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Forum: GLOBAL / Editorial / The uniqueness of climbing Login in to contribute
The uniqueness of climbing
OffLine 8a.nu
  2011-10-27 00:00:00    
Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports totally unique on the following parameters.
Gender: Some female almost at male top level
Age span: World class between 9-50 years
Specialization: Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches
Training: Most just climb without a programme
Comeback: 20 sessions after 1 year break makes you often equally good
Any further examples or thoughts?

Climbing is still a very young sport and the uniqueness will probably be more amazing in the future with 10 year old as well as 60 year old doing 9a. The life style profile of climbing will grow making us even more unique compared to other sports where you retire at 35 having been most inspired of just the competitions and performances, in opposite to rock climbing.
OffLine Jérôme De Boeck
  2011-10-26 14:56:57    
Personnaly I think this is because sportclimbing is still an amator sport (just considering lead and bouldering). If one day climbing gets as develloped as athelitcs, some people will be able to earn enough money from climbing and thus train more specifically and more intensivly than now. The indoor training structure would get more develloped, there would be more trainers, new training approaches would be tried,... I'm sure in other sports yet not much develloped you can see the same thing than in climbing regarding age span, traning and comeback.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-26 15:55:59    
second that. dont think we are no way near the limit for what is possible. The guys that just climb and get to a word class level are prob. very talentet. Like what musclefibers they have, where their muscles are attached. Like if your bicep is attach at 3cm or 5cm from you elbow, a weight would drop from 10kg, to 6kg with the same tension in the biceps. So.. if the people you are really talentet trained perfect they would be way better. But climbing is a good sport to get good at if you just climb. there is a lot of different moves and intensities.. and that is what you do in a structured program. The age and girl thing i think is becouls of things like fingersize and weight. The shorter you are the better strengh pr. weight ratio you get. The comebackting is like that in all tecnical sports, like i had my first boxing session in 8 years last week, and i still know the game:) 
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-26 16:31:00    
I kind of agree but I think that you will suffer mentally by training harder and more organized. If you just do it as a life style sport the risk for anxiety is reduced especially for onsight climbing. It should also be noted that the examples above is not based on bouldering where the difference between male and female, age span etc are much bigger compared to rock climbing.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-26 18:43:49    
Well.. what we are willing to do to get stronger differs from person to person. Since i have done many different sports before climbing i have no problem working out on boring shit just to get stronger..  Like the way Matt Hughes (mma superstar) put it. Just like a nother day at the office. And since i know what i am doing is gonna pay off in doing a new prosject i have no problem keeping the motivation up. And having a structured plan does not meen you just have to do boring shit. Can be like working on diffent angled wall on different days, doing proj. or many easy problems. Climbing with no feet. explosive strenght or static movement. Having a structured plan is just putting it all in a system so that you work on the right thing, at the right time, and at the right intensity. And campusboarding is not that bad is it:) Cant we get dr. 8a to have a go at this. guess his the man for the job. I mean..  climbing is a sport in the same way all other sports are made up. Its just way more complex and hard to train for than all the other sports i have done.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-26 20:37:43    
I somewhat agree but the amazing fact with climbing is that most of the best rock climbers do not train. They do not do any boring shit...they just have fun climbing. Maybe you could also get better if you just skipped the boring parts. I would say that I am talking about rock climbers not bouldering or competition climbers.
OffLine SashaPro
  2011-10-26 23:06:47    
@Jens: "They do not do any boring shit...they just have fun climbing." -- you know, what is boring to one climber can be fun to another. As Chris Sharma said in one of the videos, when asked about training, if you try the route over and over for about a hundred times, this can be considered a very good training! And apparently he finds his fun in this approach. Now, for how many people here trying the same route over and over again would not become boring way sooner than after hundred attempts? :)
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-26 23:22:36    
@ SashaPro: From how I know Sharma, he is having fun thinking he can do the route all the 100 times. He is not just working the route in order to do it the next week. If he would have a training approach he could sometimes do his redpoint projects quicker but he would somewhat kill his spirit. Now he is driving 1 hour to FRFM do some easy warm up and then give 100 % at the most two times and then 1 hour driving back again. He is not on a diet or doing some special training, he just want the challenge.
OffLine Derek Bredl
  2011-10-26 23:29:52    
I don't mean to bring the conversation down, but there is a couple of points that you just keep on going on with Jens, and this is one of them ... yes, I also think climbing is unique, but I don't think it's as unique as you think it is. I don't think many of the points you highlight are as stark as they are ... certainly not to the point of being statistically significant. I think men and women are as big a difference as a lot of other sports/games/hobbies. I think kids and older people are not as good as the core middle age group, as people have said above. Yes, you can pick specific examples that will highlight this if you wish, picking small pocket routes that suit kids with small fingers for example, BUT if you take the sport, as a whole, and make these judgements it's going to be like a lot of other sports. If you want to make it more unique by looking only at the example that you provide, then yes, it may well be the most unique ... from that narrow perspective.  There are so many sports that I do know nothing about to try to equate it with climbing and I am sure you also do not know every sport to make such judgements. Ultimately, let's just enjoy the fact that we love our "sport", we love that it is unique (to us), and that it ultimately provides us with feelings/benefits that aren't always tangible. Why climbing appeals to me and why I think it is unique has less to do with the physical nature/side of it and a lot more to do with the subjective, mental, spiritual and "feeling" side of it. This is a good topic as a way to create discussion, but poor in terms of actually trying to prove anything :), you've done your job Jens, the forums have been a bit quite lately :). Peace and I love climbing!
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 00:06:06    
@ Derek: If you want to say that I am wrong please give examples instead of just saying so regarding gender and age span.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 02:25:06    
climbing is MUCH too young (as a sport) to be drawing such conclusions. you would have to compare it to athletics or swimming in the 1930s. http://www.jssm.org/vol9/n2/8/v9n2-8text.php read the article. it predicts that swimmers, athletes and cyclists will have reached the top-level of human performance at around 2030 (men) and 2040 (women). if a simple sport (like running a distance as fast as possible) needs over a century (!!) to reach the limit of human performance...how can we even think that (sport)-climbing is near that limit?? so let's continue this discussion in about 100 years. maybe you are right, maybe not.
OffLine Ben Iseman
  2011-10-27 05:05:17    
Gender : women almost at male performance is unique? try every sport that requires incredible physicality. the difference is that some climbs will favor the morphology of either gender (small holds, thin cracks will always favor smaller hands while steep terrain and big moves will favor more powerful builds). other sports have more uniform challenges but performance differences on the same climb are comparable to other sports. Age span : World class between 9-50 years. The performance of the young and old is impressive, but it is not at the same level as the elite.  same as any other sport. Specialization : Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches. How many? Heard of the decathlon? Who (aside from Adam Ondra, who maybe isn't because he hasn't been truly challenged yet) is equally good at each of these? Training : or lack there of. same for any other sport when people are not trying to be pros. Comeback : if you can reach your peak level in anything after 20 sessions you either have expertise (10000+ hours) or weren't taking it too seriously before you took a break.
OffLine Bongowurm
  2011-10-27 05:35:19    
Wow good discussion. The uniqueness of climbing is far away from other physical sports.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 12:02:17    
i agree with ben. look at the top ten climbers in the all-time ranking. it is reasonable to say that 9a+ (men) and 8c+ (women) is world class level. and in my opinion that is a HUGE difference. in 800m freestyle swimming for instance the gender gap is only around 5%. in swimming overall around 9 %. while it is hard to say how much harder 9a+ is (in percent) than 8c+..it shows that women are almost at top-level in other sports too. same thing can be applied to the "age span" argument. ben is right again. impressive performance by the old and young, but NOT world class. 8c+ or 9a USED to be world-class...it is not anymore. as for training: trying a route 100 times is a very specific and intense form of training. most climbers have yet to understand that "training" is more than fingerboard dead hangs. improving motor skills is equally (if not more) important. tryimg a route 100 times is an amazing training for the required motor skills. btw: i do not believe that this approach reduces anxiety. sharma clearly states in his interviews that dealing with anxiety is one of the big issues when trying to send a world-class route like FRFM (or realization back in the day). maybe training even reduces anxiety, because one feels better prepared? who knows? i agree that sharmas approach to climbing is very impressive. but we don't know if it's actually the best approach. time will tell.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 12:10:19    
@ Fridolin: I am afraid you and Ben are wrong. It does not take much for a male to be top world class in female swimming. All guys in a world champion are much better compared to the female. The best female swimmer in the world could maybe compete with 13 year old boys. There are 9 year old gilrs as well as 50 year old female who climb 8b which is world class results.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 12:35:16    
you are probably right about swimming. i personally think of it this way: the more important the physical aspects of a sport are..the greater the gender gap. your argument only shows, that climbing is less physical than swimming. and i still think that a two grade difference in the top performers personal best is a a lot. but i do not understand how 8b is "world-class" level. nowadays, every local climbing area has a few 8b climbers...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 12:48:06    
Ok, let us say that the world class age span in climbing is 13 - 50 as they have all done 9a's and this makes climbing unique nevertheless as a physical sport.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 13:04:46    
by my definition "world-class" is the performance that the worlds best athletes in a sport are able to. in climbing that would be 9a+/9b. not 9a. no 13 OR 50 year old can keep up with patxi, chris, adam, ramon etc. not even close. i would estimate that the true age span lies between 17-18 and 35. which is not so different from other sports. so 13 year olds are able to compete with the best females...which brings us back to swimming, doesn't it? ;-)
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 14:34:10    
So please give examples of other physical sport can perform just below world class being 13 - 50 years old or doing 8b being a 9 year old girl? Have you ever seen a 13 year old or a 50 year old swimmer just behind the best?
OffLine grubber
  2011-10-27 15:06:38    
I can't believe how you DARE ask other people to back up their arguments!
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 15:43:49    
@grubber: it's ok. because it's actually pretty easy. Inge Sorensen of Denmark is the youngest athlete to win a medal in an
individual event. She won bronze in the 200 meter breaststroke at the
1936 Games in Berlin at the age of 12 years. A MEDAL!!! not "close" to the top. Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_is_the_youngest_historic_athlete_in_Olympic_games#ixzz1bzOz4A00 which btw backs up my earlier argument, that climbing is a relatively young sport..comparable to swimming in the 1930s :-)
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 15:46:23    
oh let's not forget male competitors: ian thorpe: At the age of 14, he became the youngest male ever to represent Australia, [5] and his victory in the 400 metre freestyle at the 1998 Perth World Championships made him the youngest ever individual male World Champion. [6]
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 15:49:50    
There are several sports beside swimming where children similar to climbers perform world class...but we are talking age span not the youngest as you seems to think. Have you ever seen a 50 year old challenge the best in swimming and please do not bring up Berlin 1936.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 15:57:38    
hehehe. this is unbelievable. but i should have known :-) no. but i haven't seen a 50 year old climber challenge the BEST either. and do not tell me that manolo or stevie haston could challenge adam or chris. it's just not true. and why not berlin? back then, competitive swimming was about 30 years old. like climbing today.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-27 17:16:18    
http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_Couture        this dude was the mma world camp at age 45 i think.. so not world class..  but the BEST..in what i belive is one of the most complex and though sports out there...   so i guess he could be world class level for a lot of years to come..  And the genderthing in swimming i would guess has something to do with handsize..  and that it is a pure powersports where weight does not matter..  soo..  the guys are gonna be a lot faster. a..  i just read that after ca- 45 years you start to loose musclemas, and this happens the most in the legs..  soo,,  if you train climbing i would guess you would not lose so much streght in the ypper body, but loose weight in the legs..  maybe this is why they can performe for a longer time:)  
OffLine JooonasS
  2011-10-27 19:13:51    
the oldest World Champion in swimming was Mark Warnecke (2005 / 35 years).Im not sure about climbing, but I bet the oldest here was younger!
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 19:23:38    
I must say that I do not understand why you all fight so hard to say I am wrong that climbing is uniqe. Do you not think climbing is unique? @ Jonas: I guess you know that 95 % of the top climbers do not compete. Further more, the article refers to "rock" climbing.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 20:20:02    
because i think that climbing (in it's physical aspects - as a sport) is not that unique at all. and i believe it is a bit arrogant towards other sports to claim that it is. climbings uniqueness comes from other aspects. not the ones mentioned in the article. nature, travelling, mental aspects, etc. make climbing different from other activities. this is only my opinion, of course.
OffLine JooonasS
  2011-10-27 20:32:54    
Jens, I knew that you would come up with that. So, any 50-year -olds out there climbing as hard as Ondra and Sharma? even 35 year olds?What makes climbing unique are the factors that fridolin mentioned, not age, gender or anything similar...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-27 20:53:33    
Sasha Digulian could be consider at least Top-20 of the male in the world when it comes to rock climbing. Please give similar examples from other sport. Do the same thing when it comes to Adam Ondra, being #1 when it comes to 1 move boulders as well as 500 meters MP that takes a full day to climb. @ Fridolin: Why is it not arrogant to say that climbing is unique when it comes to nature, travelling, mental aspects etc... I mean I could give you a whole list that are similar as climbing, just take skiing. @ Jonas: The 50 year old climbers challenge the best more than in any other physical sport.
OffLine fridolin sent
  2011-10-27 21:17:24    
you are right, jens. it probably is arrogant of me to claim that. so i would like to take that back. climbing doesn't have to be unique. it probably isn't. in no aspect. and believe it or not...i like it just as much.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-27 21:31:51    
One point of the age thing is at there are a lot of guys getting into climbing after they stopped doing regular sports. I mean I know tons off people in their 20 and 30is training like pros to get better. I dont see this dedication in other sports, there is a trend in norway now that a lot of older dudes are getting into long distanse skiing and biking, and training hard for this.. but i think this is uniqe in climbing. And the fact that climbing is very tecnical, so i would guess if you have been climbing for 40 years your technical aspect would be very awsome. And like has been sead the uniqe thing about climbing is the lifestyle, people, travelig etc. and the fact that it is what i belive we are built to do:) And the fact that is f..ìn awsome!..but I guess you would find the same in things like being a skibum, or surfer.. maybe yoga.. Its fun things to do that people get very psyked over, and there is no competition... And we are not fighting with you, since you have not given any reason to WhAt makes climbing uniqe... Since I studie sport it would be kind of stupid if i dont belive any of the research that has been done on humen respons to activity for the last hundred of years.. its like being a doctor and not beliving in painkillers, no have this orange.. it much better... or something like that.. Its like there IS a reason why... we just dont know it yet.. what most here are doing is being logical... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRRTuCCIKaE 61 years old!!
OffLine MarlonLeroy
  2011-10-28 09:29:30    
I think it is really stupid to make comments like climbing is unique.It is ignorant AND arrogant because every sport is unique.I personally have much more respect for gymnastics,in my opinion much more complex and crazy than climbing.Kajak,surfing,wave riding athletics and thousand other sports are so demanding.To me dear Jens it sounds rather like that you have complexes concerning climbing and want to compensate them.I find it extremely poor that you try to put climbing above other sports.Now i understand why people on thid board are getting so often mad about you.Because you are saying an awful lot of rubbish.And in climbing like in most other sports are best between 16 and 30.Just look at the competition scene.UHhhhhhhhh.How unique!!!
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-28 09:43:05    
I am trying to put climbing above other sports as you do with gymnastics. I am simply just saying that climbing is unique when it comes to performing with a broad age span. So please, have you aver heard about 9 - 50 year old in other sport that can challenge the best. I do not understand why I can have that opinion without getting you and others irritated. I do not get irritated as you say you have more respect for gymnastics.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-10-28 10:10:32    
I think Jens ideas suffer largely from possitive emotional bias. Certainly climbing is unique, the variation of styles is amazing and the spirit of the sport is very special to us climbers. On the other side, every sport is unique in it's very way that is the point of sport, two activities very related would be called styles or branches within the same sport...  In my opinion it is, however, important to be clear about definitions. If you state 8b and forth as top-level for all climbing  then very many people would fit in the top, reinforcing the idea of uniqueness of climbing related to top-results.  The problem is that, by definition, there can be not many results considered to be "top of the line". As some have pointed out, and if we, as Jens does here, disregard gender or age, nowadays top-level activities appear to be (Jens excludes bouldering and competition-climbing so I stay with that) Sport climbing onsight = 8c to 8c+ (the same goes actually for flashing routes) Sport climbing redpoint = 9b (9a 2nd go) That significantly reduces the quantity of individuals, age-span and gender consideration in the uniqueness idea but still there is an issue.  As we climbers carry our bodyweight through the whole activity it means that the strength-to-bodyweight ratio is an important issue in climbing. There is an obvious difference between children/youngsters weighting under 35-40 kilo and older climbers.  Of course there are a couple of climbers that perform at the very top despite higher BMI but this kind of things happen in many sports. For example Usain Bolt was considered an outsider in 100m regarding the ideal biotype (body measuremants), there are more, but the common thing is that it seems to be pretty unique individuals in each sport.  In fact weight is so important that many climbers use dieting as a way of improving their climbing, some obtain amazing results during a couple of seasons and then "dissapear" from the top-scene. Then they explain thar they were "injuried" but there is seldom a real comeback at the very top after healing the "injury". There should be a serious consideration of making weight categories and/or introducing the term "weight-doping" but of course it is just a thought as it is completely impossible to actually carry out such divissions. The mere suggestion of BMI recomendations here in 8a created a debate of epic proportions.  I believe that not following a structured program is the case of most people at any sport, including "mainstream" sports. Regarding this climbing is mainstream, not unique. The specialisation issue is truly amazing as some climbers display very high performances (althoug not top if you consider the above statement for elite performances in sport climbing, which happens to be the only consideration by Jens here...), but might be a proof of the contrary. Climbing is a sport for amateurship. Should much more money enter the sport then proper developement of training would probably follow and we might see true specialists in each discipine. This rather tells us that we are at the amateur stage and that there is a large potential for improvements. But then training for elite climbers would become programmed and controlled of course, not very unique indeed. For me climbing is unique in other means, but I regard Jens arguments as mainly subjective and very logical, as he loves the sport so much. Even loving our own sport doesn't sound very unique though...
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-10-28 10:18:58    
Superfast checkup comes up with a couple of 50+ elit athletes: Boxing - Larry Holmes last won match at age of 53 (Now in boxing Hall of fame) Horse Racing - Bill Shoemaker retired at age of 58, took his 11th triple crown four years earlier at age of 54 (!) Nascar - Harry Gant, won sprint Cup in Michigan at age of 52 Ice Hockey - Gordie Howe retired at age 52 and still in top-shape, made comeback for a single game (not in top-shape though at age 69) Soccer - Sir Stanley "Wizard of the dribble" Matthews  - played in top-leagues into his 50's And I guess if you take a step down in each separate sport you can find a lot of people that are almost in the top that are pretty old. But for myself I think Climbing as a competiotion-form is way too young to draw any conclusions from. But hey, I dont really care either, its fun anyway =)
OffLine Ola Jönsson
  2011-10-28 11:42:20    
@Jens You can add golf to the comparison, I guess just as unique as climbing.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-28 11:47:22    
My article refers to "physical" sports and I do not include Golf, Horse racing or Nascar etc. Most of the time, arguments on forums are based on misunderstandings :)
OffLine MarlonLeroy
  2011-10-28 12:10:15    
Yes Jens,you are always right,just misunderstood.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-28 12:16:13    
If I clearly write, " Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports..." and people say I am wrong by giving examples of non-physical sports like Golf etc, clearly it is a mis-understanding.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-28 12:40:42    
I gave you two examples of two physical sport with older competitors with world class performance.. MMA which in the same way as climbing is very tecnical, but also even more physical.. The fact that you have younger people in high level has been explaind in the sense of the mouseelefant effect.  You say in the topic that you what ¨any further examples or thoughts¨, and then you get offended when people do this? and like a asked, what do you think is the reason that climbing is totaly uniq as you say. Is it just uniq and thats it? dont you think there is a reason for climbing being uniq in the factors you say? there is a reason for everything! And i just looked at the +35 ranking and i cant really see much of world class level:)  there are a few that can perform with the best, but since, like has been pointet out climbing is a very young sport, and that a few can climb hard at older ages i dont see that strange.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-10-28 12:53:48    
For me its not obvious where to draw the line between physical and
non-physical sports, but boxing, hockey and soccer should count at
least? And when it comes to structured training, this was the case even with x-contry skiing 50-60 years ago (a sport I also would call physical), none of the athletes (maybe with a few exceptions) did actully train after a program, they were as we today call it "life-style"-skiers. But when money comes into the picture, possibilities to get funds for structured traning increases and the sport undergoes a development into more hard-core specialists. As for the example, you cannot be a "life-style" cross-country skier today and still be amongst the best. 
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-10-28 12:59:59    
... and of course when it comes to specialization ... the ones who are sprinters in cross country are also in the top when it comes to 50km. In that way its similar to climbing, but that for sure is more a result of the fact that "sprint" is a young sport indeed and in the future it will probably not be the case that the same men and women who are fastest will be able to compete at the 50km-races.
OffLine finbarrr
  2011-10-28 13:43:39    
@everyone: thanks! great laugh! where to start?here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unique :  being the only one highpoint:"I must say that I do not understand why you all fight so hard to say I am wrong that climbing is uniqe. Do you not think climbing is unique?" when all the repliers have pointed out that climbing is in fact not "the only one" in any of the five categories. a positive bias unhindered by reality or reason
OffLine Ola Jönsson
  2011-10-28 16:15:06    
If you can compensate the physical aspect of a sport with technical skill or vice versa then you will have this situation. In some sports you can not do that thus you can not have a big age span where you are world class. In climbing you can, but from the posts above I would say that climbing is not unique in this way.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-28 16:43:48    
@ Jimmy: Cross country is also interesting but we are talking 2 minutes and 2 hours. In climbing we are talking 20 seconds and 10 hours. @ Anderl: Please, in horse riding and Nascar you are of course mainly depending on another engine.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-10-28 16:59:19    
I dont think i ever read anything as stupid as this! Ever tried motorsport Jens? If not... just shut the fuck up!
OffLine Ola Jönsson
  2011-10-28 17:05:43    
@Jens I can tell you now nothing about motorsports. You have to be extremely fit to drive to be able to have that focus during a couple of hours. More so than a lot of other "physical sports"
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-28 18:42:13    
In MP climbing you climb a sport climb, rest, then climb one more and so on..  so its not 10 hours of work. And if your a sportclimber at a high level your body will be very good at restitution, and i guess you are talking about Adam Ondra? he will be able to do this for a long time. I dont know the difficulty of the MP he has done but, I dont think its 9b to 9a to 9b etc? The bouldering to sport is not very strange, you just need to be a strong ass boulderer with an good anaerobic thresh hold, laktat tolerance etc.. there is no contradiction, but its hard to train for both.. but i guess you are talking about pro climbers, and they have the time to train for both. Like when you see paxi train.. it takes a lot of effort and pain..  but i dont see the uniqeness...   Tor Hushov f. eks is prim. a sprinter, but he has also done it very well in the overall game (tour de france). And this is a ooold sport that has come a lot longer than climbing in the case of training for different roles. And you still has`nt sead anything about what makes (the physical aspect of) climbing so uniqe. Or the fact that i linked a video of a 61 year old dude that is like 4 sek slower than a 20 something roidmonster in pure strengh...   or the mma eks..  And horseraceing is very physical to what i know.
OffLine João Neto
  2011-10-28 20:15:18    
Sometimes it feels on this website that anything Jens says is automatically to be disputed with a bit of violence and lots of irritation. The article is a bit overstated, but you are stretching your arguments a bit just for the sake of the argument. Looks a bit like duck shooting. Someone wrote about the decathlon. A decathlon athlete excels on various disciplines but would not be able to compete in just one of his disciplines. I woud say Ondra is world class in single move boulders and world class in 90m redpoints.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-28 20:58:34    
@ Joao: Thanks...and Ondra has done one of the hardest MP in the world. In motor sports, I have never heard about a 13 year old challenging the best. As we are talking age span, it is of no interest that you can be 50 year old using some kind of motor as a 13 year old do not have a driving license. Please once more, we are talking age span...
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-28 21:44:08    
ok. Climbing is uniqe.  You can train whatever pops in to your head and be the world champ. And if you feel like it you just need to train 20 sessions a year to stay the best, becouls you will get to the same level so fast. And if you just do this you will be able to be the best in all the different types of climbing... and if you are 9 years old and world class this sound like a very good job... 
OffLine Kevin Baker
  2011-10-29 00:07:32    
Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports totally unique on the following parameters. Gender : Some female almost at male top level Do the ascents of the 9a grade by three women in any way represent climbing at "almost male top level"? 9a was climbed 20 years ago, 9b 10 years ago (possibly longer, with Akira), and now 9b+ seems to represent the absolute top level of outdoor climbing.  I would argue that 9a in no way represents difficulty near the "male top level", since hundreds of such ascents have been done. 9b seems much closer to the "male top level", and I would think that none of these routes would be accessible to any woman climber at this point in time. It's simply an indisputable fact that no female climber can perform at "almost" (very vague term really) the level of the top male climbers, whether in sport climbing, bouldering, or competition climbing, and to argue otherwise is to ignore reality. Age span : World class between 9-50 years See above.... Stevie Haston approaches "world class" with his sport climb FA of 9a+ (unconfirmed). I cannot think of any 9 (or 10 or 12, for that matter) year olds who have approached "world class" in any climbing  discipline, but certainly have in other pusuits, such as gymnastics and swimming. George Foreman won a heavyweight title bout at 46(?). Torres won a silver medal in swimming at 41 I believe, and is training for the next Olympics. Also, look at the climbing comps: any of these 9 or 50 year olds threatening a podium spot in any climbing discipline against the best? No. Specialization : Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches Yes, Adam Ondra is very unique. Training : Most just climb without a programme Most? I wonder where this information comes from. I believe I recently read that Ondra attributes his recent gains in strength to campusing (ie. training). Did he not say he campuses Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, week in and week out? Even the anti-training Sharma was doing mono hangs in preparation for the routes he does.... I think  most who have pushed the standards in the past (Moffat, Gullich, Yaniro, Watts, Bernabe, Rouhling etal) trained incredibly hard, with the current crop (Ramonet, Usobiaga RIP) raising this approach to any professional athlete's level. Comeback : 20 sessions after 1 year break makes you often equally good I have no idea where this comes from, and how other athletic pursuits would compare. Interesting discussion though. I think what Ondra is doing will be the "new norm" in some time, making everything being done today rather pedestrian. Such is the evolution of any new sport!
OffLine John Meget
  2011-10-29 06:06:01    
Excellent post, Kevin.  On the specialization point: I think it shows us how similar the various climbing disciplines are.  The movements/strengths/abilities required in sport climbing, bouldering and MP are not all that different. That is why climbers can do so well in all of them. Climbing is not unique in that.  A number of swimmers have performed at the world level in several events.  Eric Heiden won all the gold medals (5) in the 1980 speed skating Olympics, everything from 500 meters (sprint) to 10,000 meters (endurance).  Even in track & field, some athletes are world-class in the short sprint, the long sprint and the long jump.  (And you could probably add the 400 to that as well.)  Reason in all cases is the same.  The activities are similar enough that excelling in one makes it possible and even likely to excel in the others. The rudeness to Jens is completely uncalled for.      
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-29 09:51:00    
@ Kevin: Sasha Digulian can currently be ranked within Top-10 of the male when it comes to endurance routes and the same goes for Josune Bereziartu 10 years ago. Please give examples of other female who are ranked Top-10 in physical sports. Age-span: My examples are based on the discipline rock climbing. Training: Ondra or Sasha are normally not doing any organized training. Often Ondra did prepare climbing endurance on rock and yet he won the Boulder comps. Sasha had not done any boulder preparations before she was #2 in the boulder world championship.  If you would like to go around saying that climbing is an average sport, that is OK for me. I think rock climbing is unique ;) @ John: Your skating examples takes 40 seconds to 14 minutes... Ondra is best from everything 1 moves to 1000 moves.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-29 13:41:29    
this discussion is just pointless. Like we are not taking about the same thing. You are listing some observasions that happens in climbing (some more true than others), and we are trying to come up with the reason why this is so, and then you say no thats not the reason to every single idee, and there is quite a few here now. And of course climbing is unique, every sport is unique. thats why there are different sports, swimming is very uniqe, you are in water? or gymnastics, you can win a gold medal in the olympics at age 13, soccer is very uniqe since you are kicking a ball around . But to think that climbing does not ably to the physical laws of training, or evolution in performance i think is just very stupid. Do you really think we have figured it all out? And to say shit like..  please..  bla bla..  is like saying..  omg. i cant belive you are that stupid..  and ¨if you would like to go around saying bla bla¨, i think is being an ass and rude. Nowbody has sead climbing is an ¨average sport¨, this has nothing to do with what people are saying. And what do you what to get out of posting this when nowbody, in not one of the 50 posts in this tread has any good point?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-29 15:25:31    
If I am talking age span and you and others are giving examples of sports where you can be either very young or very old this is not the same as rock climbing where you can be both very young and very old and still be challenging the best. So I can just agree on what you are saying, "Like we are not taking about the same thing." I repeat, I talk age span not just a sport where you can be either very young or very old. It is of course impossible to discuss to subjects at the same time.
OffLine Kevin Baker
  2011-10-29 19:37:01    
@ Kevin: Sasha Digulian can currently be ranked within Top-10 of the male when it comes to endurance routes and the same goes for Josune Bereziartu 10 years ago. Please give examples of other female who are ranked Top-10 in physical sports. Sasha Digiulian " can" be ranked in the top 10 male climbers when it comes to endurance oriented routes (the criteria tighten!), if you really want to, but to do so would be rather silly, since: 1. climbing has no official international ranking committee (much less an objective set of criteria for such a committee to base its decisions on); 2. if 50 of the best male "endurance oriented" climbers competed against Sasha in a venue of your choosing, where would she place? Yes indeed. BTW, I have immense respect for Sasha's climbing exploits, and in no way should my cogitations be taken as any type of personal dismissal of her (or any woman's!) incredible talents! I just think Jens' proclamations are a bit off base. Furthermore, Josune was my hero. Age-span: My examples are based on the discipline rock climbing. No idea what you are saying here.... Training: Ondra or Sasha are normally not doing any organized training. Often Ondra did prepare climbing endurance on rock and yet he won the Boulder comps. Sasha had not done any boulder preparations before she was #2 in the boulder world championship.  Firstly, remember that you initially stated " most just climb without a programme "; I think we all see this is patently false. But now that you've narrowed it down to 2 yes two (!) individuals, at least we have a potential point of agreement.  Or do we? I previously mentioned that Ondra stated that he campuses three days a week, and that this has made him stronger. Would you classify campusing as "training"? Would you classify his 3 day a week bouldering sessions as "training"? What exactly qualifies as "training"? I used to lift weights so my bench press would increase; I was doing it for fun and my bench press increased! Was it "training"? I have no idea about Sasha's training history. For all we know, she was a disciplined training freak at some point in her history. This point has been belabored before, but I'll repeat it once more: Climbing is a sport that conforms to similar physiological principles as any other strength/weight/skill sport. In professional cycling, one can predict quite accurately how riders will place based on watts produced per kilogram of bodyweight. I think similar metrics can be used to predict climbing performance, with particular emphasis on finger strength/endurance per kilogram of bodyweight. If you would like to go around saying that climbing is an average sport, that is OK for me. I think rock climbing is unique ;) rock climbing is as unique as any other sport. It happens to be my pursuit of passion, but I have as much respect for any other discipline that others choose to pursue.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-29 19:55:59    
ok..  I can agree that I dont on top of my head can think of other sports where you have both. But like has been pointed out this prob. is becouls we have not reached the top level yeat. So this difference will even out in time, and not get even bigger, as you suggest. And since you think there is something in climbing that is uniqe in this sense there has to be a reason for this? why do you think this?  And what about the other points you make? like the training, witch is the one i most dissagre on. I cant see what it is in climbing thats makes it different from the way all other sport work. The fact that climbing is still a young sport, like the amateur sports in the typ. 30ìs, where if where a prof. (if you had the same activity as a job, or got paid to do it) you where not allowd to compeat. Like if you where a fisherman, you could not comp. in rowing, becouls this was was your job and you where a profesional. When being prof. got to be the norm. and people startet thinking about what they could do to get better the performance has exploded. ergo training systematic and optimal to get the most improvment in the shortest time..  And the comeback thing i see in sense of the tecnical aspect, and if you have been training for many years your base will be able to do this maybe one time. But the biggest point of getting to a top level in sports is that you train optimal for many years, and never let up. I dont see how this is uniqe in climbing. And what is your thouts on this. As to whY. And if this is common in climbing as you know, the fact that the level is not at its top yeat only proves this. I can give you some thought that can help you, since it takes a longer time to get your tendons and stuff addopted to climbing, compared to getting stronger muscles this can be a reason why you would not loose this aspect, and then you can get the musles as strong fast again. But there is no point in discussing this if you give no input as to  why you think the things you think and just say that everything is wrong. I have given stuff like this a lot of though, and many are interested in finding out why..  And before we have some smart dudes doing studies on it we can only speculate.
OffLine Caio Tombini
  2011-10-30 11:55:56    
     Well I think lots of examples were given that prooves that your argument is wrong Jeans, the best thing about a forum is not winning the discussion but learning from it. And I learned something: that climbing is really unique because of the grading system. It allows all kind of perspectives and opnions because it just a social construction.   Besides that it is unique as any other sport, including motorsports. If you watch Airton Senna`s movie he says that he felt God during the race, his gear box broke and he had just 1 or 2 gears to finish (dont remember exatly) and exausted declared that he won because god was with him. I guess he thinks that car racing is unique So how can we, as climbers, could dare to say that our sport is more unique than any other?          Grading is important too the profissionalization of the sport, to make it generate money. For the brands and sponsorship. The most I climb the less I understand about grading system. I`ve tried 6b harders than 6c+, 7a`s easier than 6c, 7c+ harder than 8a.... I guess the grade is based on the guy that opened the route, if they want it to be frequented or not, if they worrie about if someone can downgrade it or not and finally depends on who tries it. The possibilits of moves is probably the biggest between all human activities and I guess that is what makes so hard to make a standard grade.      So maybe the 8c+ sasha made in rode or the 9a she did back home are 8c and 8c+, maybe not. How to know exatly? Most of climbers are not (!) in 8a.nu, its just a group that not necesserily represents the climbing comunity. Maybe Chilam Balam is 9b+, but like Ondra can climb 80 meter roof without getting pumped the final boulder didnt look very hard. Those are just examples of possibilities to show that we are just begining to rockclimb, that is why everything leads to discussion, because ther is not studies to make the grade something cientific. The other sports have cientific results to proove who is the best, the faster, the stronger, the efective....  Rock climbing is not a competitive sport, and I hope it will never be, like grading is not precise and will never be. That is why you can not compare it with any other sport.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-30 12:52:29    
Of course, every sport is unique in one way. It seems you think I have said it is more unique to other sports but read the article where I say, "unique on the following parameters". I do not say that climbing is best or in general unique but I mention some parameters. So once again, some base their post on misunderstandings. I of course respect that different persons have different opinions, and learn from them, Sometime I share mine opinion as I have done on 8a for 12 years. It might be that Sasha is #100 in the world and that her routes are just 8b, but this is not my opinion.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-30 13:29:25    
¨If you would like to go around saying that climbing is an average sport, that is OK for me. I think rock climbing is unique ;)¨ ¨I do not say that climbing is best or in general unique but I mention some parameters. So once again, some base their post on misunderstandings.¨
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-30 13:37:42    
The first paragraph in the article which has been mainly questioned as some did not read the words "physical" and "parameters". "Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports totally unique on the following parameters." And yes, of course climbing as every sport is unique.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-30 16:21:32    
I think it is interesting that climbing differs from other sports on the five parameters I have mentioned and I thought it would be a great idea to share this. I am sorry you think I am writing confusing articles. I just try my best as I have done since I started 8a in 1999.
OffLine Sune Hermit
  2011-10-31 10:58:54    
So, to summerize: you think all sports are unique, but think perhaps climbing is uniquely unique?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-31 11:10:20    
I have only given examples of five (5) unique parameters for rock climbing. Of course all sports are unique in some ways.
OffLine louis de cornulier
  2011-10-31 14:10:45    
I have
tried to think it over before answering, and I am still pretty unsure about
what to think. Let’s take
the five points one after the other.

Gender: I
agree that some women have made outstanding performances, narrowing the gap
between best male and female performance. I can think of 4 names: Bereziartu,
Lavarda, DiGuilian and of course Hill in her time. The gender
difference is in raw power only, so the comparison is a bit weird here. I have
no idea about the type of climb of Bimbaluna, Logical progression, and Pure
Imagination, so I am not going to say these were only technical routes. I’ll just
say that climbing allows many types of performances, where the physical aspect
is clearly not paramount. So, although a physical sport, it is not in its
physical aspect that the best females compete and beat the best males. Can we
think of famous 8b+/8c (and above) pure power routes opened or repeated by a
female?
Age span? I
can think of Jannie Longo in cycling, and that is a perfect example of a physical
sport. Not knowing any exact figure makes it difficult to find examples, but I
can’t recall any that I would have heard of in the news over the past 5 years,
so in most mainstream sports it seems not to be the case, and climbing stands
out as a physical activity where you can make remarkable performances
regardless of your age. The reason
I can see for this is: young people have a very high power/weight ratio, and a
lack of lactic acid, as well as a naturally greater flexibility, and smaller
fingers and feet, allowing them to take advantage of a greater number of holds
on the rock. On the
other hand, the veterans have incredible technical skills, which they can make
use of in order to rest better on a route and find technical solutions to a
problem rather than powering through it as could do a younger, fitter and less
smart climber. This is
true, however, only on certain types of climbs: certain Frankenjura routes,
short and bouldery, with only few intermediates, are probably not likely to
allow the youngest and oldest climbers to perform as well as the typical sport
climber in its 20s. So I guess the age span parameter is true, but only on a
certain type of routes: technical/endurance routes.

Specialization:
Let’s clear something up. You said several times that 500m MP are a 10-hour
effort. No. They are 40 routes with 39 total rests (however uncomfortable) in
between. I would also like to point out that after bringing this point forward
you say you are talking about rock climbers, not boulderers. So? What do we
compare? What you have in mind here is pretty obvious to anyone and we all
agree with you on this one, Adam Ondra is outstanding in every discipline of climbing,
no question of that! I can think of a few other who have clearly demonstrated
how polyvalent they could be: Iker Pou, Tommy Caldwell, Gullich… considering
how much climbing depends on technical skills, I am not surprised to see
certain climbers manage to perform so well. In swimming you have that one guy
who arrives and leaves with practically every gold medal available… In
gymnastics you have competitors who win both overall and one discipline. That’s
just the same isn’t it? Or you can take tracks, where clearly you have runners
who perform great both on sprint and endurance. (or endurance and long
endurance, whatever…). Take the example of tennis. It was the 2009 Wimbledon male
final between Federer and Roddick. After 5 sets and 3hrs of intense effort,
Roddick was still capable of serving at its best, 220km/h. So it
appears you can excel both in endurance and pure power in other sports than
rock climbing.

Training:
This is preposterous. Find me a single 8c climber who never hanged on a campus
board. Come on… Besides, you compare amateurs with competitors, since there is
no rock climbing competition and you say you speak only about outdoor rock
climbing. If you compare what are comparable, ie competitive athletes, I’d be
surprised to learn any of the WC finalists over the past year doesn’t have a
training program, however sketchy…
Comeback:
cannot judge that, never stopped that long and am not a world class climber. My
only thought is: 20 sessions is quite a lot, we are talking at the very least
5-6 weeks here, so a whole month and a half to get back in shape after a 1-year
break doesn’t sound too fast after all. Didn’t one of the Williams sister do
just that not too long ago?

Don’t I
agree climbing is unique? Of course I do! Do I think it
is because of this 5 points? You have my answer J
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-31 15:30:15    
@ Louis: Good thoughts but it seems you forgot that 1. Endurance can be considered a physical challenge when it comes to the gender issue. 2. Regarding age span, the youngsters can squeeze in more fingers in 1- and 2-finger pockets in Frankenjura. 3. Specialization: Ondra is the best when it comes to execute 1 move during 1 second as well as hanging around for 60 minutes on an onsight and also multi-pitch climbing. I am afraid that your examples do not come close to this. 4. Training: Meanwhile other athletes follow a programme 90 % of the time for several time. Ondra and others mainly just climb and maybe 10 % do some structured training. Ondra did this for the first time before Arco and he just thought that he was weaker than normally. However, mainly I agree on what you say :)
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-31 18:16:36    
This will be my last forum thing now for a while, but from time to time i cant help myself. Just answer me this one question. That is more likely; I) That by pure chance the most effective way of training for climbing is just climbing. Even thow this is not the case in every single other sport in the world. That f. eks the fact that you will gain the most strenght with a max. load of 4-12RM, get the most muscle endurance gain by training with higher reps. Working different types of endurance like pump (laktic acid tolerace), anarobic thresh hold, building more blood vessels and the fact that you have to work at different int. to work the different aspects. Training different aspects during different times in the year, like big load off season, and high intesity in season. Planing to have a top in form before competition and the way they train for this in other sport. By planing the exact load, int and all the else to make this as perfect as can be. Focus on nutrition (also part of haveing org. training) to make you have a perfect fat % at the right time, and gaining losing weight in a optimal way. working on mental training as other top athletes do. Some even calculate the exact time they spend in differt sones of weight training, like 3sec in 98%max. to get the absolutt presice amount of load at the right time in there training and whatever. OK..  +1000 more things. and 1000 more advansed than what i just sead. Dr. 8a could prob. fill in some pages of stuff like this.    Do you think that all of this factors just randomly fits perfect into climbing, to make just climbing (for everyone) the best form of training? And do you think paxi does not have a qlue as to what he was doing? and would be just as good if he just went to the gym and did whatever. And i belive you yourself has written some article about traing light endurance training and pump training, and had some opinion about this. Are you not allowd to write it down? This is some form of org. training.  II; that climbing has not yet come to the level where everybody has to train perfect in order to get to the highest level? And as paxi says; the other climber are really talentet so they dont need to train as hard, and can just climb and have fun and still be world class.  And you still havent gives any reason as to why you think what you do. And as i sead this discusion is pointless before you do..  you just give resons as to why we are wrong. Gives us the right answer then! it seems that everybody is in perfect harmoni about this, exept you..heh..  does`nt that make to think?    
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-10-31 19:01:08    
1. I agree that from a pure physicological aspect, it is best to train somewhat you suggest. But I think why a "just climbing" approach works better for many of the best relates to motivation and anxiety. I have throughout my 20 years as a coach met so many who has followed a programme 100 % and then they have stopped for a period because they are just fed up. I Think, iIn the long run, it is the life style approach that are most succesful. But do not get me wrong, if I personally would focus everything on finger strength for  period I would be a better climber compared to just my having fun approach. 2. I do not understand.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-31 20:05:10    
Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports totally unique on the following parameters. Gender : Some female almost at male top level Age span : World class between 9-50 years Specialization : Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches Training : Most just climb without a programme Comeback : 20 sessions after 1 year break makes you often equally good What do you think is the reason for this? you gave the one on training now. what about the rest.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-10-31 20:05:23    
..
OffLine louis de cornulier
  2011-11-01 01:07:50    
As for the specialization issue, which is actually a power Vs endurance issue, I can't think of any other individual sport where you don't count something: how long, how far, how high. In rock climbing, there is no being the fastest, or the strongest, there is making it to the top, by whatever means, or failing to do so. In climbing you can take rests, if you can find any. How many other sports offer that? So the specialization parameter is in my opinion flawed, because we compare with other endurance sports where the best are selected by how fast they perform, while it is pointless in climbing. So as much as it is amazing to me that some climbers are able to outstand the competition in every aspect of our sport, I can't accept your argument. On the other hand, that is what makes rock climbing special to me. Climbing is achieving something completely, and in your own way. There may be a best, or easiest method, but whatever fits you is OK, if that's what you like and it works for you. I love it because it is absolutely personal, I love it because you can remember how wonderful a move felt, even a month after you actually made it. It is unique to me because it is as much a sport as it is a way of expressing myself. Probably other people feel the same way about other sports, but to me it is climbing, and that's what makes it special to me.
OffLine Kevin Baker
  2011-11-01 02:03:00    
Climbing is in comparison to other physical sports totally unique on the following parameters. Gender : Some female almost at male top level Age span : World class between 9-50 years Specialization : Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches Training : Most just climb without a programme Comeback : 20 sessions after 1 year break makes you often equally good What do you think is the reason for this? you gave the one on training now. what about the rest. The problem is that every assertion above is incorrect, misleading, and/or a gross oversimplification, so I would suggest not asking for reasons until the assertions themselves are corrected. Even Adam Ondra, as the lone Specialization example, isn't "equally good" at the 3 disciplines noted.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-11-01 06:42:12    
one more thing:) like we are finally getting somewhere. Based on the def. you have given i agree with you on the training. Training like a pro athlete is not something that is for everyone, and there is only a few % that can take it. But for some the motivation is being the absolutt best they can be, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get there. like when you see paxi win the WC in progression, have you ever seen a person this happy? for some this is the motivation they need to train for years on end. But for the major. of climber a lifestyle approach will get them the most out of climbing, and maybe also the best progression, since they dont quit. The fact that most pro athletes cant train like this after about 40 years old is based on that their bodyies cant take it anymore, like we see for paxi now..  But he WAS the best!! and this is the first generation of climbers that train like this, so this is just the start. And from what he/they have done we can build on in years to come. My point is; that in the furture you will have to train like this to be the best, couls more climbers are doing it, and the road to getting to be the best is gonna get longer, so the really talentet climber that just climb for fun are gonna be left behind. Like the Adam Ondras of the world training like Paxi from the age of 6, with even more perfect training priniples than paxi uses. What i belive is the best approach for most climbers that what to get better, but dont plan on winning the WC og climb 9b+ or higher, is training somewhat org. during the winter, when you are indoors anyway, and then climbing just for fun during the summer. And training org. before trips and then just enjoying you trip with good food, beer, nice climbing and whatever. This is the way i train and i find it keeps me veeeery motivated (30 years old and more than ever) and progressing.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-01 13:04:50    
Here is one possible explenation for the uniquness parameters in rock climbing: Gender :  A.The finger muscle forearm is pretty much equal between female and male in comparison to other muscles. B. Male are heavier compared to female. C. Female have smaller fingers making it possible to sometimes squeeze three fingers in a two finger pocket. D. Foot steps feels bigger for a small foot. E. Female are often more flexible. Age span : The younger climber have the same advantages as female, see above. Further more, young climbers do not produce lactid acid as grown up. Regarding the older climbing performing equally as younger ones, it is actually harder to understand but it might show that tactical, technical and technical skill are equally important as physical skill
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-01 14:11:56    
Specialization : This is the hardest for me to understand that Ondra and others are more or less equally good doing 1 move cruxes as well as long endurance challenges. Like Sean McColl who will go bouldering as part of preperation for the next lead cup. Ondra has also often prepared for Boulder WC by challenge him on endurance onsights. Digulian who was #2 in boulder had only prepared with endurance climbing before the World Championship in Arco. One possible explenation how this is possible is of course that boulder WC's and Lead WC's are more or less challenging the same endurance. But when it comes to being equally strong executing 2-3 moves as 100 moves, it just might be that even the boulderers train so intense and often on longer problems that they have not peaked on power. Maybe it is possible for the boulder community to get much stronger if they just focused on 2-3 moves boulders taking longer rest in between. Any other ideas?
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-11-01 23:33:06    
Think this summes it up. But I think as the sport evolves the older guys are maybe gonna get somewhat stronger, or more tecnical. But there are gonna be problems and routes that will be graded even harder, so that the gap is gonna get bigger. Like long steep muscular stuff or something. But they can performe very good at tecnical slabs or something like that. And as for older guys i`m thinking of 50+.  As for kids i think maybe the young girls are gonna get even better than the older ones, but for boys they will reach there prime later. Like for gymnastics. Have tryed to find some research one this stuff, but with no luck. Like as to why 13 year old girls are the best..But i guess this have to do with young girls can be very light, and with a very low fat %, like boys, but after puberty they will gain more weigh, and not be able to compensate with strenght in the same way as boys. But the gap between girls and boys will still be shorter in climbing than in other sport based on stuff like fingersize, feetsize etc. and the fact that you can pick climbs that are equally hard grades but focus on other factors than pure strenght and one arm pullups:) crimpy long enduranse stuff with bad feet..  or stuff like that..      And as for specialization i agree, they are gonna get more specialized, but will still be able to perform well i bouth. The comeback thing can be true in lower level, but not at world class. Maybe 1 time is possible..  like the more years you have been working at high int. the longer you body will stay in form, but it is a fact that you loss performance faster than you gain it. And to keep getting better you have to stay consistent. This i also know from my own training.
OffLine Kevin Baker
  2011-11-02 21:59:31    
Cuz I'm an obsessive idiot! climbing is unique because of the following: Gender : Some female almost at male top level In track and field, women's records and men's records: 100 meters: 10.49 and 9.58. Almost the same level. Less than a second difference.. 200 meters: 21.34 and 19.19. Almost the same level. Less than two seconds. 110 hurdles: Women do 100 meters, 12.21, men at 110, 12.87. Almost the same level. I could go on to different sports, but I think this exemplifies the point adequately. Age span : World class between 9-50 years No 9 year old or 50 year old is at the current world class level, and would be even close to keeping up with the best in any discipline. Specialization : Some equally good at 1 move boulders - 40m onsight - 500m Multi Pitches Adam Ondra is the only one who fits this description. Training : Most just climb without a programme Patently false. Most of the top climbers train extensively. Comeback : 20 sessions after 1 year break makes you often equally good I wonder where the evidence is for this?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-02 23:36:42    
A male that run 21.34 in 200 meters is not even good at the national level. Climbing 9a is probably equivalent to running 200 meters in 20.00 seconds. And do not forget that the hardest trad, 8c+ has been done by a female, Beth Rodden. Lynn Hill was the first up on El cap etc. A 9 year old female has done 8b and a 50 year old guy has done 9a. To call this world class as I did is maybe wrong but no other sport come close to this age span for performing equally good. There are many more fitting in the description: Kevin Jorgeson, Alex Honnold, Iker Pou, Tommy Caldwell etc.   All top climbers train of course extensively but the unique thing that many of the best do not follow a programme. Instead they most of the time just climb. Of course no evidence for come back but many practical examples.
OffLine MarlonLeroy
  2011-11-03 08:03:45    
I am getting bored of your comments Jens. It´s obvious that you are clueless.Sad.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-03 08:44:54    
@Jens Just to understand if we are talking about the same subject here. Could you explain exactly which grades a climber should climb to be considered as world class?  You haven't stated any precise boundaries for your definition of world class, which actually is the ONLY point sustaining most of your statements.  Don't you think it is important to explain it so we can avoid keep missunderstanding you?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-03 09:44:13    
For Gender I wrote: Some female almost at male top level For Age span I change it to: Some 9 - 50 year old, almost at senior top level. The important thing is that in no other sport you can have such a wide age span being almost at the top level even, if the climbing age span is changed to 13 - 50 or so. This is unique for climbing.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-03 10:01:19    
I think you are missunderstanding the question above and thereby not defining the "top level" you state above. This is of key importance as it is the base of most of your satements here.   I meant, which grades should a climber do in order to consider her/his achievements as world class/top level. I mean could you describe in french grading exactly  the very top level of sport climbing in an absolute scale?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-03 10:26:18    
For me, to be almost at top level means that you should be able to redpoint 9a or onsight 8b+. This Adam Ondra did when he was 13 year old. Another example is a 9 year old girl who did 8b and onsighted 7c+. This is a very good result for a female.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-03 10:39:44    
You are still not answering the question. I did not ask what is "almost top level" or "very good result". I asked which is that top level, I would like to know if you are going to answer my question.  It might be worth to further discuss your personal opinion (the original statement) but it will be completely impossible to have a meaningful discussion if you aren´t able to define the discusions very matter. We cannot discuss if any achievement is truly world class if we do not discuss in relation to exactly what. Can we?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-03 10:57:08    
As I only say that "Some female almost at male top level" and that the same goes for 9 - 50 year olds I do not understand why we should exclude the almost ? Anyhow, if we exclude almost I would say world class/top level means 9a+ but you might have a different meaning. In no other sport, female and the age span 9-50 is as close to the top level as in rock climbing. Do you not agree?
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-03 12:35:46    
Well, that was an answer, thanks.  I believe top level is a dificult question ar there are more parameters than grade. I think that BMI, size, and the number of tries ar obvious things to take to account. In that sense kids, females and males aren't making the same kind of performances. Maybe the unique thing is that a variety of people, fom kids to female, senior and oldies can play around in the same routes (but not in the same conditions) In 100m and 200m for example the diference between male and female in world records, measured in percentage is the same at 10% of the running times (9.48/10.59 and 19.19/21.34).  Using your ranking system by points, the difference between outstanding Sasha D and Adam O is exactly the same, being 10% of the total points (12 629/14 000). So, if you regard Sasha's  result  as " almost" , then the same almost would perfectly fit in the 100 and 200 meter running comps. Not unique.  Furthermore, considering the ranking (though most of the top male climbers aren't represented) there are 3 females in the top 100 for routes and 2 for the bouldering scene. Muriel Sarkany being the 50th in routes and Melissa Le Neve 88th in bouldering. Considering the all time rankings the figure is the same for routes but there are no women among the 100 bes boulderers, unlikely the example in 100m. Not unique. Considering the best 100 times for 100m the figures are pretty close, as times achieved by florence Grifith.Joyner, Carmelita Jeter and Marion Jones had given them a place in any quarter finals in any olympic games in history. No diference here. If performances were so close it would be natural to recomend the IFSC to eliminate categories and thereby making the competition format much faster. Which in practice would deplete the podiums from kids and female. A handicap system would amend the diferences but it would probably be considered unfair. Even you have obiously found the need of female, junior and 35+ rankings pointing out that there are clear differences. I still   almost agree with you in the belief that climbing is kind of unique but not in that sense. 
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-03 22:16:46    
It seems you do not think that Ramonet 159 cm and Ondra 182 cm are not doing the same performance even if they do the same routes? That would be to say that Ato Boldon 195 cm is not doing the same performance as a 175 cm guy even if they both ran 100 meters 9.80 seconds. The 10 % comparison in 100 meters to the scorecard points seems to be a joke? As you are a trainer of a very succesful female in Sweden who actually was #3 in the swedish male championship I can not understand how you can not see the difference with how succesful female run 100 meters. If you, as a female, run 100 meters at 10.70 you will be ranked #1 in the world. Such a result for a male is not even close to be good even at a national level. In order to qualify for a quarter final you have to run much faster, probably around 10.30.
OffLine Roberto Bagnoli
  2011-11-04 01:13:46    
..simply, this mean only how much sport climbing can raise in the future years, as soon as it become similar to other professional sports. so we are living a raising period that in few years will lead progressively to new levels.. then, the "rules" of how can sport climbing (and a sport climber) can growth will become approximately similar to all the other sports. another point, we have to separate indoor competition climbing to outdoor recreational climbing.. they are almost two different activity. so climbing is more unique considering the recreational part of it. les unique in the competition one. in the end, all these topics must have been studied by serious research not trust on sensations.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-04 07:01:05    
Oh, sorry! You might actually be right Jens, I don't have a clue. The 10% thing might just be a side effect of the lobotomy I had las year. The surgeon called me yesterday telling me that he might have forgotten 10% of the brain left in my skull and we had to repeat the operation.  Nowadays I often mix things together and that might be the reason I got stuck with the 10% thing and climbing and birds, cheese and sugar peas. Anyway the doctors tell me I will be much happier without that 10% even if I will not be able to remember how to visit this site and bother people anymore. Sounds pretty good to me...
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-04 11:21:21    
About gender: Ondra have done 64 routes 9a or harder. 5 of these are graded 9b. Ramon have done 17routes 9a or harder. No female climber have done more than three 9a/a+ (two 9a and one 9a+). 
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-04 11:41:24    
@ Plast Ken: Please give a suggestion where "female are almost at top male level" in a physical sport. In climbing we have, Josune Bereziartu, Lynn Hill, Sasha Digiulian etc.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2011-11-04 13:23:55    
@Jens: Please shut up! At least try to read the posts in this thread! None of the female named above are anywere near the top male level! There´s a huge difference between climbing 60+ routes graded 9a or harder and just manage to climb a single one.
OffLine MarlonLeroy
  2011-11-04 13:30:34    
If men and women compete against each other women have no chances.Sorry to say so but that´s how it is. I don´t understand why you have to be so stubborn Jens because your arguments are really shallow.And you don´t have constantly to answer because you are always saying the same.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2011-11-04 16:05:48    
Lynn Hill was the first women to do El Cap. Beth Rodden has done the hardest trad route in the world, 8c+. Sasha could be considered as Top-10 to Top-20 in the world and the same goes for Josune Bereziartu some 10 years ago. For me, being Top-10, you are in fact in the male top level and being Top-20, you are almost there. In orde to prove me wrong, can you give examples of any other physical sport where female are closer to the top compared to the difference in climbing.
OffLine MarlonLeroy
  2011-11-04 17:03:33    
If it was so which it´s not it doesn´t speak for the sport of climbing.I can not see what´s so good if women are as good as men.For me it´s rather bad for climbing and is devaluating the sport.But again women have no chance if competing directly against men.
OffLine mr. monkey
  2011-11-04 18:31:29    
have to say i`m with jens on this one..  like i have done very many different sports, i dont see girls performing on anyway near the male level. Like i was sparring with the european boxing camp. or something, after 2 years of boxing..  and i did`nt even have to consentrate, and just use my jab to get here away..i bet i could be a really good gils soccer player, even tho i suck. but when i go to the climbing gym i see a ¨lot off¨ girls out climbing me.. or atleast close to my level..  this does not happen in other sports.. they are not performing on the same level as the men, but the gap is closer than in other sports. but i dont know..  girls have been doing sports for like 40 years, and men for 2000 or more..  sooo..  cant really compare the two..