How to Approach Your Climbing Trip Project


Ah, the “project”. The climb that you’ve set your sights on sending. You may be gearing up for a climbing trip where you’ll hop on the project you’ve already poured blood, sweat, and tears into over the years. Or, this trip will mark your very first attempt on the climb. Either way, gearing up to tackle your climbing trip project can be equally exciting and nerve-racking.

The name ‘project’ embodies the nature of the climb for you: a challenge. It could be challenging for various reasons: lower percentage movement, a dyno, pumpy, scary clipping stance, or top-out. And while you are excited to try and overcome the challenges, it’s also daunting. On top of the natural anxiety around completing a project is that climbing trips don’t last forever. For some, they are few and far between, lasting only a handful of days. Even if you can visit your project frequently, it may not be at the most ideal times.

In light of wanting to support your journey to sending your project and help you have the best experience possible when you embark on your upcoming climbing trip(s), here are tips and tricks to best approach your climbing trip project. The goal of the following advice is to help you cultivate a mindset and game plan that sets you up for sending success.

climbing trip

Focus on what you can control vs. what you can’t. As mentioned earlier, for most climbers, climbing trips are few and far between. And that means going even if the weather calls for hot and humid or cold and rainy weather because you made the plans months ago and paid for the AirBnb. If the weather looks sub-par, know that you can’t control that, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t make the best of it! While the chances of sending your project may be less than ideal, you can aim to get on the climb and work through the movements under the circumstances. Adjusting your goals and expectations is in your control. So focus on that vs. the unruly weather.

Don’t take the send for granted. While you may go into your climbing trip feeling fit and strong enough to send your project, don’t assume that will happen. Climbing, especially outdoors, calls into play many factors. The condition of your skin, whether the rock is dry enough, humidity, etc., all significantly impact how the project will feel. Also, traveling for a climbing trip can throw off your sleep routine, eating routine, and other parts of life you are used to. These changes and new variables can impact your performance on the wall. Yes, you may be strong and fit enough to send your project, but don’t assume that it will automatically happen because of how you feel leading up to the trip.

Adopt a growth mindset. The goal is to send the project eventually. If you don’t send this trip or reach your high point, find something you can learn. Don’t view not sending it as a failure; consider it a growing opportunity to become an even better climber if you send it; amazing! Relish in the joy of completing your project, but apply what you’ve learned to your next project.

Embrace the nerves. That is easier said than done. Feeling nervous or anxious about tackling a big challenge or goal is expected. But, it is also easy to let those feelings creep into your mind and affect your confidence on the wall or to become annoyed that you can’t shake those feelings. If you can, work on accepting the nerves or anxiety. It is normal to feel that way because you are pushing your limits. But, also recognize that you can feel those things and still send your project. Neither is mutually exclusive and sometimes a little nervousness does wonders to get your adrenaline pumping!

When approaching your climbing trip project, the big takeaways are to focus on what you can control vs. what you can’t, don’t take the send for granted, adopt a growth mindset, and embrace the nerves. These will help hone a productive mental and physical state that will set you up for success. You can do many little things to ensure your skin is in good condition, adequately recovered, etc., but the mental challenges are often the most daunting part of approaching a project climb. Hopefully, you’ve found this helpful, and some tidbit has resonated with you! Have wonderful climbing trips, and keep us updated on what your project is and how progress is going! We’re cheering you on!