Climbing is a sport that I have enjoyed for most of my life. As a child I would climb on to roofs, on climbing frames and up trees. Occasionally I would climb on rocks but as I had no safety equipment I was limited. Five or six years ago I went climbing with some people via Glocals in Italy and we climbed 5a routes. I enjoyed the sport but I found that there was a lot of waiting. It is for this reason that I spent five years doing via ferrata.
Recently I have found a group of people with whom I can go climbing every week. As a result of this I have learned to lead climb. Lead climbing is different from top rope climbing because if you fall you fall. When you are top roped you will fall a few centimetres.
I went up to Villars on Friday and I really enjoyed the IFSC Climbing World Cup. I enjoyed watching high level climbers compete to be qualified for stage after stage of the event. It was an opportunity to capture moments such as the one above. Four people climbing up the same wall in an attempt to qualify. The routes were apparently 8a-8b so two grades higher than I can climb. I still don’t have the finger strength. With training that may eventually come.
What makes watching high level climbers so much fun is that they are methodical. They work efficiently from one hold to the next. They clip when they feel comfortable to clip and then they move onwards. It is as fun to watch the belayers as the climbers. That can be shown in another post.
Look at the finger holds. The more you climb the stronger your fingers become and the more freedom you eventually get. By freedom I mean that you have more routes that you can enjoy. I want to have more strength to enjoy more overhanging routes.
When watching these climbers you notice that the arms are almost always straight to avoid wasting energy. Hanging from an arm is easier than keeping it bent. Look at how the hand needs to grab the hand hold rather than just hang from it. It is a shame that we are not allowed to share video of these climbers. It would have been interesting to study their technique.