Thoughts on climbing and training

KISS Training: Intro & April

Lots of climbers can’t afford the time/cost/energy investment of structured training. And lots of climbers make plenty of progress without those things. This doesn’t mean those things aren’t useful. But in many cases, progress is made not because of the structured training, but because of the focus that structured training requires to pursue effectively. AContinue reading “KISS Training: Intro & April”

Managing the beatdown: the long trip performance curve

It’s expected on a long trip that certain performance aspects will change over time. Maximum strength will usually go down due to a lack of focused training. Coordination and speed may improve or plateau depending on the demands of the problems being climbed. Endurance on the wall is one physical factor that can be expectedContinue reading “Managing the beatdown: the long trip performance curve”

The Joy Question

Where’s the joy in climbing? I ask this question in consultations a lot. It catches people off-guard, and the answers are often illuminating. My least favorite thing about this question is it makes me feel like a life coach. It’s a kneejerk presumption in the climbing community that everyone is in it for higher numbers.Continue reading “The Joy Question”

You are not your max hang

Intuition is an essential tool for the climbing athlete. As climbing gets more popular, training and coaching inevitably follows that growth. The pressure to organize and record and meticulously obsess over every trackable detail gains momentum each day. But you are not these numbers; and if you let them, they’ll start making your decisions forContinue reading “You are not your max hang”

Why bother?

“Is it really summer if you don’t get granite rash scrapes on top of your poison oak rash?” my friend Sean joked, while we tried to stuff our things back into our packs without dropping anything essential down the abyssal holes between talus. I had just given up trying our “warmup project.” After thrashing myContinue reading “Why bother?”

Improving work capacity, the mileage paradox, and the Progression Zone

Henry George said, “Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal who is never satisfied.” Now, obviously Mr. George didn’t own a dog… if my partner and I get home at different times, our dog will try to convince the later arrival that the earlier one didn’t alreadyContinue reading “Improving work capacity, the mileage paradox, and the Progression Zone”

The Topout Guide: how to stop floppin’ and start toppin’

Topping out is anxiety-inducing for a lot of climbers. There are a few reasons for this, but most of them stem from the fact that climbing skills are terrain specific. Every topout involves a significant and often novel angle change, and each one requires a different set of movement skills, strategies, and body awareness. MaybeContinue reading “The Topout Guide: how to stop floppin’ and start toppin’”


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