Categories
Bouldering Climbing

How to Learn From Stronger and Better Climbers and Boulderers

Not everyone knows a climbing or bouldering mentor. Therefore we have collected the most important tips from good climbers.
When I started climbing, I didn’t slip into a clique of strong climbers, some of whom had been climbing for years and were very ambitious, but i was more or less alone. So I wasn’t able to enjoy an informal “climbing coaching”. Instead I booked a coach, and got tips on technique, tactics and training for climbing – and got direct feedback when I messed up. Of course, it’s not enough to just follow tips – a lot of climbing, a lot of trying, a lot of willpower and above all fun are also part of improving yourself. You can do the same if you have friends who are strong climbers or climb in a group of good climbers. This guide applies to bouldering as much as to climbing.

What did I learn and how?

There are no “magic secrets” that you only need to know and then it flops. No, it is perhaps rather the mental support and the trust placed in you that you can climb this or that, which helps a lot. Most of the time I looked at one of my strong climbing coaches with disbelief when he told me: “Why don’t you just try it? You can climb this!” That wasn’t always true, of course. But more often than I would have thought it was. And if it didn’t work out, I still learned important things: for example, where my weaknesses were and that I can work on them.

In the meantime I know that not every piece of advice applies equally well to every type of person. That’s why the climbing tips below are not equally important for everyone: it’s about analysing yourself as if you wanted to coach yourself. If you observe yourself critically, you can probably already give yourself good tips: Then it is only a matter of motivating yourself and putting them into practice.

1) Find a good climbing partner

It makes a big difference whether your rope partner (or rope partner, of course) motivates you, has similar time and goals as you do or not. A good partner motivates you, is reliable, is on the same wavelength as you, has complementary strengths and weaknesses (to learn from each other) – and you have a lot of fun together.

2) Warming up and warming down

It’s nothing new, but it really helps: Warming up and warming down does the trick. Firstly, you avoid injuries, secondly, warming up prepares the muscles better for performance – warm muscles work better. It’s similar with warming up: light movements at the end promote regeneration and help to avoid sore muscles.

3) Use sensible equipment and know how to use it

Special equipment does not make a specialist – but without the right equipment climbing does not work either. Above all, you should make sure that the safety-relevant equipment fits and is not already twenty years old. In other words: climbing harness, climbing rope, belay device and express slings should be up-to-date and well maintained. In addition, you should be able to use them all safely.

4) Setting and pursuing realistic goals

Many climbers dream of climbing really hard once. But in order to master the next level, you should set yourself realistic goals, for example to climb more routes, to try more onsight, or to try more difficult routes at all. Because if you want to climb harder, then you have to try harder routes regularly and have a fighting spirit.

5) Be informed

It is worth asking or researching, especially if you are climbing in unknown areas or if you have new climbing partners: Is a helmet advisable? Who brings the rope? Do I need wedges for routes up to 6b? Are there routes up to 6b? How do I get down from the mountain again? It is often helpful to read the Topo Guide thoroughly before setting off.

6) Concentration

Especially on days off you might not feel like pulling yourself together and concentrating. But if you have ever messed up a climb because your shoes weren’t closed or your chalk bag wasn’t open – you know what I’m talking about. Often full concentration helps to control the body.

7) Attention to detail

Do I have to clip first or later before the bad side grip? Is the right foot first on the higher step or the left? Do I have to stand frontally or turned in? Did I aim at the target grip or squint at the hook? Details are important when climbing. Well, at least good climbers pay attention to small details and can get a lot out of it with targeted “fine tuning”.

8) Breathing and shaking

You have to run through some routes. But in 90 percent of all cases it is worth shaking at obvious resting points . in such a position you can rest without having to hold on with one or both hands. Breathing should actually be automatic, but during physical activity, breathing can sometimes accelerate automatically. If you intervene and slow down your breathing, you can also soothe the general physical agitation. Breathing and shaking sounds like rather esoteric tips, but if you follow them more often, you will appreciate their benefits.

9) Don’t forget to eat and drink

Whether you absolutely must have had an egg for breakfast is questionable – but it certainly doesn’t hurt! If you don’t eat enough or too much at once, you shouldn’t be surprised if your muscles don’t perform and your concentration drops. Also enough liquid in the body helps when climbing. Recommended: A mixture of dietary fibres (vegetables or fruit), carbohydrates (for example bread) and protein (legumes, dairy products). Regular drinking is important, preferably mineral water or juice spritzers.

10) Have fun!

Having fun is part of it. Alex Lowe said it: “The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.” If you’re stressed or under pressure, I guarantee you won’t climb any better. Besides: We climb because it’s fun! There you go.

Conclusion

If you liked this article, have a look at some of my other articles. Maybe you’re about to start climbing and need some good and cheap climbing or bouldering shoes, well I tested them, and these are the top climbing shoes for 2020. Or you need some advice on how to prepare for bouldering and climbing, read more here.

Feel free to leave me a comment; I’m always happy to get some feedback!

Categories
Bouldering Reviews

Crashpad Guide 2020 – What You Need To Know To Find The Perfect Bouldering Crashpad

When bouldering on rock, they are the most important piece of equipment: crashpads. In Ticino, with its often sloping or blocked terrain, you often need several pads in Fontainebleau with its mostly flat landing areas one is usually enough. Here we give an overview of everything worth knowing about crashpads, so you can find the perfect bouldering crashpad in 2020. We also have the top 5 bouldering crashpads of 2020 reviewed!

What constitutes a good bouldering crash pad

The purpose of a crashpad is to minimize the impact energy on the falling body when falling from a boulder. In other words: to cushion falls as well as possible. With a 1.20-meter-jump onto a soft, level meadow – no problem. On the other hand, if you want to survive a three-meter fall over rocky ground with sharp edges without damage, you need some engineering skills and high-tech.

After all, the mat has to be brought to the blocks, which means it should not be too heavy. Crash pads are folded or kinked for transport, and the carrying system may well resemble that of a good trekking rucksack.

Also, under the block, the mats have to be moved quickly to adjust their position to the potential impact point of the boulderer. After all, the shell of the crash pad should be able to withstand rough rock contact for a long time, and its interior should be able to withstand as many falls as possible without being impressed.

Crashpad Guide 2020 - What You Need To Find The Perfect Bouldering Crashpad

The foam of a crash pad makes the difference

1) Two or three, thin or thick: the number of foam layers and their matching depend on the intended use. 2) The outer skin suffers, particularly at the corners. Rounded and reinforced, it lasts longer. 3) All corners should look like the Black Diamond Mondo: equipped with positioning loops. 4) Almost like a rucksack: With the Petzl Alto, the carrying system provides a lot of comfort on the approach.
In 99 percent of all crash pads, this interior consists of several layers of foam. On top is a hard, closed-cell layer that distributes the crash energy, then a softer, mostly open-cell layer that provides cushioning. Often there is another closed-cell foam underneath, which is supposed to prevent the crash pad from hitting the ground. However, whether there are two or five layers is not decisive, it depends on the quality and coordination of the foams. Ultimately, it is just as important to cushion small falls with a back landing as it is to cushion foot landings after three-meter departures. Of course, the weight of the boulderer also plays a role. Compromises have to be made.

High-quality foams do have not only their price but also bring some weight. A 1.80m by 1.20m (2ft x 3ft) giant mat can weigh more than six kilograms (12 pounds) with high-quality, durable foams. But even the best foams cannot eliminate the construction-related weak points of a crash pad: at the edges and in the fold, whether folded or creased.

For the approach, the luggage (rucksack or bag) is usually stuffed into the crash pad, a belt strap on the underside prevents the loss of the load. Some mats have a flap that holds even small pieces of luggage on board. Burritos are generally easier to load than tacos. With mat and luggage, you can quickly reach 15 kilograms.

The format of the closed crash pad plays a role, especially in dense forests or on steep steps. Otherwise, the carrying comfort depends primarily on the weight of the load and the carrying system of the crash pad. Ideally, the latter is equipped with height-adjustable, padded shoulder straps, and a hip fin. For positioning the crash pads – especially with thick mats – there should be loops on all sides or at all corners. Even the best crash pad is of little help if you hit the ground next to it.

How long does a bouldering crash pad last?

The quality of a crash pad only becomes apparent over time – for example, when the mat still absorbs enough impact energy after 100 days of bouldering. At the same time, the cover and carrying system should also be able to withstand the strain. An abrasion- and tear-resistant nylon, as well as solidly fixed shoulder straps, are mandatory!

Crashpad Guide 2020 - What You Need To Find The Perfect Bouldering Crashpad

Burrito or Taco – The two basic designs of bouldering crash pads

Burrito or taco? Which construction principle you prefer depends on your personal opinion. We explain the advantages and disadvantages.
Burritos consist of two (three in the case of three-part pads) separate chambers, which are connected by the outer casing on the side where they spring open. Accordingly, they can be folded together at this fold and carried in it like a suitcase during short transports between the blocks with climbing shoes, chalk, etc. But the fold is also the weak point when you land on it with your feet.

Tacos only consist of one chamber and continuous foams. The fold is omitted. The problem is that the foam is bent when folding for transport. In order to prevent the particularly sensitive closed-cell layer from being bent sharply, the carrying system of tacos is often fixed on the side where it is attached. This means that when bouldering, it must be removed or covered.

Noteworthy Bouldering Crash Pads: Innovative cushioning, features & solutions

1) In the almost 15-centimeter thick Ocùn Paddy Dominator, the patented “FTS Absorption Block” with vertical foam tubes in an open-cell foam block provides the best possible protection against penetration, right up to the edge – unlike crash pads with conventional foam layers. Above this, as usual, a closed-cell layer ensures the distribution of impact energy.
2) An innovative damping system is hidden between two closed-cell layers in the Snap Wrap. It consists of 20 cubes connected by Velcros, which in turn consist of many foam/air cells with tiny holes in their shells through which air escapes on impact. The ingenious thing about it is that small bumps on the back are gently cushioned, while hard foot landings from great heights make the cells almost impermeable, thus ensuring high puncture protection.
3) In the 2017 remake of the Mad Rock Duo, the flap and straps are dimensioned so that a second pad can be easily attached. A high-quality carrying system rounds off the potential double pack.
4) On the underside of a normal taco crash pad, there is a bag filled with EPS beads to compensate for uneven landing surfaces. The Edelrid Balance is designed to provide extra safety on the blocked ground and on sloping landing surfaces.
5) It can be used twice, lengthwise, crosswise, or as a handbag. The Ocun Paddy Sitcase is a seat-launch pad that can be used to store shoes, chalk & co. When getting on.

 

Bouldering Crashpad Placement

Once the boulderer has been selected, the question of how to climb it arises: At which pull could you fall in which direction? Accordingly, the crash pad or pads are placed. If there are dangerous obstacles like blocks or tree stumps in the impact zone, they should be covered (or a landing there by a spotter should be excluded). To secure larger blocks, place one half of a burrito crashpad upside down on the block, with the other half hanging down to secure the front. Caution: The person falling should not be able to thread his feet into any straps.

An always-present danger zone is the edges of the crashpads, where thousands of sidebands have already torn at ankle joints. The only way to avoid this is to place the mats carefully or to use an attentive spotter to guide the falling person towards the middle of the mat. If several crash pads are lined up next to each other, the gap between the pads is also at risk of ligament and elbow injuries. Some crashpads can be joined together with Velcro strips, small, thin seat start pads that are placed over the gap do the same job. With two of these little helpers, you can cover the first low moves of a boulder, plus a small block or even a gap between two mats.

If there are not enough crashpads available to cover the landing zone of a boulder completely, the ground crew must always move the available crashpads in time. Be careful not to move the mat too early! If a sideways, dynamic pull does not fold, the boulderer usually swings back. During the moves, the eyes and hands of the spotter should be pointed upwards anyway.

Carrying system and transport logistics

If you think when you buy a crashpad, oh, the two lobed shoulder straps fixed with Velcro strips are enough for this light little girl, you are wrong. Because only with a pad nobody will get on the bike. One or two pairs of climbing shoes, chalk, brushes, vesper, enough to drink, plus weather protection, and the inevitable down jacket are always with you. Even with a five-kilo pad, you are quickly at double the weight, rather more. Stuff two or three ropes into the mat and run a few meters before you buy. If the shoulder strap is already tightening, you should think carefully about whether you want to arrive at the block with lame arms after half an hour of climbing. Unfortunately, especially with many normal-sized crash pads, the carrying systems are still treated somewhat neglected.

Something else about buying a crashpad: If you want a big pad, but mainly want to go bouldering in dense woods, you should not buy the widest pad, but think about a three-piece or double-bent mat.

With most models, the equipment can be transported in the crashpad. A slim backpack is ideal. Then you can shoulder your equipment when changing blocks and take the pad by the handles. Otherwise, backpack, seat start pad, and telescopic brush come between the two flaps. A shoulder bag is less recommendable, especially in rough terrain, as often the view to the feet is blocked. If someone wants to carry several mats, two long straps help to strap the pads together.

Top 5 Crashpads for Bouldering

Mammoth Crashiano Pad

At 156 x 110 x 12 cm, the Mammut Burrito has a size of 156 x 110 x 12 cm, the foams (the upper one continuous) are suitable for Highball. With the flap, you can cover the good carrying system when bouldering. So it stays clean, but above all, it does not get stuck when slipping.

What we like: Very good damping and dielectric strength; high-quality foams; solid workmanship; footrest; fits in most combos
We like less: Only two positioning loops
Price: 350$

Prices: Mammoth Crashiano Pad

Snap Wrap Original

Quasi the intelligent crashpad. For small falls with a lot of contact surface, the 150 x 100 x 15 cm taco cushions as soft as butter, for really high falls, it offers perfect dielectric strength, as only a little air can escape from the cells.

What we like: Sensational cushioning for small and large falls, robust shell and good workmanship
We like it less: Carrying system must be taken off for bouldering (fixed on the upper side by Velcro); no material transport in the pad possible
Price: 320$

Prices: Snap Wrap Original

Ocun Paddy Dominator

Thanks to the FTS construction, even heavyweights can venture into greater heights with this 132 x 100 x 14.5 cm burrito. For lightweights, the damping is a little hard. The pad can also be connected lengthwise with a zipper (200 x 66 cm).

We like: Excellent dielectric strength; many good details: four positioning loops, fixing strap for the fold; carpet; very durable construction
We like it less: shoulder straps not too comfortable; slips easily on snow
Price: 270$

Prices: Ocun Paddy Dominator

Black Diamond Drop Zone

The classic taco. The 122 x 104 x 9 cm mat is a great everyday pad: good size, relatively light at 4.75 kilograms, neat carrying system, good payload thanks to flap, and fairly high-quality foam.

We like: continuous landing area; practical, elastic flap for transporting material
We like less: Should be stored open; for high boulders only conditionally suitable
Price: 250$
Prices: Black Diamond Drop Zone

Edelrid Sit Start II

With its size of 90 x 55 x 5 cm this starter pad is perfect for the first moves away from the ground, or to cover stones or the gap between two pads.
We like: Amazingly much cushioning; logo serves as a foot scraper; robust material
Price: 50$

Prices: Edelrid Sit Start II

Related Questions

What does the UIAA standard for crash pads contain, and how widespread is it?

Crash pads are not classified as PPE (personal protective equipment), which is why there is no EN standard yet. In recent years, however, more and more manufacturers have brought crash pads onto the market – with considerable differences in price and quality. For the boulderer, it has become extremely difficult to estimate the differences between the products.

Therefore the UIAA- SafeCom participants (manufacturers, alpine federations, etc.) have already started to work on a crashpad test in 2013. The UIAA 161 then became valid in 2016. As far as I know, only Camp/Cassin has currently certified its two crashpads with this standard. That costs money. But I’m pretty sure that more manufacturers will follow in the next years.

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Don’t underestimate the Role of Mobility for Boulderers and Climbers

If the hook is too high, you’re too immobile! In this post, we have some Knowhow & exercises about the role of mobility for boulderers and climbers. Let’s go over some typical questions and try to explain how much mobility for boulderers and climbers is best. By the way, here you can find some good discussions and tips for training.

How important is flexibility when climbing?

In competition climbing, it is obvious that flexibility is becoming more and more important. Especially bouldering requires unusual movements – mobility is necessary to make the moves. But mobility is also important to stay healthy during these challenging moves.

Does this only apply to competitors or also to “normal” climbers?

What happens on the big stage is, of course, more extreme, but the trends continue in leisure sports. Meanwhile, there are acrobatic boulders in many boulder halls, and you don’t have to be a top athlete to injure your shoulder.

How does mobility for boulderers and climbers help to prevent injuries?

Climbing and bouldering sometimes require extreme movements. If you don’t have the mobility, you can overstrain the structures. Furthermore, too firm muscles can impair the functioning of the functions. For example, shoulders falling forward and a too stiff thoracic spine can impair the supply to the arms and thus promote finger, elbow, and shoulder injuries. Here, many climbers have deficits that increase overloading and the likelihood of injury. One can check the shoulder with a test (see below) and should keep the thoracic spine mobile so that the shoulder girdle remains resilient. Whereby especially the shoulder can be complicated. Actually, one can speak of seven joints, all of which must function. If one is weak, the body can compensate, but then some structures have to work more than others. This usually does not work for long. That is why balanced mobility is so important.

How do I find out if I need more mobility?

There are tests in the form of a demanding movement. These tests show whether the movement is performed correctly or whether it is compensated or evasive. And then you have to look, is it the lack of mobility in the thoracic spine or a poorly sliding shoulder blade or whatever. Also important when climbing is, of course, hip mobility, if only to achieve high kicks and to put weight on them. These are often final movements where the muscle has to work at the edge of its normal range of motion. If you increase this radius through mobility training, the muscles can work better, and you have more possibilities to reach even unfavorable grips and kicks and, more importantly, to put weight on them. Active mobility ultimately expands the technique because you can simply do more.

What is the relationship between passive and active mobility for boulderers and climbers?

A distinction is made between passive mobility, i.e., using pressure or gravity to adopt a certain posture and active mobility, i.e., using muscle power alone to place the foot precisely on a hip-high kick. Active mobility requires passive mobility and is elementary for climbing. That speaks for not only stretching passively but actively and with muscle power.

How can I best train my mobility?

A mixture of static stretching and dynamic stretching makes sense. Static, relaxing stretching is suitable with some waiting after climbing. Dynamic stretching can be integrated into the warm-up. If you are serious about it, you should plan mobility training as a separate unit. The strategy of so-called Loaded Progressive Stretching, i.e., stretching exercises under load, makes sense. This allows the muscles to build up the necessary strength at an unusual joint angle. An example would be squats: the process of squatting strengthens the leg muscles in the final joint angles.

Is there also too much mobility for boulderers and climbers?

Yes, those who already have good mobility should rather pay attention to good control, i.e., sufficient strength. Hypermobility is nothing bad if there is enough strength to perform movements in a stable manner throughout the entire range of motion. For mobile people, including many who like to do yoga, building up strength would make more sense than further mobility training. Ideally, both should work together so that I can use my mobility. Actually, the body has a protective mechanism built-in: If the musculature is not able to stabilize the strong bending of a joint, it will not allow the affected range of motion. In this case, you feel immobile, even though there is actually no strength.

They say stretching before training is not so favorable. What’s that all about?

It mainly refers to long static stretching. This can slightly decrease the explosive power because it gives the muscle a relaxation signal. But this is only for a short time. The effect should be gone after half an hour. In the long term, stretching, whether static or dynamic, improves performance. It even promotes muscle building.

What else do I have to pay attention to?

When stretching, you should always start carefully and increase only gradually, both in terms of intensity and joint angle. The so-called stretching pain should be easily bearable. Relaxed breathing is also important. For goal-oriented mobility training, the body should be well warmed up.

How often do I have to stretch to become more flexible?
At least three times a week, preferably daily. If the stimulus comes less often, the body does not learn.

Some More reviews:

Top Climbing Grip Trainers 2020

Best Climbing Shoes 2020

Top Approach Shoes 2020

Best Climbing Pants 2020

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

How to Avoid these 7 Typical Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistakes

Sure, you learn from your mistakes. But sometimes that takes too long, and it’s too late! You don’t have to make every mistake yourself. I will explain some of the most serious climbing and bouldering training mistakes

In bouldering and climbing training, there is no one recipe for success that works equally well for everyone. Depending on experience level, climbing level, strengths, and weaknesses as well as individual factors, a certain approach can be very helpful or rather harmful. However, there are some things that are wrong for all climbers – or at least can be so unfavorable that we categorize them as mistakes here in general. These seven climbing and bouldering training mistakes can be avoided, and I will tell you how.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake No. 1: Too much too early

Instead of doing the beginner’s training program directly, the advanced one. And instead of pull-ups with support directly to the campus board and try out what works. Instead of starting with the simplest exercise, do the more challenging version directly.

What is the problem?

Training must be tailored to the individual. What is good for Alex Megos does not necessarily fit you. On the contrary, those who work with advanced training approaches too early (i.e., before it is necessary to improve further) rob themselves of the chance to achieve something with them later. Do we have to mention that overstraining is not a training stimulus per se and multiplies the risk of injury?

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Start from where you are. If you are a year old climber or have little training experience, an advanced campus board workout from Youtube will not be appropriate for you. You might get a little stronger when trying to copy it. Or maybe not. You will risk hurting yourself, and at best, you will be frustrated because it is too hard.

Even if it seems boring, try to find the option that is appropriate for you, and that challenges you but does not overwhelm you. Then you will make fast progress, and soon the advanced training approaches will be suitable for you. As long as you are still improving, there is no need for revolutionary training, on the contrary, then simply climbing and bouldering is beneficial. Only when you are no longer improving and stagnating, you have to think about how to sensibly set a new training stimulus. There are some good tips here, and in my other article.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 2: Making meters useless

A lot of climbing in boulders or routes that you can do easily and for which you don’t have to exert yourself. Spend the whole climbing session in difficulty levels where there is zero risk of falling. Mainly climbing in grades that are not challenging.

What is the problem?

The moves may not be particularly difficult, but for joints and tendons, the climbing distance covered still means stress. Because of the lack of intensity, there is hardly any training stimulus for the muscles, so you don’t get stronger from it. Climbing is a skill-oriented sport, which means that the technical component is just as important as the strength component. But both are hardly demanded when climbing in well-controlled terrain, so there is no reason for the body to get better. This makes these meters more or less “useless” from a training point of view, even for endurance training they are too light.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Warm-up thoroughly and use this phase to stay relaxed within your comfort zone. Then look for specific challenges where you have to make an effort and where you have trouble mastering the difficulties. Only then is further development possible. As soon as your strength and aggressiveness diminish, or when a regenerative session is due, make sure that the intensity is low enough so that the stress on the musculoskeletal system remains manageable.

Units that aim to improve blood circulation in the forearms at light to medium intensity should be so light that little or no pumping occurs. Conversation should be possible.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 3: Maximum load at the end of the unit

Three hours of hard bouldering, and then go to the hangboard. After the climbing session, try some hard moves on the boulder wall. Generally, maximum strength training of any kind (campus board, fingerboard) at the end of a session if you are already tired.

What is the problem?

At the end of the session, the body is exhausted; the maximum strength is already “used up.” Accordingly, it is hardly possible to set a meaningful training stimulus anymore. On the other hand, the risk of injury increases. The same applies to coordinatively demanding movements: At the end of the session, the body is too tired to perform motor challenging moves cleanly. Learning new movements is hardly possible when the body is tired.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Intensive and maximum loads, as they occur on the fingerboard, campus board, or during hard bouldering moves, belong at the beginning of the training session. After a thorough warm-up, when you are fresh and aggressive, you perform at your best. First of all, the chances of success are better. Secondly, you set a sensible training stimulus and thirdly the body is still fit and can better withstand the high loads. This also applies to coordinatively demanding movements and learning new moves.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 4: Too little rest

During the session without interruption and only with a few seconds of breaks, try out difficult moves again and again. During the week, full-throttle on more than three days or train for weeks without intermission, always hard and until exhausted.

What is the problem?

It is not during training that the body becomes strong, but during the recovery phase after training. After a training stimulus, the body needs time to adapt and regenerate in such a way that sufficient capacity is available for the next intensive exercise. Therefore, it is important to provide the training stimuli with sufficient rest afterward.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

During a bouldering session, you should take a few minutes’ break between attempts at intensive loads, and a few more for routes. Otherwise, it is difficult to mobilize your reserves; it is not possible to work with optimal power input. Every few weeks, ideally one training day per week and one week per month, a phase of less scope and intensity should allow the body to take a break so that it can recover for the next intensive cycle. If the training was appropriate before, you will become even stronger in this ‘light’ phase.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 5: Climbing in a similar style

Avoid overhangs consistently, only climb in straight terrain. Or mainly head for strongly overhanging climbs with large holds, but avoid slabs. Exclude certain requirements or wall inclinations as a matter of principle.

What is the problem?

It is quite natural that we have a preferred type of climbing in which we are particularly good and which we enjoy most. Who would not want to be successful? Often we also choose the wall slope rather unconsciously, and preferences creep in unnoticed, which we hardly notice. The danger: If I only climb overhangs, my competence in slabbing naturally does not increase – and vice versa.

How to avoid this problem:

If you want to improve yourself, you have to make sure that you are basically able to climb in all wall inclinations and climbing styles. The good thing is: As soon as you become aware of your preferences, you can approach the less loved inclinations or styles with much more humor – and will be rewarded with significant performance improvements if you try regularly.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 6: Exclusively training strength

Put most energy into working on the different boards and into strength training, spend little time on the wall, rarely or not at all climb routes, rarely go to the rock.

What is the problem?

Climbing is a skill-based sport, which means it consists of different skills. These include physical strength, of course, but also technique and mental skills. The latter is not so easy to train in repetitions and sets, but that doesn’t mean that they are not as crucial as strength. After all, what good is power if the fear of falling prevents us from making a move? Or we simply do not know how to move in a difficult climbing spot? Or we simply cannot get our foot over the edge of the roof?

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

Strength training should only be done by those who also lack strength. If technique, flexibility, or mental skills are lacking, they should be trained. As with strength training, we have to provide stimuli and enable adaptation. Depending on the requirements, the training of climbing relevant soft skills looks different from blocking strength training, of course, but that doesn’t mean that they are less important.

Climbing and Bouldering Training Mistake no. 7: Always going full throttle

Always wanting to climb hard, demanding consistently high performance from yourself. Be disappointed when the performance curve drops.

What is the problem?

Even if we train strategically and sustainably, it is not realistic that the performance curve is constantly pointing upwards. In other sports, it is common differentiate between different phases such as build-up, maximum strength, and endurance training, the training plan then provides for a peak in the competition phase. This so-called linear periodization is based on the fact that it is not possible for the body to achieve peak performance around the clock all year round, and that it is generally effective to build different training phases on top of each other. Non-linear periodization can also be used in climbing training, but the body still needs recovery phases. Occasional basic and advanced training is also useful for athletes with training experience. However, these are usually accompanied by a short-term drop in performance.

How to avoid this climbing training mistake:

After stress-intensive phases, the body should be given the opportunity to regenerate. At the beginning of the next training cycle, basic and endurance training can be quite useful.

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Reviews

La Sportiva Testarossa 2019 / 2020: A Quick and complete Review

La Sportiva brings some proven features and some new features on the Testarossa: Modified heel, synthetic fiber instead of leather, and proven quality. La Sportiva has refreshed this well-known classic for 2019 / 2020: The La Sportiva Testarossa was launched a good 15 years ago and was revolutionary with its extremely curved shape. By the way, did you know that Tommy Caldwell wore La Sportiva shoes when climbing the Dawnwall? New in the Testarossa 2019 is above all the heel, which is supposed to offer better hooking characteristics. Most testers find it fits very well; the tension on the heel rubber is not exaggerated. But the red rubber seems to have a little less friction than the rest of the sole. Otherwise, the Testarossa is still very sensitive, brings the pressure cleanly to the tip, and climbs from vertical to extremely steep just great.

This is what we like about the new La Sportiva Testarossa:

  • Surprisingly comfortable in shape, easily adjustable to the shape of the foot via lacing in the front a lot of feeling and precise start
  • pulls very well in the overhang

This is what we don’t like about the new La Sportiva Testarossa:

  • Lacing a bit fiddly
  • Friction is not optimal due to the extreme shape

Climbing Shoe La Sportiva Testarossa – Technical data

La Sportiva Testarossa technical data

  • Construction: Slipper, asymmetrical, with downturn
  • Upper material: microfibre, without lining
  • Sole: Zenith Ultra, 4 – 4.5 mm
  • Sizes: UK 4 – 12
  • Price: 110-120$

Our rating: 4.5/5 – Mission accomplished La Sportiva!

La Sportiva did a great job conserving the good features of this timeless shoe and improving weaknesses.

For more reviews, check out our other articles:

La Sportiva Tarantulace In-Depth Review

Best Climbing Shoes 2020

Best Climbing Helmets 2020

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Reviews

Best Cheap Rock Climbing Shoes & Bouldering Shoes under $100 for 2020

Rock climbing shoes are one of the items in rock climbing that you cannot substitute for, and when you are beginning with rock climbing, a pair of cheap rock climbing shoes can be a good investment. Running shoes, for example, are not good for climbing, and if you ever tried to do rock climbing with hiking shoes, you probably felt that it’s simply not possible.  As with most new hobbies, it’s usually a good idea to take it slow with the money spending, as there are many parts of climbing where you can spend hefty sums on. There are many reviews that claim to have cheap climbing shoes reviewed, but honestly, a pair of $150 costing climbing shoes are not cheap if you ask us.  If you want a pair of cheap climbing shoes, they better cost less than $100! Time to search for some really good climbing shoes under $100!

What are the best cheap rock climbing & bouldering shoes under $100 for 2020? Read our review; we put together the best deals to help you find a cheap pair of rock climbing shoes that will still serve you well. The quick answer: La Sportivas “Finale” is the best cheap rock climbing & bouldering shoe under $100 shoes we reviewed so far.

Why Good Rock Climbing Shoes Are More Important Than You Think

When you start out, you might not even know it, but footwork is super important for climbing. Yes, your arms are doing a lot of work, too, but having a strong core and knowing how to use your feet properly is one of the most underestimated skills in climbing. If you want to know more about this, read my article about footwork in climbing, you can find it here.

No matter where you climb: Gym with plastic holds, rock slabs or overhangs, and even boulders, you will always need your feet to get a good hold of the features of the wall. We also put together a little guide that makes it easier to pick the right climbing shoes for you to get you started.

Review – The Best Cheap Climbing & Bouldering Shoes for 2020

Best Cheap Climbing Shoes for under $100

La Sportiva Finale – Price: $95 – Rating: 4.8/5

Quick Facts

Closure: Laces
Liner: No
Upper Material: Leather/Microfiber
Weight: 1 lb (450gr)
Outer Sole: 5 mm Vibram XS Edge Rubber
Notable Features:

  • Slip-lasted feels more sensitive and less stiff
  • Can Be Resoled
  • Tensioned Heel Edge: Thicker heel for more support

Best for: Allround Climbing & Bouldering

The Finale is on the beginner end of La Sportiva’s shoe selection. It is still a super solid shoe, not only for beginner climbers. The sole is nice and sticky, made from Vibram XS rubber, and performs well on edges. This makes the shoe a real comfort builder for beginners, giving them confidence in their footwork. The fit of the Finale is surprisingly good for a cheap climbing shoe, thanks to its tensioned heel. The back of the shoes does stretch a bit.

As the upper material is completely unlined, the shoe feels really comfortable. You can still easily adjust the shoe thanks to the laces, and while the shoe is more expensive than some other cheap climbing and bouldering shoes, you can still find it for less than $100. Versatility and durability of this shoe are more than worth the added cost.

Best Cheap Climbing Shoes for under $100

Mad Rock Drifter – Price $95 – Rating: 4.4/5

Quick Facts

Closure: Velcro Strap
Liner: Polyester
Upper Material: Leather
Weight: 7.9 oz (ca 250gr)
Outer Sole: Science Friction 3.0 Rubber

Notable Features:

  • Slip-lasted feels more sensitive and less stiff
  • Asymmetrical Curvature for moderate edging
  • Lined Toe Box means more comfort

Best for: Best Value for the Money

This shoe is a gym shoe, no way around that, with it, ‘s simplistic flat profile it performs super well on hard gym problems. But even if you like to tackle hard boulder problems outside, it works well. Sure it won’t keep your feet warm when it’s cold outside, but the double velcro closure fits tight and makes it very easy to remove the shoes between climbs. The upper section is leather and provides a high level of comfort while the lined toe box helps to prevent overstretching of your toes.

Mad Rock uses their own rubber mixture that they call Science Friction, and it’s really good. Beginners can rely on high traction, which gives them confidence. Advanced climbers will love the material too, but take note that it wears down faster than some competitive shoes, especially if you wear the drifters on rough outside climbing routes. Then again – at their price point, you cannot really go wrong!

Best Cheap Climbing Shoes for under $100

Scarpa Helix – Price $99 – Rating: 4.3/5

Quick Facts

Closure: Laces
Liner: None
Upper Material: Leather
Weight: 15.2 oz (ca 500gr)
Outer Sole: Scarpa 3.5 mm XS Edge Rubber

Notable Features:

  • Stiff, board-lasted sole means this shoe is not that sensitive
  • Resoling possible
  • Light heel cup: It has some padding but still feels flexible

Best for: Climbing in comfort

If you want shoes that feel almost like socks, the Scarpa Helix might be for you. The Italian company provides this shoe with a nice cushioned heel cup, which makes it super comfortable to wear for long periods of time. You can even keep them on between climbs. The lacing goes to the very end of the shoe, giving you a very good fit for any type of feet.

This shoe is just below the $100 mark – which means they barely made it on our list of cheap climbing shoes for less than $100. But the 3.5mm XS Edge Rubber sole is very durable and works for anything outdoor climbing related. You can send edge and crack climbing as well as granite multi-pitch climbs, which makes this shoe a good choice for both beginners and advanced climbers.

Best Cheap Climbing Shoes for under $100

Evolv Nighthawk/Skyhawk – Price $75- Rating: 4.2/5

Quick Facts

Closure: Laces
Liner: None
Upper Material: Leather
Weight: 1 lb. 2.8 oz (slightly above 500gr)
Outer Sole: 1.4mm full-length MX-P midsole, and 4.2mm Trax SAS sole

Notable Features:

  • flat-lasted sole means this shoe is not that sensitive
  • Resoling possible
  • Toe not super asymmetric – this shoe is not the most precise one out there

If you need a good pair of shoes for climbing gym and outdoor for less than $80, the Nighthawk and its low-volume companion Skyhawk are the best choices. Both feature a laced closure, making them tight-fitting shoes, and an unlined leather upper side. The tongue is made from a synthetic antimicrobial material, preventing smells. Testers found them comfortable to wear for a long time. No matter if you climb smearing routes, pockets, or trad. routes, they work very well.

The toe is not super aggressive and asymmetrically shaped like some other more high-performance tiered shoes, so this shoe is not the most precise, but it still works well for day to day climbing. If the holds become smaller, you just need a little more force to squeeze your toes on them. For hardcore overhung climbing, these shoes are not really suited either, understandable given the flat last. Evolv offers a pair of super comfortable, good climbing shoes with great durability and a lack of performance for hardcore technical routes.

Things to keep in mind when buying cheap climbing shoes or bouldering shoes

Costs of climbing shoes

This list consists of shoes costing less than $100, and some of them are great for indoor climbing, bouldering and some of them work outdoors and indoors. You can wear these shoes for bouldering as well, but some will not work that good on bouldering problems, as bouldering problems are often very overhung.

While there are models that work super good for advanced climbers, you should keep in mind that most of the reviewed shoes are not geared towards super difficult routes. More expensive climbing shoes offer far better performance when it comes to overhanging routes, aggressive small footholds, or hardcore slab routes. But if you just start out, and want to keep investment to a minimum, these shoes will serve you well for the first 2-3 years, until you become more advanced. They are perfectly well suited for daily training in the gym, and for extended days at the crags. Just remember, there will be a time when you outgrow these shoes, and then you should upgrade to a more expensive pair of climbing or bouldering shoes.

Profile and shape of bouldering and climbing shoes

The profile is one of the most important aspects of the shoe. The profile is defined by the shape of the shoe, and a neutral profile tends to work very well for beginners or for advanced climbers that want comfortable shoes.

More aggressively shaped shoes are usually more downturned and fit tighter. They work better on hard boulder problems, overhung routes, and they are a good choice if you want to climb hard routes and boulder problems. But these shoes are not comfortable – you pay for the extra bit of performance with a lack of comfort. Beginners sometimes even describe these shoes as painful, although your feet will get used to the squeezing. It’s normal to ditch these shoes between climbs, so if you go climbing in colder weather, make sure to keep a comfortable set of hiking or approach shoes with you, to quickly change shoes between climbs.

It’s easy to identify aggressively shaped performance shoes, as they usually have an asymmetric shape and curvature

The fit of the climbing or bouldering shoe

Climbing shoes are not so different from normal shoes when it comes to fit: Your heel shouldn’t slip or rise up when you move towards the wall. Fit them on in the shop by starting with your street shoe size, and gradually increase this size until the model you like fits. Climbing and bouldering shoes should fit snug but not painfully tight. Your toes will curl down, especially in aggressively asymmetric performance shoes, but this is only to maximize grip on rocks and pockets.

Traditional climbing shoes

These shoes are often more comfortable, as trad climbers often climb long multi-pitch routes where they keep the shoes on between pitches.

Bouldering/Difficult climbing

Boulderers usually wear really asymmetric aggressive shoes, as they tackle hard overhung problems, often with minimal holds. These are not shoes you can keep on your feet for long times, so be prepared to feel uncomfortable when you get a pair of bouldering shoes!

By the way, climbing and bouldering shoes come in half sizes, and a half size can make a huge difference. As many climbing shoe companies like Scarpa, La Sportiva, and MadRock come from Europe, they are sized in UK or European sizes, so better be careful and do some conversion before you buy them. The size of your street shoes should only be the starting point – you won’t get around trying climbing shoes on to find the perfect pair. Evolv and FiveTen work best with street shoe sizes, while others like Scarpa and La Sportiva might need some trying and error to find the right size.

Stiffness and Stretch

If you buy new climbing or bouldering shoes, also cheap ones, they will need some time to break in. Especially leather made shoes like the Mad Rock Drifter or the Scarpa Helix, and Evolv Blackhawk and Nighthawk will stretch for a considerable amount. Synthetic shoes tend not to stretch so much, so you can fit them a bit more snug than leather shoes. As most leather climbing and bouldering shoes are also unlined, they stretch even more compared to synthetically lined shoes

The sole – rubber for traction

The rubber is the secret sauce of a climbing shoe. It’s what makes climbing shoes climbing shoes. Usually, sticky rubber is soft and wears down faster than stiffer rubber that is not as sticky. If you need high levels of friction for smearing, you need soft rubber. Edging works better with stiffer shoes. If you are new to climbing or doing multi-pitch climbing, its a good idea to get a stiffer shoe with more durable rubber and less traction. Keep in mind, you can usually resole climbing and bouldering shoes, and it saves you a lot of time and money as you won’t need to buy new shoes and break them in again. If you want to know more about climbing shoe soles, read this article here!

Types of closure: Velcro or laces work on both bouldering and climbing shoes, slippers are usually not so good of an idea

You can buy climbing or bouldering shoes with 3 basic types of closure mechanisms: Velcro, Laces, and Slippers.

Laces are great for adjusting the fit, and they will give you the most amount of control over the fit. But they take on longer to put them on and off, which makes them a better choice for all-day climbing and multi-pitch traditional climbing routes.

Velcro can be tightened a lot, almost as good as laces, and provides you with a mechanism for faster putting the shoes on and off. This makes them perfect for crag climbing or bouldering, and when used on aggressive asymmetric performance shoes – as you will want to get them off your feet once you are done with climbing. But keep in mind, velcro gets dirty easily, and if you climb in muddy areas, or have a lot of dust around your belaying base point, then you are in for some cleaning. Velcro closure can also be used to open up the shoes on longer climbs to get some air on your feet without taking them off – nice for multi-pitch routes!

Slippers are the easiest to remove, and most comfortable. But they also often won’t fit very well, and most slipper shoes are basic and unlined. They tend to be used in specialized climbing methods like crack climbing.

Weight

Weight is an important aspect to consider when you want to climb hard and fast, so keep it in mind. A robust thick sole and thick materials on the upper and liner will increase the weight. The Mad Rock Drifter is a good choice if you want a lightweight shoe.

Features of the reviewed climbing and bouldering shoes explained

Outer sole

The part of the shoe touching the wall. This is your main contact point with the climbing route or bouldering problem. Made from rubber

Inner sole

This is the part of the climbing or bouldering shoe where your foot rests. Some shoes include an antimicrobial lining inside the shoe.

Edge of the shoe / Rand

The part of the shoe that wraps your toes and the sides of the shoe.

Toe Box

The front portion of the shoe, where your toes rest. Toe boxes can be asymmetrically shaped, making it easier to find grip on small pockets of rock.

Heel Cup

The section of the shoe where your heels are resting. It’s a part of the shoe that becomes super important when you like techniques like heel hooks.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this review works well for you, feel free to comment and post and tell us if you want us to review another pair of cheap climbing shoes!

For more reviews:

La Sportiva Tarantulace

Best Winter Climbing Pants 2020

Best Climbing Helmets 2020

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Mountaineering

Can You Bring Climbing Rope as Carry-On Luggage in an Airplane?

Is it allowed to bring a climbing rope bag on a plane, maybe even as a carry-on item? Since I want to go on a trip overseas and want to bring my climbing gear, I was thinking of carrying my rope inside a backpack. Along with a laptop and other stuff. With all the weird regulations regarding carry-on items, I was not sure if this is actually allowed. And I did some research on Reddit and some climbing forums.

Can You Bring Climbing Rope as Carry-On Luggage in an Airplane? Yes, you can. According to current TSA regulations in 2019, climbing rope and carabiners as well as quickdraw slings and chalk can be carried along on a plane.

Climbing Rope Is Allowed as Carry-On Gear in Airplanes

There is no TSA regulation against climbing rope! You can bring as many feet of rope as you want. Some other climbing gears. TSA regulations usually only forbid items that can be used as weapons. Or somehow can be used to damage the airplane or passengers. A rope is just not dangerous, and there is not much else you can do with it. Except trying to tie someone down – which is unlikely and won’t put the airplane’s safety in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter that the climbing rope is a bit unusual as a carry-on. Sure it will earn you some weird looks from the TSA personnel and maybe even the cabin crew, but that’s not a dealbreaker, right? If you want, go ahead and check the TSAs exact rules, you can find them here.

I once traveled with an oversized hiking backpack and a skateboard as carry-on, and while the cabin crew had a good laugh, there are no regulations or restrictions against this. So go ahead, pack your rope into your cabin bag, it’s allowed, and you’re good to go!

What other gear can you bring on a plane as cabin luggage or carry on?

When we talk about allowed gear as carry on, let’s have a look at some other climbing gear. Climbing rope is okay, as I explained above. But what about other things like crampons, carabiners, chalk and maybe even crash pads? Well, let’s go through the list:

Chalk

Chalk is one of these funny items: It’s perfectly allowed to bring on a plane, but it’s dusty, and usually, I have it in a Ziploc bag. There is no law against it, but make sure to bring the time when you go security: A Ziploc bag full of white powder WILL draw attention to your backpack that you might not want ;-).

Be prepared to do some explaining, but know that you are not doing anything wrong. TSA will be suspicious, but ultimately, they will let you pass as there is no rule against chalk.

Crash Pad / Bouldering Mat as Carry-On or Baggage

Like I said before, if you carry oversized or heavy stuff with you on a plane, costs quickly pile up higher than you can count. A bouldering mat can easily cost you 300$ to carry it two ways, and for that money, it’s usually smarter to buy a bouldering mat or crash pad at your destination, and then sell it when you’re going home.

Example: Buy a decent pad in the shop for 300$, use it for two weeks, sell it for 240$, which is a very fair price for an almost new bouldering pad. That way, two weeks of bouldering with a brand new pad cost you $60, vs. $300 when you bring your own pad from home. That’s a 5x difference, and well worth the hassle to buy a pad and then sell it again if you ask me. You can easily sell a used pad in most climbing stores that sell used gear!

Quickdraws and Carabiners, Nuts, Belay Devices as Carry-On

Hardware that is not sharp, like belaying devices or nuts and cams, but also quickdraws, are allowed as a carry-on and also in your checked baggage. However, keep in mind, most TSA personnel doesn’t know anything about rock climbing or mountaineering and expect them to be suspicious and give you an extra pad down.

As soon as they don’t know an item, they will single you out and give you some extra “love,” after all it’s their job to be suspicious!

Soft Goods – Slings, Ropes, Harness, Shoes, Clothes

All these items are fine to carry inside your cabin luggage or checked baggage. Most airlines will even allow you to stow these items in the overhead compartments. You’re free to bring as many shoes and harnesses etc. as you want, but keep in mind that you have a maximum capacity for cabin luggage.  Weight and size are limited to most around 10 kg (22 pounds) and the size of a small suitcase or backpack.

Personal Protection like Helmets

Helmets are no problem. You can even wear them when you board the plane, that way you save weight in your luggage – sure it looks funny, but there is no rule against it!

What climbing or mountaineering gear is not allowed as carry-on in an airplane?

So, all the stuff above is unproblematic, if not a bit heavy to bring as carry on or baggage in a plane. But some items for rock climbers and mountaineers can be a problem. Sharp tools usually are a bad idea to bring as carry on.

White Gas, Stoves, Propane Gas and Fuel Canisters

If you want to bring a stove, you need to bring one that separates the fuel from the stove. You can bring a cleaned and non-smelling stove with you, but you are not allowed to pack propane gas or white gas canisters. Neither in your checked baggage and not in your cabin luggage. So make sure to check that your destination has stores that sell fuel for your stove if you bring it! 

Ice-Climbing Hardware

Be careful with ice climbing gear. Things like screws, crampons, and other tools often have very sharp edges and are made from steel or metal, which means they need to be checked as luggage. You cannot bring these things with you as carry-on gear! But they are allowed in checked baggage, which means you might need to pay extra for this bag. The extra amount varies from airline to airline, but you can usually assume to pay somewhere between $25 and $50 per checked bag. Bags that are heavier than 50 pounds (or ca 25 kg) will usually cost even more, expect to pay around $100 each way

Cooking Knives, Knives, Axes, Saws

If you plan to spend time outdoors, and you bring knives and an ax with you, you need to check these items. It’s not allowed to carry them inside your cabin luggage, and when you go through security, you will either need to throw them in the trash or have them confiscated!

Pro Tip: If you forgot about your knife and security wants to confiscate it, tell them you need to store it somewhere. Most airports have lockers for these situations. You can rent them, pay a little fee of around $10 to $20 and retrieve the item when you come home. Better than throwing your beloved Kershaw Knife into the bin!

5 Tips to Make Life Easier When Traveling With Climbing Gear on an Airplane

Here are some handy tips to make your life easier when you travel with rock climbing gear.

Find out Rules of the Airport

Airports have their own rules, and while there might not be TSA regulations against an item, some airports may have extra strict rules. Especially when you fly overseas, it might be smart to inform before you go! A security officer in India might not be really keen to hear why you think you should be allowed to carry gear. Even if it’s according to TSA regulations in the U.S:!

Be Polite and Calm

Always be polite and calm. Don’t get angry with nosy TSA officers; they’re just doing their jobs. Sure they might seem annoying and sometimes even harsh. But if they give you a hard time, try to be the better person, defuse the situation and ask to talk to their supervisor! TSA rules are standardized, so there is not much room for scrutiny and arbitrariness!

Explain the TSA That You Are a Climber and Show Them Your Gear Upfront

If you want to save some time, just put all the climbing stuff in an extra tray when you go through the scanner. Then tell the TSA officers upfront about it: You’re a climber and on your way to a climbing destination, and this is your gear. It might save you some time!

Wear Your Jacket, Helmets and Even the Rope to Save Weight in Your Bag

If you have a lot of baggage, wear your rope around your shoulder, and maybe the helmet while you go through security. You might look funny, but it can save you from paying extra money for overweight luggage! And there is no rule against carrying a rope around your shoulder.

Buy Some Gear at Your Destination

If you have very heavy gear that you need to bring or fuel, consider buying it at the destination. It might be cheaper than bringing it. Especially consumable products like fuel, you cannot bring them anyways due to regulations!. You can also buy things like a crash pad, use it for two weeks and then sell it for a high fraction of the original price!

Conclusion

I hope this post was informative and helps you when you fly to your next climbing or bouldering destination. Know what you can or cannot bring on a plane!

If you want some more gear recommendations for your next trip, check out some of our gear recommendations and reviews:

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

When Should I Start With Fingerboard Training or Hangboard Training?

Regular training is important when training for bouldering or climbing. A lot of people are not really sure if they should do some dedicated finger strength training, and I’ve been in the same situation. In the end, I decided to postpone dedicated fingerboard training for a while, but I also think it’s a good idea to write about my experience and how I came to a conclusion.

So, when should you start with fingerboard training? Short answer: When you stop to improve steadily by just climbing, then you can begin to work on more finger strength. This is usually after 1-2 years of regular climbing training. As a novice climber, finger strength exercises will not do you a big favor, as you are improving quite fast anyway. The incurred risk of injuring your fingers is high, and it’s not worth the risk.

When to Include Fingerboard and Finger Strength Training

Once you stop to progress from regular climbing training, you can think about finger strength training. For most people, this time is after they have been training 1-2 years continuously. Even after this time, there are many people who still improve regularly from simple climbing training without any special focus on finger strength.

The same principle applies to physical fitness: If your general level of fitness is really low, build a foundation first, before you work on climbing-specific fitness.

Only when you’re physically fit and have a climbing routine, think about introducing a finger strength regime – or any sport-specific training for that matter. Once you reach this level, you should be able to climb routes of 6b+ in the lead and spend 2 weeks acquainting with fingerboard training before you start a regular fingerboard training regimen. 

And there is a good reason to wait: Hangboarding is incredibly powerful to build finger strength. But it is not climbing-specific training, and climbing includes many more aspects than just finger strength. You need to work on foot and leg technique, body balance, route reading, mental training, and other aspects like grip technique. And anytime you spend in your basement hanging on a board will take time away from actual climbing.

And it’s not just about the time spent hanging – if you train on a hangboard, your fingers need rest. While they rest and rebuild, you cannot climb. Well, you can, but then you increase the risk of injury BIG TIME. If you are a beginner, chances are high your finger tendons are not used to the stress of climbing, and then hangboard training can even cause injuries.

Finger injuries take longer to heal, and while you heal, there won’t be ANY climbing at all. So given these arguments, I’d say: Wait with fingerboard training until you have been climbing for 2 years. Then include it if you want.

If you’re a beginner in climbing or bouldering, you will improve more than enough from plain and simple climbing and bouldering. You don’t need anything else. Take advantage of other training later on!

Always Include General Fitness Training In Your Climbing and Bouldering Training

In order to become familiar with fingerboard training, you can find some good information and protocols in this guide and on this subreddit.

And if you wonder, some general strength training with barbells and bodyweight exercises is ALWAYS good for climbers of any skill level. Shoulder, hips, knees, and back as well as abdominal muscles, all benefit from training. If you climb regularly, these areas need special focus, and you should train antagonists with extra care. Antagonist’s muscles are opposites, and this means when you train push exercises for a muscle group, you must include a pull exercise for the same muscle group too!

Having a balanced, healthy, and strong body is probably the most important tool you can have to unlock improvements in any climbing or bouldering related activity! It also helps to prevent injuries and health problems in the long run.

Why You Should Make Your Own Training Plan

You can buy a training plan in many places online. There are tons of protocols and premade programs available. But these things are not the key to become a better climber. You are the key, and you need to understand the principles behind these programs.

When you understand the scientific principles, you can use any program, adapt it, and still have the desired outcome. On the other hand, if you don’t understand the principles and blindly follow a program, you might never achieve your goals – because your individual situation might need changes to the program. Lack of understanding makes you blind to these changes needed, and you will just waste time training stuff that is ultimately not bringing you near the goals you had.

So do this: Don’t ask for training plans and programs. Go out, research the training methods and principles and understand WHY they work. Then design your own plan to let you achieve your goals, and post it here as a comment or on Reddit or show them an experienced climber.

Keep these things in mind when you make the plan:

  • What are your goals? Quantify them, i.e., “Want to climb a 7c route.”
  • How is your climbing and training history?
  • What was the hardest redpoint attempt you successfully did?

Start here or with my other article, to find a good program to orient!

How To Mount A Hangboard When It’s Time For Hangboard Training

Simply follow the instructions on the hangboards manual. Most brands come with very good instructions. But you can also follow my other article here, where I explain a very good and cheap setup. The nice thing about my setup: You won’t need to drill any holes in your walls, and the setup is completely portable. You can even throw it in your trunk and bring it with you on business trips!

Should I Climb Everything Statically To Become Stronger Fast?

Most certainly not. While climbing statically, i.e., without dynamic swinging, requires lots of strength and thus trains you to become stronger, it’s not a magic bullet. Yes, holding your body in awkward angles and positions will put the load on different muscles and muscle groups, so you will become stronger in that way.

But it also costs a lot of energy, and if you only climb statically, you will end up burning out on many routes that are easy to climb with a dynamic move at the crux. Fact is: Many bouldering gyms and climbing gyms as well as outside sport climbing routes include dynamic moves today. And you need to be able to climb these moves dynamically, or you will have a hard time finishing these routes.

Dynamic moves are often very energy-saving, and after all, climbing is also about efficiency. A good climber uses as little energy as possible to climb a route, and there’s a good reason for this:

At  a certain level, climbing becomes a tactical sport. You need to allocate your body’s resources, which is energy spent, to a problem or route. Ultimately your resources a limited, and if you waste energy on moves, you limit your capability at the end of the climb – there simply won’t be any gas in the tank, so to speak.

If you know how to climb sections dynamically, you can bypass lock-offs and energy exhausting holds, saving the energy for later. In the long run, you want to become a better climber.

Spend time learning to climb both dynamically and statically. If you are unsure whether to climb statically or dynamically, these three steps help you:

  1. When you encounter new sections, try to climb them both statically and dynamically
  2. Take mental note how the sections feel, maybe even log the difference to a notebook
  3. See which way feels better, and then use this method in the future

How to Work On Weaknesses?

If you find yourself having a hard time on a route or bouldering problem, take a break from it. Sit down, take a breath, and reflect:

  • Be open and honest, which issue caused you to fail? Where you burnt out? Did you have the wrong momentum? Maybe a specific angle, balance, or body position felt weird.
  • Or maybe you had a mental failure, and you were afraid to commit fully.
  • Maybe you even-paced or breathed wrong, spent too much time in exhausting energy holds, or didn’t rest when you should have rested.
  • Talk to friends and others who climbed this route, maybe you are following the wrong beta for your body? Watch how they do it!
  • Video is a great tool too, have your friends film you.
  • Write down your troubles in a logbook; it will help you to sort it out for future climbs. For example, you might notice that you have regular problems with overclimbing boulder problems at heights of 20 feet plus. Given that you have solid movement and condition, then this suggests that you have a mental barrier and should work on mental training.
  • A climbing logbook will help you to work on the right key aspect and weakness!

How To Start With Hangboard Training

There are many good hang boarding introductions, like this article here. This video here is good too:

I also put together the very fundamental exercise here to make it extra easy.

Most important: The Static Deadhang

If you don’t do any other hangboard exercise than this, you are still fine. This is the most useful exercise, and you just grab the hangboard and hang from a hold with straight arms for a fixed duration. Take some rest (1-3 minutes) then repeat. Do 4-6 sets. Finished, you don’t need more than this.

Variations of the Deadhang

You can vary the classic Deadhang with some of these exercises:

  • One arm hangs
  • Lock offs at different positions and angles
  • Pullups on the hangboard
  • Combine these with each other

Work on These Grip Types When Hangboard Training

Keep this picture in mind when we discuss the exercises later. These are your very basic gripping types. They come with certain advantages and disadvantages.

  • A: Open Crimp – You open your index finger, and only crimp your middle fingers – Hard to hold, but least injury-prone of all crimps 
  • B: Half Crimp – All the fingers are bent at around a 90-degree angle – Medium power exertion, a good combination for many situations
  • C: Full Crimp – All your fingers are bent with angles less than 90 degrees, your thumb locks your grip – This grip puts a lot of load on your joints and can cause injuries if you’re not used to it! This grip can hold the most weight, but should not be overused!

Maximum Strength vs. Endurance Hangboard Training

Hangboarding is a form of physical training. As such, all the principles from other strength and energy training systems can be applied to it.

  • If you want to work on maximum strength, you need short, high-intensity sets of 5-10 second duration.
  • For strength-endurance, you want to include medium intensity sets of 20-60 seconds.
  •  Endurance, you need very low intensity sets longer than 60 seconds.

When doing long sets, you can break them up into many sets of 5-10 seconds with short rest periods of 3-10 seconds, a principle we call repeater.

If you do very short but heavy hangs, these are called max hangs. What you do will influence what skill you train: Endurance or maximum power.

Some Tips For Hangboard Training Beginners

If you are younger than 16 years, do your bones and joints a favor and wait with hangboard training. If you only climb for less than 2 years and/or climb at a level of less than 5.11 or V4/5 or 6b+, then I recommend against hangboarding!

Stay away from hangboarding if you:

  • Are younger than 16 years
  • Climb or boulder  less than 2 years
  • Climb or boulder below 6b+ / 5.11 /  V4/5

Climbing is so much more than finger strength at this level, and the increased risk from hangboarding is just too high to outweigh the benefits. Just work on proper route reading, movement automation, and footwork until you reach higher climbing grades.

But if you fulfill the upper requirements, start with a low intensity hangboarding training regiment. That way, your fingers, and tendons can adapt, and you can learn the correct technique. You will also have a chance to see how your body reacts to the hangboard training. Follow these three steps:

  1. Follow a light program for 2 weeks.
  2. If all goes well, switch to a moderate 2x/week consistently for another 4-8 weeks.
  3. Then transition to a more intense program of 3x/week or more frequently!

Some Good Hangboard Training Programs as a Foundation

Like I said above, don’t follow programs blindly. There is no single best hangboard training program. But there are some proven and working methods and programs you can use to orient yourself. Some of these are:

The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a hangboard training program:

Finger strength is built over long time periods. There is no way to build finger strength within 2-4 weeks, without risking serious injuries. If you commit to a hangboard training regime, do it for the long term benefits. Otherwise, it won’t do you any good!

Common Terms and Notation For Hangboard Training Programs

There is a common notation found in most training programs. It’s useful to know this notation, and it’s derived from the Eva Lopez program.

{Sets} x {HangTime}({EffortLevel}) {x Reps/Set*} :{SetRest}{/ RepRest*}

How to read this:

  • Setsmeans the total number of sets
  • HangTime The duration of each hang in seconds
  • EffortLevel The difference in seconds between the duration you could have maximally held the hang and the duration you held it for
  • Reps/Set How often you repeat a motion for a set, if left out, it’s assumed to be one
  • SetRest The resting period between sets in minutes
  • RepRest Resting period between reps in seconds

Here are two simple examples with a detailed explanation:

  • 4 x 8"(4) :4'
    • Perform 4 sets of 8 second hangs with an effort level of 4 (meaning the hangs should have so much weight that you could hold for 12 seconds maximally but only hold 8 seconds) and rest for 4 minutes between sets
    • This is a maximum strength routine
  • 4 x 10"(2) x 10 :2'/3"
    • Perform 4 sets of 10 reps of 10-second hangs, with an effort level of 2, and rest 3 seconds between the reps and 2 minutes between the sets
    • This is a strength endurance routine

Effort level (EL): This is lower when your effort is higher. Makes sense, right? If you hold for 10 seconds and could have held for 11 seconds, which makes an EL of 1, this is way harder than holding for 5 seconds if you could have held 10 seconds (EL of 5)

Knowing this notation will help you to read MOST hangboard training programs available online, even if there are slight changes in the exact descriptions!

When to Add Weight to My Hangboard Training?

Adding weight is a variable with which you control the intensity, or Effort Level (see above for a description of this) of your hangs.

With that in mind, most fingerboard training programs that add weight are using max hangs or repeaters, and the weight is used to achieve the desired effort level.

If you do max hangs, you increase added weight to ensure that you are failing at maybe 15 seconds, then actually hanging for 10 seconds. This provides a buffer of 5 seconds.

When doing repeaters, the added weight is used to make sure that you fail at the final set.

An individual set of hangs should not exceed 10 seconds unless you want to train endurance or strength endurance. If you exceed 10 seconds of hanging duration regularly, you will suffer from a strong arm pump as your forearm muscles will be put under too much tension and occlude. Even when training longer duration endurance hangs, it’s always better to take very short 3-5 second rests between reps to have some blood flow!

If you can hold a hang for 20 seconds, it’s a smart move to change your grip to a worse hold or add some weight to come down to the 10 seconds/rep region!

Keep in mind that the buffer and hang times cited above are just for examples. If you reduce the hang time by increasing added weight, this will increase intensity. But it also increases the risk of hand injuries if you are not used to the weight, so use common sense and don’t overdo it with the additional weight!

Will Hangboard Training let me Climb XY Grade in 6 Months of Time?

It will most certainly not. There are a lot of factors to include that govern how high of a grade you can climb, finger strength being only one variable. Different body types, levels of mental and physical fitness will govern how high of a grade you climb. You will also need good route reading skills and find the right beta to climb a route. All the factors are playing a role, so it’s not really possible to answer a question like that.

But this data here, taken from this good article on Reddit, gives an estimation for an average climber with a good training regimen. Take it as an approximation of what is realistically possible under good but not perfect circumstances for an individual with average to above-average talent.

  • 1-2 months  from V0-2

  • 3-4 months  from V0-4

  • 4-12 months from V0-6

  • 9-24 months  from V0-7

  • 18-42 months from V0-8

  • 30-60 months  from V0-9

  • 48-84 months from V0-10

  • 72-120 months from V0-11

The first few grades of development are very fast, as your gains are quite high while you still learn the basics. After that, the gains start to slow. The rate of adaption is obviously influenced by your genetic predisposition to climbing too!

A new climber can reach V6 in one year of training, and might then need another year to reach V8. But she or he will reach a plateau at some point, as the progress becomes slower and slower while nearing his or her potential genetic limit.

A Good Analogy How Fast You Can Progress

If you imagine a race, with 1000 people starting at a line, and the goal is 100 yards away, we should ask: How long does it take for each individual to reach the 100-yard line. 100 yards being, of course, representative of V10 grade climbing.

Now, we could time everyone and then calculate the average time. But actually, we would need to adjust the starting line if we talked about climbing.

  • Everyone under 20 needs to run 10 yards less, so move up 10 yards
  • BMI between 18 and 22? Move up another 10 yards
  • Living in an area with many climbing spots and good climbers? Another 10 yards up, please
  • Everyone with enough money and a job that allows them to take time off to climb whenever conditions are good? That’s another 10 yards
  • Everyone with strong tendon insertion points, aka they are strong but won’t need a lot of muscles because of their body geometry moves up 25 yards

Now you have a starting field of people where some start 100 yards away and some only 35 yards. Even if there is not a single unmotivated runner, of course, the people closest to the finish post will be faster. And the ones starting without any advantages will take the longest time on average.

The only way to answer the question for you is actually to go out and try. Best to completely ignore the finish post for a while, focus on a good system for training, and have fun climbing. And try to become a better climber, step by step, grade by grade.

Conclusion: Don’t Rush Into Fingerboard and Hangboard Training and Have a Plan

On average, most people become better at climbing faster when they spend more time climbing. And you can spend more time climbing if you are not injured and have fun at climbing. Relax and take it easy for the first two years; you are less likely to injure your fingers that way.

Once you are a decent climber, think about fingerboard training. But don’t rush into it! Follow a Program or better: Develop your own program with common sense.

More Reading Material:

My guide on climbing training when you have a full-time career and family

My hangboard setup guide

Best climbing shoes for 2020

Categories
Bouldering Climbing Where to go

Germany Bavaria Climbing & Bouldering Gyms: The Complete List

Visiting Bavaria, Germany and wondering where in Bavaria you can find climbing and bouldering gyms?  This is probably the most comprehensive list of climbing and bouldering gyms in Germany for the Area around Munich and Bavaria. It’s broken down by City. And we included a map to show you where it is exactly, as well as all the info like phone number and websites. 

We recently updated the list, but if you know of any new gyms and existing gyms that closed or moved write us a comment or send us an email!

This list still being expanded actively so make sure to check back every once in a while!

München

Boulderwelt München Ost
Friedenstraße 22a
81671 München
089 41859970

Boulderwelt München West
Bertha-Kipfmüller-Straße 19
81249 München
089 82073499

DAV Kletter- und Boulderzentrum München-Süd
Thalkirchner Str. 207
81371 München
089 189416311

einstein Boulderhalle München
Landsberger Str. 185, 80687 München
089 30701750

DAV Kletter- und Boulderzentrum München-Nord
Werner-Heisenberg-Allee 5, 80939 München
089 215470540

SVN Sportpark, Kletter- und Boulderzentrum
Fritz-Erler-Straße 3, 81737 München
089 46098582

Eddy Crashpaddy
Grafinger Str. 6, 81671 München
089 200030715

Near München

High-east Kletterhalle
Sonnenallee 2, 85551 Kirchheim bei München
089 92794796

Kletterzentrum Freising
Seilerbrücklstraße 3, 85354 Freising
08161 548656

Climbing & Boulder Center Munich West (Gilching)
Frühlingstraße 18
82205 Gilching
08105 370770

Rosenheim

Kletterhalle Rosenheim
Finsterwalderstraße 4, 83071 Stephanskirchen
08031 8094850

Near Polling

Climbing World GmbH climbing hall “Under the ROOF” Weilheim
Trifthofstraße 58, 82362 Weilheim in Oberbayern
0881 41122

Near Kaufbeuren

Kraftwerk – the boulder hall in the Allgaeu
Kreener Str. 14, 87640 Biessenhofen
08342 9159561

Near Landsberg am Lech

Die Kletterei
Viktor-Frankl-Straße 5a, 86916 Kaufering
08191 6404740

Near Holzkirchen

Climbing and bouldering center Weyarn / Leifheit Hall
Am Weiglfeld 30, 83629 Weyarn
08020 9087233

Grafing bei München

Boulderhalle Leben bewegt e.V.
Thomas-Mayr-Straße 4, 85567 Grafing bei München
08092 2309188

Kletterhalle Grafing
Lagerhausstraße 17, 85567 Grafing bei München
08092 6878

Near Bayrischzell / Chiemsee

DAV climbing gym Bernau
Buchenstraße 17, 83233 Bernau am Chiemsee
08051 9614920

Near Wasserburg am Inn

Kletterturm Gschwendt
Am Sonnenpoint 8, 83533 Edling
08071 1047245

Bad Tölz

DAV Kletterzentrum Oberbayern Süd e.V.
Am Sportpark 5, 83646 Bad Tölz
08041 7952030

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

DAV Boulderhalle Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Klammstraße 47, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
08821 9436446

Saulgrub near Oberammergau

Boulderhalle Ammerrock
Alte Römerstraße 10, 82442 Saulgrub
08845 758942

Allgäu

Kletterzentrum Allgäu
Dietringer Str. 50, 87669 Rieden am Forggensee
08362 940187

Pfaffenhofen

PAFROCK Kletterzentrum Pfaffenhofen
Ingolstädter Str. 68, 85276 Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm
08441 4007484

 

Ingolstadt

Schwerkraft Boulderhalle Ingolstadt
Marie-Curie-Straße 10, 85055 Ingolstadt, Germany
+49 841 13802322

DAV-Kletterzentrum Ingolstadt
Baggerweg 2, 85051 Ingolstadt, Germany
+49 841 88555010

Eichstätt

DAV Kletterhalle Eichstätt – jurabloc
Jurastraße 6, 85132 Schernfeld, Germany
+49 8421 9358220

Regensburg

MEGA Sports Regensburg
Gebäude B, Sport- und Freizeitcenter, Ernst-Frenzel-Straße 14, 93083 Obertraubling, Germany
+49 9401 6767

Boulderwelt Regensburg
Im Gewerbepark A46, 93059 Regensburg, Germany
+49 941 89963606

DAV Climbing Center Regensburg
Am Silbergarten 6, 93138 Lappersdorf, Germany
+49 941 28005085

Landshut

DAV Climbing Center Landshut
Ritter-von-Schoch-Straße 6, 84036 Landshut, Germany
+49 871 47730614

Straubing

alte Ziegelei Boulderhalle Straubing
alte Ziegelei 16, 94315 Straubing, Germany
+49 9421 5102145

DAV-Kletteranlage Straubing
Niederalteicher Str. 13, 94315 Straubing, Germany
+49 9421 80965

Deggendorf

ES-Vertikal DAV Kletterzentrum Deggendorf
Sandnerhofweg 5, 94469 Deggendorf, Germany
+49 991 98294202

Gangkofen

DAV Gangkofen Kletterhalle
84140 Gangkofen, Germany
No Phone Number!

Cham

Kletterzentrum Bayerwald
Kleemannstraße 27, 93413 Cham, Germany
+49 9971 996980

 

Categories
Bouldering Climbing

Is Bouldering Dangerous?

Activity Risk of light or medium injuries (0 low, 10 high) Risk of severe injuries (0 low, 10 high)
Indoor Bouldering 4 2
Outdoor Bouldering 8 6
Indoor Rock Climbing 3 3
Outdoor Rock Climbing 5 6
American Football 5 3
Mountain Biking 7 7
Motorcycle Riding 5 8
Soccer 4 2

Important: Indoor Bouldering is a lot less dangerous than Outdoor Bouldering

When we talk about how dangerous bouldering is, it’s important to see the difference between indoor and outdoor bouldering. While technically the same sport, with the same goals and techniques involved, outdoor bouldering is A LOT more dangerous.

Ina modern bouldering gym, indoor bouldering is not more dangerous than some other sports activities, with most injuries typical involving sprained or broken ankles or knee injuries. This is because the shock-absorbing mats in most modern gyms are incredibly effective. A fall of 6 to 9 feet on a mat inside a gym is not a big deal in most cases. Even if you land in an awkward position there is a high chance that you won’t injure yourself, they are that good. Take note: This obviously depends on the gym, and how good their gear is, but regulatory standards in most of western Europe and North America are pretty high.

But outdoor bouldering is a different beast: The falls are still low-height, but the impact energies are high because you have no thick shock-absorbing mats outdoors. When you boulder outdoors you usually land on either dirt, rock or grass, and even though boulderers have crash pads, these pads are not even close to the effectiveness of the mats inside a gym. And outdoors, you usually bring one or two of these mats, so depending on the boulder problem there is a high chance that when you fall you are actually missing the pad. And without a pad, every fall outdoors is basically a 6 to 10 feet fall to the ground. If you don’t know how to tuck and roll and fall correctly, there is a  VERY high chance of spraining or breaking an ankle or knee injuries. And some boulder problems leave you falling head or torso first, which is even worse. Outdoors you should ALWAYS boulder with someone to spot you.

Is Indoor Bouldering more Dangerous than Outdoor Rock Climbing?

Not at all. From all the climbing related activities, indoor bouldering is the safest and least dangerous. Falling heights are low, and shock absorbant mats are always taking in the main portion of the fall energy. Outdoor rock climbing is more dangerous than indoor bouldering, both in terms of the risk of medium or light injuries and also in terms of the risk of severe injuries.

Is Indoor Bouldering more Dangerous than Indoor Rock Climbing?

The chances to injure yourself lightly are higher when indoor bouldering, as you take falls on a regular base. And while the shock absorbing mats are working great, there is still a chance to sprain an ankle or break something if you fall very unfortunate. At the same time, the risk of light or medium injury in a rock climbing gym, where you are climbing with a rope, are smaller. But given that there are multiple fatal or severe accidents due to belaying errors and broken safety rules in rock climbing gym per year, the chances of severe injuries are higher.

This is because IF you fall in a rock climbing gym, and this fall happens to be combined with an error in the belaying, you typically fall higher than in a bouldering gym, and in contrast to a bouldering gym, there are usually no shock-absorbing mats on the ground. Thankfully, the risks in rock climbing gym are extremely low, as this german study showed (observing half a million visits to indoor rock climbing gyms), and you can mitigate and minimize the risk if you follow the proper belaying techniques.

Most of the logged accidents in the study where a combination of negligence on the belayers behalf and or failure to do partner checks and keeping an eye on each other all the time.

In terms of numbers: On every 1000 hours of climbing in a gym, there were.02 injuries. Which made indoor rock climbing safer than skiing, badminton or surfing – all these had higher rates of injuries. And in the study, most injuries where either minor or moderately severe, with no fatal accidents registered.