Climbing: Dealing With the Shock of Real Rock

Part of this self-discipline involves holding on to positive aspects of your climbing (or whatever youre doing) instead of allowing yourself to focus on the negatives. Try to find at least one positive thing about each climb you attempt was there a move that felt particularly coordinated, or a moment when you pushed yourself beyond your comfort level?

Focusing on things you do well will help you feel more upbeat, leaving you more content and eager to climb again even if youve had a rough day at the crags.

Choose Reasonable Goals

If youre into redpointing routes, choose something that you feel you can do fairly quickly. Dont just start out by attempting your ultimate goal route for the season. Your lack of outdoor training will, in all likelihood, make your route of choice seem much more difficult than it will feel after a few weeks back in the swing of things.

By choosing an easier route, you will regain the ability to work a route to learn its nuances and put them together for a redpoint without feeling like youre hopelessly weak despite all of your winter workouts.

Experiencing success at the beginning of the season will only fuel your positive feelings about your climbing ability and will prepare you for your bigger project. Wont it be nice to look back on your initial success, using it to fuel your desire the rest of the season?

Fit in Endurance Work

End the day or weekend with an endurance workout. Even if youve been trying to fit some endurance work at the gym, youll probably find that youre not where you were on outdoor routes at the end of the season last year.

The reason for this? The routes in the gym are much shorter than typical outdoor routes. I like to pick a route that Ive "wired" and climb top-rope laps on it at the end of the day, which forces me to climb efficiently and with good technique despite the muscle fatigue.

Try to pick a climb of about 80 feet in length that is a challenge for you to tackle five times in a row. A few weeks of this should whip you back into outdoor climbing shape in no time.

Check Your Equipment

Before you worry about how hard youre climbing, worry about your safety system first. OK, its anal, I know, but I have to say it remember that the gym is NOTHING like climbing outside, where the objective dangers of the sport are greatly increased. Even the most experienced climbers can make (and have made) fatal mistakes, particularly if they have not been climbing outside for a while.

Dont assume anything that your knots tied, that youre on belay correctly, that the anchors are solid without checking them carefully. Preferably go with a partner whom you trust and with whom youve climbed outside before, and who wont suffer ego damage if you double-check their safety system, too.

Within a few weeks back on the rock, youll probably find that you are reaping the benefits of that indoor training. Youll be ready to attempt that challenging onsight or be focused enough to work on a hard redpoint project. Good luck!

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