Climber Life

7 Ways to Boost Road Life Happiness

Rest days can be hard – what should we do if we’re not climbing? It’s easy to fall into the trap of listlessly scrolling through social media while resting on the road, but we can boost our happiness if we take care of ourselves and live our day with intention.  Avoid the rest day blues by taking some simple steps to heal your body and boost your happiness!

ONE: Take a Shower!
The power of the shower cannot be disputed – you’ll emerge a funk free, radiant free version of yourself! The best showers are free, but even a $5 shower is worth it. If you’re not near a campground with showers, fitness centers can save the day by providing both a workout and shower in one price. 

Shower at NOLs in Lander, WY

TWO: Do Your Laundry
Your climbing partner will thank you for this. If a laundromat is not available, check if a nearby RV park has washing machines. As a last resort, a thorough scrubbing in the sink with some laundry soap or shampoo can tide you over until the next laundromat. Let your clothes dry in the sun, and you’ll be set! While your clothes are being washed, you can do some other rest day activities like self-care, catching up with friends, or tackling your second hobby.

Outdoor chic at the laundromat

THREE: Make New Friends – and Keep the Old
Social bonds are a major contributor to happiness. Being away from our long-term family and friends can be rough while on the road, but road life provides an opportunity for us to expand our network and meet others from all over the US and the world. This is easiest at a climber campground. If you see the same person a few days in a row at the campground, chances are they would appreciate the company!  This person may become new climbing partners, and you can keep each other psyched about climbing and road life.  Only about 1% of people will have absolutely no interest in talking to you. Find the happy climbers, and let their happiness rub off on you!

Rest days are also time catch up with old friends as well. Text, call, or send a postcard to friends from home to keep your friendships current.

Animals are acceptable as temporary friend substitutes.  

Kevin befriends a chicken at the Ten Sleep Brewery

FOUR: Take a Hike
Climbers already know that exercise and being outdoors increases happiness, but why limit ourselves to climbing? Hikes are an active way to explore nature, and they can counteract that ice-cream from last night! Hiking also doubles training for upcoming alpine objectives.

Sandy Lake Trail – Big Horn National Forest, Wyoming

A useful app and website to discover hikes near you is AllTrails. AllTrails users share hiking beta and rate hikes on a scale of 1-5 stars. The app works even when you don’t have cell reception, so you can use the map to find your location in relation to the trail.

FIVE: Take on a New Non-Climbing Challenge
Just as achieving a new climbing grade or mastering a new climbing style creates satisfaction, so can developing a secondary skill or starting a side project. We thrive in atmosphere of growth! Learn guitar, practice drawing, grow as a photographer, study Spanish, learn to code. Expand your identity beyond just the definition of “climber.”

SIX: Do Some Self-Care!

Prepare for your body for its next climbing day by stretching tight muscles and using massage tools. Hone in on sore back and chest muscles with either the Thera Cane or a lacrosse ball. To use the lacrosse ball as a back massager, place the ball between the wall and your back. Apply pressure against the ball along your sore muscles. You can also face the wall and place the ball between the wall and your pecs to loosen those muscles. This Thera Cane manual shows how to target pressure points on your back, shoulders, neck, and arms.

Try yoga for a full body, restorative stretch. A basic yoga routine will provide a full body stretch. Either join a yoga class or practice a  basic yoga routine on your own in a park or campground. Did you know that pro-climber Alli Rainey teaches yoga in Ten Sleep once a week? 

Lastly, use some skin balm before bed to help your skin heal!

skin balm

SEVEN: Be Grateful for this Time!
We’re incredibly lucky to have this time outdoors, whether our trip is for a week, a month, or a year. Don’t overly stress over climbing grades. Regardless of whether we climb 5.9, 5.11, or 5.13+, hopefully we’re getting on beautiful rock, fun routes, and sleeping under the stars!

Beautiful Day in Ten Sleep, WY!

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