Training, Travel and Anticipation

Unlike my past few winters, this winter I feel kind of pressed for time, in terms of training and just generally relaxing into what’s usually a lengthy off-season here in Ten Sleep, Wyoming. Part of this change is likely to be somewhat permanent, given the addition of a steep, chossy, south-facing sport climbing area to our local cragging options in the past year. Alas, having this option for sunny days (which we are having an abundance of so far) pulls my attention away from training. However, I’m mostly okay with that, since the climbing style not only contrasts sharply with our summer crag ( which is a vert-tech playground) but also, works my biggest weakness in climbing – climbing like an ape. Good enough reason for me to spend as much time as possible learning from this teaching playground that I can. It’s because the climbing works my weaknesses that I favor it over straight-up training; the climbing itself provides a holistic training approach to cultivating a greater comfort and ability level on severely steep angles.

The other half of the equation this year is that our travel plans ended up leaving us very little time for any lengthy chunk of winter training. We climbed in the Red River Gorge until the end of November, had two weeks at home, spent the holidays vacation climbing for a week and just chilling for a week on Cayman Brac in the Caribbean, and now have a scant month left here at home before we depart for a two-month sport-climbing trip to Spain. No complaints about any of that, either, of course. The Red and the Brac were awesome, and now I can’t wait for the European trip. I’ve never been to Spain before, and I am eagerly anticipating the world of overhanging limestone wonder that awaits me.

I try not to get too attached to routines in my life, instead remaining open to change and new adventures as much as possible, from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and even year-to-year. This attitude keeps me from being unwilling to seize opportunities, whether climbing or otherwise, when they arise, instead of doggedly sticking to a plan. The trip to Spain wasn’t even on the radar until late last summer, but it just felt like the right time to go, given that we could coordinate travel and housing with friends pretty easily. Giving up some time I’d planned for training for this trip just makes sense, because what’s the point of all the training if not to go climbing, right? There’s always time to train; there isn’t always a time when a bunch of friends’ schedules and finances will mesh for a trip abroad.

So instead of being a month of unwinding and finding a solid training rhythm, this January feels like a rush to the finish line, getting everything possible done in advance that I can before we depart, from building up my route-climbing fitness to getting a whole bunch of new coaching clients started. I have a new coaching software interface to learn and then pass on to my clientele (, writing projects to complete, and a trip to Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, too – not to mention climbing outside at every opportunity that presents itself. It’s going to be a busy rest of the month, but I’m psyched for it, eagerly anticipating the upcoming international journey as well as my main chunk of training, which will have to come later on in the year.