Learn some of the mental, technical, and tactical tips that helped bring to fruition an unplanned and near-hardest-ever sport climbing ascent!

Imagine going from having no project climb…to sending perhaps your hardest-ever route in just a few short weeks. That’s the unusual story I will share with you in this episode.

The route is Kaleidoscope, the Red River Gorge king line, which checks in at 5.13c.

The climber is….yours truly, 50-something coach Hörst.

Despite beginning the Spring 2023 season with a bum knuckle, lack of high-end strength, and no plans to project anything hard…fate put me in the right place at the right time. I was struck with the impulse to jump on the intimidating, overhanging pumpfest known as Kaleidoscope, a route I’ve gawked at many times but never seriously considered working on.

I’ll share with you my process of working this route and how the redpoint “just happened” one day. You’ll learn many mental, technical, and tactical tips that you can adopt or modify to improve your climbing performance!



0:15 – Greetings

0:50 – Intro to “surprise send” episode — a sport climbing performance case study.

2:40 – The backstory…

4:35 – Leveraging my current assets as a veteran climber. What I’ve got going for me!

6:22 – The importance of recovery — my sleep and nutrition habits.

7:30 – My current knuckle pain…and “climbing around it”.

8:10 – Stalling out on last season’s project climb…

9:35 – Being “fit” but not “strong”.

9:50 – Entering the Kaleidoscope!

13:25 – The process, in detail.

15:25 – Details of the crux beta. (SKIP if you’re planning an onsight attempt on the climb!)

17:20 – Summary of Day 1 on Kaleidoscope

18:20 – Details of my day 2 and day 3 work on the project…

20:25 – Day 4 progress. Two one-hang goes! Close, yet miles away…

22:20 – Day 5 — Easter Sunday attempts on the proj.

24:00 – Send go #1

25:15 – A small, but vital discovery…

26:28 – Send go #2

29:45 – My love of never-ending learning as a climber (and beyond).

31:00 – Question: Why do we climb?

31:40 – Closing comments.

31:50 – PLEASE write a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and SHARE this podcast with a friend!

Check out podcast sponsor PhysiVantage Nutrition — Get 15% off full-priced nutrition with checkout code: PODCAST15 (North America only).  Europe and elsewhere visit EPIC-TV Shop or BananaFingers.com to get your PhysiVantage!

32:40 – Closing comments — Horst Out!

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Thank you! La Sportiva, Maxim Ropes, DMM Climbing, Friction Labs

Music by Misty Murphy

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Copyright 2023 Eric Hörst | Hörst Training, LLC.