Performance Rituals

We all have rituals that, placebo or not, assist us in climbing at our best. Over our time as climbers, Graham and I have acquired a wide variety of habits that we believe enable us to “perform” when we need to. We are ready to share our secret (or if you ever climb with us – not so secret) strategies… some of these apply more to one of us than the other, but regardless of that, here they are in no special order:

Hand Balm
Climb On, Palmistry, Wabi Sabi (formerly Cynthia’s Soaps), F-Balm, Metolius, Grand Wall, J Tree Salve, etc…. we are obsessed.
All of this is so important to us….
Because this is all too frequent…


We are both in love with the theracane, and will sit happily working out knots for up to an hour at a time. I like to use the theracane in the evening most days, and Graham likes it on the night before a rest day.
It speaks for itself

Liquid Chalk

There is something about applying liquid chalk before a red point burn… the ritual just helps. Our favourite is the Mammut Liquid Chalk. Oddly enough, sometimes we intentionally switch it up to NOT apply liquid chalk, in order to take the pressure off.
Liquid Gold.
Hour-long Rests
When we’re pushing our limits in sport climbing, we find it critical to give our bodies abundant rest time between burns when we’re giving 100% of ourselves. This means after a thorough warm-up, we bring on the long waits between working burns and the hopeful send attempts that follow.
Time to watch others!
Time to snooze!
Time to chill out!
Time to sun bathe!
Food is so important to us when we’re pushing our limits.  We cannot exert ourselves at the highest level of our ability if our tummies are growling or our blood sugars are low – we also believe that we get a significant boost in energy if we consume something small just before we climb. We pack tons of food to eat throughout the day… wraps or sandwiches, and quick snacks with healthy sugars like fresh and dry fruit, carrots, granola bars, trail mix, jerky, cookies, etc. A wide variety of snacks each day helps us make sure we have enough food to eat before every single attempt.
Back in May of this year we dehydrated several cases of mangoes for crag snacks!
Nom nom nom
Chocolate is good sometimes too 😉
Pee Breaks
Most people experience the “nervous pees”… needless to say, whatever is in the bladder must be emptied before a send attempt. Unnecessary weight after all 😉

If we even begin to think we are dehydrated, climbing well is a no go. The repeated eat-pee-drink ritual simply must be adhered to, and usually in that order. In Kim’s case, basically every time she pees she feels the need to replace volume out with volume in immediately. 
Gatorade powder ftw.

Stretchy Bands and Finger Massagers
Our fingers are arguably one of the most important body parts for climbing, and it is essential to respect and maintain them. In addition to stretching and massage, we use a few other tools. We are also super keen on thera-bands – to help warm us up, to help stretch muscle, and to help with opposition strengthening.

Happy fingers!

Route Memorization
When we get really psyched on a project, we essentially live in the sequences, running them over and over in our minds, dreaming about them at night. A few things help to get the beta well-ingrained, like visualization, talking the sequences out, drawing them, and/or writing descriptions of the moves.

Excerpts from our climbing journals
So there you have it. The tricks we use and love all too much! Happy climbing 🙂

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