For the last two months I’ve been going through the motions. I haven’t really put a lot of heart and soul into my climbing; instead I’ve been pantomiming a routine that I grew so accustomed to during my projecting phase that I felt lost in its absence and too lazy to think of a new one. I had a lot of fun bouncing around Squamish on the occasional weekend, even getting a chance to explore a crag closer to home that I had never been to called Miller Highlife (easily one of the coolest and most unique little crags I have ever been to). I wanted to reaffirm to myself that I could indeed still onsight 5.12 and it worked out here and there so I was pleased and was able to get that quick fix I was looking for.
I think the consistently poor nature in which I kept training and neglecting to rest set me up for some potemtial physical burn out. The training routine I had been involved in over the summer led to some incredible gains in strength and power endurance for me which ultimately led to sending my project, but instead of taking a well-deserved rest after the send I kept going (burning the candle at both ends you might say). In retrospect this was not a smart move for me. It’s never smart to keep doing the exact same exercises for months at a time with no rest. Because of my inability to slow down I’ve acquired what I can only describe as a possible case of tendonitis in my forearm/elbow region. I’m not entirely sure that’s what it is, maybe it's muscular or maybe I just need to take a couple weeks off, but there is definitely something going on. The upside is that I can still climb on it, it doesn’t hurt while I climb (yet), the bad news is obviously that I will need to take some rest soon and we are right in the middle of the ‘good’ season here in the PNW; although looking at the extended forecast and out my immediate window it certainly doesn’t feel that way.
This is all to bring up a topic that I don’t think gets discussed much in lieu of casting a brighter spot light on ‘sending sick hard projects’ and dominating competitions. I never really hear that much about professional climbers ‘resting’ (even though there have been a few recently e.g. Jimmy Webb, Alex Puccio, Shauna Coxsey) although the way these guys go through PT and training it’s almost as if they were never hurt in the first place. Rest to someone like my self – skiddish, paranoid, weak minded- is like the sound of death rattling its scythe outside my window. Which loosely translates into: I’m scared to rest because I think I will lose ALL of the strength it has taken me so long to build up! Which is really a silly way to look at resting but a way in which I think most climbers at my level view rest. I’ve been climbing for almost a decade now but really I have only been ‘training’ for climbing for the past two years, the point being that my approach and experience level with training is immature and undeveloped. I’ve certainly stumbled across a lot of exercises that have propelled me forward in climbing physically, but I haven’t yet built my experience up in a way that includes a cyclical approach to training and progression. Instead I have more of a ‘free-market’ type of attitude in which my brain (the shareholders) want to see quarterly profit gains (higher and higher numbers) at the expense of, well, anything and everything (my poor aging body).
This certainly isn’t sustainable, for me or for the free-market economy (let alone the planet earth we are destroying for it). It’s quite hard to step away from climbing when it seems to encompass everything from what you enjoy doing to how it shapes you physically and mentally. It’s the one and only thing I truly look forward to doing during the work week and it’s what I base a lot of my weekend plans around. To just stop the routine introduces a small amount of dread into my life, but it’s not an overwhelming prospect.
Amidst all of the angst I feel about taking a small break there lies a lot of relief as well. I’m psyched to take a step back for 7-10 days and truly let my body heal itself. I was having this ‘rest’ conversation with my friend Erich and asked him what he does as far as cyclical rest goes during his constant training cycles expressing to him that my anxiety around resting came from feeling that I would lose so much of what I had worked so hard to gain. He said ‘Oh yeah man, you do lose it! BUT, it comes back and you end up gaining more than you previously had.’ Words from a wise man indeed. I always end up thinking about THIS weekend’s trip, or NEXT weekend’s projecting session and never think about the long game (the trip at the end of November, what next ears project is going to be and how to train for it, etc). Its’ comforting then to talk with someone who has had a phenomenal season so far and know just from his experience this year alone that resting will make you a stronger climber. It needn’t be so taboo or dreadful to think about, resting needs to be incorporated into climbing and training for climbing as a serious part of the art of progressing.
Jeremy Zachariash on Chronic (8a)
JZ just moved back to the NW after having spent a stint in Vegas. He's pretty much done every hard line in Washington, so lets hope he gets psyched and starts establishing some new shit!
Erich Sachs working the moves on The Whore of Babylon (8c)
Erich has been having a dream season with a quick ascent of The Sickness (8b+) and a FA of Unsung Heroes another 8b+! He's putting in work on Lost Horizons (8b+) now and is hoping to complete the triple threat of 5.14's by the end of the month. Nice work Erich and congratulations on becoming a father!!
Erich Sachs working the moves on The Whore of Babylon (8c)
Sean McColl runs a 60 second speed lap of Pulse (8b+)
A wayward para glider sailing in from a jump off the Chief
An unknown climber on Aborigine (6c+)
Wind surfing on the Howe Sound
Morning sun rise and Mt Geribaldi