Every year I run through and make a list of my top experiences. It’s part performance analysis and part gratitude practice. I look for obvious lessons or takeaways from these successes. Why are they memorable? What barriers did I overcome? Was this win expected or unexpected?
I discussed this habit, and a bunch of other ideas for how to approach 2024, in a recent podcast with the Struggle Climbing Show. (Spotify / Apple) I recommend giving that a listen if you want to hear how I think about analyzing my year and starting fresh with my training! I tried to keep the list fresh and I’m stoked with how this conversation came out.
Without further ado, here’s my top 10ish climbing & training experiences from 2023 and what I learned from them!
Angelina Jolie V10
- Life list problem & long-term project
- Technical milestone
- Demonstrated I can be super patient with projects. Really wanted this one but never felt close.
- I could continue improving at this style for a long, long time
Mad Bush V12
- My understanding of conditions is still improving (and still has lots of room for improvement!)
- Power milestone / one of the most complex single moves I’ve done
- Session focus was on point – didn’t allow myself to get distracted once I realized sending was possible that day
- Wanted this one but wasn’t sure if I would do it
Thunderdome Low V11
- Indicator of significant physical level up overall (“no tricks” beta)
- Power endurance milestone
- Felt fairly confident I’d do this one this year
La Baleine 7A flash
- Life list problem
- Felt high risk with pads and conditions available; knew I could do it and committed fully
- Landmark send at the end of a long life list trip to France
On Again Off Again V10 flash
- A perfect memorable day with friends
- Totally unexpected
- Signaled a return to form from TFCC injury
Sam’s Slab V5R
- Maintained a positive mindset through my wrist injury
- Didn’t even know this problem existed until a week or two before I did it!
- I still enjoy risk as an element in my climbing
- One or two headpoints a year is fun, but I would need more exposure to risky climbing to get back to previous levels of comfort
310 Deadlift PR (double bodyweight)
- Bought a rack & lifted at home
- Stayed consistent with lifting through chaos
- I could lift a lot heavier with more consistency (!!)
The Mirage V6
- Long day in the backcountry with a friend
- Quality is a worthy pursuit in itself
- I should try harder to maintain aerobic capacity during long off-seasons
TFCC Tear Recovery
- My most successful recovery from a serious injury
- Exemplary of “start from where you’re at” philosophy for training. Rehab started on day one.
- Getting more educated in S&C/rehab pays dividends for anyone
- Need to pay close attention to warming up for novel moves when it’s freezing, but the injury was probably mostly bad luck
King Kevin V7 send train
- Didn’t really expect to climb this day, but was ready to
- Cathartic social experience
- Super memorable 7 or 8 person send train at dusk
Overall a great year, especially considering the injury in spring. No surprise at the major takeaways. My lack of deliberate goal-setting for the fall season served me well, as I was able to switch gears based on my motivation.
I tried hard and sacrificed a lot of other things in life to have more time to dedicate to climbing. Sticking with my current philosophy of more strength training and more rest feels like a good plan heading into 2024. I’ve been working on my work capacity as well, which I think was one of my major barriers this year.
But more to come on that later. Next up is the harder post – running through all the things I didn’t do and trying to understand the lessons and barriers from those experiences.