I can’t remember the first 5.9 I climbed, but let’s just say I’ve climbed a lot of them… and some of them on lead, too. It’s safe to say I regularly send 5.8+ on top rope without yelling “take.” Point being, I’ve learned a few things over the years.
Everyone knows MoonBoards and Gripmasters and campus boards, but if you want to get really strong, why stick to what all the other common folk are doing?
One of the few reasons I’ve managed to snag the FAs multiple V2s (occasionally several in one day), in my career is because I incorporate a diverse series of training tools and techniques. Many of these are pretty hush-hush, whispered about among the upper echelon of climbers, but I’ve called around, and Megos, Ondra, Sharma, and most of the other guys are okay with me sharing a few of the secrets. So here we go.
Currently on sale for ONLY $32,055, this backyard wall is a bargain. It’s basically like having your own private boulder field right outside your house. You’ll be amazed at the realistic natural texture the guys at Nature Rocks put into this one. I’ve probably projected a dozen different lines up the two different boulders over the last several months, and the cargo net traverse adds to the workout.
If you’ve been saving up for a treadwall, just keep saving for this bad boy! The Sierra Nevada Climbing Rock is well worth the price tag. If you’re looking for a route map, shoot me an email.
We all know the old chair traverse… but I do my chair traverses on the Giant King Crab Sculptural Lounge Chair. This fiberglass-reinforced designer resin chair with a plastic outer frame provides myriad holds for fitting your body into a variety of outlandish positions. Also, it doesn’t just have four legs, it has eight!
Not everyone knows this, but when Peter Croft was prepping for Astroman way back in the day, he was actually using an early-model King Crab chair to train. He kept this a secret because… well, obviously if the word got out there’d be too many folks walking around as strong as Peter and I. This is the first time I’ve seen this legendary piece of climbing training gear go for below $1,000, so pick it up fast!
Okay, so this one isn’t on sale technically, but at $250, the Windhaven 20 in. Outdoor Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan with Remote Control is an absolute STEAL. There are campus boards, and then there are these babies. Simply anchor it well to your ceiling, turn it on, and you have a moving campus treadwall. You can go forward, reverse, hang sideways, the possibilities are limitless.
You might wonder how exactly an Inflatable Tube Man helps with training, but surprisingly enough, this is perhaps the #1 flexibility training tool I use. You simply set up the Inflatable Tube Man outside under a fairly strong wind, stand opposite it, then mirror its movements exactly. The Inflatable Tube Man bends left, you bend left, and so on.
This technique dramatically improves flexibility and range of motion, and is particularly good for tall and lanky climbers. Ondra has purportedly been using this training method behind closed doors for years. If you want to up the ante, simply train under strong winds, and your Inflatable Tube Man will give you a workout like no other.
Helicopter training is an expert technique that takes years of practice to master, so don’t try it until you’ve already used these other training tools for at least five to ten years. It’s essentially the next step up from the Windhaven.
You crimp the edge of a rotor, fire up the chopper, and then swing from rotor to rotor, monkey-bar style, as the chopper blades are spinning. It’s a difficult tactic to master, don’t get me wrong. As far as I know, Solid Snake, Ethan Hunt, and I are among the only people able to do it, but it promotes finger strength, speed, agility, and stamina like no other climbing training method. If you aren’t fast enough, you’ll get your hand chopped off though, so be careful. Keeping rotor speed down at the outset of your training routine is paramount.
Of course, once you have your private helicopter, you can always just fly to the top of your project, anyway. It’s a win-win.
The Choss Pile is published every other Thursday.
Owen Clarke is a writer currently based in a barn in Tennessee. He is a columnist for Rock and Ice, Gym Climber, andThe Outdoor Journal. He also writes for Atlas Devices and BAÏST. He enjoys Southern sandstone and fish tacos, and is afraid of heights.
Follow him on Instagram at @opops13 for more training tips.