A couple of weeks ago when I was looking at my Twitter feed I saw a post that caught my attention about a “Smart Climbing Sensor and Personal Coach” called “The Whipper”. I instantly went over to their website, http://thewhipper.com, to take a look because it sounded cool.
The Whipper (which I think is an American term for a climbing fall, it’s not something I’ve heard used here in England) is a small clip-on gadget that you wear while you do your doing climbing training. It measures how hard you are trying and knows what sort of climbing you are doing (trad, bouldering leading, etc) so you can measure your performance for each training session and see if you’re improving (or not!).
Here is a short video about it :
I really like the idea of this because climbing is a very hard sport to measure your “performance” accurately (outside of the competition circuit). Lots of other sports all have things you can measure – for example how fast you can go, or how accurate you are. Climbing only really has grades and these can vary quite a lot and aren’t really a useful benchmark for training performance I think (and can get really confusing, particularly for beginners and parents – how do you compare a V6, 6a+ or 5.10?!) I also like the idea that you could get advice on what conditioning you can do to improve the climbs you’re trying.
While you’re training here are all the the things The Whipper can record :
Sometimes I feel like I have been working really hard in my training but it’s not being reflected in the grades I can climb. Something like The Whipper might make me feel better as I can see that my effort and strength are improving, so perhaps I just need to grow a bit taller! Also when you do get better at climbing you naturally try harder grades so thats why I always feels like I can’t do a climb because I’ve got worse, again The Whipper may offer some reassurance that you are actually getting better.
When I can get my hands on one i’m also interested in running some experiments – things like trying to get an hour more sleep each night for a week or two and seeing if my effort or pace improve, or perhaps changing my diet or other lifestyle aspects to see if it helps at all. This is an interesting aspect of training other than all the exercises and technique training that can really help performance.
I really like how flexible it is as I can use it indoors for anything from some bouldering to outside sport or trad climbing – The Whipper records it all!
To use it you clip it onto your shorts or harness and start climbing. You’ll also need a smartphone (or iPod or something you can install the Whipper App onto) – this is where you can look at your climbing data and see how your training is going.
Another cool feature is that The Whipper is “social” – you can use it to share information with other climbers and also see who you know who is training nearby, for example to find a belay partner or to work on a hard boulder project together. Climbing is usually an individual sport but it’s always more fun with friends!
The Whipper is being “crowd funded” so to get your hands on one you will need to head over to Indiegogo and back their project. The prices start from $69 (about £47) which doesn’t seem too bad to me – with delivery due to be November 2016 maybe one could find it’s way into your Christmas stocking this year!
So whether you’re a serious comp climber or a beginner who just climbs for fun, The Whipper will help you improve!