"Write it down," they say.
"You'll become a better climber, " they say.
But the truth is, sometimes we get caught up in the fun of climbing that we forget to log our every detail. Well, chances are if you're here, you've been toying with the idea of keeping a climbing journal of some sort.
I'm here to tell you that YES, you 10000% should.
When Nick and I started climbing together five years ago, I used to bring along a little booklet to log all of our climbs and the day's adventures. It was informal but I'd write down every detail - from how the climb felt, any beta I wanted to call out, and of course, any silly misadventures we experienced.
Besides helping me keep track of my progress and improvement, the best part of my journal was pulling it out some time later and rolling over in laughter at our memories.
If you needed a sign to start a climbing journal, this is it.
If you needed a listicle to really persuade you - then here are 7 reasons why you need to keep a climbing journal:
1. It keeps track of your climbing progress.
There's that famous quote: "Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out." That's exactly what it's like to be a climber.
When you first start, you make that jump from V0 to V2 fairly quickly. Then, V3 takes a few extra weeks. Your first V4 is mind blowing. And then... it stops.
Suddenly, the crimps feel crimpier and the dynos feel impossible.
But the point is to keep at it. Keep trying, keep projecting, keep persisting.
Then one day, it'll hit. And lucky for you, since you logged it all in your climbing journal, you'll know exactly how you got there ;)
2. You can establish your goals... and then crush them.
Oftentimes we create lofty goals that fall to the wayside. Although they are usually very achievable, they become less so when we don't write them down or create a game plan to get there. With a journal, you can write all of your climbing hopes and dreams, and then take actionable steps to get there.
Wanna flash a V7? Consistently send V5s? You CAN. With a journal, you can start logging what climbs you are doing, which styles you want to work on, and then of course... log the day that you crush those goals. Nothing will feel more satisfying.
3. You can process your experience more thoroughly.
Have you ever completed a goal and felt a small bit of joy before brushing it off and then moving onto the next thing? Or, have you ever had a negative experience that you let sit with you much longer than it should have? Yeah, me too.
The thing is, we need to allow ourselves more time and grace to appreciate our journey. Instead of brushing off something we've worked so hard on or allowing negativity to brew, we need to allow time and space for processing.
By physically writing in and logging your experience in your climbing journal, you'll get an opportunity to process the entire experience. Allow yourself to feel in the joy or the sadness and honor that.
4. You get to celebrate small and big wins.
YAY! We love celebrating! And you know what? Everything should be celebrated - not just grade-related goals.
Maybe you're a climber who hates taking big falls but today, you weren't phased.
Maybe you hate committing to tall cruxes but today, you didn't think twice.
Maybe you never touch the overhung wall but today, you were addicted to being horizontal.
These are all fun milestones that deserve to be remembered!
5. You can turn frustrating experiences into learning experiences.
When it comes to climbing, there are good days and then there are... annoying days. You know that feeling when you just can't seem to get your muscles to activate? Or how last week's easy crimp feels like today's impossible knife edge? Ugh, we get it.
Journals help you log your good days and not-so good ones so that you can possibly find a pattern. Did you climb better when you slept more? Did your climbing suffer when you climbed too many days in a row? There's always a pattern to the madness and once you start writing them down, you'll be surprised at what you find.
6. A climbing journal will hold all of your memories.
All goals aside, a climbing journal is meant to be fun. It captures snapshots of your climbing story and brings the joy into what can sometimes feel like a serious sport.
Our climbing journal is equal parts serious and silly because I want to remember everything about the experience. It's what keeps me coming back no matter how tough it gets.
7. Most importantly - a climbing journal captures the in-between.
Look, let's be honest. Not all attempts end in groundbreaking sends and that's totally okay!
What matters is the story. How did you get here, how did it feel, what will you remember most about today? Are you filled with complete stoke for next time or defeat that molds into motivation?
No matter the feeling, your journal is a place for you to honor your feelings and capture your unique experience.
You can always start your own journal with blank pages but if you're looking for helpful prompts (and inspo from my early journaling days), then check out our classic Climbing Journal!