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learning to climb

Learn to Climb: Progress, Slowly but Surely

by Jamie Hagen

My New Year’s resolution this year is to focus more on progress and accomplishments I’ve made rather than immediately worrying about what I should be doing next. So here goes! I’m now completing V1s successfully, several routes a visit. Given my progress I feel confident I will be completing V2s by the end of January.

Part of diving into indoor rock climbing is getting over the nervousness of climbing in front of other climbers as a newbie. As you might imagine, the best way to get over this insecurity is just jumping in and successfully completing routes which will build your confidence.  A few weeks of going to the gym and bouldering around ought to do the trick.

And as a beginning climber after pulling muscles on two different visits to the gym which kept me away from the gym for a week or more each time, I’ve finally learned the value of stretching!

Brooklyn Boulders Yoga Instructor Jocelyn O’Shea

Brooklyn Boulders offers yoga classes, and I highly recommend new climbers add some element of yoga or stretching as they grow as a rock climber.  Yoga teacher Benita Hussain Matador Sports suggests these six yoga poses for rock climbers. There are also simple stretches to do before, during and after climbing such as these muscle stretches recommended by

At this point I could definitely benefit from spending time working on technique by practicing on some of the longer traversing V0+s before completing some V1s during my regular visits. By spending a few weeks doing this I’m hoping V2s won’t be far behind!

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!

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