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Day 23

Dealing with Rain:

This might seem like a silly talking point, but it’s something I’ve been harshly reminded of this weekend. After an unusually long summer in 2015, the fall of 2016 here in the Southeast U.S. has unusually (and wonderfully) cool and dry.

Now, that has come with some problems (e.g. wild fires and consequent fire bans in nearly all North Georgia / Tennessee camping areas), but it has meant early prime climbing conditions.

At any rate this past weekend has brought much needed rain and conditions more typical of early winter in Georgia. Which means utterly disgusting camping conditions to the cadence of 40’ and constant drizzling rain. Yuck!

The weather spoiled me early on, but now I’m reminded how winter is going to bring it’s own set of difficulties compared to summer.

A photo posted by @savagezen on

Too Easy:

I’ve actually been holding out on this post / section topic for a while.
In fact, I was hoping to headline some click bate to the tune of “2 grades in 2 months”, but alas I’m grateful that the process of my current project(s) get to continue a bit longer (see image above).

Much of my climbing training (cragwise) is dictated by season. Not uncommonly, late fall to early spring is for crushing and pushing your limits hard while the warmer months are for filling in volume. That said, I also keep detailed training notes so I’m, hopefully, able to identify and address training needs. (see” Quantifying Bouldering Sessions” and “The Value of a Training Log”).

Coming through the summer of “Going Medium”, I realized I was going too easy both in the gym and at the crag. Rather than working hard in the 75 - 80% (of your max problem) zone, I was probably closer to 50%. In other words, I was just sweating and getting tired.

I was also feeling pretty flat and a bit frustrated by how long I’d been in the V5 range. However, it finally hit home for me that the reason I hadn’t ticked a V6 yet (at that time) was because I hadn’t tried enough of them. I could literally count the number of attempts I’d put in on problems V6 and up on two hands. Compare that to long standing projects (for anybody) that involve maybe a dozen attempts on each of a dozen days or more per year maybe for years on end.

Sometimes you just need to drop the clutch and really try hard, and sometimes you need to know when to shift gears.


I’m going to avoid the obvious flame war (e.g. Paleo vs. Vegan vs. anything else) and speak from personal experience. In short, I’ve been a lifelong athlete and since the dawn of my climbing career I’ve enjoyed having avoided getting on a scale for the past three years. That is after the bulk of my competitive athletics being weight class based sports.

At any rate, I’d previously excused my weight for good reason. I was developing a much more healthy relationship with food and focusing on climbing specific training – having already developed a “good enough” athletic / physique base.

The details of my current regimine could warrant a post of their own, but I’ll summarize by saying that it is a personalization of Tim Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Body. The point I want to drive home though is that I couldn’t ignore my weight anymore. Over the summer I ignored weight gain under the guise of getting stronger. But an honest look at the muffin top creeping over my harness put things in perspective.

I know that my peak fitness (below - at the very beginning of my climbing career, hot off the competitive Jiu Jitsu circuit) level is about 167 lbs which leaves me at about 6-7% body fat.

That certainly isn’t sustainable year-round. What it is is a literal peak that I can only sustain for about 6 weks. However, not so different from other sports, staying within about 5% of that “optimum / ideal weight” year-round is both attainable and beneficial to performance. In my case, that leaves me at a goal of ~175 lbs. Which is where I feel good, look good, perform well, and am just outside the point of diminishing returns.

Savagezen's Blog

A minimalist guide to my many projects.