A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering



The Fear | Getting Out Of Your Head

Holding yourself back is the worst because you know you’re doing it, and you also know it’s down to you to stop it. Staying in your comfort zone is something I think we are all familiar with, but it’s an aspect I really need to push out of with my climbing.


I recently read this post by Iron Octopus Fitness, which was about fearing how much you could achieve if you were not too scared to do so. This kind of struck a chord with me on a climbing level, as much of my climbing and bouldering experience has consisted of trying to conquer fears. Whether it’s anxiety or confidence, it has been a long journey but I’m glad to still be on it! I think the most confusing thing is that I have no issues trying hard and being sure of myself when skating or playing roller derby. So why do I struggle so much with bouldering? Well, firstly I would never have been brave enough to sign up to roller derby if I hadn’t built up some confidence from bouldering. I think a lot of the newness I experience in roller derby didn’t feel so bad because I had already done it all with climbing, e.g new place, new people, new skills etc. The second time around it wasn’t so scary. So, I think it all boils down to confidence, climbing has given me the confidence in other aspects of my life, so now it’s time to believe in my climbing abilities.


Ultimately, when I don’t try a move or problem, I know it is down to me and my fear/lack of self-assurance holding me back. Too many times have I fell off a climb and proceeded to undo my shoes for a shoe break, or gone and got a never-ending cup of tea. Putting off and delaying things is just a waste of time. Really, I should just get over myself and enjoy the climb, because if you aren’t enjoying something you don’t have to do, then why bother doing it?


Try hard for yourself, be confident and embrace the fear!


The Grading System…

There’s no scientific equation to determine an exact grade, as there are too many differing factors. To establish the difficulty of the climb, the problem is broken down move by move. For example, if in a whole problem there are three or four ‘V2’ moves, that climb could average out at an overall V3+. Then taking the holds into consideration, this can either make it harder or easier again. Another element to keep in mind if you’re climbing in the gym, those problems will reflect the route setter’s style, build and strengths. So it’s easy to see why it’s hard to be definite, and this is why I’m trying to take the grading system a little less seriously.

Whether you boulder or rope climb, inside or out, I think it’s safe to say we have all fallen prey to the grading system at some point. You go somewhere new, try a problem graded at the level you usually climb easily, only to get spat off it. Or on the flip side, you have a crack at a higher grade and finish it like it’s nothing. It’s all very confusing.

Each individual climb or route is never going to be the same experience for every climber. Also a problems difficulty can be relative to the climber, which is why grades aren’t always the best way to track your progression. Having goals is awesome and having a grading system is important, but I think basing your climbing solely on grades can be perplexing and disheartening.

Don’t get consumed by the grading system or beat yourself up over it. If you see a climb that looks fun, don’t be put off by the tag or colour depicting the grade- just try it!

In all honesty it doesn’t matter what grade you’re climbing at, as long as you’re enjoying it and trying hard 🙂

agirlwhoclimbs 4

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