Hi lovely people,
I’ve been thinking about doing one of Josh Wharton’s rock training plans. I’m currently at the end of a transition period and beginning a base building phase as I approach the summer alpine season. I’m relatively un-trained but fit. I’ve done a few half-assed training plans with the TFTNA plan over the past 2 years and hoping to really do it right this time. Alpine climbing is not my priority this season, but I want to instead focus on my pure rock climbing in anticipation of a guides exam at the end of next season (ACMG Apprentice Rock Guide).
To be clear, this does not mean just sport red-pointing, although that may be good training. But this season I’m hoping to develop the fitness and confidence to readily/easily climb 8-14 pitches of 5.10/5.10+ on gear (plus make the approaches easy with a pack). I currently am comfortable leading around 5.9+/5.10- on gear and need to bump that up a bit, and work within this season or the next toward ultimately being comfortable with 8-14 pitches on 5.11/5.11+. Other otes: I live in the southern Okanagan in BC and am blessed with a 9 month outdoor rock season with 1000+ routes 15min from my house in Skaha!
In order to comfortably guide 5.10+, it would be better if I was climbing/trying 5.11+ gear routes and probably achieving ~5.12 sport redpointing ability, so my longer term plan would be to work towards that level as an apprentice before challenging the full exam. I’m also open to suggestions from rock guides here on whether I need to be even stronger, as these initials goals may still be a bit low. Whatever grade I’m at, I know I need to be 100% solid at that grade, and so I will be likely be prioritizing technique and being super solid, climbing with a pack, etc., over red-pointing at my limit.
With that background, I’m wondering how people would suggest integrating a 4- or 8-week rock training plan into the normal annual plan prescribed by TFTNA? For example, would it make sense to go through with a 20+ week base building period and then use one of Josh Wharton’s plans as my specific training period? Is that going to be a super effective plan, or will it be too much running and aerobic work to really help my climbing? Even a 20 week base period will leave a number of months of prime rock climbing season (August through October) so I’ll have a few months still to time my peak/performance climbs and see what level I’m feeling good at then.
Other option: would I want to be spending more time in the base building period working on more rock oriented training? Like making Josh’s plans part of the second half of the base period perhaps and making the specific period more about actually doing some 8+ pitch climbs? It seems clear that the base building period should be more general and less specific, but if I know now that my goals are fairly specific (I’m okay to prioritize rock performance over alpine climbing and mountaineering), how do I plan a “rock-specific base building period?”
For anyone with specific questions on the level I need to achieve in rock, here are the prerequisites I’m working towards: https://tapacmg.ca/rockguide.php
Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom!