A few months ago, PG Belmont’s Asst Manager Jeremy created and launched the newest class in our climbing curriculum! This two part class targets climbers who have been leading for a while, but feel they have hit a plateau or aren’t sure how to improve. But don’t take our word for it, check out this awesome testimonial by a recent graduate!
First, a disclaimer. I’m not writing this to sell anyone on taking the “Pushing your limits on lead” class. I’m writing this as a cheat-sheet of what this class offers, lest I forget. I’m also writing a loud and public shout-out to the very awesome PG climbing instructors: Nick and Evan. A million thanks, guys! And on a personal note, I’m writing this as my own li’l pat on the back for deciding to register for it. Well done, me.
I’ve been climbing for 1.5 years, but consider myself a newbie: I make rookie sequencing mistakes. Sometimes my clipping stance is awkward at best and hilarious at worst. But most of all, I suuuuck at climbing overhangs – and consequently, falling off of them. My bad footwork exhausts my weak arms so I tense up, freak out and cling for dear life. When it comes to falling – as it inevitably does – I’d rather cheat, steal and kill than just let go. And yelling at me to from down below to “RELAAAAAX!” and “JUST FALL!!!” wasn’t helping me do either, really.
Enter “Pushing your limits on lead” class. I’m not gonna lie to ya, I was nervous and I was scared: “Here we go, 6 hours of lead falling, geez I can’t wait.” But, from the get-go to its sweet end, the class was sheer awesomeness:
1. Start with a wish
What do you want from this class? Learn to climb steep routes? To belay like a champ while tied to a melon? To master the art of soft catching? Lead falling? You betcha!
After an intro of must-knows (belay with a grigri), the class focuses on what YOU want to improve on. And being it’s a small class (4 students only), we all got to work on our wish list from Day 1.
2. Baby steps
Every lesson starts with a friendly pep talk and a small exercise drill. Hey wasn’t that fun, team? Before you know it though, you’re riding without your training wheels. Whoa, did I just do that? Even more impressive, did I actually enjoyed it? Holy shii…smokes!
3. Custom-fit feedback
Forget about the NSA, these instructors are always watching you. During warm ups, they see you when you’re cruising, and they know when you’re freaked out. The exercise drills are then set up for exactly what you need to work on. Tailored to you, for you – doesn’t get any better than that.
4. “You get a project! And you get a project! Ev’ry-bo-dy gets a project!”
My personal favorite was projecting drills. Each team (of 2) picks a challenging route to work on (hello, overhangs!). The sequencing exercise is brilliant: route sequencing first, then break it down and sequence each part, then sequence the overlaps, then do it all again – but better. In between each sequencing drill you chalk up and climb on! The instructors are there to help you with every step and will, quite literally, do the route for you if you ask them to. 😉
5. Mind games
The real magic happens with your mind(set). Don’t ask me how, but the instructors know exactly when to compliment (your footwork) and when to chide you (for your body position). They’ll give you private advice one minute then loudly challenge you to push through the crux the next. At the end of it all, they will grin and high-five you after you nail a move you never imagined you could..
I left the class thinking I could climb anything – which might very well be the biggest takeaway of this class for me. It’s true, there are no magic pills or shortcuts here: learning the skill and getting strong to climb hard takes a whole lotta work. But, armed with the right mindset, I got the upper hand on that overhang, don’t I?
Pushing your Limits on Lead is offered at a PG near you! Don’t wait! Class size maxes at 4 people!
PG BELMONT: Tues March 11th and 13th
PG SUNNYVALE: Tues March 11th and 13th
PG SAN FRANCISCO: Tues March 25th and 27th