Forums: Clubs: Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way:
Fear consumes most of my energy...
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way

Premier Sponsor:

 


Partner heiko


Apr 16, 2006, 9:08 AM
Post #1 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 1505

Fear consumes most of my energy...
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hi,

two days ago I tried to onsight a sport route that is about two grades higher than what I considered "my current level"... I got seriously pumped after every move, had to rest, got the Elvis leg, hardly managed to clip - let's admit it: I was totally freaked out, and during the climb I was totally sure the route was too hard for me. The crimps were tiny, the footholds slippery, the sidepulls all slopers.

When I had finally finished the route, I wondered: but hey, was it really THAT hard? So I redid it on toprope - and styled it! FIVE laps in a row, without a pause!!! No hang-dogging, no falls... I was exhausted, for sure, and the moves weren't easy for me, but five laps! WTF!

I know now that I can do even harder - in theory... But in the end, what did I prove to myself? Nothing more than the fact that the sh|tload of rockclimbing I've done in the past year increased my physical technique and strength by more than a number grade (5.9 to probably 11b or even higher), but my mental strength stayed the same - about that of a chicken!

I felt mentally pretty burnt out at the end of last year and took a break for most all of the winter to relax, but now I'm really worried that I won't be able to overcome my mental limitations very easily.

I'd appreciate any sensible suggestions.

Thanks,
Heiko

PS: I don't mind too much about cleanly falling out of an overhang - it's just that most of the climbing here at my level doesn't offer very clean falls - there's practically always some ugly stuff in the way somewhere.

Edited to add that grades in general mostly play a role for me to assess whether I will go on a certain climb or not. I climb a lot of multi-pitch where bailing usually is not an option. For the rest of the time, I'm usually not obsessed about grades... I climb because I love it.


livinonasandbar


Apr 16, 2006, 9:46 AM
Post #2 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 3, 2003
Posts: 356

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Climbing isn't for everyone... Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself the question. No shame in finding something else to do.


Partner heiko


Apr 16, 2006, 9:57 AM
Post #3 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 1505

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [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:
Climbing isn't for everyone... Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself the question. No shame in finding something else to do.

Oh wow, now THAT was helpful advice for mental training. :?

It's not that I chicken off every climb I go on, you know. :roll:


gt29905


Apr 16, 2006, 10:05 AM
Post #4 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 30, 2005
Posts: 167

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Yeah, sandbar's lame, condescending comment was meant for nothing other than his own glorification. Try bouldering some low grade highball problems. That way you'll be sure of your technical proficiency and will be able to focus on exclusively fighting the fear factor.


puerto


Apr 16, 2006, 10:16 AM
Post #5 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2005
Posts: 229

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I find that when I first try a route that's usually a bit above my level, 11a for example, I'm always thinking "did I just do the only 11a crux, or is this next move 11a as well????"

That being said, I'm always happy to even get up such a route, hanging or not.. And the routes I find are hard to lead I find almost as hard on toprope..

so some people may say you're trying to lead routes that are too hard for you..one school of thought says that if you're trying to lead 11b, you should build a base of leading 10d and 11a, other people say to get right on the 11b on toprope..


Partner the_mitt


Apr 16, 2006, 10:17 AM
Post #6 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 17, 2006
Posts: 279

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post



(This post was edited by the_mitt on Nov 19, 2006, 10:45 AM)


onsight_endorphines


Apr 16, 2006, 10:23 AM
Post #7 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 14, 2004
Posts: 226

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

First off, if you're going to cheese grater yourself on the way down, you better be scared to fall. And you better not fall.

When it's safe to do so, go ahead and take some intentional falls! Set yourself up on a slight overhang or whatever, get a distance past the last bolt, and jump off.

To accelerate the process, dead-hang to failure. :shock: :D This clears the mind surprisingly well.

How often do you fall in a typical climbing season? When it's safe, I'll fall tens of times. Throw myself at a problem, slip off the hold, and down I go. Repeat as necessary :D Ahhh, the essence of sport climbing.


overlord


Apr 16, 2006, 10:24 AM
Post #8 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 14120

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

climb more :wink:

seriously, i never got totally rid of the fear. the best thing i can mannage is not caring where the last piece of pro is. when im in shape i gegt scared by the move not by the distance from the last piece of pro. that usually happens after i take a few good falls at the brginning of the season.

another thing that helps me (when in mental shape) is to take a few deep breaths and TELL myself to stop being afraid. once when i was trying to onsight a 7a+, a foothold broke and i almost fell (i was on the second clip and the deck was kinda close). i somehow held the holds and regained the feet, but i was shaking like crazy. then i took a few deep breaths and told myself to calm down. and it worked like a charm. i stopped shaking instantly and was able to continue to fall at the upper crux. i guess i got too pumped when i was catching the feet and there were no good rests to recuperate.


shanz


Apr 16, 2006, 10:26 AM
Post #9 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 18, 2004
Posts: 702

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [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:
Climbing isn't for everyone... Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself the question. No shame in finding something else to do.

God love this guys constructive criticism... FREAKING WANKER!!!!!!!

back to the original subject i do alot of meditation to battle this... try visualizing the climb and body movement and especially i focus on my breathing this is the "no mind" philosophy i learned in the martial arts years ago. That will help alot. Granted sometimes other climbers look at me like im a fruitcake meditating in front of climb thinking its some hippy shit.. Course i never really cared what others thought about me and when i nail it their views tend to change


onsight_endorphines


Apr 16, 2006, 10:28 AM
Post #10 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 14, 2004
Posts: 226

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

First off, if you're going to cheese grater yourself on the way down, you better be scared to fall. And you better not fall.

When it's safe to do so, go ahead and take some intentional falls! Set yourself up on a slight overhang or whatever, get a distance past the last bolt, and jump off.

To accelerate the process, dead-hang to failure. :shock: :D This clears the mind surprisingly well.

How often do you fall in a typical climbing season? When it's safe, I'll fall tens of times. Throw myself at a problem, slip off the hold, and down I go. Repeat as necessary :D Ahhh, the essence of sport climbing.

Edited to say:

Quote from the_mitt:
In reply to:
1. Know the difference between rational fear and irrational fear. Falling is OK, encouraged even if its a safe fall.

Well said. Nice post too.


Partner the_mitt


Apr 16, 2006, 11:29 AM
Post #11 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 17, 2006
Posts: 279

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post



(This post was edited by the_mitt on Nov 19, 2006, 10:45 AM)


shanz


Apr 16, 2006, 11:39 AM
Post #12 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 18, 2004
Posts: 702

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Yeah i think we all have those days at least i do. Some days no matter what i cant get anything going and others theres nothing i wont try... Ive found that my climbing is more dependent on outside factors. Such as financial, work stress, overall attitude, and the amount of rest i get. If ive had a rough day at week and i climb for a single day i usually dont climb as well. Though if i am out for a week climbing my climbing usually is better on my second to third day because of being able to destress


arnoilgner


Apr 21, 2006, 1:24 PM
Post #13 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 7, 2003
Posts: 366

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hello Heiko,

There are climbs that have "safe" fall consequences and others that don't. Sounds like you are referring to ones that don't.

So, you're asking how to apply the ww to runout routes where a fall isn't an option. If so, here are some things you can do.

1. Do a lot of probing. Climb up and back down to test moves and sequences.
2. Identify mini decision points between where your last pro is and your next pro. This may be a point half way between pro or something like that. Commit fully to that mini decision point and then reassess your power/strength vs. what's left to climb. These mini decision points may provide "safe" falling consequences that going all the way to the next pro would not. If so, you can fully commit to these mini decision points and feel as if you can respond to a fall should it happen.

Does this help?
arno


Partner heiko


Apr 24, 2006, 5:12 AM
Post #14 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 1505

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks Arno, and all the others, for your input. It seems that subconsciously I know pretty well where these spots for microdecisions are, because usually that's where fear suddenly kicks in. I should become more aware of this and try to focus.

I've analyzed myself a bit more during the last week, and the combination that obviously causes me the biggest problems is:

onsighting at (or above) my level + ugly falling terrain

If I know that after a few harder moves there is a safe rest somewhere, I do a lot better. Otherwise, as someone else mentioned before, there's just always the thought whether it will become better or worse on my way up.

I come to the conclusion that I should start caring more about identifying resting positions (which I think mostly coincide with what you call mini decision points) and less about the pro. I still find myself trying to clip or place pro from ridiculously hard positions instead of climbing to a better stance and clipping from there.

Thanks again,
Heiko


tradmanclimbs


Apr 24, 2006, 7:14 AM
Post #15 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2003
Posts: 2599

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Arno is touching on a method that i use ice climbing (allmost allways a no fall situation) I break the climb up into smaller sections that I Know that i can climb. Then you only deal with the small sections in your brain instead of being intimidated by the whole climb. I do this to a much lesser extent while rock climbing. (i am a better ice climber) I also have a much harder time controling my fear on rock. Fear sucks and it robs you of your strength while makeing you climb like crap. totaly counter productive! It is important to be able to make decisions that will keep you alive but it would be nice to be able to do that without being weakened by fear. Its like getting in the ring or out on the floor with someone who is tougher, stronger and more skilled than yourself. fear is good if it helps you make the decision NOT to get in that ring but once you are in that ring fear will only get you hurt.


rwalt85


Apr 24, 2006, 7:25 AM
Post #16 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 22, 2003
Posts: 52

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [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:
Climbing isn't for everyone... Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself the question. No shame in finding something else to do.

Sandbar should ask himself a similar question.

"I live in Florida, the highest point in this state is like ~300 ft. ^ sea level. Is this sport really for me? Maybe I should take up parasailing and croquet."


Partner jammer


Apr 24, 2006, 8:45 AM
Post #17 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 25, 2002
Posts: 3468

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [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:
I was totally freaked out, and during the climb I was totally sure the route was too hard for me. The crimps were tiny, the footholds slippery, the sidepulls all slopers.

Visualize the climb. Remember that you will not go where you mind has not first gone. Once you have mentally climbed the route, focus on what is in the "now" and leave the negative thoughts at the base of the climb ... before you leave the ground.

Fear, on the other hand, is a healthy emotion. Used improperly, and it can be paralyzing.


Partner heiko


Apr 24, 2006, 8:58 AM
Post #18 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Posts: 1505

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [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:
Visualize the climb. Remember that you will not go where you mind has not first gone. Once you have mentally climbed the route, focus on what is in the "now" and leave the negative thoughts at the base of the climb ... before you leave the ground.

Ok thanks. Will try. :)


chill41


Apr 24, 2006, 9:42 AM
Post #19 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Feb 7, 2005
Posts: 88

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Hi heiko, I've been having very similar experiences to yours lately as I've been pushing beyond my usual onsight limit to get on harder routes. One thing that I've found is that your attitude before you get anywhere near a route can have a huge impact on how you climb.

If you feel like the route won't be very difficult or that you "should" be able to get up the route, then you're expecting it to not be very hard and consequently you won't be willing to try hard or do something risky. If and when you do run into a tough sequence you won't be prepared to fully engage it; instead you'll be wishing it wasn't there or hoping you can somehow sneak your way past it. Avoiding the challenge like this is definitely going to sap your attention and probably make you climb like crap. I've found that this can happen to me on routes of all difficulty. Of course if it's an easier line I can waste alot of energy and still manage to make it to the top--but on routes at my limit I can't afford to waste anything.

One alternative attitude is to really expect the route to be tough from start to finish. With this mindset you can really focus on working out the difficult sections and be thankful when the going is easier, instead of hoping and wishing that it's easy when it's not.

Like others have said, if you break up the climb into sections (bolt-to-bolt or rest-to-rest) then you can make the decision to bail, hangdog, or keep going at each of those bolts or rests. Then once you've made that decision, whatever it is, stick with it!

chill


_fiend_


Apr 25, 2006, 5:34 AM
Post #20 of 20 (3632 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 3, 2005
Posts: 104

Re: Fear consumes most of my energy... [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Good post chill.

Having appropriate estimates for what the route is like is important, I've found. You want to make sure you estimate enough difficulty so you bring enough determination to the challenge* - but also not too much so it puts you off trying or tempts you into self-defeating talk.

This is where having an accurate grade and description is useful too ;).

* I find this to be a problem sometimes when I am warming up - I treat the warm up route as "easy", don't get determined enough, and find it a struggle and don't climb it so well. I then get on a harder route which I am more psyched for, and climb it better. Sometimes I avoid this by not bothering to warm up, but I don't recommend that ;)


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

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$8.96 (10% off)
$16.16 (10% off)
$13.46 (10% off)
$6.75 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook