Beginner climbing short ropes at Alter Rock

New to indoor climbing? Tips on how to improve and have fun

Improving quickly – the key is repetition

You did your Beginners Course and now you are back for your first time climbing on your own with your partner. It’s going to be hard like anything new so perseverance is the game, don’t give up on your first go, it will get easier.

Short is sweet to start with

At Alter Rock I suggest you start on the short walls. This allows you to build confidence in yourself and your belayer. Being closer makes it easier to talk to each other and if things go wrong it’s not far to the floor.

Build on your confidence

In climbing confidence is a big factor. Once you have made it to the top of a route then repeat that route after a short rest and you should find it easier because you know you can climb it. Getting better is all about repeating what we are trying to get better at and the more times we repeat it the better we become.

Use Pyramid Training methods

Start with the easy climbs. Go from climb to climb doing all the grade 1’s then do all the grade 2’s. After doing the 2’s if you are feeling tired do the 1’s again. They should feel easier. You have just done Pyramid Training. If the 2’s were OK then do the 3’s and then come back down the way. Resting is important but you can do this when your partner climbs or when your change lines.

If you are trying something that is a bit too hard, then cheat and use a different colour hold. This is known as rainbowing the route just get to the top. Once you have rested then go back up and try it without the cheat. If you still use the cheat don’t worry come back on your next session and try again. Don’t forget, when you succeed, have a rest and do it again, it should be easier as you have the confidence from your successful attempt.

Easy routes are good for warming up

Every climbing session start with the easy routes, it’s a good warm up for body and mind and gets you switched onto climbing. It allows you to practice your techniques whilst in a comfortable position. Don’t forget you should be enjoying yourself. Once you hit that point where you have had enough or its all too much hard work, repeat all the routes you have just done as a warm down.

Expand your techniques

Alter Rock uses a mixture of setters so there is a mixture of styles. This allows you to experience a variety of climbing where you can learn new techniques to overcome the different problems. This will lay the ground work where you place your new learned techniques into your metaphorical rucksack ready to bring out and use when you need them. You will only learn these techniques by climbing often and they will only become instinctive by lots of repetition.

It helps to climb with an experienced climber, but if your mate is new to the activity then perhaps you should seek a coach to guide you through those first few weeks of climbing. We can recommend instructors for you, or you could enrol on one of our popular six week Learn To Climb (NICAS) courses.

In a nutshell

Keep repeating those easy routes, you will become fitter, stronger and more confident. As you progress you will improve your foot work, learn to relax, learn technique and above all have fun! Happy climbing.

Written by Garry Jackson

Nutrition tips for climbers

Nutrition for Climbers

Some notes about what you eat, the importance of protein for building muscle strength and when to have a milk shake.

Nutrition is just a fancy word for the food you eat. All food gives us energy, measured in calories, so there is no such thing as Junk Food – Fast Food yes but Junk Food no. It’s all food and as the saying goes we are what we eat. The key is to eat a varied diet ensuring your body gets all the vital food groups, vitamins and minerals it needs. There is nothing wrong with eating a burger and French fries, but you can’t live on this alone, the body needs other foods to provide you with all the chemicals it needs to survive. Your body is a chemical factory which has to be in balance, too much of one thing and too little of another and it won’t function how it should.

Losing weight

All those fancy diets may or may not work it depends on who you are. The most important thing to remember is that to lose weight the sum of the energy you use through exercise and your body’s metabolism must be less than or equal to the calories from the food you eat.

Energy Used (exercise) must = or be > Energy In (food)

If input is greater than output you will put on weight. Not withstanding you will gain weight by building muscle, but you will look fit not fat.

Diet for endurance sport

When your body works it uses energy in the form of carbohydrates, these come from your food. With endurance sports your body has to be refueled or it will go to its fat reserves and use those, which isn’t a bad thing. To break down the fat, protein is required, so during an endurance event protein intake is a must. If not, protein is extracted from your muscles which will weaken them.

The importance of protein for climbers – milk shake magic!

As you exercise, you strengthen and improve your muscles but if they doesn’t have the protein to build with, then they can’t grow bigger or stronger. Just like body builders, climbers must take in protein either during or after exercise. The best form is milk. That’s why Alter Rock sells milk shakes. Whey powder is just dried milk with some other bits added which you add water to. Body builders use this. We don’t want to be body builders, we just want strong muscles, but we do need to keep them in shape. Like most chemicals that pass through our bodies the body will only absorb what it needs. Extra protein can not be stored. Body builders need extra protein to develop their muscles, they will absorb the extra they take in but under normal exercise conditions having a normal diet will give your body enough protein.

A good source of protein is meat, but this is high in animal fat, which can cause gall and kidney stones and along with that the recommendation is you should only eat 65g of meat a day (that’s a single sausage!) Excessive meat intake is also linked to bowel cancer.

After climbing or any physical exercise including work, your body will be looking to rebuild its muscles and it is protein that it will require, so on the way home try buying a milk shake instead of the fizzy pop or energy drink. Your muscles will thank you for it.

Motivation and a Positive Mental Attitude

This post is written by a guest this week, Dr Julie Bradshaw MBE and English Channel swimmer. We thought her thoughts about motivation for swimming are just as relevant to other sports such as climbing. Thanks to Dr Bradshaw for permission to reproduce her article which first appeared in The Channel Swimming Hand Book.

Consider these questions and then the answers:

  • What will happen if you do Nothing?
    • Nothing.
  • What is likely to happen if you take action?
    • Something.
  • What action will you take?

Motivation is the key factor as it causes a person to act. Motivation is only motivation if it gets you to “take action”. Taking action is what separates winners from losers; it is the difference between wishing and dreaming: Dreamers Act!

“Dream your painting, then paint your dream”, Vincent Van Gough

– and my dream was to swim the English Channel. So where did my motivation come from? As with you, Motivation is personal and you need to define it for yourself. This is important because if you do not, you will likely get discouraged along the way. When the going gets tough, you will give up.

Defining Motivation is about doing it in a personal manner that is relevant to you AND will compel you to ‘take action’. If it does not, then you haven’t found the right motivation. Motivation then is deeply tied to your goals; your goals are in a true sense your motivation. That is why they are personal. I had my goals and indeed they motivated me.

Getting up every morning, ‘ploughing’ up and down a pool length after length, diving into cold, chilly water isn’t everyone’s idea of fun!! I can tell you from my own experience you have to be motivated. The motivation for channel swimmers and the ‘reason to swim’ (the why) is something of an extraordinary challenge to aim for, although I consider myself an ‘ordinary person’, who has achieved extraordinary things’ in life. I’ve just had my goals set, with plenty of focus and determination. Big goals spur people to action –  people can be divided into two different categories; they either have ‘away from’ or ‘toward’ motivation. Ask yourself right now, are you motivated by a ‘stick’ (away) or a ‘carrot’ (towards).

Being a ‘towards’ motivated person, like myself, means you are always moving forward to something. A goal, which is the best motivating factor. The problem for ‘away from’ people is that when they get far enough away (e.g. An employee threatened with a wage decrease if the job is not done), their motivation goes. I have worked with people and after changing their values and using NLP techniques, I found a ‘light goes on’ and suddenly they have a realisation of how to be properly motivated.

So ‘what’s the channel challenge all about?’ Let me tell you, you will need strategies and things to keep you going: maintaining focus on what you want. To give you some idea I found these factors helped me:

Accentuate the Positive. Look at your strengths and how you can make yourself even better. If you send messages to your brain that are positive and that you can do something, convincing yourself that it is possible, your whole mindset will be positive and your goal will be achievable. Providing you work hard and effectively towards it, and never lose sight of the fact that you can do it Your Goal Will Happen.

Determination: they say, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.’ There will be obstacles along the way, such as injuries (in my case, I was forced to abandon my first Butterfly attempt 3 miles from France!!). However, life is not just about obstacles; life also provides ‘solutions and opportunities’ for you on that journey. In fact, my relay swimming days were borne from that ‘learning.’

Support:of family and friends. This for me does not need any explanation; however, with it my goals were made that much easier and even more achievable.

So, be inspired, take action. Know yourself and your motivation:

 If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t and you won’t. Either way you’ll prove yourself right. – Henry Ford.

 Follow your dreams always.

Find out more about Dr Bradshaw on her website www.getset4success.co.uk

What’s yoga got to do with climbing?

Next time you are with your parents, whom I guess are probably 20 years older than you, just sit and watch them and see how they do things. Do they struggle with the simple tasks in life? Do they complain about slight aches and pains, little niggles? Do they get out of breath doing the simplest tasks?

At the age of 41 I noticed all the little things catching up with me. I had tried to break my body over my life and failed but now, along with my climbing partners, I was getting niggles, things that didn’t quite do what they should.

I watched my parents and thought at their age I want to still be able to do all the things I do now. Look at the old in our society, that’s all of our futures. It will happen, you will get old, but do you want to be like the majority? If not act now like I did, the younger the better.

I decided to start practicing Yoga. My thoughts when I was younger were; its hairy fairy – for girls – not my thing. Well a lot, if not all, top sports people are studying Yoga. Yoga is simply stretching and it opposes the action of the muscles we use for playing sport.

I started doing a hourly session once a week. I was by no means flexible and never have been. Doing a session once a week may hold back the tide but won’t really improve things. After about a year I asked my teacher about a daily routine. Now I stretch every morning (if time allows) and every evening whilst watching TV. 3 years later my flexibility is great, but above all I have no niggles and feel alive after every stretch. With this added flexibility my climbing and other sports have improved.

Don’t be misled, yoga and stretching seems quite sedate but the more you put into it the more you get out and you will feel tired, it takes muscles to stretch so they get a good work out.

If you ever see a women the age of 85 who is looking spritely and fit for her age it would probably be a safe bet they she is a yoga teacher. Put it another way, you never see an unfit yoga teacher.

Who needs a climbing Coach?

Do I need coaching?

Do you want to get better at climbing? Hopefully the answer is yes and it’s like anything in life, the more you practice the better you will get, providing you are practicing the right techniques. Practice a bad technique then you will become very good at doing something very badly but if you practice the right technique you will get better.

A coach may not be the best climber, but they can see what you are doing and tell you what you are doing wrong – there are lots of people who can do this – like your mates, but a good climbing coach can tell and show you what to do to improve.

Is a coach just for competitive athletes?

All top sports people have coaches and they have got to the top of their chosen sport by having coaches from an early age. That doesn’t mean its too late for the rest us to get better at our chosen sports, all it takes is dedication and a coach. Coaching is a new addition to amateur sports but it’s slowly gaining popularity. Although sport is a pastime for fun and a way of keeping fit, it helps to have the drive to become better which will help to maintain your interest. It’s like having belts in martial arts, a way of monitoring progress and keeps you focused by having goals to aim for. In climbing, you can try a more difficult grade of route, achieve it and then aim for the next grade and the cycle continues, showing your progression.

Regular sessions pay off

Coaching is not about having one hour’s session and thinking you will improve overnight. It’s about regular meetings, for example once every 4 weeks. This allows the climber to practice, maybe using a training plan that’s been worked out by the coach, before being reassessed and learning more techniques and discussing ideas. Discussing ideas with a coach is very important as we are all different and what might suit one person may not suit another, problems have to be discussed so the coach can find the correct solution.

Another big plus of the coach is they act as a motivator. The coach has set you a training plan, you have four weeks before reporting back, showing improvement and pleasing the coach as well pleasing yourself. What a great incentive?

I know what I am doing

Not everyone can be coached, some people think they know everything already and so they can’t be taught. They might get better as they figure it for themselves but it’s easier with a coach. For the climbers that explore becoming a coach it will be something that they won’t regret and it will have an impact on their climbing as well as their day to day life.

Recommended coaches

The 2 links below are for 2 climbers who set routes and problems at Alter Rock. They would be happy to coach you on the routes and problems they have set.

Steve McClure http://www.steve-mcclure.com/coaching

Mark Pretty http://www.markpretty.co.uk/index.php/coaching.html

Anita Aggarwal all things climbing – inclusive climbing coach – GB World Paraclimbing Medalist. Contact Anita via message or email from her athlete page. https://www.facebook.com/ParaclimberAnita/

Another coach you might like to try is

Jamie Vardy https://vardyclimbingcoach.wordpress.com/coaching-climbing/

Climbing Grades – Useful guidance or mental stumbling block?

In this blog I will discuss different grading systems and how we grade the routes and problems at Alter Rock. Then think whether grades get in the way of your enjoyment of a climb and can act as a mental block. At the end of the day grades are only there as a guideline and you should enjoy your climbing regardless of what grade you are attempting.

This is a very emotive subject. Most of us, but not all, like chasing grades because we want to be seen as hard climbers and that we can hold our own when we are asked what grade we climb at.

Grades are very complicated, with different countries having their own grading systems which they then try and compare with each others systems. But for indoor climbing generally the French/Spanish sport climbing grading system is used.

At Alter Rock we have decided to use a simple tagging system for the bouldering grades, Very Easy, Easy, Hard and Very Hard. This can be crossed over into V grades.

In the outdoor world famous climbs get repeated by many climbers who have an input on what grade it should be compared to other established climbs. This can take many months to achieve a consensus or even years. Indoors the setter sets the route with an idea what sort of grade he is trying to achieve, tests it once on a top rope gives it a grade and walks away leaving it for the customers to try. Routes generally stay set at Alter Rock between 12 to 16 weeks before they are removed and replaced. This makes the argument about what grade it is a bit pointless as it is not there forever.

bouldering wall with numbers-1

Grades are there to ensure you have a nice time and from an outdoor point of view to ensure you do not end up in a position that may potentially hurt you or even worse.

Grades do have a physiological  effect on the climber. Often we look at the grade and think or even say “I can’t climb that it’s too hard”. And that’s it we don’t even try, and if we do its a half-hearted attempted because we have already told ourselves we can’t do it.

All climbers have different abilities and different styles of climbing because they choose to climb different routes on different rock, cracks, overhangs, short routes, long routes, grit, sandstone, limestone, slate, sport and trad, the list is endless and because Alter Rock  uses a variety of setters there is always a variety of climbs and along with it a variety of grade which may not be consistent.

The only way to have grading consistent throughout the centre is to have 1 person climb them all, but 1 person’s 6a could be another person’s 6b or 5+. They could be tall or short, on form or not on form. The route could be set in the really nice crimps they like or with the horrible rounded holds they don’t like, or it could be on the slab where friction and balance are key or through the stepped over hang where big powerful arms are required.

And there’s the problem; we are all different.

Perhaps the next time you do a climb that you think should have been easy for you perhaps just reflect, maybe you are tired, did you miss that secret hold around the corner, is it because you don’t like those holds and likewise when you climb something that’s graded really hard and you make easy work just accept that you are having a good day and really you are a good climber when all the dice are stacked in your favour.

The grade is only someones opinion and likewise you can have your opinion. In any case the grade won’t be far out, hopefully. Above all what ever you are climbing enjoy it regardless of its grade.

A guide to climbing shoes

Climbing relies on good footwork and good footwork relies on good shoes. There is a lot of technology involved in climbing shoe manufacture to aid your climbing experience. The top climbing shoe manufacturers use a variety of quality rubbers, no rubber is better than any other, but the rubbers used have different properties which operate better at different temperatures. The main thing is to keep the rubber soles of your shoes clean, this will keep them sticky.

How long should climbing shoes last?

Some rubbers are soft. This means they will wear quicker, but poor footwork will wear your shoes very quickly. I go through a pair a year using them about 3 times a week, but like anything, the more you use it the more wear it gets. With age, all rubbers will loose their properties, they become hard and inflexible and they won’t stick.

It is not only the sole that wears. Over time the uppers loose their strength and the shoe does not support your foot as well so there is less power generated through your feet.

Do climbing shoes have to hurt?

Your shoes should not be painful to wear, they might be tight, they might pinch, but they should not HURT. There are more than 5 well known brands of climbing shoe distributed throughout the UK, for example Boreal, Scarpa, Evolv, Spotiva and Tenaya. These brands between them probably produce 50 styles of climbing shoe. The game is to find the shoe that fits your foot like a slipper. From all these shoes I have only found 2 styles, which are from 2 different manufacturers, that fit me. If the shoe hurts it is the wrong style for you.

The importance of getting a good fit

Shoe type is dictated by the style of climbing; rock type, steepness, time wearing the shoe, indoor or out, bouldering or routes, but no matter what style of climbing you are doing the main thing with your shoe is that it is comfortable and this is achieved by making sure it fits correctly.

  • Heel – No baggy spots.
  • Arch – Flat or raised arch, it shouldn’t squelch.
  • Toe – Mortons toe (2nd toe longer than big toe)
  • Toe box – No air gaps
  • Foot – Symmetric (big toe bends inwards to other toes) or
  • Asymmetric (big toe is inline with side of foot)

Female fit shoes – not just for girls

If it is called a female specific shoe and it fits – just wear it. Don’t be gender specific about your feet, female specific shoes have a slightly different cut. There are no male specific shoes, the rest are unisex.

Don’t get too bogged down with shoes. There are climbers wearing trainers that climb better than me, but a climbing shoe that is personal to you and not rented, will give you a better experience whilst climbing. Happy Feet, Happy Climbing.

Setters and the art of setting the walls

Why is Alter Rock the best set wall in the UK (probably)?

Garry discusses what makes a good setter and how we make sure that we always have an interesting variety of routes available for advanced climbers and beginners too.

Ian Moodie in setting action

Some time ago on a Wednesday afternoon the setter was busy setting problems and we were in conversation, the topic being climbing, what else? He stated that “Alter rock was the best set wall in the UK”. I looked at him a bit puzzled as I know other climbing centres are well set and asked him why he thought that. His reply was “ because Alter Rock employed the best UK climbers to do the setting.” He said this with a big grin on his face, because he included himself in his statement and rightly so.

This particular setter no longer sets at Alter Rock. Like many others that have set for us, things change, life gets busy so things move on. Over the years Alter Rock has employed many setters that have come and gone. All have been top end climbers and all have been competent route setters, setting interesting routes and at the end of the day that is what our customers need.

Because of our setting routine there is constant change on the walls and even when the lines or problems are set by the same setter on the same day they are so good at what they do that they give variety.

What makes a good setter?

Its not easy being a setter, it helps to be a top end climber so you can set hard routes but at the same time you have to be able to set easy routes for children. They have to be able to set for the tall and the short and make every route or problem in their set different using all the different edges and angles. They are constrained by the holds available in  design and colour and what is already on the walls so the colours don’t clash.

Setters-2

How do we find our setters?

In the early days Mark “Zippy” Pretty came to us. This was through word of mouth. The first setter we had was Jamie Cassidy, I think he introduced us to Rob Napier who introduced us to Mark. Jamie stopped setting for a while, but I understand he is back doing stuff and Rob became too busy to fit us into his diary as he is competition setting around the world. Mark then introduced us to Steve McClure. Well I think that’s how it happened. These two are still setting for Alter Rock. Recent setters to join our rota are Dom Garden, and where you have a Garden you need a Gardner and that comes as a James Gardener. Dom came to Alter Rock via Matt, who left for France, then came back, so we are seeing Matt Pearson again and the newest climber to our line up is Ian Moody who does not live up to his name.

Setters-3

Whilst I was climbing today I dwelt on the fact that perhaps the cheeky setter was right that Alter Rock is the best set wall in the UK. Alter Rock has always used a variety of good setters for its routes and problems giving lots of variation. All setters are different, they have their favourite holds, their favourite moves and when combined they leave their own signature and generally by the way the climb feels you know who has set it.

I reflected at the end of my session how pleasing it was to climb the routes and how well set they are. Having 6 of the UK’s best climbers setting at Alter Rock does give a lot of variety to its climbing.

Garry Jackson

An A-Z of Indoor Climbing Terms

Here’s our A to Z of Indoor Climbing Terms

Do you know your jugs from your crimps, your clip from your crux or your dyno from your static move? If you’re not sure read our glossary of commonly used climbing terms  below, and you’ll soon be an expert in the jargon.

A

Arete – an edge where two walls meet sticking out.

B

Belay – device used to control the rope by the belayer.

Belayer – the person who looks after the climber ensuring they never fall to the ground.

Bolt/sport climbing – plates fitted to allow a climber to clip their rope into

Bouldering – climbing to a low level usually above mats (see High Ball Bouldering)

Bridging – where your left foot and hand are on 1 wall of a corner and your right foot and hand are on the other wall of a corner.

C

Climbing – ascending something with a rope.

Clip – extender, the bit you clip the rope into on your way up.

Corner – where there is a change in the wall direction making an internal corner.

Crab – see Karabiner

Crimp – small hold.

Crux – Latin word meaning cross, is the hard bit of a route.

D

Disco knee – when your legs are shaking for no reason when you are trying to stand on holds (also known as Shaking Stevens)

Dyno – a dynamic move meaning that you are jumping for your next hold so you have no point of contact on the holds

E

Extreme – an outdoor climbing grade starting at E1

F

Free Climbing – placing gear to prevent the climber hitting the ground

G

Guppy – a protruding hold that is squeezed between the palm and the fingers so that the hand forms a cup.

H

Heel/toe hook – using the heel or toe around a hold

High Ball Bouldering – like soloing but not so high, but higher than bouldering, usually above mats.

Holds – the coloured blobs that we hold onto and put our feet on.

I

Italian Hitch –

Knot used to belay or abseil. Also known as a Münter hitch. Recommended when you have dropped your Sticht plate down the crag. Not recommended for multiple abseils as it twists the rope.

J

Jamming – a technique used for climbing a crack where you jam your feet and hands in it

Jug – very large hold.

K

Karabiner – metal loop used for joining bits of climbing equipment, or crab for short.

L

Layback – a technique used for crack climbing by leaning away.

Lower off – the final clip at the top of the route which you put the rope into to be lowered off.

M

Mantel shelf – coming from the piece above the fire place. Having hands on the shelf  then straighten the arms to then bring a foot up and match with the hands and then stand up.

Matching – using a hold with both hands or even a hand and foot

N

No hands rest – when you are balanced on your feet and you can release your hands.

O

Overhang – climbing surface that leans towards you. (see stepped overhang)

P

Problem – bouldering line

Pumped – when your forearm muscles become solid through the effort of holding on

Q

Quickdraw – Two snap-gate karabiners linked by a short sling equals one quickdraw. Used to connect protection to the rope when leading a traditional route, or to clip bolts when sport climbing.

R

Redpoint – Leading a sport route after inspecting it, and maybe after practising individual moves, or simply any sport lead where moves have been done before (in the event of a fall).

Route – the line which the climb follows

S

Shaking Stevens – see Disco knee

Slab – climbing surfaces that leans away from you.

Sloper – smooth slopping hold

Smear – with hands or feet where the climber pushes against a surface where there is no hold or the hold is very slopey.

Soloing – climbing without ropes

Static move – where you go to your next hold in control while maintaining 3 points of contact.

Stepped overhang – like the underside of a staircase, it overhangs with the occasional step.

Stickies – climbing shoes, boots or EB’s

T

Thumb sprag – usually on an arete where the fingers are on one side and the thumb wrapped around a hold on the other

Traversing – high or low level moving left to right rather than up

U

Under cut – a hold that is good at the bottom and as you move up it is really positive

V

Vertical – climbing surface that is vertical.

Volume – an added section which is temporary and acts as an obstacle to be climbed around or over.

W

Wired – to have a route “wired” means to have its moves completely figured out, usually through practice or by watching someone else on it.

Whipper – taking a long fall

X

Y

Yo-Yo – to climb a route in a style where, if you fall off, you return to the ground, leaving all your protection in place and then start climbing again after a rest. The yo-yo refers to the repeated up and down movement of the climber who falls off more than once on a hard move. A common style of ascent in the 1970s and early 1980s, before the preferred style became redpointing.

Z

Zone – to be “in the zone” is to be in THE perfect mental state for climbing.

We couldn’t think of any climbing terms beginning with x. If you can, please email and we’ll include them in the list.

Thanks to Chris Bate and Charles Arthur for some of the terms, see this article.

Setting the Scene at Alter Rock

Alter Rock’s Changing sets: Part 2

Making the Most of Your Climbing Facility

Setting the Scene at Alter Rock

There is a regular pattern of setting at Alter Rock. To make the most out of this and to ensure you do not miss out you could follow this routine.

1. When I know a reset is about to happen I climb the lines that are going to get stripped. This information is on the setting board or on the Settings page of this website.

2. A week later I will re-climb the same lines, but now on new routes. Delighting in the new moves and working the new sequences, being introduced to some new challenges, which will make some of them my new favourite routes.

3. The next week and maybe also the week after that I will climb my favourite routes, being relaxed on comfortable moves and pulling hard to make the crux moves. Then its time for another new set and I will climb the routes that are about to be stripped and the cycle continues.

For me I climb every Tuesday with a regular partner. This works well as we don’t want to let each other down so we always turn up.

Then I boulder on a Wednesday just after a new set of numbered boulder problems along with the previous set that now have the grade tags on them.

Bouldering is more intense than climbing so its a very quick session, maybe an hour. Climbing is less tiring as you tend to rest while your partner climbs.

I complete the weekly wall session with another session of bouldering on a Sunday doing a relaxed session on the traverse wall, traverses and a mix of my favourite problems.

To compliment all of this wall climbing I do use a finger training board at home. This is about 30 minutes, a Wednesday or Thursday evening and a Friday. The simple rule with this is never do finger training the day before you intend climbing.

As the saying goes “practice makes perfect”. If you climb regularly you will get stronger, fitter, better balance, improve technique and confidence will increase which all adds up to greater enjoyment. And that’s the key, what ever you do or however you do it, make sure you enjoy it and enjoy the company of the people you are with.

Happy Climbing.

Garry Jackson

Director, Alter Rock