Fall: The Season of Sending Psych

Fall climbing psych is quite high. Photo: Abby Wilson

Fall is my absolute favorite season for several reasons:

  1. The mornings and evenings are refreshingly cool and crisp, but there’s no snow, and it’s not cold enough for me to start numbing out on routes or lose feeling in my feet while belaying.
  2. Headbands. Dad sweaters. Flannels.
  3. The thick socks I wear year round no longer stand out.
  4. The foliage is pretty neat.
  5. It’s socially acceptable to eat excessive amounts of pumpkin bread.
  6. It’s also socially acceptable to slam enormous helpings of apple crisp, preferably topped with golden vanilla ice cream.
  7. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts, apple cider, apple cider donuts (covered in cinnamon sugar)…you get the idea…
  8. My birthday is in early October.
  9. Oh yeah, and Sendtember. And Sendtober.

This will be my first autumn in Colorado, and, as per always, I’m already overly excited. I hear the foliage isn’t as brilliant as in New England, but we’ve had several cool crisp days in a row now, which has me overly psyched for climbing outside as much as possible.

Autumn is the “Christmas” of climbing seasons: Cool temps with low-humidity, but without the screaming barfies or stay-warm dancing while belaying that comes with winter sessions. I rarely set specific climbing-related goals or pick multi-session projects—I tend to try whatever routes and boulder problems my various climbing crews are psyched on instead of seeking out my own projects. But, this fall I’m attempting to push myself out of my comfort zone, both with climbing difficulty and by committing to really try—and potentially epically fail on—a few projects.

My brief, but hopefully doable autumn climbing wish list:
  1. Project four 12a/bs as a way to start working on becoming a solid 5.12 climber. Currently, the list consists of Patience Face and The Shaft, so I’m very open to suggestions for other classic lines in the Boulder area. (Preferably not slab routes. I’m really psyched on overhung buckets at the moment and am still rehabbing a sprained ankle.)
  2. Send Turning Point, one of the most aesthetic lines in the Boulder area, as a fun way to begin breaking into the V8 grade range.
  3. Climb outside as much as possible. I’m shooting for as many Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesday morning sessions as the weather permits and potentially a few Wednesday mornings as well. I spent way too much time in the gym this summer, so I’m going to make up for it before it’s snowy training season again.
  4. Have fun with my favorite climbing crews. It’s incredibly cliche, but true: While I want to try hard, for me climbing is more about having fun with my friends outside than it is about achieving my goals. So, while I have projects that I want to invest time and energy into, I also have climbing friend groups that I want to invest time in as well. Step one: Bribe all of my favorite partners to come work my projects and surrounding climbs with me in exchange for gummy candy and other snacks available at the Louisville King Soopers.

No, this list isn’t long, nor is it overly impressive, but it’s a starting point to focus my fall season around. At the very least, I hope it encourages you to get psyched on projecting some hard-for-you climbs this fall, which I’d love to hear about!

Night session on Turning Point. Photo: Emmett Cookson

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