I have been stuck at a 5.12a/b plateau for several years and just completed my first training cycle, so I went down to Smith Rock for the weekend to see if there had been any improvement and felt fantastic. For this last cycle I focused mostly on strength and power as those have previously been my weaknesses, and it has totally paid off. The tiny Smith crimps felt huge and I was way more confident on the big lockoffs typical of the area. The weekend culminated in a send of Chain Reaction (5.12c) after only two beta runs and two redpoint burns. Prior to this I had only climbed one 12c (Propaganda at Little Si) which took much more work, and Propaganda is much more my style. I have always struggled with really short powerful routes, so this feels like a big step forward for me. I am going to jump straight back into another training cycle, aiming for a peak around a trip to Ten Sleep Canyon during the first week of July. This training cycle will focus more on the endurance-oriented phases as those phases took the back seat last time around. I'm really excited to see what's to come in the future.
I am currently in the middle of the performance phase for my first training cycle. Up until December 2014, I felt stuck around the 12a level, I had sent about 10. I felt like I had finally made some kind of breakthrough in mid 2014 and could put together 12a in a day after a few burns to work out the beta. My wife and I were already planning on visiting a friend in Denver during her spring break (she's an elementary school teacher), so we planned our training cycle around the trip so we could peak while in CO. She also felt like she had been at a plateau around v4 and 11a/b, but this was mostly due to her crazy life schedule from 2012-2014 (grad school, full time teacher, planning our wedding, and unfortunately very little climbing).
We followed the novice training plan pretty strictly, but with no specific goals in mind other than "get strong" for our trip to CO. I just wanted to get on whatever routes looked fun and felt reasonably at my limit at whatever crag we were hitting up.
During the power endurance phase when you finally get to try hard outside, I got a 12a flash for the first time (the softest 12a at the red - Wild yet Tasty). The following weekend, we hit up the New and I onsighted 12a for the first time (Shneezal - goddamn that route is really really good) and flashed 12a (Skull in Hole) - also a first for sending 2 12s in a day.
Finally when we got to CO, I climbed Soap on a Rope (12c) at Clear Creek in 4 goes. The crux was thin, sharp, and short lived. I think this route just really fit my style of climbing because it went pretty easily. First 12c! My wife was also really close on a fun and tough 11c called Schwing Salute. On Day 2, I worked out the beta for Twitch (12d) and it felt doable, but by the time I had worked out all of the moves I was spent. Day 3 was supposed to be a rest day, but we went back out and my wife sent her project (first 11c!) and I felt on the last move of the crux on Twitch, a long-ish lockoff to the jug next to the last bolt. I was just too sore and tired from 2 days of trying hard to get the send.
Looking around at the weather for the week, we decided to go to Joes Valley for 3 days of bouldering. I didn't send anything at my limit, mostly dicked around on v7s and 8s, but I did get in a v6 flash and an amazingly fun v6 called Wills of Fire. My wife had a really really great time there - she sent 3 or 4 v5s and got her first v6.
We got back into Denver the night before out flight home around 2:30am. I think I got around 4 hours of sleep that night, I woke everyone up early to get back out to Clear Creek. I had 3 hours to warm up and send Twitch. I fell mid crux on the first burn because I was too goddamn antsy - I think it was a combo of a bunch of coffee, too little sleep, and knowing that the route could go. Finally on the second burn and a close call after the crux trying to get established into the final jugs on really terrible thin feet, the route went. First 12c and 12d this week!
Quick Edit: On Saturday after sending my project, we went to Neptune to return the pads we rented. My buddy - who lives out there and who we stayed with and climbed with - climbs pretty hard naturally (a mid 5.13 climber, no strict training, just climbing in the gym and climbing hard outside) bought the book after seeing the results from our first training cycle.
Awesome! Good job on the sends! It's curious that say you bouldered nothing at your limit but then mentioned that you flashed V6. Since most 12d and under routes have cruxes easier than V6 I would say that it's pretty good indicator that 12+ is very doable for you now. Have fun with your future sending!
Thanks jesse! v6 is just under my limit. The problem I flashed was definitely on the softer side, basically a one move wonder (hold a sloper really hard while moving your feet around) and the conditions were really great. I have to work very hard to get v7 and I've only sent one v8. I'm glad to hear 12+ is usually easier than v6, I can boulder v5 and hopefully hold on for the ride!
ALMOST had my best day of bouldering ever today. Got my farthest (couldn't get much farther without sending) on two V9 projects, came within millimeters of sending a V8 (damn mono blew out just as I was gaining balance for the final move), and almost sent a V7. So freaking close on all of them. Kind of pissed that I ended up without a send, but also can't believe that I came as close as I did on four hard problems in one day. In the past, I would have been pumped with the progress I made on one of these problems. Now, I just need to seal the deal on all four of these before the summer heat and humidity kick in...
I want just to share my thoughts about this thread, the training program and some success I had. I've been climbing for almost 8 years now, always on and off due to life commitments and injuries. In the last 2 yrs I had definitely reached a plateau around 6C+/7a grade (5.11c/d i think). I regularly climb at the gym and outdoor when weather allows (I live in west coast Norway = Seattle weather). In the last two yrs I've improved but very little and very slowly (1/2 or 1 grade in two years). So fed up with it, I followed a friend suggestion: bought the book and started with this training program. Right after the first hangboard phase of 4 weeks I redpointed two 5.12a and three 5.12b with 4-5 attempts, flashed two 5.12a and onsight another 5.12a. The power phase was quite hard for me tough, and I realize that is were I lack the most! I can't even finish the beginner schedule on the campus board = need more training!!! I Just started the power endurance and looking forward to send my project which fits perfectly for this type of training.
What to say, thanks for the training program and all the posts/discussions here, which I found very useful and complementary. Great job!!!
Keep climbing and be safe
Last Edit: Apr 27, 2015 6:34:44 GMT -7 by jenaprisky
So I just capped off an amazing spring season. I haven't had this much fun climbing since my first trip outdoors in the spring of 2009 at the RRG. I started training with the RPTM when the book came out this past summer. Due to illnesses in the family and taking care of things at home, I didn't get to climb outside more than a couple of times before this spring season (but I've been training hard in the barn through the fall and winter).
I started in my power phase with a send of a classic V4, the Bread Loaf Arrette, that has been spitting me off for 4 years. I've climbed V5, but the BLA one seemed impossible for me. In two short sessions this February, I was standing on top, and that little success opened my eyes and mind to the possibilities. I knew none of my projects had moves on them harder than that.
I wanted to spend the spring building a solid base of 5.11 climbs (to prove to myself that I could) and send my first 11d. I started to tick off a list of local 5.11 climbs fast. Ones that I flailed on in the summer I sent easily with wet holds, numb fingers and ice on the rock (I was a bit eager to get out on the rock early). My goal route was a solid 11d called Groovin' at Birdsboro. I'd been dreaming of it since trying it once in the fall. I took a free weekend (wife and kids out of town and no work) to work the climb. After one solid day or working out the climb, I clipped the chains, and it was only the first day of my performance phase. The rest of the season has been icing on the cake, with additional sends of local classics and another 11d.
V4 and 11d may not seem like much, but to me they represent a lot of hard work, dedication, and an explosion through an impossible glass ceiling. My send of Groovin' was very special because of my 04:30 training sessions, frozen finger ARC workouts, pump-o-rama PE sessions and saying NO to chocolate chip cookies for the last 7 weeks. None of the holds felt impossible or small, thanks to my hangboarding, and power was in abundant supply. I've been training hard for 5 years, but haven't had a good way to train until the RCTM. My effort level hasn't changed, but my training now is effective. Many thanks to Mark and Mike for putting together such a wonderful text.