Sunday, October 14, 2012

Getting Focused

Team Five Ten Photo by Brennah Rosenthal

These days, routine and structure, things previously foreign to me, actually provide the ability to be consistent. Before deciding to smoosh together all the best parts of my life by moving to Colorado, I had a goal to improve my abilities as a climber, as fast as possible. Since being here, I haven’t had as much time to go outside and climb as I thought. Sure, I get to climb outside more than I did when I was going to school in San Luis Obispo, and the rock I get to climb on is of higher quality, and the problems are more famous, harder, and sometimes more striking. However, after having a discussion with a new friend of mine, I realized that, while climbing V13 is something I want, I’ve been trying to get there too fast, and it’s doing more harm than good.

Kris Peters is a climbing-specific trainer who focuses on equipping athletes with the tools they need to attain their goals. Kris is a great guy and I can honestly say that we’ve become good friends. He understands what inspires me and where I want to go. And I honestly think he knows how to get me there. I’ve been training with him and some other motivated individuals in the Boulder community for the past couple months. By sheer luck, I managed to make it into the “pro” group of climbers. Don’t be fooled, I’m not pro, and neither is everyone in this group. But, everyone in this group is climbing very, very hard, and are all extremely motivated to progress. While I might be the weakest link in the group, I also get the opportunity to climb with some very powerful climbers who push me to keep improving. 

Training with Kris and that specific group of people helped me understand that in order to get to where I want to go (being physically and mentally capable of climbing V13) I need to stop trying to climb V13. At first, I didn’t understand that. Then, I got injured, not severely or anything, but the tendonitis in my elbow came back to haunt me, along with some bicep pain I’ve dealt with in the past. I’ve been training so hard and climbing nearly every day here in Colorado. Whether it’s inside or outside, all of my spare time is spent climbing. This is a dream come true. Although, I haven’t learned to take rest days, and I haven’t learned to try anything unless it’s at my absolute limit. That’s why, until earlier this week, I haven’t actually sent anything since I’ve been here. I’ve only been trying problems that are extremely difficult for me, without climbing on grades I “know” I can do. 

That sort of masochistic and obsessive approach to progression and to training has been my game plan since before I moved out here. But after only being here for a short while, I’ve come to understand that it is important to take your time when you’re trying to climb at your limit. I can’t climb V10 or V11 all the time, and I sure as hell can’t climb V12 once a month. 
Getting close on Free Basin (V11)
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal
So, here’s my new approach: Be consistent and climb a lot of boulders. Instead of trying to climb V13 within a year, I’m going to try and become as consistent with a certain grade as I possibly can. My new goal is to be able to climb V10 in a session or two.... or three.  I want to be consistent with V10 like I am with V7. I want to be consistent with 5.13 like I am with 5.12. Yes, I want to climb V13 and 5.14, but that is going to take some serious time and training and experience and PATIENCE. 

Hopefully, if I somehow manage to stay injury-free, I will make it to a point in my life where one day, I stumble upon a V13 that suits me perfectly. Then, when the time is right, I’ll give every ounce of me to climbing that one boulder. And that process will be enough for me to be happy.

Alex and Brennah (BFFs fuh life.. furildoh)

Biale trying some V10 in Wild Basin
Photo By Brennah Rosenthal

Brennah coming SO CLOSE on flashing The Mini Dagger (V5) in Wild Basin
Photo by Elliot Grissom (also my boo)

Elliot gettin WEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIRD on some really hard boulder in Wild Basin
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal

Alex topping out the Colorado highball classic: Germ Free Adolescence (V5)
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal

Alex and Ben Spannuth "Top-out.. HIGH FIVE BRO!!!!"
Photo by Elliot Grissom

Post Kris Peters fuel with the crew
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal

Got a job at a coffee shop. No big deal.
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal

Rest day activities (Cards Against Humanity)
Photo by Brennah Rosenthal 


  1. I think what your saying about getting consistent before moving on is the hardest thing about getting better. Its what we all should be doing!

    1. Word. It's the hardest thing in the word man. But I really think it's an integral part about moving forward in a healthy way. I hope you are well Pat!