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By rockjockster
Oct 12, 2012
Is it ok to smear on routes in the gym? I find that some of the routes in the gym I go to are reachy and awkward unless I do a quick smear. I was trying to do a 5.10 that I thought was impossible to do without smearing and my partner for the day said that smearing was off. Is this what route setters intend? What are the rules during competitions? I figure smearing is pretty much always an option outdoors, but it seems that gym climbing plays by a different set of rules

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Oct 12, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Using the features on a wall is pretty much never "off" unless it's specified on the ID tape at the base.

i.e.:

"'Boogie til you Poop': 5.11+ (arete off)"

or

"Double Rainbow: 5.12- (crack off)"

Can't remember ever seeing, "(smears off)"... sounds like you're buddy might just be one of them know-it-all Gumby types.

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By freezeus
From Pittsfield, VT
Oct 12, 2012
I'd say that's someone interpreting "you have to follow the colored tape to stay on the route" to mean you can't use any walls. Which would be quite bizarre since smearing is a pretty essential skill for any climber and gyms are for training....

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By Dustin Drake
Oct 12, 2012
Yeah, I agree with Jon. Unless the tape specifies that a specific feature is off, the wall should be fair game.

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By rockjockster
Oct 12, 2012
That's kinda what I figured. I'd be willing to bet that a piece of tape came off a foothold or something

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 12, 2012
as a setter, i have to mark on the start tape for a route if any features (light boxes, arete, etc, etc) are off. otherwise, its all on.

most people will instinctively use features, smearing, etc, etc to get up a route. if you want to force a certain move, then you may have to ensure a feature is off. otherwise, you usually build the route around the feature anyway.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Oct 12, 2012
John Marsella wrote:
One of the gyms I climb at has "nats on" on the tape of some routes. I think: when are nats NOT on?



chufftard wrote:
You cannot scratch your balls, unless otherwise specified



"Nads off"

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By Brian Taylor
From Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 12, 2012
On WSU campus
^ +1 ^

One of the best things I've read on here in a while.

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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Oct 15, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.
It depends on the gym. Our college gym was pretty much vertical and so heavily featured that "No naturals, no smearing" is a necessary contrivance to make hard routes... otherwise the holds have to be heinously small and bad.

I've also been to a gym with few natural features, but a bunch of small screw-in jibs, which were implied to always be on. It made sense for that gym.

Many people approach the gym as training for climbing. At CATS, for example, matching and heel-hooking is frowned upon. While this is an extreme form of contrivance-in-the-service-of-training, it's on the same continuum as "nats off."

In general, though, smearing is implied to be on (certainly in competitions). If you think it's too much of a contrivance, try climbing the route with and without smearing, and see if you learn anything new!

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By Sam Stephens
Oct 15, 2012
Top half of Melifluous
John Marsella wrote:
One of the gyms I climb at has "nats on" on the tape of some routes. I think: when are nats NOT on?


Sometime this is done to remind people, usually when the route was set around so called "naturals". If it wasn't marked, people would bitch about how bad or hard it was for the grade because gym climbers can't see past the tape.

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By Ian Stewart
Oct 15, 2012
I've never thought that smearing would be off, but I almost never remember to use the arete in the gym. Part of the reason is that my previous gym would explicitly say "arete on/off", so I ended up with that mindset and so now I assume it's off unless listed. It's made for a few "wtf is this so hard" moments until I clue in. =)

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By Craig T
From Chicago, IL
Oct 16, 2012
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
At CATS, for example, matching and heel-hooking is frowned upon.


Seriously? Heel-hooking is its own skill worthy of practicing. Would be a shame if you get outdoors and don't know how to heel-hook...

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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Oct 16, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.
Craig T wrote:
Seriously? Heel-hooking is its own skill worthy of practicing. Would be a shame if you get outdoors and don't know how to heel-hook...


For really strong climbers who climb plenty outside... it makes sense:
catsclimbing.com/2012/02/cats-...

I tried it myself for a while, and acquired a bunch of new techniques.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2012
Bocan
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
At CATS, for example, matching and heel-hooking is frowned upon.


That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Honestly if a gym employee came up and told me not to match, I'd most likely fall on the floor in gut busting laughter. It's a staple move. And that article sounds like BS. We don't allow matching and heel hooking because we want you to be a better climber? Climbing is a personal thing, and matching doesn't make me a better or worse climber. And in my opinion, not allowing those things aren't "ethics" anyways. They are just contrived rules.

Other than having the nesseary gym etiquette, I climb however I want to. Smearing, steming, or whatever work for me which has included using empty stud holds.

It's the gym. Try not to take it too seriously.

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Oct 16, 2012
tanuki
Rajiv Ayyangar wrote:
For really strong climbers who climb plenty outside... it makes sense: catsclimbing.com/2012/02/cats-... I tried it myself for a while, and acquired a bunch of new techniques.


I read that. To me it seemed poorly written, not to mention that the points he is trying to convey do not make sense at all. To be blunt, IMHO it sounds like a bunch of pretentious BS.

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By TheBirdman
From Eldorado Springs, Colorado
Oct 16, 2012
So pretentious it's where all the pros in Boulder train. It's not that heel-hooking and matching isn't good technique. It's that when you're in the gym trying to get stronger (particularly on short, steep walls like at CATS where there are no "routes" or "problems" anyways) squaring up and avoiding those techniques will maximize the gains of the workout. Pretentious. Maybe, but there are other gyms if you don't like it. Effective. Definitely, as the frequent users of CATs are the strongest climbers around Boulder.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2012
Bocan
TheBirdman wrote:
So pretentious it's where all the pros in Boulder train.


Hmmm funny I see Lynn Hill, Cedar Wright, Daniel Woods, Matt Segal and other pros training and climbing at Movement.

They must have gotten kicked out of CATS for matching a double heel hook.

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By Eric Fjellanger
Oct 16, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
Gym climbing is a game, play by whatever rules you want.

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By T.C.
From Whittier, NC
Oct 16, 2012
I thought this was called "Mountain Project??" What does that have to do with a gym? Isn't there a place called "gym project?" No, well could someone please start it and move this over there?

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 16, 2012
At the BRC
Scott McMahon wrote:
Hmmm funny I see Lynn Hill, Cedar Wright, Daniel Woods, Matt Segal and other pros training and climbing at Movement. They must have gotten kicked out of CATS for matching a double heel hook.


Hmm, how do you know these are the strongest climbers in Boulder? And what makes you think they don't train at CATs too?

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Oct 16, 2012
At the BRC
T.C. wrote:
I thought this was called "Mountain Project??" What does that have to do with a gym? Isn't there a place called "gym project?" No, well could someone please start it and move this over there?


Maybe if you don't like reading about gym climbing you might consider NOT reading threads titled 'Gym Climbing Question'. Just sayin

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By wivanoff
Oct 16, 2012
High Exposure
Scott McMahon wrote:
...It's the gym. Try not to take it too seriously.


+1

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Oct 16, 2012
Bocan
Mark E Dixon wrote:
Hmm, how do you know these are the strongest climbers in Boulder? And what makes you think they don't train at CATs too?


Where did I say these are the "strongest" climbers in Boulder? The context was "pros". I'd say that they'd qualify as being in the elite, AND I'm sure you're right about them going to CATS. As well as them going to the Spot, and the BRC and the the Alpine Training Center.

But hell if doing one armed, one eyed eliminates gets you climbing V16, more power to them. It's something I could never do in 2 lifetimes, and I'll say I'm remiss in my judgement.

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By Senior Hernandez
Oct 16, 2012
on the trip
Eric Fjellanger wrote:
Gym climbing is a game, play by whatever rules you want.



As opposed to the very serious business of climbing other inadament objects?

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By S. Neoh
Oct 16, 2012
First, I want to agree with "...It's the gym. Try not to take it too seriously. ". Gym is for training, trying new things, and socializing.
As for made-up "rules" like no matching, no smearing, no heel hooks, etc, they are there to make up for the limitations of the wall terrain/angle, the available holds, and the creativity of the the setters. There are plenty of holds out there now that will make matching harder than a cross-through and heel hooking a real test of technique and core.

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By bevans
Oct 16, 2012
Tonto wrote:
As opposed to the very serious business of climbing other inadament objects?


Argh.

Sometimes i am adamant. Sometimes i am inanimate. Even more rarely am I ever adamantly inanimate. But i've never once been inadament.

Same goes for most rocks i've seen.

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