Living in the panopticon: self-talk and climbing’s social media nightmare

Panopticon: a vantage from which you can see everything; all-seeing. From Ancient Greek pân, “all” + optikós, “visible”. Words have power. In our self-talk before we even begin climbing, in the things we say to each other on the hike in, in the things overheard at the crag, and in the vast quantity of mediaContinue reading “Living in the panopticon: self-talk and climbing’s social media nightmare”

Going deeper than moves & missing the forest for the trees

When we think about climbing, we usually break it down into moves. Even climbing media about cutting-edge routes like DNA, or B.I.G. breaks them down into a series of moves. And it makes sense. Moves are the obvious way of interacting with the wall. Moves are eminently visible, as they often come with dramatic shiftsContinue reading “Going deeper than moves & missing the forest for the trees”

Thoughts on frustration & a brief update

If you’re having a frustrating climbing session, here’s a thought: Get pissed all you want, but that session is going to go by. And guess what? The same is true of your day, your week and your life. It’s not all that surprising that the biggest tools for becoming a more focused & effective climberContinue reading “Thoughts on frustration & a brief update”

2023 Review & JFire on the Struggle Pod

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 otherContinue reading “2023 Review & JFire on the Struggle Pod”

Iron, Granite and Rice: 5 Commitments for the Fall 2023 Season

With another esteemed fall season coming to a close, it’s time to tally up the scores, lick our wounds and retreat to our training dens and caves. The conditions here in the Northwest are dwindling in fits and starts, with the extended forecast barely providing enough optimism for me to keep the crash pads loadedContinue reading “Iron, Granite and Rice: 5 Commitments for the Fall 2023 Season”

Progressing vs performing

Determination is highly valued in climbing culture. But is it always good? Swiss legend Martin Keller recently climbed a V16 after another 150+ session siege. Johnny Kydd had an intriguing interview on the Careless Talk podcast about investing over 100 sessions in a V15. Much has been said about Daniel Woods’ winter in Vegas whereContinue reading “Progressing vs performing”

Summer training and eating three crows

The last year of my climbing has been, by any objective standard, excellent. My now-wife and I had the chance to have a bit of a “mid-30s gap year” and we took it with relish. I got to… Move somewhere with more challenging projects Spend 7 weeks in Hueco Tanks Have a spring climbing seasonContinue reading “Summer training and eating three crows”

Getting what we deserve: counterfactuals, four-leaf clovers and V10 flashes

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” In the last few years I’ve fostered a strange obsession with looking for four-leaf clovers. It’s said that finding such a clover is a good omen. But this is a bizarre conclusion to reach, sinceContinue reading “Getting what we deserve: counterfactuals, four-leaf clovers and V10 flashes”

The Siren Song of the Board

Convenience is essential to being good at training. If you want to train hard, you need to make training easy. Living near a decent gym is huge. Most climbers have a hangboard or at least a portable finger training device at home, because it removes a barrier to getting their finger training done. And climbersContinue reading “The Siren Song of the Board”