Is 5.11 really that hard


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Trad climber
schaumburg, il
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 8, 2012 - 04:47pm PT
A bit about me I'm 34 and stand 6'1 and weigh about 205(yeah i know i'm big).

Anyhow i've been climbing in the gym and outside and the hardest climb i have done outside is a 10b.

I've been working some of the 11's in the gym and have tried some at devils lake in wisconsin but seem to always come up short.

Any advice as far as training or words of motivation from people who climb 11 an up. I try to get inside twice a week and outside at least once.

I know not to chase grades but an 11a is my goal for next year.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Dec 8, 2012 - 04:54pm PT

Trad climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 04:56pm PT
I could make the typical ST smart ass comment, but all kidding aside; if you weigh 205, a typical Devils Lake face 5.11 face climb would be tough.

I only climbed there once, 40 years ago, but as anyone knows, the lighter you are, the better you will climb on hard face. It's pretty tough hanging all that weight on your finger tips and toes.

A nice fat hand-jam is not as weight dependent in my opinion.

Trad climber
schaumburg, il
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2012 - 04:58pm PT
I'm working on losing the weight believe me. What area's do you consider soft Locker?
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:05pm PT
One thing to think about: if the ratings are softer, then is it really 5.11?

If the answer is "yes", then you probably are chasing numbers...

Btw, there's a diet plan outlined in that book, I've heard. I'm not trying to sell the book, just mentioning it b/c a friend who has the book brought it up.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:08pm PT
All kidding aside, old school 5.11's (Yosemite, Suicide, Gunks, Josh) are pretty stout no matter what else is going on. Train like a Demon, get to where you can do two or three -- preferable more -- one-arm pull-ups, climb outside all the time, get your fingers strong. That's what worked for me. I think that a steady diet of hard bouldering is also a major benefit if you want to climb hard routes.

And at 205 definately lose weight, although really it's not so much raw weight data but your bodyfat index. If you're 205 but have the muscle definition of a skinned greyhound, that's probably a plus.

My two cents. You might want to run your query over at; they discuss this issue a LOT.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:12pm PT
Serious on the one-armed pullups?

Guess I'm out, then :-). At least until the scale is happy...

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
In my 3 1/2 years of climbing experience, I do see more skinnier people throwing down the 11+ routes. I'm 6' and 197lbs. I'm not a big fan of face climbing, but I do love crack climbing. The hardest face climbing I've done was 10a and I wasn't too thrilled. The hardest crack I've done was Catchy 10d to Catchy Corner 11a. I did better on the 11a fingers/lieback that I did on the thin hands 10d. I feel way more secure in crack that I do anything else.


Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:21pm PT
Yup it is!

A couple of weekends ago I was at The New and watched this super jacked guy chug a Redbull and get on Legacy (a super classic 11a). He whipped and whipped and eventually bailed. While he was being lowered, he threw this tantrum about how the rating on this climb was bullshit because he can climb 5.13 in the gym.

I guess it is funny how some people feel entitled to certain numbers...(Not saying that you are...OP)

Dec 8, 2012 - 05:22pm PT
Go bouldering lots so you can work on movement & linking difficult moves. Then when you get up to that crux on that 5.11 you will be able to figure it out quicker & feel stronger on the crappy holds.

Trad climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
There is always aid climbing.


Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:31pm PT

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:32pm PT

I've only done 11's by accident, never intentionally, and only back when I was well under 200

Don't sweat the numbers.

It's supposed to be fun.

Kennewick wa
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:39pm PT
Don't listen to Locker. That is the typical response by an old person who can't shred the gnar anymore.

I love the numbers game!

How else can my friends on Facebook know what a bad ass I am!!!

Trad climber
East Coast
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
How hard 5.11s are depends on how much you are climbing.

I used to send, when I weighed 166. Now I am 235, so the 5.11s are elusive except for slab.

If you can onsight 5.10 at Devil's Lake you should be able to crank 5.11 somewhere, but not Carderock.

If you are plateaued. Here is my advice.

If you know how to climb pretty well, already, work on your cardio. (A group of four climbers were going on a trip, the one who climbed the least beforehand did the PX-90 DVD. His friends gave him sh#t, but he performed the best.) I also climbed better personally, especially on steep ground, when I processed the O2 better.
Do a fingerboard routine, gradually working up to it so you don't get injured. (I have a friend who was in medical school and didn't have time to climb at all, but was disciplined with his Metolius hang board. We went out climbing and he could still do 5.11c)
Climb a lot at easier grades for endurance, technique and rhythm.
Boulder. I can't go too high, or I go splat, but it is fun and you learn a lot about physics and movement. Helps your onsight ability in the long run.
Diet, a work in progress for me, SteveA knows of which he speaks. On his advice I'm going to check out the Zone diet. Just got a couple of books on the subject.

Keep it fun!

Trad climber
lost, far away from Poland
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:54pm PT
I don't care about numbers, but if you can climb .11, you are safer on .10 routes. Your climbing menu is bigger too.

I impoved my climbing skills by losing waight, bouldering in the gym, and out door climbing Be careful, I also broke my ankle bouldering. Make sure you always fall on a pad!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:55pm PT
I asked some old people ...they were is that stuff between yer toes after a long day of climbing without socks.

Wade Icey

Trad climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 05:58pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#271621

Hey Old Man!

Kennewick wa
Dec 8, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
What's the fuk is the "GNAR" again???...

typical response from an old person who can't remember how to shred the gnar anymore.

Kennewick wa
Dec 8, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
not me in the pic, just a young man learning gnar shredding.

Back to the OP - as far as sport/gym 5.11 is also where technique becomes a lot more important. A lot harder to muscle through.

Practice that footwork!
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