What does climbing success mean?

The following is an excerpt from Don McGrath and Jeff Elison’s best-selling book Vertical Mind.

“Something that I have grown to appreciate about rock climbing is that success on a climb does not necessarily mean that you made it to the top without falling. Sometimes success is falling, yet learning some lessons along the way. Sometimes success is falling and not completing the climb, but learning or solidifying a critical technique or skill required of the climb. While discussing this topic, co-author Jeff Elison commented that some of the best on-sight climbing he has done was on climbs that he didn’t on-sight at all. He climbed some sections really well on-sight, but fell elsewhere. He still viewed these as successes.

Many people have asked me what aspects of their climbing they should focus on for the best and fastest results. These people, mostly weekend warriors like me, have limited time to devote to their training and want to know how to most effectively use it Many climb one or two days per week, and that constitutes the majority of their rock climbing training. My response to these people, unless I know them well, is “it depends.” The focus area that will yield the greatest benefit varies from climber to climber and is dependent on a number of things. This answer is not a very satisfying one, so what I have done in order to be more helpful is define some stages in rock climber development and give some guidelines that can help you understand what may be some areas that could yield the most benefit, given where you are in your development.”

The four stages of rock climbing development

The four stages of rock climbing development

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