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Climbers that are “magicians” split from Ned Fee thread (Read 2428 times)

tomtom

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A bit of a tangent but I am thinking of the "ordinary genius" versus "magician" distinction bandied about after Richard Feynman's death, e.g. the mathematician Hans Kec wrote:

''There are two kinds of geniuses, the `ordinary` and the `magicians.` An ordinary genius is a fellow that you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. Once we understand what they have done, we feel certain that we, too, could have done it.

''It is different with the magicians . . . the working of their minds is for all intents and purposes incomprehensible. Even after we understand what they have done, the process by which they have done it is completely dark. . . . Richard Feynman is a magician of the highest caliber.''


So, I wonder, although climbing is a physical discipline, if some climbers are more "magicians" than others (or perhaps mutant is a better term) - and if even their elite peers are astounded (or dismayed), or if it is more of a continuum.


Like Beckham compared to Messi? 😃 (I like your question though)


Edit: Quote inserted so new thread makes sense (shark)


« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 09:50:07 am by shark »

moose

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Like Beckham compared to Messi? 😃 (I like your question though)

Possibly, although I personally think Beckham is now possibly under-rated due to his pretty-boy celebrity status.  His abilities had limited scope but they were absolutely of the highest level.   So many assists, that ability to hit perfect crosses in no space with no back-lift.  Idiots thought he was the best footballer in the world as he had nice hair; snobs said he was awful, to show their "proper football man" credentials; to me, he was a great and very effective specialist.  He eventually won over the Real Madrid faithful by just knuckling down.

Anyhow, the main inspirer of my  question was a conversation with a friend who had seen an 8c/+ route climber of this parish working a route with William Bosi.  He said Mr 8c/+ was obviously very strong but in a quotidian way, whereas Will looked like he was on Crouching-Tiger-Hidden-Dragon style wires - just effortlessly "floaty" by comparison.

Fiend

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If you're really very strong you can make things look effortlessly floaty ;)

moose

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If you're really very strong you can make things look effortlessly floaty ;)

Aye... but are there step changes / qualitative differences within the "really very strong" category? Are there any mutants that even other purported Übermenschen are appalled by?

Sasquatch

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As a youthful american climber, sharma and Tommy caldwell were both leading the edge of sport climbing and bouldering in the late 1990's.  Sharma when young was a magician, caldwell was an ordinary genius. 

Nowadays, you could say the same re: Janja in comps compared to the rest...  no one really gets how she does it.

tomtom

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Given your recent social media post themes are you sure you didn’t mean this: 😃

If you're really light you can make things look effortlessly floaty ;)

abarro81

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If you're really very strong you can make things look effortlessly floaty ;)

Aye... but are there step changes / qualitative differences within the "really very strong" category? Are there any mutants that even other purported Übermenschen are appalled by?

The strength gap between Bosi and most 8c climbers is like the strength gap between most 8c climbers and most 8a climbers, I'd expect him to be getting the beta sprayed at him for a flash go on anything 8c or below..

mrjonathanr

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It’s an interesting question though, that something that makes people qualitatively better. It’s not just confined to the top performers. And I’ve very definitely seen super strong climbers who definitely did not have it.

Will Sim and Joe Healey definitely had something unusual for example.

Doylo

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If you're really very strong you can make things look effortlessly floaty ;)

Aye... but are there step changes / qualitative differences within the "really very strong" category? Are there any mutants that even other purported Übermenschen are appalled by?

The strength gap between Bosi and most 8c climbers is like the strength gap between most 8c climbers and most 8a climbers, I'd expect him to be getting the beta sprayed at him for a flash go on anything 8c or below..
look at the strength gap between him and Dave Graham. Pissed La Capella in a few days, DG has had about 6 weeks on it. Next gen.

Duma

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True, but DG us weak as shit compared to most operating at his grade.

I think the question is a good one, but can be obscured by focusing on the top climbers, as people have a tendency to lump anything above 8c ish (or more than a few grades harder than they themselves can manage) into one "really hard" category, when in reality there's a huge range as barrows says, and the strength difference between an 8c climber and a 9b one, is more than enough to explain most observed difference without considering "magicians"

SA Chris

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Good question, but separate discussion split?

shark

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Good question, but separate discussion split?

Good suggestion.

Done.

webbo

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I always thought climbing magicians were the people who could climb and claim a route whilst not actually being at the crag.

Doylo

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True, but DG us weak as shit compared to most operating at his grade.

I think the question is a good one, but can be obscured by focusing on the top climbers, as people have a tendency to lump anything above 8c ish (or more than a few grades harder than they themselves can manage) into one "really hard" category, when in reality there's a huge range as barrows says, and the strength difference between an 8c climber and a 9b one, is more than enough to explain most observed difference without considering "magicians"

Ye DG more of a magician. it’s hard to use the magic on the basic stuff though.

Liamhutch89

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The best climber out there who maybe isn't as physically strong as his/her peers... Surely this is Ondra?

abarro81

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This is where I'm a bit unsure what we mean by magician..
DG seems like he's got the "magic" in terms of being v good with knees, toes etc, and therefore possibly being "better than his strength". But when I watch him climb on vids, he still looks like gravity applies in the same way. Some people don't look like this to me - they just look like gravity got turned down a notch. Megos is a bit like this. Closer to home, Moon looks like a very strong person with normal gravity, whereas Eder (for those who know him) looks like gravity got turned down. Interestingly, whilst the floaty ones are often very good, I've also seen some very strong underachievers who look "floaty" and then suck at getting shit done, so I think it's just as much to do with being strong as with being good. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it's likely to be driven a lot by power vs strength - it's the powerful (flicky, amazing contact strength, very accurate etc.) that tend to have the floaty look.

I think the question is a good one, but can be obscured by focusing on the top climbers, as people have a tendency to lump anything above 8c ish (or more than a few grades harder than they themselves can manage) into one "really hard" category, when in reality there's a huge range

This is definitely true

Plattsy

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Thought DG was more Gandalf than Paul Daniels.

shark

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There are some people who seem to be neurally wired in a way that makes them super co-ordinated that isn’t something that’s learned. I first noticed it at school with someone who was skinny with little muscle who was great at tennis and despite his unassuming physique somehow could effortlessly throw the javelin further than anybody else. There are definite naturals at climbing exemplified by Johnny Dawes (presumably Joe Brown and John Allen too) with levels of kinaesthetic awareness and movement skills to a level that can only partially be trained for.


« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 11:22:23 am by shark »

monkoffunk

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This is where I'm a bit unsure what we mean by magician..
DG seems like he's got the "magic" in terms of being v good with knees, toes etc, and therefore possibly being "better than his strength". But when I watch him climb on vids, he still looks like gravity applies in the same way. Some people don't look like this to me - they just look like gravity got turned down a notch. Megos is a bit like this. Closer to home, Moon looks like a very strong person with normal gravity, whereas Eder (for those who know him) looks like gravity got turned down. Interestingly, whilst the floaty ones are often very good, I've also seen some very strong underachievers who look "floaty" and then suck at getting shit done, so I think it's just as much to do with being strong as with being good. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think it's likely to be driven a lot by power vs strength - it's the powerful (flicky, amazing contact strength, very accurate etc.) that tend to have the floaty look.

I think the question is a good one, but can be obscured by focusing on the top climbers, as people have a tendency to lump anything above 8c ish (or more than a few grades harder than they themselves can manage) into one "really hard" category, when in reality there's a huge range

This is definitely true

Way down the grade spectrum, I can’t quite work out who I want to emulate. My strong friend Shane who makes every grade from 6A to 8A look like a tonne of work and who I saw take about 10 goes to get up a piss easy font 4, but at the end of the day has climbed 8A, or someone like Sparky, who seems technically way better, uses all the tricks, but never climbed harder than 7C+.

abarro81

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Does that mask a question around projecting or not though? Sparky was never very into putting a lot of time into things, always more keen to knock things out in a few sessions.

For me, I think I'd find it very unsatisfactory to be able to do the odd 9a but only onsighting 8a as my absolute limit. Or to do a 9a+ but not be able to do any 8c+s on other routes without them being a multiyear siege. I always want (but don't always succeed!) to be a bit more rounded - siege x, do x-1 in a few days/weeks, regularly do x-2 in a day or a few days, onsight or flash the odd x-3, onsight a bunch of x-4 and loads of x-5 etc...  But then I know some others who basically want to climb a 9a or 8c+ or 8a whatever - whether the grade or a specific route - and maybe aren't that fussed if they never actually climb more than 1 route (or even none) at the grade or two below that. I don't want to be that person, but if it makes them happy then fair enough. Not that this helps you work out who you want to be, just me procrastinating!

Paul B

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Way down the grade spectrum, I can’t quite work out who I want to emulate. My strong friend Shane who makes every grade from 6A to 8A look like a tonne of work and who I saw take about 10 goes to get up a piss easy font 4, but at the end of the day has climbed 8A, or someone like Sparky, who seems technically way better, uses all the tricks, but never climbed harder than 7C+.

Follow the light! Trying to learn efficiency of movement when you're 'over strong' isn't easy (it's not particularly pleasant or motivating either).

monkoffunk

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Yeah I would definitely prefer to be a better tactical and technical climber. I know where I sit on the spectrum having climbed one 8a and no 7c+s, but I wouldn’t say I’m happy about that! I’m pretty sure I’m overstrong for the boulders I climb and technically crap, but sadly I don’t have much time to get out on rock all that much. Probably a poor excuse, I’m sure there is more I could do.

Duncan campbell

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Does that mask a question around projecting or not though? Sparky was never very into putting a lot of time into things, always more keen to knock things out in a few sessions.

For me, I think I'd find it very unsatisfactory to be able to do the odd 9a but only onsighting 8a as my absolute limit. Or to do a 9a+ but not be able to do any 8c+s on other routes without them being a multiyear siege. I always want (but don't always succeed!) to be a bit more rounded - siege x, do x-1 in a few days/weeks, regularly do x-2 in a day or a few days, onsight or flash the odd x-3, onsight a bunch of x-4 and loads of x-5 etc...  But then I know some others who basically want to climb a 9a or 8c+ or 8a whatever - whether the grade or a specific route - and maybe aren't that fussed if they never actually climb more than 1 route (or even none) at the grade or two below that. I don't want to be that person, but if it makes them happy then fair enough. Not that this helps you work out who you want to be, just me procrastinating!

Seems like I need to find my x... and try and have a good flash go at more x-3s...

Interesting this concept of magicians... DG immediately sprang to mind but I know what you mean about those floaty bastards.

I guess it comes down to whether you think looking good or getting shit done that is above your strength pay grade matters. I know which camp I’d rather be in!

CrimpyMcCrimpface

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Any excuse to post the video of DG rambling about wizardry in climbing. I like his points about finding confidence in following your own beta regardless of what others are doing. Maybe Magicians just do this subconsciously

 

T_B

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Holding Crispin Waddy’s ropes as his floated up the top (E5 6a) pitch of The Scoop on Strone Ulladale using only the heel on his left foot (he had an infection in his big toe) is still one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen in climbing. Very underrated climber who is by his own admission very weak but in his heyday he knew how to work the rock like few others I’ve seen climb. Bananas for hands help too.

Nacho Sanchez was/is pretty mutant and would probably win on the float stakes.

JamieG

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I think the most 'floaty' climber I've ever watched is Tyler Landman. It definitely doesn't seem like gravity applies the same to him.

Dac

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I think the true magicians are those who can look at a route or problem and see a solution that no one else can. For me the example that springs the mind is that of Marc Le Menestrel climbing Brad Pitt. (This is all dimly recalled from climbing magazine articles about 20 years ago).

So Brad Pitt, Stanage plantation, dismissed as a problem for the next generation by Ben Moon, and first climbed by Jason Myers via a wildly powerful and dynamic sequence. Given B13 (so about 8a+ in sensible money) in the first rockfax bouldering guide.

Marc Le Menestrel finds himself at Stanage on a visit to the UK and some random local is good enough to show him round. He is pointed at the then unrepeated Brad Pitt; at the time a contender for hardest problem on grit. He has a go via the original sequence, nothing happening, he has a think, on goes the now obligatory high heel, does it second go! This is of course now considered the normal beta, and the current rockfax guide gives it 7c.

That to me is the mark of the magician, many of the peaks brightest and best had tried that problem, with only Mr Myers succeeding, then along comes a magician, sees what no one else has, and everyone is left scratching there heads and wondering how that was done.

(Oh and I think he did Deliverance statically the same day, which isn’t too shabby.)

Doylo

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After Myers, Moony had done Brad Pit with the toe on (see Hard Grit) at 8A I think. Then Le Menestrel stuck his heel on and pissed it.

Ru

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After Myers, Moony had done Brad Pit with the toe on (see Hard Grit) at 8A I think. Then Le Menestrel stuck his heel on and pissed it.

Myres jumped it, then Le Menestrel did it (gastoning the sidepull with his right hand then putting a left toe on), then Moony repeated it the same way, then Darren Stevenson did it the modern way (left heel on, left hand up to side pull). At this point it was still considered 8a. I did maybe the 10th-ish ascent in 1998(?), although it started getting done quite a lot after that, so who knows. It gradually came down to 7c+ and then by the time I wrote the guide in about 2003/4, 7c was being bandied about. I thought it was the same grade as Berezina and it climbed similarly (although in mirror) so opted for 7c in the guide.

I think the "random local" that showed him round was Stu.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 01:58:52 pm by Ru »

moose

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There are some people who seem to be neurally wired in a way that makes them super co-ordinated that isn’t something that’s learned. I first noticed it at school with someone who was skinny with little muscle who was great at tennis and despite his unassuming physique somehow could effortlessly throw the javelin further than anybody else.

The middle-weight boxer Genedy Golovkin was like that.  He'd break ribs and score spectacular KOs with punches that appeared casual, almost effortless. Some sort of leverage / kinetic chain effect I think. Every muscle from the toes upward contributing to the punch, so there appeared to be little effort when you looked at the arms. Maybe a natural gift but it seems relatively common in boxers from the former Soviet Union, so maybe relentless technique drilling from an early age is as important as natural  talent.

Doylo

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After Myers, Moony had done Brad Pit with the toe on (see Hard Grit) at 8A I think. Then Le Menestrel stuck his heel on and pissed it.

Myres jumped it, then Le Menestrel did it (gastoning the sidepull with his right hand then putting a left toe on), then Moony repeated it the same way, then Darren Stevenson did it the modern way (left heel on, left hand up to side pull). At this point it was still considered 8a. I did maybe the 10th-ish ascent in 1998(?), although it started getting done quite a lot after that, so who knows. It gradually came down to 7c+ and then by the time I wrote the guide in about 2003/4, 7c was being bandied about. I thought it was the same grade as Berezina and it climbed similarly (although in mirror) so opted for 7c in the guide.

I think the "random local" that showed him round was Stu.

So Darren Stevenson is the true magician!

Will Hunt

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I've seen a video of Tom Peckitt falling off Beast of the Field a few times before doing it. I flashed it by using a toe instead of a heel. Am I a magician or does it only work if you use a heel instead of a toe? Thanks in advance.

SA Chris

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Doylo

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When I see Ned/Robins/Jordan make their heels stick to anything to take their weight on a hard move I always think what an advantage it must be.

duncan

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Per his thread, John Allen. 

An afternoon with the Lattice data set could give an estimate of how much of climbing ability is explained by "dark matter" versus boring stuff like how much weight your fingers can take. 

I recall a study - which is proving elusive - which developed and tested a model containing a number of physical parameters like finger strength and endurance. They used the model with good standard climbers (>8b+, at a guess) and those operating at a more modest grades (7s?). If I recall correctly, the model worked better at the higher grades with ~70% of performance explained by it, than at middle grades where only ~30% of performance was explained.

If these two points represent a trend, being a magician may convey more benefit at 'lower' standards. Some of the examples given here (Crispin, Johnny Dawes, Marc Le Menestrel) seem to confirm this, although they are possibly a reflection of the demographic of this forum!


Paul B

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When I see Ned/Robins/Jordan make their heels stick

Have you seen his heel spur? He's possibly the only human upon which an Anasazi VCS has no void.

Doylo

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When I see Ned/Robins/Jordan make their heels stick

Have you seen his heel spur? He's possibly the only human upon which an Anasazi VCS has no void.

Jordan literally has a heel spur on his boreals!   My appreciation for Robins ‘Golden Heels’ was crystallised when he changed from 5.10 sky-hook-heels to Evolves and he could still do the dark magic. That’s the sign of the mastery - when you can do it in shoes that don’t give an advantage.

finbarrr

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those who watch the international bouldering comps will mostly that the current master fo floaty style is Tamoa Narasaki.
i will link to a video, but of course you have to watch the other competitors struggle on some of the problems to realise how outstanding he is.



and for those who think comp climbing doesn't count; when he does go outside he flashes 8B+


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I think part of being a magician has to do with era and style.  Part of why I mentioned Sharma as a magician was his willingness and ability to break all of the "norms" and climb in a way that seemed outlandish at the time and quickly become the top of the game.  I'd imagine that strength pays a role, but it feels to me like a step beyond that.  There's something about the way they generate movement, find and see/feel body positions, and the overall coordination involved. 

Finbarr mentioned Tomoa, and I'd agree.  I mentioned Janja, and I'd stand by that one. 

SA Chris

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Totally agree on Janja, on most days she makes it look effortless, although sometimes she seems to have a bit of a wobble.

Fiend

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So floaty is partly being really fucking strong and partly being springy i.e. really fucking strong in your legs. Sorta Malc-Dawes hybrid.

grimer

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The funny thing about this being split from the Ned thread is that I have saw Antoine le Menestrel, at least twice, on Facebook, talk about watching the recreation of hi solo of Revelations, climbed in the folm by Ned, dressed like AlM. AlM says something like " And I am seeing myself climb thees and it is eenteresting but then I am thinking, 'I thought i climbed it well, not static and unsure like thees,' then realising later it was not meee."

I guess he considers himself a magician.

grimer

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I think the true magicians are those who can look at a route or problem and see a solution that no one else can. For me the example that springs the mind is that of Marc Le Menestrel climbing Brad Pitt. (This is all dimly recalled from climbing magazine articles about 20 years ago).


I interviewed MleM about this for On The Edge. It was really inspiring talking to him. I think it appeared in the issue with Moon and his pof doing it on the cover.

mrjonathanr

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The funny thing about this being split from the Ned thread is that I have saw Antoine le Menestrel, at least twice, on Facebook, talk about watching the recreation of hi solo of Revelations, climbed in the folm by Ned, dressed like AlM. AlM says something like " And I am seeing myself climb thees and it is eenteresting but then I am thinking, 'I thought i climbed it well, not static and unsure like thees,' then realising later it was not meee."

I guess he considers himself a magician.

Brilliant  :lol:

I have climbed with him though; he's a magician, for sure.

Wil

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I always felt that the "magicians" had a very quiet mind. Obviously theres a technique/strength component to floating up these things, but the key thing that sets them apart is being able to apply those things with a lack of doubt that allows them to move to fluidly.

I'm a terribly hesitant climber which is why I'm no good at children's parties.

mrjonathanr

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You don't move fast enough for the cakes?

SA Chris

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you get burned off by children at parties at the climbing wall?

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Every mono's a jug when you are under 4'6"

 

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