Forums: Clubs: Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way:
"I just really want to know what it's like"
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_fiend_


Apr 19, 2006, 3:44 PM
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"I just really want to know what it's like"
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That, I think, is one of my main motivations for climbing what I do, particularly onsighting, and particularly routes where it's challenging enough to be uncertain what will happen.

I'm sharing it because it's something that's clarified in my mind recently.

I've had a few occasions where I have, as a matter of both inspiration and entirely sensible information gathering, had a good, long, look at a route from the ground or surrounding terrain, and tried to estimate what it might entail and get a plan how to tackle it. Invariably I have seen things that raise uncertainty about what will happen: Will I be able to place gear there? Will I be able to rest there? Will that hold work to do the move like it looks from down here?

What will it be like?

And sometimes I've got worried. I don't know what it will be like. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if I could do it.

And then it's struck me strongly recently:

The only way I will know is if I find out!

Maybe that hold will be good enough and I will crank through fine. Maybe it won't and I will fall off or retreat. Maybe that gear slot will be great and I will feel perfectly safe. Maybe it won't and I will downclimb half the route to escape. Maybe I will feel confident enough to deal with the situation. Maybe I won't and I won't complete the climb. The only way to know is to be in that situation.

This I think sums up why I value onsighting, why I value that journey into the unknown. I could find out the factual nature of the rock by inspecting the route via abseil or top-rope, but I won't find out what it's like to go into that situation with the expectations and estimates I have from looking it and anticipating it without inspection. The feelings, the dealing with the situation, those will only be found out by climbing up there and facing the unknown.


And sometimes, it's the best thing not to find out yet. I went to a crag recently just to look at a classic unprotected route that had been inspiring me for a while - it looked great and I checked it out from any angle I could. I saw possible holds, I saw possible moves, and I really wanted to know what it was like. But it's too close to my limit, and after enough soul-searching, I walked away, I will find out what it is like another time...


arnoilgner


Apr 21, 2006, 2:04 PM
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Re: "I just really want to know what it's like" [In reply to]
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A lot of introspection going on...

"And sometimes I've got worried. I don't know what it will be like. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if I could do it."
Just answer the questions.

"And sometimes I've got worried. I don't know what it will be like. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if I could do it."
Yes, isn’t it great? If you always knew, what would be the point?

"Maybe that hold will be good enough and I will crank through fine. Maybe it won't and I will fall off or retreat. Maybe that gear slot will be great and I will feel perfectly safe. Maybe it won't and I will downclimb half the route to escape. Maybe I will feel confident enough to deal with the situation. Maybe I won't and I won't complete the climb. The only way to know is to be in that situation."

Yes, to engage and let the experience determine what is possible. Don’t be attached to either “possible outcome”. Assess as well as you can and then DO or DO NOT. Walking away, as you described about that runout route, was an appropriate decision.

arno


_fiend_


Apr 25, 2006, 5:18 AM
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Re: "I just really want to know what it's like" [In reply to]
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A lot of introspection going on...

Well, to make a thread out of it, yes. But it was just a simple thought - that of the title - flitting through my head a couple of times :)

It's good you raised the point about not being attached to the outcome. That's something important to be bourne in mind.


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