P1010030There’s nothing quite like ducking out of rain city in the early spring and emerging someplace dry, warm and climbable. It’s so awesome, in fact, that many people have, in a haze of excitement over their upcoming trip, accidentally gotten in great climbing shape for it. You may not believe me, but even in the off-season, this can happen to you. Luckily, through years of experience, I have developed a surefire way to ensure that you will never lead above 10a on your off-season adventure.

1. Gain 10 pounds over Christmas, and don’t notice until Easter.

It might be challenging, but it’s important that you eat everything that is put in front of you, and then some, during the Christmas holidays. It will be easier now than during New Year’s resolution season, when finding friends to throw back the chocolate with becomes impossible. Once you have done this, be very careful to avoid scales and tight-fitting clothing of any kind. Do not question it when activities that used to be easy are not quite so easy. Blame the store if you have to wear a size up.

2. Sign up for a class on one of your regular climbing nights.

It can be any class, so long as you will be sitting around rather than moving around. Just make sure it’s interesting/expensive enough that you don’t quit halfway through in a fit of remorse.

3. Tell yourself you’re training for a marathon, and then don’t.

Marathon training is time-consuming. Climbing partners might ask you to join them at the gym on days when you know you have a long run. Through a combination of being flaky and unavailable, let your buddies know you won’t be joining them “this time”. Just be sure you don’t actually do any running. Methods of avoiding this include deciding it’s too dark or too wet out, waiting two weeks to do laundry and running out of weather-appropriate running clothes, and leaving your shoes in a friend’s car who is leaving town for several weeks.

4. Become an aggressive online dater.

That coffee date may only last an hour, but with everything else you’ve got going on, that’s enough to kaibosh a climbing session. And don’t go climbing on your first date. For so many reasons. Not the least of which is your personal safety.

5. Get a hang nail.

Slamming a finger in the car door works as well. Really, any small, persistent injury is enough to prevent you from going to the gym for quite a long time without affecting the rest of your life very much at all.

6. Reserve your weekends for skiing, and then don’t really ski that much.

It’s not always your fault that skiing doesn’t happen. Your heart is in the right place, but the snow doesn’t show, or your friends bail, or the snow does show, but that creates an avi danger disaster situation. What’s important is that you don’t replace your waylaid plans with anything that might build your strength or 0verall fitness. When you get an unexpected January heat wave, DO NOT take advantage of it by visiting your local crag, but rather mope about complaining that there is nothing to ski. Ideally, sleep in, then eat that greasy breakfast you would have deserved if you’d gotten up at 6 and skied all day.

7. Realize you can’t really afford the trip, and take on a bunch of extra work.

This is a legitimate catch-22. Embrace it.