In a post related to his recently released book on bouldering[1. Which I hope to review shortly here] Peter Beal sat down with Carlo Traversi to discuss some of the “attitude and psychology” that goes into being an elite boulderer. The entire interview is well worth reading, but the opening point Taversi makes stuck with me:
The way I see it is that looking at elite boulderers, they’ve defined their own styles and have excelled in those styles separately. What has defined the stronger boulderers in the world is that each has a very definite and distinct style and they have perfected that style to a certain extent, beyond what anyone else has.
Traversi is referring to elite boulderers having defined and excelled at their own styles, but I couldn’t help but feel as though people at more pedestrian levels of climbing have something to learn from reading these words as well. Regardless of whether your limit is V15, or V10, or V5, or whatever, defining and improving on your style of climbing is something that strikes me as incredibly important.
While a focus on increasing physical strength is certainly not a bad way to spend one’s time, what I’ve found throughout my years of climbing is that the longer you climb the more physical strength takes a back seat to other aspects. Things like flexibility, technique and, most importantly in my mind, a clearer understanding of how to move your body over rock are just as valuable as being able to do 1-5-9 on a campus board[2. Actually, that would be pretty helpful].
Check out the rest of Traversi’s thoughts on the subject here, and then check out this video he put together of some of his alpine exploits from the summer of 2011.