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pyramid plan in how to climb 5.12.
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By mike526
From schaumburg
Aug 22, 2011
I was reading some climbing books and Noticed the pyramid program in the back of the book and thought this might be something good to work on along with the training i'm doing now. since i'm weaksauce and not as bad ass as the rest of you. My hardest indoor climb on TR was a 10d/11.a So how would I set this up, i'm having a little trouble understanding How this pyramid would work.

My goal i would say would be to get to 11.c but knowing 11.a has been my hardest not sure how i would go about doing this. and do i go for my hardest climb first in the pyramid or start on the easier climb building up to my hardest for that day of climbing.

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By mike526
From schaumburg
Aug 23, 2011
so then, if i'm understanding you correctly saying that 5.11 is the hardest i have ever done.

My pyramid would be look like this

6 routes of 5.11
4 routes of 11.b
2 routes of 11.c
1 route of 11.d

So until i can onsight or redpoint 6 11.d's i should not be moving on to the 11.b's and so on.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Aug 23, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
mike526 wrote:
so then, if i'm understanding you correctly saying that 5.11 is the hardest i have ever done. My pyramid would be look like this 6 routes of 5.11 4 routes of 11.b 2 routes of 11.c 1 route of 11.d So until i can onsight or redpoint 6 11.d's i should not be moving on to the 11.b's and so on.


I've never explicitly used pyramids for training, though usually in the course of climbing inside and out you wind up using some form of a pyramid.

Anyway, I would say that your pyramid is weighted a bit heavy, especially if one 10+/11a is the very hardest that you have ever done. Pyramids are not some magic formula to boost your redpoint level a whole number grade; they are merely for helping you establish a base of consistency, rather than moving up in the numbers too quickly.

Based on your climbing level, I would start the pyramid at the level maybe ONE number grade above what you consistently onsight, or at a level that you can get second-go. Then move up from there.

Needless to say, your pyramids should contain routes of all different styles as well (although this is more difficult to work on in the gym); bouldery, enduro, vertical, etc.

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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Aug 23, 2011
Bunny pancake
mike526 wrote:
so then, if i'm understanding you correctly saying that 5.11 is the hardest i have ever done. My pyramid would be look like this 6 routes of 5.11 4 routes of 11.b 2 routes of 11.c 1 route of 11.d So until i can onsight or redpoint 6 11.d's i should not be moving on to the 11.b's and so on.


I dont think this is correct. The only way to climb 12 is to actually climb a 12. Climbing all the 11s in the world (which wont have a single 12 move on them) will never get your body prepared for a 12. You will just become a good 11 climber.

A pryamid to climb 12 must necessarily have a 12 in it.

Maybe something like:

5 11a
4 11b
3 11c
2 11d
1 12a

Or even more aggresive would be


5 11a/b
3 11c/d
2 11/d12a
1 12a/b

Climbing harder will prepare you for harder climbs.

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Aug 23, 2011
Humboldt Bouldering
Just a clarification and do not be offended if you already know this, Mike.

An Onsight is when you come up to a knew climb which you have never done and with minimal beta. You can do the route first try with no falls or hangs.

So I would assume that you can onsight almost all 5.9s outdoors and for sure all 5.8s.

I've never trained with pyramids before but from what I believe he is saying is that your training would look like this.

6: 5.8/9
4: 5.10a
2: 10b
1: 10c/d, 11a

Good luck with your training. If you don't get injured you'll get stronger

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Aug 23, 2011
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
Mike, how's your training plan working out?

mountainproject.com/v/training...

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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Aug 23, 2011
Bunny pancake
good point. No offense taken.

Do you want to onsite 12s or redpoint 12s. General consideration is that you can redpoint one number grade harder than you can onsite.

So if you can onsite 9s, you can redpoint 10s. If you can onsite 11a, you should be able to redpoint 12a.

If you want to onsite 12as, you need to be working 12d/13a.

If you want to redpoint 12a, then trying to get your onsite level to 11a/b is a good goal.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 23, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
mike, at your stage of climbing i would focus on a pyramid with a broad base. this should help you refine your skills on routes that are somewhat challenging, instead of flailing on routes that are too challenging. also you will get more mileage, and it will be easier to have success. here is what i would propose for your first pyramid. Try to do them in the order listed, if this isn't possible try to limit the difference in grade as much as possible. for example, if you only have 3 5.9 routes in the gym, but you are trying to do 5 of them, try to substitute 2 5.10 routes (instead of 2 5.10d routes).

5.9 - "send" 6 different routes
5.10a - "send" 5 different routes
5.10b - "send" 4 different routes
5.10c - "send" 3 different routes
5.10d - "send" 2 different routes
5.11a - "send" 1 route
5.10d - "send" 1 route
5.10c - "send" 2 different routes
5.10b - "send" 3 different routes
5.10a - "send" 4 different routes
5.9 - "send" 5 different routes

after you have completed this, do the same thing but add start with 5.10a sending 6 different routes, etc.

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Aug 23, 2011
Humboldt Bouldering
Redpointing a route can also depend on how many times you have tried it as well. Maybe you can redpoint an 11c that you've projected for a year now but you can only onsight 10d.

So there really isn't a entirely conclusive correlation between being able to onsight a grade in comparison to your redpoint. Your RPs can be strewn across the map.

Going along with Slim. The best way to climb harder is to get better technique, of course. One of the best ways to improve on technique is to climb different routes as much as possible, preferably outside in my opinion. I would work on being able to redpoint a many 5.10x s as possible before you move onto 5.10y s.

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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 23, 2011
mslarunner wrote:
Redpointing a route can also depend on how many times you have tried it as well. Maybe you can redpoint an 11c that you've projected for a year now but you can only onsight 10d. So there really isn't a entirely conclusive correlation between being able to onsight a grade in comparison to your redpoint.


Is that maybe why the general thought of onsight vs. redpoint is (fairly) broad?
The difference between 5.10a and 5.11a is huge.

I'd imagine (since I dont climb this level yet) that the difference between 5.12a and 5.13a would be equally, or even more huge. General concensus is general for a reason... its not always applicable. The pyramid plan that Eric Horst lays out is a great tool for gauging progress, instead of guessing.

My thoughts are that the OP needs to focus on any of his weak spots... this of course means he needs to find them, or have a more experienced person point them out! Once you know what you are working to improve, it's a lot easier to improve. Working those weak spots in a consitent manner, on routes that generally fall into the pyramid training plan is a really good way to gauge progress... there are of course other ways, but working on something is better than guessing.

I'd also add the idea that working through the grades is not all that enjoyable if you take it too far/too seriously. Everyone climbs for a different reason, just make sure that is why you are climbing... dont make it about the grades every time you climb... that shit is annoying.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 23, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
the general consensus (that i've heard anyway) is that typically people will onsite approximately 1 number grade lower than they redpoint. this has been pretty accurate in my climbing.

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By mike526
From schaumburg
Aug 23, 2011
I'm liking the look of what you presented slim, i'm going to work off that for sure.

Jay My training is going so so. I can see an improvement and all but of course not as fast as i would like( but its never as fast as we would like). I also find it very easy to get side tracked when i go to the gym. For example i go the gym with intent to train, instead someone i know shows up without a partner and next thing i know i'm not training i'm just climbing whatever.

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By DBarton
From CENTENNIAL, CO
Aug 23, 2011
Moab, Potash Road and Ice Cream Parlor
I am also under the belief that if you want to climb an 11d, then go out and start working a few. You may find one that seems easier than the others. Otherwise, working a bunch just below the intended grade is a good idea (especially if you can get several in one day).
I have also heard not to neglect the easier routes, for example, if you can climb a (5.9) when you are completely toasted. This helps to affirm that you are improving your form and may give you a confidence boost up harder grades

Best

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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Aug 25, 2011
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
mike526 wrote:
I'm liking the look of what you presented slim, i'm going to work off that for sure. Jay My training is going so so. I can see an improvement and all but of course not as fast as i would like( but its never as fast as we would like). I also find it very easy to get side tracked when i go to the gym. For example i go the gym with intent to train, instead someone i know shows up without a partner and next thing i know i'm not training i'm just climbing whatever.


Well, as long as you're climbing, I guess it could be considered training.

The pyramid is overhyped, IMO. It's not necessary to do six 11a's before you do a 5.12a, for example. It just ends up working out that way in retrospect. Climbers who have a more solid base find it easier to progress to the higher grades. But, to think "I need to do x number of 5.x before I move to 5.x+1" is missing the forest for the trees. Build your base, but don't obsess about it.

When you see a 5.12a that inspires you, get on it, and see how it feels. By actually trying the route, you'll find out soon enough what your weaknesses are and where you need to get more work. You might get on a 12a and you might surprise yourself by sending it. It would be a shame not to have tried that route because you had "only" done one 5.11c, for example.

You can't climb 5.12 if you don't climb 5.12.

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 25, 2011
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord
Jay Knower wrote:
You can't climb 5.12 if you don't climb 5.12.

+1

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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 25, 2011
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord
slim wrote:
the general consensus (that i've heard anyway) is that typically people will onsite approximately 1 number grade lower than they redpoint. this has been pretty accurate in my climbing.

sport or trad? ;)

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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Aug 25, 2011
Bunny pancake
Jay Knower wrote:
You can't climb 5.12 if you don't climb 5.12.


QFT.

What I say all the time to my partners. You will never climb 5.12 no matter how many 5.11ds you climb...b/c there is no 5.12 move on 11ds. You will just become a really good 11 climber.

To get yourself prepared for the exertion, moves, energy level etc of a 5.12 you need to climb 5.12.

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 25, 2011
Jay Knower wrote:
Build your base, but don't obsess about it.


I encourage obsessing basically because most climbers have no restraint whatsoever...the OP is a case in point. If he can't even stay focused for a single gym session, what hope does he have when he's with friends at a crag?

The vast majority of climbers out there are on routes that are way too hard for them. They show up at the crag, do one warmup (if that) and spend the rest of the day dogging up something too hard for them. This leads to loss of confidence, associating leading with falling, and then fear, reinforcing bad habits like holding your breath while you clip or move. All this leads to a downward performance spiral resulting from a lack of time actually spent practicing movement.

On the other hand, by doing routes that are too easy, you are constantly moving, and thus learning and reinforcing movement on bigger holds where it's easier to do so. You build good habits like breathing and not over-gripping, and you build confidence with each ascent, getting in a habit of clipping the chains rather than saying "take".

You get better at climbing by climbing, not hanging on a rope.

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Aug 25, 2011
Humboldt Bouldering
slim wrote:
the general consensus (that i've heard anyway) is that typically people will onsite approximately 1 number grade lower than they redpoint. this has been pretty accurate in my climbing.


I am not saying anything against that consensus what-so-ever. I am saying that is really depends on how much you climb the same routes. Some people only climb the same few climbs and can do them smoothly but then onsight way lower.

There is some variation in what people can redpoint and onsight depending on how beta intensive the route is and how much they climb on new terrain.

Read what I said more carefully

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Darren Mabe wrote:
sport or trad? ;)


either/both. my onsite and redpoint grades for trad and sport are both within a letter grade of each other, with sport being a letter grade higher for both onsight and redpoint.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
mslarunner wrote:
I am not saying anything against that consensus what-so-ever. I am saying that is really depends on how much you climb the same routes. Some people only climb the same few climbs and can do them smoothly but then onsight way lower. There is some variation in what people can redpoint and onsight depending on how beta intensive the route is and how much they climb on new terrain. Read what I said more carefully


my comment wasn't directed towards you, it was just a general comment. i agree with your statement that some people only climb the same few climbs over and over and it hinders their onsighting ability.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Mike Anderson wrote:
I encourage obsessing basically because most climbers have no restraint whatsoever...the OP is a case in point. If he can't even stay focused for a single gym session, what hope does he have when he's with friends at a crag? The vast majority of climbers out there are on routes that are way too hard for them. They show up at the crag, do one warmup (if that) and spend the rest of the day dogging up something too hard for them. This leads to loss of confidence, associating leading with falling, and then fear, reinforcing bad habits like holding your breath while you clip or move. All this leads to a downward performance spiral resulting from a lack of time actually spent practicing movement. On the other hand, by doing routes that are too easy, you are constantly moving, and thus learning and reinforcing movement on bigger holds where it's easier to do so. You build good habits like breathing and not over-gripping, and you build confidence with each ascent, getting in a habit of clipping the chains rather than saying "take". You get better at climbing by climbing, not hanging on a rope.


i mostly agree with mike's comment here, but one pitfall to consider is that spending a lot of time climbing stuff that is easy for you can also build bad habits. even worse, you can kind of get addicted to the bigger/better holds, and feel really uncomfortable when you get on a route that doesn't have the safety blanket.

in general, i think climbing anything less than 2 number grades below your current redpoint level is pretty much a waste of time.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Aug 26, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
Michael McKinnon wrote:
QFT. What I say all the time to my partners. You will never climb 5.12 no matter how many 5.11ds you climb...b/c there is no 5.12 move on 11ds. You will just become a really good 11 climber.


Uhhh... there are no 5.12 moves on a lot of 5.12s.

Actually, given the way that route ratings progressed in the US, climbing a lot of 11d's in particular is a great way to climb 5.12.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
agree with camhead. it would be interesting to see how many 12 routes don't have any specific 12 climbing on them. i'm betting probably half or so and very dependent on area.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i would equate a single 12 move to a short v4 or so, pretty much agree with what you are saying. although there are 12+ routes that don't have a move harder than 5.10 (v1 or so?).

it's interesting that you point out the pyramid as a performance exercise. this is a good point as there are 2 kinds of pyramids. this one, where you are trying to add performance data, versus using a pyramid on a training day.

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By slim
Administrator
Aug 26, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
the SCC book has some examples of training day pyramids. the top grade would probably be approximately equal to the current grade you are shooting for on your "real" pyramid.

the one thing that always kills my cool-down workout is the skin on my hands. by the time i am getting ready to cool down, my skin is pretty raw. i haven't found a way around this problem yet.

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