I dream about rock climbing all the time, the routes I want to do, the places I have been and the people I have climbed with. Climbing is so much more than an extreme sport or a test of physical prowess it really is a lifestyle. My climbing lifestyle is motivated by the places I read about and the routes that I want to go out and climb. I train, go to the gym and work on getting stronger so that I can climb all of these projects. To be able to travel the world and sample the best routes at a given area is my ultimate goal.
There are just so many places to climb in the world and so many stunning routes. From simple boulder problems at Bishop to the tall granite walls of Yosemite. Because I want to be able to climb them all the majority of my goals revolve around being a well rounded climber. My list of projects varies in both style of climbing and global location. While there is a clear focus on long hard traditional routes I also enjoy single pitch sport climbing and bouldering.
Motivation is very important for training and a key element in a day to day climbing routine. It can be hard to keep doing those sit ups every week or those hang board sessions when you don’t have some goal to shoot for. I find that medium term goals are very important so that I can stay excited about climbing. Even though a medium term goal may not be your dream route it will keep you positive about climbing. Going all out when training can be problematic since you have to make sure to pay attention to your body and avoid injury. If a climber sets there short or medium term goals too high it can be hard when you can not meet your expectations. It is much better to be honest and set a moderate goal before worrying about finding a really difficult project for a long term goal.
When attempting a new project it can be necessary to gain new skills and fitness in order to succeed. To determine where you need to focus your training energy it can help to break the climb down and compare it to your strengths and weaknesses. One of my project routes is Romantic Warrior 12b. This is an eight pitch route on the Southwest face of the Warlock in the Needles. It includes four hard pitches one 11d, two 12a and one 12b. While I might aspire to onsight this route it will most likely take me multiple visits so I will get a feeling of the climb before I send it. In order to train for this climb I know that I need to elevate my endurance so I can handle leading so many hard trad pitches. As well the 12b and 11d pitches involve tricky stemming and RP’s. This has motivated me to find other routes with similar characteristics of lower grades to provide a ramp up. These medium term routes will help me gauge my fitness and let me know when I am ready to go try to climb Romantic Warrior.
This fall Lizzy and I traveled out to the Red River Gorge for the Petzl Roc Trip. This was a very motivational trip for the both of us and we spent a lot of time doing specific training in preparation. Instead of doing a jumble of bouldering, trad climbing and sport climbing we focused on clipping bolts and training endurance. With all of the work we put in we were really excited for the trip and both climbed very well and pushed our limits. The trip was an excellent motivator and gave us a time line to train and get into the proper shape for hard sport climbing.
Projects and Goals are really important as we come into winter. This weekend looks like all rain and last weekend was a bust as well. The temps are dropping and climbing must be done inside to maintain fitness. Many people don’t enjoy the gym but if you can find a way to make it fun it will greatly help you ability get back on projects in the spring. Training hard all winter has helped many climbers push the grades much harder than if they had just stayed home.
If you have a big list of routes to do it can put a lot of pressure on you since there is so much to do. It is important to remember that there is a lot of time and that you do the best at climbs that you train for. At the Red I excelled on crimpers since that had been what I was training on. When I did a slopey route I had a lot of trouble since I had not been climbing on slopely holds. So take one goal at a time and maximize your skill level for the climb you are focusing on. Pressure while climbing will only distract you and keep you from pushing to the limit. Remember Climbing is FUN!!
Here is a list of climbs that I want to do in my lifetime. I would like to do most them in the next five years or so but its tricky to know where I will be. This list comes from reading climbing magazines, chatting to other climbers and reading guidebooks. Many climbs are area classics or are very aesthetically pleasing. Desire for many climbs has stemmed from a really nice photo of the climb. Enjoy!
Steck - Salathe
NW face of Half Dome
Nose in a day
Bachar – Yerian
Original Route, Rainbow Wall
Red River Gorge:
Table of Colors Direct
Birdman from Alcatraz
The Totem Pole