Is 5.11 really that hard


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 41 - 60 of total 88 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Kennewick wa
Dec 8, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
So on the weekends you get to use all the cool lingo like...

"Shreding the gnar"...

Then Monday rolls around, the white shirt and tie come on and it's...

"I was out the other day progressing nicely and working on my positive attitude"...

That's why I shoot plenty of GoPro footage. Then everyone can come by my cubicle on their breaks and see how much more awesome my weekend was than theirs

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
I agree with a lot of the stuff said hear about footwork, losing weight etc.

Here are some others, fairly trad specific

Learn to fire in your pro fast. Doing this safely takes awareness, awareness takes focus and immersion. Takes time- but but a combination of what I see, and what part of my hand or hands is crammed in a crack is plenty of info to lob my pro in like a skill shot. If a piece is bomber- TRUST IT- and move on with your life. The nice thing about a lot of 5.11 is that the falls can be very clean. Knowing when you are safe to punch a few more moves to a rest is helpful- again goes back to awareness.

All my hardest sends are trad crack lines- I am a relative weakling on sport and boulder, and also have long big legs and a short torso and skinny arms. All climbing drives with the legs, but crack climbing does so even more than face. Technique goes a long long way with cracks.

Finally- even though I am competent at 5.11, there are still plenty of particular styles that stay hard for me even on down to 10-. Don't worry if it feels easy or hard that particular day or climb or rating- its all climbing- yeah!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
ps what the hell is shreding?

I've shredded the gnar bfore, but doubt i've shreded anybody

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 8, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
Just keep climbing. For me it takes a 3 times a week habit to get to 5.11+ and I only got there for one season BITD. Footwork makes a huge difference always be working on ways and body position that gets the most out of your feet. Grip strength is for me the most difficult thing to train. Endurance was more my forte. My only 5.12 was overhanging and more juggy. Use slopers and crimpers at the edge of your ability often when at the gym. Work it hard when you get out 3 times a week or more. Do laps and downclimbs to get the most out of it. Really watch out for joint/tendonitus issues.

The great thing about gaining skill in pure dificulty is the amount of outdoor routes that open up to you. Higher skill and strength is a rewarding goal.

Dec 8, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
ratings at devils lake are pretty old school in my opinion.

devils lake 10b = HCR 11

ratings are completely subjective to the area.

Dec 8, 2012 - 10:04pm PT
I always want to climb harder not because of the numbers, but because those hard climbs are so damn cool looking!

Same here. It's never been about I climb 5.X to me. It's always been "Holy crap that line looks sweet" but it's 5.X. Guess I'm gonna HAVE to get stronger, smarter, faster so I can climb it. Motivation comes in all kinds though.

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Dec 9, 2012 - 12:06am PT
Alot of 5.11's don't have any moves much harder than mid 5.10, they just have one after the other. Think about that.

You can be able to do a one finger one arm pull up and have the world's best footwork and still not be able to crank out a 5.11. Cuz when your arms get pumped, everything else goes to sh#t.

Traversing is the masters key.

Social climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 12:12am PT
Train like a Demon, get to where you can do two or three -- preferable more -- one-arm pull-ups

Before the beginning of this year, Adam Ondra couldn't do a one arm pull up.

A single one.

Not the most important thing :)

Just look at everything objectively and how it relates to climbing. You don't have a coach, so be your own. Research sports nutrition and health a little bit, be familiar with a healthy diet. Learn stretches that will help prevent injuries down the road and when to do them, learn what muscle groups you need to climb harder, and how to build those up too.

Once you get the science down, and you know (not 'try to come up with,' but KNOW, because there is a difference) how to get the fundamental aspects of sports nutrition and conditioning, apply it to climbing. Find out what is causing you to fail and attack those things - is it your mentality? are you not comitting? does your belayer not make you feel confident on lead? Have you developed bad habits by leading in a gym? Are you able to objectively analyze risk, and not do dangerous things or form bad habits when you get scared?

Obviously, no matter how tall you are, 200lbs is a lot to hang off of tendons. They ain't that big. Your sport is rock climbing, if you want to be a big dude big walls and mountaineering are awesome too - bacon is f*#king rad so I wouldn't give you a hard time if you decided against it.

However, were talking about rock climbing. To burn fat, excersize low impact very often. Eat plenty of good food, DO NOT STARVE yourself. If you eat too little, your body will go into survival mode and you'll metabolize your muscles. Never try to lose more than a pound or two a week, it'll wreak havoc on your body.

Lastly, focus more on being able to do a specific route, than a grade. just the grade 11a means nothing, but a classic difficult route that commands attention and respect can build some character. If you walk up to a climber and spray about your 11a you did at a sport crag no one will give a sh#t, what was it called 'yoga pants jesus'? If you can tell your kids about the day you led The Vampire, you'll have had an experience that would have taught you so much more about who you are.

The numbers are arbitrary, the training is monotonous, the diet is bland and the logistics and cost on our lives and relationships usually cause them to shuffle or end.

Someday, I hope you'll learn it isn't about how hard the climb is, but who you become through its crucible.
Jebus H Bomz

Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Dec 9, 2012 - 12:39am PT
Alot of 5.11's don't have any moves much harder than mid 5.10, they just have one after the other. Think about that.

You can be able to do a one finger one arm pull up and have the world's best footwork and still not be able to crank out a 5.11. Cuz when your arms get pumped, everything else goes to sh#t.

Traversing is the masters key.

I'm not climbing sh#t right now, I'm rehabbing. I was shredding a bit of gnar before I got injured. But when I come back to climbing, I've been thinking along the lines of what you've written here, Salamanizer. Volume like crazy to build a really strong foundation. Plus, well, I won't be cranking the hard sh#t right away anyway. Right now, just endless traversing, up and down climbing with the headphones on sounds like heaven.

Social climber
state of Kumbaya...
Dec 9, 2012 - 01:00am PT

"everyone can come by my cubicle on their breaks and see how much more awesome my weekend was than theirs"...

Fuking A right!!!...



Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 9, 2012 - 01:05am PT
Not the most important thing

Agreed, there have been more than a few 5.11 climbers who killed on 5.11 face and could barely yard a pull-up. The late, great Diana Hunter comes to mind. I was just relating what had worked for me back in the day, but in retropect the routine I related really applies to a time when I was well past 5.11 and busy working past 5.12. In any event, loads of bone-crushing upper body strenth never hurts, especially when paired with immaculate technique.

You can be able to do a one finger one arm pull up and have the world's best footwork and still not be able to crank out a 5.11.

We're assuming this statement is purely rhetorical. ;}

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 9, 2012 - 02:33am PT
It is simple. Put up your own routes and rate them all 5.11. Furget all that "gnar" shite.

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Dec 9, 2012 - 02:54am PT
Worth repeating.

Best advice in my opinion???...

Learn to enjoy climbing within your personal limits and don't give a fuk about the numbers game...

In the long (and short) run it will serve you better...

One thing the OP never told us was how long they have been climbing.


Dec 9, 2012 - 04:41am PT
One arm pullups... that's so 1980s.

Seriously, getting to where you have the ability, fine, but actually doing them is just risking injury on something as uninteresting as a metal bar in a gym. Part of the reason the young people are climbing so hard is that training has evolved greatly over the years.

Also, 5.11 can be pretty damn hard, depending on the area and the style.

from out where the anecdotes roam
Dec 9, 2012 - 06:28am PT
the opportunity to watch, attent enough to really see, masterful technique is the binder for all the good advice above. modeling involves opening up an osmosis channel in the presence of brilliance. put some faith in that immersion, find a way to sustain the experience of it.

unwrap the word hone and apply it as regards efficiency, economy of motion,
rightsizing effort, releasing extraneous tension, perfecting your rests.

observe the effect of discipline, adopt it and adhere to form when you enter the dojo.

hard to do on the ragged edge surrounded by strugglers, so filter and replace in a deliberate way. consciously watch yourself putting it back together with breath.

i hope you get many a chance to really absorb a fine session, and shine in return

Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:07am PT
Hey Mike,

My two cents:

Climbing by the numbers is fine in my opinion. People climb for all kinds of reasons, and mastering difficulty is one of them. Runners run for distance, for time, for terrain and for fun. The same is true in climbing.

All climbers reach a point where their natural talents fade out and progress is dependent on learning. We don't all have the same skills at the rate that we learn, but thoughtful practice can increase your skills and fun.

The art and science, for lack of a better word, of practice has to be learned: it doesn't matter what number grade you are starting at. 5.11 was the top grade when I started climbing and only a few climbers where capable of climbing at that level. The biggest jump in climbing difficulty in the 70s occurred because of practice (hangdogging, well protected leader falls, and lots of repeats).

Some thoughts on practice: Don't practice mistakes in any way. If you repeat a mistake enough times, you will always repeat it and will never progress. If any foot, hand, finger, body position slips or fails, even if you recover (a good thing) consider it a practice failure. Practicing practicing is not the same as making it. Hard climbing takes precision. Practice precision on stuff you can do. The best way to do this, inside or out, is to repeat hard moves until they feel natural, smooth, and secure. Set up a video camera to film yourself on hard moves, placed from behind with a full body picture showing body position and all the holds you are using. Once you have figured out the sequence, repeat it several times and compare the videos. Look closely and compare the exact position of your hands and feet as you move. Look closely and compare the position of your hips, knees, elbows, head and trunk. Remember exactly what each body movement felt like. Pantomine. Practice doing the sequence exactly the same way several times. Remember this is practice. Your precision will improve, and you will be able to anticipate the required hand, feet and body positions on stuff that you haven't climbed yet.

As an aside, if you have never learned the art of practice in another activity--sports, crafts, music, etc, then find a book on handwriting and learn a different way to write. You can do this in private and when you cannot practice climbing. If you handwriting is flawless now, learn a different style. What you will find is that your current automatic ways of writing take over unless you concentrate, and speed only comes with practice. This is exactly the same process that occurs when you practice climbing with the added constraint that if you go slow in climbing you get pumped. When we get scared or desperate or tired or rushed, we revert to what we already know. The mental dialog always is the same, "Yeah, yeah, I know that I am not concentrating and applying my new skills, but this is desperate. I'll think about the new skills and stuff as soon as I finish this hard part." Then you fall.

I am not sure how far to push this practicing handwriting to prepare for climbing, but the art of practice is pretty much the same for any activity. Also you have to be motivated. That said, I am pretty sure that if you cannot practice something simple like handwriting you will not be able to practice climbing, at least not in this way.

If you watch videos of top notch climbers, they move smoothly and look secure (at least until they reach their limit). If you are not graced with the ability to move smoothly, then practice moving smoothly and use a video camera to watch yourself until you can tell if you are moving smoothly or not. You should also consider taking dance lessons--modern or ballroom. There is a reason that many of us refer to great climbing as "danced."

On strength: Increasing you strength will be important, but it is a poor substitute for skills. Moving fast between rests (relative speed) is also part of strength. In my opinion, it is best to improve your precision--lots of good ideas in the posts above--then learn to move quickly, then worry about strength. If you are serious about building strength, then follow a "scientific" plan such as laid out by Eric Horst in his excellent books. Climbing strength is very specific and if not done right, you run a high risk of causing damage to yourself.

I don't know of any climber who has not succeeded in climbing harder stuff if they worked at it along these lines.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:28am PT
Figure out what it takes for you to get dialed. It's different for all of us.

I'm 56 yrs old and have done very little climbing this year, recipe for disaster eh?

On the other hand it's been a very successful aerobic fitness year and I've stayed fairly lean. An obsession with pull-ups (which, fortunately don't damage me the way they do many of my contemporaries) has helped as well.

I've climbed a fair amount this fall with weekly gym workouts and lots of running (two half marathons thanksgiving week) and mtn biking. I don't do booze or eat mammals. I Eat Greek yogurt most mornings. 5'10" low 150's which is skinny/lean for me.

Yesterday I climbed a 5.12 ow (just tr) adroitly, that had shut me down six months ago.

Your own formula will be different but it is out there. Good luck!

Gym climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:49am PT
Jay that's good stuff.

Op listen to Jay you'll get there. I have been 195 for most of my life. Then my forties hit and well a 3 year old and two business and now I'm 225 and I have as much fun now as I have ever had climbing. I don't climb 5.11 anymore but I have a ton of fun just climbing.

Enjoy and do not go to Donner Summit if your looking for soft 5.11


Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Dec 9, 2012 - 11:04am PT
Climbing numbers don't tell you what you can or can't climb. They tell you what you should climb.

Dec 9, 2012 - 11:15am PT
Dave MacLeod's book is the best training book out there. Not fancy, no glossy photos of 5.14 climbers, just 164 pages of text, but it is all there. He covers everything and he also tackles the big questions in a way no other book does. He also avoids the guru approach, i.e., "do it this way, it is the only way, you must follow my routines step-by-step or you are wrong.

Personal coaching is also a good option.
Messages 41 - 60 of total 88 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews