As a full-time high school teacher, husband, pro climber, and father to two young boys, I don’t have a ton of time to devote to training for climbing. What matters most in a workout is getting the most bang for my buck—this means short but intense workouts that keep me strong.
You've just fallen off your project for the fifth time, and now you’re back on the ground wondering what to do next. You’re still psyched and ready to give it another go, and that forearm burn isn’t too bad. But should you rest? If so, how long? Should you keep moving or conserve energy? Hard bouldering and sport climbing don’t fatigue a body as much as running a marathon, which can take even an elite runner several days to bounce back from. But how quickly you recover and how well your body is fueled greatly affect your climbing performance.
Shit happens. The average person generates just more than one pound of poop every day, according to the World Health Organization. As the number of people visiting crags grows, so do the pounds of poo left behind. This requires some strategic practices. Few things are as foul as seeing a pile of feces topped with toilet paper hiding behind a rock—plus, poor crag etiquette can endanger access and pose public health concerns.
The potential for injury while climbing outside is frighteningly infinite, and boulderers sometimes feel the pain more than anyone, with their repetitive high-impact landings on rocky and unfriendly terrain. The most common non-finger-related injury among boulderers is a sprained or broken ankle, and while it’s not always preventable—no matter how many crashpads you stack—it is easily managed in the field.
Thanks to your local climbing gym, rock climbing is a four-season, every-day-of-the-week sport. It’s always sunny in the plastic paradise, even during the dark, cold, and wet winter months. Easy and instant access should do wonders for your climbing, but there’s a fatal flaw to many climbers’ training regimen: monotony. It’s easy to fall into a blah routine or just hop on any 5.10 with the shortest line. But infusing your workout (and it is a workout) with purpose, variety, and motivation will yield big results in your strength, endurance, and power.
Being motivated and dedicated is the key to reaching any goal. This year-long program, geared toward intermediate and advanced climbers, will show you how to get stronger and more powerful, but you have to work for it. “Trying hard” is V15-climber Ian Dory crawling across the bouldering pads to get to his next problem, being determined to succeed and refusing to stop or give up.
Navy SEALs are, in recent years, best known as the group that found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. But in addition to being members of the Navy’s special operations force, many SEALs are also climbers, and enjoy training similar to what civilian climbers perform every day. When not practicing mountaineering and lead climbing skills outside, SEAL “lead climbers” spend time in the gym to become stronger and faster.
What climbers fear most isn’t heights, falls, or mangled toes—it’s finger injuries. And with good reason: While climbing is a full-body exercise, fingers make the most contact with the rock, thus taking more abuse than other limbs, especially from pockets.
The repetitive motions of rock climbing and training are hard on the body, especially when done for years on end. Our sport involves lots of pulling down and in toward the body, and the required muscles become well developed at the expense of other muscle groups. Add common daily activities, such as sitting hunched over a desk or driving, and the potential for problems gets even worse.
Any time you have to utilize self-rescue techniques, you’ll more than likely have to deal with an injured rock climbing partner. The most useful first aid skill is assessment of injuries, a critical skill for all medical personnel as well as anyone who recreates outside, including climbers. These skills are pertinent, whether you’re at the local crag or on a remote ridge in the Himalayas. There are many effective methods to assess a climber who is injured, and below is one of these accepted techniques.
Presenting the 50 most important (and common) climbing terms, the words you need to know in order to speak the language at the cliffs. All have been excerpted in part or in total from the Climbing Dictionary by Matt Samet, published in 2011 by The Mountaineers Books and with illustrations by Mike Tea. Check out the book, an illustrated and historical reference to more than 650 climbing terms, for the world’s most “mega” climbing slanguage.
You're 10 feet above your last bolt, over-gripping and breathing erratically, and everything feels... off. What's wrong? The tension in your body has caused you to lose your balance. But there are ways to get it back, even when you're mid-route. Boulder-based climbing trainer Justen Sjong offers five tips to instantly relieve your stress, find your balance, and send confidently.