Only have an hour? Have a plan for a shorter session in order to you maximize the time you do have...
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One hour is not a lot of time—bouldering to warm-up and employing one of the skill drills (below) for 15-20 minutes will make this step more efficient for you and your partner. However, warming-up on a rope is adequate as well.
A favorite for people wanting to get more comfortable on lead. Pick a UDU Project that is somewhat sustained, preferably on a slightly overhanging wall. It helps to pick a section of wall that has an easier climb following the same line of quickdraws that you can use for the down-climbing part of this exercise.
•Lead a route on the way up, and instead of clipping anchors, start down-climbing, unclipping as you go. For safety's sake, leave the bottom three draws clipped on the way down.
•When you get to the bottom, start climbing back up, leading again. On your first attempt you should be able to lead to the anchors, down-climb, and lead part way back up. If you can't make it most of the way up your second lap, choose an easier UDU Project.
•Make the down-climb easy to start (on an adjacent route)—you can increase the difficulty by down-climbing the same route you are climbing up, or by making a rule that you can’t shake out during the down-climb. When selecting the up sections, start easier than you think for the first session or two. If you complete both UDU’s in a session, increase the difficulty of the sections.
•After you have the moves dialed, it is no longer necessary to continue "working" the project—if you fall early, lower off and rest for your next attempt.
•Once you and your partner are familiar with your respective routes, you should both be able to complete two UDU’s during a one-hour session.
This exercise will go a long way in teaching you how far you can actually push yourself while pumped, a necessary skill on hard ascents.
•Select a lead route that you can finish, but has a low, powerful crux. Lead up to the bolt above the crux, and clip.
•Immediately lower to the ground. With no rest, climb on top rope to the same point, and lower again.
•Repeat the crux section a third time
NOTE: If you can't find a route that fits the bill, get creative. You can link the start of a harder route to the finish of an easier route, or make up an eliminate start to increase the difficulty. You can also increase the difficulty of the section after the crux by linking into a harder route.
Inevitably, a time comes when most of us encounter circumstances that force us to to cut back on time spent climbing. Keeping your sessions highly focused is the best approach to ensure you’re maximizing your climbing gains when time is tight!
Incorporate these drills in a focused warm-up, or cool-down.
One Size Fits All
Written by The Power Company in partnership with La Sportiva.
Preview Photo: © Michael Lim
Video: © Henna Taylor