New Year’s Climbing “Resolutions”

First, I should come clean: I’m not a New Year’s resolution type of person. I don’t join the hoards of two-week January Planet Fitness goers who lose interest in legs day long before Valentine’s Day chocolates—I can’t say I’ve ever done legs day unless jogging counts. Nor do I resolve that this is the year I’ll finally finish cleaning out the garage, lose five pounds, cut down on my beer consumption, or any other Google-recommended New Year’s resolutions. However, this year I’ve decided to make some (now public…) New Year’s goals—less scary and official sounding than resolutions.

I’ve conveniently gone from one leg injury to another for most of the past year and a half, leading to lots of toproping instead of routinely tying in to the sharp end and repeating low-ball boulder problems. This has made me a complete wimp. After not taking a good whip in a few months, falling on lead now seems roughly 147 times scarier than it did when I first started sport climbing. This spring, once the weather is warm enough for me to climb without numbing out between bolts, I plan to grow a pair and start leading hard (for me) routes again. I also need to work on my gear placements—also requiring a bit of confidence, concentration, and tying in to the sharp end. I truly miss the complete concentration of redpointing, so now all I have to do is sack up and take a few falls (and continue doing my knee physical therapy three times a week, so I’m strong enough to take some solid whips).

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve turned to my weekend warrior partners and said: “I wonder how good we’d be at climbing if we actually trained.”
Well, frozen January in New England is the perfect time to start training. I’m going to stop calling six pitches at Rumney on Saturdays, three ab workouts each week, and messing around on UNH’s mini bouldering wall adequate climbing training. I’m going to kick my butt into getting on some sort of regular schedule including three sessions each week of climbing, abs and lower back, knee and leg strengthening (as explained above), and light cardio (not all on the same day). I also want to incorporate more yoga and general arm strengthening days—realistically once or twice a week—into my schedule.

Despite my love of food, I don’t always eat as well as I should. I tend to snack constantly throughout the day (picture granola bars and bananas with peanut butter) instead of taking time to cook real meals for myself. While sandwiches, fruit, cereal, and frozen ravioli are fine for when you’re in a rush, I need to stop making packaged foods my main source of nutrition. My goal is to eat fewer processed foods and focus on whole foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, minimally processed soy products such as tempeh, etc.) and start learning to cook. I also want to make sure that I pack healthy “real” food for long climbing days instead of throwing six bars and an apple into my pack. Yes, making real food takes a little longer, but it’s much easier to “forget to eat” your squished Clif Bar than a pesto, cheese, and veggie sandwich, and ample quality fuel is necessary for hours of performance.

So this post was pretty much 100 percent about me, but I hope it sparked a few ideas for your own New Year’s climbing goals or at least made you feel better about yourself in comparison to my basic (feeding myself…) ambitions. Now what do you plan on changing, upgrading, or continuing to master in 2016?

Originally published January 4, 2016, on 

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