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

Climbing Goals for 2015

Now that our family of 4 has settled into a new “normal,” it’s  tempting to try and make up for lost time with a mile long tick list for 2015.  But I still want to make sure my life stays balanced.  Family climbing time involves FAMILY first, CLIMBING second.  That means that when it  comes to planning climbing trips, there are far more logistics to consider than my own tick list.  That being said, here’s what I personally would be delighted to accomplish in 2015.

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Since we almost always climb as a party of 5+, (mom, dad, 2 kids, and 1 or more extra partners,) often the hardest part of projecting a particular climb is the actual logistics – ie, being able to get in enough attempts on a route in reasonable conditions.  Always climbing in a group means we climb wherever the consensus says, which may or may not be my first  choice.  Then, I’m lucky if I get in 5 pitches in a single day of climbing.  Four is probably closer to average (and that includes at least one warm-up.)  So that leaves me 2 or 3 burns on my goal each day…and if it doesn’t go down in a day, I’m at the mercy of my partners as to when I get another crack at it.

It sounds complicated, but lucky for us, the areas we frequent have plenty of good climbing to go around, at a wide variety of levels, so the logistics are rarely a problem.  That being said, I’m always hesitant to get my heart set on a lot of specific climbs when there’s a deadline involved (ie, 2015.)  If my list was just a straight list of climbs, I’d likely get to the end of the year without even attempting half of the routes listed, all while sending a bunch of random stuff that I hadn’t included on the list.

So what I prefer to do is choose a few broader goals that could be achieved on any number of routes at various crags we frequent.  That way I’ve always got something to work on wherever we go, even if it wasn’t a route I was originally gunning for.  So here’s my unspecific “tick list,” in random order…

“Big” Trip.

We haven’t gone on a “big” climbing trip (ie, one requiring an airplane or more than 8 hours in a car) since our SoDak/Wyo adventure of summer 2012.  We’ve been itching to get back out west since, well, since the day we got back from Ten Sleep, and this year we’re hoping to make it happen.  Destination is still up in the air, as it’s contingent on important logistics like finding climbing partners, but high on the list are Utah, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and maybe even Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, AK.  And on that note…any takers?

Family shot in Ten Sleep Canyon, WY in 2012

Family shot in Ten Sleep Canyon, WY in 2012

Going “Out of Style” in the 5.12 range.

At this point I’ve got almost 20 5.12’s under my belt (17 to be exact, but who’s counting ;)).  However, while there is a wide variety of climbing areas represented, my ticks all share a common thread – most of the  climbing hovers back and forth across the vertical line.  Some are slabby, some are dead vertical, and some are gently overhanging.  Others climb an arete, tiptoe up a slab, or maybe even pull one short roof.  But NONE of them feature guns blazing, aggro-powered pump fests.  This year I would love to tick at least one 5.12 on severely overhanging terrain.  Good candidates that fit the bill would be Narcissus (5.12a), which I’ve been on once several years ago, and Psychowrangler (5.12a), which I got on once last fall.

Getting into the business on Psychowrangler 5.12a

Getting into the business on Psychowrangler 5.12a

Keeping “In Style” with Harder 5.12’s.

When it comes to routes that suit my strengths, I think I’m consolidated enough in the lower 12 range to start setting my sights a little bit higher.  Currently I’ve only got one .12c to my name (the direct start to Fashion, a local Crowders Mountain classic), but I’m hoping to change that this year.  I surprised myself last fall by one-hanging two .12c’s (Hard Rock Cafe at Hawksbill and Techman at the New River Gorge), but was unfortunately not able to get back to finish them up before it got too cold (those logistics again…)  This year I’d like to snag a couple of sends in the 5.12c/d range.

Random Classics I’ve Always Wanted to do.

There are several routes that I’ve had my eye on for a really long time, but for one logistical reason or another, have never gotten a chance to do.  This year I would love to mow down some of the following must-do classics…

Satisfaction Guaranteed 5.11a (Summersville Lake)
Amarillo Sunset 5.11b (Red River Gorge)
Disturbance 5.11d (New River Gorge)
Toxic Hueco 5.11d (Meadow River)
Twinkie 5.12a (Red River Gorge)
Mercy the Huff 5.12b (Red River Gorge)
Orange Juice 5.12c (Red River Gorge)

So that’s my current plan, although like most things in my life these days, everything is subject to change!  And honestly, the goal I’m holding tightest to is to just spend as much time as possible with these folks…


Now it’s your turn – don’t be shy.  What do you REALLY want to achieve this year?  Post it here for everyone else to see – the more people that know about it, the more accountability you’ll have for actually putting the work in!


7 Responses to “Climbing Goals for 2015”

  1. Abby

    My goals are to get past 5.7. Doesn’t seem like much but being on bed rest for the last 6 months of pregnancy really made me loose all my muscle. Being a single mother my question is how in the world are you able to climb with just the 4 of ya? I went out today in a group of 4 (3 adults and my 9 month old) and all she did was cry while I was climbing. Extremely difficult to climb and listen to your child scream mamma and fuss in someone else’s arms. So how do you do it?


    • Erica

      Hats off to you trying to get it done as a single mom! The handful of times Ive climbed w/friends and sans hubby its been a lot more stressful. To answer your question…we DONT do it just the 4 of us!!! We always have at least one other person w/us, usually ends up being 2 or 3 extras. Big C is easy now that hes older, but if Z is extra fussy hubby and I just pass her back and forth and our extra partners thankfully dont mind pulling extra belay duty!

  2. abby

    Good idea with climbing with more people, the more the better (if they don’t mind kids). I definitely need to find more people who climb out by me to make it more fun! Thanks for your input!!


  3. Hi Erica, my goal for this year is to actually make it to the Red River Gorge! I’ve never been there and all my friends tell me how amazing it is to climb there. My younger daughter (17) also wants to climb there. Maybe spring break in April? If so, it would be great to finally meet you. My older daughter (20) already went to RRG without me on her summer dirtbagging trip where she went cross country, climbing & backpacking (JEALOUS!). Someday you’ll be in my position, watching your kids head out on climbing trips without you. Sadness.


    • Erica

      Jannette I’d love to meet you and climb with you. We usually hit the Red a couple of times a yeR (once in fall and once in spring), but we never made it last year. So we are definitely overdue!!! April is a good time to go – lets get in touch once it warms up 🙂

  4. Lauren

    Hi Erica,
    I love your blog! I posted a comment one other time when I first stumbled upon it…and now I am 36 weeks pregnant with our first child, and looking for continued family-driven climbing and adventure-ing inspiration! So thank you for continuing to write and share!

    I just talked with my husband on our way up to a weekend in the Adirondacks about my goals for this year. My first goal is to be kind to myself in my first attempt at mommy and keep an open mind and heart to all of the ups and downs that I am sure are headed my way. My second goal is to find a groove again that includes returning to my own health and fitness, and staying open-minded to what that might look like (yoga at home, hangboard sessions, quick runs or bike rides, etc). My third goal is to get back on some rock this summer, with or without baby in tow!

    I look forward to family adventures in the outdoors. Keep sharing and I will be sure to keep reading! 🙂


    • Erica

      Hi Lauren!
      Congrats on your upcoming new bundle of joy! The adventures are about to really begin for your family 🙂 Your goals sound wonderful, and like a great balance of being motivating without asking too much from yourself. Best of luck with what will probably be your most exciting and life-changing year yet 🙂

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