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ecocliffchick


Dec 5, 2002, 9:33 AM
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It seems to me that most climbing guys I know have much larger "ape indices" (comparison of your height vs. your arm span)than the gals. I find my -2 ape index really presents a problem with mantles and long reaches. Do any of you find that your negative ape index is an issue?

I'm just mentioning this because I was bouldering at the gym last night and realized that a guy who was 5.7 had a longer reach than me (I'm 5.11) because of his +3 ape index and seemed to have no problem with a move that I was having a terrible time with.


sarhawp


Dec 5, 2002, 9:39 AM
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I'm no scientist but my husband is only 1 or 2 inches taller than me but he can reach a solid 6 to 8 inches farther than I can!

I'm not sure if its an issue necessarily; I just have to be more creative when he can just reach for a hold and I have to find some extra feet to reach that very same hold. Its just part of the fun.


mclee


Dec 5, 2002, 9:59 AM
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I'm only 5'2" and my partner is 6'3", so he has an obvious advantage when it comes to reachy moves/cruxes. I would have to agree with Sarhawp. It is all about being creative while pulling a difficult move, like using high steps and dynos and pulling on tiny holds to get the job done.


Partner missedyno


Dec 5, 2002, 11:32 AM
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oh yeah well i have a different centre of gravity (translated: ass) so maybe i can balance through these moves instead....


ecocliffchick


Dec 5, 2002, 12:46 PM
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I think I may have that same centre of gravity....


ropegirl


Dec 5, 2002, 1:17 PM
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I do notice the ape factor a lot... my partner is not only tall, but has albatros-like arms. Apeish-strength is another advantage guys have over us chicks, BUT I contend that we become better climbers because of it -- while they can muscle their way through a sticky move, we've got to use use skill and smarts.

Every time I'm feeling inferior, I look at the flexibility discrepancy between me and the guys. There's moves I can do that I know they have no hope of duplicating.

Everybody's got strengths... everybody's got weaknesses. You've just got to learn to work with both.


ropegirl


Dec 5, 2002, 1:18 PM
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I do notice the ape factor a lot... my partner is not only tall, but has albatros-like arms. Apeish-strength is another advantage guys have over us chicks, BUT I contend that we become better climbers because of it -- while they can muscle their way through a sticky move, we've got to use use skill and smarts.

Every time I'm feeling inferior, I look at the flexibility discrepancy between me and the guys. There's moves I can do that I know they have no hope of duplicating.

Everybody's got strengths... everybody's got weaknesses. You've just got to learn to work with both.


mwbtle


Dec 5, 2002, 2:45 PM
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I have no idea what my ape index is, I've never measured. But my climbing partner/boyfriend has a positive ape index, I'm not sure by how much, but he does. We're about the same height, but he reaches things I have no hope of reaching. Pisses me off until I run up a series of holds that he has to switch feet a couple times to use...yay crossing over with feet. I've never seen anyone else do this much in the gym, is this just a technique I made up, or is there some reason why I shouldn't do it or what?
At any rate, it doesn't really bother me, as long as the route isn't super reachy and has lots of footholds.


ecocliffchick


Dec 6, 2002, 12:34 PM
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Generally I find the ape index isn't that much of a factor on routes, but in bouldering it seems to make a tremendous difference as I basically have to dyno to holds that the guys can reach statically and then hand foot match everywhere cause I can't reach the appropriate footholds. Oh well, it'll just make me stronger I guess.


katydid


Dec 6, 2002, 1:29 PM
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Even with my +3 ape index I'm getting killed on a reachy route at my gym. I've even had a couple of (really tall, of course) guys giving me suggestions on how to get that extra little bit of reach to get the next hold, and it doesn't seem to matter. Now if my legs were only an inch or two longer....

In such a case I think flexibility has a lot more to do with it than reach, at least with indoor climbing. Outdoors there's always some wee intermediate hold for us that those big, hulking guys find uncomfortable to scrunch to.

Kate

PS Good luck tomorrow, Kathryn! Hope you score some great gear and have a good time.


aelita


Dec 8, 2002, 4:37 PM
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I just got done judging an ABS comp at my gym and watched some amazing really young girls climb. Ape index or not, but I watched huge ape-ish guys fall off routes that these tiny girls walked up incredibly gracefully. Body shape-size is different for everyone, ape-index notwithstanding, but I seem to remember a Lynn Hill saying that when she couldn't do a move it was never because she was too short (at 5'2"!) or too weak. She just had to figure out her own way to do it. Same goes for all of us, ladies. If you can't do a move, its not cause your ass is bigger than someone elses, its cause you haven't worked it out yet. The rest - "I am too short, I am too weak, my ass gives me a different center of gravity" - are just excuses.


ecocliffchick


Dec 9, 2002, 7:46 AM
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aelita,I have to disagree.
You just said you watched some "really young girls" sending the problems that the bigger apish guys couldn't. That exactly illustrates the benefits for some of greater strength to weight ratios and greater flexibility. Young girls tend to have a tremendous strength to weight ratio and greater flexibility than older, and by older I mean 16+, women (which is why they make such good gymnasts). These young girls have yet to develope hips which encumber turn out flexibility and the heavier thighs, breasts and asses as a result of puberty which increase our weight and therefore decrease the strength to weight ratio. I also find that those with a greater ape index also have an easier time on boulder problems, especially if the route setters for the problems have that greater ape index. Outdoors, where you have greater options in terms of intermediate hand and footholds, I don't find this to be a problem - but on indoor problems where you are limited to the precise hand and foot hold combination provided - it can be a real issue and not just an excuse.


aelita


Dec 9, 2002, 4:56 PM
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ecocliffchick,
I see your point and I did not intend to set the "really young girls" as an example (I must admit I was under the influence of what I'd seen and it did make me want to pack up and go home that day for at least 30 seconds). Yes, indoor boulder problems (and indoor routes but boulders suffer more from it) tend to suffer from setters that "set for themselves" - that is when they set problems entirely dependent on their own height and wingspan. To me that bespeaks a lack of experience and creativity in route-setting and it puts many people at a disadvantage, or gives some of us moments of crazy creativity in getting those moves down.

That's not the point though. The point is when women start whining about their body-shape as a disadvantage, about being a woman as a disadvantage and I fundamentally disagree with that. I used to do that too - "can't do that route, its too overhanging, I am a girl, I am too weak..." until I someone slapped me and told me to figure it out for myself. In the gym different routes will favor different body-shapes, its hard to get away from that. So that might mean a woman would have to work on something she isn't so good at, like dynamic moves and something involving a bit more power. And if all your route-setters set the reachy - large wingspan problems, maybe its time to go have a talk with them?

just my .02


mclee


Dec 10, 2002, 9:01 AM
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Right on, Aelita! I totally agree with you!

One thing I'd also like to point out is that women have better hip turnout (hence the ability to get the body closer to the rock) than men. It's the difference between doing a hand to foot match above the waistline vs. the APE index.

Climb on!

[ This Message was edited by: mclee on 2002-12-10 09:02 ]


ecocliffchick


Dec 10, 2002, 9:05 AM
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I guess I must have misinterpreted your point. I do have a tendency to come up with excuses for why I can't do the problem. I suppose the New Year's Resolution should be to stop trying to rationalize to myself why I can't do it, and just work on ways to do it! Thanks for the motivation!


alpinelynx


Dec 11, 2002, 3:47 PM
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okay, dense here. ape index=height-wingspan?

lets talk about long leg syndrome.. I get all bunched up in cracks that shorter folks have a much easier time. I just find a different way to make it work though for me! I agree with whoever shared that statement from lynn hill.


slcathena


Dec 18, 2002, 10:30 AM
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This sight will calculate your APE index:

http://www.blamires.karoo.net/climbing/ape.html

Mine is horrendous! -4 I guess that makes my recent V2 after ~6 months consistent bouldering all the happier.

~S


aimeerose


Feb 9, 2003, 8:20 PM
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I can't believe a girl who is 5'11" is complaining about a negative ape index. That means you can still reach 10 inches higher than me!!! I'm 5'0" with a negative 1 ape index. I enjoy the challenges presented to me being shorter. Sometimes there's problems that are harder for me because I'm short, or I just can't pull them yet, but every once in a while I get one that's easier for me because of my size. It all works out. Enjoy what you have... 5'11" is taller than most the guys I climb with!!!!


ecocliffchick


Feb 10, 2003, 6:59 AM
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The problem is, when you've got a negative ape index and you are tall, you've got these rediculously long legs that just weigh you down and you still have no reach.

Anyhow, I'm never going to shrink, and my arms are never going to increase in proportion to the rest of my body. I've got to work with what I've got.


aimeerose


Feb 10, 2003, 10:44 AM
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I don't want to pick a fight or anything, but I still can't understand how you can say you have "no reach". From your feet to your hand you're probably close to 6 and 3/4 feet. I'm still maybe 6 foot. that means you can reach almost a foot further than me. On most routes I'd probably do 2-3 moves to your one. I know you'd static the dyno that keeps shutting me down on my project! Try grabbing for everything at your elbow and then you'll know what it feels like to have "no reach".


ecocliffchick


Feb 10, 2003, 2:25 PM
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In terms of full on dyno's, I will agree with you. But the majority of the time when you are climbing, it is not the distance from your feet to your hands that matters, but the distance from one hand hold to the next. When I'm reaching between holds, it doesn't matter how high I get my feet up, the span between my arms will be the limiting factor. True, compared to someone with a 5' body with a 5' reach, my reach at 5'8 is still 8 inches greater, but to compensate for that reach I have extra weight (being 5'11 and not 5'8) in my legs that really doesn't help. I don't mean to argue either, and I'm not comparing my situation to yours in terms of reach. I'm simply stating that as someone with a negative ape index I find the decrease in reach coupled with the increase in weight (without the accompanying reach) to be a problem.


aimeerose


Feb 10, 2003, 8:56 PM
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Yeah, I guess that would suck to have the extra weight of your legs, but I bet you look great in skirts!

Also, if you haven't been climbing long, I bet when you get stronger, you'll find your lack of ape index isn't that much of a disadvantage. I find that since I've gotten stronger, I can make "reachy" moves easier. People are often amazed that I made certain moves cause they thought they were reachy. Lock off strength and good footwork helps a ton!


swohletz


Feb 15, 2003, 12:00 AM
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I am 5'9" but can reach to almost 8 feet--thanks, dad. I have long legs and long arms. It helps a lot on some routes but hurts me on others. As my technique gets better, then I'm able to use my extra reach to my advantage. Often, though, my shorter friends smoke me or somehow reach holds I can't.....some is flexibility, some is technique....I swear some of my friends have rubber arms.


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