Fast Ascent

Diana and I spent a few hours climbing today. We both have a lot of other things to get done, so we didn’t want to be at the gym for too long. In the 2 hours and 20 minutes between the first and last climb, we made 26 ascents between us. That’s 5:23 per climb, or a bit faster than 11 climbs/hour. Granted, it’s probably not setting any speed records, but when you realize that includes tying and untying between routes, looking for routes to do, waiting for other people to get out of the way, etc., it looks pretty good. It’s definitely better than I’ve ever done in the past.

Here’s how we did it:

  • do multiple climbs once you tie in – either repeat the route or do different routes on the same rope (not only does it save time, but it helps with the endurance you need for longer outdoor climbs);
  • pick easier routes that allow you to focus on technique, rather than ones at your limit where you flail for each hold;
  • make a point of having someone on the wall as much as possible – a quick review of key moves is good, but the chalking, drinking and tying should all be happening at the same time; and
  • just climb faster – make yourself move a bit faster than you’re comfortable with (but not too fast to climb well), it’ll help you connect the moves more fluidly.

You might think that it sounds a bit draconian, but we both had a lot of fun. I’m sure everyone has had that day at the gym where a lot of time was lost on the ground – you leave feeling like you spent too much time not climbing enough. The reason you’re there is to climb, presumably because you enjoy it. Maximize that enjoyment and have an exciting 2-hour trip rather than a drawn-out yawn fest on the mats.

Also, if you spend too much time off the rock between climbs, your muscles cool. You’ll end up tired after less wall time. Tonight was a good workout, staying just below a pump with a lot of fun technical moves.

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