James Lucas on Using Intermediate Goals

As climbers, most of us have dream climbs we’d love to send someday in the future. Whether they are life-list routes, boulders, or big walls, these dream lines can be great motivators for continual improvement. The idea being that one day you want to be good enough to tick one of these objectives.

However, things can get tricky when it comes to actually planning out how to work towards such a lofty goal. The magnitude of the task can start to feel overwhelming and you can be left feeling like you don’t know where to start. The key is to set more achievable intermediate goals. These more achievable objectives help keep you motivated and build towards your larger objective.

To show this process in practice, here’s an excerpt from TrainingBeta Podcast 131 with James Lucas where he describes how he set a series of progressively easier goals to help him works towards sending his bigger objective, Yosemite’s Midnight Lightning V8.

When you read this excerpt, pay special attention to how James made some of his goals so easy it was almost impossible to fail. They may have been as simple as showing up but achieving them built confidence and moved him towards his larger objective. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the full episode/transcript and the article James wrote about his Midnight Lightning training: James Lucas: How I Trained for Midnight Lightning

bouldering training program

James Lucas on Using Intermediate Goals


James Lucas: I set myself up with a few goals. I wanted to do Midnight Lightning so I would do 10 V8s. Another goal that would help me get there is if I fail on the V8s I could always just try and do 10 days of alpine bouldering. That’s easier because I just have to show up. For me, sometimes that’s the hardest part, just getting there. Once I’m there I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m here. I’ll try my project since I’m here or I’ll do something else because I’m here,’ and that helps my climbing.

Neely Quinn: It’s interesting because your first goal was lofty and the second one was just about motivating yourself. Either way you were setting yourself up for success. Even if you failed on the first goal you could still attain the second. 

James Lucas: Right. Exactly. Each goal would get smaller and smaller and that really helped me. I feel like that was the biggest part of my training program. It was like, ‘Okay, it’s 4:00, I’m done with work, I guess I need to go climbing.’ Then it would be like, ‘I should go to the Park.’ I’d drive up there and do the hike and at the very least I’m hiking. Then it’s like, ‘Well okay, I’m at the boulder. I might as well climb.’ 

I had this initial goal of doing 10 alpine days and I did that pretty quick so then I was like, ‘Oh, 30.’ Then at the end of the season, I ended up doing 50 days of bouldering in just Rocky.

Neely Quinn: That’s a lot of days.

James Lucas: Yeah, it was a lot. I got kind of burnt out at the end.

Neely Quinn: In those 50 days what did you accomplish?

James Lucas: I think I did six V8s, I did three or four V7/V8, and I climbed around 10 or 11 V7s. I built a pretty wide pyramid.

Neely Quinn: I just want to reflect. In the 14 or 15 years up to that point you had done 3-4 V8s, 10 V7s, and 20 V6s. In this one summer you did six V8s, three V7/8s, and 10 V7s.

James Lucas: Yeah, that sounds about right.

Neely Quinn: That’s pretty huge and it seems like maybe, and I’ll ask you: is it just because you put the time in?

James Lucas: Yeah, I would say that’s the biggest part of it. Through my climbing I’ve noticed, not only in myself but in other people, the people who put the time in and put the work in get better at whatever they’re doing. The more you commit to it the more you’re going to improve.

Neely Quinn: The 10,000 hour rule. You put approximately 10,000 hours just into hiking. [laughs]

James Lucas: [laughs] Yeah, possibly. I definitely wore through my approach shoes. Even if you’re doing the wrong training program or something that doesn’t work, the fact that you’re out there doing it is going to make you better. To some degree there’s this placebo effect where if you think you’re putting energy towards improving at your project or improving at your goal, you will.

Neely Quinn: So it’s both a placebo effect and just the practice on the wall?

James Lucas: Yeah, just the practice and getting better at those skills. Because I had a short time frame to do Midnight Lightning, I got better at sending stuff quickly, which is hard.

Neely Quinn: That’s what I was going to ask you: what did you learn up there?

James Lucas: I kind of learned how to project a boulder problem. It’s easy to think about a route project, like where the clips are and stuff, but on a boulder problem project it’s like: where is the crux move? How can I do this one move? What’s the most efficient way to do this one move and doing the move before it to get into it? Linking sections and then figuring out what the best conditions are to climb stuff in.

Full Episode/Transcript: TBP 131: James Lucas on Improving His Bouldering the Old Fashioned Way

Lead falls in climbing gyms – how much forces does it generate? Climbing Science!

What forces are generated during a lead fall at a climbing gym? At Pipeworks climbing gym in Sacramento, CA, Michael Melner, TJ Gillick and Ryan Kowalski do some falling for science. We put dynamometers on the climber, belayer and the quickdraw in order to find out how many kilonewtons we generate. Our gear ratings are more helpful when we understand the forces we generate.

Janja Garnbret vs Jain Kim | Lead Climbing Technique Comparison | Xiamen 2019 | Inzai 2019

check this comparison, these guys have made a good job on put this together, enjoy the climbing.

Janja Garnbret and Jain Kim climbing styles compared in IFSC Climbing World Cup Inzain 2019 and IFSC Climbing World Cup Xiamen 2019.Music: Macifif – HopeMoon – Honest Man – Instrumental Version

Overcoming the Fear of Falling

Excellent video, a little funny but very true and helpful

Fear is what every Rock Climber will have to Face. But why do strong climbers look fearless? Aren’t they afraid to fall at all? After coaching many people on how to overcome the fear of falling, I’m sharing my best tips and tricks.

The goal is not to get rid of the fear of falling. In fact – Fear is just a sensation that arises from your deep animal brain seeing the danger.

You can’t get rid of the sensation – because it’s just chemicals in your body. You need to look at why it was caused. Evolution made us good at survival, we stay away from things that seem dangerous and unknown.

But the problem is that our evolution was not surrounded by technologies like ropes that can save us. So if you haven’t been climbing trees (or being in heights) all your life your subconscious mind doesn’t have enough training to “think” that these climbing situations are safe. Overcoming the fear of falling is not much different from overcoming any other fear. You need to gently put your self into fearful situations and have good outcomes. That will start to reprogram your animal part of the brain.

Step one is to accept that it’s normal and there is nothing wrong with you! And then slowly, gently massage your mind with fear of falling games. I would recommend doing fall practice training in climbing gyms because it’s much safer and you will save your precious vacation trip time. However, if you do it outdoors, make sure to not fall in unsafe situations. Sometimes route setters (bolters) protect hard sections by bolts, but leave easy (Juggy) parts unprotected. If you are not sure if it’s 100% safe fall, climb with someone more experienced! Although I say that you can’t think your self out of fears with the rational (conscious) mind. I experienced big benefits by using meditation.

I made a separate video on this: https://youtu.be/LhDFykDzuJk

Special thanks to my friends: Hanna: https://www.instagram.com/banana___hana/

German climbing machine (trusty belayer) https://www.instagram.com/mammut_goes_climbing/

And the best artist friend who draw the pyramid: https://www.instagram.com/mildeo/

And me and me: https://www.instagram.com/hard.is.easy/

Adam Ondra Video Series #52 – Croatia Climbing Road Trip 2/2

This is the continuation of the Croatia trip, you can see the first video here: https://frogclimber.com/adam-ondra-video-serie-51-croatia-climbing-road-trip-1-2/


The second part of the Croatian rock climbing trip is out. It mainly focuses on one amazing route “All in, I’m out”, firstly ascended by Klemen Becan. Very powerful yet technical climbing along sloppy tufa turned out to be a pretty epic fight. The route was given only 8c, yet I think it could deserve an upgrade up to 8c+.



Directed by LACO KORBEL



Production JAKUB PÍNA

Executive Producer PAVEL BLAŽEK


© 2020 AO Production s.r.o.

The Big Island 8C by Coudert Camille

Coudert Camille started climbing at age 18 and only indoors for the first 18 months. Then he started logging boulders in Fontainebleau in 2015 (from 5b) and eight months later he did his first 8A. The following years his impressive progress has continued and now he just did The Big Island 8C, in just six sessions.

At the moment he has three 8C projects and says he is not far from doing No Kpote Only 9A. He will also put on a knee pad and start working the sit project of The Big Island (9A?).

How can you explain your great progress and what did you do before climbing?
I have never been sporty. I just tried different sports without ever getting hooked; tennis, rugby and swimming. I tried climbing by chance and I immediately hooked and since then I have always been motivated to progress. Each year I always set two extreme projects well above my level that I try seriously and in parallel, I alternate the sessions between extreme and easier projects. Besides that, I do volume sessions of easy boulders.

Sport Climbing Makes its Olympic Debut

with athletes winning gold thanks to the power and strength in their fingertips.

Sport Climbing

Tokyo 2020 competition animation “One Minute, One Sport”

We will show you the rules and highlights of Sport Climbing in one minute. Whether you are familiar with Sport Climbing or want to know more about it.


Sport Climbing takes the challenge of scaling steep ascents to a whole new level. Using a range of hand and foot holds of different shapes and sizes, climbers put their skills and strength into practice on a vertical wall. The wall may feature varying angles of either positive (known in climbing as a slab) or negative (steep, overhanging) sections.

The sport will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and will feature three disciplines: Speed, Bouldering and Lead. Speed climbing pits two climbers against each other, both climbing a route on a 12m wall. In Bouldering, athletes scale a number of fixed routes on a 4m wall in a specified time. In Lead, athletes attempt to climb as high as possible on a wall measuring over 12m in height within a specified time. At the Games, each climber will compete in all three disciplines, and the final rankings will be determined by multiplying the placement in each discipline, with the athletes achieving the lowest scores winning medals.

In some disciplines, climbers attach safety ropes; however, no other equipment is permitted, and competitors must climb using only their bare hands and climbing shoes. The sport requires strength, flexibility and skill together with careful advance planning: the first ever medallists will all possess this unique combination of physical and mental capability and decisiveness.

International Federation: International Federation of Sport Climbing

Event Programme

  • Combined (Men/Women)

Three disciplines, one goal

A variety of techniques are required for success in sport climbing:


Two climbers secure safety ropes to themselves and attempt to scale a 12m-high wall, set at an angle of 95 degrees, faster than their opponent on identical routes. Winning times for men’s events tend to be around the five- to six-second mark, while women’s events are usually won in around seven or eight seconds. A false start results in instant disqualification.


In Bouldering, athletes climb as many fixed routes on a 4m-high wall, equipped with safety mats, as they can within four minutes. The routes vary in difficulty and climbers are not permitted to practise climbing them in advance. When a climber grabs the final hold at the top of a route with both hands, they are deemed to have completed it. Climbers tackle the wall without safety ropes and can try a route again if they fall during their initial attempt.

The walls used for bouldering present a range of challenges, with overhangs and some holds so small that they can only be held by the fingertips. Climbers must plan each move carefully, thinking about which hand and which foot to place in the next holds, while constantly being aware of the time limit. The physical and mental dexterity required for success is extraordinary.


Lead involves athletes attempting to climb as high as they can on a wall measuring more than 12m in height within six minutes. The climbers use safety ropes and attach the rope to quickdraws (equipment that allows the rope to run freely while leading) along the route. When a climber attaches their rope to the top quickdraw, they have completed the climb. If a climber falls, the height (hold number) attained is recorded. There are no re-climbs.

If two or more athletes complete the climb or reach exactly the same height, the fastest to do so is declared the winner. This is a demanding whole-body activity and dynamic climbing techniques are to the fore.

To prevent athletes gaining an advantage from watching others scaling the bouldering and lead climbing walls before them, each climber is kept away from the climbing wall before their turn and given just a few minutes to examine the wall and the routes prior to starting.

Adam Ondra Video Serie #51: Croatia Climbing Road Trip 1/2

If you want to keep track of what Adam Ondra is doing, you can see it here

“Every year in late January or early February, I set off for a rock climbing trip. Mostly we head out to Catalunya, Spain, and this year it shouldn’t have been any different. We scheduled a visit to my coach Patxi Usobiaga and his awesome family for five days while climbing in the areas around his house. Bad weather forecast forced us to change our plans and we drove to Croatia instead. We were treated very well with perfect weather and good climbing. I had just finished my speed climbing training, so it was not about sending hard. I was aware my shape would not be the best so we were mostly just enjoying ourselves while climbing nice routes. “