Tip 6: Staying Cool

By Calvin Landrus
C L I M B I N G - T I P

My home climbing area is Smith Rock in the high desert of Central Oregon. Unlike the rainy, western side of the state, most of our days are sunny. Although the area’s walls face many directions, the climbs that see the vast majority of traffic have southern exposure. Smith Rock is mainly a sport climbing area which has good bolt clipping starting at 5.6 with all grades above being well represented. For those reasons, the area attracts climbers who have mixed levels of experience. Those with more experience wonder why so many are climbing in the direct heat of the sun. I once was one of those they wondered about.

When I first began climbing at Smith in the early 1980s, I was in my twenties and just starting to climb 5.10. I loved the sun and the heat. I believed that the hotter it was, the better I would climb. When I moved to the area in 1990s and began to climb regularly at Smith, I began to notice the presence of a common factor when everyone was sending their hardest routes. It was temperature, temperature, temperature.

One of the keys to climbing a route that is on the
leading-edge of your skill level is cool temperature.
    Here are a few reasons why:
    1. When your body heats up, it becomes less efficient. It takes energy to cool your body down, leaving less for climbing.
    2. As temperatures rise, the interface between your fingers and rock is affected. Due to perspiration, warmer hands have less friction. Not only will warm air heat up your hands, but also warm rock will also.
    3. Shoe rubber is temperature dependant. With warm temperatures, shoe rubber becomes softer which leads to less friction.

The best temperature for climbing hard is when the belayer needs to wear a down jacket. Believe it or not, when the weather man says highs will be in the mid-forties, run for the rock. Although warming up and core temperature management is harder, most of the hardest routes at Smith have been sent in these cooler conditions. If that seems a bit extreme, look to climb with temperatures in the fifties. At minimum, climb in the shade.

So the next time you visit Smith Rock, I hope I don’t find you in the hoards sweltering away in the hot sun. Cooler temperatures can be found in shade, in the morning or evening, or during another time of the year. When you go out to your favorite crag, think through the day and the location of the sun, then bring enough warm clothing and find the coolest temperatures. If you do, you will find yourself climbing at your hardest level!

L I V I N G - T I P
Keeping Your Cool

Anger seems to have become a national pastime. According to FBI estimates, a violent crime is committed in America every 20 seconds. In the recent news, we have seen anger exhibited in out of control pro-athletes and fans, and even the tragedy of an angry man slaying a hard-rock band leader and several others. Most of us don’t allow anger to produce that kind of violent response. However, when our personality temperature rises due to anger, the quality and productivity of our living experience is greatly diminished.

Here are five principles to help you keep your cool:

    1. Respond with Love – Our natural reaction is, “You hurt me and I’ll hurt you back.” When Jesus told His followers to “turn the other cheek” (Mt. 5:38-39), His point was to free them up to respond in kind with love.

    2. Listen rather than Defend or Escape - “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (Jas. 1:19-20). The first task in dealing with our anger is simply to seek understanding. The primary way to do this is by listening.

    3. Discover a New Perspective -Find a new way of looking at the situation. Our anger is often based on the faulty perception of a particular situation. Begin by changing the way you think about something, as there is always more than one way to look at different circumstances.

    4. Develop a Sense of Humor - Learn to laugh at yourself and your circumstances. Find the fun in your frustrations. On average, people with a sense of humor live longer than those without. A relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life. (Pr.14:30 LB)

    5.Depend on God - "God can strengthen you....with ample power to meet whatever comes, with fortitude, patience, and joy." (Col. 1:11 NEB) Why don't you ask God to help you keep your cool today?
Continue the discussion at the Where Climbers Gather Forums. Date Posted - 12.22.13

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