Balance and Technique 3: Sequencing

Balance and Technique class 3 of 4. Today we spent the entire session working on sequencing, where you plan your moves for how to climb a problem or route beforehand. I’ve known that I need to get better at it, and it turns out I just needed someone to force me to do it.

We started with a little sequencing game in the bouldering area. Our instructor came up with a sequence of moves, and we had to memorize and reproduce it. Easier said than done! It collectively took us 12 tries to reproduce the 14 moves.

It was a great mental warmup for the next exercise. We were tasked with choosing hard-for-us top rope routes and sequencing them before getting on the wall.

In my mind I think 5.10b is a challenge, and I found an interesting looking problem so I started with that. “Too easy!” yelled our instructor from the ground as I zipped up the wall.

I’ve only ever completed one 5.10d, and it was super ugly with at least a couple rests. I did one of those next. Finished it cleanly. “Still too easy!” said our instructor afterward.

I’ve never attempted a 5.11 anything, so I moved on to a 5.11a. Finished that cleanly too.

The official instructor verdict is I’m not pushing myself hard enough. That is fascinating. I don’t hear that a lot.

It’s refreshing. And he’s right. If I’m able to complete those climbs on the first try I should be trying harder climbs. I think I just need to find the right balance of pushing myself vs. brute forcing really hard things with terrible technique.

Back to sequencing. It works! Knowing what you’re going to do ahead of time lets you move way faster. In turn, your arms feel less tired, and you’re able to execute more cleanly. I’m sold!

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