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 Alan.rodger 05 Apr 2020

Approaching the above status. Are there others out there on UKC ? If so how are you on the stamina front and do you retain motivation. I ask myself that and receive a muffled answer. New strategies to succeed are needed and I'm working on this e.g. careful route choices, staying locally the night before, wild camping part way in etc.

 Martin Bennett 05 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Me Alan, I am. Over 70 that is. 74 to be precise. I don't find the slightest decrease in my inclination to climb. I do however find an increased DIS-inclination to risk hurting myself either in a fall or due to straining aged sinews too hard. Together with a general lessening in strength and a couple of longish lay-offs due to bad shoulders in the last few years the standard at which I climb has dropped.

To put that into perspective, for most of the first 50 years I climbed I was an E1 5b leader who pushed it to E2 5c from time to time. For the last 5 years or so I've mostly climbed at VS and maybe Hard VS, and have enjoyed a spot of sunny sport climbing at about F4/5/5+ though F6a is maybe not yet quite beyond me.

I still get out to bigger crags e.g. The Dolomites and other Alpine and sub-alpine rock but unfortunately have rarely rock climbed in Scotland since I lived there in the 70s and 80s. I've led Scottish V and Euro WI IV+ but not in the last few years when Scottish Winter has eluded me altogether and Euro ice has been at III/III+. I'm now intent on working through Classic Rock as I once did with Hard Rock; trouble is a lot of the classics I've been saving for my dotage are a long way up the hill, which seems to get bigger with every passing decade.

I know there are climbers my age doing far far better than I am, but I maintain that they were better climbers to start with! I hope that gives you an idea that even into one's 70s there's a great deal to be had from a day/weekend/month on the rock.

 Euge 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Wow, well done Martin. That is certainly inspirational... Hope I'll be the same at 74

In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm a mere 64 and three quarters myself, but one of my main climbing partners is in his mid-70s and is as psyched as ever. Last year he and I were part of a small team making our first visit to Arapiles and he was leading 15/VS. Virus permitting, we're planning to return next spring. He'll still second me on E1/2. Looking at the lovely temperatures at Tremadog during the lockdown will have been driving him mad. A few years ago I interviewed him about his climbing life for our local club magazine and titled it "Living for Adventure." He's an absolute inspiration to me. Keep the flame burning!

Post edited at 10:21
 Philb1950 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Bennett:

I’m 70 in a couple of months. Totally agree with the idea of getting scared, but that’s maybe from deteriorating strength and long term muscle injuries. Also older people seem to  concentrate on sport routes and again possibly because of the fear factor and don’t go trad. climbing. In my prime (a long time ago) I could onsight E6 but now with a following wind it’s E3 and I get scared. That’s not to say I wouldn’t get back into it. In theory if you can lead 7A sport grade, you should be able to lead E5.

 beardy mike 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Some of my regular climbing partners are 70+ - to me they are an absolute inspiration - hey are as motivated as ever, going ski touring, until recently Ian was climbing E2 without even batting an eyelid putting me to shame and Richard and I recently did Skeleton Ridge together with him leading the crux pitch. Don't know I can add anything in terms of strategies but just to let you know you are in good company - there are guys out there still pushing themselves as hard as they ever have in the sense that they are pushing themselves relative to what they feel capable of. 

 brianjcooper 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Bennett:

That's both impressive and inspirational Martin. I'm 73 this year and still trying to consolidate HVS and maybe the odd E1.  Many thanks for the needed motivation. 

 Rick51 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm 71. I gave up climbing in 1985, only going out a handful of times till the mid 90's and then not at all till a month before I was 70. I was climbing E3 6a when I stopped.

Since coming back to climbing my motivation is what it was when I first started. I try to get out as often as I can. I've spent a small fortune on gear and guidebooks.

I'm careful about bad landings so won't boulder outside and I won't boulder anything indoors that I can't climb down from. I don't have a lot of stamina and I'm much better on slabs and walls but then I always was. Indoors I can lead 5c and tope rope 6a and soft touch 6b. Outdoors I'm catching up on all the easier routes that I'd never done before and some of the old classics.

At Awesome Walls on pensioners day there are loads older than me that are climbing much, much harder so 70 isn't a defining point.

 Al Randall 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm almost 72.  My last successful on sight was a 6c, the one before that was 7a but then I fell off a 6c and broke my ankle.  I've not climbed much trad lately but that is mainly because after 55 years I've done most of the quality UK routes out there.  There is plenty for me still to do in the Lakes and Scotland but to be honest I can't face the travelling and unreliable weather anymore so in that respect I'm not as keen as I once was.  I'm still very motivated for sun and sport though.


Post edited at 12:28
 Lankyman 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Just look at what Rob Matheson gets up to. He leaves most folks half his age floundering.

 Alan.rodger 06 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Most of my humble achievements have been Scottish winter routes involving 6am starts, 3 hour drives, 2 hour walk-ins and ended with 3 hour drive home. Seldom less than 14 hours day. This has become a bit unappealing now and I hope to extend more into sumner rock. 

I am not certain that's it's age more than inclination that's causing me to reassess.

 rgold 07 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm 76, been climbing for 63 years.  Now mostly HVS with a touch of E1 I'd guess (5.8--5.10b).  Almost all trad.  When the finally let us out of our cages (if I'm still alive) it's going to be a lot closer to 5.8 than 510b.  Joints are getting twingy and that's putting a damper on things with long approaches and/or heavy packs---my mountain days, such as they were, are probably over. (Its three years since I did anything one would call "alpine.")

There's lots of smaller stuff to putter about on, so I'm good for a while if the wheels don't fall off the chassis.

Post edited at 05:27
 Angry old man 07 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Hi Alan

l am 75, started climbing at 16 years old  and still look forward to my climbing days out.

Apart from an artificial hip joint 3  years ago I have climbed almost continuously with an ever decreasing standard!!! Like others who joined this topic I have all the usual aches , pains and strains of an aging body, but intend to carry on until nature overtakes me.

My motivation to head to the crags and hills is driven by not only love of the sport but to meet my friends and climbing partners, one of whom I've climbed with for 58 years. A few good routes, a beer or two and maybe a curry with good friends in our glorious countryside--what other motivation do you need?

Ian Knight

 Trangia 08 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Hi Alan

I'm 76 and up until about a year ago was still climbing regularly. I'll echo what others have said, fear of injury was becoming greater than it used to be. Something like a broken leg would be hard to cope with, and even minor injuries and strains take longer to heal now. I found this particularly with rock climbing when after a couple of strains to my right knee joint due to pushing up on it at a slightly unnatural angle I was off climbing for several weeks each time whilst hobbling around, and I decided to concentrate more on walking, which I can still enjoy (well! under normal circumstances!!)

Another problem is failing eyesight and this has led to my tripping and falling over on rocky paths several times which is knocking my confidence. I used to be able to boulder hop and run down mountain paths, but unfortunately no longer, as I have to pick my way, particularly going down, with care.

I am much slower now than I was, even in my early 70s, but so long as I give myself enough time, I can still get up hills. Two months ago I walked up Table Mountain in South Africa via a route from the Pipe Track. The guide book recommended time was about 3 hours, it took me 5 hours in 32 degrees heat, but by going steadily I still did it, and enjoyed it.

So whilst sadly I have decided to stop rock climbing, I am still enjoying walking, when I can I do about 8 to 12 miles a day, and long may that last!

 Martin Hore 08 Apr 2020
In reply to Martin Bennett:

Hi Martin

Really good to read your post. Looks like I'm on the same trajectory, five years behind you (I'm 69). Very occasional E2 was my limit too - last year reasonably consistent up to HVS. This year - enough said!

Like you, I was seriously thinking of setting myself the challenge of completing Classic Rock in my seventies (including re-visiting all the ones I've done before). Am I right that the Cuillin Ridge is included? I think that might be the biggest challenge, though there are plenty of other Scottish Classic Rock routes with major walk-ins. Anyway, glad to see someone else has the same idea. Good luck!


 Billhook 09 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm quite pleased with my fitness. I've guided 3 Coast to Coast parties in the last 4 years and not felt in anyway tired or unfit.  I've found a new hobby which has given me a new 'kick start' to hill walking (SOTA.ORG) and I recently spent 15 days in Feb/Mar up and down unfamiliar but thoroughly enjoyable hills in Scotland.

Like many of the other posters on here I find my motivation has decreased for things I used to enjoy more.  But then as my wife tells me; getting up at dawn, freezing your whatsits off, numb hands,, sleeping in snow holes, tents, bivvis,  getting soaked etc.,   Been there done that!  Don't need to do it any more. 

In reply to Alan.rodger:

I am 79 next month ,led my last E1 at age 75, leading VS still with the odd HVS , 6A+ sport and the odd 6B on the walls. I was keen to have a good season this year following a Hernia op. in January but that is obviously on hold just now. What I cant do is carry loads up to high crags ,in particular I have great problems in descent, my knees dont like it. Nevertheless I am as keen as ever, but have come to terms with my limitations. I have a good regular partner to climb with a bit younger than me. My message  to those in this age group is-NEVER GIVE UP!

 wercat 11 Apr 2020
In reply to Billhook:


hah - thought as much

 johncook 11 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

Just 71. Going well. Have a variety of minor ailments/injuries.  Not up to the grades of my prime but still good enough to keep me motivated. Back to trying to up my grade because there are some great routes just out of reach. As for stamina, I am still going when most of the younger (below 50) mates have stopped for the day. 

It is all about frame of mind. I look at my relatives who are much younger than me and I see old people. I look at my neighbours and I see old people. I do not intend to be like them. I enjoy life too much to just relax and watch it pass me by. ( I do live in sheltered housing which should be regarded as some kind of joke, as the 'wardens' are all unfit and struggle even to walk up my flat path to see if I am OK!)

Keep motivated, keep fit, keep going!

 Sean Kelly 11 Apr 2020
In reply to Alan.rodger:

I'm another septuagenarian that trained pretty hard this winter for pushing E3 leads but not possible now. Led an E1 in December last but now trying to maintain some sort of fitness on the bike. Lucky to have no real health issues and excellent BMI. Hopefully we can all get back on the rock soon. My target was the Rebuffet Route on the Midi  but we shall see. Just don't stop!

 Billhook 11 Apr 2020
In reply to wercat:

Can I ask why you 'thought as much'?   Are you a ham too?

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