What is my weakness? What should I work on? I need direction, do I need a coach?

I have some climbing goals, they aren’t that lofty compared to some folks here. I’d like to be a solid 5.8 or maybe 5.9 trad leader in the Gunks (where I live) and areas like Red Rock. I’ve been climbing for about 7 years, I am 46 years old. I have a small home wall and a reasonable home gym. I am married with kids. I typically have 1hr per day to train. I can climb outside one day per week. I’d venture to say I am a little overweight but for the sake of context I can do 50 pushups and 20 pullups. I like to think I am reasonably fit.

To date my best gunks lead has been CCK (5.7+), not onsight. I don’t lead at that level consistently, this past season I stayed more in the 5.6 range. I have followed Gunks 5.9, albeit not clean. My goal for the upcoming season is to lead 8’s. Since time is limited I am a bit overwhelmed as to what to focus on and how to best use what I have. My sense is, my limiting factors are head game (dealing with fear of falling/getting hurt) and movement skills. But being stronger and having more endurance certainly would not hurt. Losing a few pounds (difficult) wouldn’t hurt either.

Would someone like me climbing at the meager grades I am talking about benefit from a coach? What would be the best way to sort out how to make the most of the time I have to reach the level I want? I can’t fix everything at once so I’d like to fix the right things.


Sounds like you’ve got a good base of experience and physical ability to achieve your goals.

From my experience (a fellow late starter to climbing), the two biggest contributors to my leveling-up were:

  1. having a coach. The first time I had a coach, my outdoor sport grade jumped 4 grades in one trip. Having someone to help give you focused training will reap rewards.

Even for a short term, a good coach can help give you some structure to build your training plan on (and take into account your time availability and home training facilities)

  1. climb with better climbers, you’ll pick up training habits, beta, sending tactics and movement so much quicker

As a fellow late starter and proud member of the “Dad Squad”, I wish you all the best on your goals mate.


thanks a lot. Did you use an in person coach or an online coach?

Initially i used an in person coach for a couple of reasons. I’m old school and come from other sports where in person coaching is the norm.

I also think that if you are new to training in climbing, an in person coach is better served to show you the drills and techniques.

But then you can switch over to online, either coaching or following a good plan (like Power Company Climbing).

Hope this helps

It does, thanks. I am not sure if any in person coaches exist where I live, but I’ll look into it. Else possibly someone from Power Company.

This was just what was available to me, and married up to my preference. But there’s many ways to get to the same destination.

All the best for your training journey, looking forward to hearing that you’ve smashed your goals in the near future

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I think @Jim is spot on here. The biggest benefit I think you’ll get from a coach - or coach type figure - will be talking over what it is that’s holding you back outdoors, and how to address that. It could even be a series of 30-60 minute consultations to talk through a general gameplan and then check back in a month later or so.
I’d be willing to bet that you aren’t close to your physical capacity and there is something else that could be far better to spend your time on, particularly when outside and climbing.

Just want to say that 5.8 trad leading at the Gunks is solid and a great goal/accomplishment! Right on.

I bet a coach’s ideas on technical drills and tactics will be just as helpful as any strength/power/endurance work - unlocking ways to make the most of your feet and body positions might make a big difference.


Also, glad you found and are embracing this in your 40’s!

thanks everyone for the encouragement. Kris, I may be reaching out to you guys :wink:

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