Forums: Clubs: Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way:
The Most Interesting Space in Climbing
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way

Premier Sponsor:

 
First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All


arnoilgner


Oct 3, 2005, 9:28 AM
Post #1 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

The Most Interesting Space in Climbing
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

We meet fear when we are in that space where we are pumped and doubting whether or not we can continue climbing. How we proceed determines largely if we are masters of our fear or servants of it. What seems to be most helpful is to develop power over the thoughts that rush in when we are stressed.

I'd like to suggest everyone do this exercise and report back his/her findings.

Important: This exercise will include falling. If you have little or no experience falling then do this on toprope.

Exercise: Find a route that is at or above your limit that is well protected with "safe" fall consequences. Begin the climb with a specific intention: to notice what kinds of thoughts you have when you are in that space where you are stressed, become afraid or have doubts. Simply record your thoughts.

After we have some folks post their results I'll give an additional exercise on what to do about these thoughts.


liquid_ice


Oct 3, 2005, 10:02 AM
Post #2 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2005
Posts: 6

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

well i havnt gone out n done it since ive read this but i can recall some of the feelings i go thru, first is the adrenaline rush followed by realisation of the crux i may of just completed, but then it hits me that i may not be able to hang on enough to clip in, my fear is of having so much slack out when i am clipping in that my fall may be a considerable amount more dangerous to me or even my belayer, and thas about the time when the weeping comes in :wink:


slavetogravity


Oct 3, 2005, 11:07 AM
Post #3 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 9, 2003
Posts: 1114

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

99 red balloons floating in the summer sky...... Oh man, Iím gunnaí blow it! Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. Iím gunna blow it. NO!! Iíve got it Iím going to do it! Iím going to do it! Iím going to do it!............Flash the message, Somethingís out there floating in the summer sky. 99 red balloons go by............. WTF!?? God I hate that song. Fní German Pop crap! Did I leave the oven on? etc....


Partner j_ung


Oct 3, 2005, 11:09 AM
Post #4 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 18687

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Same here.

I tried to climb a roof crack that, to my knowledge, hasn't been climbed before. As I stood in an alcove near the back of the roof looking out at two body lengths of horizontal climbing to the lip, I think I actually said aloud, "This won't go."

At the urging of my belayer, I got into it anyway and gave it a "try". But as I worked my way out the crack, it was a constant battle of thoughts between, "I can't do this... take," and, "Just reach out a little further and see what the next jam feels like."

The rest went something like this:

"OK, it's OK. I guess I can move again."
"I need gear. I need gear. I need gear."
"Can I hang on while I place?"
"OK, I think I can hang on. Place gear..."
"Crap, it's not as good as I thought it would be. Oh shit! Adjust it! Adjust it!"
"OK better. Crap this is hard. I think I need to take."
"Just reach out a little further and see what the next jam feels like."

This cycle brought me eventually to the lip of the roof, where the real hard climbing starts. By then, I was so sweaty, bloody and mentally and physically exhausted that I gave up, back aided until I could downclimb to the belay and then lowered off.

That's about as honest as I can make it. I hope it's detailed enough. Ugh.


noface


Oct 3, 2005, 11:39 AM
Post #5 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 9, 2004
Posts: 42

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I start to question things. Like is that the next hold? Can I reach that clip? Will my hand hold? What am I doing? Then there is just the presence of ultranegative "NO" when I am really stressed right before I let go. I don't climb until falling. I climb till I think I'm going to fall.


cintune


Oct 3, 2005, 11:39 AM
Post #6 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 1293

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

"I'm going to die." But I didn't.
[edit] Going to the gym tonight, will take extra crashpad, pencil and paper.


arnoilgner


Oct 9, 2005, 8:52 PM
Post #7 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Okay, we got a few posts.

Anyway, consider this.
One reminder. This is for well protected sport and trad climbs, not runout stuff. And, you are on a climb at or above your limit.

The thoughts you have (while on such hard climbs) are not true representations of what is possible for you. What you consciously know you can do are only those routes rated below your limit--that don't challenge you or create doubts. So, you cannot trust your thoughts to guide you when climbing routes that are at or above your limit. You need something else--your body.

Consider doing this exercise:
Set an intention to commit forward to climbing and do not listen to any thoughts that want you to escape the stress. Rather, make the next move anyway. In other words, do not decide to take a fall because you "think" you can't make the next move. Trust your body to make the next move and go ahead and make it. Sometimes you'll be able to make it and sometimes you'll fall in the process of making it. Either way you are creating a learning situation about how you respond to doubts in that most interesting space.
Report back please. arno


jacobbelsher


Oct 9, 2005, 11:33 PM
Post #8 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 10, 2005
Posts: 147

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
How we proceed determines largely if we are masters of our fear or servants of it.

Sometimes. More often I think the routes difficulty determines how I procede. That or some other tangible...


korntera


Oct 10, 2005, 12:05 AM
Post #9 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 13, 2004
Posts: 422

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

A while back I decided that a 10b looked really easy ( I had only top roped 5.9's before) So i decided that I would lead it. I got three bolts up and felt super confident and strong. Then about 5 feet after the first bolt I took my first ever lead fall. It was such a rush. I sat there thinking WOW that was FUN!!! then i got back to the point and got really scared about falling and wouldn't climb up. Finally i realized I can't get this gear back unless I make it to the top so i tried again and fell and had fun falling. got a little rope burn and walked off leaving gear.


Partner heiko


Oct 10, 2005, 2:01 AM
Post #10 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 1505

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

"THAT NEXT BOLT IS TOO FAR AWAY".


Partner j_ung


Oct 12, 2005, 7:26 AM
Post #11 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 21, 2003
Posts: 18687

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Reporting back...

I've been trying to get back into decent shape since a mostly sedentary summer. Two nights ago, I was climbing steep stuff at the local gym and ran into exactly the situation we've been trying to identify in this thread. I made a clip and thought, Taaaake... but I didn't say it. Then I remembered this thread and made a concious decision to move through it. Eventually I fell off the route, but not until I actually fell. I didn't yell take and I didn't give up. I got a lot farther than I thought I would.

But It was easy to practice this on the route I was climbing. And indeed, I already knew what the result would be. I just needed to push myself a little.

But Arno, it's the gym and, unfortunately, it's where most of my climbing is done these days. I'm more comfortable there than any other place. It's a different story entirely when I'm onsighting, outside, pumped and I don't know where my next protection is coming from.

I've fallen on gear far too many times to count and I have days onsighting trad when my confidence is high and the climbing flows. But more often than not, the uncertainty really gets to me. As a result, I've been far more successful at redpointing than onsighting and some of those falls were the result of me giving up and letting go. I'd like to turn that around.


outdoorsie


Oct 12, 2005, 8:31 AM
Post #12 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 15, 2003
Posts: 302

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Exercise: Find a route that is at or above your limit that is well protected with "safe" fall consequences. Begin the climb with a specific intention: to notice what kinds of thoughts you have when you are in that space where you are stressed, become afraid or have doubts. Simply record your thoughts.

After we have some folks post their results I'll give an additional exercise on what to do about these thoughts.

Well, I came across this thread just last week, so I guess I'm a little behind? This is kind of funny, Arno, because I totally signed up for the clinic when you come through Fort Collins in November. Maybe we can keep working on this then...

Anyway, last night I did a little leading in the gym, and the route that I picked to be "at or above" my limit starts with a commiting sequence, and the first bolt is a funky stance. When I got to it, it was like my body said "Oh crud! The brain is trying to do something stupid! Time to take over!" and it wasn't even a concious movement... My whole body just wanted that protection so I stuck my foot on a big hold off route to make the clip.

I find this happens with me a lot. I feel like my brain becomes this little voice saying "you don't have to wuss out..." that is completely ignored by the rest of my body. :oops:


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:00 AM
Post #13 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hello jacobbelsher - Your quote below:

"Sometimes. More often I think the routes difficulty determines how I procede. That or some other tangible..."

Yes, the route difficulty can determine how you think. What I am wanting you to experience is to move beyond difficulty. Route difficulty has nothing to do with committing forward to climbing as long as you feel you can respond effectively to a fall. In fact, harder routes have cleaner fall consequences than do easier routes.
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:04 AM
Post #14 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hi Korntera. Your quote below:

"WOW that was FUN!!! then i got back to the point and got really scared about falling and wouldn't climb up. Finally i realized I can't get this gear back unless I make it to the top so i tried again and fell and had fun falling."

Falling can be fun but it is also dangerous. Don't take it too lightly but rather find ways to practice in small increments, perhaps beginning on toprope.
Do you see how getting on that 10b, which was beyond your limit, opened new perspectives on what is possible for you?
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:07 AM
Post #15 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Heiko.

Your quote "THAT NEXT BOLT IS TOO FAR AWAY" is a thought. The exercise I'm wanting you to do helps transcend limiting thoughts. Do the exercise and see if you can let go of that thought and commit forward to climbing.
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:10 AM
Post #16 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Heiko.

Your quote "THAT NEXT BOLT IS TOO FAR AWAY" is a thought. The exercise I'm wanting you to do helps transcend limiting thoughts. Do the exercise and see if you can let go of that thought and commit forward to climbing.
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:11 AM
Post #17 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Heiko.

Your quote "THAT NEXT BOLT IS TOO FAR AWAY" is a thought. The exercise I'm wanting you to do helps transcend limiting thoughts. Do the exercise and see if you can let go of that thought and commit forward to climbing.
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:18 AM
Post #18 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

j_ung.
Your comments:
"It's a different story entirely when I'm onsighting, outside, pumped and I don't know where my next protection is coming from. As a result, I've been far more successful at redpointing than onsighting and some of those falls were the result of me giving up and letting go. I'd like to turn that around."

Yes, it is different, but the method is the same. Personally, I don't like to continue climbing if I do not know where the next pro possibilities are. There is no easy way to do this. It takes getting into uncomfortable situations, like the outside trad climbs you refer to, and working the model. If you're doing this in NC then you're mainly dealing with runout climbs. Find well protected trad and sport climbs and apply it there.
arno


arnoilgner


Oct 13, 2005, 8:28 AM
Post #19 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey outdoorsie,
Yes, we'll be working on exactly this during the clinics in CO in Nov.

Your comment: "I find this happens with me a lot. I feel like my brain becomes this little voice saying "you don't have to wuss out..." that is completely ignored by the rest of my body."

Are you sure it is your body that is resisting or is it your thoughts first and then your body? So, it sounds like you're climbing and then you stop. What is causing the "stop?" Do two things:
First, make the next move anyway, if you can. If you can't then...
Second, delay reacting and stay where you are doing various things such as taking a step up, step down, chalking up, breathing, looking at the possible sequence, identifying exactly where the next bolt is, look down to know what the fall consequence is, etc. In other words, keep attention engaged in solving the problem facing you instead of what may be in there. See you body follows.
arno


naw


Oct 13, 2005, 3:22 PM
Post #20 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 192

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

My main complaint in regards to trying to work on leading is that fear kills my desire to climb. Does anyone understand what I mean by this? If I get on a route, get sketched, and become paralyzed by fear, I lose my desire to climb. In the end, it's the loss of desire that ends in my coming down off the route, not the fear of a fall. When I get in a situation like we're discussing, I immediately start to question my footwork, second guessing every move I make. "This hold isn't good...I'm off balance...my foot feels like it's going to slip...my arms feel pumped...my foot feels like it's going to slip...is my foot behind the rope...I think I'm overgripping...am I overgripping...should I make this move...etc...etc." Eventually, I take, and then it almost seems like the damage is done. Once I question myself and give up once, it's almost impossible for me to work up the motivation to try again. The most interesting thing is that I don't actually feel afraid to fall. Most of my climbing is sport routes, so I know the pro is trustworthy. What happens is that I actually lose my desire to climb. I no longer want to finish the route. I guess the fear is so unenjoyable that I don't even know why I'm climbing to begin with. Then, of course, as soon as I have an hour or two to relax, I'm pumped to climb again. It seems like the majority of my problems stem from an inability to focus on what I'm doing. As long as I'm climbing confidently, not questioning myself, and staying focused on the movement, I don't get scared. As soon as I start to second guess my movement, it's all over. Another interesting fact...this type of problem doesn't happen when I'm climbing something that I know is too difficult for me to onsight/redpoint. For some reason, I'm much more relaxed when I have no expectations for myself. However, if I know I'm strong enough to onsight or redpoint a route, the pressure of that knowledge somehow makes me much, much more nervous as I climb. Maybe I'm afraid to succeed? I've been doing some focus exercises lately, so hopefully they'll help me stay with the moment. I know this response is greatly beyond the scope of the exercise, but it sort of wrote itself so I apologize for the long read.


nate


saxfiend


Oct 13, 2005, 3:46 PM
Post #21 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Posts: 1208

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
My main complaint in regards to trying to work on leading is that fear kills my desire to climb. Does anyone understand what I mean by this? If I get on a route, get sketched, and become paralyzed by fear, I lose my desire to climb. In the end, it's the loss of desire that ends in my coming down off the route, not the fear of a fall.
[snip]
The most interesting thing is that I don't actually feel afraid to fall.
This is an intriguing post. You say you're paralyzed by fear, but that you're not afraid to fall. If it's not falling, what's causing the fear? That's the question I'd be giving a lot of thought to if I were in your shoes. I'll be interested to hear Arno's comments on this.

JL


naw


Oct 13, 2005, 3:52 PM
Post #22 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 12, 2004
Posts: 192

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Yeah, I wish I knew the answer myself. I've taken 40 foot falls on overhanging routes at the red, I've fallen 20-25 feet on slab. I'm pretty good at analyzing fall consequences...the fall is not what I'm afraid of. Maybe I'm afraid of effort? Or maybe of trying my best and failing? It could be a pressure issue. I just wish I could enjoy pushing myself instead of fearing it.


tallnik


Oct 13, 2005, 4:42 PM
Post #23 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 18, 2004
Posts: 595

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hey everyone, awesome thread Arno...

Anyways, my contribution lies within the realm of my trad climbing. I've been leading trad for a season and a half, and feel comfortable on most 5.8s. On sport I climb 5.10, and generally fear doesn't really factor in my sport climbing. Occasionally it does, but then mostly I just have to take a fall and get it out of my system, and then I'm good to climb until my absolute limit.

On trad though... hooooweeee that's a different story. I've never really fallen on my gear. To be pedantic, I've fallen twice, once on my first lead when my partner could see the piece was good, and the fall clean he made me climb above it to the point where it was at my feet and then fall. But his telling me to take a fall meant I knew the piece was good. Secondly, I fell once when I placed a piece, clipped in, was about to climb, and my foot blew. I went down maybe two feet. While theoretically I know my pieces are good, and should hold a fall, the thing that freaks me out sometimes with my climbing at or just above my level (5.8+ cracks, as jamming is a new game to me, until recently all the trad cracks I'd done I applied face climbing techniques to, and have only recently started torquing, or 5.9+ trad routes) is the thought that I'll take a fall and my gear won't hold.

5.8 finger crack I recently climbed (angled to the left, left foot constantly smearing on steep terrain, right foot in the crack) this is what was in my mind:
- alright, good jam, place a piece, go...
- you're 6feet above your last piece, start sweating and have to control the fear in my mind, find that good jam, go, go, go you're ten feet above your last piece, milk that jam, make it solid, find the gear, stop sweating dammit, plug the gear, tighten jam, pull rope, clip, no fear, go...
and repeat

my problem basically was that I had to control my fear to trust the jams to be able to hold me long enough to place gear and clip, or when climbing above my pieces. As soon as I have a piece above me or right a waist level, the next few moves are done without fear.

Sorry about the super long explanation.

Cheers,
Nik


fightingmuskrat


Oct 13, 2005, 5:55 PM
Post #24 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 16, 2004
Posts: 14

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I usually become scared when I look down directly at the bolt and see how far from it I am. When I am in the zone I rarely look down.

Different things enter my mind when I am feeling fear in the situation you outlined:

1. I cannot climb higher because I will not have the strength to clip the next bolt.

2. I cannot climb higher because I will not find a good hold to clip from (this generally prevents me from on sighting - the fear of not finding a clipping hold).

3. Complete mind fog. I am thinking of nothing specific - no images, no words, no thoughts - and I become completely frozen.

These fears prevent me from climbing the way I know I can. What is frustrating is the inconsistency of my fear - there are days I can climb hard 12's with no fear and the next day I'll start crying over a 5.9 that is run out.

Thanks Arno,

Danielle


fungpu


Oct 14, 2005, 7:07 AM
Post #25 of 71 (12072 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 4

Re: The Most Interesting Space in Climbing [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Arno - hat's off to your awesome book! As I was recently leading a 5.9+ in the whites, I found myself in a difficult, awkward space. I did not freak, but fell anyway, apx 20 ft, totally unexpected. Got a little banged up, and tapped a deck. I didn't know why I fell. After getting back to it, it took awhile to get my head around it. I looked everywhere for a better way, but there wasn't. I had to use the same moves, which I eventually did. This time I made it through. Later on I was trying to figure what happened. I now know. I was gripped and tensed in muscle areas where I needed to relax which caused me to loose poise and balance. My mind went to the next move before I solved this crux because I was doing the 'if only I can grab that next hold' thing. So, I guess I did freak because it's only when you can keep your head in the moment that you are relaxed enough to make it go.
Thanks! It became that learning experience! Very cool!

First page Previous page 1 2 3 Next page Last page  View All

Forums : Clubs : Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$10.76 (10% off)
$89.06 (10% off)
$40.46 (10% off)
$211.50 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook