• 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
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending

    By Eric Hörst

    This article was previously published on Training4Climbing.com. 

    Cameron Hörst sending F’d in the A (5.14a), Ten Sleep, WY. Photo courtesy of Eric Hörst.

    For a foaming-at-the-mouth sport climber, nothing beats the feeling of going to work on a sick rig and piecing together a redpoint ascent before the sun sets on another great day at the crags. 

    All too often, however, the project might demand a second day of work—and perhaps many more—to complete. While it’s great to have a long-term “lifetime project” to aspire to, becoming a better climber comes primarily by way of sending routes at or just below your maximum grade. 

    Therefore it’s important to avoid getting sucked into the confidence-killing modus operandi of spending most of your climbing days hanging all over routes that are clearly an overreach at your current ability. Always remember, it’s the act of sending routes that elevates your mental and technical skills and, thus, moves you closer to being able to send that lifetime project!

    If you are new to the projecting game, I’ll first layout the basic strategy for effectively working—and sending—the rig! Next, I’ll give you some tips on how to best attack a route that doesn’t go down on the first day; and to conclude we’ll take a philosophical look at dealing with those frustrating long-term projects.


    Six Tips for Working and Sending Your Project

    1. Picking the right route is an important first step. To avoid getting bogged down in a long-term fight, pick a route between two letter grades below and one letter grade above your hardest redpoint of the past six months. Avoid picking a route more than one letter grade above your limit, unless you happen onto what you feel is the perfect route to go for a PR send.

    2. Chunk down the route into three to five manageable parts defined by the best rest positions. A sustained route with no good rests will need to be worked bolt-to-bolt. Get to work on solving each chunk as a mini-route of its own. The first (and lower) chunks will naturally get the most work, but be sure to wire the final chunk of the route so that there’s no doubt you can send this closing section in a fatigued state—falling off on your way to the anchors is form of self-torture!

    3. When you identify the crux sequence or sequences, spend plenty of time sussing out the best moves to surmount the difficulty. Be careful in accepting other folk’s beta as the “best way” to do the crux. Resolve to test out a couple different sequences of your own creation—there’s nothing wrong with climbing up, “taking” or falling, lowering and doing it all over again a bunch of times. Widen your view and search for creative solutions: Look for sidepulls, underclings, hand matches, hidden footholds, heel hooks, and unchalked intermediate holds. It’s discovering a new handhold, body position, or foot finesse that often makes an impossible-feeling move possible!

    4. Really dial in the crux sequence to the point that it seems almost automatic. As a rule, you should be able to climb the crux chunk three times without falling before considering it to be redpoint ready. A powerful learning strategy is to identify proprioceptive cues that will guide you through the hardest moves. During your practice burns, focus on the sensations (proprioception from your arms, legs, and torso) of doing the move successfully, and compare these bodily feelings with those of your failed attempts. Noting the physical sensations of doing a move or sequence correctly is a powerful resource to tap when you hit this crux section on your redpoint run.

    5. After working through the entire route, including climbing the crux chunk three times, take a thirty- to sixty-minute rest before going for the redpoint. Research shows that consuming a sports drink and engaging in active recovery hastens recovery, so take a mental break from the climb by going for a short walk and sipping a beverage along the way. After ten to fifteen minutes of strolling around, return to the base of the route and engage in some visualization to help preprogram a successful ascent.

    6. As you rope up for the redpoint attempt, allow a calm confidence and expectation of success to swell within you. View any nervous feelings as a good sign that your brain is triggering a release of adrenaline to best prepare you for a top-notch physical effort. Finally, nix the fear of failure by pre-accepting a failed outcome should it happen. By accepting that it’s okay to fail—and by likewise believing that success is inevitable given perseverance—you massively increase the odds of success by eliminating the debilitating fear of failure. Now empty your mind, engage the moment, and let a successful redpoint unfold one move at a time.


    Three Tips for Working Multi-Day Projects

    1. If the project doesn’t go down on day one, you’ll need to determine whether you have it in you to send on day two. Obviously you won’t be as physically fresh in attempting a day-two send, however, your brain often makes up the difference given that the subconscious mind will guide you through the hardest moves more efficiently on day two. It’s for this reason that many tired climbers are often surprised with a miraculous day-two send! Obviously, with a less-than-full gas tank you might only have one or two good goes to give the route. If the send eludes you on day two, then you’ll want to take a couple days or a week off before returning to the scene of this climb.

    2. If you have a home wall consider setting a simulator of project’s crux sequence. Work the simulator sequence several times per workout to develop the specific motor programs and strength needed to send the project. Supplement your physical practice with ten to twenty minutes of bedtime visualization—make this mental movie as vivid, detailed, and as bottom-to-top complete as possible.

    3. When you return to the project resist the urge to go for the send straight off the bat, and instead climb the route bolt to bolt (or rest to rest) to physically and mentally prepare for a successful ascent. Strive to confirm the proprioceptive cues of successfully executing the crux sequence, and be sure you have the final run to the anchors dialed in tight. Once you’ve worked through the flash-pump stage of getting warmed up, lower to the ground and rest for thirty to forty-five minutes before going for the send.

    What To Do When Your Project Becomes a Prison?

    Failing on a route for many days—or even weeks—can damage your self-confidence and perhaps even destroy your motivation to climb. When you reach this point—and, ideally, before!—it’s vital that you give the project a rest and shift your focus onto something else for a few weeks. The best way to regain your confidence and invert negative emotions is to send some routes! Dial your expectations back and go climbing for a few days (or weeks) with the only goal being to regain your mojo by sending many routes three or four letter grades below the project grade (if your project is 5.13a, then set out to send a slew of 12a and 12b routes). After a period of absence your heart will grow fonder to the prospect of returning to the project—you will know inside when the time is right.


    Also By Eric Hörst

    Slowing the Pump Clock

    Managing the Fear of Falling

    Effective Gym Training Strategies for Route Climbing


      About the Author:

    An accomplished climber of more than 38 years, Eric is an internationally renowned author, researcher, and climbing coach. Eric is the world’s most widely published climbing coach with six books (and many foreign translations) selling more than 300,000 copies, including his best-selling tome Training for Climbing, and hundreds of magazine and Web articles published. A self-professed “climber for life”, Eric remains active at the cliffs and as a researcher, author, and coach. His website is: Training4Climbing.com

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: