Prep Work

Climbing - - CLINICS IN SESSION -

Be­fore you shoe up for your onsight, lay some ground­work. WARM UP

Be­cause you only have one chance, it’s easy to want to bone-crush ev­ery hold, ei­ther out of fear of fall­ing or sim­ply the un­known. But this ex­tra en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture can lead to an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of lac­tic acid in the fore­arms: the dreaded flash pump. To com­bat this, warm up well, climb­ing a few known routes or routes well be­low your limit to re­lax your mus­cles and en­cour­age un­re­stricted blood flow.

CHOOSE WISELY

Con­sider your best style: If you’re a steep­rock beast, then it may be eas­ier to onsight that over­hang­ing 5.12 face than the slabby 5.11 next to it. Typ­i­cally, our up­per onsight level is one num­ber grade lower than our hard­est red­point, but any onsight up to this thresh­old can be chal­leng­ing.

Con­sider that chalk, shoe rubber, and perma-draws of­ten stack the odds in your fa­vor, though on highly trav­eled routes, chalk cov­ers ev­ery piece of rock, in­clud­ing sucker holds. On less pop­u­lar routes, a layer of lichen or dust and a lack of foot traf­fic re­quire a stronger abil­ity to hang on and read the rock.

PLAN AHEAD

Now scope the route—stand away from the wall and get an over­all sense of it. Take a gan­der from as many view­points as you can; you might even use binoc­u­lars. Fig­ure out where the route goes and if you’ll need to tra­verse or down­climb. A short route will likely de­mand a fierce, ath­letic style, whereas a longer route will re­quire pa­tience and pre­ci­sion.

Next, iden­tify big holds and slabby ter­rain, as these will be good for rest­ing. Where the holds shrink and the ter­rain steep­ens will likely be the crux. Con­sider se­quences and how the holds might af­fect your bal­ance. If you see a left sidepull, is there a right-hand sidepull or heel hook

HEATHER WEIDNER GO­ING FOR THE ONSIGHT ON LOTTER’S DE­SIRE (5.12C), WA­TER­FALL BOVEN, SOUTH AFRICA.

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