One of the best things about being a climber is that you’ll never run out of things to plan for.

From climbing in new areas to pushing the grades, there’s so much to do that you might need to quit your job, buy a van and hit the road.

That brings us to New Years resolution number one:

1. Quit your job, buy a van and hit the road

If you’ve already done this, then skip to number two.

But if you have’t then consider what you’re missing. No deadlines, alpine starts for sends only (not traffic) and all the free time in the world to pursue what matters most: finding somewhere to sleep between climbing.

Your van-life experience will change depending on how much capital you put into your van. Whether it’s a brand new Sprinter with a shower and fireplace or a gutted Astro Van with a stinky mattress, you won’t regret a thing.

Lydia Zamorano living he van life Photo Sonnie Trotter

2. Get used to failing

Us climbers fail so much that most of the time it’s straight F’s. From backing off routes to flailing on projects, we have no limit to our failures.

That’s part of climbing tho. We’re pushing to find that line between pass and fail. Don’t be discouraged, we’re all failures some times and that’s what makes it so sweet when we pass.

3. Take a whipper

If you’ve never taken a whipper, then you’re missing out. Whippers are why we wear all of that shiny gear.

Even if you’ve taken a whipper, then take a bigger one. But don’t take whippers on slabs or ledgey routes. Start up that steep Red River Gorge overhang and go big.

4. Don’t be a punter

Climbing is meant to be relaxing and fun, but there are people out there who disturb the peace.

If you leave trash at the crag, if you chip holds, if you tick every hold, if you blast music at the crag, if you create unnecessarily dangerous situations, if you don’t pick up your dog poop, if you’re rude, if you shout too much beta at strangers, if you rush others and if you hog routes all day then you’re a punter. Don’t be.

5. Warm up to avoid injury

Nearly all climbing injuries are preventable and if you’re someone who gets injured often, then you’re doing it wrong.

Take time before you hang off your fingers to warm up. Get the blood flowing and stretch those muscles. You don’t want to sit 2018 out on the bench.

6. Take a friend climbing

Most climbers out there were introduced to the sport by family or friends. So pay it forward and introduce someone to the wonderful world up high.

Be sure you have your systems dialed before taking a new climber out. But sometimes there’s no better way to enjoy a day at the crag then seeing a friend get scared out of their mind.

7. Become one with the dyno

Lunging vertically between holds doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

Some climbers practice them on the regular, but others shy away. Learn from Toronto climber Ayo Sopeju below how best to perfect the art of the dyno.

8. Mix it up

There are so many disciplines of climbing that it’s easy to get focused on just one.

If you spend all of your time at the crag projecting, then mix it up this year and head up high on an easy multi-pitch. And if you spend all of your day slogging along glaciers, consider heading to the crag for some laps.

9. Wear a helmet

Don’t be a knucklehead and protect your brain at all costs. There are far too many accidents every year that result in death due to no helmet.

They are so lightweight, affordable and stylish that you don’t have an excuse. If you can live in an $80,000 Sprinter, you can own a helmet. Even if you live in a $500 K-car… you get the point.

Helmets, because goats are out to get you

10. Learn about access

One of the biggest issues in Canadian climbing (besides the number of head injuries from climbers who don’t wear helmets) is that too many access rules are being broken.

Whether you’re climbing on The Chief, in Echo Canyon, at Lion’s Head or Val David, don’t park where you’re not supposed to.

Pack out your trash, avoid bird closures, don’t poop on the trail and so on. Us climbers don’t have many rules so let’s work on keeping access open in 2018 by following the ones we do have.

Have a fun and safe 2018!

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