Tips for improving your day at the crag.

I have spent lots of time climbing frequently it was great, some of it less so, but much more memorable. Yet through lots of mistakes as well as lessons that I have learned from climbing mentors. So here is a list of some simple things that you can do to help ensure that your day of climbing is as fun as possible. Every day that we plan is a fun in theory and only gets to be less so when things go wrong or unexpectedly thus the most effective way to ensure that you have a good day is to plan ahead and be prepared for your day. If you are a climber none of what I have said so far has been new to you so I have made a list of things that you may not have thought of that are easier tricks to make your trip better and more fun.

The most effective thing that you can do to ensure that you will have a good day is to check simple things like the weather and other conditions related to your day. This means checking more than simply looking at the temperature for the day, but take the time to look at when if at all weather will come in as well as looking at things like wind and when it gets dark if that might be a issue with your day. Personally I like the app Windy namely because it is free but also because it is more specific than most weather apps that I have used. This is so important because very few things can absolutely destroy a day as a poorly timed rain storm. Let alone the danger involved with thunderstorms while on the top of a mountain. Thus it is the first thing that I am going to suggest for improving your day.

Having looked at the weather the next simple thing that you can do to make your day better is to use the weather report that you have just looked at to your advantage. There is a local guiding company that will remained un-named which will take there clients up on north table mountain during hot days. Having tried this my self several times usually leading to a miserable day of climbing I can say that climbing in the Colorado heat up on the sauna that is that crag can lead to a less than terrific day. What I am suggesting is when you pick your spot and routes do it intentionally if it is a hot day pick one close to water or in the shade. Similarly to the location the time of the day that you climb can make and break a day. On hot days I like to go climb at 6:00 when the temperature is still a comfortable 70 degrees rather then going 5 hours later when it is 90.

Tailor what you bring to the day, hauling heavy bags is never fun but having a bag that is over packed and particularly heavy makes things worse. Before I leave the house I take the time to only pack the stuff that I need for that day, when my buddy comes I leave stuff like quick draws behind as I know that he will bring his so we are good. This also applies to other things, as a serial over packer I tend to bring unnecessary things with me to some trips like my puffy coat to hot summer days and a first aid kit with things that wont realistically be useful in a emergency. Thus I make a effort to think about everything that I carry to ensure that it is not heavier than it must be.

Forget the romantic idea of having the wall yo your self. Particularly after the COVID pandemic but mostly after the year 2000 the front range of Colorado has been some of the busiest trails and climbing areas in the nation. This means that you have no choice but to be nice to your fellow climbers. Nothing decimates a day quite like rude and mean people being entitled. Personally I have found the best way to deal with this is by simply being nice and willing to work with your fellow climbers. By expecting other people to also be at your crag you can take steps to work with them and make everybody else’s day more pleasant. Some of my personal tricks are to find places with the hardest routes that I can climb, due to the nature of climbing the easier the route the more people will do it thus I prefer harder routes that are harder to get to. Lastly the easiest thing that you can do to be more likable and keep everybody happy is to be flexible and creative do another route or use trad gear to make a different anchor.

I have gone on trips where I have done all of my homework before hand looking at everything from how the conditions are changing to what gear I have packed, and still had a terrible day. You can only prepare for so much as part of the fun of climbing is the unknown risks and challenges that you might face. Learning to deal with this is both rewarding and under rated simply because it is hard to train for meaning that it is usually new to us. Thus the people that I know that are willing to deal with the unexpected tend to have consistently fun trips.

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