March Contest Post – What’s Your Weakness?

(Leave a comment for a chance to win a sweet new Metolius Contact Hangboard!)

After you’ve been climbing for awhile, most people tend to gravitate towards a certain a style. It might be a kind of hold your prefer, movements you enjoy, a rock type you like, etc. As such, it’s not uncommon ton find ourselves avoiding the things we aren’t good at, or don’t like.

Personally, my weakness is small holds. I dealt with a string of finger injuries for several years, and that has had the end result of me being unable to bring myself to crimp anything, no matter how small the hold is. I open hand almost everything, and have next to no crimp strength to speak of.

Worse, I also have a mental hang up about using small holds, as it’s hard for me to think I can use them without getting injured, and I’d just rather not do a specific route than risk the downtime that comes with an injury. But I know as I push myself to be a more complete climber, I need to move beyond this weakness, and I’ve found hangboarding to be the best method for working on this in a systematic and controlled way. (For more resources on this topic, see the post about Ramping up Your Training.)

So what is it for you? What’s your climbing kryptonite, the thing you need to work on to make you a more well-rounded climber?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win the new Metolius Contact Hangboard. Even if finger strength isn’t your weakness, it’s something we can all work on, and this is a great way to do it. We’ve had the Contact up in our gym since November and it’s been an incredible training tool. Click the ad below to find out more, and be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win!

Contest closes on 3/31/13, one entry per person. Winners will be chosen by random drawing through the Splitter Choss super computer. If you won last month, you can’t win this month. Folks affiliated with Splitter Choss aren’t allowed to enter, more fine print, etc, etc, etc.

88 Responses to March Contest Post – What’s Your Weakness?

  1. Small holds are definitely a weakness for me as well, so it’s easy to relate. My biggest weakness, however, is maintaining technique even when stressed. As I get more and more pumped, run out or just tired, my technique falls apart. With my head focused on how shitty it will be when I fall, I have a hard time remembering everything that will prevent me from falling!

    Been working on it but, that’s still what prevents me from finishing a lot of climbs.

    Matt Hoffmann March 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm
    • Pabst.

      Jackie-boy March 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm
    • Overhangy rotational problems

      John Kosim March 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm
  2. Weakness at this point it staying mentally positive trying to get back into it. Having been a very good climber when I was competitive, I have a hard time with not being anywhere near what I used to be. I think anyone that’s taken a long break or suffered a major injury can relate. I’ve always had a respect for the process but not necessarily patience with it.

    Jestep March 6, 2013 at 1:43 pm
  3. slippery chimneys…though a little finger strength wouldn’t hurt!

    Ben March 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm
  4. Overhanging walls. I’m decent on slab and vertical, but once it gets too overhanging and I have to hold my weight on my fingers, I’m toast.

    Kol Birke March 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm
  5. I learned to climb in Arkansas and Kentucky…and the gym–the three capitals of juggy holds and sloppy feet. So now that I live 2 hours from Moab, it’s obvious…I suck at cracks and smears. But damn, cutting my teeth has never been so fun.

    ps. Any comments on the rumor that the new western slope guidebooks are coming out this month. The Summit Canyon people are starting to get creeped out from my frequent visits just to “check in.”

    Joe March 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm
    • Unfortunately you are going to have to wait a little bit longer for the book, not sure right now when it will be out. Once we have a better idea I’ll be sure to let you know.

      BJ Sbarra March 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm
  6. For me, it’s going for moves that I might come off of. Got hurt this week last year in a lead fall and messed up my ankle, and since then, I’ve been kind if sketched out about stuff where that could happen again–especially bouldering landings, and not climbing as much or as hard as I want to aggrevates the not being patient part someone above mentioned–i sympathize with that very much!

    Ana March 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm
  7. Definitely sloper strength. I have so many projects that involve slopers that I can’t quite hold onto. I’ve been out of climbing for an injury recently, which makes it hard to work on my grip. Can’t wait to get back in it next week!

    Hanna March 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm
  8. I’m weak on everything ‘bouldery’. I guess I’ve got magnificient tactics on longer roped climbs but when it comes to pure hard movement I tend to fall a lot earlier than many of my friends climbing around same level routes. That being small crimps and big overhung moves with dynos are my nemesis. Lock offs are also hard for me. Maybe such extreme method as campusing would actually suit me in my situation although I generally think it’s not as clever training as other ways of climbing.

    After I’ll have my tennis elbow healed I should put more emphasis on boulder training.

    chris March 7, 2013 at 1:45 am
  9. Definitely slopers!
    And that damned “beached whale” top out move- always end up flailing my legs around till I inch my way on top. I tend to skip those boulders, or hop down one move before that embarrassing end.

    savanna March 7, 2013 at 6:47 am
  10. Until recently, my weakness was small holds. The hardest “crimpy” routes I’ve done clock in around the 12c range, whereas my hardest redpoint is 13b. Like BJ, I tend to avoid crimping everything. A month of hangboarding on the Beastmaker 2000 raised my crimping game significantly (especially the back-2 pocket and the slopey crimp). Now my latest issue is elbow soreness and bodyweight. Oh, and since I’m planning a trip to the Red, endurance (though my endurance is fine for most project I have in the north east).

    Rajiv March 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm
  11. Slopers are my biggest fear. I’ve slid off countless routes because of those slippery ungraspable holds. It’s something that needs a lot of work and probably would benefit the most from hangboard workouts haha

    Kevin March 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm
  12. My biggest fear is having to take a poo on lead.

    jim March 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm
  13. Thick women and cheap red wine.

    Mr. X March 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm
    • Ladies and gentlemen, you can all leave now. We have our winner.

      Christian March 17, 2013 at 10:17 pm
  14. Definitely footwork on slabby routes.

    Chris C. March 8, 2013 at 1:59 am
  15. Anything without an edge, open hand holds in particular get my forearms pumped.

    ej March 9, 2013 at 8:23 am
  16. Psyching myself out of trying infamous routes based on what others say. Then compounding their encouragement as deceitful ploys for me to end up strung out way above my gear terrified/pissed about being sandbagged. Just as I would do to them.

    Ian Barrett March 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm
  17. The fear of not abiding by the rule #1: look good.

    But actually? Definitely slopey hands and general friction moves. Give me a nice little crimper any day over a big ole’ sloper.

    Matt March 10, 2013 at 5:05 pm
  18. Climbing over roofs still scare the crap out of me.

    Will March 11, 2013 at 10:54 am
  19. Cracks and, more specifically, off-width. It’s a frustrating learning curve but I enjoy slowly getting better as technique comes around.

    Jason Halladay March 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm
  20. offwidth … wide cracks are so painful ;)

    eric March 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm
  21. Skin

    Drew March 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm
    • No kidding, I’ve been having crazy skin issues this winter!

      BJ Sbarra March 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm
  22. My biggest weakness is my mental game. I find it hard to really push myself to the maximum on my on-sight attempt and take the fall. Redpoints are no big deal, as I have taken the crux fall a few times by then, but that first fall on a particular crux is something I am still really scared of. Avoiding entering sequences that I don’t feel I can climb through or back down really limits my on-sight ability.

    Jacob Bice March 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm
    • 27crags, reddt, splitterchoss- I’m running in to you all over the damn internet, Jacob.

      Patrick B. March 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm
  23. I definitely have a lot that I need to improve on, but I would say that my biggest weakness at the stage of climbing that I’m at right now are problems that involve big reaches (“tall-man problems”). I’m working on gaining a bit more strength and definitely improving my technique, but being short its a bit of a mental block as well.

    Gabby March 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm
  24. Footwork. Gotta take control of my footwork.

    Jeremy March 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm
  25. My weakness is large pinches… My hands are smaller than average so all the holds turn into large open hand crimps or full out chossy slopers. Its definitely an adaptation I have to strengthen. I need to train my crimp strength and open hand sloper strength in order to adapt to large pinches. Pull harder!

    Chris March 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm
  26. My current weakness is lock offs and pockets. We don’t have a lot of “pockety” climbs around my location so I am hurting in that section. General finger strength workouts would really help with that. Doing Frenchies would really help my lock offs as well.

    Patrick K. March 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm
  27. Chocolate frosting… I am addicted to chocolate frosting… I can’t eat containers of it when I am bored… also small holds and slopers

    Chris D March 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm
  28. matching with my feet. also using an open hand vs. crimping everything

    Phil March 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm
  29. Overhangs. I love little crimpy, slabby/vert stuff with balancy technical feet. But put me on an overhanging jug fest at the red and I’m pumped out mid way through.

    Justin March 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm
  30. pinches, overhangs, and cave routes can be the hardest for me. So i guess my weakness is just getting my fingers stronger to hold myself up easier. With my major(architecture) I don’t always have enough time to go to the gym/wall though so working on my weakness isn’t always easy

    Dylan March 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm
  31. Definitely pockets, especially mono’s as I destroyed a tendon early in my climbing. Been gun-shy of them every since.

    Eddie March 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm
  32. My biggest weakness is stress control. When I climb trad, every move seems so hard, and I want to place gear very foot or so. I try to improve with breathing techniques ;-)
    In the gym, my biggest weakness is the overhanging stuff. I love the slabs and the vertical, but going over a roof is so hard !!

    cecile March 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm
  33. Weakness? I guess I have too many to count but the most important and probably most prevalent is my MS. I just started getting really into climbing and although I think I’m strong for a girl my MS affects my hands and makes me shaky. I love climbing and especially climbing with my boyfriend but dealing with my MS is a challenge that is hard fathom but it pushes me to try harder everyday in climbing and in everything else.

    Alyson March 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm
  34. My biggest weakness is not having a Metolius Contact Hangboard.

    Jordan March 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    • Well played sir!

      BJ Sbarra March 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm
  35. Comparing myself to others. I’ve just got started climbing and I want to get better immediately – but that’s just not that way that hard-earned progress works, is it?

    Collin Fitzsimmons March 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm
  36. My weakness is the same as yours, small holds basically kill my fingers and injure my tendons which I’m still recovering from.

    Alex March 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm
  37. I am fairly new to climbing, only been going to a gym 2-4 days a week for a couple months BUT i have fallen deeply in love with everything about climbing. As for my weaknesses, small finger holds and crimps are definitely beyond me still, but one of my most glaring weaknesses that i’m constantly trying to improve on is my balance and flexibility. My goal is to be able to control my whole body in all kinds of settings and problems. While i’m finding flow based yoga to be great for this, the only way for me to really improve on my finger strength is to get climbing, and that can be quite challenging for a poor, busy engineering student. I would love to have this beautiful hangboard, so thank you for having this giveaway.

    Kyle March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm
  38. Bears. Can’t quite always fight em off yet when holding onto a crimp.

    Pat March 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm
  39. My weakness is not asking for help when I need it. Climbing to me is a social activity, and when I see people at my local climbing gym who are, in my eyes, masterful at what they do I tend to be too embarrassed to ask. I know that they would more than likely be glad to offer advice and pointers to a newbie like me but I still have trouble overcoming that hesitation.

    Ross March 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm
  40. Long approches are the worst.

    T March 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  41. Slopers, those dam dam slopers!

    Alex Nutley March 13, 2013 at 3:48 pm
  42. Self control. Cheap beer is just so delicious but negates all my training. Worth it?

    J5 March 13, 2013 at 4:02 pm
  43. Sometimes the situation becomes seriously sloppy on the slipperiest of slopers.

    Tyler March 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm
  44. My weakness is lack of experience. I’m new to the sport so I need to climb with veterans because I’m too green. Cheers!

    Daniel LeRoy March 13, 2013 at 4:14 pm
  45. My weakness is my mind. Funny how it tells you to stop before you actually need to. More than half the time I can push through whatever it is where my head is saying I’m too tired to do.

    Luke March 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm
  46. My weakness is climbing with injuries when I know I shouldn’t. Its just too damn amazing, but I hurt ma toe pretty badly so I’ll be working on upper body for a while.

    Matt March 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm
  47. My weakness is my right heel hook, It never fails to let me down on many boulder problems. I’m considering a prostetic heel, but as of now that is just a dream

    Sam March 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm
  48. That first bolt on the roof.

    Pulling back rope and clipping behind my head makes me so nervous I get vertigo, everything spins and my stomach drops to the deck. It’s terrible, I can be on the worlds greatest jugs and standing on a no hands rest ledge, but leaning back pulling out that slack, and reaching behind me makes me feel like I’m on slopers with my feet dangling.

    Seriously, My palms are drenched right now just writing this.

    I know why it scares me- because it’s freaking scary. I don’t however know how to go about getting over it (other than just doing it a ton). What’s worse is that I love pulling down on roofs.

    Patrick B. March 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm
  49. Slopers! After I graduated from jug hauls I went straight to the crimpy problems with a few pinches here and there. Now when I see a problem with round rocks I cringe. It is definitely something I need to work on but my gym’s route setters seem to have the same aversion as I do and our gym’s lack of decent hang board has kept me from improving this area of my climbing.

    Charlie March 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm
  50. My biggest weakness is slopers. I have small hands so sloper kill me! I’m alright on crimps, strong enough pinch, who isn’t great on jugs, but give me a sloper? I’m done. I hate them with a passion. Well that’s an exaggeration but I don’t like them. Luckily there aren’t too many routes in my gym that consist of slopers. Well unfortunately more like. I definitely need to work more on them. Also another weakness would be my lack of footwork. I’m strong enough to campus some of routes but I know that’s gonna bite me in the ass later on harder routes. So yeah…I need to work on my footwork. Little hands though so I <3 small holds.

    Omar Gonzalez March 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm
  51. Any move that requires body tension or a lock off. So compression moves, gastons and big moves to small crimps.

    Josh March 13, 2013 at 5:30 pm
  52. My weakness is breaking the mental barrier that is needed to make hard/ intimidating moves. Once i fully trust my gear and my own ability i can do it.

    Cam March 13, 2013 at 5:54 pm
  53. Endurance on overhangs. Arguably that weakness could also just be that I weigh too much.

    Jen March 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm
  54. My greatest climbing weakness is anything dynamic.

    I love jumping off things! I don’t mind falling off things! I will jump across things all day! But there is some sort of mysterious voodoo required to make dynos.

    Maria March 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm
  55. Pinches, and dynos. I oddly am good on crimps, and small crimps, for being a big guy(6’5″ 225lbs)

    Brandon March 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm
  56. my biggest weaknesses are very cramped moves, and pinches

    Chris March 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm
  57. Dyno moves. Gotta think completely differently to really get your hands to stick!

    Jeff March 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm
  58. Slopers. No matter how much I work to improve moves using slopey holds, I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m struggling to hang on for dear life.

    Elyse March 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm
  59. Lips.
    I learned to climb in a climb that was mainly bouldering, and I never really learned how to deal with lips. Even now, I tend to eschew footwork, like solid hooks, and just muscle my way up. It turns a 5.7 into a 5.10 for me.

    Scott March 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm
  60. Slopers! Those things are impossible to hold….

    Kenneth March 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm
  61. My own body. The first time in my life that I’ve ever had a sustained injury and I don’t even know how to fix it or how long I’ll be out. Haven’t been climbing long, but let me tell you that I’m obsessed. More than committed. The learning curve has been steep and I’ve hit the point where my body can’t keep up. Picked up some pretty intense lower back pain seemingly out of nowhere, as in there was no “oh shit” instant. One day I was fine, the next I was in some pretty dire straits. Warmed up as usual, hopped on an easy lead and once I touched down I felt the fire. And now it’s been over a month I’m still not fit to climb. Seen doctors and chiropractors, been on drugs and bed rest. X-rays say I’m fine, body says I’m not. It sucks.

    Ben J March 13, 2013 at 10:07 pm
  62. Still having trouble with slopers, but working through it! Hopefully it won’t be my weakness for long!

    Liz S March 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm
  63. Balancy slab routes, I love overhanging power routes. Taking it slow is definitely my kryptonite.

    Terry March 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm
  64. balancy/techy slab and vertical problems. also all sport climbing in general :P

    Dylan Chang March 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm
  65. Finding a reliable babysitter. Particularly at a moment’s notice when the weather is good enough to convince a partner to go climbing.

    Matt March 13, 2013 at 11:34 pm
  66. Heelhooks requiring a long reach and pulling with your leg too get the height. Also mono pockets. Also my skin almost never lasts as long as I do.

    Terence March 14, 2013 at 3:49 am
  67. Steep climbs. Bring me your slabby, your technical, your vertical faces yearning to be crimped.

    and beer.

    Brian March 14, 2013 at 11:20 am
  68. Grip strength to weight ratio is my biggest weakness now. I’m a big guy and can use technique to my advantage, but my forearms just wear out before the rest of my body.

    Mat March 14, 2013 at 2:23 pm
  69. I’m sure this is super common for new people, but I’ve never really managed to get over it. The mental game just seems to hold me back so often; I suck at exposure, to the point that the top of a 30m route has me worried, and alpine rock is a constant struggle. Staring down a whipper on a slab is even worse.

    Peter March 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm
  70. My weakness is my grip. All forms of grips it doesn’t matter. I’m too strong for my grip in terms of climbing (gymnastics, parkour and martial arts background). I can make moves but my hands can’t keep up not my tendons sadly. I really need to slowly work that grip and finger tendon strength if I ever want to climb some serious rock.

    Dallas M March 15, 2013 at 10:46 am
  71. Pinches, crimps, and lock-offs. Palm-width pinches are the bane of my existence, along with one-knuckle crimps. Been pushing it hard with hang/campus boards, but haven’t seen a significant payoff yet, here’s hoping that every route I climb in the near future is just all fancy footwork and powerful tiger-leaps!

    Palmer March 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  72. Pinches. Ugh, small hands, short reach–open handed pinches are my enemy.

    jeremy March 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm
  73. I tend to have problems with finger pockets but not crimps (I think that’s kind of weird)

    Chris Ritner March 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm
  74. my biggest weakness right now is probably under-cutting my abilities when I get outside of a gym. In the gym, I’ll attempt anything that looks somewhat possible, but when I go outside, I avoid any sequences and problems that look past a 5.10. I always end up feeling like I can’t rely on the smaller holds and pockets when I’m on a real rock face.

    That and roofs. I feel like most of my weaknesses are mental, and I’m working on bettering myself every day, but when I get to the base of a roof, climbing instinct goes out the window and my primal instincts tend to take control. I over-exert myself and then inevitably end up completely pumped out soon after.

    Christian March 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm
  75. My paper-thin tendons in my ring fingers. That an an irrational fear of overhangs. Put me on a nasty slab and I’m just peachy, but an easy overhang freaks me out.

    Matt Holland March 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm
  76. Being stationed at Smith Rock and climbing on the tuff, I’ve always been a technical climber. Smith has it’s share of bouldery climbs, but I made sure not to touch them with a ten foot stick clip. Vertical edging was the name of the game: Put your foot in front of your face and stand up! I was climbing 5.13- and Smith, but had to project V2 in the Happy’s (Something something, grades are subjective, something something).

    Right around the mid-5.13 range this strategy started breaking down, though. I couldn’t seem to find any climbs that didn’t have at least a V4/5 crux. I was starting to feel the effects of my own fear and lack of motivation.

    This fall I decided it was time to balance things out. I got on a strict regime of bouldering and hangboarding. As you can imagine, injury ensued. A few weeks of rest, and I was back to training. As you can imagine, injury ensued again.

    Lather, rinse and repeat for a few months, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

    At the outset of this journey I picked a project that was decidedly more “powerful” than anything I’d done before: Rude Boys. A Smith Rock classic, it has two boulder cruxes right off the ground. After countless falls at the dynamic Redpoint crux, I finally sent this weekend.

    More than the satisfaction that comes with sending a project, I’m feeling the accomplishment of breaking out of my usual mold and trying something that I’ve feared my entire climbing career. Not only that, but I’ve come to realize that powerful, dynamic moves (both inside and out) are actually quite fun! It’s like rediscovering climbing all over again, and I’m excited for this new chapter in my climbing career.

    Michael Dalby March 20, 2013 at 10:24 am
  77. My weakness is believing I am capable of climbing harder. Being able to look at something that is hard for me and not saying “I’ll try next time”. I need to believe in myself.

    Taylor M March 22, 2013 at 11:53 am
  78. My over all weakness is endurance. Not that I’m super strong in all areas, but I feel that I’ve got the moves but just get too pumped too quick.

    Matt March 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm
  79. Definitely anything steep. I’m mostly a crack climber and don’t train at all. Generally, I send pretty well on anything I’m jamming and can actually put some weight on my feet, but I climb probably a grade and a half less when its overhanging sport climbing. I’m going to attribute this to mainly having what I think is pretty good technique on crack. Furthermore, I simply go trad (crack) climbing a hell of a lot more often than I sport climb or boulder. I would like to get better at this, but in reality I don’t really have time or the desire to go to the gym, and when I go climbing I like to go to places I really enjoy rather than making climbing seem like a chore working on something less than ideal.

    Kevin March 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm
  80. My mental game leading ice. At the beginning of last seasons rock climbing I was psyched out on lead a few times. I set a goal of leading WI5 this winter to be ready for leading rock, but could not wrap my head around leading WI5. Next year.

    Jayson Nissen March 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm
  81. I started climbing 2.5 years ago as a way to try and a Birth Injury(Erbs Palsy), Which Quickly went from lets try this and see how it effects my injury to a full fledged addiction. Now its my main motivator in life. Im currently stuck at the 11+ range and im trying to push myself into the 12- range. My weakness is being able to lock off my right arm. So i working on improving this weakness at my local gym

    Zach P. March 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm
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