Climbing Styles, Which one are you?

I find climbing styles to be rather intriguing.  I don’t even know how to categorize them, but some people just climb in different styles.

There are those who are super gymnastic.  If there is a way to make a slow static move, they don’t care.  They’re dynoing.  If they can do a one arm pull-up, they’ll incorporate it in somewhere so all the double-breasted rock groupies can clatter at the knees.  They’re the ones that saw a film with Sharma in it, so now every time their feet leave the wall they bellow a counterfeit “sssssahhhhh” into the abyss below, even if it’s a 5.10.


On the other end of the spectrum you’ll encounter the extremely static, slow moving, ever calculating, yoga master, put their ankles behind their head climbers.  These gymnast-esque  climbers love pulling down on slopers and crimps.  They spend as much time doing push-ups and pull-ups as they do climbing.  They blame every mishap on the slip of a shoe or the grime of a hold, regardless of the lack of grime.  They can read beta like a barcode scanner and have footwork comparable to Irish riverdancers.  They usually have weather preferences for friction and you can find them on poor climbing days chillin on their Macs in Starbucks with thick framed glasses and a beanie on…inside.

Yoga master

Finally you have the crack addicts.  Not the powdered upper lip, eyes sunk in, neck scratching downtown Chicago style of crack addicts.  The gear diva crack addicts with bloody hands and an unmeasurable desire to scare the shit out of themselves.  These guys are nuts, they can stand on the outsides of their feet in a crack for hours while you can’t for five minutes.  Their hands seem to stick inside every crack yours can’t, and they can somehow afford way more gear than you.  If you put them on a face climb they clamber up it without any sense of footwork, just burly strength and guts.  They don’t care that you can climb 5.13 because they just used two pieces on a 100 foot 5.11 splitter.  The garbage you produce about your bolt-clipping is about as important as hygiene to them, they just want a burrito.

crack mmmmmm

Which one are you? I’m sure there are many other styles too, like those who can climb any slab.  I think size plays a huge difference too.

Some routes just appeal to different people.  Today I worked on a project of mine in Blue Mounds State Park, MN.  The park doesn’t have very good climbing, its all short stuff and the rock is just okay.  But, the Quarry Boulder brings saving grace to the lackluster of the crag.  A giant hunk of quartzite, it looms over the quarry like a bar of gold in a pile of fresh poopy.  A beautiful 45 degree overhang has a single line on it.  13 individual moves lead to the top-out 20 feet above the deck.  It goes at only V6/7 but man that thing kicks my ass.  I’ve been stuck at the same crux for the last 4 times I’ve been out there over the last year or so.  I’ve seen a guy go through it, but he was about 3-4 inches shorter than me.  It makes me wonder if my height crams me out of the scrunched up crux.  Who knows, I unlocked a new move today that might allow me to send it once it warms up a little more.  Unfortunately, I destroyed my hamstring on the massive heel hook, so I think I’m out for a while.

Working the quarry boulder