Spring is here, that joyous time of year when the snow begins to recede and we are reminded that winter wont last forever. There’s nothing like getting back out to the crags, and since we actually had a decent winter here in Colorado, it feels all the more special. This is a time filled with so much potential, with better weather and longer days and the hope of so many things to come.
Those first couple days back to the cliff can feel a little bit off, though, if it’s been a while, or you’ve been focusing on other activities for the last couple of months. As you gear up to get out and get back into the climbing season, here are a few helpful hints to make the transition a little more friendly.
I don’t know why but I always forget this. It’s like the sun was just a faint glimmer of warmth that we haven’t taken seriously all winter, but now that it’s higher in the sky, it can actually pack a punch. Just this last weekend, four of us headed out to a semi-local desert crag, and even though I put sunscreen on my face, we all forgot to protect our necks and legs. Ouch! That pale skin hasn’t seen direct sun in months, make sure you remember to protect it!
After tromping around in boots all winter, approach shoes feel pretty casual, but don’t forget your friendly crag footwear. I prefer something closed toed, like Sanuks, but many enjoy flip flops, and you’ll be bummed when you pull off your climbing shoes to realize they have to go back in your clunky approach rigs, instead of slipping into something a little more comfortable.
If I’ve been climbing plastic all winter, there can be a pretty rough transition back to footwork on real rock. Unless you climb at a gym that uses a lot of small footholds, this is pretty normal and should be expected. A couple of pitches under your belt and it will all come back.
Remember all those systems you had dialed at the end of last season? It might take awhile for them to come back. It’s OK to grab three different pieces off your rack until you pick the right one. That’s all lying in your brain somewhere, and once those neural pathways are firing again, you’ll be back in top shape.
At the end of the season you made a mental note about your gear that needed updating, thinking you had all winter to take care of it. The rope that needs to be replaced, those cams that need to be reslung, those shoes that need to be resoled. Where did the time go, now the warm weather is here and you haven’t done any of that! Better late than never. Scour the internet for rope deals, send those shoes in to get resoled, and get those cams reslung! You’ll be more on top of it next year, for sure!
Anything else you find you have a hard time with when the season starts up again?