Year in Review

Posted Climbing General Ramblings

It’s that time again to reflect on the year past and reevaluate some goals to work towards in the future. The past 10 months on road have been a dream come true. Not only has my climbing improved immensely, I got to see and experience more of this country than ever before. I explored some pretty magical places and met some really awesome people along the way. So let’s take a look at the list I compiled last year and see how I did.

  1. Climb 5.10 consistently – I’d say I’m following consistently, and sport leading somewhat inconsistently. There’s something about this number that gets in my head, and every time we go to a new place I have to really work through the mental barrier to break back into the 10s again. But I have been able to lead a good number of 10s on this trip, all the way up to 10c, so I’m calling this a success.
  2. Climb a V6 – Hah! This was a pretty lofty goal. No, I’m not there yet. I just climbed my first V4 last week.
  3. Get better at my footwork – Yes, my footwork has definitely improved. Though this is an ongoing challenge and I still have a lot to work on.
  4. Get over the mental barrier and learn to lead trad – I did it! Well, I led a couple of trad climbs in Squamish. Surprisingly, though, we haven’t done a whole lot of trad climbing on this trip other than Indian Creek. The summer was dominated by sport climbing, and then in the fall Mark caught the bouldering bug. But we’ll soon be heading back to the Gunks, where I’ll have plenty to practice on.
  5. Learn to sport climb – Check! Limestone sport climbing, in particular, is my jam.
  6. Learn to crack climb – Eh… sort of. I really want to go back to Indian Creek for a rematch. It kicked my butt the first time, but I think my climbing overall has improved enough that it’ll be a different story next time around.
  7. Complete at least one real highball boulder problem, any grade – Yup. I’m pretty sure it was a V0, but it was high.
  8. Climb something, even just one pitch, on El Cap – Unfortunately, we didn’t end up doing any climbing on our short trip to Yosemite. It’s expensive and difficult to stay for any length of time with a dog. Once we have jobs and are making money again, we’re going to have to plan a vacation just for Yosemite climbing.
  9. Practice yoga regularly – I wouldn’t say regularly, no. For someone with no schedule and no responsibilities, this one was surprisingly difficult. When we were in established campsites and the weather was nice, sure, I could pull out the exercise mats and do some yoga and stretching. But that’s not always possible in Walmart parking lots, dirt road pull-offs, primitive campsites, or when it’s 35 degrees outside. I just never got into a routine. But this is actually one of the things I’m looking forward to when we get home.
  10. Do 15 strict pull-ups, unbroken – Still working on this. I’m up to about eight, I think.
  11. Hike at least 5 mountains over 14,000 feet – I thought we would do a lot more hiking on this trip, but it didn’t end up that way. Spending the entire day hiking up and down a huge mountain just isn’t feasible when we have a dog waiting for us back in the van. And at 12 years old, he certainly wasn’t hiking that with us. I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but Kingston was definitely a limiting factor on this trip.
  12. Learn Spanish – ¿Qué camino a la escalada? Still working on this one.
  13. Learn a new craft – Does playing the ukulele count as a craft? If so, then I made the first step. I bought a ukulele. Now I just have to start practicing regularly.
  14. Write more (hopefully this blog will help) – Yes! Though there were definitely some dry spells on this blog (sorry about that!), I wrote about every place we visited. I also kept a journal for myself and, at the very least, jotted down a few sentences about every single day on the road.
  15. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up – I think I’m closer to knowing this than I was a year ago. I have a heading, at least. Lots of work to do to get there, but I’m excited to get started.

With 2016 in the books, here’s an updated list for 2017:

  1. Climb 5.11 consistently
  2. Climb a V7 (Yes, I bumped up the grade even though I didn’t get the 6 yet. I’ve got lofty aspirations for 2017)
  3. Lead a 5.10 trad climb in the Gunks
  4. Work my weaknesses and improve my overall technique (footwork, dynamic moves, commitment)
  5. Practice yoga regularly
  6. Start working towards getting certified as a yoga teacher
  7. Start working towards a nutritionist certification
  8. Do 20 strict pull-ups, unbroken (lofty goals)
  9. Learn Spanish
  10. Learn to play the ukulele well enough that I can perform at least a couple of songs
  11. Write a book
  12. Learn to shoot a gun
Comments (60)
  1. Steven January 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I have enjoyed your blog a lot. It does remind me of some of my early years of climbing, though I never did so much intense stuff as you and Mark in so short a period. My focus was on, as you put it “trad”climbing, which involved many of the sport climbing physical aspects, and added some “maybes” like logistics. So with your aspirations of doing some “14ers”, consider adding some trad climbing stuff in their midst. There are also some radical climbs of lesser altitudes in our hemisphere that can test your mettle and my guess is that you won’t feel any the lesser for accepting their challenges. I’ve met a few older/bolder climbers who took on some of these challenges, and was told if they hadn’t dealt w/such challenges as these presented, their later accomplishments might not have even been. In the meanwhile, ever onward – ever upward.

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