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Goals and 2019 Aspirations

The past two years, I’ve failed to make a year in review post and document what I’m looking forward to this next year. Now just kind of feels like the right time to document my goals and how things have been going.

Roadside crag on a dreary day in February.

Since I got back from Maine, I really just accepted that the ice climbing season was over. There was a lot of hope and promise for the 2018/19 season, but it never really materialized for me. A lot had to do with the weather and not being in the right place at the right time. Things seemed to look promising as we had gotten a bit of snow in November, but in Kentucky it was never cold enough for long enough and nothing really set up. I was fortunate enough to be able to get some swings in after Christmas with a short trip up to New Hampshire. After a failed trip to Canada in January, the next time I swung my tools was on a trip up to New Hampshire and Maine in February.

Just like that winter had passed us by. I feel like I skipped winter in some sense. Like I was supposed to meet up with my best friend but we really only got to briefly chat. Making the most of the following weeks and the looming spring time weather, I got to work on getting myself in overall better shape, committing to a fingerboard routine, and getting outside to climb. I’m fortunate to have some awesome people that will climb with me even when the weather outside is crap, and we’re both silently thinking it’d be way easier to call it and stay in bed. Those have been some of the best days though. I think it’s important to climb on the nasty days because when you’re in the mountains you never know what you’re going to get, if the rock is going to be wet, or if the temperature is going to drop and the rock will be extremely cold. Better, to know how it affects you when you’re doing single pitch at the crag.

A Slice of Spice, Fruit Wall, 5.10a

A Slice of Spice, Fruit Wall, 5.10a

With all the work being put in after ice season ended, somewhere in this transition time my mindset has changed with climbing and I feel like i’m able to push into harder grades, and bigger obstacles than I was before. I’ve been constantly going after harder and harder grades while being pushed from my partners. They’ve been great in getting on stuff and i’ve felt like I need to give those harder grades a shot too. I used to think of 11’s as some thing that would come one day. Well, I’m finally making one day this spring. I also used to think the same about 10’s on gear, but alas, that mindset has changed too. I’ve been confronting my weaknesses head on and embracing the struggle and failure. I used to say if you’re not falling, you’re not climbing, and somewhere in the past year or so I really stopped trying to push my grades. In the past month, I’ve probably taken more whippers than I have in the past two years, on bolts and gear. I feel like I’m pushing hard and really striving to make this a growing year, and to climb new, harder, grades.

This year, my goal is to say yes more, and hop on more routes that scare me. I’m hoping to be onsighting some 11a’s and maybe some 11b’s by the end of the year on bolts, and 10’s on gear. A couple routes I’ve really got my eyes on are:

Sport: RRG - Air Ride Equiped, 11a. Super Dario, 11a, Yellow Brick Road, 11b, and a host of others that I’ve climbed but haven’t sent, Fire and Brimstone, Whip stocking, etc.

Trad: RRG - Headstone Surfer, 10a, Andromeda Strain, 10a, Rock Wars, 10a, along with some others I haven’t sent. Rocket Man, Crack Attack, Cruising Lane, A slice of Spice, etc.

You can check out the whole list of climbs I want to do here: https://www.mountainproject.com/user/112285586/paddy-ohulk/climb-todo-list Pro tip: It helps to sort by location.

Classic Red River Gorge

Classic Red River Gorge

In other news:

I’m heading to Colorado at the end of April for a quick trip of climbing and skiing. I’ve got a tentative plan in place to ski tour a bunch of volcanoes in the pacific northwest for 2020. It’s going to be one of those insane, never forget type 2 fun kind of trips (Still looking for partners!).

Running wise, I’m not sure what’s going to come down the pipeline. I really haven’t been running much since the Rough Trail 50k. I’m sure i’ll hop into some trail races at somepoint, but they will definitely be more for fun than anything. I joined a new gym and have been going to a HIIT class at 5:30am in the mornings before work. It’s been really good for both my strength and cardio. I’m looking forward to seeing it pay off in my climbing and my running.

What are you looking forward to as we transition into spring/summer?

Best,

Nolan