The skis are waxed, the air is cold and in this part of Idaho it’s hard to keep climbing with any regularity through December and January. There have been times when I was absolutely defiant to the idea that climbing season was over (see skinning into a crag in Alaska here) but no longer. Nowadays I figure it’s a good time to use different muscles explore the mountains and take a good healthy break.
2015 was our most ambitious climbing year yet. Ben got us started on the Rock Climber’s Training Manual (RCTM) and we vowed to stick to it – so we did. From February on through early October we were on a periodized training schedule that focused on different muscle groups, techniques and stamina. So how did it work? Was all the time and effort worth it? Will we continue next year? The answer to all is YES!
Moving, and loosing EarthTreks as our climbing gym cut our training a bit early but we are already planning and scheming about our next training cycle due to fire up in January. In the meantime we are working on full body fitness and olympic style lifting. We got a three month membership to Bigwood Fitness and head over there every couple of days. This should help us strengthen our legs for ski season and also keep us motivated to train, even if it isn’t for climbing.
Part of the RCTM is record keeping and goal setting. I set some goal routes, and also created a route pyramid which helps you visualize the number of routes you send at each grade. If you crush forty 5.11a’s and only ten 5.11b’s maybe it’s time to try some harder routes!
Hangboarding is a main phase of our training and I kept track of my weight and how much of my body weight I could hang from while dangling on different grip types. Under 100% means less than my weight and over means I have weight hanging from my harness as I do the workout. The codes on the right refer to the grip. For example “LE” means “large-edge” and “IMR 3F” means “index-middle-ring, 3 finger pocket”.
This year, although particularly successful in strength and harder sends was also incredibly fulfilling in more important ways. Robyn and I had the great fortune to climb at a number of new and beautiful crags, started bolting and cleaning some of our own routes, and even climbed a random alpine route and alpine peak here and there. It was a very well rounded season and we never felt climbing “burn-out”. The obvious key to our most successful season yet were the people. We had such an amazing local climbing crew in Colorado and of course Team Try Hard On (TTHO) to look to whenever adventure was calling. We shared psych, belays and innumerable beers around campfires in some stunning places. It’s this clan of folks that will keep us stoked to do another workout or give our project one more go. And it’s these folks that will have us looking forward to the challenge, the goals and dreams of what we might be able to attain again next year.