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bumbly blues .....

11:12:15 AM
I am wondering how to overcome more of the mental aspects when climbing.
Initially the problems began in the gym where I would be half way up a wall and my head would start telling me this is no good, get down now. Once my weight was on the rope and lowered down I would be ok and could pretty much head straight up again with no problems. I just always put it down to first climb of the day jitters.
When I began climbing outdoors this problem seemed to go away, and I thought I was progressing nicely, even comtemplating a learn to lead course sometime later in the year. Now unfortunately it is back and is starting to bother me.
I was at werribee gorge yesterday and the route I was on was a 15, I am not sure of the name. My head was literally screaming at me that this is no good and get the hell off. Mind you I was toproped, my feet were really good and my hands had really positive jams and I wasn't pumped. I have grunted my way through harder, yet no matter how I tried I just couldn't get my head to work.
The advice I have been given so far by Phil_Nev is to hit the gym and take some falls, which is something I will do. But I wonder whether that is all it is, a gear trust issue.
So if anyone can offer some advice on the best way to handle situations like that and how to combat them, I would appreciate it

11:18:13 AM
a HUGE part of climbing (for any climber not just bumblies) is overcoming mental Phil suggested, you should get in the gym to take some falls. especially if you learn to lead in the gym, take some whippers on purpose- its easy to fall off, but its much harder to jump off. if you fall a lot you become comfortable with it, and then you can achieve much closer to your physical ability. just make sure you never, ever become apathetic towards falling (specially if you start tradding), because thats when you'll hurt yourself.
11:34:55 AM
>just make sure you never, ever become
>apathetic towards falling

I know the theory of doing this & have taken enought falls myself to know that its ok most of the time (but not all!). But the above post contradicts itself - surely purposely taking falls (whether in a gym or wherever) will just encourage such apathy. Its a fine fine line between confidence & complacency.

it would be safer (at first at least) to just keep climbing (when you're worried) & then once you get to the top you can tell yourself it was all ok & there was no need to have got so worried. In the future when you get worried, you can think back to 'last time when it all worked out ok' & tell yourself the same thing.

11:58:51 AM
If you're learning to lead, maybe try getting another mate belaying you on a bomber top rope as a back up, but with a heap of slack out (well, just enough for the lead pro to take the fall and not so much that you'll bounce if something fails) so you're not mentally relying on the top rope. You can take some deliberate falls on the lead gear and if it fails for what ever reason you're still on rope. This is how I was taught for trad and although it requires an extra person and is more gear intensive, it was a good way of training for the head game.

It could also be a good way of learning limitations of different gear in more marginal placements and seeing how much/little force makes them pop.

Otherwise, I guess it's just experience and trusting your gear. Mighty Mouse was bloody right about not getting too trusting though, it's just there as a backup and things can go wrong, I have the x-rays to prove it = P
2:23:40 PM
See the recent topic ďfear of flyingĒ

I often find that I get a bit freaked out on top rope. It seems really stupid but I can lead a route close to my limit and I am fine because I am focusing on the climbing. On top rope and on easier routes you donít need to focus on the moves so much and I start to think about falling. Also on top rope there is there is an easy way out and it may be tempting to take it. If you are above your gear on lead you either fall or keep climbing. The only times I have ever been close to loosing it have been seconding or on top rope and well below my limit. At these time is best to just push through it (as long as you know it is safe to do so).

Taking SAFE practice falls is a good idea but I also think spending as much time as far off the ground as you can is good practice. I guess everybody is different but I donít really think that climbing in the gym prepares you mentally for climbing outside.

I would definitely recommend doing the learn to lead course. You will probably be so focused on what you are doing that you will forget to be scared.

Also donít feel bad about getting nervous its pretty normal and even though cliffs at Weribee are pretty short they are a long way up a steep hill and feel quite exposed.

The most important thing is to to be able to tell the difference between fear that will stop you from killing yourself and fear that will stop you enjoying yourself.


4:16:36 PM
Hey Terry.....this feeling you have is part of the deal!

A lot of factors affect your emotional state while climbing. You will find your emotions always fluctuate somewhere between scared shitless and complete confidence. It doesnít just depend on how much gear you have in or what grade the climb is.

I still get the feelings you describe after leading hundreds of pitches. Controlling your head is part of the challenge. The amount of RECENT climbing Iíve done affects my emotions as much as the grade Iím climbing. I found hearing about all the recent deaths in the NZ Alps had a great effect on my climbing confidence on a recent trip there.

The more experience you get the less often it will happen and the more capable you will be at pushing through it.

4:39:23 PM
On 30/03/2004 Tel wrote:
>I am wondering how to overcome more of the mental aspects when climbing.
>Initially the problems began in the gym ...
>When I began climbing outdoors this problem seemed to go away, and I thought
>I was progressing nicely, even comtemplating a learn to lead course sometime
>later in the year. Now unfortunately it is back and is starting to bother me.

I don't think this is a "bumbly" issue, i think it affects people of all ablitiies. I find somedays I can be scared of almost nothing and climb really confidently, and even enjoy the apprehension, other days I get really nervous for really no reason and climb like crap.

When that happens, I just accept it, recognise it will pass, and do something easy. And sure enough, a day later I'm ok again. As someone else once said on this forum, the veneer of confidence can be very thin. Don't veiw being afraid as a problem - it is a life saving emotion. The problem is worrying about being afraid. Just let it pass. You say being afraid "bothers" you. This would suggest to me that the fear its self is not the problem, but your reation to it. Can you change the way you feel about fear? Realx and take some deep breaths. Identify if there is any real factual reason to actually be scared. I suspect what I have said either makes good sense or sounds like gibberish...

As an aside, seconding always scares me. The rope from above pulls at you, pulls you off balance, makes you feel like you should be climbing faster, you don;t look around enough for holds, etc. I really don't like seconding. Leading is sometimes much less scary!!

See you at araps!!

4:41:20 PM
I think that fear is overrated, Bruce Lee once said: "The consciousness of self is the greatest possible hindrance to the proper exectution of physical activity". That saying is as applicable to climbing as anything, and I have adopted it as my own. I find that I can boulder out a problem much easier if I just focus on the moves and shut out fear. I reckon the same should go for trad climbing.

I thnik that the guy above is scared at top roping because it is a natural reflex to be more scared when there is nothing below you, as opposed to when your leading you have the belayer and the rope, pro all to stop you hitting the ground.

Hope this helps bro

5:01:15 PM
There is a dude called Terry
Who makes us all so merry
When ya start to get quivering pex
Just think of our mate ' The HEX ' !!!
And soon you'll be Moffat & Jerry !
(or Samantha Berry )

As both HB and H-T have found , the key seems to be 'getting solid 'at each new grade before moving on and up.

A very good strategy is to lead as far as you can , and then when ya brain sez '... this is no good...get the hell off '---retreat ,safely to ya last runner, then lower off ; then let 'the better climber ' belayer , lead thru from your high point ; which then allows you to power thru to the top , while 'work-shopping your emotions' at the zone of resistance ,without the 'pressure' of 'the sharp-end'

You will gain the 'tick' ; the confidence ; and the skills from ya buddy.

Bit by bit , you will sneak thru the grades --- without that 'queasy feeling'

You're heading in the right direction , dude !

Luv, HEX

5:12:32 PM
Thanks lots of good help in ALL the posts, I will have plenty to work with next time,
look forward to meeeting some of you Sunday

2:04:26 PM
fear whilst top roping and seconding (except on traverses) should try to be overcome if you are to concentrate on climbing well in these areas of climbing as they are generally safe - you have a rope above you and you are unlikely to fall more than a couple of feet. How you get over that? lots of time in the harness, seconding and TRing above your limit so that you do fall and you get head around the fact that it is safe and it is OK to fall whilst in these situations.
Leading on the otherhand is a different kettle of fish as you're no doubt aware. first separate it into sport and trad. sport is usually ok to fall assuming good, attentive belaying and no obstacles to hit on the way down. So it should be ok to try to get over this fear too, usually as per above, falling indoors.
With trad its healthy to have a fear of falling as this where u can be hurt if the gear fails due to a few possible reasons. Once you have led trad for a while below you limit and you feel very confident with your gear (after doing a course perhaps as well) you may consider to start leading trad a bit harder, say at your limit. Then you do want to reduce your fear of falling because if you are concentrating on your fear rather than climbing, then you will fall off. So by reducing your fear of it, you are less likely to have to fall. so how do you reduce you fear, why you fall of course ;) pref with a top rope but after you've taken a few falls onto good trad gear you will start to believe that good gear will hold you and your confidence will increase. The one thing IMO that is imperative here is that you have a good grounding in placing protection and that you know what good pro is and are not just guessing and blindly placing gear. that will get you into trouble. Anyways good luck :)

3:23:57 PM
Fear while top-roped or seconding ?? Why?

Don't you trust your partner, or the gear, or the set-up?

Having a head knowledge of set-ups, equipment breaking strains etc will do little to comfort your heart, if you don't trust your partner or yourself!

If its all too much, work into it slowly like Hex suggests and gain your confidence by degrees.
There is no substitute for actually getting out there and doing it. Just remember to enjoy yourself at the same time.

4:46:13 PM
On 31/03/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:
>Fear while top-roped or seconding ?? Why?
>Don't you trust your partner, or the gear, or the set-up?

I figure if I am going to respond I may as well tell it like it is foolish as it may seem so here goes.
In terms of partners I think I have been very blessed, Phil Nev, AndyCJ, Dave123 ( all chockstoners), these guys have been nothing but supportive all the time even when I am climbing like shite. I trust them without a problem at all.
Part of the problem is that I am not a great fan of heights at all, so again under advice, I tell myself that I have a healthy respect for heights, whereas I used to say I was scareds of hieghts. This mental tactic has worked to a degree. I know the rope can hold me I know the gear is good, but in a fall I don't feel that I have much control, so its not decking out but more slamming around I think. Even when I am climbing badly I still have some measure of control, such as feet and hand placements, eg:
I had a crack at evel brew 20gr ( toproped) at camels last week, I tried to follow the same moves a phil, but I didn't quite get my feet up high enough, as a consequence I was fully extended with my hands above my head on a balancy move. Now I knew I was gonna come off, I told phil I was gonna come off, but I'd be buggered if I was able to just let go, I must have hung on to that little thumb and finger pinch for another 3 minutes. I knew I wasn't going to deck but I was no longer in control.

other things that go through my head:
It is bothersome too because I sometimes think that people will stop taking me out with them because of these things, I get annoyed at myself when I climb bad because I then feel I am slowing up the day for others, so instead of ticking a 24 they are at the top of 15 and have dialed out for a pizza whilst waiting for me to drag my arse to the top. It may sound childish, but when someone offers themselves as a partner and I then don't follow through I feel i have let them down in some regard.
I know this is a stumbling block, and being a process person if I can understand what is going on I can then work a way through it. Whilst posts like this tend to expose you a little the respones with your thoughts and opinions is what helps get the brain looking at ways to work around the problems, so a genuine thanks , with an aussie goodonyafellas for good measure.

As a finish I enjoy climbing I really like the challenges even when I am not doing well, the more I climb the more I want to climb, I am really looking forward to going to araps and I want to get some good climbs in and hopefully add a few seconds to my list ( I think it is awesome fun trying clean the route), I want to tackle some of the bouldering, and just have a great time.

4:53:53 PM
it funny i sometimes feel more comfortable on lead than top rope/ seccond.... dont know why...............

4:54:22 PM
Just keep climbing terry,

Im by no means a good climber but some of my best days are taking out new enthusiastic climbers of any ability as it rubs off. As long as yah trying and having ago Im sure no one minds belaying you. And as for hanging on for 3 minutes, nothing wrong with that, as you get better that determination not to let go will get you through a few hairy spots.

Climb on...
5:01:49 PM
Hey Tel,

Don't worry about taking a long time seconding a climb. Most experienced climbers get a great deal of satisfaction imparting knowledge to those new to the game. Besides you will probably spend just as much time on belay while your leader is working their grade 24 project.

Have a blast at Araps.

5:17:21 PM
On 31/03/2004 Tel wrote:
>Part of the problem is that I am not a great fan of heights at all, (snip)
>the more I climb the more I want to climb
Separating fear and healthy respect is the trick. Seems to me you are doing OK from your attitude and still wanting to climb after having just climbed.

>but in a fall I don't feel that I have much control,
Once it happens none of us has much control.
Some people have extensive climbing careers without any falls involved! ... You may become another one of them!!

>other things that go through my head:(snip), but when someone offers themselves as >a partner and I then don't follow through I feel i have let them down in some regard.
If you are good company and safe to be around, I am sure you will always find willing partners. The social dimension of climbing is an often undervalued component.
There are many of us that also simply enjoy just being out on rock regardless of the grade or techniques/styles involved.

5:26:43 PM
Gday Tel,

When I started climbing, all I basically did was second granite slabs. This was great, because with a tight rope and a (reletively) easy angled slab, I knew that if I fell of, there was no possibility of falling / swinging and hitting anything. All that would happen is id take one or two steps backward until the stretch was taken out of the rope.

Slabs are also good because you rarely get pumped (except in the calfs...). Maybe you could do a bit more slab climbing to build confidence? (if you dont do much already that is).

1:11:10 PM
On 31/03/2004 joemor wrote:
>it funny i sometimes feel more comfortable on lead than top rope/ seccond....
>dont know why...............

You know, women are emotional creatures, do they behave logicaly? Not always!!
Fear is an emotion, so why should it always behave logically!!

Oh shit,i have done it now .. flame away girls!!

Have fun.. cheers

10:28:26 AM
I know what you mean about it being more scary to be top roped/seconding.....

I think my fear comes from my early days of climbing in the gym with an inexperienced belayer who thought it much "safer" to pull that rope as tight as she could which would yoink me off the wall A LOT (bless her little heart). My brain now says "Uh oh, going to commit to that move but maaaybe the rope will be pulled really tight right in the middle of it and off I'll go. I wonder if I squeeze that hold really tight I can hold myself on the wall JUST in case it happens... uh oh now my forearms are getting pumped.... oh no..... where was I going to put my feet again?"... "can i let go to poke at that curve nut or will I be yoinked off?? " etc...

I know when I'm leading that the belayer knows not to pull it too tight because that will definitely pull me off the climb, and that i'm definitely not going to have that inexperienced belayer anywhere near the belay plate....

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