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A Girl Who Climbs

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Slopers | How To Climb Them

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Notoriously slippery, rounded and very tricky, slopers are something I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now. There was a problem in the gym that was full of them which inspired the training, as the route quickly became a project. I made it through in the end, and so here we are with very sore fingertips and some pointers to share!

So, how do you climb slopers?

 

What I’ve found to be the most important element of climbing on slopers is body position. E.g If you can hang directly under a sloper with your arm relaxed, you can suddenly find some friction. It’s all about learning where you need your body/weight to be, in order to create the most positive hand hold, which will all depend on the problem flow/direction.

Secondly, how you hold the sloper is also important. This will differ from hold to hold, plus route and wall angle, but looking for the part with the most texture isn’t a bad idea. I also found that half crimping the hold helped me out too.BM

Lastly, it’s commonly known that slopers can sense fear. If you don’t fully commit to holding that hold whilst trying hard, it will reject you and make you slip off!

If you follow me on social media you might have seen a video of me having a crack at the Beastmaker 1000 slopers. As frustrating as it was repeatedly falling off these holds, it was equally amazing when I got a little further and held them a little longer.

You can always do more than you think you can! I would love to hear your tips for holding slopers, leave them in the comments 🙂

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How To Do A Pull Up | A Newbie’s Journey: Part 3

After working on negative pull ups for around eight weeks, the time finally came when I did a pull up! In fact I did a pull up on a campus rung, on a bar, and just to make sure I did one last one on the nice holds of a Beastmaker. It was all with close grip but it was awesome, and there will be video footage to follow! It’s still a difficult motion to do as I can still feel the sticking point, but now I can just about push past it. I think a mixture of climbing twice a week, plus working on negative pull ups has helped strengthen and hone the muscles required to pull myself up.
It feels good to reach a goal after working at it for so long, I’m still psyched about it a week later! Knowing I can haul my body weight up has defiantly boosted my confidence on the wall.
So what’s next in the pull up adventure?
– Completing 5 pull ups with good form
– Work on wider grip
If you’re working on pull ups, keep going and it will happen.
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P.S You can find Part 1 here, and click here for Part 2

Bouldering Outside First Time Tips

I’ve only ventured out onto real rock a handful of times, and it has always been awesome. However, there are a few things I have discovered on these trips which I wish I had known before hand. Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind as you head out on your first outdoor bouldering adventure.

Travel Light
Only take to the boulders what you really need because if you’ve got a long approach up hills and over fields, you’ll be cursing that extra pair of shoes and spare bottle of water in your bag.

Pack Sensible Food
Take the right type of food to keep your energy levels up. Snacks that are individually wrapped or don’t require handling to eat are generally better, as you’re less likely to eat the dirt and chalk covering your hands.

Look After Nature
You should leave the area you’re climbing exactly as you found it, if not in better condition. Don’t litter, be careful with the chalk and try your best to keep the ecosystem happy.

Keep Clean
Try to keep your climbing boots as clean as possible by standing on towels/blankets. A friend uses a spare square of carpet which is ideal to clean off the mud/moss/bugs to help avoid foot slips.

What to Wear
Dressing in light layers is key, especially in the UK where the weather can turn ever so quickly. It’s also good to keep some spare clothes in the car too, just incase.

Get Ready
You still need to warm up when you’re climbing outside. Jogging and using resistance bands is a great way to start, as is climbing very easy problems or traversing to get your fingers acclimated.

Safety First
If you’re not climbing you should be spotting whoever is, stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you.

It’s Hella Scary
I found climbing out on real rock can be very scary at first, especially if you’re use to an indoor gym. Build up your confidence, work on whatever appeals to you and don’t get bogged down by grades and lines.

So there it is! From my very limited outdoor experience I feel like I have learnt so much. A few more real rock adventures and I’ll have it all down hopefully.

Tips and advice are always welcome in the comments 🙂

 

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How To Do A Pull Up | A Newbie’s Journey: Part 2

I’ve been practicing negative pull ups for about four weeks now. Although I’ve not been as consistent as I would like, I have started to see some improvements. I can actually do a full negative without flared elbows, I just imagine trying to bend the pull up bar into a ‘U’ shape. Thank you to ‘@adventurepursuitsptandsp’ on Instagram for this visual aid, it really helped! In fact I can perform 2-3 negatives with fairly good form before it feels like my arms are going to fall off, which is definitely a huge improvement from a wobbly, half negative.

I’ve pasted together the first and most recent negative pull up videos, and during the edit I was shocked to see how slow I was going at first! I think it was because I didn’t feel controlled, but now it’s much easier. The next crux is towards the end of the negative, which would be the start of a pull up. I can jump into that position and pull up from there, I can even get a lock off! However getting that initial engagement to pull me into that position is the hard part.

So even though ‘Pull Up Day’ is still far away, I think I’m making steps in the right direction. At the very least it’s all starting to make sense 🙂

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Weird Things Climbers Do

I’ve been to a few different indoor gyms now and I’ve noticed habits that seem to be universal in the climbing world. It’s funny because they’re pretty odd quirks when you think about it, but I’m not sure you would notice them after a long time in the community. As a newbie I have noticed, observed and acknowledged these traits, and in the process realised that I have also started to do some of them!

(Not 2 or 3. Just to be clear.)

Weird Things Climbers Do

1. Looking at their hands when they fall off a route/problem, as if their hands magically teleported them to the floor without the climbers consent.

2. Climbing shirtless to try harder, not because it’s too hot. Is it a psychological thing? Maybe the t-shirt is too heavy? Who knows. So far it’s only guys I’ve seen doing this, but it still confuses me when I imagine applying this to an everyday life situation…

3. Getting undressed in the middle of a climbing gym whilst holding a conversation. Like it’s normal to strip in a public place and have a natter about the weather. (Also mainly male climbers, sorry guys!)

4. Constantly chalking hands when talking, looking at route/problem, watching others climb, deciding what to climb. This is a contagious habit!

5. Refusing to hold everyday objects like a normal person. Got to open hand the shopping bag and gaston that sliding door.

6. Comparing holes in finger tips and calluses on palms. Gross, but I guess it’s kind of a rite of passage when you get your first callus.

7. Plotting a route on anything, anywhere.  A clothing fixture in a shop, a large vehicle in a car park, the neighbour’s dog.

8. Groping everyday objects that they think would make a good hold e.g credit cards, vases, light switches. Then also voicing the discovery of it excitedly in public.

Some of these habits and scenarios I have witnessed first hand, as my partner and most of my close friends are climbers. I don’t mind though as I seem to be picking up some of these habits too. (Again not 2 or 3. Ever.)

Climbers are a weird but wonderful bunch, and I’m happy to be part of the community!

Do you have any of these habits? Please say yes.

A Girl Who Climbs

Indoor Climbing Tips for a First Timer

Going climbing or bouldering indoor for the first time can be a little unnerving, especially if you don’t know what to expect! Here are a few tips that might help.

smileyWear comfortable clothing. Whatever you would be happy to wear for the gym is normally pretty good for indoor climbing. Tracksuit bottoms/yoga pants/leggings are good because they are tight at the ankle and won’t catch on holds. As it’s generally always cold here in the UK, I found layering tops handy so you can take them off as you warm up.

Trim your nails. There is nothing worse than catching your fingernail on a hold! Also, specific shoes are worn for climbing that help you get friction on the holds, they are uncomfortable but not painful. Trimming your toe nails is a good idea too, and also bring socks if you’re wearing rentals.

Warm up. As in any sport, warming up is very important. At first I’d feel a little self conscious trying to warm up by climbing set problems, so I like to traverse (climbing across the walls using any holds) if the gym is quiet enough. If not, normal cardio exercises like skipping followed by stretches are also a good way to start.

Just go for it. Start on something you feel comfortable with, and feels achievable. It might be scary, but the more you relax the easier it is, and the less likely you are to hurt yourself. I still hold my breathe on climbs, which doesn’t help anything! Breathing is what keeps us alive after all, so don’t deprive your body of oxygen. Sometimes it’s good to sing a song in your head as you climb, or think ‘foot, foot, hand’, and focus on the foot movement.

Have fun. Enjoy the climb, whether it’s getting higher up than you’ve been before, playing games on the walls with friends, or reaching the last hold in a problem. Take satisfaction in the progress and achievements you attain!

– A Girl Who Climbs

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