Summer Camp

High-Clip and I were talking about what it would look like if we were to run a climbing summer camp.  It’s important to note that unless there’s a road trip or an alpine start, you will NOT be hearing from High-Clip in the early morning.  That being said, it was agreed that I would handle the morning session, and High-Clip would handle the afternoon sesh!  We decided that our campers would be treated to a full day camp that includes breakfast, AM climbing sesh, lunch, and PM climbing sesh.  We are responsible for providing the meal and the training for our specific sessions.

theDIHEDRAL summer camp will focus on sport climbing.  While bouldering and speed may be introduced, they will serve only as a means of training for sport climbing.  Our summer camp will focus on lead climbing as opposed to top-rope, and so we’ll place the age range between 12 and 18.  We would set the available spots to 10-14 campers depending on space.


(8 AM – Noon) 

Dropoff can start at 7:30 AM.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 8.  Breakfast will include a build your own pancake bar with a protein rich batter.  Campers can choose from an array of fruits and sweets to load into their pancake.  Special preference will be given to those who have good taste and go with banana pancakes topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Points will also be awarded to the classics, such as blueberry pancakes.  In addition, points will be awarded to the most creative pancake.  If someone pulls off a s’more pancake that is actually edible and not just a mess of pancake batter and marshmallow goo then they deserve extra imaginary points for sure!

There will be an imaginary points system, something along the lines of the points awarded at Hogwarts.  Climbers will acquire and subtract points according to the mood and attitude of the camp counselors and directors (High-Clip and Carrot).  I will report the points from the AM session to High-Clip prior to the PM session.

After breakfast everyone will help clean up just as if we were on a group climbing trip, this will give the food a little time to digest before we jump onto the wall.

(8:30 – 9:00)

We go over best practices, safety, and climbing etiquette, as we do our morning stretches.

(9:00 – 10:30)

We pair up into groups of two.  Each pair will warm up by starting on an easy climb, then move up one grade per climb each subsequent route. 5.7→5.8→5.9→5.10→5.11 until the timer goes off.

(10:30 – 10:45)

Snack Break!  All climbers should understand that climbing centers around three primary forces.  Climbing, Community, and Snacks.  Snack Breaks are essential!

(10:45 – 11:00)

Presentations.  At the end of each morning I will assign two campers a HW assignment in which they have to research a historical climber or climbing destination and teach the other campers about that climber or destination.  Imaginary points will be heavily awarded to better presentations.

(11:00 – 11:30)

Project.  Climbers will take this post snack opportunity to try and send hard!  They will get on something burly, and dig deep.  Sending won’t be rewarded, but trying hard, working the beta, and encouraging others will be noted and awarded with more imaginary points.  

(11:30 – 11:58)

The last 30 minutes will be used to make comments, offer support, and play games.  Games will include things like capture the flag, add-on, longest traverse, high point, and climbing tag.  The game will vary from day to day.  Most of these games will be played on the boulder wall due to safety concerns.  As campers get eliminated from the game I’ll have them come over and talk to me about what they did well and what they can work on to improve moving forward.

(11:58 – Noon)

I’ll update High-Clip on anything notable, such as sends or injuries.  I’ll also update the leader board of imaginary points.

(Noon – 12:30)

I’m sticking around to eat whatever it is that High-Clip plans for lunch!


(Noon – 4PM)

I will wake up shortly before my session starts, and then I will munch on a leftover pancake as Carrot fills me in on the morning activities. I will then secretly take away imaginary points that Carrot awarded for peanut butter pancakes. After lunch, we’ll focus heavily on technique so that each climber gets the most out of the limited energy they have left.

Now, for lunch, we will have a timeless classic: veggie sandwiches! We will have tables of ingredients: various sandwich breads, cheeses, veggies, lettuces, and sauces. Climbers will build their own sandwiches from the outside in. Bonus imaginary points for sandwiches made with pesto, havarti, and/or mushrooms.


We will discuss how important our colorful sandwiches are by going over the benefits of each different color of vegetable. Continuing our nutrition discussion, we will go over the types of snacks that are great for climbers. Each climber will make a nutrition cheat sheet to take home as a reference. 


Traverses! Climbers line up one end of each wall and traverse one side to the other, and then back the other direction after their line is done. During traverses, we will focus on foot dragging. Essentially, climbers can climb any way they want, but they may not drag their foot up or down the wall; they may only directly place their feet on a foothold or smear in one spot. This helps climbers keep better track of their feet.


Now, we will climb slowly. Everyone will partner up and choose a climb that is a flashable grade for them. As they climb, they must hover their hands and feet above each hold for 2 seconds before placing them. This intentionality will help them find efficient beta and improve their lockoff strength.


PUMPFEST! It’s go time. Each partner gets 30 minutes to climb; partner 1 climbs 2-2:30, and partner 2 climbs 2:30-3. During their 30 minutes of pump, they can climb any route they want, but they are not allowed to repeat routes unless they run out of attainable routes (then they can repeat each climb once). There is no rest between climbs. Once a climber is lowered they must start their next route as soon as their belayer pulls the rope and clips in. This is a fun way to get in a huge amount of sport climbing volume in a doable way.


Naturally, the climbers deserve a short break. They will be dripping in sweat, and thus they will appreciate a refreshing yogurt parfait snack. As they snack, each climber will pick one route that is outside their grade.


Each climber gets 15 minutes to project the hard route that they picked. Climbing outside of their grade when they are incredibly tired will help them build confidence when they are fresh, and it will help them project with minimal expectations. While this is great physically, it also does wonders for the mental game.


The pain is over! As each pair coils their rope, the crag dogs (i.e. the climbers’ family dogs) will be released into the space. Everyone gets to play with the doggies and see how crag dogs behave. This also helps the dogs get used to climbing and climbing gear for the future. I’ll stick around and speak to the parents as they wish, and I’ll stay, petting the dogs, until every climber leaves with their parent/guardian. What a day!

7 Replies to “Summer Camp”

  1. Just returned from Fontainebleau Forest & they are offering camps there for bouldering. You mob as y want to check out their itinerary.

    Liked by 2 people

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