Now that I’m hooked on climbing, what do I do when I’m at Climb UP? How often do I go? I’ll give you an idea of what a typical climbing day looks like.
For starters, I try to go twice a week. Sometimes 3 if I can squeeze it in and I’m not still sore from the previous climbing day. There have been some weeks where I am able only to go once because of schedule conflicts. I’ve heard especially when starting out, 2 days a week is a good amount of time spent climbing. Because just like any other physical sport or activity, the body needs to rest and recover so it can become stronger.
If I can, I make to the gym shortly after it opens on the weekends. Or I go the last couple of hours it’s open during the week. This is because the gym can be pretty busy on the weekends and my work schedule limits me to going at night. Otherwise, I would rather go in the mornings on weekdays.
When I get there, I warm-up with the auto-belay routes. I find that these help get my muscles ready before working on problems or difficult routes. These are rated 5.6 – 5.8. I climb each route once but if I fall off before reaching the top, then I do it again. I don’t move on to another route until I complete the one I’m working on.
After warming up, I either find a harder route to climb with a friend or start a boulder problem. I'll usually start first with a particular route or problem that’s on my list and haven’t completed. Then see if I can complete it. I like to do this because I’ve found out if I wait until later, I might be too tired to do it properly. Or make stupid mistakes and not make it.
Making the Grade
When it comes to problems, I can climb V1 to V3. I’ve tried V4s but not quite there yet. I’m better at some than others because of my size and the problem design. For example, I’m kinda short (I'm 5'2 1/2") so holds that are spaced farther apart I have a harder time with. I spend more time figuring out how to reach them or have to jump for it. However, because of my small frame, I can curl up better on tight spots.
Or if a route has large slopers (round or rounded holds), staying on one sucks for me because I have small hands and can’t get good grip on it. On the flip side, if a route has a lot of small crimp or really small pinch holds, I may not have suitable finger strength to stay on it. Although, on other small holds, my small hands are better suited for grabbing them.
These issues also apply to routes. When toproping, I can climb routes from 5.8 to 5.10+. Overall, I try to climb a good mix of routes and problems at the gym.
“I Think I Can, I Think I Can”
There have been times where I would try a route or problem that scale-wise is harder than what I can do. Either by curiosity or friendly heckling from my friends. I normally start these with the mind-set of “I’ll be happy if I can get off the mat.” Sometimes I surprise myself and can go up a bit. Others, “nope, not today.”
In terms of success rate on routes or problems, I usually do a pretty good job in making it all the way. Many times though, I’ve slipped off and started back up on routes. Or swung off of holds because that particular one is on an over-hang. By then, I have to be lowered and redo the route. I can try to swing back and try to grab on to the holds but I usually end up looking incredibly foolish and plus it’s not really safe to do. With bouldering, if I slip, I try to retain my grip on the holds. If not, I fall off and roll on the mat to break the fall.
After a good hour and a half, maybe two hours, I’m done with climbing for the day. I try not to work myself out too much but sometimes, it just happens. A part of me want to stay longer but then the other is wanting to go home and take a hot shower. I’m tired and sore, but it’s the good kind from having lots of fun.
To wrap this up, I want to point out that I mentioned 2 difficulty rating systems for climbing and some climbing jargon. I will discuss and explain these more in-depth soon. Until then, next time I’ll share why I may have a bouldering “problem” and what makes it so appealing to me.