So the first trip to Ten Sleep wasn’t very successful climbing-wise. I didn’t send anything super notable, and I just spent the week in awe of all the crazy strong sport climbers I was surrounded by. I walked away from the trip super inspired and motivated to return to Ten Sleep and put down some of my newly-acquired projects!
Enter Kris Hampton. I decided that I wanted to spend my 30th birthday in Ten Sleep (which was approximately a month away), and I wanted to do some formal training before heading back. I met with Kris while I was in Wyoming the first trip and we discussed my goals and strengths and weaknesses as a climber so he could come up with a plan for me. I bought a 12 week personalized training plan, and the first 5 weeks were dedicated to getting me ready for Ten Sleep, while still being careful to rehab and not overdo my injured finger.
Sport climbing has always been hard for me. No matter how strong I got, I would always try sport climbing expecting it to feel easier, and it just never did. I always boiled this down to the fact that maybe my body just wasn’t meant for endurance, but after chatting with Kris, who had watched a bunch of videos of me climbing in preparation for our meeting, I realized that I am a poor sport climber not only because I lack endurance, but also because I try too hard ALL THE TIME. I have definitely heard this feedback before. I have never been one to make things look easy, even on problems that are well below my limit. I have one gear when I am climbing and that is “try really f**king hard”. I have to say, I never really thought of this as a bad thing. I think a lot of my accomplishments in climbing have come because I know how to push myself to my limits… While I have been able to get away with this tactic for the most part in bouldering, sport climbing is a totally different beast….
So one of the focuses of my training with Kris was to essentially learn how to try less hard when I’m climbing… This meant being able to relax on routes and only go into that “try hard” gear when necessary. I spent the next five weeks doing climbing drills and other training in preparation for my trip. I will say that I was skeptical that this type of training could be achieved by online coaching, but I was pleasantly surprised, not only by the results, but also by how much fun the training was! With other training plans I’ve done, I am used to spending the majority of my time doing strength training and not actually climbing, but this was the exact opposite, which was just what I needed! The goal with Kris was to learn how to utilize the strength I already have and apply it to my climbing more efficiently.
Five weeks later I was in the car (with Josh and Bruno) for the 15 hour drive back to Ten Sleep! The first climbing day there was a bit reminiscent of my previous trip, no big sends but I did find a different beta sequence for my main project. This day also happened to be my birthday and I was so filled with joy to be able to spend the celebration of my 30th year on this planet in one of my new favorite places surrounded by family and great friends 🙂
Day two of the trip I really hit my stride with sport climbing. I started off the day feeling a little off and I didn’t really have high hopes of spectacular climbing. I watched Josh cruise up Team Whiney Baby (5.12d), and then decided to give two goes on my project, Pussytoes (5.12d). I warmed up by skipping the crux boulder problem down low and hung the draws on the route while re-familiarizing myself with the upper sequences. First go from the start felt pretty good, but no dice. I was feeling a little dejected by the fact that I had one more go on the proj, and if I didn’t do it I would still have to finish up the route to clean it… After chatting with my friend Mallory, she said that she would be more than happy to either clean the draws or we could leave them up and I could borrow some of her draws. This actually helped me to alleviate some pressure I was feeling about needing to send the route. After taking a good rest, I gave it my last effort of the day. I got through the beginning sequence pretty casually and then could feel myself getting nervous while setting up my feet for the crux bump move. “Keep it together!” I told myself. BOOM! Caught the crux hold! I fumbled my way through the next cross move that got me to the first jug on the climb, where I had a minute to try and compose myself before needing to execute the rest of the route, which eases up a bit but is still in no way a gimme. I could feel the excitement and anxiety build up in me as I hit that jug. I just did the hard part, but now I had to calm myself enough to move precisely through the ~45 more feet of 11+/12- climbing to reach the chains. I not-so-elegantly made my way to the top and clipped the anchors!! This was my hardest sport send to date, and since I have so little sport climbing experience, my previous hardest send was 5.12a back in 2015! I finished off the day by getting my first 12a flash on Dope Shinto!
The rest of the trip went great and I was able to finish up my other project that I had from the previous trip (Great White Behemoth, 5.12b+), and also get some volume in on some other 12s! I felt such a difference from the previous trip. I felt like I was really able to moderate my energy output, which helped me to manage my pump and not get too anxious while climbing.
I have to say, even though I am a boulderer at heart, Ten Sleep may be one of my new favorite places on earth. I definitely fell in love with the slow mornings (something that is very atypical for me), camping at Ten Sleep Rock Ranch, the impeccable limestone, the warm temps in town with the crisp temps up at the crag, and the friends both old and new that I got to climb with here!! Psyched to return next summer!!
Now back at home, continuing my training, and getting ready to tick some fall goals!!!