I want to get some shoes but I don't really know what I'm looking for. You mentioned that sizes can differ. Do I really need to worry too much at this stage, cos I just need something for indoor wall climbing say once a week.

I have just spotted these on ebay:

I am size 10-10.5 (UK) and these are 11. They are only currently at £1.24 so I could get these very cheap (prob the shoe size). If I lace them tight them the extra length shouldn't be a problem....or will it when I'm trying to get a good grip?

Also on separate issue, is climbing good for developing the muscles in the lower back? I tried getting up anoverhang the other week and found it hard lifting my legs up. What sort of exercises can I do (apart from crunchies and free-weight leg raises) to cevelop the correct muscles?

Cheers fella

Endurance Coach @
Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner


  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Oh one more thing, do I really need to buy anything else like one of those little bags of chalf dust or talcon powder, or whatever they put in it?!
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • You're more likely to need a pair of climbing shoes that are SMALLER than your normal shoe size. You won't be able to use small toe holds if your toes aren't all the way to the end of your shoes.

    The other problem with climbing shoes is the huge variety of shapes of shoes. Your best bet is to go to a shop that has a stock of climbing shoes and find some that fit well - make sure you test the toe edge on the edge of a step or similar. Then try and find them cheaper online (if you're cheeky)

    Even if you're 'only' climbing indoors you still need to have shoes that fit, otherwise they'll hurt and you won't enjoy yourself.

    A chalk bag is useful if you're prone to sweaty hands - but some places don't like you using it so check it out. Don't forget to get a small carabiner to attach your chalk bag to your harness - or a belt to attach it to if you're bouldering.

    Have fun - it's been ages since I've been climbing - I really must get out there (pity it's all rubbish Sandstone down here)
  • I have been climbing occasionally for ages (which means the odd indoor or outdoor climb every couple of years) and at the moment I just own a pair of rock shoes and a helmet (which you don't need indoor). A harness would be next on my list, though I have always got by with hiring or borrowing one. Never been tempted to buy a magnesium powder bag but I'm not climbing at the level where that is an issue.

    I wouldn't buy shoes unseen, unless you have tried the model and the size on first. They do come in different shapes and they can be even more agony than necessary if you get the wrong shape. And you do want them to fit very well. If you have an unusual size you should be able to get cheap ones from a sale somewhere, in a real shop, rather than online.

    Have fun climbing :)
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Cheers guys.
    ok I'll take your advice and pop along to a shop. Can you recommend anything in London? Do you have sale periods on climbing gear? I don't really want to spend too much as I won't be spending too much time on it.....just hoping to pop down once a week and do bouldering.

    The place I'll be using is the converted-squash court in crystal palace sports centre. apparently you can go down wheneve, for as long as you like, for just a couple of quid. Very difficult though with just little nicks and holes in the wall to grip on.....hence why I need decent shoes and chalk powder.

    Whats are the best makes of shoe?
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Snow and Rock near Chancery Lane station is good; The YHA shops too...used to be one in Covent Garden but I think it moved
  • Hi Daz, Just saw the post. As I said on my e-mail to you and re-iterated by a number of people above the problem on climbing shoes is that different makes have different shapes and their may also have different real sizes in relation to the declared size. You really have to try them on - most people would climb without socks in the shoes so if you intend to do this try them on without socks. You should, as Mrs CBP says then try them out on some edges to see if they stick.The more your foot fills out all of the empty spaces in the shoe the more stick (less slipping) you will have.But try not to get a shoe that crimps your toes up too much. If possible, when you've found a shoe you think you like, keep them on for 20-30 minutes moving around to see if heat builds up in the shoe and consequent swelling of feet causes discomfort.
    Good shoes that I've used are La Sportiva (had to put that one cos they're Italian), Boreal, 5.10, Red Chili Pepper also Asolo and One Sport are not bad - they may not all be available in one store.
    Snow and Rock is pretty good - at least last time I was there about 5 years ago, but make sure you talk to someone in the shop who is a climber and knowledgeable - just like buying running shoes or a bike.
    The chalk bag is probably useful if you'll be climbing on small holds that get greasy. Some places don't allow you to use it, others do. Cheapest way to fix it to your waist is a piece of string or climbing tape. Thread it through the loop on the bag and then tie string around your waist. The most important thing about the bag is that you can get your fingers in easily and move them around so they get covered in chalk. If the bag has too small a hole you can be hanging from one hand while you're pissing around trying to chalk your fingers.

    Oh, one important point - when you fall off don't shout "Banzai", it's considered particularly bad form : )
  • Re. Overhangs. Crunches and leg raises will help develop abdominal muscles. You should also develop the lower back muscles with reverse crunches (? - not sure of the proper name in English). Lie on a support for your hip area (careful with the jewels) with your legs held by a support. Lower trunk downwards and then back up - but not beyond 85° otherwise you will damage your back. When you get good you can do these while holding weights in front of your chest for more resistance. You should probably have a gym instructor show you this - most gyms have a piece of equipment specifically for this exercise which can also be used for the abs by turning your body the other way round - raising your trunk to near vertical and lowering to prone position.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Is that where you lie on your belly and arch yourself backwards with someone (or something) holding your legs down?
    Good one, cheers.
    Might pop down to that shop on Saturday to try a few styles out, and then do what Mrs CBP refers to as 'cheeky' :O)

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • No, that is the best way to give yourself a permanently f****ed up back.
    You should be going the opposite direction to what you are saying but obviously you can't do that on the floor.

    This piece of equipment is about a metre high, feet and hips are at the same level but only hip area and feet touch the equipment. From a virtually horizontal position you bend the trunk forwards to almost touch the floor with your face, then come back to almost horizontal (85° like I said before). This really strengthens your lower back muscles and glutes.
    Another good exercise for the lower back and glutes is the reverse leg curl. Lying on your front on the machine you curl your leg backwards against a weighted bar. This exercise mainly targets your hamstrings but done properly and slowly strengthens the back muscles as well.
    Also try the dead lift. Stand upright with long weights bar held in your hands. Bend forwards letting the bar follow the direction of your legs till almost touching floor. Pull bar back up the same way without bending legs. You'll feel the back muscles pulling like crazy so start off with fairly low weights.
  • Hey, and remmber Daz, your first pair of climbing shoes shouldn't cripple you (that's the job of your second and subsequent pairs).

    Ever seen a climbers' feet? Yuk, worse than runners'. Bunions, deformed toenails, lovely ....

    Good brands (or ones I like, anyway) are La Sportiva, 5:10 and Boreal... just like Firemonkey says! Red Chili are OK, but come up very small. Watch out for anything suspiciously cheap as they are probably thown together in some sweat shop and will stretch horribly.
  • Yeah, I got crippled early on that's why I now use oversized shoes. Still I find that up to European grade 6a it doesn't make that much difference.
    Presently using the Red Chili but boy are they oversized. I have normal shoes as 8 and a half. These are 9 and a half.
    Suffering is for the young folk - been there, done it.
  • Aaaah! The pain of climbing shoes - but it's a near-religious experience when you take them off! (which is usually 0.0005 seconds after finishing a climb!)

  • I once took them off before finishing the climb and finished in bare feet (like climbers in the 1930's). Also that was a near religious experience.
  • Nice one - think I mut be a bit of a girlie 'cos I gave up on one climb this summer cos my feet hurt so much!!!!

    La Sportiva Mueras (spelling?) and hot weather (and swollen feet!) don't mix!
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Hmmmm, have to say I'm intriguing to find out just how these shoes feel. I recall the guys at the climbing mentioning they can be a bit harsh on the feet.....?

    Great, I'll buy a pair sat and be on the walls by next week. Rock'n'roll
    But if I start getting bunions, that's it! hit the road jack!

    Oh yeh, cheers firemonkey I've got you now (re: exercises). I can actually do the dead lift at home with my bar-bells.
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • There you go. Be really careful when buying the shoes - don't let them convince you that you have to have really tight fitting shoes - they probably do cos they climb at a high level - you're not going to get there for at least a year. Unless of course you're an undiscovered phenomenon.

    Saw your posts on Porkers. I went to school (boarding) in the Midlands - Wolverhampton. Really hated the place and then ended up studying in the Poly there (think its now a Uni.) Changed my whole perspective on the place - had a great time.
    Know why you moved to London though.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    all i need to do now is find some kind of exercise for my hands and wrists...
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Signing off now so pick you up tomorrow if you have some more questions. Going to pick up the prize for my 25th place in category for the Marathon on Sunday. Exciting - it's the first time I've won anything in a race since I left school.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    i forgot about that mate - how did you do, time,etc ? what was prize?

    nice one!
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz - in response to your e-mail - it would be JJ if she was out of her bath in time... Other wise, Ed...
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    i think it's been missed mate, nevermind :O(
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Just wait till JJ gets back...
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    you think she'll spot it though....gone past it a bit now
    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz.

    Re. Marathon. I was shooting for 3h 20 and up to 25th km was on target. The day was very hot and humid and I started getting cramps behind thighs (both legs). Had to slow down. Last 3km were absolutely agony, stopping to stretch every km (took me 20 minutes). Finished in 3h 32. Ok but not what I wanted. Anyway finished 25th in my age category anyway (45-49) and they were giving prizes to first 25 in that category. I didn't even bother to check up on classification or prize because I didn't think I had won anything with that kind of time and rushed home to grab some lunch. They called me yesterday and I went to pick up the prize.

    What I won: One pair of very cool sunglasses for running (great visibility, yellow shades). One bumbag from Mizuno.
    3 packets of pasta, 2 packets of biscuits, one packet of crackers, one packet of snack bars all courtesy of Barilla who was the sponsor.
    Goody bag for race enrolment was a rucksac, a little radio for running, one packet of pasta, one packet of biscuits, one packet of crackers and one packet of jam tarts.
    We're talking supermarket size packets btw.

    The enrolment fee was 13 Euro (about 8 quid). Seems to me I got a real bargain.

    What say you. How does that compare to UK. Getting off the climbing theme a bit though.
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    firemonkey, would you believe i have only just got round to reading this post. i'm bloomin useless me!

    was this event sponsored by some rich arab!? how on earth did you bag so many prizes? well done on result anyway!

    I've just finished reading my 4th mountaineering book by the way, and third on everest stuff (lost on everest - irvine and mallory) as well as your stories (what are you planning to do with them?). I liked this one a lot, just as much as jon krakauers 'into think air'. fascinating! really hope they find irvines body one day. has there been an expedition since 99' that had this in mind? is there a website devoted to everest and all the expeditions?

    one thing i was thinking about apart from your general fitness and climbing knowledge/expertise is physique. Do a lot of climbers in general try to put on a bit of weight before they head out - I would have though that an extra few kilos in fat my provide added insulation? or do they try and keep weight down so its easier to lug their bodies up the steeper parts?

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • In answer to your last question there Daz, I guess it depends on what sort of climbing you're doing, i.e. a few multi-pitches on grit stone at Stannage Moor or a major Hymalayan expedition, where living at a 16000 foot base camp in freezing temperatures for several weeks is going to somewhat take its toll on your system.

    The very nature of rock climbing leads to rapid energy burn and is in itself a significant weight reduction exercise. Of course it's not everybody's cup of tea!

    Not really into mountaineering books, but Joe Simpson spins a good yarn.
  • touching the void - joe simpson is a masterpiece

    you are gritting your teecth whilst reading about the pain he endures
  • Hey Daz,

    I just saw your reply. I'm travelling in the Gulf just now so I'm not able to log on as much as usual.

    Re. Marathon. it's sponsored by Barilla which is the biggest pasta manufacturer in Italy (and I guess probably the world) as well as being owner of numerous worldwide companies in biscuit, bread and like manufacturing. It's based in Parma so I guess that's why they are so generous with us. Anyway it's pretty usual in Italy to get a great goodies bag whenever you enrol in a marathon (T-shirt, energy drinks, various foods, running magazine, telephone cards, bottle of wine etc.)
    Concerning the fattening up thing for going on expeditions. I think with all the training you need to do before going it would be pretty hard to put any weight on and anyway a couple of kilos wouldn't make that much difference either way. One thing is for sure you usually lose weight on Himamlayan expeditions due to being many weeks in high areas and eating pretty lousy food - I,ve usually lost about 2-4 kilos in a month. On the other hand South America is more weight sustaining. The actual mountaineering bits are much shorter (anywhere from 2 days to max a week) then you head back to the towns where you can eat (and drink) to your hearts content. For example just two days after topping out on Alpamayo or Huascaran in Peru we were sitting in a restaraunt in Huaraz stuffing our faces with huge steaks and sangria. The same day that we summited on Huayna Potosi in Bolivia we were doing pretty much the same in La Paz.So basically whatever you lose there during the climb you put back on immediately. I've never come back from the Andes with any weight loss. Actually sometimes such as in Chile or Argentina I came back weighing more than when I went.

    Personally I wish they hadn't found Mallory's body. For a lot of people it was a kind of sacrilege, for me it destroyed a little bit of the myth. I'd prefer that the mystery on whether they made it or not remains, though personally I don't think they did. I think that they more probably got exhausted and confused due to oxygen starvation and just fell off the mountain - that's a pretty sharp ridge up there. Still it's a fascinating story and the book isn't bad.

    What am I going to do with my stories? No idea. I just wrote them for fun and to remember certain events of my life. But if you know any interested publishers I could write a hell of a lot more : )

    Intersting what you said about The story "Ghulam" and other people have also told me that they find it the most interesting. I think that it's probably a little boring just to write about climbing stories and this is different because it has human interest and some development of character. Maybe some day if I have time I'll turn it into a whole book (yeah, like when I retire).
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    Just popping in.
    Keep up the marathons mate. How many is that now? Will send a few more emails shortly. My flat mates auntie lives in Nepal and he's interested in visiting Base Camp next year. Will see if anything comes of this. Hence all the q's lately!

    I see what you mean. But you never know, they can't prove they/he DIDNT do it. Would just be nice to think a pure Brit was the first to reach it. I still find it fascinating that all those that have died on the mountain are preserved/frozen, and occasionaly get spotted by climbers. must be strange.

    re:publishing. my bro works in publishers and has tried to have some of his done in past. will let you know by e.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
Sign In or Register to comment.