For our family this year, the holidays have involved sharing a little more with each other than we had intended – our winter break started with a stomach virus that violently ransacked it’s way through our entire household in a matter of hours. The next two weeks were a blur of family, friends, and Christmas cookies…LOTS of Christmas cookies. As far as climbing goes, we did manage to squeeze in a few days at the gym here and there, as well as a laidback day outside on the first day of 2016. But overall the ratio of Christmas cookies to climbing ratio was not good…for sending anyway.
But it’s a new year, and with a new year comes new training cycles, and with new training cycles comes new tick lists! So even though I’m still wiping cookie crumbs off my face as I type this, here’s what I’m aiming to accomplish, both as an individual and with my family:
INSPIRATION FROM NEW PROJECTS –
Towards the end of last year I found myself getting a little burnt out on climbing. I had several heart breaking (in a 1st world problem way) almost-sends and came up short a little more than I wanted. Many times the logistics of getting the whole family (plus an extra partner) back to routes to finish them up often left me feeling more frustrated than psyched. The annual “off season” our family always takes around the holidays was a much needed break. My goal for this year is to focus more on the process than crossing something off the list. This is not to say that I’m not out to send in 2016. But I’m hoping to take a wiser approach when it comes to which routes are worth the efforts (physically, mentally, and logistically) to come back to and project, and which routes are okay to try once and leave undone for now. In other words, my climbing time is at a premium, and I don’t want to waste it on routes that aren’t fun! So the following are routes I have yet to try that I want to experience at least once. If I’m feeling inspired, I’ll try for the send, if not, it’s on to the next!
Orange Juice 12c (Red River Gorge)
Twinkie 12a (Red River Gorge)
Amarillo Sunset 11b (Red River Gorge)
Ro Shampo 12a (Red River Gorge)
Gift of Grace 12b (New River Gorge)
Toxic Hueco 11d (New River Gorge)
Line of Fire 12c (Linville Gorge)
Tips Ahoy 12d (Linville Gorge)
I’d also be thrilled to send 12c at the New…Techman is the obvious choice, as I’ve gottten fairly close on that one before, but I’m probably more open to choosing something new that fits my style and putting in work.
WRAPPING UP OLD PROJECTS –
While I meant every previous word about savoring the journey of a route, no tick list is complete without a goal to exact revenge on at least some of the ones that got away during the previous year.
Jesus and Tequila 12b: If I only send one route on this list, this is the one I want. Ever since our last trip of the fall in 2015 I have been haunted by the one foot slip 10 feet from the chains that kept me from victory on this amazing classic. I’ve
obsessed over visualized the beta sequences on just about every neighborhood run since then, rehearsing everything from the opening moves to clipping the chains as my feet pound the pavement (and burn off the aforementioned Christmas cookies.) This WILL GO DOWN in 2016.
New World Order 12a: My crux on this route taught me a lot about dynamic movement, and the line as a whole is an exercise in patience and pump management. My best go was a one-hang last November, but I’m hopeful to dispatch it pretty quickly this spring.
While “exacting revenge” might be a little strong for the following routes, I include them down here because I’ve been on them all at least once, and would love another crack.
Mercy the Huff 12b (Red River Gorge)
Soul Ram 12b: (Red River Gorge)
Psychowrangler 12a (New River Gorge)
Blackhappy 12b (New River Gorge)
FAMILY PROJECTS –
Another exciting goal for the upcoming year involves our aspirations as a climbing family. Big C is starting to take more and more of an interest in the “family business,” so to speak, and this year we’d like to cultivate that interest as best we can. It all depends on him obviously, as we don’t want to push, but potentially we are planning a few outdoor excursions as a team of 3 (Baby Zu can hang at home with the grands!) and possibly on having him join the climbing team at our local gym.
I’m sure these goals and plans will morph some as the year unfolds, but writing things down, whether it be via pen and paper or cyberspace, helps me stay on track. So with that in mind, I’d love to hear from everyone else. What are your goals and aspirations for 2016, both climbing and otherwise, and how do you plan to get there? Don’t be afraid to think big!