How to Get Endurance

Hi Steph.

I have been climbing for 2 years now in northern england.
I mainly boulder and have a great local wall which is huge and you can traverse on it all day long ! I haven’t rope climbed yet both indoors or out.

My question is how do you build such endurance that you show on the free solos and free climbs?
Are they simply well within your limits or do you train for endurance on the rock itself?
Is it simply a mental thing?

I have seen a big difference this year in my ability to simply hang on !

Is it simply practice? or are some people simply better at it than others?


Hi Steve,
With climbing, I’ve always thought of the physical categories as falling into power, power-endurance and endurance. Power is bouldering, power-endurance tends to be sport climbing routes, and endurance can be either loooong single pitches or long full days. I’ve noticed that training will improve your personal level with all of these categories, but I’ve also noticed that people tend to be close to their base level of power even if they haven’t been training or climbing much. For better and for worse (depending on whether you’ve been training or not), endurance is primarily dependent on training for it. With endurance, you just have to put in the work, but then it will always pay off.

As with everything in life, some people are just born “better” at climbing than others, and some people seem to be genetically disposed to start climbing 5.14 within a year of going into a gym. But for sure, you can improve your own ability through training, and especially when it comes to endurance. Like a garden, your rewards are directly proportionate to your effort, and that is a great thing about endurance and training.

Also, the mental aspect is significant. You can almost always perform way better than you expect if you just want it desperately enough…

  • And, ironically, just relaxing allows you to climb better. I can barely crack a 5.9, but if I jump on a 10b with no expectations, I do better than I would have imagined. The mind plays a huge role. Just try. Failure isn’t failure if you learn something. It’s just going to class at the School of Climbing. 

  • yes! thanks Marie 🙂

  • star300

    I was working on my first 5.11 and I wanted to do it without falling so badly, and then when I fell, I started crying and got off hating the route. So a few days later I tried it again, and I said out loud- It’s okay if I fall, I’m just going to have fun. And I finished it clean! 🙂

  • that is great !


These are my sponsors. THEY ARE FABULOUS!