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After we’ve worked a route, we’re ready for redpoint burns. A routine guides our attention in predictable ways and gives us confidence as we move toward an unpredictable and stressful redpoint. Doing a pre-send routine requires our full attention. This is not the time to be thinking about the upcoming effort—that’ll only stress us out, and we should have laid the groundwork by now anyway. Instead, we focus completely on the routine to prepare ourselves for the upcoming effort. Our routine will include putting on our equipment, centering ourselves, and doing a safety check.
It’s important to keep consistency with our gear—shoes, harness, chalk bag, draws, helmet, rope—so we focus on known variables we can control. We’re also consistent in how we put on our gear, doing so in the same way, in the same sequence, each time so that we’re sure we have all the gear we need and that it’s donned correctly. If we’re not attentive to each step, then we may end up feeling distracted while climbing. We may wonder if we brought enough quickdraws, tied our shoes tightly enough, or tied into the rope correctly. Focusing completely on our routine will help us shift our focus effectively to climbing when it’s go time.
Centering ourselves includes doing whatever helps us to feel grounded and present. Some climbers like to grab holds at the base of the route; they see the shape, color, and orientation of the holds, and how their fingers grab them. They also feel the texture of the rock and its temperature. Doing this engages their attention in the body and senses, and centers them. I like to hold a small stone in my hands for the same purpose. What’s important is to do something that gives you a sense of being present.
Finally, tie into the rope and do a safety check, crosschecking your partner and having her do the same. Now, it’s time to climb!
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