Tip 15: Climbing Goals! Do They Help, Hurt or Do Nothing?

Calvin Landrus, SRCFC Director

Climbing Tip : Set Climbing Goals

Andrew on Slit your wrists2.jpgThree weeks before the end of the year, an SRCFC member, Andrew Hunzicker, projected and sent his seventh 5.13. By almost every climber’s standards, especially for those in their late 40s, that would be considered an incredible year! Then an absurd “numbers” thought came to me that I decided to torment his accountant’s mind with: “Could he climb thirteen different 5.13s in 2013?” With that challenge, everything changed!

After the fact, Andrew wrote this to me, “Your simple "goal" challenge you gave to me resulted in the best sending spree in my life, best 6 weeks ever. All due to just changing the way I used my time at Smith Rock!”

For those of us who have been in the climbing game for a substantial period of time, it’s easy to fall into a rut and do the same routine whether we are climbing inside or outside. At Smith Rock, projecting is so addicting because as you work out the technical movements the climbing that once felt impossible begins to seem reasonable and a send will eventually follow if given enough time. Urgency is rarely in play and so the days at the crag can often begin to look the same. Warm-up, try your project and go home.

Andrew shared further after taking the challenge, “It changed my attitude toward projects: instead of looking at each as a long-term goal, I changed my thought process to: learn (or re-learn) all the moves first go and try to send second go. This simple change of perspective and strategy resulted in tons of sending in a brief time.”

Although my original thought was that he could include “re-sends” of 5.13s he had already done, leaving him with four more 5.13 sends to complete the goal, he decided to try for six more brand new to him 5.13s before the end of the year. He gave that a valiant effort by sending two more new 5.13s. However, he accomplished the goal of climbing “thirteen different 5.13s in 2013” with the re-send of four 5.13s.

Andrew summarized it this way, “Of all the things I’ve tried in the past (physical/training and mental/non-physical) this simple change of thinking resulted in the greatest increase in sending I have ever had.”


So what is the climbing tip here? Simply stated, have some climbing goals. How will this very obvious recommendation improve your climbing? They will force you to become intentional and figure out a way to strategically reach them! With this kind of approach, you will take your climbing to the next level.

Climbing author and performance coach, Eric Horst, recently shared on Facebook this motivational call to action, “Set some high goals for the New Year, because the "do easy things" approach (i.e. living the path of least resistance) guarantees a crowded, unremarkable journey. Success or not, doing hard things will be more exciting, memorable, and transcendent...and you just might bring along (and inspire) some others along the way!”

BONUS: In a short podcast, Horst gives six keys to a more effective training for climbing at soundcloud.com/training4climbing/.


In those seasons when I have an achievement goal of some kind, my experience has been that the discipline and deliberate action required spills over into all areas of my life. The unpleasant tasks that need to get done so I can get busy towards working my goal seem to go down with much more ease. My life just seems more productive.

This same connection is shared in the Bible. Using metaphorical language to describe the effort a Christian must put into their spiritual life to be successful, the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 makes these statements: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things…So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.” In all things successful, there will be intentionality.

Longtime leadership author and speaker, John Maxwell, fleshes out being intentional with having a system. In his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, he writes, “What is a system? It’s a process for predictably achieving a goal based on specific, orderly, repeatable principles and practices. Systems leverage your time, money and abilities. They are great tools for personal growth. Systems are deliberate, intentional, and practical. They really work-regardless of your profession, talent level, or experience. They improve your performance.”

As a Christ-follower, having goals is one of the ways I try to fulfill this instruction in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Having goals, whether they are in climbing, other areas of one’s life or in both, will make your life more productive. Set a new objection, a higher level, a greater vision and watch your life transform from the mundane into life fun to wake up to everyday!


Continue the discussion at the Where Climbers Gather Forums.

Date Posted - 01.14.14

Back to List...



Featured Events:

Upcoming Events:


Visit Our Facebook Group

Activities described and depicted within this site carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. Rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, and all other outdoor activities are dangerous.

Donation Page