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oopps


Oct 22, 2005, 4:16 AM
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Afraid, but not of falling
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I noticed that someone mentioned this in one of the other threads, but would like to get people's opinions on this, hence the new thread.

I get freaked out when climbing routes near or at my limit and when I think I'm going to fall, like anyone else, I'm sure. But I'm not afraid of falling (anyone I climb with can testify to this, my falls are rather infamous). So I'm wondering what I'm afraid of... sometime I think it's just fear of failure, of not achieving my expectations, but I don't know.

Any thoughts on this, anyone?


deserteaglle


Oct 22, 2005, 6:05 AM
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I'm not afraid of falling either. There is nothing scary to me about falling through the air at all. It's just that part about hitting the ground real hard that gives me the shakes. I got a crashpad now, but I don't want to stop being scared. If it were easy where would the fun be?


joshportell


Oct 22, 2005, 6:57 AM
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I THINK SOMETIMES I GET AFRAID TO MOVE ON. MAYBE GETTING SCETCHED OUT OR BLOWING A CLIP. OR MAYBE A FEAR OF COMMITTING TO THE CLIMBING AHEAD. I KNOW THE FEELING, BUT ITS HARD TO DESCRIBE. I'M NOT AFRAID AF BIG FALLS. BUT I KNOW THIS FEELING ONLY COMES ON LEAD.


oldrnotboldr


Oct 22, 2005, 7:45 AM
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An old timer once called it the "development of imagination". This is when you imagine what's going to happen when you hit.

That says it all for me. It's not the falling that scares me, it's what I can imagine will happen when I hit.


dingus


Oct 22, 2005, 7:56 AM
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Primal.

DMT


dirtineye


Oct 22, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Maybe it's fear of bodily harm. that would be deeper down in the psyche that falling. Like dingo said, more primal.

For me, I've found that when I'm injured or out of shape, I'm more fearful than when I'm not injured. I think it is a fear of re-injury, because I know I'm not up to par, and I know that I'm in a place I probably shouldn't be, and then there's some self-disgust in there too, for getting in over my head on what would not normally be difficult, or at least not so difficult that I might get hurt. Maybe that's also some frustration showing.

Maybe it also has something to do with climbing stuff that is too hard now but was not too hard in the uninjured state.


Partner iclimbtoo


Oct 22, 2005, 1:23 PM
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I've thought about this for a quite a long time since I suffer from the same syndrome...

I think part of my addiction to and fear in climbing are held in the level of confidence I have in myself. I am addicted to the sport because everytime I go out I feel as though I learn something new about myself. However, on the flip side, my fear lies not in taking a fall, but in trusting myself and my placements. I'm not scared of the fall, but a longer fall than expected means that my placement pulled, therefore scaring the living sh!t out of me because I lose confidence in my ability to trust my placements and my knowledge of climbing.


fallingrock


Oct 22, 2005, 4:55 PM
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It's the result of millions of years of mental evolutionary development warning you that falling from elevation and hitting the ground means death. Death is bad. Don't die. "Fight or flight" >> fear/confrontation induce adrenaline.

Despite decades of climbing experience, knowledge that your gear is solid and recognizing that you will not die (most likely), you brain will have a hard time overcoming the millions-year-old, time-tested evolutionary urge to avoid death.


arnoilgner


Oct 25, 2005, 8:46 AM
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Hello Oopps,
iclimbtoo has an insight that I think speaks at least partially to what you are experiencing--lack of trust in yourself and/or gear. This lack of trust comes back to your confidence in you. How much do you value getting to the top? What kinds of expectations do you have when you climb? Valuing the top or having expectations of getting there (I should be able to climb this because...) interfere with giving effort. My latest newsletter deals with this topic. Email me for it if you like (warriorsway@mindspring.com).

Also, one aspect that I sometimes struggle with is the shear discomfort of exerting full effort. When the climbing is really stressful physically it is difficult to continue committing forward.
arno


_fiend_


Nov 17, 2005, 4:14 AM
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In reply to:
I get freaked out when climbing routes near or at my limit and when I think I'm going to fall, like anyone else, I'm sure. But I'm not afraid of falling (anyone I climb with can testify to this, my falls are rather infamous). So I'm wondering what I'm afraid of... sometime I think it's just fear of failure, of not achieving my expectations, but I don't know.

I think I get something like this when I'm feeling confident and lose my fear (or deep inhibition) of falling. Instead of feeling scared to fall, or scared to commit because I might fall, I feel reluctant to fall and really concerned about messing up the sequence - not really fear, but a definite wariness that I want to do it right and I don't want to come off. NOT because I'm scared of the fall, but because I really want to do the route, I really want to have the full experience, to complete the journey.


I actually view it as a positive step....losing the fear of falling because I'm scared of falling, and progressing to reluctance to fall because I want to stay climbing the route. I think it's a step away from phantom fears and a step towards having determination bourne out of a strong desire to continue.

Having said that, it can still be problematic as it can be paralysising, not wanting to continue in case I muff it up....there's still a bit of risk avoidance going on there.


arnoilgner


Nov 18, 2005, 7:09 AM
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Hello again fiend,
Your comment:

"Instead of feeling scared to fall, or scared to commit because I might fall, I feel reluctant to fall and really concerned about messing up the sequence - not really fear, but a definite wariness that I want to do it right and I don't want to come off. NOT because I'm scared of the fall, but because I really want to do the route, I really want to have the full experience, to complete the journey."

You're getting into a more subtle area here. How do you define "complete the journey?" If it is getting to the top then you'll miss the "full experience."
arno


_fiend_


Dec 21, 2005, 2:19 PM
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In reply to:
You're getting into a more subtle area here. How do you define "complete the journey?" If it is getting to the top then you'll miss the "full experience."
arno

Yes subtle indeed. What I mean is somewhere between the frowned-upon aim of "getting to the top", and the approved-of aim of "learning from the experience". In that situation, I want to get to the top, yes, but not just get to the top or be at the top, I want to do all the climbing to get there, I want to BE DOING all that climbing, and whatever it entails. I want the experience to continue until I reach the top, NOT just to have reached the top. This is about how I value onsighting - about how the climb unfolds, the journey into new territory, and how I deal with it and progress through it.


ajkclay


Dec 21, 2005, 3:11 PM
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Good thread!

It's funny, but I have noticed a similar thing when top rope rehearsing a hard (for me) project.

If I sense that I may fall I get a strong sense of fear type sensations going on and begin to over-grip and think of ways to not fall instead of just attempting the next move.

The weird thing is we are just talking about top roping here.

I solo often, and sometimes on routes that people call me nuts for doing, and I have few qualms about leading run-out or poorly protected routes, and don't seem to get the same effect, even when I fall.

Recently in another thread I discussed taking a drop above pro that I knew was dodgy, 4 out of 6 pieces failed, and I was aware of this possibility, but I experienced no real fear with the prospect. The same conditions existed regarding the fall; I knew that it was coming, I just didn't freak.

WTF? In hindsight I think that perhaps what may be happening is that when leading I am mentally preparing differently, committing to the climb when I lead or solo more than when top roping, perhaps accepting the consequences of dropping and then putting it out of my mind, wheras on TR I just tie in and climb. Additionally it could be an overreaction of my senses to not wanting to fall out of a strong desire to climb the route clean which is then being mistakenly interpreted as a fear of falling because of a [non-existent] danger.

Whoa, that was a lot of writing, time to stop.

Thoughts?

Adam


crimpergirl


Jun 6, 2006, 9:55 AM
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Something to consider also is that the discomfort stems from a loss of control. This is discussed in the book and I believe for me, it hits the nail on the head. Falling - no biggy. Loss of control by letting go - very biggy.

Signed,

Control-freak Crimpie


dirtineye


Jun 6, 2006, 10:22 AM
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In reply to:
Something to consider also is that the discomfort stems from a loss of control. This is discussed in the book and I believe for me, it hits the nail on the head. Falling - no biggy. Loss of control by letting go - very biggy.

Signed,

Control-freak Crimpie

Crimpestuous one, try taking control to the next level-- control what goes on after you let go.


I hate being out of control too, and the way teo get aroud this for me was to study falling and practice ita lot, some dierectly with Arno's hands on help.

HE does these one day sessions, on an indivdual basism that can be very ehlpful indeed.

HAHA, Arno is not a control freak, he woudl wnat to help you with that probably (not speaking for A here ) but he does like to control the falling as much as possible, and it can be done.


sawtooth_ridge


Jun 6, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Traditions may vary from locale to locale.......

Although there are probably some locals that would disagree with me, existing chains are frequently toproped off, and lowering from rap chains is also a common practice at Smith and in Western Oregon. An argument for the lowering is that it greatly simplifies route retreat, and a bit of wear on chains isn't a good counter-argument for that.

BUT, for this to work, we as a community need to take responsibility for those chains as well. A wrench, appropriate nuts, and a few of the highest quality hangers (+ education on what to do w/ them!) really should be gear that accompanies you most of the time if you're truly a deadicated climber.

Use your heads of course. If chains are becoming worn and you are aware of this, jump on the job of replacing them. ******Educate yourself about the quality and lifespan of any anchor you install!!!!! *******Use ONLY the best. Price is no object! We, as local climbers, are aware of anchor hazards, etc. that folks visiting our crags are not aware of. In my book, I'd like to see every belay station I find on new climbs to be up-to-date, bombproof, and readily recognizable as such. If it's in my stomping grounds and it's not OK, I'll do my best to improve it. You'll be glad I did!

Watch yourselves concerning the ethics of route modification. Y'all know what I mean.

Never listen to me. Be safe, instead!


crimpergirl


Jun 6, 2006, 10:50 AM
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Knowing how to control a fall, or how to fall 'properly' does not negate the control freak stuff. They are two totally different animals.


dirtineye


Jun 6, 2006, 1:50 PM
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In reply to:
Knowing how to control a fall, or how to fall 'properly' does not negate the control freak stuff. They are two totally different animals.

maybe I don;t understand.

YOU said when you let go you lose control, or feel that taht bothers yoru control freak side, right?

If you felt you were still in control during the fall, wouldn't that satisfy your inner control freak?

it does for me.

Must { now rodk}( = not work, LOL, looked fine before I squinted at it) for everyone though, huh?


crimpergirl


Jun 6, 2006, 4:45 PM
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It's not so easy to explain unless you are a bonafile control freak.

For example, there are a lot of people who FREAK at being a passenger in the car. Makes them very unhappy/uneasy/afraid/whatever. Teaching them how to drive a car, or their superior knowledge of driving safely doesn't necessarily negate those feelings.

In the same way, learning how to fall, or knowing how to fall doesn't negate the control issues associated with letting go/losing grip. Alas, at least to some, letting go, or losing one's grip is a separate thing from falling.

I'll wait to hear what Arno thinks, but this is a psychological issue, not an issue of falling technique.


dirtineye


Jun 7, 2006, 7:40 AM
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In reply to:
It's not so easy to explain unless you are a bonafile control freak.

For example, there are a lot of people who FREAK at being a passenger in the car. Makes them very unhappy/uneasy/afraid/whatever. Teaching them how to drive a car, or their superior knowledge of driving safely doesn't necessarily negate those feelings.

In the same way, learning how to fall, or knowing how to fall doesn't negate the control issues associated with letting go/losing grip. Alas, at least to some, letting go, or losing one's grip is a separate thing from falling.

I'll wait to hear what Arno thinks, but this is a psychological issue, not an issue of falling technique.

He's good at those things. the whole book is about the head games.

In the start of RWW Arno writes that it was his mental game (or whatever you want to call it ) that geve him whatever edge he might have. So he developed that.

TEn to one says he talks about accepting risk with you.


arnoilgner


Jun 7, 2006, 7:00 PM
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Hey crimpergirl...breathe

The control freak issue is very common among climbers and is fun to work on. To work on it you need to do things with your body, not your mind. The control tendency comes from your mind revolting. The body doesn't do this unless the mind is allowed to intrude. So, the whole issue depends on how well you can engage the body in the climbing process. By engaging the body you can disengage the mind.

Dirt is correct in saying that rather than seeing it as losing control when you let go, see it as moving from one form of control to another form of control. When you are attached to the rock you have control by what you do with your body: holding on, breathing, staying relaxed, etc. When you let go you have control by what you do with your body: arms out, breathing, stay relaxed, look down, etc.

perhaps this helps?
arno


vivalargo


Jun 28, 2006, 8:46 PM
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A very interesting thing to experiment with is to try and fully experience your fear without evaluating it in any way at all. What does this mean? Well, you first have to connect with the most primitive part of the fear, which is not the "why" or the reasons you are afraid, which is the thinking element, rather you sense into the uncomfortable body sensations. These are the actual visceral, energetic sensations even below the level of feelings, which is an emotional response to the sensations. The sensations are merely the sympathetic nervous system reving up, and if that reving is allowed to get to the point of hyperactivation you basically have the equivalant of a panic attack.

The human system is hard wired to react strongly to these uncomforable sensations. If you didn´t have them you would have no physical que to even be scared. But when you breathe into these sensations without trying to make them go away, and without attaching any meaning to them, unexpected shifts start to happen. Simply observing and fully accepting the sensations is an education to many people. When you fully accept the sensatios as truly being there they no longer have the same tendency to trigger a long string of mental images and connotations about what the sensations "mean." When yu can observe fear at the sensation level, without being afraid of it, you´ve covered some important ground.

But it does take practice, especially the accepting part. Most midalities provide a bag full of tricks and techniques to conquer the fear--and these rarely work as advertised. The trick is learning to leave off reacting to the fear with meta interpretations and meanings and to just choose to go with what is actually happening minus the interpreting and evaluating.

The starting point to processing anything is accepting reality just as it is, with no regrets, including that part of you that wants to sensations gone immediately.

JL


shanz


Jun 28, 2006, 9:05 PM
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Perception is reality


happybob


Jun 28, 2006, 9:09 PM
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Maybe your afraid of bee's... I know one time I was climbing and there was this wasp nest, and I was scared. I knew I only had one option though, to overcome my fear of die. So I climbed above the hive, and knocked that bitch down to my belayer. :lol:

Come to think of it, it really wasn't that scary at all. In fact, a little funny maybe. Maybe you've just got anxiety problems...


bustaheel


Jun 28, 2006, 9:29 PM
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I think I get afraid of failure. If my arms start to get pumped, I don't want to deal with falling, I just give in that much easier than when I am fresh.

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