January 2, 2014 posted by

14 for 2014: Realistic Resolutions

14 for 2014: Realistic Resolutions

The reason most resolutions “fail” is because they’re set up that way. They start too strict, ensuring the inevitable hiccup happens early, which leads to abandonment before things even get tough. Instead of the standard cold-turkey absolutions, I prefer to make end of year goals and/or totals so that I can’t quit. I often fail, as aiming high essential for progress, but it doesn’t happen until the year ends. This ensures progress.

Here are my 2014 goals, with some rationale for each. Both recording and sharing your objectives ahead of time is important. Even if nobody else sees them it’s an accountability tool so you’ll at least feel guilty if you abandon the project, and you are all that matters. At worst, your paper trail (someone needs to change this metaphor) will be a record that you can easily exceed next year. Next line of “failure” is self-improvement, meaning “success” isn’t even necessary. A resolution featuring year end goals is win, win, win.

14 for 2014. As stated earlier, this year is about climbing.

1. Don’t get injured training – #1 on the list because you can’t play if you’re injured. Injuries happen in life. There’s nothing we can do about that. But we shouldn’t get injured training. Climbers, however, get injured training more than doing the actual sport. The reason why makes sense (climbing “training” is more competitive than the sport because it’s easier to measure) but, still, I should be old enough to know better. Easier said than done, injuries whilst training for climbing are so common you get fantastic posts like this one from climbing legend Stevie Haston.

First rule of training, is don’t hurt yourself.
Second rule of training, is don’t hurt yourself.
Third rule of training is, don’t hurt yourself.

 2. Complete 14 training blocks – While this isn’t completely different from my normal state I’m excited about it. I almost always train in blocks but they’re generally part of a big picture cycle. Goals for this year are open ended, and only focused on one sport (first time in ages), so re-evaluating after each block might lead to better improvement than a longer range training cycle. This is because there’s more possible variant. For anyone who doesn’t understand periodizational training, following this blog over the course of the year will have you pretty dialed because I’m going to delve into this a lot.

 3. Climb 5.14small print: do all the moves on a 5.14. While I’d love to redpoint one it’s harder than I’ve ever climbed and a long, long way from my current level. I haven’t been on one since the 90s (though I got on a 13d a couple of years back) and being strong enough to do the moves, meaning one is theoretically possible, would be a fantastic year.

 4. Do a one-arm pull-up – Haven’t done once since the 90s.

 5. Do a 14 second front lever – Can’t do a strict front lever at all right now and haven’t timed one since the 90s.

 6. Finish off an old project from the 90s – I was never shy about bolting things I couldn’t climb and there are still quite a few routes out there that have yet to be done by anyone, even some that I was once very close to getting.  There are some I haven’t cleaned, too, so I could make this harder or easier depending on how the year goes, but Private Little War (bolted in ’95) is on top of this list right now. It’s a big goal, for both logistical and physical reasons, but it’s good to have a pie-in-the-sky dream on the list.

 7. Do a 13a pyramid – I’ve never done a proper pyramid. Goes like this 1 X 13a, 2 X 12d, 4 X 12c, 8 X 12b, 16 X12a. For the sake of numbers, will throw in 32 X11+, 64 X 11-, 128 X 5.10. While not very prolific it would be a good year for me as I don’t get out nearly as much as I’d like to.

 8. Do 14 first ascents – I like to give back to the sport and I like to explore. FA’s have a bit of both. What would have been a slacker year in the 90s would become my biggest year since the 90s.

9. Do a route harder than 13a – Not since the 90s. Startin’ to see a theme?

 10. Climb at 14 climbing areas I’ve never been – Not sure if I’ve done this since the 90s. Maybe, while traveling, but not in the western US where, at one time, I’d climbed at 99% of the established areas. Finding 14 new places for weekends might be challenging. Will definitely be fun.

11. Climb a 14-pitch route (at least) – And perhaps bike to it. I have a little plan for this, concocted by Mr. Speed Climb.

12. Ride 14 trails ridden I’ve not ridden – This I have done, and never did in the 90s, but I need some stuff for rest days.

 13. Run 14 peaks I’ve not done – More rest day fun.

14. Live out of the van at least 14 days – Should be laughably easy. Pathetic that it’s not. I need to get out more.

pic: did my first hike of 2014 in five ten’s mountain masters that i dug out of the garage. long since out of production, they were the iconic climbing approach shoe of the 90s. i used to climb 5.12 in them. if they don’t fall apart  i’ll add a 15th goal to the list. 


  • For a one-arm pullup, is the off arm simply hanging or is it gripping the arm doing the pulling?

    • One arm only! Using the other arm for any assistance whatsoever is off. I do a lot of training in a similar fashion though. I never grab my arm (we used to do that as kids before we had options), instead I use the off arm on different types of holds that are hard to grasp, like pinches, balls, ropes, etc, or grab something offset, so the off arm is low and has very little leverage.

    • Here’s Phil doing a proper one-arm, one-finge, pull-up.

  • Steve. Do you plan to post your workout blocks and template online in advance like your fit 4 fall article? I am a climber around your level and would love to integrate beach body workouts, climbing, and some of your other fitness ideas into my year plan as well ( I’m sure many others would too).

    • Sure, I’ll do that. I was going to post afterward, since I’ve done a lot of pre-block posting in the past, but I’ll do both. Thanks.

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