How Do You Get Past a V4 Plateau?
A person rock climbing, getting past the V4 plateau.

Out of many questions you’d see rock climbers ask, the one concerned with getting past the so-called V4 plateau always seems to stir up some controversy online. Okay, controversy might seem like too much of a word here. Anyway, today we’ll focus on finding out how one gets past a V4 plateau!

If you’re a beginner climber, there’s a chance you’re still not familiar with various climbing grades, but want to get strong and good at climbing. Therefore, a simple name like V4 doesn’t mean that much to you. However, it’s best you get familiar with various climbing grades, and we’ll gladly help you with that one in the article that you’re about to read. Besides, of course, answering: how do you get past the V4 plateau?

Train with friends, preferably with those that are better than you. That way, you’ll have more fun, if, of course, you’re not of the overly jealous kind. Ask some stronger and more skilled climbers to watch you climb and pinpoint what you’re doing wrong. Lastly, try to climb about three times a week, if possible. 

There’s an old saying: you’ll never get past the V4 plateau if don’t read the article below. We’re just kidding, but, seriously, you should read it!

Table of Contents

Climbing/Bouldering grades

Before we jump to the main section of this text, it’s best that we consider the topic of climbing/bouldering grades since V4 must represent one of them, right? Right. So, what are bouldering grades?

To put it in simple terms, bouldering grades represent combinations of numbers and letters (obviously…) that tell a certain story. In other words: climbers use these combinations to figure out just how difficult a certain group of boulder problems is. This stands for both indoors and outdoors bouldering issues.

Speaking of outdoor bouldering, we’ve got two main scales: the V scale and the Font Scale. Bouldering indoors will require you’re familiar with the V scale, the Font Scale, or the gym’s own rating system (that can happen, too).

Since the most significant part of this article will be concerned with the V4 bouldering grade, let’s if we can first talk a little about the so-called V scale. However, if you’re more interested in finding out whether 6A is a good climbing grade, follow that link.

Understanding the V scale

The so-called V scale represents an open-ended grading scale. What does that mean? Well, it means that there’s no highest level of difficulty an individual climber’s able to reach. The top grade increases as the very activity or sport known as bouldering progresses. Currently, the highest climbing grade on the V scale is V17.

The lowest number you’d find next to the letter V on the V scale is 0 (V0). However, that’s not the lowest climbing grade on the aforementioned scale since we’ve got something called VB. The letter B stands for basic or beginner and it’s an easier grade even than V0. We’re not done yet, there’s also the outdoors climbing grade known as V-Fun or V-Wierd. These grades represent pretty weird climbing techniques that surpass the usual standards.

Additionally, you’ll sometimes find pluses and minuses next to the letter/number combo. For instance, let’s say you stumble upon a bouldering issue that’s graded as V4+. That, of course, means it’s a bit more difficult than regular V4 issues. We reckon there’s no need to explain what the minus stands for.

More about intermediate bouldering grades (V3-V5) you’ll find in this article we’ve published just recently.

Anything else?

As a matter of fact, yes. You’ll find these pluses and minuses at the lower end of the V scale. Once a certain climber has passed V9 or V10, for instance, they’ll totally disappear. Also, you’ll find some climbers saying that there are “hard” or “soft” climbing grades on the V scale since they want to emphasize that a certain grade is still not hard enough to earn its own number. Here’s a fun fact for the end of this section: currently, the most controversial debate in the bouldering world revolves around whether or not plenty of issues that are regarded as V16s are actually just hard V15s. Needless to say, things are pretty interesting and alive.

Also, if you’re curious about how many climbers climb 8A today, click right here.

Now that we’ve talked a little about the most widely recognized grading system related to bouldering, let’s get a bit more specific and answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind: exactly how difficult is V4?

How difficult is V4?

Expert boulderers say that going from V3 to V4 can take about three months. However, unless you’re beginning your V4 adventure all tough and strong, expect that surpassing this climbing grade will feel a bit unachievable for a certain period of time. It’s essential you possess a good technique to handle all the V4s that lay ahead.

Here’s what one climber told us:

  • Well, it took me about a year to climb all V4s. However, I practiced bouldering, like, three times a week. 

As you can see, you’ll most probably need about a year of hard work to achieve this status. Another one commented that if you really want to do something, you’ll need to spend your first climbing year polishing your technique on V1-V3 issues before moving on to all those V4s. That way, the person adds, you’ll guarantee yourself a solid base for hitting V4s problems with ease in your second climbing gear.

Okay, so now that we’ve outlined how difficult the V4 grade is, let’s expand our talk to cover the main question of this article: how do you get past a V4 plateau? Stick around for some pretty useful info!

A person trying to get past the V4 plateau, indoors.

How do you get past a V4 plateau?

There are many folks that feel kinda stuck at the so-called V4 plateau. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’ll take some hard work and patience to get past it. However, it’s not like one should get pessimistic about it. We’ve gathered some advice from expert climbers, put it inside a closed cup, gave it a thorough shake, and came up with a cocktail of tips you’ll certainly enjoy! In other words: here’s how do you get past the V4 plateau!

#1 Train with your friends

The thing is: you’ll always better learn something by watching your friends do it (just try not to get all jealous about it). For instance, you might be horrible at pinches. However, a certain friend of yours seems to be pretty good at it. You’ll learn how to “handle” the issue more easily by watching that certain friend of yours than trying to correct your own errors by opening issues with pinches intentionally. Also, here’s another thing: if your gym has a MoonBoard, you’ll want to do all the V4s you’re able to find, with an emphasis on those you can’t flash.

#2 Try to obtain (honest) critical feedback

There’s no way you’ll progress without getting honest critical feedback. This stands for all activities species better known as humans conduct, and not just climbing. Anyway, you want to seek the company of stronger, more skilled climbers and see if they’ll be willing to watch you climb and give you their honest feedback. You might as well record yourself while tackling a climbing problem and watch the video afterward. That way, you’ll be able to spot some of the things that bug you and find the best possible solutions!

#3 Tackle harder problems

This one might be especially crucial. Here’s something you’d call a general rule of thumb in the world of climbing: your project grade should always be one number higher than your onsight grade. For instance, if you’re sighting V4, you should be redpointing V6. And don’t worry too much about regularly failing, it just means that you’re trying hard.

Here’s another suggestion: seek out shorter (less than five moves) sequences that seem a bit difficult, but not undoable. You’ll want to practice them for about twenty mins or so and see if you handle it. If it felt too easy, your goals will need to be set even higher.

#4 Climb more often

We guess you’ve rolled your eyes into oblivion once you’ve seen this title. Climb more often? Really? Yup, it does seem quite obvious we’d suggest you should climb more often, but we won’t stop right there. We’ll advise you to climb about three times a week if your professional, family or life en général gives you the opportunity to do so.

#5 Don’t focus too much on climbing-specific fitness

As the title suggests, you shouldn’t waste too much time on climbing-specific fitness, unless, of course, you’re somehow totally unfit or something. However, it’s the core exercises and gentle hangboarding you’ll benefit from at this stage of your climbing adventure.

One last tip: boulder with straight arms and here’s how you’ll learn the magic!

The bottom line

Okay, dear climbing enthusiasts, that’s about it on the whole process of how one should get past the V4 plateau. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading this one as much as the last, and that it had helped you finally get past the scary and infamous V4 plateau. For more tips on how to do this or that in the world of climbing and additional info, feel free to visit this page.

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