How Often Do You Climb Indoors?

  • We know most of you are hard-core rock climbing dudes and dudettes. But do you ever hit the gym? If so, how often? What do you like or dislike about it?

    Thanks for your replies!

  • @ACOPA

    As mentioned elsewhere, I've not climbed in decades so caveat emptor...

    Bitd when I did... gym climbing was in its infancy. Something exciting to hear about; "Did you hear David Lee Roth is going to build a gym w/a climbing wall in Venice?". Alas, we'd need Largo or "The Big Man" to weigh in on the particulars of that one. Don't recall it ever happening, but I don't know.

    My good friend Steve Harvey was involved early on with a Frenchie, Francois, he'd met up w/whilst wife Kris was polishing up her parlez vous francaise and linguistics thesis. About this same time Metolius was beginning to experiment w/epoxy resin and rock based synthetic holds. I think there was some discussion of cooperation between them but unclear about the dealio. End result was that both EntrePrise USA and Metolius would manufacture holds based on epoxy resin tech and maybe somehow shared facilities, processes, or some such? My memory is really hazy so I could be way off on this.... sigh...whaddya' gonna do, eh? Should have scribed it down sooner.

    In any case, the emergence of indoor climbing in USA was obviously a big interest to my good bud Steven J., so therefore I. Steve and Kris had a pretty cool wall setup in their backyard back before you saw such anywhere else. He'd show me different projects they were working on. I'd crank off some moderately difficult stuff onsite. Play around a bit and try being generally enthusiastic and encouraging. I seem to recall popping a tendon in a gym somewhere near Sacramento? Some pretty cool gym setups but none anywhere approaching anything anywhere near tall enough for any kind of view. Grandiose or otherwise.

    Hence, I never really got off to pulling plastic. Not even as a training thing. There is the social aspect; the close proximity of "routes" facilitates, indeed encourages, interaction. Indeed. Indeed. Indeed this is the big draw to gym climbing amongst folk who'd otherwise have absolutely no interest. But... even for training of the hardcore... I want to be outside. Yeah, I know legends like The 'Coz spent a lot of time training at the gym and developed legendary strength and endurance in so doing in prep for big projects. But please, even for those enslaved to the cube farm, give me Stoney Point, or similar local bouldering area w/wh/to keep the demons at bay until I can get out where I can do some pitches. Outside is where adventure happens.

    Okay. So for me, bottom line is that I love being outside rather than being inside, training to go outside. I guess that explains why the few times I have had my 8b board that Steve gifted me "set up" it has been outside. Heh. Both instances it did provide a "wicked outdoor workout". Have to be smart about training on finger boards though.

    In more modern times, I have been to a few gyms. They can be kind of cool or kind of asshat. Kind of like lots of local crags: A lot depends on the locals. Climbers being competitive and all... And those who only ever climb at the local gym easily bored... some very convoluted and contrived "routesupmanship" games can be in the lurking that, while entertaining for some, leave a sour taste.

    From shoe manufacturing and marketing perspective: of course ye' canna ignore either camp. And look for folks doing cool, as contrast to "fame and glory selfie story" types to sponsor.

    Blah, blah, blah... my two cents worth. Ya' gets what ya' pays fer'. If yer' lucky! 🐕

    Note: In addition to the 8b board, Steve gifted me another, which I loaned to good buddy Paul Borne, and helped install sans power tools in his Idlywild A Frame. Shout out to Mary! Thanks for puttin' up w/such madness during the wee hours! Paul later married Mary, moved to JTree, and the board with it. I was out of climbing and about the time I finally made it back to JTree for a good soul cleansing Paul had tragically died in a para sailing event involving some high tension power lines. Alas! I missed his wake and such. I guess his bro and some folk got together and put on one heck of a show. In any case, hey bro, or whomever, I would love to have that board back. You'll know the one. Cuz' I already drove by his old place and it's not there. Pretty sure Mary didn't take the board in the divorce. Do whatever vetting ye' needs. But please do reach out my way, eh? It's a silly, sentimental value thing. If, otoh, ye' be using the thing... then please do continue enjoying it in good health. Thx.

  • @toby

    Thanks for that post, toby! Very cool to hear some of that background!

    You're right, indoor climbing has changed the game. Then again, so did sport climbing at one time.

    Personally, I love adventure, route-finding and being outside. After all, our company's name is Acopa Outdoors. Still, we love climbing in all its forms and appreciate the fact that indoor climbing has made it possible for millions of kids to try climbing -kids whose parents would never have allowed them to go hang on the side of some cliff, out in the wilderness, but have no problem dropping them off at the gym for a couple of hours of what they now regard as a safe, fun and hip workout.

    Now you've got parkour and competitions such as the American Ninja Warrior that have given birth to gyms where people practice similar stunts around foam-covered walls and under careful supervision from attentive spotters. Is it a little bit contrived? Maybe. Does it look like fun? I'd say it does!

    I think it's a yin-yang thing that's been going on since at least the days of Harding vs Robbins. One side of climbing doesn't take itself too seriously and is essentially represented by the idea that the only rules are don't die and have fun. The other side regards climbing outdoors as a mystical, spiritual experience that is all about bringing yourself up to a challenge rather than bringing the challenge down to you.

    I think both are like two sides of the same coin. They need each other to balance each other out. The back and forth tug of war between them keeps climbing moving forward.

    Thanks again.

    And please keep those replies coming y'all, your opinion matters!

  • The last couple of months I have not been able to climb outside, but the gym is a five minute walk away. I love climbing outside, for all the reasons ACOPA listed above, but being able to stay fit is important . That being said, its difficult to get super psyched about the new blue V-4, in comparison to an un-climbed splitter, or a classic multi-pitch line.

  • @Scole +1 👍

    Indubitably. What I was alluding to as well. Wish we could get Steve in here to sketch in some of the blanks w.r.t. the evolution of the climbing gym scene. Alas, their F1 did not inherit the craggin' bug. So the family got into wind surfing pretty big time. Still wish I could entice him to join up at RPU. Wonder what it's gonna take, eh? Hmm.....🐕

  • Climbing gyms have definitely been a factor in the increase in free climbing grades. Prior to gym climbing, training was mostly pull ups and beers.

    I spent a lot of time at Teton Rock Gym when I lived in Wyoming. Winters are long in Wyoming and being able to train during the week allowed me to climb much harder in the Sinks on the weekends.

    My introduction to the concept was at the very beginning: Peter Mayfield had the idea for City Rock, and was looking for investors. I showed the prospectus to a client of mine, a financial wizzard. He looked at it for a few minutes and said: "it's under funded, it will never fly". Thirty years down the road there are climbing gyms everywhere. Hell, there is even a gym in El Chalten!

  • @Scole Well... I dunno 'bout the beers. Ye' being so high falutin' affluent mountain guide and all... We was poor! Poor, I tell ye! Living in the dirt! Being dirt poor dirt bags! And loving it! 🤔 👨‍🌾

    But I grok what ye' be layin' down. I recollect payin' homage to the "100/1000 Rule" ever since this hottie I met up with 'round some roadside crags up Jackson Hole neck of the woods apprised me that the 1000 part, at least, was requisite for her lovers.

    I was well on my way towards fulfilling such anyways, as most climbers were. I'd just never bothered to quantify it. So, I found myself challenged and incentivized to perform thusly.

    Once upon a time, way, way, bitd, there was a pine tree. Not just any pine tree but a very special pine tree: A Pinus monophylla, a.k.a. Pinyon Pine, located in Hidden Valley Campground, 'round out back a bit, 'twixt the middle and back loops. From which... hung... a steel bar of ooooh, la, la, oh so nicely proportioned diameter wrapped w/climber's tape suspended by 1" nylon mil-spec webbing at just perfect pull up bar height. Yep. That old tree saw a lot of work outs. Fer' decades of HVC Bachar wannabees. Until it got cut down by the powers that be. Sad.

    Anyways, my "rule" was that every time I walked past it was to crank off ten pull ups, wh/was considerable frequency since I "lived in then Site 21". No matter how tired, nor what else I'd climbed. Until I had notched my gun w/at least one hundred. Also provided a good excuse to chat up the neighbors, especially if they be bettys.... Perhaps a minor invasion of the occupant's space but, it was just one of those known conditions that went along w/camping in that site.

    Similarly on the sit up front. Need strong abs for over hangin' 'chit, eh? Well, we all know that certain concrete picnic tables are pretty stout and dandy anchors fer' such activities, facilitatin' dippin' back a fair bit to boot. No foot holding partners required. So, knock off a hundred of those at a crack, until ye' hit yer' daily one thousand, eh? Never came close to six pac abs. Nor four, for that matter. Did do some routes involving overhangs and roofs from time to time though.

    Truthfully, while almost always making my 100 pull ups, such cannot be said for the 1000 sit up side of the deal. Although I certainly did bunches 'o 'em. Maybe just too high to keep count fer the weak and enfeebled climber mind, eh? Oh well.

    The Games Climbers Play, eh? 🐕

  • "Well... I dunno 'bout the beers. Ye' being so high falutin' affluent mountain guide and all... We was poor!"

    There is nobody poorer than an old school Mountain Guide. Combine that with a need for 10,000 calories a day to keep going, and you have a recipe for poverty. That's where the beer comes in, lots of calories.

    I lived in the YOSAR site for many years. I would climb out of my tent in the morning and do 100 pull ups before breakfast. Bachar ladders, slack chain and 500 pull ups a day was my routine. I finally learned about complimentary workouts when I started sub-luxating my shoulders constantly. I threw a 100 dips a day into the workout and haven't had a shoulder problem in 40 years.

  • 500 pull ups a day was my routine.

    Not buying it at all
    Never happened

  • @SmoknDuck

    Wait.... What games were we playing again? I'm so confused. Hate it when that happens!! Damn.

    Oh, snap... Right. Okay. Uhhmm..... In that case...

    I'll see yer' 500 and raise ye' a 'Chaefer, eh?

  • Agreed. Gyms have been a big part of raising the grade bar, so to speak. New grades are probably first sent in gyms, where you can safely practice a single move over and over again. I think we are going to see some incredible things in the next decade or so... Not that we haven't seen some incredible things recently, mind you.

    And when did pull ups and beer stop being considered good training for climbing? :shocked:

  • Had a chance to climb in Tuolmne with Mike Pope this week. What a treat that was!

    On our way in to the Valley, the Acopa crew, consisting of my partner Sergio and I, were looking for a short, route to do. Mr. Pope was kind enough to lead a few routes on Low-Profile Dome.

    What a class act he is!

    This is me following on the Golfer's Route, (2 pitches, 5.7 YDS).
    WhatsApp Image 2019-09-26 at 11.03.26 PM (1).jpeg

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