RRG Redux Part 2 – Reflections

There is one photo from Kentucky which perfectly illustrates my two biggest outdoor climbing weaknesses at the moment–footwork and clipping stances.

To Defy, Bad Feet, Bad Clipping Stance

Check out my feet. I look like I’m posing for a photo in a minidress, not making a clip. My feet are awkwardly placed, and my left arm is supporting most of my weight in a locked-off position.

I’ve been working on improving my footwork recently, but all of my training has been indoors. I was surprised by how little that indoor awareness transferred to outdoor climbing. Feet are harder to see outdoors, and there are more options than indoors. To correct this weakness, I can bring the same training tactics I used indoors to the outdoors. Downclimbing, drills, and focusing on including feet in visualizing the route ahead of time should all help some.

A second major weakness is clipping. My biggest climbing fear is falling in the process of attempting to make a clip, with a ton of slack in the system. I saw another climber deck trying to make the 3rd clip on a route in California this March. He was okay, but it was really scary for his belayer and everyone who witnessed the fall. Higher up on a route, a hard catch on a long fall could re-injure a previously sprained ankle if I were unlucky.

I think the most important ‘fix’ for these weaknesses is going to be getting more outdoor practice. I don’t get to climb outside very often, but my trip to Kentucky did allow me to get a lot more time on the rock. I led 17 routes in 4 full days of climbing, with 11 of those routes being redpoints or onsights. I also top-roped an 11a, which is the hardest route I’ve ever gotten on outdoors. It wasn’t quite the volume I was hoping for–but there will be another trip!

Now that I’ve spent an entire post complaining about the things I suck at, the good news  is that I did manage a flash of To Defy the Laws of Tradition, 5.10a! One of my goals for the trip was to redpoint 5.10a, so I was super psyched by the send. The route is an uber-classic for good reason–perfect rock, aesthetic climb, and fun moves.

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