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Height dependence, ratings, ape index, go-go gadget arms, etc .
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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Oct 10, 2009
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December...
Aimee Bates wrote:
We all have different strenghts/weaknesses, making it impossible to rate a climb for everyone.


Well said, Aimee!

Shawn Mitchell wrote:
Or to solve life's challenges!


So true.

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By Dave C
From Homeless, CO
Oct 10, 2009
well, I am 5'9-10 and i climb with a variety of partners of different heights.

What i have noticed is that on routes of moderate difficulty (i.e. less than 5.11) taller climbers have a distinct advantage because foot work and technique is less of a factor for them, they just grab the next handhold without shuffling around. I am sure there are probably plenty of routes that height can be a disadvantage, but overall i would say its a helping hand.

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By Richard Radcliffe
From Louisville, CO
Oct 10, 2009
Kevin Stricker wrote:
I think that in some ways being tall is a disadvantage. It allows you to reach past hard moves without learning the proper technique.

This is so true, and sometimes reaching past the hard move without good footwork puts you in a compromising position. I often find myself completely stretched out to more appealing but very high holds simply because I can (6'3", +1). Then I'm completely unable to move or even return to my previous stance. Basically just stuck.

But as Kevin pointed out in the rest of his post, this has little to do with height advantage (or disadvantage). It has more to do with laziness and chronic brain farts.

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By Michael John Gray
From Queensbury, NY
Oct 10, 2009
im stoked on the quality of this wonderful climb!
I think being short is better than being tall for climbing. You have a lower center of gravity and it takes less to position your body in balance on a steep climb. I think if you analyze our primate bros monkeys and such we clearly see long arms and strong fingers advantageous. But a short torso w proportional legs is better than a long torso with long legs for balance. Isnt balance the key to climbing. Im 5' 4, so I look at lyn hill katie brown, beth rodden, flexibility and short is an undeniable advantage.

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 10, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
great comments everyone!

we all use the hand and foot holds we can reach, in the best way possible! skip the bad ones.


fun!

climbing would be kind of boring if we all had the same style. often i learn more and expand my "toolbag" when i watch how people climb that arent my same body type.

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By Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Oct 11, 2009
Summit of Chasm View
I used to think taller climbers had it easier, but recently I've been finding more routes that are advantageous for smaller climbers. Being able to scrunch up into a little ball is pretty nice for underclings, and torquing yourself into corners is sweet (if you can fit). And as others have mentioned, placing your foot near your chest can be a bonus.

Ok, so I have a question about slabs. Is being smaller an advantage on those? Or is it a matter of center of gravity? (where women and men would differ on this).

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Oct 12, 2009
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Whoever thought that having long limbs was an advantage does not understand the basic laws of physics, or hrte equasion for torque. There is a fairly simple model that well approximates the human condition whereas you measure the pulcrum point of any joint, the load, the length of the lever (arm) and the distance from teh fulcrum to the source of power (tendon attachment point) and then do the math. Long armed people have to pull that much harder on something to lift the same amout of mass becuase the tendon attachment point does not scale well with limb length. Not to mention that long limbs add weight, so even then not all things are equal.
Most monsterously strong people have very short limbs and distant attachement points.
I will admit that it's nice being 5'10" and being able to reach anythign that a 6'2" guy can reach, but it's not always in my favor on overhangs, where I'm doing a lot of work.

Kat, you friggin' munchkin...
Yeah, I bet it hurts on those slabs when you just can't reach, but those little keebler boots keep you from failing the freshness test on some pretty small holds that buckle the edge of the shoe under my 170 lbs... In other words, I think it depends on teh nature of the climb. If it is reachy, you are screwwed, but if not, then not. If it's scruntch or dime edging, then your lower wieght is supported more easily than a larger climbers on that same 3.5mm leather insole. Mythos are edging shoes when you weigh in at $1.15.

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By Evan1984
Oct 12, 2009
I'm 6'4" with a +6 ape index. My climbing partners always knock my sends down 2 grades for the height advatage.

IMHO, individual climbs can be harder/easier depending on your stature, but, looking at climbing as a whole, the advantages balance out with the disadvantages.

Also, keep in mind that grades are a concensus rating. Presumably, people off many statures have put their opinions into the grading of a climb.

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By Rafe
Oct 12, 2009
hardman
"i cant imagine God created rock to be best suited for climbers 6' or taller"

God didn't create rock.

Smaller people have small hands and have it easier on higher end climbing. Their hands are smaller thus the holds are more positive than they are for someone with large hands.

How do you post part of a quote btw?

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By pfwein
Oct 12, 2009
Rafe wrote:
How do you post part of a quote btw?


I just hit the quote button and delete anything I want to delete.

Anyway: most people seem to agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to being tall (or short).
It seems incredible that the advantages and disadvantages would EXACTLY cancel each out.
It's got to be better to be one or the other (although it will be different for different routes).

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By slim
Administrator
Oct 12, 2009
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i think the real key to climbing hard is believing. doubt is probably the main thing that holds people back. that, and a negative ape index..... :)

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By TradByron
Oct 12, 2009
Yours truly on the Petite Grepon
I think Slim is right: believing is the most important thing. Saying this as a shorty (5'6") who has done his share of whining about being unable to reach the key bucket, here's an observation: I think that routes/problems which are easier for tall people are more likely to be noticed than ones that are the opposite way around. It's pretty clear when you just don't have the span to reach a hold, whereas routes in which easier high steps, scrunch moves and small holds feeling larger for small people or people with short reach are a lot harder to quantify. BTW, those TCU's and brassies feel like bigger gear for us too. So if it seems like there are more times that it's better to be tall, maybe it just does SEEM that way...

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By Aaron Martinuzzi
Oct 12, 2009
end of the day in the black canyon.
i'm sort of tall, 6'1", +1 ape index, but am also skinny (#150) and pretty flexible. hand-foot matches, mantling, all that stuff, are pretty easy for me, but liebacks and underclings can be a little tenuous, because i just don't have the power.

Generally speaking, I've found my height to be helpful. It doesn't make me any 'better,' I just think of it as one extra tool to work with; i've been on a few climbs where I was able to get through a section (esp. stemming) where my length was pretty advantageous. sometimes, when bouldering, i've cited my height as a factor in barn-dooring and stuff like that, but i think that's a minor issue - i really just need to get stronger to do the move, it probably has little to do with my height.

i think height has it's advantages, but if you don't complement that height with strength and flexibility i think it's likely to limit you, like in hand-foot matches, underclings, liebacks, etc...

dunno why i thought of this, but my take on the whole climbing harder thing is that good footwork and a solid head are infinitely more important than height.

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 12, 2009
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
when things get difficult for me and i cant make a certain move, i usually just count on my girlfriend to tell/show me how to do it! :)

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By Richard Radcliffe
From Louisville, CO
Oct 12, 2009
TradByron wrote:
BTW, those TCU's and brassies feel like bigger gear for us too.

This is more than just a feeling. Consider that the difference between 6'3" and 5'8" might be as much or more than 50 lbs, everything else being equal. What difference do you think that makes when you're falling onto a marginal RP?

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Oct 12, 2009
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "...
Shumin Wu wrote:
I'd agree with you IF body/arm strength is the limiting factor in climbing harder. I can do multiple one-armed pullups and hold plank on the bar/rings, but that hasn't helped me that much trying to become an elite climber. It usually came down to techniques, finger/hand strength, and length.


Absoluelty Shumin- I'm not saying either tall or short makes you great. I happen to have monstrerously long arms and used to do the 1-armers and could easly hold a front lever or a flully extended flag before my recent series of injuries. But I still never climbed "hard."

A quote that R&I printed once was:
"Climbing is 90% mental. The rest is footwork."

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By Tom Hanson
Oct 13, 2009
Climber Drawing
It is my belief that smaller climbers have an advantage.
Have you seen chipmunks run up and down horrendous overhangs?
If a person is half the size, the holds are twice as big.
In my opinion really large climbers of any ability tend to be the exception, rather than the rule.
As a 6'2" over the hill has been climber with a dead even ape index, I want to protect my ego and delude myself into believing this.

Does anyone know if there are any 5.14+ climbers out there who are over 200 lbs?

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By slim
Administrator
Oct 13, 2009
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
the british beefcake john dunne - 14aX !!!! wonder what he's up to these days?

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By Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Oct 13, 2009
Summit of Chasm View
The ideal climbing body: Strong, lightweight, flexible, small in stature, with small hands - yet with the ability to extend the arms when the holds are are high, and to increase the size the hands when the crack widens. Add to that some springy action in the legs, and some adhesion forces in the hands. A bit of She-Ra, GoGoGadget, Gumby, and Spiderman all in one body. 5.14 - yeaaaah.

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By Irish-Jane
From Ireland, sometimes
Oct 14, 2009
Terradets, Spain.
What's interesting is that climbing is one of the few sports where there are quite a lot of really short elite athletes.
Other than jockeys and gymnasts I can't think of any other sports where being short, if not exactly an advantage, isn't actually a disadvantage.

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By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From Phoenix, AZ
Oct 14, 2009
Belay
Tom Hanson wrote:
Does anyone know if there are any 5.14+ climbers out there who are over 200 lbs?

Klem Loskot is definitely up there size-wise.

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By Caleb Willman
From Levelland, Texas
Dec 26, 2012
I am 6'3.5" with a +4 AI. I find laybacking and weird drop knee reaches really easy, but have a hard time with dynos, just goes to show everyone has a different style. (I probably find dynos difficult because I rarely have to dyno. I can static most moves like that.) Overhangs are more difficult for very tall people, we have more mass to lug around than short climbers (I am right at 200 lbs).

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By Kegan Minock
From colorado springs
Dec 27, 2012
pfwein wrote:
One thing I'm curious about: how often do really short (say 5'2'' or below, but that's an arbitrary number) climbers who have climbed hard stuff get shut down on "easy" height-dependent routes?


That is an interesting point. I know of a climb that is rated V7 that i can do in my hiking shoes that my girlfriend will never be able to do. I personally think it is rated V2 but me being relatively tall (5'11") is going to skew my rating.

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By Superclimber
Dec 28, 2012
I hate tall people. I laugh when they hit they're heads on shit.

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By tenesmus
Dec 28, 2012
Chris Miller wrote:
I hate tall people. I laugh when they hit they're heads on shit.

At least we have a reason to live.

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