I've spent all my free time lately building a house.
My daughter has decided she wants to be a Michelin Star rated chef when she grows up.
And then there's rock climbing.
These three pursuits have far more in common than you might first guess.
See, I knew very little about building a house before I began this project. A tiny bit about carpentry, even less about electrical, and absolutely zero about plumbing. What I did know is that it was something I needed and badly wanted to do.
Kaitlynn doesn't know cumin from tumeric (neither do I), and I doubt she could guess which was chicken and which was duck in a blind taste test (neither could I). What she does know is that she loves food (me too!), and she really wants to learn to be a genius cook.
And then there's rock climbing. When I began training, I was clueless. Pullups, pushups, stay on the wall 'til you want to puke. Or until you do. I didn't understand the roles that strength, power, and technique really played. I didn't know what anaerobic endurance was, and if I did, I wasn't sure how to get it. Stay on the wall 'til you puke, I guess. What I did know is that I wanted to get better. I needed to get better.
Halfway through this homebuilding project, and I've done nearly all of the plumbing, I finished up the electric today, and my skill with a hammer has at least quintupled (is that a word?). Kaitlynn tried curry for the first time tonight, along with several other Indian flavors she'd never sampled. She made risotto a few weeks ago that was absolutely restaurant quality.
I'm learning, as is she. Maybe I'm nowhere near to starting a home remodeling business, and Kaitlynn would have a major meltdown in a real kitchen, but we're both on a path we want to be on. We struggle, we fight, we succeed, and we celebrate. Most importantly, we do it all again.
No matter your goals in this sport, I urge you to never stop learning. Never believe that you are "there". If you ask me, "there" should be a perpetually moving target. A place you constantly strive for. Soon I'll move into that house (hopefully before winter?!), but I'll ALWAYS have another project. In fact, I have several already lined up. Kaitlynn may very well wear a chef's coat in a famous kitchen someday, but there will forever be a better recipe just on the horizon, waiting for her to discover it.
Make your plan. Execute your plan. If it doesn't work quite right, tear it down and rebuild it. Add a pinch more of this and a dash of that. Struggle. Fight. Succeed. Celebrate.
And most important, do it all again.
In this episode I talk with a successful coach/climber team: Taylor Reed and Bella Jariel. Taylor has helped coach Bella to big success on the international stage. She's the USA Climbing Youth National Champion in speed climbing, as well as a qualifier for the US Youth Team in all 4 disciplines - Sport, Speed, Bouldering, and the Olympic Combined Format.
Five days. Five episodes. One theme. Common sense isn't always common practice.
Emily Tilden is a no-bullshit straight-shooter with a mental tenacity that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. She also has the often rare ability to vocalize why and how, in her ultra running, she is able to push through the wall that stops me at about mile #1.
The Process Journal is the simplest way to ensure that your climbing practice is producing the results that you're looking for.
In today's episode, I sit down with Kerry Scott, an unassuming, but very badass young lady from North Carolina. Kerry is a crusher. And she's not ashamed to "spray" a little.
Lantien Chu is the coach of a high school swim team that has won 21 consecutive state titles. I needed to know how she coached her team, how her team responds, and if any of those lessons could be applicable to climbing.
Pressure. No matter if it's a comp, a project, self-inflicted, or external - we all feel it. In these next three episodes I sit down with my good friend Angie Payne and discuss the pressure cooker situation of a World Cup comp.
We all like to call climbing an art form, but very few of us take it to the high degree that Jason Kehl does. From his haircut to his hold lines, his videos to his gym designs, Jason is anything but conventional, and that's exactly why he's so compelling.
For this episode we sat down in the Red River Gorge with coach and trainer Dan Mirsky to talk about the redpoint process, but the conversation went elsewhere, and essentially boiled down to: do what you're motivated and inspired to do, even if it doesn't make sense.
Tanner Wilson just went on his first extended road trip. Just before hitting the road, he changed his mind about his goals for the trip. Because of the new goals, Tanner learned several important lessons... ones that take most of us many trips and seasons to absorb.
Justen is an accomplished climber and coach who has worked with a veritable who's who of American climbing elite. Justen is known for his ability to get into a climber's head and coax more out of them.
JStar is one of the best sport climbers in the world, so it took a ton of courage for him to completely overhaul a training routine that took him to 14d (9a), but he did it anyway. We talk about the how and the why, what he learned from it, and where he's going from here.
When it comes down to it, a lot of us feel like we know the right answers, but aren’t sure which out of the seamlessly endless stream of "right answers" we should be using.
Meghan Baker is a recently married 43 year old mom (to a teenager), who works 50 hours a week, is a brilliant actress in local theater groups, volunteers, and still makes time to train for climbing. You think you are tight on time? Well, to be frank, you're full of shit.
Job, family, friends, hobbies, etc.. Trying to balance that with climbing, training for climbing, talking about climbing, thinking about climbing, and listening to podcasts about climbing is TOUGH WORK.
In this episode, Nate and I sit down to discuss the Top 3 Things We've Changed Our Minds About. Fact is, if you still believe all of the same things you believed last year, then you're probably fucking up.
In this episode, I have a really great conversation with V11 boulderer, mom, and physical therapist Carrie Cooper. We walk through her process, how she deals with the ego, and talk about what she's learning.
In Episode 17, I sit down with mental training guru Arno Ilgner. Athletes of all levels can benefit hugely from what we discuss during this podversation... the differences between being motivated by goals and being motivated by process.
Stoke is high with Dru Mack, and even though he comes about it naturally, we dig into how he brings that good energy, how he chooses partners that aren't energy suckers, and what being a good partner means.
In the Red River Gorge, "Omaha Beach" is everyone's favorite route to hate on. Locals love to depict it as a mindless jug-haul with no "hard" moves. In 2010, I decided to give this jug haul a go. I hung more times than there are bolts...
Are you allowing yourself to be too nonchalant with your projects? Are you allowing yourself to get intimidated by your goals and using that fear to exaggerate the process required to achieve them?
We measure our sport in numbers. A silly concept, really, but it's what we've got, and I've come to accept that. However, as an individual, I reserve the right to measure my own progressions however the hell I want to, and often times, the numbers don't quite reflect what I know to be the truth.
When someone who has been climbing half as long as you is performing as well as you would like to be, do you write them off as being "a natural?" Or, do you take an honest look at yourself and admit that maybe you haven’t been putting in the work necessary to become the climber you want to be?
In this episode I have a short podversation with Carlo Traversi, boulderer and National Sport Climbing Champion. He started in Yosemite as a traddie, and plans on taking it back to there; "Folding the sport over on itself," as he calls it.
In this episode I sit down with Alli Rainey, climbing coach, trainer, writer, and yoga instructor. Alli climbed up to 5.14 in vertical/technical routes before she decided she wanted to climb steeper routes... and then she had to change her entire approach to climbing in order to do so.
In this episode I sit down with my good friend Rannveig Aamodt, and talk about her impressive road to recovery after a terrible accident. We go deep into how that affected her mentality and her psyche to return to climbing, and to physical activity in general.
Many of you have seen the video of Daniel Woods sending the infamous "Bubble Wrap Project" at CATS in Boulder, Colorado. If you haven't, you should. But prepare yourself; this isn't the typical bouldering video. It's indoors.
You've picked your project, and now find yourself unsure of what on earth to do next. If you exercise a little patience, along with a few tricks and the right tactics, projecting something hard can be a rewarding process.
For those that have never undertaken a project, it can be intimidating just to decide on the right route. It's easy to get in over your head, and even easier to not shoot high enough. There are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to help make this decision.
My friend Nate Drolet, asked his belayer if she wanted half of his banana. Of course she did - who wouldn't? Rather than peel it and break it off with his chalky, dirty fingers, or dig in his pack for a knife, Nate snapped the banana in half. Clean break, right through the middle. Like a ninja.