What is projecting??
When you are projecting, you are working a climb that is difficult for you. It may be at the limit of what you are capable of. Projecting allows you to push yourself to do something you may not have known was possible. Moves that felt impossible the first go become routine. The fear of the unknown goes away. You get to know every hold and every move so well that by the time you send, the climb feels like an old friend you're almost sad to move on from. That is why I love projecting. But many people don't realize the full process projecting can take. Here are a couple of tips I would like to share!
Picking a Project
A project could be long-term or short-term. Day projects are super fun to work and you get that immediate satisfaction. Month-long projects can take a little more determination and focus, but you get a deep sense of hard work and satisfaction from the work you put in.
Think about your timeframe. Is it local? Will you be able to get on it multiple times a week? Or is it far away? Maybe you're just going on a weekend trip? This can help you determine how hard of a project to try. As you project more and more, you will start to have a better idea of how long certain grades and/or rock types will take for you, allowing for smarter project picking. The nice thing about rock, it doesn't go away or get reset! If you don't send your proj this weekend, there is always another weekend ahead! Assuming you enjoy your project, one more session on it shouldn't be the worst thing!
Choose a project you enjoy coming out to. Make sure you like the crag, the climb, and that you don't mind the approach too much. This should be something at your limit, something that will feel REALLY hard your first go. You may not even stick every move or even get to the top during your first session. Because of the amount of work it will require, make sure you have fun on it! Maybe the features inspire you or the movement feels so flowy. Whatever it is, make sure you enjoy getting on your project, or else you won't go get on it!
Starting to work your Project
Get on the thing! Your first go can be UGLY! That is okay, this is the unglamorous part of projecting they never show us in the Reel Rock movies! Stick clip up as much as you may need to, use a long stiff quick draw to clip up, go in direct when need be. Take as much as you need to! We already know that it is at your limit, you aren't planning on flashing it, so you may as well take when you start to get pumped or lost on the beta. Take, breathe, regroup, and find the best possible beta to get you through this section. Don't allow yourself to get so pumped and/or scared on your first attempt of a project that you get tunnel vision. When we do that, we oftentimes do not find the best beta. We fall a bit higher up, and never find that perfect foothold that would have saved us the energy we need for our redpoint burn. We have also burned a lot of energy making the less efficient beta work. Having a good thorough “beta-burn” where you learn everything you possibly can, may make the difference of sending a project on your first session vs. 3rd session!
The big thing is, get on your project! Don't be afraid of it! Start working the moves, and they will come with time. Learn everything you can about your climb those first few goes! But most of all, don't forget that climbing is for fun! We are all out here getting pumped and scared and trying hard but just for ourselves! It can be easy to take it all too seriously. But just celebrate your successes, and go touch some rocks!
Follow Tash's adventures @tashofthewasatch!