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Five Tips for Maximising Your Bouldering Trip

These five tips will take the skills you have and optimise them for maximum progress on your trip's project

climber tapes torn skin

Maximising your bouldering trip takes restraint. When we travel, we want to climb harder and longer than we do in the gym because of the time and money spent in preparation. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but if your goal is to climb at your limit, these five tips will keep you climbing harder and longer, faster.

1 – Climb as You Train

If you spent the last four months climbing three days a week, do not change your schedule to accommodate all of the extra rock available to you. If you plan to climb within a grade of your limit, or to climb at your limit, you will need rest.

As such, climb with the same frequency and duration you have acclimated to. If you are used to two-hour sessions, converting to four-hour sessions, even with greater rest between attempts, will make it hard to advance between sessions.

2 – Train as You Climb

This detail is more for climbers going on trips that are longer than two weeks. Different areas require different sorts of training maintenance, but making the effort to train maintenance while on your climbing trip will always be worth it.

In Squamish for example, the physical, friction-dependent style may not push your finger strength to any higher level. As such, your fingers can feel like they’re getting weaker after a couple weeks of climbing. Strengthening your fingers with a little board climbing, hangboarding, or gym bouldering can activate that little bit of snap so often earned from time in the gym. That snap can help you progress on your project if you begin to feel powered out.

3 – Skin Care

Realistically, skin care should begin well in advance of your trip. No matter how well you try and prepare, your skin will never be perfect for the area you’re going to. The best you can hope for is dry, hard skin that can resist steady abuse. For climbers who already have dry, hard skin, maintenance is still important. A sanding block and some Rhino spit can keep your tips from becoming glassy.

Furthermore, purchase tape and super glue. Although having perfect skin should protect you from splits, sometimes, the rock is sharper than your skin can handle. Having the necessary remedial tools can keep you climbing longer, or can prevent skin loss on particularly damaging holds.

4 – Save Your Attempts

Approaching your project with tactics can be difficult. When you only have a couple of weeks, or maybe just a few days to try something in an area that’s new to you, it’s easy to throw yourself recklessly at the moves. Recognizing that you chose the project because you believe yourself capable of doing it is a good place to start. Approach the moves with confidence, and rest between attempts.

By moving efficiently through the projecting process and attempting each movement with the focus required to complete the move will save skin and fatigue in your pursuit of the end result. Another part of saving your attempts comes down to conditions. If you show up to your boulder problem when it feels wet and hot, climbing will feel difficult. Waiting for low humidity, a bit of a breeze, and cooler temperatures will always help.

5 – Eat at the Crag

Ensuring that you avoid waste is essential when eating outdoors, but bringing food is essential for maximising your days outside. It is easy to relax into the all-day-outdoors mission and forget to hydrate or eat, but proper nutrition is essential to progression. Eating at certain times, may help your process on the boulder, but eating all of your meals will certainly help you progress between sessions. Your nutrition should at least reflect your experience training at home. If anything, you should eat more as your body will use more calories outdoors all day than it will inside.