Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014

Stretching tall on Flash Point (5.11d)

Stretching tall on Flash Point (5.11d)

This time of year in my climbing journey always involves a lot of reflection.  I look back on how well I accomplished my goals for the past year, and I look forward to setting new goals for the upcoming year.  But as soon as I saw two lines on a pregnancy test last June, it’s fair to say that my list of climbing projects got put on the backburner.  Pregnancy is obviously not the time to explore your limits.  That being said, I “failed” miserably at crossing off even half of what I set out to do on my 2013 Hit List – although I put “failed” in quotes because while growing a little miracle inside my body feels like a lot of things, failure is NOT one of them!  

But despite the list of un-crossed-off goals on paper, I did feel like I made a lot of progress and grew as a climber this past year.  

1.  Kickin’ it Gangsta Style: Though I probably wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone last January when I made my list, ticking Gangsta (5.12a) at the Obed was numero uno on the project priorities.  I’ve got more emotional baggage tied to this route than anything else I’ve ever attempted, and it taught me a hard lesson about knowing when to respectfully walk away before letting my frustrations get the best of me.  It’s also probably the only route that’s made me cry just thinking about it before.  (And no, that is not flattering to admit lol!)  So having Gangsta go down over Memorial Day weekend (and in turn having it be the last hard thing I sent before getting knocked up) was priceless!  

2.  Going “Out of Style”:  One of my general goals for 2013 was to challenge myself with routes that didn’t cater to “my style.”  I made a conscious effort to skip the technical crimpfests in favor of routes that required me to make long reaches or climb aggressively on steep terrain.  I made myself a permanent fixture in the lead cave at the gym, and was starting to see dividends of my hard work when Tiggers and Airplanes (5.11d) went second go.  And even though both Flash Point and The Whining only officially check in at 5.11d, it’s common knowledge that both are notorious for height dependent cruxes.  The crux on The Whining is precarious and low-percentage, and I was delighted to send it rather anti-climactically this past spring, after getting frustrated on it repeatedly the year before.  And despite the fact that my 6’1″ (and +3 ape index) hubby swears that Flash Point is his easiest send at that grade, it felt every bit of 5.12b to me – 3 reachy cruxes, each one progressively harder, spread out over 100+ feet of amazing rock.  It’s one of my proudest sends to date.  

Go Cat Go (5.12b), another route I'd love to have another crack at!

Go Cat Go (5.12b), another route I’d love to have another crack at!

There were a great many other routes on my tick list that are still left undone, however.  Some, like Narcissus (5.12a), Depth Charge (5.12b), and Solstice (5.12a), because I never got a chance to get on them.  Others, like Lost Souls (5.12a), were attempted too little too late – I was already 8 weeks pregnant by the time I got on it, and with nausea and extra tiredness I didn’t have a prayer of linking it together.  Encouraging enough to me however was that I actually got farther before falling than I’d ever gotten before!  There were also several routes that I was close to sending on my first few attempts this year, but never got a chance to get back to and try again – Gato (5.12a), Go Cat Go (5.12b), and Likme (5.12a) come to mind right away.

Go Cat Go crux

Go Cat Go crux

But considering that I only had 5 months out of my usual 12 to work on my Hit List, I still feel good about where I was at prior to getting pregnant.  Hopefully it won’t take too long to get back there after my little girl is born.  But even if it takes longer than expected, I doubt I’ll be too disappointed.  I’ll get there when I’m meant to get there!  

In the mean time, it’s pretty hard to nail down specific goals for 2014 with so many gigantic life changes taking place!  But I figured some general goal setting would be a good idea for keeping the pressure low but the psych high as I look ahead to what the next year may bring.  So here’s a list of goals that will hopefully get me back in shape without being too ambitious.

Training is going to look like this again...but this time with a 4 year old too!

Training is going to look like this again…but this time with a 4 year old too!

1.  ESTABLISH A TRAINING ROUTINE:  It’s hard enough to figure out the logistics of a gym climbing session with one kiddo…but throw a newborn into the mix and it very well may turn into a nightmare!  But I’d love to get settled into some sort of consistent training routine, even if it’s not as often as it once was.  

2.  CLIMB OUTDOORS AS A FAMILY OF FOUR:  I’m not going to get specific in the sense of “I want us to get out _____ times this year.”  I think quality is far more important than the quantity of experiences.  But of course I’d like to get out as much as we can, and I can’t wait to introduce my baby girl to the world one crag at a time!

3.  SEND 5.12: My due date is March 6, which will give me almost 10 months to get back on the 5.12 send train.  I won’t even put on the added pressure of saying it needs to be a redpoint of something I’ve never sent before.  Even a repeat send will still be a great standard by which to measure my progress by…but I’m secretly hoping to nab at least one new tick next year.

I’m tempted to start listing specific routes I’d love to tackle, but as I look down at my ever-expanding belly I know that’s not wise at this juncture!  For now my biggest “project” is continuing to develop the happy little miracle growing inside of me!  2014 will be a big adjustment for our entire family, but I know I for one can’t wait to see what adventures will come our way!

What are everyone else’s goals for the new year?  Write ’em down and share ’em – otherwise you’ll find yourself unfocused and off the wagon by February!


6 Responses to “2013 Year in Review and Climbing Hit List for 2014”

  1. Joy

    There is no doubt that it is very inspiring to read this list and think about how much you have accomplished! You rock 😉 As far as climbing goes – my goal is to get a few more ‘harder for me’ sends under my belt in 2014! Although I don’t have any specific projects in mind at the moment, I can think of two right off the bat Id love to get back to – Tigger and Airplanes (NRG) and Pet Cemetary (Obed). Yeah yeah for 2014!!!


  2. Tonya

    Love this, Erica! The most inspiring thing for me is you being happy where you are. I am going to try to focus on similar goals for 2014 (though I’m realistic that sending 5.10 grades might be ok as a goal. Lol). But getting back into fighting shape, integrating a new baby and developing a new climbing routine are big ones for me, too. :))


  3. Erica

    Joy – Those are two very worthy opponents worth ticking. I’m certain they will go down for you this year, and I’d love to be there when they do 🙂

    And thanks Tonya! With due dates so close, we’ll probably be getting back on the rock around the same time – we should definitely plan some “come back” trips together in late spring/summer!


  4. Emil Briggs

    Good luck with all your goals! Climbing with two young kids will be trickier than just one but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Places like the Gunks are better for it and I even saw families with baby carriages climbing there. Rocky Face isn’t the same level of quality of course but the convenience is similar.

    My goals for the year are.

    1. Have lots of great climbing adventures with Emma and all our friends.
    2. Get back to the same level I was before my long break.
    3. Keep my obsessive compulsive workout tendencies from causing me any more injuries.

    Given my age #2 and #3 may not happen but that’s OK since I’m sure I can manage #1 and that’s the one that matters most!


    • Erica

      Emil – Yes, Rocky Face will probably be a valuable asset for us in those first few months! As far as your goals go, my guess is that staying focused on #1 will help out with #2 and #3. 🙂

  5. Paula

    Thanks for the push to refine my goals. I had written vague goals about climbing, yoga, exercise, but hadn’t gotten down to the nitty gritty of how I would accomplish them. I feel like I have been on a bit of a climbing hiatus for the last several years after having been obsessed with it and the grades for much of my adult life. Having a two and a half year old has rocked my world… In a good way, of course, but I realize I still have the desire to push myself on the rock.

    Yesterday I did a twenty minute yoga tape and then my husband helped me with some weight off pull ups while my daughter napped. Got out my old Dale Goddard book and created a plan. The part of my plan that I am most pleased with is that I am intending on revisiting my plan at the beginning of each month.

    Enjoy your last months of pregnancy and congrats!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN