If there is anything that Corona has taught me:
Don’t let anything get in between you and climbing. Or whichever it is you want.
The harder circumstances are, the more determined I get to go out and climb. The day that they first closed the gyms, I drove to my home crag by myself, rope-soloed the two easiest routes, learned that I should pull out rope out of the Grigri before doing a move (obviously I didn’t know the first thing about rope-soloing on lead), felt like an idiot, but a free idiot, and then cranked out push-ups and crunches at the bottom on a piece of mat.
Now that may have been a desperate kind of reaction, but it set me up with the right mood to get through strange times:

Do what I always do and let nothing stop me.

The second thing is, there are options you don’t consider until you’re forced to take them.
This is the first winter that I’ve been going out climbing every week, no matter the weather. I used to suffer from the same thoughts most of my friends seem to: it’s cold, it’s wet, I won’t be able to climb, my fingers will be cold, why don’t we stay in, maybe not this time. I did climb outdoors in winter, just not often. It is so much more practical to go to the gym after work.
Well, but then they closed, again. I didn’t go to a climbing gym in more than six months last summer – took every opportunity to add to my “outdoor climbing days”, which amounted to a new best of 136 last year – but it was kind of handy to be able to go for an evening session when it started getting dark at five.
I rarely do hangboard exercises at home, I don’t even own one, but maybe I’m glad I don’t. Because, once I started going out in uncertain weather, every time I asked myself: Why the hell haven’t I done this before?

I know now that for my health, especially my mental health, and especially in winter, I just need to be outside. To climb outside.

I need the fresh air, the woods, the movement, the adventure.

And it’s possible. It’s possible, almost everywhere, to find dry routes even when it’s raining. You just have to free yourself from these thoughts that say, “You can’t go outdoor climbing in winter”, “You can’t go outdoor climbing below 0°C”, or even “You can’t climb wet rock”. If you want to, you can. And if you think you’re comfortable on your couch right now, maybe you should still try it out and you’d be surprised of the benefits of a day out in the cold.
The other week, even my mother said, “Wow, this was a good day, I didn’t think we’d be able to climb at all today!”, after we’d been walking to the crag in serious rain.

Still, even though my mother does come out climbing with me at 2°C, maybe out of pity – I’m having trouble lately finding partners when it’s been raining through the night, sleet is already falling at breakfast, or the hills are all white in the morning. All the more I value those who still come out with me and make it possible for me to do what I love (because rope-soloing was kind of a one-time thing).

So I am proud to present my muddy knees (and fleece, and harness), because the rock was mossy and wet in parts; my dirty shoes covered in reddish mud, because the bottom of the rock was one big slide; and my green Cam turned red, because my friend stuck it into a muddy hole; but you know what? I STILL HAD FUN.

I got to climb cracks today, while it was snowing,

I got to play with my Cams, and routes feel so much more extreme in winter! No need to climb anything hard or exposed, a VI+ crack will do it, and while you’re fighting to clip the anchor with your left hand slowly sliding off the wet, earthy ledge, you may feel like this was your hardest onsight ever.