In between all the late nights editing and problem solving, it’s easy to forget what I should be doing with my time… which is climbing (in case you’ve also forgotten). Yesterday we took a trip to a gym in Flirsch, which seems to have a VERY disproportionate amount of very strong climbers. Flirsch is basically a small village, yet it has a rather good climbing gym and lots of beasts (home to all the Zangerls for example) so perhaps there’s something in the milk there? The cows certainly looked handsome as they came down off the mountain a month or two ago;

The session at the wall was good, although I definitely felt like my skin wasn’t used to climbing. It’s all thin, lacks grip, and basically disgraces me. My movement is also another aspect that I feel quickly degrades when I don’t climb so I end up jumping for holds and fumbling them. The basic power level isn’t too bad, but it’s not exactly good either…

It was nice to climb again, and the scene in Flirsch seems really good too. It’s kind of far to go every day but as a weekly jaunt it seems like a viable alternative to training here in Innsbruck. Variation is key. I also had a somewhat big, but obvious realisation whilst leaving the gym in Flirsch. I’d been trying a certain boulder problem, and hadn’t quite managed it, as each go would result in something different going slightly wrong. Either I’d fumble the hold or my ass would swing just a shade too far out and I’d slide off the slopers. Each go it felt like something different, and the sum of all my goes was failure. I couldn’t correct all my mini errors in one succesful go. This is perhaps partly due to a lack of climbing, but it served me an important lesson. When we are “training” we (and I say we, but mean I) concentrate mainly on increasing maximum strength, maximum power, or other maximum levels. Everything should be maxed out, right? In a way, yes, but not when these come at the expense of other strands in your climbing portfolio. I thought back to my horrific World Cup experience earlier this year and I didn’t fail on any of them because my maximum level was too low in one area. I failed because I lacked a fully functioning error detecting and correcting algorithm.

I’m a pretty analytical person, and I am constantly analysing myself, but realising errors is one thing. Eradicating them is quite another. Being able to eradicate a number of errors all at once and in a moment of your choosing is the level beyond that. This isn’t a magical skill, it’s one that can be trained, like almost any other. I think that for me it’s definitely a worthwhile excercise to work on these error correcting techniques so when I fall off a problem 3 times in a row for 3 different reasons, my 4th go will be succesfull.

I definitely think that my shortcoming in this area is why I am not only terrible at flashing boulder problems, but generally not very good at doing problems quickly. All the hard problems I’ve climbed (with a few notable exceptions) have taken far longer than they should have taken and as I look back I can see it’s because I wasn’t able to eliminate all the small errors quickly enough. When you try a move 100 times your body naturally eliminates small errors, but being able to eliminate them for your 2nd try is somthing I’m aiming to improve. Set your targets, then run for them full pelt.