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General Climbing Discussion

Fear of Flying
1:46:15 PM
Iím not a full-on climber out there every weekend, more of a bumbly scrambling up mid-range routes like Lamplighter and D Minor. The enjoyment that comes from making the right moves is probably much the same as for someone on a Grade 20 plus test piece. Maybe. However, I still get occasional knots of fear and have to stop and refocus. Stupidly, it seems to be on easier sections, probably because I have time to start thinking about gravity and what it can do to me. Does fear ever stop? Do you become immune if you climb big numbers every weekend?

2:48:20 PM
I find myself sketching out more when im on a sub grade 20 warm up route than when workin on my mid twenties project route.... Then again, i dont really climb hard trad and all my project climbs are generaly well bolted. :)
8:25:31 PM
i have been climbing for 14 years and still sometimes i get very shakey, but it will keep you alive. I back the grades down heaps so i almost will never fall that helps, but when im on a hard well protected sport climbing i just for get about it

12:34:45 AM
Thank god you still get wobbly knees after 14 years. I thought I was scared of hights, just didn't know about it till I started climbing a few years ago.

1:08:34 PM
>However, I still get occasional knots of fear and have to stop and refocus. Stupidly, it seems to be on easier sections,

Fear is an emotion, and emotions are often illogical....I am sure you have experinced the ability to do some hard climbs without any fear, and other days you get nervous on any grade. I figure if I'm going to be scared, I may as well do it on something a bit testing. How do you train your mind? With difficulty. Try thinking logicaly .. is there really any reason I will die? No. So what am I so worried about? I find climbing in a group often reduces the fear factor considerably. I think once you had a few falls, you also know they aren't so bad ... and don't need to worry about them so much. You never see bumbly's dogging a route, do you? So how can you have any faith in your gear if you have never tested it? If you trust your gear, what logical reason do you have to be worried? Easy to say in theory, but does seem to work in my limited practice.


1:21:57 PM
On 30/01/2004 Richard wrote:
>So how can you have any faith in your gear if you have never tested it? If you trust
>your gear, what logical reason do you have to be worried?

I worry about hurting myself, rather than gear ripping or failing. It annoys me greatly when I take a minor knock (hurts!) from falls even though the gear holds! As I get older the minor knocks seem to take longer to get over.

I also find that emotionally the veneer covering the 'fear', is also quite thin and fragile!

It is a constant source of amazement to me how many ways there are to 'get the chop' in this game, even when everything is seemingly under control.
2:16:57 PM
On 30/01/2004 Richard wrote:
Try thinking logicaly .. is there really any reason I will die?

Logic tells me that there is no reason I will die. That's what pisses me off most. Sometimes I'll be hanging over an abyss and thinking "Wow, this is cool" and other times thinking "#@$%". It is a mind set. And I don't want to lose to an irrational, stupid feeling, so I return to the cliff and climb. In fact, overcoming that crap is part of the reason I climb.

2:20:44 PM
For me I tend to find that irrational fear only raises its ugly head after a break from trad leading.. Regular trad leading usually gets ur head back into it's proper logical state.
Access Ant
2:46:16 PM
I been climbing for about 18 years, working as an instructor for about 8 and I still shit myself when falling off. Fear is a basic survial instinct we all have and it does a good job keeping us alive. I climb cause I get scared (and it's fun) and to overcome it and get up a route that you didn't think you could is (at least I think) is one of the best feeling in climbing. Now sure if you are working projects or one of those freaks that climb grade 28 plus (which by the way I'm not even close too) you need to spend a fair bit of time airborn, you do get use to it and can even get casual about it (which is when most people get hurt). However for the rest of us mere mortals if you don't get scared every now and then I think your got something wrong up top. Thats not to say that you need to by gripped stupid on every climb all the time, it just a bit of fear is healthy, you know the saying "NO FEAR NO BRAIN".

3:34:20 PM

3:34:59 PM
Fear keeps you on the mountain! That's why they call it 'Gripping stuff'!!!

It still amazes me that after a bit of run-out, you place truly lame pro, and yet you feel much better knowing it's there. You know you can't fall on it, but never the less the panic goes. Fear keeps you honest and I'd rather over protect, than under protect. I just don't care that my second tells me that he's tired of carrying the crap up for me!

When it gets a bit tricky though, my mind focuses on the job at hand, and not the skid-mark in my pants.
4:22:06 PM
I (unfortunately) have witnessed a couple friends that have nasty climbing accidents & afterwards it took me months to regain the confidence to commit to hard moves about gear. Fear definitely keeps you on your toes, the day I am no longer scared is the day I quit climbing.

5:01:52 PM
Big numbers don't make a difference when it comes to fear of falling, or rather of falling and hitting. In general I'd much rather pop off on a 20+ than something easier, not an ego thing at all, but in general the lower the grade the more likely you are to collect something on the way down/snag a rope/bounce off a ledge and hurt yourself. Not always true, but close enough.

The more you climb, big or small numbers the greater your confidence and when you have the confidence then fear is just something that helps keeps you on track and focused on what your are doing, but doesn't interfere with the climbing.

9:28:41 PM
On 30/01/2004 Rich wrote:

How about;
Know fear, ... or get wings!

1:54:46 PM
I'm glad there's still enough of us willing to acknowledge what I reckon just about every climber feels from time to time! Have you ever read any of the stuff from the "Warrior's Way"? ( ), which focuses on mental training for climbing. The stuff that made the greatest impression on me was discussion of 'being in the moment' on a climb. Fear saps your confidence and ability, making the things you're afraid of more likely to happen, but you can't make it magically go away or ignore it (because it's there for a good reason!). So, you seek to acknowledge what is scaring you, decide whether it's rational or reasonable and, if it isn't, attempt to move consciously _beyond_ the emotion. In this calmer space, the moves flow and time becomes meaningless - the bliss that every climber knows! (This usually happens to me usually on grade 12s!)

I haven't read much Warriors Way stuff lately because a lot of it has been about how mental training has allowed people to get their children climbing exactly 2.459 grades harder than they'd climbed before. Pushing grades seems to be missing the point a bit.

I reckon I can get myself into that zone when I've placed a bomber bit of gear - you know, like a wire slotted deep into a narrow crack - and so can confidently remind myself that I can put the fear aside. It doesn't disappear, I can just tell myself I don't have to worry about it at that moment.

I suppose I like the hippy eastern mysticism of it all too - The Matrix Revolutions didn't deliver enough in that department!

There are 15 messages in this topic.


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