7 Habits of Highly Effective Climbers… to acquire by Young Climbers

by Igor

Today I have read an article 7 Habits of Highly Effective Climbers and watched Anthony climbing in 2017 World Youth Championship semi-final round in Innsbruck Austria; after all that I have decided that I want to share my advices to young climbers based on the 7 habits mentioned in the article. Not because I want to impose my sageness upon anyone, but because I wish someone told me this when I was young.

I highly recommend that you read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Climbers article first, otherwise what I am saying further on will be out of the context.

1. Have Confidence in the Process

You are still young, no one including yourself knows where your limits are. Assume no limits then,  assume that everything is possible, believe that with proper training process you can achieve anything you want. All great climbers were not great when they just started, think about yourself like one who can be great one day and TRAIN HARD for that.

2. Prioritize Sleep

Think what you do with your time, be disciplined. Hard training is not possible without self discipline. Every little detail in your life actually affects your physical abilities, eat smart and sleep well. Sleeping is very crucial for recovery. Get rid of unhealthy habits like spending hours in front of TV/game console.

Recovery and rest days is as important as training days, bad recovery means you would not be able to maintain correct tempo for your muscles to improve; muscles either would not be ready to work hard or the break between workouts is too long for muscles to remember stress from the previous workout. In other words, the time between your training days/sessions must be short enough for muscles to improve; but for the short time between training sessions you need good recovery.

3. Do Something to Improve Yourself Every Day

Every day counts. You have NO TIME to spare.

Seriously. Every day give to training all 300% of what you have… and then a little bit more.

It is very easy to think when you are young that there is a lot of time ahead. Then one day you suddenly realize that the time is gone; do not make it happen to you. Every day must have a purpose, every evening you must have a plan for tomorrow.

To be competitive climber at age 16 you must try to be best climber in your local gym at age 10. Everyday counts no matter how young you are.

4. Pick the Right Partner

In the gym hang out with kids that climb well. With those kids that come to the gym to only socialize you can always talk some place else in different time.

Again, stick to those who climb better than you. Not to those who climb worse and tell you how good you climb. Do not protect your feelings by climbing with weaker climbers. But, of course, help your motivated friends who climb worse than you to improve (not just show off and brag, actually help), one day they might motivate you.

Pick the right coach. Most kids can’t train themselves well, so find yourself someone who will help you to push your limits. How to pick the right coach, the one who is going to push you? Do not pick a coach who always tells you “Good job”. Really, what is the point to train if you already doing a good job? Pick one who always points to your mistakes and tells you how to improve, the one who honestly tells you your problems. A training coach is not your mom, a coach is not there for your comfort, but for your discomfort (most of the time at least).

5. Focus on Quality over Quantity

If you came to the gym to train then train hard and smart, do not waste time talking and slacking. Training is NOT about how many hours you hang out in the gym or how many easy climbs you have done between conversations with your friends.

6. Record Everything

If you do not have a training log then you a) do not have a PLAN and b) have no way to check your progress and apply corrections. If you are training without a plan then you are fooling yourself, you are not training.

7. Do Your Research

Check how other kids of your age climb, or how famous adult climbers climbed when they were your age. Watch competitions, participate in competitions. Go places, climb with others, objectively compare yourself with others.

8. Do what works for you.

It is hard to train hard, this is why most people do not train hard. Try to find ways to enjoy training. Trick your mind into it, if needed, but find some enjoyable aspects of training.

9. Do not build up expectations.

Have high goals and low expectations. A goal is a real thing, it is a place where you want to be. An expectation, on other hand, is an illusionary place where you projected yourself ahead of time. It is painful to find yourself at a place different from where you (often unreasonably) already put yourself in your mind; avoid this pain, do not make expectations. In my life I saw many climbers being constantly in the bad mood because reality and their expectations differ, and as a result they eventually quit climbing/training. Always compare yourself with others in order to have a progress and realistic understanding where you are, but do not take it personal when someone climbs better than you, just keep training.

In the video below Anthony’s heel slips and he falls, it happens in this sport. This is definitely not what he expected on that day.

Scarpa Instinct VS Review

Scarpa Instinct VS Shoe Review, By Anthony

In this post, I will be presenting my views and opinions on the Scarpa Instinct VS. After being pleased with the performance of the Scarpa Instinct Lace-ups, I doubted that I wouldn’t enjoy the Velcro version, so I gave them a shot. At first, I was of the opinion that they were primarily bouldering shoes, the large toe pad and the aggressive look gives it away. When I would keep strenuous heels hooks and edges that I previously couldn’t accomplish with the lace ups, I was surprised but not astonished. Once the inevitable day came when my lace-ups broke, I had no other choice then to rope climb in the VS’s, it felt great. All of a sudden, I was feeling way more confident in my foot placements and could achieve harder moves and clips. Keep in mind that this is just what I experienced, for many other people the Lace-ups could possibly fit better. Now let’s go over the pros and cons I found out about the Instinct VS.

Pro: Despite being a pretty downturned shoe I can more than confidently smear with them.

Pro: Better edging than any other shoe I’ve worn so far.

Pro: Great for both bouldering and rope.

Pro: As I am a pretty big plastic junkie and have had a month long outdoor trip with the VS’s I can confidently say that they perform well on both.

Con: Can’t keep them on for long (just like many other downturned shoes), but still scores better in terms of comfortably compared to other aggressive shoes.

Con: The Instinct VS’s has this orange strap on the top of the shoe that ripped off on 2 of my previous pairs. The design requires that you pinch the strap instead of inserting your finger and pulling. The picture below shows the comparison between a ripped and attached strap. The second picture is the pull-strap design on the Scarpa Chimera which most likely wont rip off, hopefully Scarpa will use the same concept for future Instinct VS models.


In conclusion, I would say that the Instinct VS is my favorite shoe on the market currently and would strongly recommend it for anyone looking for a great all-round shoe. That concludes my review, if you’re interested in checking out any other reviews or just want some climbing related content check out some of our other posts!


Flat feet in climbing

by Igor

Physiotherapist and Osteopath Klaus Isele takes a look at improving the posture, starting with flat feet. Guest in this video is pro-climber Adam Ondra.


Many people have flat feet. Most doctors agree that flat feet does not do good for the biomechanics of the lower leg, it is better when your foot has some arch. In addition to a tip and an exercise provided in the video, I can add my personal (verified) tip: Pay attention to how you land your feet during running; try not to land your foot on the ground at once, instead start with toe and the outside/lateral part of the foot. In another words, my tip is similar to what Klaus tells Adam to do but applied to the case of running.

It is hard to say how important proper arch of the foot is for climbing. Adam says he feels the difference. From my observation and from common sense mechanics, you will stay better on small holds if your feet has some arch.

What I like is that professional climbers are becoming more serious about everything related to their mental and physical condition, including body posture. Put little things together and they can make a big difference. Pay attention to all parts of your body, know how a properly developed body should look like and try to grow your own body accordingly; at young age some things about your body can be fixed with enough effort. Hopefully climbing coaches will incorporate this knowledge into young athletes in training too.

Too many climbers in USA Bouldering Open?

by Igor

I was watching qualification round of USA Bouldering Open Championship today from 9am to 6pm+. It is long time to watch. Some climbers spent 8-9 hours locked in ISO and it was hard to climb well after that long time in ISO. I can also imagine some holds feel much worse after 100+ climbers work on them before you.

Here is follow up Instagram post by Sean McColl where people discuss this problem in comments.

Does USA Climbing organization wants it or not but they have to change something soon because the way it worked before is not going to work any more. The trend is obvious: more and more people are going to register for Open. This year we had 120+ men in qualification round, what if next year 140-60 men register? 12 hours in ISO?

5 boys from my local gym competed today, plus I saw another 5-10 climbers that climbing level is known to me; I know how they climb compare to each other and I saw that waiting long hours in ISO affected how they performed relative to each other depending on the time they climbed. Not fair. 3-4 hours is about max time a person can spent in ISO without being seriously affected.

Splitting climbers in groups is most probably not going to help much (not too mention how hard it is going to be to organize) and it does not scale, 2 groups then 3 groups… The only solution is to have some sort of pre-qualification round without ISO and without video stream. Like USA Climbing does for Youth Sport qualifiers, come at certain time and climb. Seeing others climbing might give you some advantage but based on the experience it does not change final results much, strong climbers pass and weak climbers can’t repeat after strong ones anyway. About 60 should advance from pre-qualifiers to qualifiers; seeing today results 60 seems fair number,  some climbers between 50-60 did not have a single top.

Scarpa Instinct climbing shoe review

by Anthony Lesik

Finding the right climbing shoe is not necessary easy business, however I personally believe that the time spent finding the right shoe is worthwhile. My climbing is definitely benefits from having shoe that fits me. Last summer I decided to try out the first versions of the Scarpa (the red ones) for a trip to Squamish; I had some mixed opinions about it after the trip. The shoe was very painful and stiff at first and took about 3 weeks until I was comfortable climbing with them. After about two months of climbing with them I was pretty disappointed on how they broke down, instead of having usual expected progression of first softening and then getting hole, for this shoe the rubber on the toe and the heel just started peeling off which made it very uncomfortable to climb. While looking for a new shoe I saw the new version of the Instincts (the black and orange ones), I liked how they looked and decided to give them a try. Here are some facts and observations I would like to share about the shoe.

  1. The first thing I noticed is that they put a thin piece of rubber over the heel exterior so it wouldn’t peel off (previous model suffered from it), also looks like they fixed something with the toe since it breaks like any other shoe now.
  2. Since the shoe rubber is noticeably softer it doesn’t take long to break in compared to the old Instincts. In two sessions, I could already climb hard in them.
  3. Has the perfect amount of stiffness.
  4. Lasts for a reasonable amount of time compared to other shoes I’ve used.
  5. One of the top aggressive lase up shoes; despite its aggressive sole it still works on slab.
  6. Good for both rope and bouldering.
  7. Ventilation works all right and the materials do not accumulate smells.

Overall this is probably one of the best climbing shoes I’ve worn so far, it performs great and doesn’t have anything I dislike about it. Verdict: I would recommend this shoes to anyone looking for a good aggressive shoe.

Picture of me sending Ride White Horse V10 in Scapra Instinct:

Should I pay FloClimbing to watch Dark Horse Bouldering Series finals?

by Igor

Friday Jan 20. Here I am sitting alone in my empty house. I wish I was in Boston with my son, but someone has to work, someone has to pay for tickets from West to East coast, and for tons of other things including $50 event registration fee for Dark Horse. But it is all right, I am doing it for the love of climbing. Actually, I feel like I do a lot of things for the love of climbing and to support climbing community and industries, I spend significant amount of money for all climbing related things, just couple days ago $200 to USAC for youth Nationals, month ago another ~$200 to USAC for youth divisionals, ropes, shoes, climbing gym fees and etc. I do not want to bore you, ask any parent who has climbing kid, it is pretty demanding financially.

Anyway, I am searching Internet trying to find how to watch video stream of Dark Horse comp. The very first result in Google search tells me that FloClimbing provides the video stream. http://www.darkhorseseries.com/ home page also says that FloClimbing provides live stream. Nice! I am all set for tomorrow to watch the comp. Next I search more about Dark Horse and FloClimbing (just to get a whole picture for myself) and find two interesting videos.

In this interview Dave, who is one of the original creators of Dark Horse, says very right words, that the comp is for climbers to get together and have fun time, that it is not about new walls and fancy holds, but about the spirit, energy, psyche, for the love of climbing in other words. I like it very much.

In second video Bryan Rafferty from FloClimbing/FloSports says how much they like climbing and want to help climbing to grow, make it “legitimate” and generally do great things for the love of climbing. Sounds good, except I have not initially paid attention to him saying “subscription based … pumping money into the industry”.

Then I get to the instructions on how to watch tomorrow live stream and notice that I have to open an account on FloClimbing. In the process of opening new account I am asked to pay $20 monthly for the subscription. Wait a second. But I do not want any subscriptions, I just want to watch one event. Hmm.

Considering all my climbing related spendings $20 does not seem much, so should I pay? What do you think? Are you paying FloClimbing? Do you like their contents?

I have more questions.

Does FloClimbing really help climbing community or just want to make their profit? If climbing kids can’t watch climbing events video for free, then who is FloClimbing target audience? Dirtbags living in vans?

Judging by a) how many spectators climbing events usually attract in US , b) number of views on Youtube for something like US Bouldering Open event and c) me asking people in the gym if they watch any climbing comp videos, there is not that many people who are interested in watching climbing comps. The truth is that your regular indoor climber does not care much about not-his-local-gym competitions and does not watch them, he better goes climbing. Another truth is that only climbers can watch climbing comp, for others it is as boring as hell. It is not like baseball or basketball, general population does not have any interest (at the moment) in watching climbing comps. Will climbers pay FloClimbing to watch videos? I am not sure. What do you think?

Was it right decision for Dark Horse organizers to hook up with FloClimbing? Time will show, but I personally am not sure. Now days it is enough to have few cheap cameras and Youtube account to stream video; it would work for me, I just want to see climbers climb, nothing fancy is needed. Is $50 dollars per climber really that little that they can’t put a camera? USAC found a way with LT11 to stream climbing comps for free, if Dark Horse is now part of USAC cup series then why not to cooperate and use LT11?

Will it help to popularize Dark Horse outside US as Bryan said? Are climbers outside US willing to give their credit card information and $20 to see Dark Horse? I am not sure.

Will it help to popularize Dark Horse in local climbing communities? Pay $20 to see your buddy online? It could be cheaper to actually come to the gym and save money for beer.

Climbing is more than sport, it is a lifestyle and very spiritual activity. For decades climbing facilities and comps did not make big money and relied on people enthusiasm and love for climbing. Climbing may not necessary follow the same path as other sports and not all business models working for other sports may work for climbing as a sport. Not like in other popular sports where money come from passive spectators, in climbing climbers pay active role, their money support climbing gyms, comps and gear manufacturers. The understanding of this fact is perhaps the most crucial key for any climbing business to succeed.

I am not against of bringing money into the sport and making it “legitimate”, but after climbing got into 2020 Olympics it seems like more and more entrepreneurs want to jump on the bandwagon in attempt to make some money and not because they care about climbing.

5.10 Quantum Climbing Shoes Review

by Anthony

In this post I will present my opinion on the new 5.10 Quantum’s. Not too long ago 5.10 released the new upgraded Quantum’s, 5.10 stopped producing the old ones a few years back, but looks like a lot of people liked the old ones (including me) so the company decided to make a newer version. In my opinion the new Quantum’s are great: they have a good balance of comfort and performance, they work great both bouldering and rope and I have no complaints about how they perform. But there is one thing I don’t really like about the shoe, its durability. My first pair lasted 1 and a half months before it got a hole which is pretty unusual for a climbing shoe, usually a shoe lasts about 4 months before getting a hole. At that point I was pretty disappointed but before I got the hole in my first pair I won a free pair of the same shoes at a local competition. So I started wearing the new pair and I got a hole on the top of the shoe after only 2 weeks of climbing! (pictured below) And at the same time I already started getting a hole in the front of the shoe. What is unusual is that from my experience with different climbing shoes from different manufacturers the rubber would get really soft and thin before getting a hole, but with these shoes the rubber was pretty much brand new and it just cracked. I’m not sure if I got unlucky with both, I do climb a lot indoors and outdoors so it might be that I scratched it or stepped on something sharp but still with each shoe lasting less than 2 months that’s a little bit suspicious. Overall these are great climbing shoes but if you’re planning on buying this then keep in mind that it could wear out pretty fast.


Artistic climbing pictures

Results of doodling with pictures on my phone while killing time.

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Finals! #absnationals

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