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Climb Harder This Season

Author: Sarah Hueniken

October 06, 2014

Let’s face it. The better you are at something, the more fun and expansive it usually is. I really don’t know a climber who doesn’t want to have fun—and get better. Often, however, these two emotions conflict. We want to improve, but not at the cost of it not being fun.

I hear this often in my guiding and teaching work. Maybe not in those exact words, but definitely in the actions taken or not taken to reach the goal. Climbers who say they want to be swapping leads on gear routes with their partners. Or who want to be leading the sport route they just top roped without any hangs. So what’s stopping them? More often than not, it’s the belief that climbing should only be fun. As soon as it feels scary, requires work, or leads to being uncomfortable, their goal becomes secondary. The reality is, the more work you put into something, the more reward you’ll receive. Reward comes at the cost of investing all those things like fear, discomfort and failure into a potential outcome. And a taste of that reward is all it takes to confirm that it was worth it. If you’re serious about moving forward with your climbing, here are some tips for taking it to the next level.

Lately, I’ve started to look at working on a project or a goal as an investment. Every burn I take, or step toward the end goal, I imagine I’m adding a loonie—a dollar for you non-Canadians—to the piggy bank. The more tries, the more loonies. Each effort is a worthwhile process, and the send in the end is that much more rewarding when the piggy bank is full.

Sarah Hueniken

​Sarah has followed the lure of the outdoors ever since her first canoe trip as a young kid. Currently living and working full time as an ACMG Alpine Guide in the Canadian Rockies, Sarah’s business focuses on teaching women the skills necessary to be independent in the mountains on rock, ice and in alpine environments. An avid climber, Sarah is constantly pushing herself in all mediums, from mixed climbing to first ascents on seas stacks in Newfoundland.