Last January I set a goal: to redpoint 20 new 5.12s by 2012. Have you ever set specific climbing goals with a deadline? If not, grab a pen and start thinking – its amazing what you can do if you just write it down, and give it a time-frame. YOU can redpoint 20 5.12s in the year 2012. I promise. If you’ve never done something like this, you’ll have to adjust how you think about a day of cragging. This is a different game, and you need a different strategy. Here are some tips to reach 5.12 glory:
1. Don’t believe yourself. If you’re like I was, you’re thinking, “there is no way I can pull this off.” Well, consider believing me anyway. I rarely climbed harder than 11- a year ago, and in the past 10 months I’ve sent 32 5.12’s. 5.12 is such a great grade, because it’s really hard, but it’s also really attainable for most people with a bit of effort. Also, you can tailor this goal to yourself – there is a big difference between 12a and 12d.
2. Start small. Find a couple low-end 12’s that fit your strengths to gain some momentum for the journey ahead. Short routes, with short cruxes are ideal to convince yourself you can actually climb 5.12. Send a couple of these, and you’ll have the strength and confidence to start eyeing longer, more sustained lines.
3. Climb for quality – climb for redpoints. The goal is measured by numbers, but it’s about self-improvement and fun. Don’t waste your time chasing numbers on crappy pitches – find high quality lines that you are excited to spend some time on, and make multiple attempts in the same day. You’ll be surprised what you can send in two tries, as opposed to onsighting. Note that, if you fall on an onsight attempt, its helps a lot to go ahead and finish the route, so you know what to expect on the redpoint. Sport routes will probably make up the bulk of your list, but I encourage you to climb routes that attract you, whether they are protected by gear, bolts, or both.
4. Rest. Proper rest is essential between redpoint burns. Don’t expect to climb the same quantity of routes in a day as you used to. Remember – you’re using a different strategy. One of my favorite resting techniques is to nap in a “sending hammock.” These hammocks look just like any other, but they are actually a cocoon of muscle repairing goodness that will carry you to glory. In any case, don’t rush it. Rest up, and send hard.
Hopefully, this is enough to get you psyched on some goal. Tweak it, double it, make it your own. Get your partner(s) stoked on a goal of his/her own and pursue them together. If you expect this goal to be your biggest achievement in climbing, just wait until redpoint 18 or so – you’ll realize this was just training, and now you’re really ready to get out there and blow the top off your self-expectations. And keep in mind – 20 .13’s in 2013 is pretty catchy, too…