How to Begin a Climb: A Routine to Make Sending Your Routine

Having a set routine before you begin every climb can help get you into the sending mindset. Whether you’re warming up on a 5.6 or getting ready to give your 5.13d project a redpoint burn, if you go through the same steps each time, you will be prepared to focus entirely on the motions necessary to send. You also will try 76.43 percent* harder.

This doesn’t just happen. It requires a jug and a plan from before you leave the ground.

Don’t have a routine yet? No problem. Below is a 13-step process to get you started. Feel free to add additional steps you find helpful.

  1. Eat a snack. Whether your route is four bolts or fourteen, you need glucose from simple sugars to power you for the send. Gummies in any form—bears, fish, penguins, blocks—are great.
  2. Take a sip of water. Hydration is key for performance. Plus you just ate sugar-loaded gummies, so your mouth is likely quite dry and sticky.
  3. Tie in.
  4. Take off crag shoes. Squeeze feet into tiny rubber shoes.
  5. Check your knot. Have your partner check your knot.
  6. Check your partner’s belay device. Have them check it too.
  7. Check your hair in case of pictures.
  8. Point out places you might fall and special clipping holds to ensure soft catches and minimal short-roping.
  9. Take off jacket.
  10. Tell partner how you feel about the route—excited, nervous, unhappy that a key hold is wet, etc. Now tell them how attractive they are to keep them happy.
  11. Brush dirt off climbing shoes and onto pant-legs or your legs if wearing shorts.
  12. Chalk up. Chalk up again for good measure.
  13. Grab starting holds. Chalk up a third time. Begin climbing.

*Statistic has not been scientifically verified.

Originally published August 24, 2015, on 

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