We’ve all been there, clinging from our fingernails on the side of a cliff getting pumped out of our minds. How can you keep cool as a cucumber and style your way up that route? Elaina Arenz, Warrior’s Way Trainer and AMGA Certified Rock Guide, shares a few of her secrets to success.
BREATHE: The biggest key to being calm cool and collected while climbing is making sure you are breathing effectively. We all tend to hold our breath when things get challenging. This makes it really difficult to climb when you’re starving your muscles and brain of oxygen. Be aware if you are holding your breath or taking deep calming breaths. Control the breath and your body and mind will be more relaxed while climbing.
LOOK DOWN: You may be missing a key foothold or handhold and it’s probably right under your nose (or feet). You will notice that the best climbers look down at their feet way more than up at their hands. Take small steps with your feet and you’ll be on your way to send-town.
BREAK IT DOWN: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you apply this same mentality to a route, you will be more focused while climbing. Break the climb down into smaller sections, identify key rest stances, location of the crux and have a possible plan of attack. Having a plan before you leave the ground will set you up for success. Know that the plan can change, be flexible and adapt on the fly if necessary.
MILK THE REST: Shake those arms out, drop your heels, relax your grip, straighten those arms out. Don’t leave your rest stance until your heart rate and breathing go back to normal levels.
REMEMBER RULE #1: Breathe…and repeat as many times as necessary.