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farasnyl10


Nov 18, 2002, 2:43 PM
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just curious....i'm not sure if it's just a coincidence or what, but most of the women at both gyms that i go to seem to be about 5'6" or less (granted, 5'6" is the average height-but there seem to many more on the lower side of the average than the higher). i guess i'm fairly tall, around 5'10" or so, but i rarely see women my height or taller climbing. the pant topic also caught my eye, as there were lots of questions about finding pants that fit waists and hips, but none regarding pants that weren't high-waters (yet another one of those hard to fit areas). so my question is- is it just a coincidence, and there are lots of other tall woman climbers out there, or do most female climbers tend to be fairly small?


katydid


Nov 19, 2002, 4:58 AM
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I'm 5'7"-ish, and most of the women climbers I've been around have been *taller* than me! I can think of three women who are shorter (and one of them is a teenager, so she's not done growing). Maybe Southern Ontario breeds their girl climbers tall?

Different body types naturally tend toward putting on different types of muscle more easily. If you're short, you're more apt to pack on quick-twitch muscle (and more of it -- you'll rarely see a tall bodybuilder), so shorter climbers tend to be able to develop power more quickly, and proportionally more of it. That shouldn't determine why all the people you're climbing around seem to be below-average height, just an interesting tidbit I thought I'd throw in.

Kate

(edit:) PS As far as the pants thing, I have a longer-than-average inseam for my height, but getting the dang things ON seems to be more of a problem than finding ones that are the right length.

[ This Message was edited by: katydid on 2002-11-19 05:02 ]


rockwomyn


Nov 19, 2002, 6:56 AM
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I am 5'1" and i am on the short end of the spectrum. i have not met many woman climbers that are tremendously taller...maybe like 5'3" to 5'6" range. I often wish i had a little more height on my side, especially for when i have to clean a route that my 6 ft. plus boyfriend just lead. But i also look at it as a challange...i do lift weights alot because i feel i need more strength to compensate for my veritcal disability.

As far as pants go....short girls have a helluva time finding pants thats fit. I usually have to cut off about two or three inches from the bottoms....well i guess at least i can shorten them.


ecocliffchick


Nov 19, 2002, 8:20 AM
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I feel your pain. I'm 5'11 and have been since I was 12 years old! Buying pants has been a constant challenge. When I was younger and very skinny I could just buy men's pants but when I got to be a mid-teen and finally got some curves, the men's pants wouldn't accomodate for my hips. Now finding any pants to fit with my height AND the narrow waist:wide hips ratio is almost impossible. If they fit, I buy them. I don't even look at prices anymore.

In terms of climbing pants, I don't have a problem if they're "floods". It just means I won't have to worry about catching my shoe on the bottom of the cuffs. Climbing pants are way more about function than fashion for me.


redstar


Nov 19, 2002, 10:43 AM
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I know exactly what you mean. I am 5'11" and I can never find pants to fit right. The only jeans that I have ever found are the extra long GAP jeans off of their website. I have never found any workout/climbing/outdoor pants that fit right.


mother_sheep


Nov 19, 2002, 11:18 AM
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I'm 5'9" and it does seem like most girls in the gym are shorter than me. Sometimes I feel like my height is an advantage.


Partner missedyno


Nov 22, 2002, 8:40 AM
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i'm 5'5.... i normally buy plain cotton pants and roll them up to whatever length i want. usually mid calf somewhere. i find full length pants are too long and sometimes hook over my shoes. very annoying.


russmanswife


Nov 22, 2002, 9:55 AM
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i am about 5'7" and i have noticed girls do tend to be shorter than me but so do some of the guys i have seen climbing.

as far as clothes go i have to double check the inseam on pants i buy because i hate buying them and having them shrink up on me i always buy the long okay part of that comes from horseback riding too i have to have a long inseam to cover my boots when i sit on a horse i hate having my pants hike up to my knees.


climbchick


Nov 22, 2002, 11:06 AM
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ooooh, what I would give to be 5'11!! It's so annoying to watch my 6 foot male partners effortlessly reach past hard moves that have me flailing and dangling! I'm 5'7 and I haven't really seen too many women climbing but the ones I have seen all seem to be about my height or taller. I have noticed that there are a lot of short guys climbing -- my height or shorter.

Even though I'm not especially tall, I have long legs & sometimes have trouble finding pants that fit properly -- since I started wearing low-rise pants a lot, it's been easier.


ecocliffchick


Nov 22, 2002, 12:21 PM
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The height situation is all relative. I'm 5'11 and my boyfriend and climbing partner is 6'3 with a +2 "ape-idex", so I still feel like I'm suffering by not being able to reach what he can, though I'm taller than the average guy.


rckclimbergurl


Nov 22, 2002, 12:37 PM
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I'm like 5'3'' ish. It's not cool most of the time, because everybody else can make the reaches but I'm a few inches too short!! It's not fair!! But then again, there are some advantages of being shorter too, so I guess it evens out in the end. It's still not cool though!


olebetsy


Nov 22, 2002, 12:52 PM
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I'm just shy of 5'4", and have been in several situations where 2-3" more would have helped. But remember, Lynn Hill is 5'1". She can climb anything, some how or other! A short male acquaintance of mine told me that, when you're short, you have to be extra strong. I would add to that, be extra clever about finding intermediate footholds to get up a route. and watch people about your size climb, so you can get beta that will be useful for you.
Betsy


beyond_gravity


Nov 22, 2002, 4:32 PM
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Shorter you are = Less weight

Less Weight = More usuable holds


No doubt being "vertically challanged" does not make some stuff more difficult...but I have a hard time on sit starts with my 5.10 body


granite_grrl


Nov 23, 2002, 11:38 PM
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My ex boyfriend/climbign partner was 5'7", while I'm 5'8", it was great when I could just reach that hold he couldn't. I do wish that I was a little more petit, I have problems hauling myself up the wall, and I'm still working being able to do chinups. Last winter I gained 15 lbs, bringing me up to 155. But it was muscle (mostly) that I gained. I think I'll need some more to haul myself up over hangs.


jadeclimber


Nov 24, 2002, 8:48 PM
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I was just telling my husband a couple of days ago how all my climbing partners have been getting shorter (I'm about 5"7 in the morning).

I just moved to Seattle this summer and the first woman I started climbing with was about 5"2.

One of the next women I climbed with was just shy of 5"0 I think (she told me about the time she met Lynn Hill and mentioned to her that everyone brings up Lynn whenever she tries to use height as an excuse. . . Lynn Hill's reply was: "Actually, I think I have a few inches on you." )

My most current new partner is barely 4"9, and even though height can definitely be an impediment, she climbs with great grace.


danielb


Nov 25, 2002, 1:16 AM
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I am a 6'2 guy I first started climbing with a girl who must have been about 5'4 but she could do 7a where as I struggle with 6a.

As someone said it balences out you might not be as tall as me but I probably weigh twice your weight (I'm 14.10 stone or 95kg) which makes a big difference on overhangs. And you will not have the bother I have with sitting starts (the bain of my climbing life)...

DanielB


ecocliffchick


Nov 25, 2002, 6:55 AM
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I think weight is more of an issue than height. Anyone have any weightloss secrets?


maiorlive


Nov 25, 2002, 4:00 PM
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I'm about 5'7" and there are only a handful of women taller than me at my gym. There are somewhat more than a handful who climb harder than I do. In some cases it appears to be a strength to weight ratio thing, but for most I'd argue that these women have beautiful technique due to greater incentive to learn than most men.

As for the s/w ratio, I can only think of one lady who's climbing benefits significantly from the strength side of the equation. (Apparently she used to be a national gymnast in the power events.) The rest take advantage of their lower weight. And regarding weight, most climbers seem to have frames that don't hold a lot of weight to begin with.

Of the four possible performance indicators discussed (height, strength, weight, technique), I think the real driver of success is technique. Height can't be changed (barring revolutionary Chinese surgical techniques). Both strength and weight will resolve themselves into some sort of ideal if you climb often enough to develop good technique.

W


mwbtle


Nov 26, 2002, 7:33 AM
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Well I'm 5'4" and a little bit, and find that I'm pretty much the same height as all the other women at the gym (some a little taller some a little shorter). Which is either humbling or inspiring when I see them climbing routes that I can't even begin to get off the ground on.
An interesting theory though, for those of you who are short, did you find as a child that you spent a great deal of time climbing onto countertops and such to be able to reach things that taller people could just reach from the floor? I know I did. That could explain the prevalence of shorter women in climbing, because they've done it all their lives. Just a thought.
-Melissa


ecocliffchick


Nov 26, 2002, 9:34 AM
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I definitely agree with strength:weight ratio and technique being the two driving forces behind strong female climbers. Though you did mention that most strong climbers have a frame that wouldn't support a heavy figure. I've noticed this too. They all (well except Tiff) seem to have very tiny bone structures and though very strong, seem almost weightless. What about those of us with a more "sturdy" frame - big boned gals you might say? Have we no hope?


maiorlive


Nov 26, 2002, 10:14 AM
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Eco, I think I read elsewhere on this site that you are enjoying climbing and life with your boyfriend. And saying that lets me say this without being misunderstood: you, and the women like you, are a considerable part of my motivation to get out to the gym as often as I do. I've seen your photos and you are not "sturdy" or "big boned" or any other euphemism. It feels good just hanging with women (like yourself) who are healthy and fit because they know its fun to live that way.

You don't look like there's a significant amount of weight to be lost. But I think you'll find that if you push the limits of your strength and technique, your body will adjust your appetite and food preferences until your weight reaches an optimal point. Maybe try experimenting with different foods and see if you end up eating less if you eat different. For example, I've noticed in the last few months that if I eat fruit a couple times a day, I'm less hungry at meals and less sleepy inbetween them. (This reduces my daily caffeine/sugar intake.)

BTW, you missed height as a performance driver and at 5'11", you've got it. But the key is technique. Height, weight, strength, flexibility - none of these will get you up if you've got no skillz. Take some of those ultralight climbers you see pulling down on overhangs, put them on a sketchy slab and watch their mad skillz turn into abject fear and horror.

Damn, this post is too long.

Hope. You've got to believe. When you're looking at the rock in front of you, you've got no more time for technique, strength building, weight loss, or chinese surgery. Now you gotta believe. Maybe smaller climbers have an advantage here because of some sort of napoleon complex: they're used to fighting hard for success and they know they can do it. What do you think? Do taller climbers have less 'tude and therefore less hope?

W

edit: wording

[ This Message was edited by: maiorlive on 2002-11-26 10:15 ]


ecocliffchick


Nov 26, 2002, 11:34 AM
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I guess what I was argueing is that technique and the strength:weight ratio seem more important than the advantages of height. If you give someone an extra 6 inch reach, but slap an additional 50 lbs on their ass, I don't think they'll see the instant improvement that they thought would come with the height adjustment.

As to my weight issue - how many elite climbing women can you name that weigh 150lbs? I definitely think that dropping 20 lbs of fat would dramatically improve my climbing.

As for motivation, I totally agree. I do believe that is the greatest advantage a climber can have, more than height, weight, strength, or technique. If you don't think you can do it, you won't.


maiorlive


Nov 26, 2002, 12:42 PM
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I don't know how much dead weight you'd have to give me to counter a 6 inch reach advantage. Good point.

You don't look like you have 20lbs of fat to lose. If you did, I think your body would get rid of it on its own if you climb regularly. Trying to lose weight on top of that seems ... hasty.

I don't know much about l33t climbers, so I can't point out any 150lb l33t women. The usual counter example for l33t men is John Donne (sp?). I think it's only a matter of time before women have a counter example of their own. Someone will discover the will and the skill that will amaze us all.

Maybe you - ?

W


sarhawp


Dec 5, 2002, 12:41 PM
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Ecocliff - I have to agree with maiorlive...you don't have any weight to loose. You look just as fit and trim as any professional women climbers. Lyn Hill and Beth Rodden and those such women only weigh 115 pounds (or however much they weigh) because they're only a bit over 5 feet tall!! I don't think you look 'big boned' either. You look very fit and healthy.

As said earlier, its all about technique, strength and motivation.


ecocliffchick


Dec 5, 2002, 12:45 PM
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if the 150lbs I carry was all muscle, I would agree. Unfortunately the flab factor on my hips, thighs and ass does not help me send. If I could weigh 150 with the additional mass as muscle in my arms, back and shoulders, then I wouldn't have an issue. That said, it's time to make some New Year's Resolutions.

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