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A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering

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Writers Block

I’m having a bad/long stint of writer’s block. I don’t want to just put up a post because it’s due, I want the post to be informative, useful and thought out. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been climbing so much I just haven’t had time, but sadly it’s the opposite!

I’m still about and posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and as soon as I have something worthwhile to share, the blog will be back to normal.

 

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New Year New Rules

To me the phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ always seems like it’s going too far, as if you’ve got to purge yourself and start from nothing because last year’s you is just so, well, last year. I think it should be more like ‘New Year, New Opportunities to Improve on my Current Self’, but I guess that just isn’t as catchy or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

 

Anyway, after hearing and reading that phrase endlessly for the last week it got me to thinking. I have probably missed plenty of opportunities to improve myself because I was too worried about the outcome. This applies to everything from choosing to ignore a phone call to not participating in climbing events, so I’m trying a new train of thought for 2017:

 

If it scares you, do it.

 

I don’t mean any crazy life threatening situations or doing something that could cause the outcome to hurt others. What I mean is to push yourself and try saying yes. Any little thing that pops up in everyday life that I would usually avoid or run away from, I’m going to try to embrace and enjoy it.

 

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and great start to 2017!

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Finding The Balance

Things on the blog have slowed down a little because I’ve not really been climbing, which has made it hard to write posts. In fact I feel pretty guilty as the reason for climbing less is because roller derby has started to take over my spare time. It’s hard trying to find a balance between the two sports, especially when skating comes more naturally than climbing. However I’m starting to even out my time, and I have seen some unexpected improvments.

I got back on the wall at the start of the week and it felt awesome, I realised how much I had missed it. It also made me think that climbing has given me some good foundations to build on for skating, and now I can see how roller derby has started to help my climbing. I’ve gained better core strength, I’m more confident with footwork since I figure, if I can do it on wheels I can definitely do it off wheels. I don’t feel as scared as I did when climbing up high, and generally moving around the wall feels more natural.

Even though it didn’t feel like at the time, the inadvertent bouldering break has actually been a good thing. So it’s okay for things to change on the priority list, and taking some time once in a while is okay too, especially if it helps you appreciate some improvements.

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New Adventures

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is so much beauty and nature readily available on your doorstep.  I’ve been away exploring the countryside, which is why it has been quiet on the blog and social media side of things lately.

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I headed off to the Lake District with A Boy Who Climbs for a few days, and stayed in a lovely guest house in Bowness. We ate like champions whilst admiring the lake and forest views. It was nice just being somewhere different and much more green than our home town, plus having the option to walk everywhere was great too. However, getting carried away and accidentally completing a 10 mile walk, and then realising we had to do the same back was not ideal, but the beer certainly helped.

So now I’m back home, feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the walls. I’ve been having a rough time with bouldering lately. Between having my elbow flare up and hitting a plateau it has not felt great. So whilst we were away I was trying to figure out what to do to fix the funk. I’m debating on trying some roped climbing, as I think it will be good to learn something new in the same field. The height it definitely what’s putting me off though! As soon as I get my mind around being up that high on a piece of rope, it will all be okay…

So watch this space, rope climbing may be happening soon!

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Holding Holds | Climbing Hold Types

One of the most important factors of climbing is staying on the wall by holding on, which is made easier by finger and grip strength. However, knowing how to hold a hold can also make a huge difference to how you climb. This is why I love visiting other climbing centres, as they all set with different brands of holds so you get to climb on something new.

 Even though they are all pretty self-explanatory I though it would be worth doing a breakdown of hold types:

 

Jug 
A generous hold that has a very positive grip for the whole hand, much like a door handle. 
Sloper 
  Usually rounded and edgeless which means it requires plenty of friction to hold, and just the right amount of chalk.
Crimp 
Easy to spot (or not as the case may be) as they have a very small edge which can be held with the first pads of your fingers/fingertips.

 

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Pinch
Much like it sounds, this is normally a longer chunk of a hold which depends on grip strength between fingers and thumb to hold.

Pocket 
This hold is only suitable for 1-3 fingers, and requires great finger strength to use and move from safely.

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 Being at the lower end of the grade spectrum means most of the time I end up having very positive hand holds in the problems I climb. This is cool, but there are so many hold varieties out there that it’s kind of shame I don’t get try them out in climbs. To remedy this, I make an effort to move to and from the different styles of hand holds whilst traversing, which I’ve found quite helpful and challenging! 

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New Year’s Eve Thanks 

I’ve already started the preemptive cringing for the “New year, new me!” posts that are about to blow up social media. However after thinking it over, what’s so wrong with that really? Yeah it’s a little cliche to join the gym, start a diet or quit a habit, but these big changes are usually a shock to the system and hard to keep up with. So why not plan to make some small improvements instead, as little things can add up to a big difference over time.

It’s pretty incredible how much blogging has helped me. It has without a doubt, completely changed my mental approach to life and bouldering, to the point were others have also noticed. Obviously there are still bad days when I want to hide, eat and sleep, but they are much fewer and far between. I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than by thanking you, yes you! Whether you’ve liked a Facebook post, Instagram picture, or visited this blog, you’ve made a positive difference to my day at that point in time, and I can’t begin to explain how it feels to have possibly done the same for others.

So my New Year’s resolution is to not really make a resolution, but instead keep doing what I’m doing. I know that there are a few things I can improve to make myself a better human and climber, so I’ll be working on those. 

Thank you and I hope 2016 is full of everything you wish for.

See you next year!
  

Shameless Plug…


You can now find me on Facebook, as well as Twitter and Instagram.

I plan to keep it interesting by not always posting the same stuff on each corner of the Internet, so feel free to stalk me on all of the above 🙂

Happy vibes!

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Mini 4 Month Milestone

| 119 Days | 17 Weeks | 4 Months | 16 Posts |

index‘A Girl Who Climbs’ is 4 months old young as of last Sunday, if you give or take a week. The time has gone by so fast!

Like I posted in my introduction my aim is to learn and share what I discover about myself, or anything climbing/bouldering related. If that post helps one person then it was totally worth it.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read the blog posts, I hope they are helpful 🙂

Here’s to the next 4 months of climbing chatter!

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What is Bouldering?

When I explained to my friends and family what bouldering is, they were a little alarmed to hear I was climbing up walls without a rope! Like them I hadn’t even heard of the sport until a new gym popped up in my local town. This made me think a little explanation of what bouldering is would be a good way to start the blog.

So, indoor bouldering is basically climbing without  ropes or harnesses, on walls that are about 4.5m in height. There’s a thick safety mat below the walls to soften your fall, and as long as you fall correctly in a controlled manner, you’ll bounce back up unharmed. I believe it began as a form of training for all route climbers, who would boulder to warm up or practice moves. Then it took off and became a popular activity of its own!

Whereas roped climbing has routes to climb, bouldering has problems to solve. These problems are shorter than a route, and focus on a series of moves to solve the crux of the problem. I like to think of it as maybe the purest form of climbing, as you have no equipment, you’re just relaying on your body and mind to get you through.

At climbing gyms you will generally find that the center will have a range of problems graded on the V-scale. These climbs go from VB/V0 which is the easiest, up to around V12 indoor (from my experience), even though the hardest grade climbed outside is currently V16. These problems come in a variety of forms, some may be more technical requiring fancy footwork, e.g heel hooks or toe hooks. Others may be more powerful and simply need you to push your mental game, or use momentum for a large move. New climbers sometimes believe that upper body and finger strength are the most important ingredients for bouldering, however it’s not all about power. Of course being strong and having good grip will make things easier, but enjoying the climb and having a positive mind-set can be even more helpful. 

Bouldering is something that fell into my life by accident, and without sounding cheesy, it has changed and helped me quite a bit. It’s such a social sport that you find yourself casually making new friends regularly, which is great for someone of a quiet nature like myself. There’s nothing better than hanging out with good people, working hard at a problem, and then looking down from the last hold to see how far you’ve traveled!

Hopefully this has helped explain what the sport is all about, and why I love it so much.

Pop down to your local wall and give it a go!

A Girl Who Climbs

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