Rock Climbing

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Simius
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Simius » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:57 am UTC

I love basically all La Sportiva shoes. Testarossas are definitely awesome and I like also the Miura Velcro. The Solutions are supposed to be very good too, for aggressive bouldering shoes. I'm thinking of buying a pair of Pythons next week, myself. A shame that they're all so expensive, here in Canada.

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jobriath
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby jobriath » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:56 am UTC

Kain wrote:Overhangs would be a plus, given that that seems to be our gym's prime focus...
You could always go with Evolve Defies, if your only concern is velcro :)

Evolv make excellent shoes, but damn me if they're not stinky after six months! I love mine for precisely as long as I am wearing them, but dislike them the rest of the time.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby juststrange » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:22 pm UTC

If you're focused on bouldering, I've really enjoyed my Pythons. They are a slipper which turns some people off, but they are comfortable and if you size them right, you don't really need the elastic strap. I have been told the strap can break, but I don't pull them as tight as others. Muiras are a solid choice for a route shoe, velcro or laceup - Solutions just don't fit me. Beware the velcro Muira if you do the gumby thing and drag your toe a lot - it will grate away the part of the shoe that retains the lower strap and the buckle will "liberate" itself. Also be mindful to try and strap them straight across - any twist causes the steel buckle to try and tear the nylon its stitched into. Learn from my mistakes!


In other news, I'm pretty sure I have a 'lumbrical tear' in my left hand. I had one in my right about a year ago. All self diagnosed with the interwebs - my orthopedist is a classic doctor: "Oh, it hurts when you X? Then just don't X for a while!" As much as I appreciate that, my curious mind is very interested in what happened and why.

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Simius
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Simius » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:37 pm UTC

jobriath wrote:Evolv make excellent shoes, but damn me if they're not stinky after six months! I love mine for precisely as long as I am wearing them, but dislike them the rest of the time.

Oh yes. I had a pair Pontas slippers once, and the smell got so bad that I had to double-pastic-bag them. The stink started to rub off on anything that was in a backpack together with the shoes. Washing them (multiple times) didn't help at all, nor did various aggressive bleach baths and stuff like that. First and only time I had to retire a pair of shoes before the sole wore out...

juststrange wrote:my orthopedist is a classic doctor: "Oh, it hurts when you X? Then just don't X for a while!"

I hate that so much. Try finding a doctor/orthopedist who is also a climber, that makes all the difference. Best of luck with your injury!

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby juststrange » Tue May 01, 2012 11:34 am UTC

One thing I've done for smelly shoes is to stuff them with newspaper and put them in the freezer. Don't ask me why, but it works sometimes. My climbing bag, which has all my brushes and first aid supplies, etc, now contains a can of that shoe sanitizer they use at the bowling alley. Preventative care!

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby jobriath » Tue May 01, 2012 12:00 pm UTC

juststrange wrote:One thing I've done for smelly shoes is to stuff them with newspaper and put them in the freezer. Don't ask me why, but it works sometimes. My climbing bag, which has all my brushes and first aid supplies, etc, now contains a can of that shoe sanitizer they use at the bowling alley. Preventative care!

Good tip---will put it into action. Thanks!

Also, last time I'm permitting myself to crow over this particular fact: Mananged a 6c! (Toprope, indoors.) From 0 to 6c in a year! God, this is a great sport.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Kain » Tue May 01, 2012 12:53 pm UTC

Jobriath, is that French or British rating? (Either way, damn impressive)
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby jobriath » Tue May 01, 2012 2:57 pm UTC

Kain wrote:Jobriath, is that French or British rating? (Either way, damn impressive)

Thanks :D

This was a harder question to answer than anticipated! Has the ANSI had nothing to say about grading routes? I think French, since that system (uniquely?) has ratings of the form 6a+, which are given on other routes in the same gym.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby emceng » Tue May 01, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

Ok, suggestions for shoes? I have been renting so far. The one issue is my feet are different sizes. I should get 11.5s, but new 11.5s are incredibly painful on my right foot. So may have to get 12s. Not a big issue considering my skill level, but still kind of annoying.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby juststrange » Tue May 01, 2012 5:08 pm UTC

emceng wrote:Ok, suggestions for shoes? I have been renting so far. The one issue is my feet are different sizes. I should get 11.5s, but new 11.5s are incredibly painful on my right foot. So may have to get 12s. Not a big issue considering my skill level, but still kind of annoying.


Depending on the size of your gym, the shoes companies (Atleast Evolv and LaSportiva) tend to hold events every few months where they'll come in and let you demo shoes. Also, I'd contact some of the manufacturers directly - I know some companies will sell you a mixed-size pair if you ask nicely. The climbing community is small enough that it pays to have good customer service.

Prior to that, be honest with yourself about what you're looking for in a shoe. I know Testarrossas look cool, but if you are climbing slab, they are not the ideal choice. Things to think about:

Comfort - are you going to spend all day in them?
Synthetic or Leather?
Flat or downturned last?
Symmetric or Assymetric toebox?
Slipper/Velco/Zipper/Laceup?
Style of climbing and ability level.

Also pay attention to features that effect fit. Mad Rock loves the "hooker heel" they put on all their shoes, but I find that it digs into my Achilles.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri May 25, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

I just started going to a rock climbing gym again. About 9 months ago I was out on real rock and wasn't wearing a helmet. Yup. Fairly major concussion. So I've finally worked up the gumption to try and start climbing again. Thankfully, once I got up that first wall, I was fine.

Does anyone know of a common way people go about trying to find climbing partners? My BF and I climb together on the weekend because we meet at a gym halfway between us (it's about a 2 hour drive). However, once a week isn't very good for actually improving and there is a gym (well, I have to make sure they haven't closed, but the website's still up if slightly outdated) where I live. Problem is I know no one in this city - I just moved here 2 weeks ago. I'm really, really bad (as in can only do 5.8 and maybe a 5.9 if I'm lucky) and don't have great technique. I'm also fairly out of shape although I'm trying to get better. I've also never done bouldering as even the V0 tends to be too difficult for me.

How can I find a partner?

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby emceng » Fri May 25, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

Most gyms should have a message board with notes - you can look them over, or post one yourself.

Also try meetup.com. There's a meetup for my local gym every Thursday, and some times other nights.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Dark567 » Fri May 25, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

Try to find a climbing club in your area, generally they only meet once a week, but it will give you the chance to make friends that would be willing to climb other days of the week .
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Sytri » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:34 am UTC

Time to buy my second pair of climbing shoes, I'm thinking 5.10 rogues as they're decently priced and seem to get good reviews. Haven't climbed in over a week and I've missed it!
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby emceng » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Yeah, I made it up a 5.10a for the first time - then haven't been climbing in more than a month. I really need to get back, but I've been busy and lazy. Hopefully after the 4th I will make time to go again.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:41 am UTC

I'd not climbed in a few years until the other week, I sold off most of my (summer) rock climbing gear in dribs and drabs, but hung onto my winter climbing gear as I've always had much more of a soft spot for winter and alpine climbing... Long story short, went to house party and met a guy who's (winter climbing) partner had recently moved away, we got drunk and he cunningly suggested we go climbing that weekend.

Thus:
Image
That's the first climb we did as viewed from the walk-in, it's a Scottish II (well, welsh technically, but I've grown up using Scottish as a prefix for winter grades to distinguish them from UIAA Rock Grades). Having never climbed together before, we had every intention of climbing roped, but on arrival it looked like it would be a huge faff and whilst I wasn't as hill fit as Alex, it was obvious that it wasn't too challenging a climb for either of us.
______________________________________________

Image
That's the view from the top of the buttress on the right of the previous shot, above that was a large , boulder strewn snowfield which was a bit of an awkward slog, especially as the snow was a bit soft and sticky. It's easier to summit the mountain and go down the ridge on the far side, so up we plodded.
______________________________________________

Image
Eventually we got sick of snow plodding and decided to go directly for the summit, via a slightly sketchy traverse, then up this gully... It turned out to be quite steep and sustained with a (wholly suprising) 90deg bend after that chockstone followed by a vertical step of a couple of metres, we reckon it was a Scottish II/III(4)* but "can't find" a guidebook grade (we looked very briefly at someone else's guidebook in a pub)... anyway, quickly soloing up that took us right to the summit, which saved a lot of time and may well have prevented us getting benighted.
______________________________________________

Image
Also regarding the summit, turns out looking down on slightly snowy mountains from other higher, more frozen mountains is rather pretty... Alex insisted on taking photographs and I'm kind of glad he did now.


Anyway, that little excursion really psyched me to get my winter game on again.
I'm hoping it will inspire others to go for it too, there really is nothing else like being in the mountains in the winter!



*A note on English and "Scottish" grading for the uninitiated: British Grades come in two parts, the first describes the overall difficulty of the route, accounting for ease of placing protection, how sustained it is, how much exposure there is; the second describes the difficulty of the most challenging individual move to be made during the climb... most lower graded routes usually don't have a second grade, it starts in earnest at IV for winter, unless there's a difficult move on an otherwise easy climb
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:00 am UTC

HOLY FUCK THAT IS AMAZING.

I don't know the terminology; were you roped in at all, or only to your buddy? Much ice axe action (that's like, numbers 4-6 on the 'tools used by badasses' list)
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:05 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:HOLY FUCK THAT IS AMAZING.

I don't know the terminology; were you roped in at all, or only to your buddy? Much ice axe action (that's like, numbers 4-6 on the 'tools used by badasses' list)


Before you think it's too amazing, view this picture my partner forced me to pose for at the summit after we'd taken our harnesses off, had a quick snack and rearranged stuff in our packs... I tried (and succeeded) to make it look as silly as possible, however I think the joke may actually be on me :P
Image


We were "soloing" so not roped at all, though were originally going to climb it pitched (like lead climbing on rock) but as only very steep winter routes lend themselves to it (not to mention that the first point where we could have found protection was about 100m up a 130m climb) we decided that it was probably just as safe not to. On the steeper gully, it might have been a good idea to rope up, but we were up against it with dusk approaching and speed was as important a factor in getting home safely.

Moving together is more of an alpine technique for either glacier travel (where one of you might find a barely covered crevasse, by suddenly falling though the snow on top) or traversing ridges (where the same thing might happen with a couloir or you might just fall off); in those situations it's a good compromise between safety and moving quickly (and if it gets sketchy, you can lengthen your rope and start clipping it into slings looped over things, or even actual gear like a gentler version of simu-climbing).


There was plenty of Ice Axe* action, going up the big snowy ramp was all daggering (Piolet Poingiard if you like; holding the tool just below the head, the pick and spike are both shoved into the snow until they grip, forming a handle). Once it got steeper, it's the classic swing above head (Piolet Traction) kind of climbing, though it proved easier to hook flakes of rock on the edge of the gulley than to get secure placements in the soft ice at the crux... Slogging up the snowfield, I couldn't really use my axes, as being tall, climbing tools aren't long enough for the spike to reach the ground on gentle slopes (if I had been able to do that, it would be Piolet Cane).

However, to digress momentarily: more than ice tools, the thing that feels particularly bad-ass is that winter climbing is one of the few situations where it's still acceptable to use pegs/pitons (though usually only when a crack is too iced up for a nut or tri-cam to hold, placing and removing driven protection is comparatively time consuming)...


I'm now looking at getting back into it properly this season (that climb was a only possible because of a week of freak conditions about a month and a half before we'd normally see stuff come "in") then consolidating with some rock climbing through the summer**, so I can take on longer routes like this and more sustained, vertical climbing... (this is a cool video, but is somewhat "aspirational" for a mere mortal like myself).

I hope I haven't bored you, wandered off topic or been too technical in trying to explain things.


*Ice Axe is a generic term for both walking and climbing axes, but climbing axes are more often called technical axes, technical tools, or just tools... the difference being that a walking axe has a straight shaft of up to 2½ft, an adze for cutting steps in hard snow and a pick designed for slowing you down if you're sliding down a snowy slope... Climbing tools, usually come in pairs, are about 18" long, have a pick that sticks well into ice with minimal shattering, and usually have a hammer one and a small adze on the other, you also have varying degrees of curved shafts and moulded handles to make climbing with them more ergonomic, at the expense of being harder to use for balance whilst walking.

**I've got a slowly healing tear in one of my ankle ligaments, so even on summer rock I'll be forced to use mountaineering boots as a substitute for a fully working right foot... Which is good training for alpine climbing at least (I'm currently discussing training seriously as an alpine partnership with one of my friends, partially because they're a better rock climber than me but mainly because we can and do argue bitterly without it getting nasty or causing long term fall-outs).

Alpine climbing; Being more a kind of mountaineering than pure climbing, in which you try to climb significant peaks as quickly as possible... Which engenders a lot of pressure and stress at times, hence looking for a partner who I know can deal with little tiffs well...
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Jofur » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:52 pm UTC

I'm just going to bump this.. if that's okay.

I'm just beginning rock climbing and I love it!
Anyone still here?
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:11 pm UTC

Totes. If you're in the Boston area, come climb with me and some buddies in Woburn on Wednesdays!
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Jofur » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:33 pm UTC

Ah I wish! I'm from the Detroit area. I've had no luck running into any Michiganders around here.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:34 pm UTC

I'm still here, Between bouts of frenetically checking the weather forecast.

I'm kind of tempted to split off a more general "Let's go play in the mountains" thread as this seems to be quite focused on gym climbing; but i dunno if there's the interest to sustain it?

Got out some more in the snow, but it hadn't consolidated enough for sustained climbing, so we went for a bit of a wander at a low level.

Image

Image

It turned out to be quite an up and downy kind of route we'd chosen, but not much need for crampons, but occasional step chopping on harder snow.

I also switched axes in anticipation of doing some dry tooling in the next couple of weeks
Image

I'm being slowly talked into simulclimbing some big trad routes this spring, 490+ m of steep slabs at 5.7 to 5.10a (0r VS 4b to HVS 5a) which seems like a pretty intimidating day out.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:00 pm UTC

So are these primarily 'extreme hikes'? I've never done ice climbing. In fact, just saying those words made me cold and uncomfortable.

Keep posting these pics, they're awesome!
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:13 pm UTC

It's a mix between pitched ice and mixed climbs and longer, more exposed mountaineering routes. There are a fair few good ridge routes, which would be a good hike with scrambling in summer, but become a moderately technical climb in winter, more akin to going fast and light on an easyish rock climb.

On top of that most routes have a walk-in of 1-4 miles and upto 175m height gain before you reach the climbing, especially on unconsolidated snow, this can be the most demanding part of the day, wading through deep snow is hard work, and skinning up using skis is not much of a option due to the rocky terrain and uneven snow cover.


It's all thawed a bit round here, so until it snaps cold again, I won't be getting out much; My sometime climbing partner/drinking buddy has suggested I go to the climbing wall at the centre she works at and practice some skills: escaping the system, rigging autolocking belays and maybe ascending; all the kind of things that you don't want to be learning on your feet if you need them.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:17 am UTC

As an addendum, I was sorting my gear out, and had most of it laid out in my office, so I've photographed it and will try to explain it all...

Image
Going from left to right, are my cold weather sallopettes, and my special six shirt, which form the basis of my clothing on cold days, my walking axe, and my mountaineering boots, and crampons.

Image
This close up on the clothing shows why one layer can be enough, thick fiber pile that doesn't hold moisture near the skin, and a pertex shell to trap warm air and prevent windchill, whilst allowing evaporation.

Image
and the boots and crampons, showing how this pair fit with toe straps and heel lever; this combination has some flex in the forefoot which makes for easier walking at the expense of a solid climbing platform.

Image
Next are my climbing boots and crampons, on steeper routes, the fully stiff boots, clip on crampons, and single point gives added precision and penetration climbing more vertical rock and ice; whilst the boots are good in deep snow, on hardened snow, the crampons aren't as secure feeling as the more "normal crampons", as the vertical points don't spread the weight of the climber so much.

Note the small gaiters on both setups, they're just there to cover the gap between the saloppettes and the boots, no point in blocking the breathability of the trousers with long gaiters.
___________________________________________

Image
then safety gear: the small orange bag is my harness rolled up, unpadded, with two gear loops and four slots for racking ice screws and pegs; the helmet is a hardshell, in case there are multiple hits; then i've got a snake cord for equalising belays (as an alternative to a cordelette), prussics, abseil device and auto-break are all there for routes where a retreat might be long and arduous, or lowering off is a better option. and a knife in case I need to cut something up for abseil tat or a rope gets stuck in an exposed position. I've got some ice screws, but have left my draws, slings, nuts, pegs/pitons and tri-cams with my partner (hence laying it out to work out what's missing)...
To the right is general warm stuff, Including my lucky Setra hat, dachstein boiled wool mittens, and pile lined gloves with a high grip insulated foam coating; sometimes I'll carry a knitted wool midlayer if I expect really cold weather.
_________________________________

Image
then Backup gear, a baselayer and midlayer (sometimes replaced with woolen one), a Patagucci alpine shell that packs down to the size of a ciggarette packet (not shown), ski goggles (for spindrift), Map and compass.
This all lives in my rucksac, which is very basic, but made from kevlar for lightness and toughness. next to it is my belay jacket, which lives in the top of my pack or under the lid; i can slip it on at belays, or whenever we're stationary and keep any chills off whilst my body isn't making heat; It's thigh length with a full snorkel hood and face piece, which means that it would be warm enough for an emergency bivi if necessary.

Image
Finally, these are my older axes, which have leashes to help grip the shaft, but also make it awkward to use your hands to place protection etc. compare with the ergonomic shaped axes in the other post.

It's quite kit intensive, which is a big drawback; this is several years worth of buying stuff for cheap in the off season, in order to get it all affordably second hand, I've had to sell a lot of hillwalking and kayaking gear to fund it; and could never afford to buy most of it new.
Annoyingly my partner can borrow/is issued the lot for free by her employer (outdoor-ed center).

Interesting?
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:01 pm UTC

Went indoor climbing for the first time in 4 years today, climbing juggy F4c and 5a quite easily, my grip strength is awful though, there were some v2 & v3 problems which are all crimps on face or slightly overhanging terrain couldn't even start them...

I was required to borrow rock shoes at the wall, I still really really hate rock shoes though, they're just so flexible, even stiff ones have plenty of flex; i found myself edging on my instep and heel in preference to using my toes.

We also had a go on the kids wall for a laugh (sport climbs from 4a to 7c set up for kids 3'6" upwards) the number of holds was bewildering, and taking the intended line was impossibly difficult for us as adults (5'9", 6'0" and 6'3").

I'll probably go more, i need to sort my balance out; ice and mixed lets you keep your weight and body much further from the face than normal climbing; I did remember about drop-knees/egyptians which made it possible for me to thrutch up some boulder problems in a uniquely unstylish fashion (reach as far as possible, hang teniously, find new footholds, push hard and pull with one of two arms, repeat)
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:13 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Finally, these are my older axes

THE MAN HAS RETIRED AXES... HOW CAN WE MERE MORTALS COMPETE?

TheKrikkitWars wrote:my grip strength is awful though

I find as this improves, you can do drastically more. The opposite is also true. How calloused are your hands? That'll also make a big difference.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:36 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:Finally, these are my older axes

THE MAN HAS RETIRED AXES... HOW CAN WE MERE MORTALS COMPETE?


They're not worn out, i just wanted something a little easier to use; I've sold them on to a guy just starting out.

The old adage is that a rock climber can be ome a winter climber in a season, but going the other way takes years of training...

TheKrikkitWars wrote:my grip strength is awful though

I find as this improves, you can do drastically more. The opposite is also true. How calloused are your hands? That'll also make a big difference.


Yeah, thats the thing, my arm strength is good, my core and legs are powerful, but if i can't keep my body in a position to apply that, i'm stuck.

I need to improve my grip and balance for slabby and face climbs, and my flexibility/footwork for training on powerful overhanging moves to move my mixed climbing forwards.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby EvanED » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:48 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:So are these primarily 'extreme hikes'? I've never done ice climbing. In fact, just saying those words made me cold and uncomfortable.

Heck I live in Wisconsin and generally (don't mind or tolerate or like, depending on mood) somewhat colder weather (I start getting unhappy in single digits Fahrenheit), and I agree. Though I think a lot of this is I don't really own the proper gear (e.g. pants that are more waterproof than, say, jeans) and don't really have enough interest in it to go out and spend the money.

Plus, as I said, I live in Wisconsin. We kinda don't have much in the way of mountains. :-) I've basically only climbed indoors for the last couple years.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Kain » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:11 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:So are these primarily 'extreme hikes'? I've never done ice climbing. In fact, just saying those words made me cold and uncomfortable.

Heck I live in Wisconsin and generally (don't mind or tolerate or like, depending on mood) somewhat colder weather (I start getting unhappy in single digits Fahrenheit), and I agree. Though I think a lot of this is I don't really own the proper gear (e.g. pants that are more waterproof than, say, jeans) and don't really have enough interest in it to go out and spend the money.

Plus, as I said, I live in Wisconsin. We kinda don't have much in the way of mountains. :-) I've basically only climbed indoors for the last couple years.


I love how you consider single degree Fahrenheit temps to be only slightly cold :) [Anything less than 70 F is chilly, at the very least.]
I feel you on the flat terrain deal: living in Florida, I only know of one place to get any outdoor climbing within a 5 hour trip [Blowing Rocks Preserve, in Jupiter], and seeing as it is tide dependent (and given that it is in a nature preserve, probably not exactly something you are supposed to climb), I've yet to manage to get some people together and climb there.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:52 pm UTC

Kain wrote:
EvanED wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:So are these primarily 'extreme hikes'? I've never done ice climbing. In fact, just saying those words made me cold and uncomfortable.

Heck I live in Wisconsin and generally (don't mind or tolerate or like, depending on mood) somewhat colder weather (I start getting unhappy in single digits Fahrenheit), and I agree. Though I think a lot of this is I don't really own the proper gear (e.g. pants that are more waterproof than, say, jeans) and don't really have enough interest in it to go out and spend the money.

Plus, as I said, I live in Wisconsin. We kinda don't have much in the way of mountains. :-) I've basically only climbed indoors for the last couple years.


I love how you consider single degree Fahrenheit temps to be only slightly cold :) [Anything less than 70 F is chilly, at the very least.]
I feel you on the flat terrain deal: living in Florida, I only know of one place to get any outdoor climbing within a 5 hour trip [Blowing Rocks Preserve, in Jupiter], and seeing as it is tide dependent (and given that it is in a nature preserve, probably not exactly something you are supposed to climb), I've yet to manage to get some people together and climb there.


Single farenhiet temps (+ ocassional significant wind chill) are the norm for winter in the UK, I believe that in new england ice climbing scense it's more common for the temp to be in the -10deg F region on cold days.

Once you realise that you're only going to get wet if you let condensation build up, it's easy keeping warm whilst you exercise in the cold; wear a moderately warm layer to move in and cover it with a thick layer as soon as you stop moving...

Your statment about flatness makes me realise how lucky I am, in terms of access to the mountains (literally i can walk out of my door and plod off into them :D ), The area I come from originally is just flat arable land as far as the eye can see; very dull place to play outside by comparison.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:29 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Once you realise that you're only going to get wet if you let condensation build up, it's easy keeping warm whilst you exercise in the cold; wear a moderately warm layer to move in and cover it with a thick layer as soon as you stop moving...

As a non-climbing related aside, I have a very hard time working out outdoors in the winter. I sweat a lot when working out, and have pretty bad cold weather/exercise induced asthma.

Last night I nailed a V5 I've been struggling with for a while.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby EvanED » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:25 am UTC

Kain wrote:I love how you consider single degree Fahrenheit temps to be only slightly cold :)

Well, it's not quite that. It's more like the following. The reason I prefer cold to hot is because I can dress to make the latter reasonably comfortable. I just have to put on heavier coats, gloves, hats, etc. (As opposed to hot, where dressing for 80 degrees would get me arrested. :-)) But I feel like that starts to break down somewhere around the single digits (of course depending a lot on wind chill), as it's harder to protect your face in a comfortable way.

That's what I mean by above that isn't too bad; I put on warmer clothes and everything is happy. If I'm stuck outside for a bit without said clothes, then yes, it's cold. :-)

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Single farenhiet temps (+ ocassional significant wind chill) are the norm for winter in the UK

Wat? This sounded weird as I thought that the UK was much more mild than that. I looked it up, and according to Wikipedia many of the places I checked (e.g. London) haven't even had a single-digit temperature recorded. Others have, but barely; York's record low temperature, for instance, is a mere 7 degrees. The coldest place I could find is Braemar, Scotland, which I got to because it has the lowest temperature recorded anywhere in Scotland, and based on this list, perhaps the entire UK. And even there, the lowest monthly average low is barely below freezing...

Where in the UK is it where single digit temperatures are the norm?

Once you realise that you're only going to get wet if you let condensation build up

Um, I've gotten plenty of snow on my pants, and it definitely melts and then makes them wet...

[I feel like my response to you, TheKrikkitWars, is a bit assholish... I don't really mean it that way though.]

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:53 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:Single farenhiet temps (+ ocassional significant wind chill) are the norm for winter in the UK

Wat? This sounded weird as I thought that the UK was much more mild than that. I looked it up, and according to Wikipedia many of the places I checked (e.g. London) haven't even had a single-digit temperature recorded. Others have, but barely; York's record low temperature, for instance, is a mere 7 degrees. The coldest place I could find is Braemar, Scotland, which I got to because it has the lowest temperature recorded anywhere in Scotland, and based on this list, perhaps the entire UK. And even there, the lowest monthly average low is barely below freezing...

Where in the UK is it where single digit temperatures are the norm?


At sea level? Nowhere; I think I've confused 'winter', the british season that might mean anything from persistent snow for months, endless rain, warm sunny spells in a sea of grim drizzly weather or even a cold dry period and 'Winter Conditions' the conditions needed for ice climbing and winter mountaineering routes to "come in" (that is, freeze up, bank out with snow, become slathered with ice etc...)

However, once you start going up into the mountains, it can gets very cold quickly, we've just had 3 weeks of -12C lows and -7C highs, but all above 350ft, and all with a powerful high pressure system and northerly winds... One of the UK's claims to fame mountaineering wise is having weather that's more unpredictable and fast moving than almost anywhere else, it's not unknown for -10c and +10c temperatures to be recorded in the same week, even on consecutive days occasionally
Most of our periods of low temperature are driven by weather systems and northeasterly winds, which tend to make their effects much more noticeable on higher ground and in less built up areas; what caused temps of minus 2 for me, caused minus 9 and the freezing over of the lake for my friend who lives 12 miles (and 500 m) up the road from me... Single digit (F) temps are what you'd be looking for to create 'Ideal' frozen conditions for winter climbing in the UK, but you may only get them on one side of a mountain range, or in the lee of the wind, or with windchill from a storm coming in from the coast... If we were experiencing them at low level, a lot of people simply wouldn't be prepared to cope with it!

Once you realise that you're only going to get wet if you let condensation build up

Um, I've gotten plenty of snow on my pants, and it definitely melts and then makes them wet...


If you have pants made from a non-absorbent material and you're making heat, then you don't end up having wet clothes, At least not for long... if your clothes can absorb water from snow melting, then it's a hiding to hell, which is why most outdoor gear is coated with some kind of DWR (Durable Water Repellant; like Scotchgard DRANK POWERTHIRST!) and why cotton clothing is a big no-no... after that it's about how much heat you're generating, and how much sweat your body needs to get rid of:
    If you're not making much heat, water on the surface of your clothes and vapour from perspiration doesn't have enough energy behind it to evaporate, this is a sign to add an extra layer before the moisture can cool down (even freeze) and make you colder with it, you need the warmth to drive drying.

    If you're making more perspiration than your clothes will allow to evaporate (this is a big issue with Gortex and high energy activities) then you need to find a way to vent that perspiration and cool down a little bit, before the vapor condenses inside your clothing and soaks you.

You won't always stay bone dry, (especially not in the wet sticky snow more common to the UK); but you shouldn't ever end up piss-wet-through either.

That's why I have that huge over-jacket in my back, if the temp drops rapidly or I stop working, I need to keep the heat in around my body both because it keeps me warm AND because it's the driving force in pushing moisture outwards, which is reducing the (serious) risk of my insulation becoming ineffective due to cold moisture buildup.

Does that make *ANY* sense?
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Dark567 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:Plus, as I said, I live in Wisconsin. We kinda don't have much in the way of mountains. :-) I've basically only climbed indoors for the last couple years.
Their is rib mountain and devils lake has some excellent climbing.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby EvanED » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:38 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:At sea level? Nowhere; I think I've confused 'winter', the british season that might mean anything from persistent snow for months, endless rain, warm sunny spells in a sea of grim drizzly weather or even a cold dry period and 'Winter Conditions' the conditions needed for ice climbing and winter mountaineering routes to "come in" (that is, freeze up, bank out with snow, become slathered with ice etc...)

Gotcha.

If you have pants made from a non-absorbent material and you're making heat, then you don't end up having wet clothes,

Again, gotcha. Another misunderstanding: you were responding to me saying "I don't have the right equipment", so I interpreted that closer to "you should be fine as-is" instead of "you'll be fine if you get the right equipment." Because I don't currently have anything that fits said description.

Dark567 wrote:
EvanED wrote:Plus, as I said, I live in Wisconsin. We kinda don't have much in the way of mountains. :-) I've basically only climbed indoors for the last couple years.
Their is rib mountain and devils lake has some excellent climbing.

I've been to "the lake" many times, and you're right, there's a lot of excellent climbing there. (A bit humbling... the ratings are "old school". I can go to Madison's gym, to a very popular gym in Milwaukee suburbs, or to an awesome sport climbing place in the Ozarks and lead 5.10s, and yet had a hilarious day at Devil's Lake where me and a couple other people who fit that description were almost unable to do the first couple moves of a 5.5. :-) Some combination of the ratings there are stiff overall, particular roots are even more sandbagged, and Lake routes are often very cryptic and I'm not very good at reading the rock.) Still, it's hard to basically commit a day to get up there, and for me personally the climbing season here is relatively short. I also haven't really been to any of the other climbing areas around like Governor Dodge or Hillbilly Hollow.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Simius » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:25 am UTC

Two sunny days in Squamish this weekend, so I'm going to head up tomorrow and try some trad climbing! I'm sure we can find some dry rocks.

Earlier this week I bought a 2nd-hand set of Camalots, so that I now have a full double rack (and a #5!). Very excited to try them out.

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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:09 am UTC

I have a question for those of you hailing from north america; Is the YDS grading scheme used for both trad and sport climbing? If not, how do you grade sport climbs? I always kind of assumed that the "french" sport climbing grades were ubiquitous worldwide...
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

I'm not actually sure what you mean, so I'll just say what's in my gym, which is the only system I've ever seen in the States for grading climbs indoor or out:

Bouldering is rated on a V0-10ish scale, with higher numbers being harder.
Climbing is rated on a 5.(uhhhhhh...)9 or so to 5.15 or something.

I'm not really convinced these numbers mean much beyond general subjective rankings; I can typically nail V5s or so at my gym, but I've been to gyms where I was easily tackling V6 or 7s, and also been to gyms where I was falling off V3s. I've heard climbers talk about what level routes they can finish as a badge of pride, but find it generally to be less informative than 'Yeah, the pink on blue in the far corner was really hard for me, but the red V4 next to it was cake'.
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Re: Rock Climbing

Postby EvanED » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:38 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:I have a question for those of you hailing from north america; Is the YDS grading scheme used for both trad and sport climbing? If not, how do you grade sport climbs? I always kind of assumed that the "french" sport climbing grades were ubiquitous worldwide...

Izawwlgood basically says this, but I can confirm it in those terms: YDS is used for both trad and sport. (But see below.)

Izawwlgood wrote:Climbing is rated on a 5.(uhhhhhh...)9 or so to 5.15 or something.

5.9 is awfully high to start counting. The gyms I see usually start at 5.6, and it's not terribly difficult to find real routes that are easier (that one is 5.2).

I'm not really convinced these numbers mean much beyond general subjective rankings; I can typically nail V5s or so at my gym, but I've been to gyms where I was easily tackling V6 or 7s, and also been to gyms where I was falling off V3s. I've heard climbers talk about what level routes they can finish as a badge of pride, but find it generally to be less informative than 'Yeah, the pink on blue in the far corner was really hard for me, but the red V4 next to it was cake'.

This is definitely true though. For instance, that 5.2 is at Devil's Lake State Park, about an hour away. That place has very stiff ratings -- I've been there getting shut down by the first couple moves on a 5.5 at the same time I could go to a gym or HCR in Arkansas and lead 5.10.

Outdoor speaking, what I'd generally say is that the places with a long history of climbing, like Devil's Lake or the Gunks or probably Yosemite, have much stiffer ratings. Places that have been established more recently are softer. This correlates a bit with trad vs sport -- you don't really find sport routes at those locations I mentioned. So while trad and sport are both graded on YDS, I'd guess that sport ratings are on the whole a bit softer (even taking into account the "I'm not carrying gear and stopping to place pro"). But it really depends on the location too.


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