Mike Anderson, writing on his blog after climbing his first 5.14c, Daniel Woods’ Mission Impossible in Clear Creek Canyon, CO, at the age of 37:
Even as I write this a couple days later, it’s hard for me to put into perspective. I started climbing in the early 90’s when 5.14c was the end of the rating scale. It didn’t exist in the US until 1992. The fact that I’ve worked my way to that grade is surreal.
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What’s curious is that I’m not surprised to have done the route. As soon as I started working on it, I felt that I was up to the challenge.
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Whether deliberate or not, I had been training for this route for a decade, and now I believed I would do it, in time.
You can see a nice video of Mike on the route here.
Mike, along with twin brother Mark, is the author of a training book called The Rock Climber’s Training Manual. If I were better at actually following a workout plan I would do a more in depth review of it, but I can tell from loosely following the workouts that there is some good information to be had. Also, the authors religiously follow the plan and they both crush despite having considerable grown-up obligations outside of climbing. If you are interested in improving how you train for climbing this book is well worth checking out.
Having got the book and done the workouts described for a training cycle I can say its the best thing I’ve ever done to climb harder. Tons of good info on injuries, nutrition, and how to train effectively. Stoked to get started on my next cycle.
The thing that is exciting to me about the Anderson brother method is how much they’ve accomplished despite having being relatively old and starting as adults, having many life demands (i.e., full time jobs, a wife and kids), and – perhaps most importantly – possessing relatively modest abilities at the beginning. They’ve had to work – most importantly – smart, and hard, often training only 7 hours a week because of life’s other demands, to get to this level. The internet is full of videos of elite athletes like McColl, Hojer, Woods, Ondra etc., whom have admittedly work hard (doesn’t everyone?) but have largely gotten to where they are in ways that aren’t applicable to the majority of adult climbers and don’t seem to have a clear, scientific methodology for how training has helped get them where they are.
I’m much more psyched by the Anderson brothers because I see them as realistic models for success for those not genetically gifted or talented at the get go.
I agree. I remember working heinous cling at smith with one of them (don’t know which) back in 2001 or so, and being slightly stronger at the time. Now, they’re several number grades better me. I decided it’s time to catch up. Three training cycles later, and I’ve definitely had steady incremental gains.