We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, climbing styles we prefer, types of holds we “hate”, etc. It is good to have strengths, but we all need to work on our weaknesses in order to realize our full potential. It is uncomfortable to confront aspects of our climbing that lag behind our strengths. Especially when there are others around. No matter how uncomfortable it is, if we wish to progress, we MUST push ourselves to face not only the styles that we don’t enjoy or consider weaknesses, but also the discomfort itself. It is exactly at the moment that we feel like quitting or we start making excuses about why we don't want to try a climb that we should do exactly the opposite (unless you are putting yourself into a seriously compromised position).

Ask yourself WHY you "don’t like" crimps/slopers/pinches/dynos. Is it because you aren’t as good at them? Why does that matter? How do you think you will get better at them? It is easy to let yourself get away with ignoring your weaknesses. One of the main things I find myself doing as a coach is helping (aka: forcing) people to confront their weaknesses and holding them accountable for addressing them. They don’t like it. But they need it. We all do.

My biggest weakness is dynoing. Since I was 12 years old, jumping has been my nemesis. I spent years avoiding it. I’d do anything I could to get past a dyno without actually dynoing. Last year I tried the boulder problem Purple Is Not A Color, a V10 dyno at Lincoln Lake in Colorado. I tried to do it without jumping, but I couldn't. I jumped and flailed for over an hour and never came close. I wrote it off as a boulder I would never do and "didn't like".

Two days ago there were a bunch of us back at Lincoln Lake and people were trying the dyno. I walked over and watched for a bit, but I decided I wasn’t going to try it because I “didn’t like it”. I stopped myself and realized that the reason I “didn’t like it” and didn’t want to try it was because it was going to be hard for me, I was going to flail, and I might fail in front of a bunch of people. That is a BS reason to not try or “not like” a boulder. So I booted up and tried it probably 30 times. I got close, but I didn’t do it. I went back a few hours later, hell bent on swinging off that damn hold until I bled or I sent. After another 30 or so tries, I stuck it. It isn’t the highest graded boulder I have ever done, but it is definitely one of the more meaningful ones.

For all those I have berated into climbing boulders they “don’t like”. This is for you.

Next time you decide you "don't like" a particular move/hold/climb have an honest conversation with yourself about why that is... Then do it anyway. Odds are you need it.