Our summer is winding down and another fifteen weeks has passed in our training. Our second season of training flew by and, though difficult to believe, we just completed our first three hangboard sessions of season three.
My favorite season for climbing, sweet treats and thematic holidays will be upon us soon. I’m already dreaming up new fall recipes, craving cinnamon-pumpkin cookies, frothy warm beverages, brisk morning trail runs, and I’ve even done a bit of beta-mining for my fall climbing projects. I am eager to embark on a new season, in nature and in training. It’s this time of year that we’ve planned, prepped and trained so diligently for, both mentally and physically. It’s the time of year to get on harder climbs, send any outstanding projects and hopefully, cash in on months and months of hard training.
Like that of our first training season, we’ve ardently followed the workout regime outlined by the Rock Climber’s Training Manual, with slight revisions here and there to really incorporate our goals, strengthen our weaknesses, and utilize our strengths. Our commitment has been unwavering, our stoke is at an all-time high, and my confidence is tenfold. Gains in my mental stamina are astonishing and my finger strength is just ridiculous. Even I find it to be a bit nonsensical.
Recognizing the deficits in my training following season one, I began season two with a better understanding of my weaknesses, how to best utilize my strengths and I crafted measurable goals to work toward. As a result, my confidence and finger strength are better than ever, and my movements are more dynamic and fluid. I also feel stronger, more confident and more in control on the rock. Developing a solid base fitness has played a critical role in facilitating that stronger, more confident and fluid climber in me. It has allowed me to prepare adequately for each season of training and most importantly, stay injury-free. Those traverses and easier bouldering laps have been boring, but if the monotony keeps me from getting injured, chalk one up for success!
For our second season of training, we strategically planned for our performance phase to fall within our annual pilgrimage to Ten Sleep; a favorite climbing destination of ours in northern Wyoming (previous posts can be found here and here). The routes in Ten Sleep are known for their crimpy, sequential cruxes, technical movement, and length. The crowdless crags and free camping are nice, too.
Ample birthday hugs for Ben (and little Morgan), campfire stories, new beer samples, and route talk are all common occurrences at Ten Sleep. Sending is commonplace, and personal bests are broken, and set again. This is how other previous trips to Ten Sleep have been and this year was no different. Here are a few of my favorite, notable sends this year utilizing the Rock Climber’s Training Manuel.
Strut Your Funky Stuff – 5.12a. This is my hardest onsight to date. This climb is very technical, with smeary feet and eggshell crimps for hand holds. The sustained route requires precision and accuracy from both your hands and feet. The movement is beautiful and the route is definitely a favorite of mine from Ten Sleep this year. Slightly Toasted Cracker – 5.11d (onsight). This incredibly long and beautiful climb is the perfect introduction to Ten Sleep. Crimps, pockets and sequential moves for days. I highly recommend this route to anyone visiting the area. A classic of the area and the grade. Idiot Savant – 5.11d (red point). I worked this route off and on for nearly two seasons, twelve attempts total. This route was a challenge for me: big moves and smeary feet had me stumped for weeks. One afternoon this spring, I sent on my third go of the day. This is definitely one of my proudest sends and I look forward to a similar challenge this fall. Coppertop, 5.11b (flash) and Great White Buffalo – 5.11b (flash). Both of these climbs were excellent. Coppertop was a bit more technical with the crux sequence up high. Great White Buffalo was short and powerful; big moves on big pockets. I enjoyed both routes very much and would definitely recommend either as good climbs to get on at Ten Sleep.
As the temperatures drop, there are two project routes in Clear Creek I hope to get on this fall. Soap on a Rope – 5.12c is the first. This beautifully featured climb is very technical and requires some finessing to pull through the crux. The second route is Black and Tan – 5.13a/b. Per Mountain Project, ‘This has lots of good moves if you like crimpers and sloper jugs!’ I imagine that this route will be a long-term project of mine. Ethan has his eye on a few climbs in the area as well. It will be incredibly motivating, fun and exciting to share in the projecting process with him, unlock the sequences and push through barriers together, surpass perceived limits and enjoy every bit of the challenge.
Season two has been more fruitful than I think either of us imagined it would be. We’re looking forward to our third cycle of training, the progress it yields, more campfire stories and sharing it with each of you.