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5 Tips to Project Smarter

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For the past few years, I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most amazing climbing destinations all over the country. I love visiting new areas, sampling new classics, and experiencing new rock in general. Although it is incredible getting to spend so much time doing what I love, I have found a few ways to make the most out of the time I have at a new area. I have learned some crucial lessons that can make a climbing trip much more productive.

When I visit new climbing areas I am ridiculously psyched, most climbers are, and this excess of motivation to climb every visible boulder/route can be detrimental to your climbing trip. It is common for the overly psyched climber to charge all-out on day one and then discover that they, unfortunately, lack the skin/energy to finish off the 5-star classic mega line later in the trip. It has happened to the best of us.

Nick Chavis Full Monty V12 Hueco Tanks

To avoid overdoing it, here are a few helpful guidelines that I keep in mind when I’m traveling to a new area:

  1. Explore and acclimate. On day one I tend to check out as much of the area as I can. I’ll sometimes even spend the entire first day of my trip hiking around, pouring through the guidebook, and climbing the easier classics so I can acclimate to the style and environment.
  2. Choose your projects carefully. That is especially important on a short trip. I tend to keep in mind things like how sharp the holds are, how big of a role the conditions are going to play, and how the style of said project might suit or challenge me.
  3. Manage your time/efforts wisely. Plan your rest days around the weather, pay attention to what time your project might be in the sun, and decide whether you would rather send more moderate classics or take down a handful of challenging king lines.
  4. Stay healthy/hydrated. A good diet and proper hydration can drastically increase your performance, not to mention cut down your recovery time on rest days.
  5. Have fun! Pick out climbs that inspire and that you enjoy climbing. Be sure to sample the local scenery and meet new people, and be safe! Nothing ruins a climbing trip like injuries or accidents.

Hopefully keeping these tips in mind will help you to have a fun and productive climbing trip regardless of how hard you climb or whether your roping up or bouldering. I also like to keep in mind that, regardless of how successful I am on a trip, I am lucky to be able to visit these amazing climbing destinations. I try just to enjoy being outside with friends. 


Nick Chavis is a Butora athlete and route setter. Keep up with Nick on Instagram @nchavis92

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