Climbing harder and wiser

Posts and resources on training: 

An historical perspective: 
1994, year of my first Rodeo.
In 1994 I climbed my first 5.12's (Wind and Rattlesnakes at Wild Iris; Liquid Oxygen at American Fork), and while it was of little importance to anyone but me, those experiences exposed me to joy and challenge of improving at climbing.  People were just starting to treat climbing as a sport and training in a systematic way to allow improvement.  At the same time, pioneers were opening up dramatic new routes in the sandstone cliffs of Appalachia.

To have any hope of succeeding on these routes you had to work at your climbing and you had to dream big.  Be systematic.  Train with some discipline.  It was also crucial to chose motivating goals and work towards them.  I clearly remember the first time I saw a photo of Apollo Reed, with Porter Jarrard dangling from one arm at the lip of giant overhanging wall of stone, from the table of contents of an early Climbing Magazine.

Back in the Saddle. 
Twenty years later I am returning to climbing as an athletic pursuit.  I am glad to be back to a life with only three types of days:  training, rest, and sending.  I am trying to navigate the athletic process again, but this time with much more demanding time pressure.  In my early 20's I could easily devote all my non work hours to climbing and climbing related efforts.  Plus, my job itself was route setting, so I was thinking about and working on climbing around the clock.  These days I spend more time coaching soccer and driving to music lessons than I can spend climbing.

Early stages in learning how to improve, again:  
Part way through 2012 I started to get back into climbing on a more regular basis.  We went on a couple of family trips to the Red River Gorge, climbing at Muir Valley and some other of the areas developed since the the late 1990's.

2012:   We went on a few family climbing trips that included: 5.6 warm up; 5.8 Onsight, 5.10a Redpoint.   5.10a felt quite pumpy.  This was a dismaying state of affairs, as the routes felt moderate, except that I got pumped very easily and could not recover effectively on decent holds.  In response I trained endurance on large holds, steep overhangs and climbed 6-10 move boulder problems on the same terrain (dojo, home wall).
2013:  On family and personal climbing trips I was using 5.9 to warm up, pulling off occasional 5.10b onsights, but I was struggling on 5.11a face routes. I could do steep jug hauls pretty easily (fuzzy undercling for instance) but I could not effectively recover on medium holds on near vertical 11's and 10's.  I increased the regularity of my training to about 2-3 sessions per week, and focused on bodyweight fitness more. (but I was not ARC-ing enough, and not training PE effectively).
2014 (Winter):   I started having an easier time on near vertical 5.10's, and continued to have an enjoyable time on steep, juggy 5.11s.  I integrated a 50 move traverse with more medium sized holds into my training.  I also tried to stay consistent with bodyweight training and bouldering/training.
2014 (Spring):   I read and adopted a preliminary training plan from Anderson brothers' training manual.   I also started an abbreviated set of training cycles, including periods of ARC, hangboard, limit bouldering, power endurance.  My most recent trip corresponds with beginning of power endurance stage, I am still seeing progress in that.  The recent trip to the RRG marked a new performance level for me where I was climbing three days in a row, warming up on 5.11a's on days 1 and 3, and making a few very close 5.11d/12a flash attempts.

2014 (Spring, continued):   I plan to continue my power endurance workouts, with some ARC sessions mixed in and try to get out to the New and Red a few more times before taking a break starting the 20th of June.  

Update:  spent two day trip at Summersville and the Meadow. I made some good progress:  warmed up on 10's on the gun wall, repeated an 11b on DC boulder easily, worked a bouldery 12b (all the way baby), and climbed well on Apollo Reed, (rested several times on way to bolt prior to crux).  Also, I flashed Satisfaction Guaranteed while cleaning it on TR and easily lead one of the steeper 10s on Orange Oswald at the end of the day.  However, I opted to TR Satisfaction because I wanted to avoid aggravating my elbow injuries and I remembered that over the roof there were some pumpy and somewhat sloping holds, which are the most aggravating for my elbows.  Climbing on TR would lower the stakes and make me less likely to hangout and match on the injurious holds.  I made the same decision on the warm-up route from the Meadow, "Cross eyed and blind", which is a stellar Obed style face climb with numerous flat and pumpy ledge holds.  This also indicated that 11a still feels a bit challenging, especially at the end of the day or as a warmup, and thus I was avoiding the greater challenge of onsighting such routes at less than optimal preparation.

2014 (Summer):  I took off a week in June and all of July away from training.  I climbed on 6 days in July, but only attempted difficult moves on two of those days.  I flashed a V5 boulder problem at the Circuit in Portland, which was fun.  I think the problem suited me with big moves from large open hand pinches.  In Logan I climbed a 5.10 face route pretty easily, and lead, and then worked the moves on "Limestone Cowboy, a 5.12a with two tough cruxes.  The first was thin and powerful, and the second was long and committing.   I had a decent chance to link it on TR, but I had not rehearsed the pre-crux section, and wasted a bit of energy getting set up.  August is training time, and I have been ARC training for a week so far.

Goal setting:
  1. Short term:   
    1. Onsight / flash 5.11a,b,c,d routes at New / Red
      1. May 2014:  5.11a
        1. OS: Toker, Whipstocking, Air Ride Equipped, Bandolier
        2. Nearly climbed onsight Recoil 11d.   Sent to anchors, hung draw, but did not send. 
      2. Goal May/June:  Satisfaction Guaranteed 11a, Sancho Belige 11bc, Sausage 11c, Andouli 11c,
          1. Onsight:  Sausage 11c
          2. TR flash:  Satisfaction Guaranteed 11a
    2. Redpoint some 5.11d / 12a / 12b routes at New / Red
    3. Warm up regularly on 10 a, b,c,d / 11a
      1. Goal:  Breakfast Burrito, etc.
        1. Gun wall:  10a,  
        2. TR flash:  Cross eyed and blind 11a
  2. Coming fall season
    1. Put in full periods of ARC, Strength, Power, and PE
    2. Plan peak performance for Late September to Early November
      1. Onsight / flash 11d/12a
        1. Horn 11d, Velvet, Twinkie
      2. Redpoint 12a/12b
        1. Betavul Pipeline 12a, Check your Grip
        2. Bare metal teen, Mercy the Huff, Tissue Tiger, Gung Ho 
  3. 1 Year
    1. Complete 3 full training / performance seasons in the coming year
    2. Overcome m.e. elbow tendonosis!
    3. Avoid injuries
    4. Climb more with family at the Red
    5. Go on at least 2 bouldering trips.  
  4. 5 years
    1. Solidify at redpoint level at 8a / 5.13b at the Red and New
      1. Repeat ascents of 5.13/12d:  Apollo Reed, Narcissus Direct, Lactic Acid Bath
      2. New ascents of Mercy Seat or Pod; Boomerang or other Meadow 13a; 
      3. RRG ascents:  40 ounces of justice, BOHICA, Snooker
    2. Onsight 12/ab at variety of crags.
    3. Travel for climbing to new locations worldwide
      1. US:  Wild Iris, Tensleep, American Fork, Maple Canyon, Obed, Little River Canyon, Chatt Steel, Little Rock City
      2. Europe:  Spain, France, Germany
      3. Australia

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