Looking for advice from others who have been on long/sustained climbing expeditions. Most of my climbing experience is single day trad/bouldering - very limited sport climbing.
Flights are booked for a 9 week sport climbing trip in Asia this summer/autumn.
Last March I had 10 days sport climbing in Spain (Siurana), first real outdoor climbing experience (apart from a day at a quarry in the Peak), and onsighted a couple of 6b's. Did lots of 6a and 5+. Didn't really try anything harder. I had been climbing around 6 months at that point.
Right now I am projecting 7a indoors. I climb roughly the same level outdoor as I do indoor (at least that was the case last March). I've got 12 days in Sicily in March, aiming to onsight a 6c and climb a 7a.
Aiming to be onsighting 7a and climbing 7b by the end of my summer trip.
I'm going to enjoy myself and enjoy the climbing/places etc. not obsess over the grades I'm climbing. Nevertheless I am pretty competitive with myself and like to set goals/targets. Also the first time I will have a lot of time to concentrate on climbing solely.
Currently climbing 3-5 times a week indoors, only the odd day tradding/bouldering outdoors as I'm at uni nowhere near any real rock.! Also training for an ultramarathon which is taking a lot of my time and energy, after this in April I can concentrate more on my climbing.
Any advice would you give for the trip?
Are my goals reasonable? What level of increase did you find when on long trips?
I would suggest building up steadily initially you're probably far fitter & stronger than I am but I'm prone to rushing things & injuring myself in the process .
Sounds like you will have plenty of time so try to relax occasionally & enjoy it , its quite easy to burn yourself out if you hit it too hard too soon thats when the injuries can occur .Take time to acclimatise as well & get your bearings & get your head straight & clear before you head into the climbing .
As for your grade progress I think what you say is realistic , I went from faffing up f5B to leading 6C confidently in a week at Gandia ( 3/4 months after major surgery on shoulder ) . Have proper rest days too , eat plenty of fresh food & keep hydrated and you will be flying up some amazing routes in quick time .
In reply to papashango: I think, generally speaking for that length of time, expect an improvement of one grade and two grades if you're smart. What I mean by 'smart' is not just 'pushing hard' (though this is important at times), but taking enough rest days at the right time. Also, adjusting how hard you're climbing from day to day. Basically, adjusting and controlling how much stress you're putting on your body, whilst maximising growth, is the hard part. Good luck!
> Aiming to be onsighting 7a and climbing 7b by the end of my summer trip.
2 months is a good long time, I reckon you'll at least find out where your natural grade plateau lies if you haven't found it yet.
Based on what you've said, and assuming you're technically ok, I think 7a onsight should be your minimum target (especially if you go to Thailand) and 7b onsight (if you pick the right one) as a reasonable upper limit.
How far you progress will depend to a great extent on how good your redpoint tactics are. There are have been some really good threads on here and there is plenty online and in books. Make sure you are not afraid of falling, learn how to work the route, the clips and the rests. Find a route in your style. Get enough rest. Redpointing at your limit is a lot less about fitness than you might imagine.
I haven't been on any long trips but know a fair few people who have. Generally they adopted the approach of getting really strong focusing on bouldering for months beforehand, then getting fit while out on the trip. This seemed to produce some pretty good results - improving redpoint by 2 grades seems feasible for sure.
A friend of mine went from a previous best of 6c to 8a+ in 3 months.
It's a bit of a how long is a piece of string question.
He came out to Spain very strong but not very fit. Climbed every day as long and hard as he could and within a month was also super fit. Then he started projecting and the end results speak for themselves.
This year he is on his way from 8a+ to 8b+ in the same time schedule.
As you get towards your natural limits the progression gets slower.
Are you wanting to become an all round climber on all styles of routes and a good on-sighter or do you want to get a big number in your favourite style of climb ?
If you're climbing 3-5 times per week you have a lot of time to train.Are you using structured sessions or just going to the wall and climbing. Read up or search here and on UKBouldering for what you could be doing. Train smart and that will give you more time and energy to devote to other stuff.
Sicily will give you a great chance to find what areas you may be weak in ( including fear of falling etc. ) and then get cracking.
With the time you have available and the pre trip trip to Sicily you should smash your goals.
In reply to papashango: you have reasonable goals in my opinion but working a project or doing 4x4's isn't really a structure. You've got a good amount of time, enough time to get a good structured program. Think along the lines of blocks of months or weeks focusing on either endurance or power endurance or strength.
Can you do the moves on 7a's and 7b's? If not then there's no point training endurance until you can. My advice would be to concentrate on bouldering, building up finger strength and power for a good while (steep fingery bouldering) and then switching to a more power endurance and endurance based training about a month before the trip (circuits are your friend here!).