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New and experienced climbers over 50, #3


Mark Orsag · · Omaha, NE · Joined May 2013 · Points: 760

Currently have a messed up back and right hand from a freak accident, so on the shelf for a week or two and away from my gym friends. Glad to able to at least talk climbing again!

Lovena Harwood · · MA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 375
Lori Milas wrote: With some time to kill... I'm relooking at Double Cross.  Is this how you all use beta?  Does anyone study pictures before or after a climb?  I wanted to know where it went wrong before, and what I could do to improve this time.  Body positioning... right arm/left arm, but I think it might come down to basic strength and just plain experience?  Side by side...  Nelson showing me how to do it, me giving it a go.  I can still hear him saying "Take a smaller step up." "Stand up on that left leg!"  (trying! )  I can see that he got right up on his left leg and into that crack... no dawdling.     (I finished the climb, but it felt pitiful.    )  Lovena, you would nail this crack climb on the first go!  

Oooh that's a pretty crack! Hard to tell from photos, but when at a climb, I study it to see how wide the crack is and if there are any ledges to stand on for a rest. I'm continually working on developing good feet technique for solid foot placements! For me that means practicing jamming my feet and figuring out how much of my foot to jam into the crack. Then no dilly-dally.....just get up on that foot and then move hands up, then repeat with other foot. Trusting my feet jams was a big "light bulb" moment for me! LOL!

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 176

One of my climbing partners pointed out that I was really into the giant step.  He suggested that when I get one of those I should practice making 2 little steps up before I did the big pull. 

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170
Dallas R wrote: One of my climbing partners pointed out that I was really into the giant step.  He suggested that when I get one of those I should practice making 2 little steps up before I did the big pull. 

Wendy, Dallas, Lovena... exactly! Thanks for pointing this out! This here underscores the value of collusion. (Can I say collusion here?) 

It’s clear as day reviewing pictures. At the time I was wondering why Nelson spent so much time lecturing me on taking a smaller step...but I can see it here. Leaving the crack aside, just getting TO the crack was a project. And then “Get up on that foot!”  How fun! I’ll try it again!
John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,080

Some good discussion this week for sure......

Heading to the boonies.....If your weekend doesn't involve boonies, mud, blood, internal combustion or the three Rs (ropes, rocks & rubber) you're doing it wrong! (Except you Mark, heal up bro)

@Dallas, baby steps will get you up anything.....
@Lori, if you can do 5.8 at JT you can do 5.9 but you need to ease up & let your hands heal. Also change that tape on your finger daily! It's looking pretty manky..... ;)
@Russ, Vinegar will do wonders for that Greek lichen rash (topically) I bet it's pretty green by now... ;)
@everybody else, be safe and have fun.....and if you can't do both.... ;)

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 176
John Barritt wrote: Some good discussion this week for sure......

Heading to the boonies.....If your weekend doesn't involve boonies, mud, blood, internal combustion or the three Rs (ropes, rocks & rubber) you're doing it wrong! (Except you Mark, heal up bro)

@Dallas, baby steps will get you up anything.....

I'm doing it wrong then.  Been out in the boonies all week, climbing, fishing, hiking, white water kayaking, headed to work tomorrow for my long 2 day work week. Didn't have the motorcycle out but did take a nice mountain bike ride. 

Baby steps sure helped me, but I still don't have much hang time so I need big jugs to get over those bulges with my baby steps.     

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
Lori Milas wrote: 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... 

Down climbing is really great training. I almost always downclimb at least some of most boulder problems in the gym, unless I fall off, like today. I was helping a mate set and felt like a little lab monkey in his lab setting gym.. 

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0


At the bouldering club trying hard and being Pete my mates route setting lab monkey. He changed the ending later on. You can learn a lot I think by helping someone set... 
Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170

My instructions were to "follow the trail"....      For this reason, we now have a Garmin.  AND, hopefully, I can find a little class on navigating desert 'trails'.  

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170
Carl Schneider wrote:


At the bouldering club trying hard and being Pete my mates route setting lab monkey. He changed the ending later on. You can learn a lot I think by helping someone set... 

Carl... so proud of you!  I love your videos!  If you climb in any outback areas of Australia, will you post pictures?  

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 176
Lori Milas wrote: ..."follow the trail"....      

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
Carl Schneider wrote:


At the bouldering club trying hard and being Pete my mates route setting lab monkey. He changed the ending later on. You can learn a lot I think by helping someone set... 

Dude, we want to see Grampians bouldering, not plastic :) 

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
Lori Milas wrote:

Carl... so proud of you!  I love your videos!  If you climb in any outback areas of Australia, will you post pictures?  

Ha ha ta. Yeah I will, I'm off to Moonarie in the north of South Australia near Wilpena Pound in 12 days, the scenery should be spectacular... 

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
Nivel Egres wrote:

Dude, we want to see Grampians bouldering, not plastic :) 

Ha ha so do I! 

thedogfather Dower · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 150
wendy weiss wrote: 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.

Been there, done that!!  Spinal cord injury (central cord syndrome) with a plate now holding my vertebrae together.   It has been a long slow attempt to rehab and am stuck with chronic pain and limited strength in my forearms.     I was working an 11+ after 1.5 hours of autobelay work on 10's and 11's.  Stopped for a drink, walked back and started up.  Fell at the crux 30 feet up.   (no triangle to prevent this, just sandbags that hold the autobelay away from the wall so people can boulder and traverse).   4 years ago almost and I have regained quite a lot.   In my 60's my norm was to onsight most 5.10s and a few 5.11s and redpointed 2 12s.   Now I work 9's and my best is 10b.  But, I am also 69.     Have a friend that had the same fall but came down feet first (I landed on my back) and she fractured her pelvis and had one lower leg amputated.   Be careful out there!!!!!   I have since found many, including the gym manager, that made the same mistake but realized it and down climbed.  

But I now work more endurance and yesterday I climbed 50 pitches, all 5.9, in 8 hours.  Not too bad for a senior citizen.  (getting ready for the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell)
Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170
thedogfather Dower wrote:

Been there, done that!!  Spinal cord injury (central cord syndrome) with a plate now holding my vertebrae together.   It has been a long slow attempt to rehab and am stuck with chronic pain and limited strength in my forearms.     I was working an 11+ after 1.5 hours of autobelay work on 10's and 11's.  Stopped for a drink, walked back and started up.  Fell at the crux 30 feet up.   (no triangle to prevent this, just sandbags that hold the autobelay away from the wall so people can boulder and traverse).   4 years ago almost and I have regained quite a lot.   In my 60's my norm was to onsight most 5.10s and a few 5.11s and redpointed 2 12s.   Now I work 9's and my best is 10b.  But, I am also 69.     Have a friend that had the same fall but came down feet first (I landed on my back) and she fractured her pelvis and had one lower leg amputated.   Be careful out there!!!!!   I have since found many, including the gym manager, that made the same mistake but realized it and down climbed.  

But I now work more endurance and yesterday I climbed 50 pitches, all 5.9, in 8 hours.  Not too bad for a senior citizen.  (getting ready for the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell)

Oh, man! It hurts just to read your story. I’m so sorry! 

I want to make sure I understand what happened. Did the autobelay fail or did you tie in to the wrong ropes? In our gym it would be hard to mix up the two. So wonderful that you are working so hard at recovery and making such progress. Very sad lesson to have to learn at this stage of life. Thanks so much for sharing. 
Lovena Harwood · · MA · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 375

Not a crack climb but still fun on this steep slab at “The Dome” in Pawtuckaway State Park. We had the crag all to ourselves!



Mark Orsag · · Omaha, NE · Joined May 2013 · Points: 760
thedogfather Dower wrote:

Been there, done that!!  Spinal cord injury (central cord syndrome) with a plate now holding my vertebrae together.   It has been a long slow attempt to rehab and am stuck with chronic pain and limited strength in my forearms.     I was working an 11+ after 1.5 hours of autobelay work on 10's and 11's.  Stopped for a drink, walked back and started up.  Fell at the crux 30 feet up.   (no triangle to prevent this, just sandbags that hold the autobelay away from the wall so people can boulder and traverse).   4 years ago almost and I have regained quite a lot.   In my 60's my norm was to onsight most 5.10s and a few 5.11s and redpointed 2 12s.   Now I work 9's and my best is 10b.  But, I am also 69.     Have a friend that had the same fall but came down feet first (I landed on my back) and she fractured her pelvis and had one lower leg amputated.   Be careful out there!!!!!   I have since found many, including the gym manager, that made the same mistake but realized it and down climbed.  

But I now work more endurance and yesterday I climbed 50 pitches, all 5.9, in 8 hours.  Not too bad for a senior citizen.  (getting ready for the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell)

Have also done that. Came in one morning before work to get a few laps in. Was a bit woozy from a party the night before. Kind of got tunnel vision. Onsighted (unwittingly soloed) a 10+ and jumped off the top. Grabbed a rope on the way down and cut up my hand. But... that slowed me down enough that I walked away with nothing worse than a very sore (for two weeks) back. Lucky as hell...

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Lori Milas wrote: With some time to kill... I'm relooking at Double Cross.  Is this how you all use beta?  Does anyone study pictures before or after a climb?  I wanted to know where it went wrong before, and what I could do to improve this time.  Body positioning... right arm/left arm, but I think it might come down to basic strength and just plain experience?  Side by side...  Nelson showing me how to do it, me giving it a go.  I can still hear him saying "Take a smaller step up." "Stand up on that left leg!"  (trying! )  I can see that he got right up on his left leg and into that crack... no dawdling.     (I finished the climb, but it felt pitiful.    )  Lovena, you would nail this crack climb on the first go!  

Here's my two-bit analysis.

Looking at images 1 and 4, the most glaring error is  the huge step when an intermediate step---at the level of Lori's knee---is apparently possible.  The big step makes everything more strenuous and opens the door for other technical issues.  I think this is an outdoor beginner error that is reinforced by gym climbing, in which setters continually force climbers to take high steps and then teeter on one foot.

I think the strain of the high step led to the next issue, which is not standing all the way up on the left foot. This appears to be aggravated by not getting a good smear with the right foot.  Again, this is something trained by much of gym route-setting, which doesn't leave anything at the same level for the trailing foot after a step-up.  Another aspect of gym climbing that can interfere with optimal outdoor technique is that gym walls are usually steep, making it impossible, or at least inadvisable, to climb past a shoulder-level placement for the hands.  But once you get outside on rock less than vertical, it is conceivable to move up until the hands are at waist level.  It often happens that the low final hand position corresponds to the most balanced and least strenuous stance, so that interrupting the upward motion when the hands reach shoulder level leaves the climber in a strenuous position, possibly out of reach of better holds.  When I was guiding many years ago, I found this "making only half the move" to be a common issue, and that was before folks had gyms to introduce or reinforce bad habits.  Moving past hands at shoulder level requires trusting and weighting the feet and balancing on them, and it takes some practice and experience to recognize when this is possible and called-for.

The next issue is a crack-climbing issue, and without being able to see into the crack, it is hard to judge.  But with the body hanging to the right of the crack, it is going to be a lot easier to get a hand jam with the left hand.  Working the hands up in layback position will keep the body away from that jam, and will introduce increasing core strain to prevent barn-dooring, which is what seems to be happening.  The guide has stood fully up on the left foot, got a good smear with the right foot to keep from staying in full layback mode,  kept the hands low rather than advancing them up the crack, and then, well-balanced and not appearing to be strained, reached up for a left hand jam.

What is interesting about these technical refinements is that all of them make the moves less strenuous.  The climber who hasn't learned to deploy such niceties experiences the route as being very strenuous, concludes that those who are doing it with more ease are simply a lot stronger, and sets out to gain strength as the solution.  Strength is like money---it never hurts to have more of it---but it isn't the answer to every question posed by the rock.
Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 543
Nice day out, put up a new route it was cold and windy Fall has arrived. Undercling the roof to a nice Layback to the steep face. PUMPY!
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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