Training for birthday pitches

I’ll be 32 this year and the birthday pitches aren’t getting any easier! I’ve never done it before and would like to this year. I’d love to hear some perspectives from those who have done it on what worked/didn’t.

So far I’m thinking: my birthday is mid-March and happens to fall on a weekend so I’m hoping to get a crew of friends down to Shelf Road to attempt the feat. I think the piggy bank there would be a good area due to weather conditions, density of moderates, and relatively short walls. 32 pitches in one day averages to a pitch every 15 mins for 8 hours, so I know logistics will be key. I’m hoping to lead every pitch, but with friends hopefully not have to do very much setting of draws or cleaning to speed things up. I’m open to climbing the same pitch a few times to get the numbers up, though 32 distinct pitches would be more cool. I have generally good skin, but have heard that skin will be an issue in this endeavor, so probably some pre-taping is in order? I don’t generally go for volume in outdoor climbing, the most pitches in one day I’ve done was 10 at Wild Iris a few years ago. I’m a solid endurance climber in the gym but for the last two years have almost exclusively training for climbing by bouldering in the gym. Just got a rope gym membership again and working on volume again!

In terms of training, is it a safe bet to go by marathon training standards (ie never actually run the full distance until race day, train up to the volume and do a couple 80% distance runs close to the event?)

Would love any and all suggestions!

Hey Claire,

I’m certainly not an expert but have done my fair share of big days (climbing and otherwise). A few quick thoughts that came to mind while reading your post:

  • It’s very likely you’ll be out for far longer than 8 hrs. Be ready to climb in the dark and cold (esp. in March!).
  • For me, starting super early is a huge psychological boost. Everything before sunrise feels like “free pitches”.
  • Have a nutrition plan. No need to get super scientific but make sure you’re eating and drinking something, say, every hour. Consider setting a timer for this. In addition to the snacks, eat a proper meal a few times.
  • Consider doing structured capacity sessions leading up to the event. Climb for # of problems/routes and increase that volume each session. Others here could better suggest specific session design.

Hope that helps. Have fun!!

Awesome! Thank you those are all great points!