Woah! 10 days until announcement!
To help pass the time I thought it would be fun to talk to you about a few things that we think about when we climb. So here’s the first of our 10 day countdown blogs.
What makes a good route?
Good climbing is something we spend a lot of time thinking about, and I think similar factors apply to both indoor and outdoor climbing. This is just our personal opinions and by no means a definitive list or “recipe” to make a great climb. A great climb should evoke emotion and there’s a thousand and one ways to achieve that. Here’s just a couple of our favourite ways.
Yeah we know, it’s our name, but it’s also a really important part of any climb. Flow is the immersion that you get from a climb. A combination of rhythmic, fluid motions that help your mind settle into a route and relax as your muscle memory and natural movements take over. It’s a crucial aspect of climbing and route setting because for most people it’s the reason we do this sport over any other. Flow isn’t just about “being easy” though, flow can be found in the hardest crux moves as well. It’s all about your mind and body working together in complete synchronisation.
For me at least this is a big part of what makes a climb great. Ergonomic holds are a huge thing. Not every part of the climb has to have them, but they should be somewhere on the route. Anyone who first gets on a climb either outdoors or indoors will be able to point to the holds that were “comfortable” or “felt good”. Sometimes even the smallest holds feel good as you move over them, your finger tips just seem to fit in exactly the right way, even if you’re only getting half a pad from two fingers. Ergonomics are normally most noticeable when you move from bad holds to good ones. You can feel it most prominently in the first jug after the crux. The moment you sigh in relief as you find a hold that you can comfortably rest on. Just remember ergonomic does not mean easy. Even the hardest climbs can have “comfortable” holds.
A moment to reflect. It sounds overly poetic but I stand by it. There should be a moment in the climb where you get to breathe. As I said before there is a lot of satisfaction taking a moment to breathe. For me it’s the first good hold after the crux. The grade of the climb doesn’t matter, what matters is you get a moment to catch your breath, think about what you’ve just done and prepare yourself for the rest of the climb. Once you hit the top the climb is over, the sense of completion is great but people too often get wrapped up in “what’s next?”. With boulders and shorter routes you don’t need to force this moment just remember to stop and reflect afterwards before you start thinking about your next climb. Though I believe the best time to appreciate the climb is in small moments of relief before the route is over.
At Flow we believe in good climbing. Regardless of grade or whether it’s indoors or outdoors, a climb should evoke emotion, it should capture your interest, puzzle your mind and challenge your body. There are probably a dozen more aspects of what “makes a good climb” but these are our top 3. We would love to hear what you think about it, so please go ahead and comment below or on our facebook page.
Thanks for reading, we’ll be back tomorrow with more musings on the climbing world.