Over my years of traveling and climbing, I have created an unwritten list of objectives for myself. I call it my list. It’s not a bucket list, because I never intend to be satisfied when it is completed because it can not be completed. It is not written down because I don’t need to stare at these ideas and routes that already constantly float deep within my head.
My list is ever growing and changing as my mood and goals change and as life presents open and closed doors for adventures. I am finding that not every goal on the list is worth going for and I will throw some out due to whether its a genuine goal or whether its just a route that others will be impressed with. Climbing is fun and I want to keep it that way. I am only competitive with myself and will do my best to avoid “racing” to the top.
As the next year unfolds I look forward to keeping to what really interests me in climbing and that is having fun with those whom I tie in with.
That this year has allowed me to reflect on my climbing and why I climb. As we get older and our focus/drive may change, I think that we all need to constantly try to understand why we like or dislike the activities that we participate in or choose to avoid like the plague. This is so that I can always be motivated and so I can always be in the best state of mind to accomplish what I want to accomplish and what needs to be accomplished.
Here are a few reason why I climb:
- I love being outside away from the city (really it is the most important thing)
- I love mental problem solving
- I love physical problem solving
- I love to try hard
- I love to overcome my fears
- I love to travel to new places
- I love to have to find absolute focus
These factors do not influence why I climb:
- Magazine/Book/Online Write-ups
I am looking forward to going back to my favorite place to climb, Zion National Park. Here is one of my best friends and I are exploring and scoping new route potential back in January 2014.
The beauty and terrain are always incredible and the route potential and the adventure factor is way high. I love getting off the beaten path and exploring. In just a few I will be back to get my gear sandy and wear out my shoes! Getting ready for long weekends is pretty fun.
I always have to check:
- my ropes,
- make sure all my cams are working properly,
- decide what equipment to bring in case I have to bail,
- organize my ascending gear,
- pack my bags, count static lines (I will need 2000ft)
- buy bolts and hangers and drill bits,
- prepare the bolting kit (must have gloves)
- have gear and shoes for free climbing incase the new routing doesn’t work out
- find the new routing quick draws and slings
- and pack the HUGE gear backpack.
All this happens in the garage with my boys playing and scattering gear and uncoiling ropes and clipping carabiners to their clothing and climbing on their wall. What I really am looking forward to (should they choose) is going up on the wall with them. There is something about hanging on a wall that can only be experienced. Talking about it is not close although it still gives me the chills. One can dream.
I look forward to sharing my new routing experience with you upon my return. Until then get outside and have an adventure!
So if you are bored and like to watch short You Tube videos, check mine out!
I have a few on my page. Feel free to check out Rob Pizem on the You Tube to see what training and Treadwall videos that I uploaded. Nothing fancy, but you might get an idea or way to train out of it.
That being said, I encourage everyone to take a climbing technique class if they are offered at your local gym or during a climbing event. The things that I didn’t know when I began climbing out numbered my understanding of sending routes. Little things like foot work, resting and gripping can make you more efficient and effective while on your quest to progress while climbing.
No go outside and have an adventure!
piz : )
My first day in Escalante in about a year. I wanted to get on my project from last year, but it was seeping from the recent rains. That allowed my partner (in the photo above) and I to wander and climb some routes that we had never tried. The 5 inch crack was great fun and really allowed us to practice our hand fist stacking. It was nice because there was another crack next to it that had fingers and tight hands out some small roofs. It was just a matter of dusting off some of the sand before we were able to let the good times roll.
Nearby there was a great little thin fingers and tips crack. After some work, the sequence was unlocked and with just the right amount of try hard the route was sent. Love the unknown and love being outside. Couldn’t ask for a better climbing day.
Great weather, camping, people and venue to host the first AAC Craggin Classic in Colorado. J-star and Mark Anderson showed some incredible photography highlighting their latest climbs and everyone brought a positive psyche to the event. Tons of amazing clinics kept everyone busy on Saturday and led into the service project and more climbing on Sunday.
Thanks to CAMP for bringing me out to teach a clinic and to my other sponsors for supporting my climbing.
Lately, I have spent more time training than climbing on real rocks. Sometimes when that happens I get down and sometimes I am in the middle of a training cycle and am just waiting to pounce on my current goal. Right now I happen to be getting close to the end of a training cycle and I am ready to pounce!
My current goal (which I began last fall) is actually the climb on the front page of my blog. I am calling it Milk is for Babies and I am attempting to get the first free ascent. The name comes from my buddy Justin who was talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and one of his early films Pumping Iron 1977. The line comes from the film and as Justin was imitating Arnold from the movie, I began to laugh uncontrollably. That was all it took to name it when I first began working on the route.
Anyway, as this route is particularly challenging to me I have had to design a specific training plan in order to develop my weaknesses. I began with a power phase where I worked on increasing my short and quick bursts of explosive movements. That lasted about 5 weeks. After a short rest, (1 week) I moved into a strength phase where I am doing many exercises related to adding weight to my body as I perform climbing movements. Success on this route will come from contact strength (since movements are dynamic), power (since moves are dynamic) core strength (since the route is on a 45 degree overhanging wall), finger strength (since it is a finger crack) and lock off strength.
The route is really about 12-15 moves and is like a long and high boulder problem. I will let a boulderer climb it without a rope after I complete it. For me it’s a roped route that is for sure! I can’t even work the upper moves without being on lead because the low moves are so challenging for me. If I were to work it as a boulderer I would rarely get to try the upper moves cause the start is very low percentage for me. I am hoping that the additional power will create a higher percentage for my success rate. When that happens, I will be confident in linking the route in one go!
I will let you know how it goes : )
Get outside and have an adventure!
I went to a place in Ouray that I have always meant to climb at this past weekend. It’s called the Technicolor Wall. A cool start in the fall was followed by a perfect breezy and partly cloudy day allowing us to climb on the sunny southern exposed wall. It has a great variety of climbs that are super technical or juggy with awkward movements. I had a blast while trying to onsight routes with my partner and even more fun supporting his attempts to not fall before getting to the top of the climbs.
What I really like about onsighting is that I have to read new terrain, but also manage my pump, identify where and when to shake out and overcome that nasty fear of taking a big fall. When you climb on a particular type of rock for a long time you tend to know what type and size of holds are coming up even though you can’t see them. But when you are at a new wall you don’t have that luxury and it forces you to make sure you are confident in your movements. It is really fun and exciting to have all those unknowns to deal with on one climb.
So this past weekend, I got to go for it, get pumped out of my mind and read new sequences all while having the time of my life with my partner. I climbed, what I felt is one of the greatest routes at the grade in the US and there was no chalk and no lines and no beta being shared. That was a good time. Even though I blew the onsight by a mere foot slip on easy terrain at the end of the pitch, I can look back at the movement, the discovery of the rests, the questing into the unknown and the confidence that I gained from the experience. Have I mentioned that I love rock climbing!
taking a big fall
Many athletes have asked me how to design a program that actually fits my schedule. Not me as in Rob Pizem’s schedule, but me as in their own schedule. It turns out that what is suggested by many is very effective, but it also turns out that for many it is not practical. For any number of reasons the 12-16 week program won’t work: work, vacation time, holidays, family, the season. The 12-16 week plan may not fit into those times off that cannot be changed. Here is what I do to solve that problem.
As a school teacher I know that I want to peak at times when I am not going to be working. That would be summer time, fall break, winter break, spring break and so on. When you begin looking at a calendar you will quickly find that unless you want to train through a break and miss peaking, that this 12-16 week program just doesn’t fit in. So I choose a smaller number of non-negotiable peak times for my year of climbing. Let’s say that is thanksgiving break and spring break. Once I have narrowed down when climbing really well is the priority based on my chosen objectives/routes, then I can organize the years worth of training to fit the plan.
It may seem complex and way to far off but it is the only way that I get to the fitness level that I want to be in at the time that I want to in an orderly fashion. That means that I will avoid the big nasty 12-16 week plans and fill them in with mini 4 week plans that are very focused on either power, endurance or strength. I align them with some of those smaller breaks so that I can see progress and keep motivated. So if I am working for a power route in the fall, I will try to just get my volume in during the spring(and sneak in a fingerboard and power endurance program after the spring) then in the summer I will work on strength for about 4-5 weeks and climb more routes (while pushing my grades), then before the fall I will do another short power specific program to get me ready for the project. I recognize that
As I get older and older I find that the serious multiday training programs are very tough to keep up with and feel rested on so I make sure to keep the rest and recovery as a priority!
I hope this helps a little in figuring out how you can maximize your efforts within your schedule! It can be done you just have to stay focused and listen to your body.