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Started late - Could I ever compete?


Original Post
Benjami Turpeinen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0

Hey, I started bouldering a year ago at 22 years old, progressing really fast, and I was wondering if there's any chance I could ever compete at a high level. Do you know any competitors who started late as well?

Logan Webster · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0

Just because I would be irritated if no one ever responded to my post I figured I’d throw out my 2 cents. Probably not the best person to ask, but in my opinion we are only limited to our own limitations we set. For example Kyra Condie, has won multiple comps with 10 fused vertebra and a back that looks like an S... I don’t know of people specifically starting late and competing but my point remains the same, What you put in is usually what you get out of it. So, myself at 29 about to be 30 and just starting climbing 4 months ago, I try to tell myself I don’t have a limitation, if I just keep putting in the effort I can reach goals and I’m continuing to progress. So if competing is your goal, make short term goals that help progress to the big one. Priorities.
Side note also understand that there is a huge difference between pros and everyone else, great power company podcast on this ep. 120. Not to discourage but it is facts.
So that’s my opinion on a nutshell

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,505
Benjami Turpeinen wrote: Hey, I started bouldering a year ago at 22 years old, progressing really fast, and I was wondering if there's any chance I could ever compete at a high level. Do you know any competitors who started late as well?

Do you enjoy bouldering? 

C Archibolt · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 877

If by "high level" you means professionally, the short answer is no. Unless you are a phenom. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040

People used to start "late" and still get to pro/competition levels. That was normal. But the field has changed, and pretty much all the people that are competing at a pro level now have started as young teens or pre-teens.

If you are envisioning yourself competing in the world cup... probably unlikely. but then again, if you would change your mind based on an internet rando telling you this, then you weren't the right person for world-cup, anyway.

But there are are plenty of local fun competitions, boulder leagues, etc, that are geared more towards regular people, and not pros. And you can definitely compete in those. Start there, and see how you stack up against the everyman guys, before you think about going pro.

T G · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 51

Don't listen to naysayers anywhere, ever. If you truly have the will to work for it and have the genetics to be a great athlete, go for it. Find yourself some structured coaching and work for it. My partner started racing bikes at age 27, made it to world championships, and eventually became a national champion. There's no age limit on being a good climber.

Cocoapuffs 1000 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 10

Highly unlikely that you could be competitive at an elite / professional level.  But there are certainly people who started in their early 20's who can climb 5.14.  You would probably have to train obsessively to get there, though.

Adam Ronchetti · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2011 · Points: 25

Nope, not a chance in hell..... Now go and prove me wrong :)

Owen S. · · LA · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,116

Well it depends on your genetics and what you were doing before 22.. if you were a world class gymnast and have genetically strong fingers then I'd say there's a good chance

F loyd · · Kennewick, WA · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 366

Yes, climb for 50 years and be the best 70+ division crusher!

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

Competition climbing and training/coaching for it is still very much in its infancy. We're along way from having the genetically best suited participants ( the typical kid that comes up through the ranks isn't good enough to make it in more traditional main stream sports).  Coaching/training methods are pretty much the wild west - lots of people hang out their shingles - most are just winging it. Until there is a lot more $$$ involved that's likely the way it will stay.

So all that means you have a better shot at competing at an elite level starting at your age then if you picked basketball, tennis or golf.

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,196

When do the best in the big sports generally start?

You still have a chance to be a high level neverwas, maybe have the time of your life.

Change my mind.

Stephen C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

People who perform at a high level don't put self-imposed limitations on themselves. People who perform at a low level almost always do. Don't look for reasons why you can't.

Every individual is different and none of the people on the internet are going to know your actual capability and maximum possible performance level.

mtndan · · Littleton, CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 5

Sam Elias won this year's Ouray Ice Climbing Festival Competition. He started climbing around your age. 

plantmandan · · Brighton, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 50

One great thing about climbing is that we all can try to climb the same rocks if we'd like.

There's nothing stopping you. Start with a local competition and go from there. If you win, great. You won't regret trying. 

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Why do you want to compete at a high level...fame, fortune, bragging rights?

Kyle Taylor · · Broomfield CO · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

I got my pro card racing bikes at 27. It’s never too late- it may be harder and you’ll certainly have more sacrifices ahead of you than a youngster but go for it if it’s your passion. 

Benjami Turpeinen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0
Jaren Watson wrote:

Do you enjoy bouldering? 

Yes! Very much so.

Benjami Turpeinen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0
C Archibolt wrote: If by "high level" you means professionally, the short answer is no. Unless you are a phenom. 

I guess I'll have to become phenomenal then.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,505
Benjami Turpeinen wrote:

Yes! Very much so.

That’s great! Focus on that, and whatever happens in terms of progress will be interesting but incidental.

Benjami Turpeinen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2018 · Points: 0
Cocoapuffs 1000 wrote: Highly unlikely that you could be competitive at an elite / professional level.  But there are certainly people who started in their early 20's who can climb 5.14.  You would probably have to train obsessively to get there, though.

Obsessive is my middle name.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Bouldering
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