This article was kindly written by Heather (Robinson) Weidner. Please see her bio at the bottom to find out more about her. Screenshot courtesy of 3SM Productions.
I have a confession: I believe in astrology.
I know it doesn’t make sense. As a veterinarian, I was taught to follow the Scientific Method- I should base my beliefs on evidence and reason- but I am a Taurus- and I believe in it in every sense of the Zodiac sign.
I am noted for my determination.
Once I set my eyes on something, I will persistently put in all my efforts to get it. As the astrologists put it, as a Taurus, “you get to where you are going, not because you are exceptionally fast or clever, but because Taurus will not be distracted from your goals.” And, “Failures and setbacks rarely dampen their spirits.”
Heather on the burly “Animal Attack”, 5.13b, at Mt. Charleston, NV (starts at 4:09)
My greatest strength as an athlete is not in my forearms; it is in my head. My successes as a climber have been due in large part to my determination and the ability to try really hard. When it comes to “training for climbing” in the traditional sense I am inconsistent to say the least.
What I mean by traditional training is exercises like dead hangs, pull-ups, fingerboard exercises, and campus board, to name a few.
Training for me in climbing often involves climbing. I love being outdoors on real rock, almost to a fault. I would benefit from skipping out on a freezing day outside sessioning on my project and instead focus on building strength indoors. However, this type of training for climbing is often what works best for me: rehearsing moves, linking sections, putting in one more burn at the end of the day no matter how much my skin hurts.
Heather taking down the first female ascent of “Power Window”, 5.13d, at Mt. Potosi, Nevada
Don’t get me wrong – in a typical week I will go to the gym and do dead hangs, elliptical machine, leg lifts, and a variety of opposition exercises to help keep my shoulders healthy, but the majority of my workout, even in the gym, involves climbing.
I see so many really strong climbers on a route and they may try it once in a day, or try the climb a handful of times (with progress) but for some reason they give up or try something else even though it is obvious they are capable of doing the route.
The truth is, climbing is as much mental as it is physical.
It takes tremendous will to persevere through repeated failure (i.e. on a project that is at your limit).
Heather fighting for it on Freedom Is A Battle, 5.13c, in Turkey (climbing begins at 2:40) Video by LT11.com
So, the best advice I can offer to a climber that wants to reach the next grade is to not give up. Be headstrong. Some of my hardest routes have taken me months of consistent work to redpoint, and it is often painstaking to put in another burn that ends in failure. It is easy to succumb to the Taurus temper and feel like a bull in a china shop. To get through the frustration, it helps me to focus on the small victories instead of the end result, like getting a highpoint or even the minutia of figuring out more efficient beta.
If you don’t give up on your climbing goal and you finally succeed, that feeling of accomplishment is so much more valuable in the end.
And that’s no bull.
Dr. Heather Weidner: Climber, Veterinarian, Traveler
Heather grew up in Las Vegas, NV, and then went to vet school in Fort Collins, CO. After five years as a veterinarian/weekend warrior, she finally realized that what she really wanted to be doing was rock climbing.
So that’s what she and her husband, Chris Weidner, do. She’s a perfect marriage of gentle and fierce: as sweet as can be with people and animals – always smiling – but relentless on the wall. She still smiles all the time on the wall, though 😉
She’s sent up to 5.14a, and recently completed “Musta Been High”, a notable 5.13c R in Eldorado Canyon in Colorado. She’s bold. She and Chris call Boulder, CO home, but you’ll often find them in Rifle, CO during the summer and wherever the good conditions take them throughout the rest of the year.