Use these five tactics to give your climb time a refreshing, enjoyable boost.

By Shannah Crane

There are heaps of factors that contribute to our climbing experiences: fitness and strength, technique awareness and experience, nutrition, shoes, the temperature, the music . . . the list could go on!

Another factor is the perspective—or mindset—we bring to climbing.

Research shows that our perspective shapes our reality. How we choose to show up in the world impacts how we interpret our experiences. In order to experience life the way that we want to, we need to get intentional about how we show up and the self-narratives we practice. This applies to the many parts of ourselves and our lives—including when we climb.

So if you want to energize your climbing jam, or add a lil’ joyful zing to your evening climbing routine, read on!

Here are five steps to boost your enjoyment of climbing:

  1. Get clear on your “why.” Why do you climb? It may be for multiple reasons, or it may be for just one. Slow down long enough to understand your motivation for climbing and what you’d like to get out of it.
    • For example, do you climb for social time? To stay physically fit? Or to blow off steam? How about to feel empowered and capable or balanced and serene? Or, perhaps you find your way to the walls to get the adrenaline pumpin’ and the heart racing to remind you you’re alive? Do some digging and exploring on your why.
      • Here are some helpful prompters to get the wheels turning:
        • When do you feel your best when climbing? How about after?
        • What do you most look forward to when you think about climbing?
        • What brought you to the sport or activity to begin with?
        • What do you love most about yourself when you climb?
        • Look for patterns as you noodle on these questions. Distill that greatness down to an idea or two about the “why” behind your climbin’ psych.
  2. Assess current practices. Check in with yourself and how you currently show up to climb. Do you show up in support of reaching your “why”? Or is your behavior or attitude counterproductive to your “why”? Assess what you’re doing; see what you love and what could use a change here or there.
  3. Explore some alternatives. Get creative and brainstorm on some ways that you could bring your “why” for climbing to life even more. Think out-of-the-box and cooky. Think teensy tweaks and big leapin’ leaps. Think ropes instead of boulders, or boulders instead of ropes. Think yoga as a warm-up, or a new belay partner or two. What’s possible when you flip your routine upside-down for the sake of joy?
  4. Try some new things out. Let loose and experiment! Then reflect. What did you love? What wasn’t so fun? What was weird, but kinda awesome at the same time? Reflect on your experiments and then pick one or two things to actually practice on the regular . . .  like right now. Practice these items now and let the impact unfold. You might just surprise yourself.
  5. Last but not least, schedule in time for periodic assessments. Your “why” may shift over time. Just because something works wonderfully now, doesn’t mean that it will forever, or even in 6 months. Something that really inspired you last year could be totes boring and drab by now. Check in with yourself, ask yourself the “why” questions, practice openness to change, and remember to enjoy the ride!