• 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
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  • 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
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  • 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?
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  • 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
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  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
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  • Recovery Supplement Truths
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    The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves

    By Neil Gresham

    <em>Argh</em>, not another redpoint fall! Nicolas Romero boings back to the high point on <em>Kansas</em> (5.12b), Lima, Peru. Photo by Alexis Campos.Redpointing is one of the most stressful head games in climbing, imbuing in each of us the demoralizing and spirit-crushing notion that we may never send our project. Many climbers are shocked the first time they take the deep dive and attempt to send sport routes that are hard for them. Who would have thought there would be so many demons lurking below the surface of this common and seemingly innocuous procedure?

    The route is supposed to feel difficult. That is the whole point. But with this difficulty comes an inevitable host of fears and doubts. Remember that the route is teaching you more about climbing and how you respond to stress precisely because it’s so difficult—don’t wish for it to be otherwise.

    Consider that you’ve done many routes at your current grade: Maybe they don’t mean so much anymore. It’s worth spending as long as it takes to claim a trophy you’ll value for the rest of your life. If you don’t feel this way, it’s the wrong time for a redpoint project.

    Don’t set a time limit, or if you do, make an initial estimate and double or triple it. It’s always better to be ahead of schedule. Tell yourself that you don’t care if you’re still trying the same route in a year, even if it may only take another month.

    No matter how much you may begin longing for a change of scene, it’s still better to be outdoors on a crag in the fresh air with your friends than stuck at the gym pulling on plastic. When the winter comes, you’ll long to be in the situation you’re in now, so don’t spoil it by going on a downer! Similarly, when you’re back at the office next week you would kick yourself if you had marred a precious day at the crag with pointless self- induced stress. It’s supposed to be fun, so enjoy it!

    The tenet has become a cliché now, but for a reason. The redpointing greats such as Chris Sharma are really in it for the journey rather than the destination. By focusing on the quality of execution and not the outcome, you will feel way less stressed, which ironically means that you are more likely to send.

    The mind plays tricks in these situations. After you have logged many tries, the negative factors and thoughts may grow while positives shrink. But remember that previous time when the route felt a million miles away, and you did it the next go? This one will be no different. Just be patient, and keep throwing your hat in the ring.

    Again, that would be missing the point. In years to come you’ll look back on this as one of the most special and memorable periods of your climbing, so don’t wish for it to end! The route will teach you something new every day. Reflect upon that after each session, and be thankful for the knowledge.

    Don’t try the route from the bottom each time you’re linking sections or you may learn to fail rather than succeed. Theoretically, you never need to “fail” if you go from, say, the eighth clip to the top, then from the sixth clip and so on. By setting realistic and attainable linking targets, you will consistently go home feeling like a winner and will learn the nuances of how to climb through the top section in a fatigued state.

    Sure, you’ll be twitching to go for the send as soon as possible, but if you are susceptible to stress, restrain yourself until you’ve got a decent chance. Redpoint nerves are most commonly caused by going for the send too early. While it would be a bore to do the route on a toprope first or from the second bolt to the top, you should at least have gone from fairly low down to the top before going for the send. Put simply, the more days spent working the route and the less days spent trying to do it, the better!

    Your first redpoint attempt is just a warm-up or a recon to see how you feel. Your second redpoint try isn’t necessarily “do or die” because, hey, you’ve sent routes on your third redpoint before. Your third redpoint burn is just a “training go” because you’re tired now. Say whatever it takes to trick yourself into believing that it’s not all about this particular attempt. Tell yourself to have fun. Smile.


    This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 230 (November 2015).

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