Lessons vs. Figuring it out

6:57 a.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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I found out the other day that the climbing gym that I go to offers lead climbing and technique lessons.  While I plan to take the lead climbing lesson(s) after getting some more experience, I was curious about the technique lessons. I was wondering if it would be more beneficial to work my way up the grades by practice, figuring things out and watching other climbers or if at some point it would be a good idea to take a technique class.

11:46 a.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Sometimes I see someone do a move that I would never have figured out on my own.  Its also fun to try on your own until you reach your limit then watch more skilled climbers tackle a line.  Some lines remain in the "project" phase for years.   

12:37 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Like anything else, you learn more rapidly with a coach/mentor who is skilled in the art of coaching and mentoring. By trying to figure out everything on your own, you build up bad habits that are really hard to break later on. Of course, this means getting a coach/mentor who really knows what's going on. That person doesn't have to be able to do the moves him/herself (maybe because s/he is an OGBO who has been there/done that and can no longer do the moves, or suffered injuries, etc. And not all good climbers are good coaches for other people. Watching good climbers is great, but (1) you don't get the muscle feel and (2) there are often subtle things you don't see because you don't know what to look for. Same with almost all sports (and mental things, too - and in case you didn't know, climbing is largely a mental game).

7:43 p.m. on April 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Whatever you do, get professionally schooled on belay anchors, and rope handling.  A lot of folks don't practice the best of techniques in these areas, and you don't want to suffer the consequences of letting some amateur tutor you improper technique. 

Ed

1:30 a.m. on April 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I agree. A lesson or two with the right teacher will advance progress significantly, I reckon.

Then practice a lot.

7:03 a.m. on April 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the advice! :-)

12:02 a.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Bill S,

OMG, WTH is OGBO ?

r2

1:40 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Bill S,

OMG, WTH is OGBO ?

r2

 This question keeps popping up every month or two and is answered. Plus it is spelled out frequently in posts.

OldGreyBeardedOne

One of my climbing buds in Alaska came up with it in rec.climbing.useful (one of the predecessor forums for Trailspace -look at the title banner for the various forums).

My porters on Kilimanjaro had a variation on this - Babu. Literally, it is a Swahili word meaning "grandfather", but it is used as a term of respect for anyone old enough to be a grandfather (which is anyone from about 35 yo and up in that part of the world, given the short life expectancy still there). The theory is that us elder citizens have gained much wisdom which you young whippersnappers would do well to heed. In the part of the world where Swahili is spoken, anyone old enough to have a grey beard must have been smart enough to have avoided getting eaten by the lions, leopards, crocodiles, and other hungry critters. OTOH, most American teenagers and 20-somethings believe that whatever anyone over 30 says is just demented ramblings and should not be taken seriously (until they have a near-death experience - like a large grizzly appearing in camp at midnight - at which point, they decide that maybe they could learn something from the survivors)

2:01 p.m. on May 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Whoa, I never thought of myself as a grandfather.  I do have some grey hair though.  Each one earned. 

1:47 a.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
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When I started rock climbing, I went out, bought some gear and the book "Belaying the Leader" and figured it all out on my own (with a climbing partner).  But I learned the most later on when I hooked up with other climbers, watched how they did stuff, and then eventually climbing with them.

I think learning from an instructor will be valuable, but climbing with others will be more so.

Remember, there are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers!

11:17 a.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
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When I started rock climbing, I went out, bought some gear and the book "Belaying the Leader" and figured it all out on my own (with a climbing partner).  But I learned the most later on when I hooked up with other climbers, watched how they did stuff, and then eventually climbing with them.

I think learning from an instructor will be valuable, but climbing with others will be more so.

Remember, there are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers!

_____________________________________________________

X2

r2

 

5:37 p.m. on May 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Definitely take some lessons.

Why ?  Because experience is a good thing so learn from it.

Then adjust where necessary and better what you have learnt.

Then after a while, review, revise and re-do with if not the same lesson then another similar or better level of instruction.

8:53 a.m. on May 15, 2011 (EDT)
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UPDATE - I haven't had the finances yet to take a lesson yet, but have had a chance to hang out with and climb with a few of the regulars (that have way more experience then me).  I've been definitely noticed improvement in my climbing.  I'm not sure how much is from the advice from the regulars, practice or improved strength/stamina.  There were a few routes that I did yesterday afternoon that initially gave me a bit of difficulty that I'm now find much easier.

September 20, 2014
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