by Christopher Schafenacker
It’s Sendtember, that hallowed month for every climber in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures are dropping, bugs are dying, and conditions are finally ripe for sending. Psyched? Yes! Terrified you’ve forgotten how to climb on real rock? Also yes. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the following five tips.
Five Tips for Making a Quick Transition Back to Real Rock
1. Start Slow
It can be hard to rein yourself in on the first day of good condies and yet you’re not doing yourself any favors by immediately hopping back on last season’s project.
Take day one slow. Warm up properly, repeat the crag classics, and focus on everything except climbing hard.
While sure, you might send your nemesis route on your first day back out, chances are you’ll simply set a new low-point and create a fresh psychological barrier for yourself to overcome before you’ve even really gotten started. That, or you’ll injure yourself.
Resist the temptation to go too hard too fast and instead let day one be all about getting re-acclimated.
2. Focus on Your Feet
Outdoor feet are nothing like their indoor counterparts. They’re small, they feel insecure, and they’re not color-coded. Simply seeing the feet outdoors takes practice, not to mention using them, which is why you should pay special attention to this aspect during your early season outings.
Climb easy routes and try to optimize your foot beta. Look for those hard-to-spot placements that while, perhaps, less intuitive are more efficient. Learn to spot evidence of where other climbers have stepped. Try out feet you might not otherwise trust on easy routes you’ve climbed before.
3. Forget About Falling
Falling sucks and this is especially true when you’ve been out of the game for a while. If you spent the summer beaching and haven’t given your nervous system that primal shock in months, your first day out is not the time to start.
Build confidence by starting easy. Let your body get used to the experience of climbing outdoors again before you start having panic attacks five feet above your bolt. You’ve got the whole fall to take whippers and so there’s no need to rush. By letting yourself acclimate to outdoor climbing before taxing your headgame, you set yourself up to climb more confidently throughout the entire season.
4. Plan Ahead
If you truly want to make the most of Sendtember, you need to arrive with a plan. While it may be too late to tailor your training to specific goals, it’s not too late to make a list of seasonal objectives.
Brainstorm a few short-term projects (routes you hope to send in a session or two) and one or two more involved lines. Plan your days out around these objectives by thinking of a logical order in which to tackle each challenge and then get to work.
5. Shake Off the Pressure
Sendtember may only come once a year but that doesn’t mean you need to send or bust this month. After all, Rocktober is just around the corner and No-fall November is next. Sending is great but the true joy of good conditions is simply the opportunity they present to get out and have fun with friends.
Featured Climbing Training Gear
Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.
The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…
The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.