The MultiDay Project
Five Tips to Send This Season
Projects often don’t go down in one day and they therefore demand two, three or maybe 20 visits before you redpoint it. Some climbers have their ultimate project, which might take years to climb, but having attainable goals in projects that you can send in a few sessions improves your skills as a project climber.
You don’t want to spend your crag time hang-dogging on routes that are clearly too difficult for your current ability. All you’re going to do is kill your confidence and psych. It’s the sending itself that elevates you as a climber, so pick a project that you can climb in a few days or, at least, in one season.
This is where outdoor climbing differs from indoor climbing in terms of working on a project, because indoor climbs have an expected lifetime but are predictable whereas outdoor projects are there forever but conditions vary.
Is It a Two-Day Project?
If you didn’t climb your route on the first day, do you think you can on the second day? Remember that you’ll be more tired on day two, but your psych and muscle memory will be better than on day one. More often than not, climbers are more relaxed on day two because they don’t expect to send it. Some climbers get their hardest redpoints on the day-two attempts. If it’s not a day-two send, then you’ll have to re-think your plan. Take some rest and return another day.
One of the best ways to train for a project is to simulate the moves. If you have a home wall, then you can set a problem that has similar movement and holds. Work the sequences several times during a workout to develop the motor skills and strength you’ll need. When not on the wall, visualize the moves in each of the cruxes to create a detailed picture that you can replicate with ease.
Attempt the Send
Don’t go for the redpoint right away, hangdog your way up from bolt to bolt. This will mentally prepare you for a one-go attempt. At the crux, mime through the sequence a number of times, clean the holds and pre-clip the draws. Check out the post-crux move to the anchors to be sure you remember the flow. Once you feel warmed up, lower and wait about 30 minutes before going for the redpoint.
Before you go for the send, focus on calming yourself down and on success. Being nervous is a good thing as your brain is releasing adrenaline to prepare you. Give it everything you have, but be prepared to accept failure and to try again. You’ll have a better chance of sending once you’ve accepted failure is possible. Once you’re ready, clear your mind and execute every move, one at a time.
Failing for days, weeks or months on a route can crush your selfconfidence and possibly take away your motivation for climbing. Before you get to this point, take a rest and leave your project to focus on a different climb for a while. Go climb some routes, clip some chains and rebuild your confidence. If you change your expectations for a few weeks, you’ll be able to forget about the project and send some easier climbs. If you’re projecting 5.12a, then go climb some 5.11as. Just go with the flow and once you get your mojo back, you’ll know when to dial up the expectations and return to your project.—Gripped
Above: Kai Lightner training for his next project