Occasional postings about Maz and Si's big adventures

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Dr Curly's Guide to Power Screaming

Recently discovered from the Dr Curly archives.  An article dating all the way back to October 2012.

Everyone loves a screamer, right?  Well this appears to be the craze now sweeping the sport climbing world.  Accompanying the world-renowed Gosforth Punters on their recent triumphant tour of Kalymnos, Dr Curly, (best selling author of Dr Curly's Big Wall Weight Loss Programme), has been investigating this new phenomenon:

The crags of Kalymnos reverberated with screams

The Power Scream has a dual function - both as a climbing aid (a bit like your rock shoes), and as a auditory reminder to all that you are more than a mere climbing punter.  It also crosses language barriers, perfect in a place such as Kalymnos where the climbing is a multicultural affair.

Gone are the days of the silent ascent, the stylish, quiet, effortless way of scending that redpoint or on-sight in a way which may be missed by your fellow climbers, because the Power Scream is here.  How will anyone else realise your success if you are not broadcasting it to the whole crag, and often beyond?  How will complete strangers be able to complement you on your clearly ground-breaking ascent?  Well, they won't.  Not unless you let them know about it with your Power Screaming.  As Team Jones (Dr Curly and the Mazter) were recovering poolside in Kalymnos, screaming could clearly be heard from the cliffs above.  This helped us psyche for the next days climbing and appreciate the efforts other fellow climbers were making that day.

Power screaming helps you climb harder.  It doesn't matter how hard you climb, a power scream is what you need to get you through that next move.  These screams can range from loud grunts to seemingly orgasmic squeals.  On one occasion these could be clearly be heard from beside the pool, emanating from the cliffs high above.  And I'm not just talking the crux move either.  It can be every move which requires more than the usual level of effort.  8a or 6a these screams can get you through moves you would normally be failing on.  Old or young, man or woman, everyone is able to share in this technique for improving climbing performance.

The celebratory scream is an off shoot of the Power Scream, and just as popular it would seem.  This involves a loud whoop, "fuck yeah", "yessss" etc on completing the route.  Some are taking it to the next level with celebrations continuing on the lower back down and when on the ground.  Perfect to help other climbers focus on their routes and belay attentively.

Don't worry if you don't want to Power Scream yourself - others will help you develop this vital technique.  I had the experience of approaching the well known crux of a climb only to hear shouts of "allez" coming loudly from twenty metres below.  It was only as I threw for the vital hold, silently, that I realised that the shouts were for me.  I honestly don't think I would have managed without them.

Like all things there is an opposite of the Power Scream, the Whimper of Weakness.  At first this may sound like a power scream, but closer inspection reveals a static climber,  apart from the wobble of at least one limb and probably a lip.  If you watch just a little longer gravity wins and the climber falls.  This fall may be accompanied by the "Fuck!" of Failure.  This "Fuck!" of Failure, may be repeated many times and very loudly, usually in proportion to how good the climber in question thinks they are compared to the route they have just failed on.

Not everyone is taking this craze to heart.  Dr Curly interviewed Canadian climbing supremo Tim who had this to say: "Climbing must be silent, no screaming, one comment is acceptable on the quality of the route whilst lowering, and by the time you are back on the ground its all over."  Fine sentiments perhaps, but clearly not that off the general sport climbing community.


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