Watch very good climbers climb, and try to figure out little things they do differently.
—Anak Verhoeven, BEL, three-time Lead World Cup gold medalist
Bring snacks! The best-laid plans can quickly be foiled by bonking 30 minutes into a session because all you’ve eaten today was a coffee and a stale Clif Bar you found under your car seat. I love to bring bananas, fruit chews and pretzels with guacamole. If I’m doing more than a four hour session, I’ll also bring cheese and a protein, like tuna salad.
—Maureen Beck, USA, 2014 and 2016 AU-2 (Forearm Amputee) Paraclimbing World Champion
Ever consider climbing with a blindfold? Try blindfolding yourself and have a friend call holds for you, either by tapping on the hold or simply shouting up at them. When I first started climbing as a visually impaired person, I feared that my blindness could potentially be my downfall. On the contrary, I’d attribute a lot of my skill and strength in climbing to my “disability.” Climbing without sight quickly taught me how to be more in tune with what I’m feeling, it gave me the strength to hold bad positions in order to feel around for the next grip or foothold, and my muscle memory grew extremely quickly. In fact, I’d say my blindness has been one of the most helpful things in my life as a climber.
—Justin Salas, USA, 2018 Visual Impairment Paraclimbing World Champion
Put in the time and enjoy the process. Many people expect results to come quickly but climbing is about learning, repeating and getting stronger. You’ll never get to the destination happy, or at all in certain cases, if you don’t enjoy the process.
—Sean McColl, CAN, 2020 Sport Climbing Olympic Athlete, 2016 Villars Lead World Cup Gold Medalist
Find a climbing partner who gives everything they have when you are climbing together— maintaining stoke is important!
—Fanny Gibert, FRA, third in 2019 Bouldering world ranking
Take care of your body and stay away from injuries. Train hard but be careful. If something hurts, it’s usually smart to stop before it hurts even more.
—Hannes Puman, SWE, eighth place at 2019 Hachioji Lead World Championships
Have an objective. To progress, to want to train, to have motivation, to be determined, you have to cling to a goal. The goal allows us to go to training and get stronger.
—Mickael Mawem, FRA, 2020 Sport Climbing Olympic Athlete, seventh place at 2019 Hachioji Combined World Championships
Feature Image by Eddie Fowke, form the 2019 Hachioji Combined World Championships.
Pointers From the World’s Top Climbers