The Climbers’ “Turkey Trot”


Thanksgiving is just 10 days away, and you know what that means: Food, family, friends, football and people running pre-pie-binge 5Ks. As climbers, we could join the other non-runners, huffing and puffing for 3.1 miles, or we could sneak in a little fun, competitive climbing before succumbing to the mythical turkey coma instead.

Ideally, you’re right by your project and can give it some redpoint burns, hopefully leading to a “Turkey Tick,” before enjoying your pumpkin pie. Invite friends and family in the area to join for their own “Turkey Ticks,” and bring an appetizer platter or two to share as a “recovery snack.”

Not near or want a break from your project? Invite your buds to a quick climbing competition at your local crag or boulder field: Each person climbs ten pitches or boulder problems of the hardest grades possible as fast as possible. Climbers receive one point for every number grade and .25 points for letter grades (ex. 3 points for a V3 or 10.25 points for a 5.10b) they climb, and then points are deducted for finishing order: zero from the first finisher, one from the second, two from the third, and so on. Whoever earns the most points gets the first slice of post-competition pie. For the added fun of looking ridiculous and to keep with the “turkey trot” style, begin and end the competition in the parking lot, meaning you’ll have to dash the approach with all your gear.

You can also use the car-to-car competition method for a quick race up and down from your favorite local multi-pitch or single-pitch climb that has a walk-off and hike down. Or you could race a hike to some easy approach-shoe, 5.3 scrambling if it’s too cold for a roped multi-pitch. The more racers the merrier, but, if it’s just you and your partner, you can race yourselves. Make it an annual event, and see if you can shave more time off each year.

thanksgiving_coffeetape_climb3No outdoor climbing close by? Have a home wall competition instead: Each person creates one boulder problem for the group. Whoever sends the most problems (or all the problems the fastest) gets first pick of the turkey platter. No home wall? Hold a hangboard or rock ring max hang and/or lock-off competition with your local climbing crew.

If you’re visiting non-climbing family or friends, you can still sneak in a little cross-training to make you extra hungry for dinner. Do a HIIT cardio workout before protein loading on white meat or create a core, push-up and pull-up circuit, and challenge others to see who can complete it fastest. Winner gets first shower.

Looking for a non-competitive way to get moving and into the thankfulness mindset? Try a group or solo home yoga session guided by your favorite YouTube yogi (or guide yourself if you’re your favorite at-home yogi). Or invite family and friends for a pre-dinner hike or stroll around the neighborhood while you discuss the top five things you are thankful for this year.

Or, then again, you could just sign yourself up for an actual turkey trot for a little cardio cross-training. Invite your training partners to join in the suffer-fest with you.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!


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