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Stuck at leading 5.10! How do I improve leading past 5.10?
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By slim
Administrator
Jun 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
one question i have - are you trying to climb an 11- every time you go out climbing? you should be. also, a great piece of advice that one of the anderson bros posted a long time ago that i have gotten a lot of use from - if you try a route and don't get it. try it again. i can't tell you how many times i have flubbed the shit out of a pitch, made some mental notes, and then sent it 2nd or 3rd try.

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By Don McGrath
From fort collins, CO
Jul 21, 2012
Check out some of the free training tips at
masterrockclimber.com/

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By Eric Coffman
Jul 21, 2012
mountainlion
I think you may be to focused on "numbers", what a 5.10 is for one climber is a 5.11 for another. I was intimidated by Sidewinder 5.10b R in Joshua Tree for years. Once I just decided to get on it I cruised it like it was 5.8 (no kidding) but it turned out every hold was exactly where it needed to be for my height and the climb fit my style also(wasnt a 5.10b for me but really was 5.8, climb long enough and you will find routes like this for you also). Forget about the numbers and just have fun. That said a lot of good advice is in this thread. Also you have a newborn dont ever let your climbing get in the way of what your real priorities should be focused on. I dont have this problem because I dont have kids so I dont have to put them first but you do and should. Stay safe and good luck.

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By Derek Huff
Jul 21, 2012
Eric Coffman wrote:
I think you may be to focused on "numbers", what a 5.10 is for one climber is a 5.11 for another. I was intimidated by Sidewinder 5.10b R in Joshua Tree for years. Once I just decided to get on it I cruised it like it was 5.8 (no kidding) but it turned out every hold was exactly where it needed to be for my height and the climb fit my style also(wasnt a 5.10b for me but really was 5.8, climb long enough and you will find routes like this for you also). Forget about the numbers and just have fun. That said a lot of good advice is in this thread. Also you have a newborn dont ever let your climbing get in the way of what your real priorities should be focused on. I dont have this problem because I dont have kids so I dont have to put them first but you do and should. Stay safe and good luck.


Nice subtle spray there...

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Jul 21, 2012
Mt. Agassiz
Subtle?

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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Jul 21, 2012
One of my first trad climbs, Ooga Chocka at Crowde...
As others have said, head game is probably your biggest obstacle. Try reading the Rock Warrior's Way or another similar book about mental training, commitment, risk assessment, and distinguishing rational and irrational fear. Don't expect to put the book down and never get spooked again, but put the principles into practice and your lead head will improve.

Another thing that distinguishes leading from TR or boulder is the need to hold in a certain stance for a while to place gear or clip. This is especially true with trad but still with sport to some extent. Hangboard work will help you develop the isometric strength to lock off in a stance and hold it while placing gear/clipping, which is a quite different type of strength than that required to do a hard, dynamic boulder problem, for example.

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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jul 21, 2012
Colonel Mustard
Ryan Nevius wrote:
Subtle?


Spray?

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By CorbinW
Nov 22, 2012
My best advice is leave your guidebook at home the next time out to the crag and just look at climbs that look interesting and try them, you will find that when a grade isn't involved you will push yourself harder . It also helps to climb till you fall well above a bolt so that you truly know physical failure or mental.

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By Cole Keesler
Apr 11, 2013
Devil's Lake bouldering. Photo-Skyler F.
Honestly I dont even think this is a mental game for you. I have had buddys that were super boulder strong but couldn't do much on routes. These guys have big jacked body types that allow them to campus like beasts on boulder problems but at soon as you get them on a rope they burn themselves out quickly. If my assumptions about your body type are correct, then my advice would be learn how to endurance climb and do a lot of endurance workouts. If you are gased after leading a 5.10, then try to get on a 5.9 and just do laps until you are spent. With time, you will be able to push your grades further.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Apr 11, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I feel for you. I too struggle with poor climbing endurance. Power comes pretty naturally, but I find that I have to consciously work hard to progress in sport. Just keep trucking, and don't overlook the need to run laps on a bunch of 'easy' stuff no matter how loudly your ego protests. It'll thank you later. Also, try to strategically approach the route. i.e.: equalize your clipping (equal parts left hand to right hand clips), find good rests and milk 'em, know when to grip hard and when to just cruise, scope the feet - USE your feet, BREATHE.

Also, make down climbing a regular practice.

This stuff helps for me, but I always forget it and have to re-teach myself every few months. But seriously, if you can climb v6 and start diligently working on climbing with your brains & feet, you'll be sending .11s in no time. Good luck.

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By Sean Brokaw
From Boulder, CO
Apr 15, 2013
Personal photo
Climb more

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Apr 15, 2013
Day Lily.
+1 for Arno Ilgners "rock warriors way" and "espresso lessons"

+1 for "performance rock climbing" by udo neumann and dale goddard

Both excellent for the mental game.

Another option (there are tons) is eric horsts training books, he touches on the mental game enough to guide/"free" you from your habits revolving around fear, etc.

Enjoy!

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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Apr 15, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
Burk S. wrote:
Good point. I have found that the bouldering scales change dramtically where I am. The V6s I have climbed were in the gym, but I have climbed V4 and V5 outside in some local places in Oregon. I will say spots like Joshua Tree is a different beast. I first learned to climb (seriously) at Joshua tree and spent a week there. The best I could do was a V1+ (this was three years ago). I went to Bishop for a week a year ago and was consistently doing V2 and V3. This year is when I did the V4s and V5s. But, also, this was after a lot of falling. But I guess I am still confused, because when I first started climbing I could lead 5.9 but I could only boulder VB, but now I boulder much higher, but my sport climbing only improved slightly.


Although the cruxes of sport routes may be comparable to boulder problems (5.12a ~= V4)a sport route, or trad, is much more comprehensive. If you can boulder outdoors (truly) at a V5 level, (after a lot of falling) you should be able to do some 5.12's (after a lot of falling) provided that endurance isn't the problem.

The simple answer to your improvement is this: Strength (bouldering) see's quick gains, usually in 4-6 weeks of intense training. Local endurance (long climbing w/o pumping out) takes much longer to see significant gains, and lastly power endurance (climbing hard through a pump, 15-40 moves) sees very quick gains (2 weeks?) but also leaves just as fast. So if you mostly boulder, you're putting all your effort into quick(ish) gains, and none into your long term gains such as local endurance.

If you want to get better at trad and sport leading, you should consider getting into the gym and lapping climbs you can do that work you, but don't pump you out or bouldering (VB-V0) non-stop for 10-30 minutes. It'll be very hard if you mostly boulder, but you'll see big gains over time, mostly in your trad/sport.

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By BCA
From michigan
Apr 15, 2013
i agree that if you're bouldering V6 you could be pulling 12 moves on route. that said, everyone has different strengths. for instance, i inconsistently boulder V4, but can TR 12 pretty consistently and lead 11's. if i want to up my game, i know i should probably work on strength. you sound like the opposite. try doing a cycle of endurance training at the gym (or crag if you can!) and see if that helps.

if its more mental than physical i would ask what you do when leading 9 trad that you're having trouble applying to 11 sport. the mental factor of trad 9 should be more comitting generally, so it sounds like you've got the foundations for upping your game. best of luck and enjoy the season.

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By BCA
From michigan
Apr 15, 2013
haha. i just noticed that this thread was started 10 months ago. oh well. i guess i just like to hear myself type.

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By HarrisonE
From Stateline, NV
Apr 27, 2013
the ridge boulder
Move to a place with more rope climbing and climb as much as possible. Nuff said.

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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Apr 27, 2013
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
Climb more and climb for longer durations. Do laps. You probably are struggling from getting pumped or not having the endurance in your grip strength to chill at a stance and clip. This probably also affects your head game because if the clipping hold is bad, you fear falling while clipping due to grip giving out.

If my guess is right you are probably a powerful climber who liked to move fast. Work on climbing slower, more efficiently and using your feet more. Learn how to rest on good holds... But if that's not the kind of climber you are.... I don't know maybe your "V6s" are slabby/technique intensive and your lead climbs are overhung jug hauls. Who cares though just man up and make it happen. It will if you make it.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Apr 27, 2013
I posted this elsewhere recently, but I think that much of it may still be relevant to you:

What you need in order to improve past your current level of ability is mostly practice and confidence. Getting mileage, focusing on technique, and working on your mental state will help your climbing a lot. Some steps include:

-Climb more. Get a lot of mileage; but still make sure to rest adequately as well. Outside is good, but the gym is good too.

-Travel. Climb on a diverse array of rock types, angles, and styles. Every climbing area has different things to teach you. If you always climb at the same area, in one style of climbing, you will have weaknesses that hold you back, but that you don't even know about. Going to another area may make those weaknesses very apparent.

-Push yourself. You claim to be plateaued at 5.10. Are you sure about that? How often do you actually try to climb a 5.11?

-Climb with people who are better than you, and with a variety of partners. If all of your partners climb 5.10, and all of you think that 5.11 is too hard, you will probably never progress pass 5.10. If you climb with people who climb 5.12, you will see that 5.11 really isn't hard at all, and it will become an attainable goal. Plus, those more-skilled partners will help you learn new trick, techniques, and tactics that will push you forward.

-Deliberate practice and coaching. Lets continue to talk about those more-skilled climbing partners that you find. Ask them to look at your technique, and see what you are doing wrong. As a 5.10 climber, I would guess that there are serious gaps in your set of techniques. Do you generally climb square to the wall, with weight on inside edges--most 5.10 climbers do. John Long once said that the main skill that separates 5.10 climbers from 5.11 climbers is a good understanding of how to use backsteps (outside edge of the shoe). Learn to backstep, to drop knee, to flag. Learn to put more weight on your feet, and to find no-hands rests.

-Self-assessment. What are you weak at? Figure this out, and work on those weaknesses. Sometimes partners are better at recognizing your strengths and weaknesses than you are.

-Confidence when fatigued. This is the one bit of training-type thing that I would recommend. Learn to climb through pump. ARC-style endurance traversing helps here. Learn to recover on a jug. Traverse around a slightly overhanging wall until tired, then pause on a good hold and try to recover. It sounds like a simple skill, but most sub-5.12 climbers are generally really bad at knowing how to rest properly.

-Belief. Generally the biggest factor holding back a climber is their belief in what they can do. In my experience, the most important step in climbing a new grade is developing the belief that you can climb that grade.

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By Peter Jackson
From Rumney, NH
Jun 27, 2013
Just in case the two big belay anchors aren't obvi...
+1 for Rock Warrior's Way.

The `Self Coached Climber` and `Redpoint` have a good recipe for training up through the grades.

Excellent reads, if you learn by reading.

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