The more you know, the more you need to learn

So my trip to France felt like a real insight into climbing weaknesses and strengths and an opportunity to see what I have to do to improve.

So, first the good things:
As I expected, I’m good at reading sequences and doing fingery walls. I didn’t get pumped often, so the 4x4s seem to have paid off. I turn out to be surprisingly good at slab climbing, quickly doing problems in Font that no one else could. So – time to try some hard routes at Portland, start hitting Pembroke. The slab climbing can perhaps wait until the autumn gritstone season – or should I plan a trip to La Pedriza or Llanberis?

Now, the weaknesses:

The difficult 6c at Toulon (Marco Polo) showed that my strength and bouldering need to go up a level if I’m to get up harder sports climbs (tho I’m probably okay for a lot of trad up to about E2). Same with the tough route at Chateauvert – I really lacked the power for some big moves, the rest I could just about handle.

Falling – for the first few days the fear of falling was high, and it took me a long time to feel relaxed when on lead. It’s even worse when I’m high on a big pitch. Since I don’t have enough free climbing days to spend getting my head in gear, I need to do as much fall practice as possible at the wall. Maybe aim for 50 – 100 falls in the next month or six weeks? How do I get used to taking falls and hanging out high up?

Footwork – I struggle with heel hooks. This needs practice, and  feel I could improve my ability to drop-knee too. Possibly also some hip and leg flexibility to make the most of these kind of moves, but most of it will be drills and practice at the wall, and copying people who are good at heel hooking.

Steep rock – after failing on a fairly straightforward 6b at Chateauvert I realise I need to really improve my ability on very steep rock (up to about 15/20 deg overhanging). One element of this is pure strength/thuggery, the other is being comfortable on steep rock, happy to take falls and so on. Many hours of bouldering in the fridge and leading on the steepest wall at the Westway beckon. Not sure where to practice this outside… perhaps Higgar Tor?

Dead pointing – I’m just not very good at it, lacking accuracy and timing. Need to learn how to hit the holds at just the right time in the jump.

Staying calm – Mark noticed that before doing some problems at Franchard Cuisinere I was a bit shaky and skittering when first getting on the rock. I’ve notice myself feeling really shaky when I get nervous, often just as I’m about to succeed on a route (perhaps success is scarier than failure?). Apparently my first move nerves disappeared higher on the problems and some level of precision returned. I need to stay calmer and manage the tension between being psyched and excited, and calm enough to climb well.

One Response to “The more you know, the more you need to learn”

  1. I find it interesting that no matter what level of climbing one is at, we all seems to suffer such similar weaknesses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: