The History Of Climbing Training: Interview With Peter Beal

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In this episode we take a dive into the history of climbing training and performance with Peter Beal. With over five decades of climbing and training experience under his belt, we thought there was no better person to talk about what has occurred in the training side of the sport since the 70s and how this has impacted performance at the top end.
Peter has been climbing hard since 1977, with a specific focus on bouldering which is unusual given the decade in which he started - it was hardly recognised as its own 'thing' at the time! With ascents up to V12, he is also a contributor across publications like Rock & Ice, UKC, The Alpinist and also the author of the book - Bouldering: Movement, Tactics and Problem Solving.

Peter is a training and performance focused guy, having trained methodically for going on 40 yrs and also operates as a climbing coach for local climbers in Colorado operating right up to the elite end of the scale for just over 20yrs. For all the above mentioned history and background, I thought this would be the perfect person to have on the show to talk about how climbing and performance has changed over the last 5 decades.
Peter Beal Instagram
Peter Beal's local (amazing!) gym:
1970s

  • Jim Holloway - front levers and gymnastic strength training feats. Ascents of V12-13!
  • Pete Livesey and training at Leeds wall, raising the standard in leading from E2-E6
  • Tony Yaniro - FA of Grand Illusion 8a/+ in 1979

1980s

  • Enter John Bachar! 2 arm pull ups at +63kg and 1 arm pull up +5.5kg
  • Moffatt, Bachar etc, all possibly started with the first bit of fingerboard training
  • 1984 C’était Demain V11 – Fontainebleau, by Godoffe
  • 1988 - The campus board & Wolfgang Güllich

1990s

  • 1990 Hubble - 8c+ but maybe the world’s first 9a?
  • Action Directe 9a 1991
  • The Sheffield Schoolroom - built in 1993 by Gavin Ellis, Ben Tye and Andy Coish
  • Replicas, system board climbing, systematic endurance training, campus boards, and early fingerboarding all find their ground.
  • 1996 - Open Air by Huber as the first 9a+ (upgraded later from 9a)

2000s

  • 2000-2002 for long and shorter V15s (Hollow Mountain Cave and Monkey Wedding)
  • 2008 - 9b Jumbo Love
  • Indoor Walls really start to have an international impact en masse.

2010s

  • 2012-2013 3 x 9b+ all by Adam Ondra!!
  • Early 2010-2015 massive explosion in indoor bouldering
  • 2016 - Burden of Dreams V17 – by Nalle Hukkataival
  • 2017 - Silence 9c by Ondra
  • The Moonboard, Kilterboard and Tension Board go big.

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