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bear by san

March 2017



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levon wears his war wound like a crown

I haven't been warblogging the climbing as obsessively, I know. But tonight was a pretty good night, and I feel like I'm making progress again.

I was having a bad upper body strength night (I blame my menstrual cycle. Seriously. It makes a difference. Stupid iron levels.) and so did not send my project wall. I tried it first, before anything else, and I think I should have done a warm-up, because part of the problem was that I got on the overhang and got nervous. My meat hates falling, and it hates feeling like it's falling. But once I've done a couple of routes, the adrenaline kicks in, and takes the edge off the cowardice.

Monday. Monday, I will get that route.

I did, however, pretty much sail through the tricky traversy part I struggled so hard with on Monday, and there was even one moment of really good foot placement without actually looking that I was really proud of. I remembered where the foothold was and put my foot right on it.

I might be starting to feel a little more secure on the wall again. Confidence is like 40% of climbing. (It's also 40% technique and 40% being strong enough to pull that off, whatever that is. And yes, that's 120%.)

There's a new yellow 5.7 route out back, and I did get that one (yay!) though it took me several tries to get past a tricky high-step, and then I redid some routes I've done before--a reachy yellow 5.7, an unrated and tricky red route that I think is probably a 5.7+ or a 5.8., and a green 5.6 on the slab that needs a hand/foot match. I thrashed on the red one, but it was the last route of the night, and I was Le Tired.

Monday, I want to do some work in the corner and on the crack (there are three routes there that I haven't done honestly, though I've rainbowed them), and work on three unrated routes that I think are probably 5.8s. I've done one of them, but badly, and I want to do it elegantly. I have not done another--it's all side pulls and slopers, and I'm still trying to give my hand some love--and there's a brand shiny new purple one that straddles a very sharp corner that I want to give a shot.

In addition, there are now three 5.7s on the high wall, all of them more or less overhung, and The Jeff and Katie both think I should be working on them. I fear them, however, because they are overhung and I am fat and also a girl, which makes overhangs really kind of challenging.

I suspect boys in general, even not-particularly-brawny boys, do not understand really how much more functional upper body strength they have, and how it affects things like hauling your sorry ass up the underside of an overhang. I also suspect that tiny skinny girls may not comprehend how much of an athletic difference it makes when you weigh 230 pounds, as opposed to 98. Ahem.

I'll probably keep trying them anyway, though, even though they make me sad. 

The only thing about men I envy is the upper body strength.

So, in short, I feel kind of like I did good today. Even if overhangs still suck.


The upper body strength part is pretty neat.

The sensitive dangly bits right where ya sit -- I'd like to submit a usability bug report, there.
Alas! We were not designed with chairs in mind.
Overhangs do indeed suck. But I'm working my way up my project overhang, even if I just get one hold further each try.:p
I swear, I am going to send that damn thing on Monday. And then I am going to keep climbing it until it's easy.
Maybe especially not-particularly-brawny boys, because they *also* don't have the weight issue. I remember the scrawny guy in high school gym who used to be able to crank out 20 or so pullups with no particular preparation.
I'd love to be that strong. It looks like fun.

I mean, I'm REALLY strong for a girl. I'm as stronger than some men. But I would love to be able to just casually lift myself up by one arm the way some of these climber boys can.
The only thing about men I envy is the upper body strength.

...and body hair. Because nothing says sexy like a back-hair-sweater.

I'd say "the ability to pee standing up," except squatting down is simple enough, and on a long hiking trip, everybody eventually winds up showing their backside to the rattlesnakes anyway.... *g*
Hmm, a friend of mine who is an avid climber told me girls tend to make excellent climbers because of the lower center of gravity. So, I guess there are trade offs, although I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be first in line to trade his upper body advantage for a lower center of gravity....
We can do some stuff the guys can't, it's true. On the other hand, guys who are much worse technical climbers than I am routinely climb several grades higher, because they can just power over bits I have to figure out the hard way to do.

(The very best male climbers climb about a grade, grade and a half better than the very best female climbers.)

Women also tend to be more flexible and have better proportional leg strength, and smaller women have the advantage of being able to scrunch into small spaces. Also, of being light. And being light and strong is what it's all about when it comes to climbing.

There's an aphorism: "Want to climb better? Lose five pounds." It's like cycling--every ounce counts.
Speaking as a tiny skinny woman, I'd imagine that it would be like me trying to climb with my high school backpack on. And I carried all my textbooks and notes in that thing every day. It would be excessively hard. I admire you for trying - I don't think I'd have the guts.
Well, I do get an additional fifty pounds or so of muscle to help make up for that. *g* but yeah, it's about like climbing in a 60 pound pack.
More found on the internets for you: Edward Gorey's 'Recently deflowered girl'
Saw it, thank you. *g*
I might be starting to feel a little more secure on the wall again.

\o/ It's something that fluctuates a lot for me, and it makes so much difference whenever I re-find that mental place.

Also, yay foot placement!

I blame my menstrual cycle. Seriously. It makes a difference.

Oh, hell yeah. Though in my case, co-ordination seems to be hit even worse than strength (possibly because I have very little strength to begin with); I can predict with almost embarrassing precision when I'm going to be especially clumsy and injury-prone.

I also suspect that tiny skinny girls may not comprehend how much of an athletic difference it makes when you weigh 230 pounds, as opposed to 98.

I am not tiny! *g* But the scrawniness absolutely makes a difference; I own up to my unfair advantages.

P.S. I have Whiskey and Water, finally! It iz can be man-eating pony tiem nao!
About the upper body strength, yeah. One of the opening exercises that I do with the women in the self-defense classes that I teach is push them into a wall, and hold them there with just one arm. I'm not a big guy, and I can pretty reliably do it.

(the point is, of course, "even a not big guy can over power you. It sucks, but it's reality. However, they can't use that strength if they can't get a hold on you. I'm going to show you how to keep that from happening.")
Despite my fear of heights/falling, I’ve really been enjoying reading your climbing posts. I find myself comfortably imagining me climbing while I’m reading your words, which totally astonishes me! However, there are some parts I’m just missing the information for—like, how do they handle the “falling off” part, so you don’t get hurt?

This particular post also led me to thinking…Since upper body strength has always been my strongest point, I wonder how much this is individual differences versus gender differences. I wonder, if we could eliminate my stupid arthritis and tendonitis (to say nothing of the fear of heights), would I have the same problems you’re having? Yeah, yeah, might as well wish for wings as for shoulders that work the way they did when I was younger…But that unrealistic thought led me to another—

I suspect the center of gravity difference is as significant as upper body strength. Have you ever seen a bunch of boys and girls stand against a wall, bend over, and try to lift a chair without straightening up? Overwhelmingly, the girls can, and the boys can’t. They just don’t have enough weight in their legs, hips, and pelvis to offset the shoulders, arms, head, and chair, and the wall prevents them from changing their center of balance by moving the hips horizontally.

I suspect their higher center of gravity means that there are some climbing moves where, once the guys get their shoulders in position, the body flows along easily, while a women’s lower center of gravity means she needs to use brute muscle power to pull the heavier parts of her body into position. (And where this is true, a heavier woman would have more difficulty, not only as a measure of overall weight, but also a woman with wider hips and more bone-mass and muscle in the legs and lower torso would have a lower center of gravity than a very slender, narrow-hipped woman—and most 98 pound women are slender-framed, not simply “low-fat”.)

Logically, this should mean that there are some moves that are easier for a woman, though that may not be true due to the longer arm-length and larger hands that guys get. Where you could swing your shoulders further out, they could probably just reach out.

Of course, I’m theorizing, you have actual experience & observations? Am I on track? And are there any moves that your lower center of gravity helps on?
I climb with a guy (I'm female) and he has much stronger arms, but because of that he sometimes relies on them too much, instead of pushing up with his legs. I don't do that as much cuz with my little girl arms I just...can't. And girl legs are stronger than boy arms! Also, women are usually more flexible, and that helps me too. I'm not as good a climber as my friend (yet...), but I can make moves that require weird bending and make him flinch just to watch. Silly boy...