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

The Tick List for 2016

For our family this year, the holidays have involved sharing a little more with each other than we had intended – our winter break started with a stomach virus that violently ransacked it’s way through our entire household in a matter of hours.  The next two weeks were a blur of family, friends, and Christmas cookies…LOTS of Christmas cookies.  As far as climbing goes, we did manage to squeeze in a few days at the gym here and there, as well as a laidback day outside on the first day of 2016.  But overall the ratio of Christmas cookies to climbing ratio was not good…for sending anyway.

But it’s a new year, and with a new year comes new training cycles, and with new training cycles comes new tick lists!  So even though I’m still wiping cookie crumbs off my face as I type this, here’s what I’m aiming to accomplish, both as an individual and with my family:

Psyched to see how this feels with the new kneepad the hubby got me for Christmas!

Psyched to see how this feels with the new kneepad the hubby got me for Christmas!


Towards the end of last year I found myself getting a little burnt out on climbing.  I had several heart breaking (in a 1st world problem way) almost-sends and came up short a little more than I wanted.  Many times the logistics of getting the whole family (plus an extra partner) back to routes to finish them up often left me feeling more frustrated than psyched.  The annual “off season” our family always takes around the holidays was a much needed break.  My goal for this year is to focus more on the process than crossing something off the list.  This is not to say that I’m not out to send in 2016.  But I’m hoping to take a wiser approach when it comes to which routes are worth the efforts (physically, mentally, and logistically) to come back to and project, and which routes are okay to try once and leave undone for now.  In other words, my climbing time is at a premium, and I don’t want to waste it on routes that aren’t fun!  So the following are routes I have yet to try that I want to experience at least once.  If I’m feeling inspired, I’ll try for the send, if not, it’s on to the next!

Orange Juice 12c (Red River Gorge)
Twinkie 12a (Red River Gorge)
Amarillo Sunset 11b (Red River Gorge)
Ro Shampo 12a (Red River Gorge)
Gift of Grace 12b (New River Gorge)
Toxic Hueco 11d (New River Gorge)
Line of Fire 12c (Linville Gorge)
Tips Ahoy 12d (Linville Gorge)

Until next time...Jesus and Tequila 12b.

Until next time…Jesus and Tequila 12b.

I’d also be thrilled to send 12c at the New…Techman is the obvious choice, as I’ve gottten fairly close on that one before, but I’m probably more open to choosing something new that fits my style and putting in work.


While I meant every previous word about savoring the journey of a route, no tick list is complete without a goal to exact revenge on at least some of the ones that got away during the previous year.
Jesus and Tequila 12b:  If I only send one route on this list, this is the one I want.  Ever since our last trip of the fall in 2015 I have been haunted by the one foot slip 10 feet from the chains that kept me from victory on this amazing classic.  I’ve obsessed over visualized the beta sequences on just about every neighborhood run since then, rehearsing everything from the opening moves to clipping the chains as my feet pound the pavement (and burn off the aforementioned Christmas cookies.)  This WILL GO DOWN in 2016.
New World Order 12a:  My crux on this route taught me a lot about dynamic movement, and the line as a whole is an exercise in patience and pump management.  My best go was a one-hang last November, but I’m hopeful to dispatch it pretty quickly this spring.

While “exacting revenge” might be a little strong for the following routes, I include them down here because I’ve been on them all at least once, and would love another crack.
Mercy the Huff 12b (Red River Gorge)
Soul Ram 12b: (Red River Gorge)
Psychowrangler 12a (New River Gorge)
Blackhappy 12b (New River Gorge)

Looking forward to more adventures with this kidcrusher!

Looking forward to more adventures with this kidcrusher!


Another exciting goal for the upcoming year involves our aspirations as a climbing family.  Big C is starting to take more and more of an interest in the “family business,” so to speak, and this year we’d like to cultivate that interest as best we can.  It all depends on him obviously, as we don’t want to push, but potentially we are planning a few outdoor excursions as a team of 3 (Baby Zu can hang at home with the grands!) and possibly on having him join the climbing team at our local gym.

I’m sure these goals and plans will morph some as the year unfolds, but writing things down, whether it be via pen and paper or cyberspace, helps me stay on track.  So with that in mind, I’d love to hear from everyone else.  What are your goals and aspirations for 2016, both climbing and otherwise, and how do you plan to get there?  Don’t be afraid to think big!


3 Responses to “The Tick List for 2016”

  1. Shawn

    Hey Erica,
    I keep waiting and waiting for you to finally put my number one desired route at the New on your to-do list: Thunderstruck. It’s a beautiful and inspiring line, but maybe you haven’t been out there due to the logistics of getting to it with the kids… I don’t know because I didn’t have kids when I tried it once years ago.

    Personally,this year I plan to focus on improving technique more in the hopes of avoiding another ankle injury. At the end of October I blew my peroneal ligament, which is on the outside of the ankle and holds stabilizing tendons behind your fibula. With that, I lost stability in my ankle and had to have an operation to reattach the ligament to the bone, since it won’t heal on its own as it is constantly being displaced by the tendons which dislocate from their position behind the fibula. The injury is similar to a finger pulley injury in that I injured it through overloading (which makes me feel like a real fatty!), instead of falling on it. I just stood up on a hold and *pop!* So, even though I don’t know what I did wrong to cause it, I’m going to try to concentrate on using my feet more correctly. If I’m feeling really good, I’d be happy to tick off any of the over 50 projects I have here in the Frankenjura.

    But the family comes first, and adjusting to my little girl’s activity level (she’s walking now) will be my first goal. Finding ways to ensure her safety while we’re outdoors takes precedence this year.

    All the best to you and your family and best of luck in achieving your goals!


    • Erica

      Ah, Thunderstruck…I’d actually completely forgotten about that one! In fact I’ve been on it once before – back in spring of 2013 when I was up there for the Rendezvous. Trango was shooting pics on it, so I only got one crack at it – I was feeling good about it til I got shut down at that move right before the anchors. ( Womp, womp. It’s a little harder to get down there with kids in tow, but certainly doable (we did the Butcher’s Branch side of Kaymoor a good bit this past year), so it’s probably about time to get back on Thunderstruck and give it another burn! I’ve improved a lot since then, so maybe that move would be doable now…thanks for the reminder!

      That sounds like a crazy ankle injury…though I had to laugh at the fatty remark. 😉 And yes, once they start walking it’s a whole new ball game… Best of luck to you in the new year!

  2. Here are a list of routes I’m hoping to tick off this year:

    Hard Rock Café
    Modern Primitive
    New World Order
    Stretch Armstrong
    Slabsters Lament
    The Snag
    Blind Prophet
    Mr. Henar
    Black Jackets
    Unwritten Law
    Fashion Super Direct
    Amazing Joe
    Steady Eddie


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