2010 will be a big year for me. It is massive in terms of planned improvement, especially since most climbers find a pretty hefty plateu somewhere between grades 5.11 and 5.12.

Hopefully my preparations for the outdoor season will be good. I have a program that will build a lot of finger and upper body strength since this is key to tackling the higher grades. No substitute for force when it gets really steep. And it will get steep. Very steep.

It does seem like my biggest challenge from now until spring 2010 will be losing weight. I am reasonably certain I will have to drop somewhere between 20-30 pounds of fat to reach my goal for 2010. And certainly a lot more come 2014. I don’t think the actual weight loss will be more than 15-20 pounds as I plan to build quite a bit of muscle in the process. We will see.

There are also some climbing trips that I am looking into for 2010, as it is hard to get enough hard climbing done with the weather as volatile as it is around here. Greece, Spain and France are high on the list. A week of non stop climbing x 5 sounds about right. Early spring and late fall/early winter most likely since it will extend my season quite a bit, as well as avoiding the heat of midsummer in southern europe. Deep water soloing would be awesome to try. So maybe Mallorca or Croatia then. I hope Gorm will come with me.

More to come as things materialize. The last months of 2009 will decide much.

Edit april 2010: As it turns out, I made some good progress and ended last season at 5.10. But the off season has been completely destroyed by my elbow injury. That means absolutely no climbing between mid october ’09 and april ’10. No work on finger strength either in the same period. So I’d say I am probably back at a 5.9 level instead of ready and set for 5.11 as I had hoped to be. It is just a guess and it remains to be seen.

However there are some good news. Since mid january I have done some really good work on upper body and core strength that should have me in better condition than I was last year. Also I have dropped 26 pounds since mid december ’09. That should make a huge difference, and I am not done yet. I expect to drop another 10-15 pounds over the season as well.

All in all, it does seem like I have a little more of a challenge ahead of me than expected (not that it was ever going to be easy), but adversity makes me stronger. I just have to be creative and determined. Which I am. 😉

In week 29 I will attend a 5 day alpine climbing course in Lofoten. I’m sure that will be a great experience that will teach me a lot.

Goals for this season are:

5.11 by the end of June.

5.12 by the end of the season.

The big challenge is to get enough quality route climbing and bouldering to get there. I believe it can be done, and I feel really good right about now. Gorm is really helpful and supportive, and with a brand new crash pad, it should be possible. Indoors training is also an option, but it feels like a last resort. Can’t beat real rock.

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