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Plateaus

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
2 min read

It has been nearly three years since I started climbing, and I’m feeling a wee bit nostalgic. We’ve spent the last three years enjoying our climbing trips and climbing friends, and learning a ton about ourselves and about climbing. We’ve watched some climber kids grow into absolutely incredible young adults, and we look forward to many more years of friends, trips, and playing outside.

I am, I have to admit, a bit reenergized. We took most of the season off for family stuff, and have just recently gotten back into the gym to try to get into shape. Both Chris and I have been surprised just how much fun we’re having after such a long break. I think that it gave my tendons a chance to heal and repair a bit, and it gave me a mental break. I’d been very firmly plateaued at climbing 5.9 outside, 10b onsight and 10b redpoints in the gym, and that’s that — for about two years. Now, getting back into the gym, partly the route ratings are a bit soft, and partly, I think I’ve done a better job of taking care of myself with some additional training strategies. We spent the first month back in the gym doing 100% endurance, and I haven’t lost any weight but have gained endurance for sure. Then, when I couldn’t do any more vertical laps, we spent a climbing day with a friend who, off the couch, got on an 11a. I watched her climb, and thought to myself… I just think I can do that. So, our next climbing day out I planned to work a 10d (onsite! but I still say it’s a 10c, at most) and the 11a on toprope. I think that 11a (which feels like a 10d to me) is within reach. Hopefully I’ll have time to work it before it comes down — my gut feeling is that I need about two more days on it to link it all up.

I also onsighted two 10cs (that felt like hard 10bs to me) our last gym visit, so I’m a rather happy camper.

What do I think has changed? I have emphasized two days a week of core strength (situps and pushups, and other ab exercises) which definitely help on the steep and on body tension moves. I also have been diligently training my antagonist muscles with reverse wrist curls, weighted forearm rotation, shoulder presses and other free weight and resistence training. I also feel like my finger tendons are starting to catch up with my muscles, and they’re feeling more stable than they used to. So, now when I get on a 10d, I’m not just thinking about whether or not I’m going to hurt myself, I can just relax and climb.

It doesn’t hurt to be climbing with my fantastic partners, Chris, Shawn, Victoria, Amy, and everybody else from our VW family… not only is it wonderful to spend our time with such good friends; it’s also just fun to cheer each other on.

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.