All posts by Adam Sanders

Rock Climbing After a Blizzard

Seeking shelter under the Rainy Day Roof, Jackson Falls, IL














Is it snowing on your holiday? Raining on your parade? …actually, I can’t help with the second one. But if snow is falling right before you were planning on sending, you better not shout and you better not cry – and I’ll tell you why! Snow may be inconvenient for us rock-hounds, but with a little preparation it usually doesn’t have to stop us. Here are some tips to make escaping FFF (Forced Family Fun) a little easier this holiday season.

  1. Beware Falling Debris: After a dump of the white stuff, you’ll probably have to wait about a day for holds to dry off. Once the freeze/thaw cycle has started, keep a sharp eye out for ice, snow, and rock that might fall soon. Wear a helmet, and seek the most sheltered climbs. Be cautious everywhere – especially on the approach.
  2. Bring a Tarp: Don’t look surprised when you get to the crag and there is nowhere dry to set your stuff. Unless you want to build a leaning tower of gear, bring a tarp (the ground-cloth from a tent works well).
  3. Butt Pad: Toasty buns will make you climb 3 letter grades harder…maybe. In any case, bring a small piece of foam or a sleeping pad to prevent FCS (Frozen Cheeks Syndrome). 
  4. Take Sticks: If you’re walking very far or over rough terrain, a pair of trekking poles prove very handy. Old ski poles work almost as well and only cost $5 at a garage sale.
  5. High Tops and Gaiters: Even one dump of snow into your shoes is enough to end your day. Prevent it with boots and/or gaiters (even if you look dorky).

What other tricks do you use to extend your season? Share them in the comments!

How YOU Can Achieve 5.12 Glory

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…


Adam Sanders


Erie, CO

Most Memorable Climb

2:08 Bridge to Bridge on the Naked Edge in Eldorado Canyon, CO

Favorite Climbing Spot

My local favorite is the Flatirons and travel destination is the New River Gorge.


My attention may not stay focused on one thing very long, but my psych is always high. I grew up in the Midwest and would climb anything I could, anytime. I’ve gotten pickier with age and with the better selection I now have by living in Colorado, but I still venture into the obscure sometimes. The time of day is my most obscure climbing pattern – I love talking a partner into a 5am session on a local project or even a pre-work jaunt up the Naked Edge. I call it “Ninja Tactics,” and for a working man, it’s the best way to get in some serious outdoor mileage. As much as we all might love to have no responsibility other than climbing, I find the balance pretty special, and I love sharing my motivation to have it all. So set your alarm clock for 4am, and meet me in Eldo. It’s gonna be worth it.

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