I’m from Texas. Down here in the South we rarely have temperatures below freezing, and if so only for a couple of weeks out of the year. When it gets cold I move to the heat like a moth to a front porch light. A towel left in the sun? A warm fire on a cold camping night? That jacket just came out of the dryer? Yes, please. Anything warm (especially when I’m cold) is the closest thing to heaven for me.
I avoid being cold at all costs and, somehow, I’m always cold. Nonetheless, in rock climbing, cold weather is one of the best tricks to get your beefy little fingers to attach to the rock face. Friction is the magic bullet when it comes to scaling cliffs. It’s an all-out battle between the skin and the stone to see which will prevail (spoiler alert it’s always the stone).
When your climbing shoes and fingers get cold, you’re in for a good climbing day. The ideal temperatures are balanced between 32 and 41 °F. Just cold enough to stop the hands from sweating, and not too cold that they go numb. In fact, climbing shoe manufacturers have prepared for this by designing the rubber in their shoes to reach optimal softness for maximum grip.
All of these variables compound together for the perfect climbing day, as long as you’re physically and mentally prepared for the weather that is. And I’m almost always not.
I think a lot of the times we have to embrace the things we really don’t like in order to get to the places we want to be in the future. Sometimes those things aren’t obvious, and sometimes they are. I am currently working on trying to be more open to criticism from others, and myself, about my abilities, and simply just the way I act.
When listening to any criticism, always listen intently and consider their point of view over your own. Just like the optimal climbing temps for sweaty hands, there is a balance between letting people walk all over you, and giving their thoughts a chance. Like fire-warmed fingers rapidly losing their heat to a v3 boulder problem, sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.
Thanks for reading. I hope you’re having a wonderful week! I would love to hear how cold it is where you are right now, and what your favorite warm place is. 🙂