• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
  • Crank Like a Russian - How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Whipper of the Month
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    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    Planning a Year's Climbing


    To improve and stay psyched all year, mix up your climbing. If you’ve been doing steep sport routes, consider tackling slabs for a physical break and to hone your mental game and footwork. Here, Blake Summer tunes up on <em>Kermits Wad</em> (5.10a), Kermits Wall, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Photo: Nathan Smith.The concept of pacing yourself for an entire year’s climbing can be daunting—most of us are challenged by a weekly schedule, let alone one encompassing 365 days.

    The best approach is to push forward in waves, with periods of hard climbing followed by periods where you ease off the gas. It also pays to switch styles: for example, from sport to trad or from slabs to cracks. Stick with a theme or climbing style for long enough to realize improvements, then change before you stagnate. Take some time off, too, to sustain your motivation. Challenges to expect along the way will include maintaining your strength and productivity, keeping up with supportive conditioning to avoid injury, and avoiding burnout.




    It’s hard to generalize about the best approach for climbing/rest-day structure, although initially you’ll need more rest, and as fitness improves, you may be able to do more hard days consecutively. Many climbers can cope with more days on in a row when focusing on onsighting compared to redpointing (since onsighting moves are less powerful and you may chew up less skin). For onsighting, the sequence of climbing days to rest days will depend on how hard you push yourself, how long your days are, how steep the routes are and so on. A good rule of thumb is to go for a smaller number of harder routes on the first day, followed by an easier mileage day. The third day, you can rest, or as fitness improves you may even be able to go back to hard routes because the second day essentially serves as active rest. For redpointing, avoid going day-on-day-off on the project until you either do it or run out of psyche. Instead, spend a day on it, then do a day of onsighting to maintain your fitness and motivation.


    Rest-day recovery sessions are the key to surviving the rigors of long trips. Start with a run and follow it with some stretching and a suspension/TRX session (go easy if you’re doing steep climbing the next day). Move on to some rubber-band finger-extensions (using Metolius or Power fingers devices) to work your forearm extensors, and then some shoulder work with stretch-bands (Therabands). Finish with some self-massage using a foam roller and massage balls.


    If the type of climbing you’re doing at a given point in the trip is endurance- based (e.g.: trad or sport onsighting), try to use a portable hangboard at least two or three times a week, preferably before rather than after climbing. Hang your board from whatever is handy and do deadhangs, pull-ups and leg raises or front levers as part of your warm-up. (See this column, Rock and Ice No. 235, for porta-board routines.)




    Use the winter months to train and get strong for sending in the spring when conditions are optimal at most destinations. Focus on hangboard training and bouldering, as well as some suspension training (see this column, Rock and Ice No. 233) and supportive cardio work. Your endurance is likely to improve as soon as you start climbing regularly, so don’t worry about that. Your power and all-around fitness, however, can be expected to deteriorate as soon as the busy climbing season ends.


    If you have been bouldering, capitalize on your strength and skill gains to transition into sport climbing. If you don’t feel powerful, ease in with some multi-pitch or trad climbing, rather than having your face rubbed in the dirt at a tough sport venue. If you’re feeling strong from bouldering but lack endurance, a redpoint project is an obvious choice, but finish each day by working out on easier routes or go onsighting the following day to build fitness.


    If you were bouldering or training in the winter and sport climbing all spring, this is a lot of climbing by anyone’s standards. When temperatures rise, consider stepping back so you don’t burn out. One tactic is to ease off or switch to trad; the height of summer is a great time for high, shady mountain crags or sea cliffs. Alternatively, if you’re ever going to take a complete break for a week or two, this time is the most logical.


    Theoretically, autumn should be the best time for hard sending, especially if it’s the final round of your year’s sabbatical and you are sitting on a load of climbing experience. The only thing that may scupper the program is if you’ve gradually lost power throughout the year without realizing it. If so, a stint of bouldering or a few hangboard top-up sessions should prevent you from getting shut down by the intensity of hard sport climbing.


    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 236 (August 2016).

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