Climbing to become better

When I started climbing again after a two year break (did lots of skiing instead) I was of course shit at first. The basic technique is there, but my body’s forgotten how to do fine control of a lot of muscles I use to climb up the wall.

I don’t climb to be the best climber. I climb because it’s fun. It’s the same with skiing. That being said, I do enjoy being good at something. To clearly define what good is can be quite hard, but I knew I was not good coming back to climbing. Something had to be done.

I usually only have time to climb for about an hour. But no matter how much time I have, I divide my climbing session into 3 sections. A warm-up, a challenge, and a reinforcement. This way I hope to reach a level of climbing that I will enjoy more, since I wont fall of the wall thinking:

I used to be able to do that.

I use this technique to learn new things, and I think it’s applicable on learning new as well as old things in general.


I start by climbing routes and problems I will be able to do pretty much without thinking. Sometimes I will do new routes, sometimes simply climb something I’ve done before. The idea is that I want to get in the right mindset, to switch my body into climbing mode if you will (I’m usually coming straight from work, so I’m in working mode).

The warm-up doesn’t always have to be super easy. As long as I do something that I can easily get absorbed into (and that is related to climbing).


This is where I start doing routes and problems I haven’t done before. I’m essentially doing some kind of project that forces me to learn something new.

While climbing any project I want to fall of the wall.

A friend once told me that he aimed for a 70/30 success ration when trying to learn something new. That is that 30% of the time he would actually succed, and 70% of the time he would not. It’s an ideal check to see if you’re challenging yourself enough.


In the reinforcement section I will again climb routes I know I can do. Important here is to not lower my level to much. I will try to redo climbing projects that I’ve managed to do before, but might have struggled with, or climb routes of a grade that I should be able to do, but where I don’t see an immediate easy way to do them.

If I have a lot of time, I might go back to work on my climbing projects after climbing some easier routes. Switching between challenges and reinforcement every 20 minutes or so.

As I become better at climbing again. I more and more just climb what I find fun (either for the challenge, or because of some interesting move). This is when I’m back at a level I find to be good enough to just enjoy my climbing again. Time to time I will make efforts to become better, and then come back to my three step learning:

Warm-up, challenge and reinforce.


Caffeine boosted climbing

Just climbed my first 7b boulder! 

It’s been one of those days when whatever I do just end up awesome. Did some calculus in the morning, turns out Stockholm city library is an awesome place for productive work. It’s a shame they don’t open up earlier in the mornings.

On my way to the climbing gym (which I go to pretty much every day now) I grabbed a coffee. Everything after that coffee has been extraordinary.

I’ve been working on several boulder problems around the grade 7a/7b for the last week. Today I just sent all of them.

Moral of today: Hard training and coffe pays of.


Enforcing habits, lessons from seasonal living

We all dream about building a life with good habits (at least I do). Habits might be to bring us a long life, or to become good and successful at something.

From my experience we all already have a lot of habits, some strong, some not so strong. Most people will brush their teeth at the start of a day, or start watching a YouTube video when you have spare time, like waiting for the bus. I can name a few habits myself that I want to be rid of, and some that I think are really good.

During my seasons I’ve noticed how I build some very strong habits. I then completely break these at the end of season. My first season as a ski instructor in Sweden I tended to get hungry (and by extension cold) just before lunch and before end of day. My solution to this was to always have a chocolate bar in my pocket.

Eating half a bar of chocolate every day for three months was not my healthiest habit (but I moved around so much that I didn’t gain any weight).

Perhaps the strongest habit I’ve had is the one of going skiing every day. Eventually you come to a point where not skiing for a day will make you crawl in your skin. When the ski season ends I usually have to find some other habit to substitute skiing with.

Experimenting a bit with this idea of substituting habits I now find myself in a very interesting position. Every three or four months there is a golden opportunity to rebuild my habits. I can throw out my bad habits and substitute them with something of my own choice. (What about eating an orange every time I feel like eating chocolate?)

To try this out I’ve tried to build some habits while working in Stockholm (to varying success). Skiing has been substituted with work. But it turns out I’ve also been able to do proper excercise (almost) every day, as well as learn and improve on some of my skills. I haven’t done any leaps in my ability, but it’s been a steady process of improvement.

So what habit should I start with next ski season?