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slabs versus overhangs as we age (Read 10073 times)

stone

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slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 07:53:24 am
In the past year I've realised that there are loads of really great local boulder problems that I haven't tried (or known about) that are doable for me. I've been aiming at ones that take me a bit of puzzling out rather than swift ascents of easier ones. My thinking was that I'm due to get worse fairly soon as I pass through my later 50s and beyond. So my tactic will hopefully preserve a wealth of three star projects close to home well into my dotage.

My question is whether, as people have got worse due to old age, have you found certain styles of problem to have got disproportionately harder? So does eg slab climbing ability hold up for longer than overhang ability? I'm wondering whether to somehow factor this in when prioritising which problems to try.

Perhaps this whole scheme is deranged anyway. I'm keen to hear any viewpoints.

Fiend

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#1 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 07:58:54 am
Yes.

Hoseyb

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#2 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 08:10:52 am
I'm all for deranged.

Slabs require flexibility, good connective tissue health and skin.

Overhangs require a well maintained muscle set without imbalance or overlooked minor groups and possibly a greater amount of fast twitch maintenance.

I try to keep doing both, but that has meant switching up my game this year to try to get more consistency in my training. This is still a work in progress

abarro81

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#3 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 08:13:24 am
From a routes perspective - Not tweaky and not too powerful seems important... I see plenty of older folks climbing hard on long routes on nice holds (e.g., Rodellar) and far fewer on tweaky powerful short stuff (e.g., Franken, Margalef). Of course that doesn't help much if you live in the peak where there are no long routes on nice holds  :lol:

For boulders who knows, but I imagine the broad rule about tweaky holds still stands

stone

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#4 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 09:45:21 am
Slabs require flexibility, good connective tissue health and skin.
Ohhh! -point taken that I really must start stretching.

I'm wondering whether -knowing my crapness on that matter- I should get a current slab project to motivate that.

SA Chris

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#5 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 09:53:30 am
Yes.

I agree.

Or maybe just do problems in a style you like and don't worry about grade? Or just do problems in all style to make you a more all rounded climber?

duncan

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#6 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 10:58:12 am
Interesting idea. Physiologists tell me power is the thing to go. I've not particularly noticed this any more than losing endurance, flexibility, work capacity, or recovery time. Possibly because I never climbed powerfully in the first place. I do now have a complete inability to jump or fall from any height without hurting myself which I guess is at least partially down to loss of power.

My biggest change is loss of recklessness, perhaps not such a bad thing.

This does not constitute advice to get the scary highballs done now!

jwi

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#7 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 12:33:05 pm
The fingers get thicker and thicker by year. For me who have very thick fingers to start with, on some routes it is a race to do them while I can still force the pinky into the monos. There was a route in Capucin that slipped through the fingers, as it where, since I did not get to it until my pinky no longer entered the drilled mono on the first crux.

Anything with a jump is out as well, but you'd have to be climbing pretty darn hard for that to be an issue. Many middle age male climbers still jump higher than all female 9a climbers.

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#8 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 01:15:56 pm
Traverses seem popular with old Bleausards.

jwi

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#9 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 02:10:41 pm
Traverses seem popular with old Bleausards.

Isn't that a bit of the case that people like stuff that was popular when they were young?

...

But my boomer opinion is that no bouldering wall should be taller than a Moon board for any reason. And that all high-balls should be toproped.

rodma

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#10 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 03:30:45 pm
Many middle age male climbers still jump higher than all female 9a climbers.

That's like one of these tricky logic true-or-false maths exam questions.

stone

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#11 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 04:32:37 pm
Or maybe just do problems in a style you like and don't worry about grade? Or just do problems in all style to make you a more all rounded climber?
To clarify, I wasn't seeking to get the max lifetime grade haul. What I was after was to ensure that I could pass my days without running out of inviting challenges close to home. As an example, today I was at Beef Buttress, Roche Abbey. I'm saving Sundance there. I've got similarly saved problems dotted around local crags.

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#12 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 07:47:01 pm
Most things are going to get worse for climbing as you get older at that sort of age, especially muscularity, raw power, injury resistance, and bravery / foolhardiness (also worth noting that if you plan on putting on any extra weight, as well as the power-to-weight detriment, there's the secret anti-bonus that it's bloody terrible for the effects on skin / finger pulp, thus being able to tolerate tiny holds gets worse too).

A few things can get better - technique, tactics, wisdom and cunning, and any untapped areas that you haven't previously tried to train (this being the illusion of progress as you get older) / tackle - as you say, stretching, for example.

The general concept of "get the burly stuff done whilst your body can still tolerate it, then bimble up slabs when you're a shuffling bag of injuries / weakness" does seem sensible, but taking into account the above, there's more nuance than that. As Barrows mentions, tweaky stuff is best done sooner rather than later (not the same as burly stuff), and other injurious problems could include anything wildly dynamic, drop knees, heel hooks, etc etc, again get them out of the way while you're more resilient (or just avoid because it could fuck things up for quite a while as you get older). Conversely, there could be other styles that are worth saving in addition to slabs - anything that's particularly complex, sequency, and knacky where you can use your wise old brain further down the line, or anything that requires a lot of nouse to get conditions and sending tactics right (which the yoof of today with all their damp grit climbing and resting 20 seconds between attempts usually lack).

And of course there's generally a lot of sense to saving easier problems until you're old enough that you can't do hard ones and the easy ones are then hard. And taking advantage of the massive amount of bouldering development and documentation that gives us vastly more options these days - one advantage to this current ridiculous bouldering fad.

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#13 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 16, 2024, 10:27:01 pm
Re: height of bouldering walls, absolutely. The trend towards building higher, slabbier walls, presumably to accommodate parkour-style holds and setting is a disaster waiting to happen for climbers of all ages but especially older ones. The bigger the fall, the worse the impact, and the higher the chances for serious injury regardless of skill at landing.

SA Chris

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#14 Re: slabs versus overhangs as we age
April 17, 2024, 08:28:01 am
As well as putting huge volumes for people to run on at the bottom of the same vertical wall as there are the interesting thin balancy crimp problems. TE take a bow.

 

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