that way).  Turns out, Ryan is 27.  But he also has a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Therapy/Education, and I have realized that I am extremely lucky--the universe gave me someone who had a vision for shepherding me through this process of becoming a climber.  So, yesterday he said "When you get back, if you're ready, we can start training."  START?  

I have no outside perspective about this body, what's possible, where the line is.  My doctor is unhappy with me because I do not fit in any of the charts she has... she has never encountered a really active senior.  She has insisted upon statins, vaccines, blood pressure meds, and lower thyroid meds.  (even though my cholesterol and BP and thyroid are perfect.)  I keep declining.  I'm clear on the muscle wasting aspect of aging and exercise, and on the need for more protein and ... everything.  I've personally been in a kind of deep funk for the last month, tired, unmotivated... am I'm wondering why.  Is this too much climbing?  But, there's only one way to find out.   What I really think is that a week away, playing in the desert, will restore my spirit.    


There's something about this sport.... I haven't figured it out yet... but it always feels like a gift.  Mostly, the people (all of you), and those willing to help out... save the day over and over again.  Those beautiful rocks and mountains call.  Yesterday, in my funk, Ryan caught it and said "Lori, climbing is HARD.  It's really, REALLY hard!" as I was peeling blisters off my hands.  And I guess we know that.  Except Constine, who apparently never gets blisters, and never gets old.  (Has anyone carded him?)    

Lovena Harwood · · MA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 400
Jon W wrote: 

I stay off plastic as I tend to get injured on it more easily.

Agree with you on getting injured more easily indoor climbing. A couple times I got really sore after climbing hard indoors. Then the weekend would come and I was too sore to climb outdoors. So for a while I stopped climbing indoors altogether...until just recently when I started taking crack climbing lessons (indoors on vertical crack). Now I don't climb hard indoors....just enough for good cardio and balance. 

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 175

Hey Jon!  Thank you for that!  And what a great article on Chuck Odette.  I'm wondering if you can attempt to explain what this means to you... climbing this hard.  Is it the sheer physicality of climbing at that level?  Is it achievement?  What do those numbers mean to you?  

There's times I can understand why so many climbers are present or past engineers... I get the 'figuring' part of this sport.  I enjoy climbing within my limit where there's enough energy to problem solve, to contemplate a route and find options.  Maybe it's the mental game, too... learning all the ways in which a head trip can end a good climb.  

But I don't think a 12 or 13 (outside) are in my future.  I'd love to see pictures of your 14 when you get there.  

If I take a moment to really think on this... my favorite part of climbing is what happens after the climbing is over.  Even in the gym, the half hour of total peace and clarity after the workout.   So maybe I need to do less climbing and more after-climbing.    

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 863

Wow, what a great group we have here!

Jon W, if you get to Idaho, go to the Fins, our 12+ playground. Paige Clausen just did the second ascent of Algorithm, FA Siegrist. I doubt  even the hike in is at my grade, lol!

Lori? I've been more careful of my sugar intake, and even sugar fasted a bit, part of a program I'm doing with our Wellness program at work. Being diabetic, I'm sure you are very in touch with your body, but I thought I was also. I work with a predisposition to depression, manage it quite well most of the time. However, I discovered that sugar can sabotage my head rather dramatically, and it isn't just the sugar slump after. This can be well removed from when I overindulge. My swings in mood dump me deeper. And? "Overindulge" can be merely a "normal" serving of cake, something like that. My treats are just that now: treats. I enjoy them much more!

Climbing is also rather addictive, compared to day to day stuff. I've already made the joke on here, but will repeat it: climbing has changed me from an average old lady with too many cats and a garden, to a mediocre outlier with too many cats and a very neglected garden.

The joy of a physical body, is a new one for me. Every single day. I find a bone that's new to me, or notice the actual muscle bunching up at each step, if I'm walking with hands in pockets. I lie in bed, arm curved up cradling my head, and my other hand marvels at a bicept. I go to get something out of the veggie drawer, and realize I am flagging. Again. My feet are placed precisely, going over a rock in the trail, or climbing into the back of the van at work. This, astounds me.

I am new enough that the best training for climbing is still climbing. But, that can't happen right now, not often enough. So, I now own light weights, 5, 10 and 15 pound dumbbells. Like you, Lori, I confess I have lucked into a young person (30?) who simply decided to make me ​a climbing project. He is headed for being a full fledged personal trainer. And happens to be a climbing coach. Which means I try a lot harder, to honor this gift I am being given, than if I was on my own. While I am not nearly as active as the athletes on here, I work every day to avoid sedentary. "Average American" is a very low bar to top, sadly.

In preparation for this weekend? I have borrowed a child's full body harness from my partner. I'm meeting a friend, but he has invited a friend of his also. A grandma, who may bring a little kid. If all goes well? I will also be seeing a 23 year old young lady, she only started climbing in January, but is already into trad. We met last weekend when she came through Boise on her way from Smith to City. The sweet twerp has all of September to dirtbag and climb.... I'm soooo jealous, lol! But. I also heard from a woman I will hopefully meet for the first time, and her climbing partner. He, is a grandfather. She? Is 71! They are driving up from Colorado, today. And I'm sharing a campsite with a (young??) couple from SLC, their gracious invite, also never met them. I'll be bringing my baby trad rack, most of it gifted to me. Again, four or five people I've never met.

I have almost no family, at my age you either have a lot, or very little, it seems. This truly is my tribe now. Thanks so much, all! See you next week, sometime. I'm trading the virtual campfire for a real one (gotta remember to buy wood today). It's going to be true fall temps at 6500 feet!!

Best, Helen

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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