Climbing Areas Near Santa Monica CA:

  • Stoney Point CA, 0.5 hr
  • Malibu Creek CA, 0.5 hr + 30 min hike
  • Riverside Quarry CA, 1 hr
  • Echo Cliffs CA, 1 hr + 30 min hike
  • Devil's Punchbowl CA, 1.5 hr
  • Horse Flats CA, 1.5 hr
  • Williamson Rock CA, 1.5 hr + 15 min hike
  • New Jack City CA, 2.5 hr
  • Tahquitz Rock CA, 2.5 hr + 45 min hike
  • Suicide Rock CA, 2.5 hr
  • Joshua Tree CA, 3 hr
  • Whitney Portal CA, 3.5 hr
  • Needles CA, 4 hr
  • Red Rock Canyon NV, 4.5 hr
  • Buttermilks CA, 4.5 hr
  • Owen's River Gorge CA, 4.5 hr
  • Yosemite Valley CA, 5.5 hr
  • Tuolumne Meadows CA, 5.5 hr
  • Zion UT, 6.5 hr
  • Lover's Leap CA, 7 hr
  • Flagstaff AZ, 7 hr
  • Tucson AZ, 7.5 hr
  • Ibex UT, 9 hr
  • Moab UT, 10.5 hr
  • Hueco Tanks TX, 12.5 hr
  • Smith Rock OR, 13 hr
  • City of Rocks ID, 13 hr
  • Ouray CO, 13 hr
  • Jackson Hole WY, 14.5 hr
  • Boulder CO, 15.5 hr
  • Rocky Mountain NP CO, 15.5 hr
  • Veedauwoo WY, 15.5 hr
  • Leavenworth WA 18.5 hr
  • Devil's Tower WY, 19 hr
  • Squamish BC, 21 hr



sprained ankle:

rotator cuff:

drop knee:

Physical Training

One trains for climbing by climbing.

During a climbing session, one gets progressively weaker, but a stimulus is created so that the body bounces back, becoming stronger than before. Timing is critical: insufficient rest causes performance to decline, whereas too much rest reaps little improvement.

To get into near-optimum shape, climb 2-4 times a week for 3-6 months.

When getting back into climbing after a rest of 3 or more weeks, start with a high volume of low difficulty climbs.

Some experimentation might be required to determine what "low difficulty" means in the context of current fitness, but look for climbs which are easy to do when fresh, but produce a pump when lapped. The goal of the day is to end each session with fatigue; the goal of each week is to increase the number of climbs of a given difficulty over the previous week. If the climbs become too easy, so that time does not permit climbing to exhaustion, increase the difficulty.

In a gym with short walls, climb 2 or 3 routes in quick succession before belaying someone else. When bouldering, do traverses or multiple easy problems in succession without reset.

A variety of climbs is better than lapping the same climb, but lapping is preferable to not getting the desired volume. Lapping a route which has lots of the same type of hold (e.g. 2-finger pockets or slopers) or move (e.g. liebacking) is a way to develop specific strength.

I suspect that a month of volume climbing is a good way to start a climbing season. Strength increases noticeably and the risk of injury is lower. Still, many climbers find the climbing uninspiring and neglect to build a base of fitness.

Climbing often seems to be about grip strength. We fall off when we can't hold on any longer. When we tire, it is is the burn in our forearms that we notice the most. Because climbing stresses our forearms, there is little reason to train our grip strength. Exhausting our forearms with some sort of exercise would just reduce the amount of climbing we could do in a week, and we would miss out on an opportunity to improve our skills.

Sometimes climbers are unable to climb for a few weeks, because no climbing wall is available. A hangboard is perhaps the best exercise in this case. It should have a variety of holds. Hang on the holds for as long as possible, or do pull-ups off of them. When no hangboard is available, sometime a door mantel can be found. Squeezing devices are a waste of time.

An important thing to understand about grip strength is how specific it is to the position of the fingers. Strength in a crimping position, where one wraps the thumb around the index finger, does not necessarily imply strength in an open hand position, such as must be used on a sloper. Climbing areas often have characteristic holds, and climbers who climb in those areas get strong at holding on them. A well-rounded climber should travel to a variety of climbing areas.

The path to higher difficulty involves being able to use increasingly smaller holds, but small holds have a greater risk of injury. Avoid lots of burns which involve using the same small hold repeatedly. Be wary of cheap gyms which only have small holds. Climbing in such a gym in a recipe for tendinitis.


contact strength



Climbers measure themselves by the most difficult climb which they have redpointed or onsighted recently.

Skill is developed by attempting climbs as difficult or more difficult than your most recent onsight.

In a skill session, a climber performs a few warmup climbs, then attempts climbs at or above onsight level.

During a skill session, an interesting statistic is your post-warmup climb failure rate. This is the number of climbs your did in the first go, divided by the number of climbs you attempted. What should the failure rate be? If the failure rate falls under 20%, try harder climbs next time. This will increase the opportunity to learn new skills. If the failure rate goes above 80%, try easier climbs next time. The rationale for this is subtle, but one clear advantage is reducing the risk of injury. The other is has to do with flow and not getting into the habit of not sending.

Two other statistics are number of post-warmup climbs and the number of post-warmup burns. When bouldering, burns are easy enough to count. When climbing roped, one has the option of hang-dogging, and in this case the number of burns is one plus the number of hangs. Hang-dogging has a bad reputation among some, but we recommend you do it. You will get to a redpoint faster because it allows you to practice moves higher on the route sooner.

Consider limiting yourself to at most 3 burns on a route or problem. In the case of a route, you can't really ask your belayer to hold you for 15 minutes, so you aren't going to get a complete rest. In the case of a boulder problem, limiting yourself to 3 burns reduces the chance of injury from doing a near-maximal effort move repeatedly.

about developing skill

motor skill and mental skill

skill hardening

getting the beta; climbing with better climbers; climbing coach; what makes a good coach

finding rests; reading the route; planning and remembering

is it really skill (or strength increase)

transition from volume sessions to skill sessions

Finishing off the workout


Mental Attitude

Fear of lead falls

Always lead

Blaming the belayer


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