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v4

HOW I WENT FROM V0 TO V4 IN FOUR MONTHS

cyrena climb

When I first started climbing, I thought I’d be pretty good at it. Having spent years of my life training as a gymnast, I was disappointed. I thought it would be easy, having latent upper body strength that could be coerced back into action.

 

It wasn’t. I sucked. I could barely climb a V0 without hanging on for dear life and desperately jumping for holds, feet flailing around like a mad person. I stuck with it anyway, and as so many others do, found a weird gratification in ascending a wall only using certain colored holds.

 

After about a month, I worked my way up to comfortably climbing V1s, and slowly started dipping my toes onto V2s, but never really made it any further despite my daily climbs (perks of working at Brooklyn Boulders).

 

One Thursday evening as I climbed fruitlessly on my V2 plateau, I had Sarah Laine – climbing assistant, personal trainer and Instructor – give me a climbing assessment (we offer these to anyone who wants ’em!).

 

“You need to work on your footwork,” she told me. “You should take Foundations,”.

 

I enrolled a couple of weeks later, and begrudgingly did the jumping jacks as instructed in the beginning of class. It had been a while since I’d done any cardio. What I learned was more useful than any beta I had ever received while climbing casually. Beta – for other new climbers – is when a climber tells you advanced knowledge about a route. What I learned is that climbing is way more of a nuanced sport than I previously thought – involving physics, route planning, footwork, technique, and tons of specific training tactics.

 

More importantly – I learned to overcome by personal barriers. Prior to the class, I thought my arms too short (see proof of negative ape index here), my legs too short and that I would just never be able to reach certain holds. The skills and concepts I learned in Foundations showed me just how wrong I was.

 

Two weeks and four hours later – I flashed my first V4, and have only been getting better since. Though at the end of the day, climbing really isn’t about the grade. It’s about the community, learning from others, and learning about your own perceived limits, and how to surpass them.

 

Want to improve your climbing technique? Sign up to take Foundations here — we’re also now offering Women Only Foundations courses!

Learn to Climb: Tackling V3s and V4s

by Kerrin Sheldon

I’ve reached the point in my rock-climbing progression where my forearms aren’t tender for three full days after climbing. Where hanging onto the wall doesn’t feel like I’m one tendon-snap in my finger away from plummeting to my death (or 3.7 feet to the soft, cushy mat below). Where getting to the top of a wall (on a V0-) doesn’t make me cling to the top for safety. Now, I can go climbing on back-to-back days, and my forearms don’t die on the first climb. I can hold onto most holds without feeling like I’m contracting early-onset arthritis and leap off the top of the wall like Batman (cape not included).

With this new found confidence, I decided to take my climbing up a notch this past week. I completed my first V3 and nearly snagged my first V4.

For those who don’t know, bouldering has a difficulty grade that starts at V0- and can rise all the way to V16. V0s have large holds, small spaces, and obvious routes, while I’m not even sure if V16s have holds – I’m pretty sure by that point you have plungers for hands and just make your way up the wall like Spider-Man.

As you progress to V1 and V2, you’ll notice the holds get a little smaller, the gaps between holds a little wider, and the moves a bit more technical. V3 seemed to be the next big hump to get over. While I was successfully completing V2s, V3s tended to elude me. The holds seemed smaller, the problems more complex, and the routes more difficult than they should have been. But, after a couple of weeks of trying a few different V3s, I tackled a traveler that stayed low along the wall before shooting up the wall. After 3 or 4 tries, I got the move down to shift up on the wall and snagged the top. Beautiful.

This week, I went for a leaping V4, which may not the be the easiest to accomplish as a first V4, but it’s damn fun. Wish me luck!