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lena_chita
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Jul 7, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Irrational fears
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I looked through the posts here, but they don't quite fit what I'm experiencing, so I'm wondering how to deal with this.

In a nutshell-- I'm afraid of falling (sport lead, not trad) on overhanging routes WAY more than I'm afraid of falling on a slabby route. Even though my rational mind says that it is much safer to fall on a route where you swing AWAY from the wall as you fall, than to fall on a route where you'll be guaranteed to hit the wall.

I'm even afraid to fall on the overhanging route on a toprope! Even though I've taken these falls many-many times, in the gym and outside, and nothing bad ever happened. I guess I'm afraid of swinging.

How do I work through that?


reg


Jul 7, 2006, 11:51 AM
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I feel there is a lack of trust somewhere (of course your afraid of being killed or worst) what is it? - belayer?, gear?, rope?, harness? something - think dammit!!


bryceclarke


Jul 7, 2006, 12:23 PM
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Thats funny you bring this up, as I was just talking to my wife about this same thing last night. I had mentioned that the scariest part of an overhang/roof that I sent earlier this week was being lowered by my belayer. Once I was off from the anchors I was like 15 feet from the wall the whole time. I think my fear comes from how helpless I feel when I'm away from the wall and how screwed I'd be if the rope failed at that time. I guess my mind lulls me into a false security about falling on a slab--like I'd be able to grab onto something to save myself. But I gues in the end that is what makes climbing what it is.


flipnfall


Jul 7, 2006, 12:24 PM
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I used to be terrified of heights, let alone falling. Always behind my friends in their ability to make moves that required relaxing, I kept persisting and tyring to make myself climb. The result was that after constant exposure a retraining of my mind occured to adapt to environments that provoked fear.

Keep climbing, keep taking falls. It may mean that you and your belayer simply just give a little slack and you deliberately fall a little. Increase the length of falls slowly to allow your mind to overcome the fear. Exposure is really the key. Fall, fall, fall...

DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK
to improve my ability to lead, I eventually resorted to Danny Osmand like bridge jumping and free soloing. Jumping forced me to get used to falling and soloing helped my mind stop worrying about falling and just focus. Granted I only soloed 5.5 to 5.7 on routes I knew really well, but it helped my mind to adapt.*

*If you disagree with this, please don't attack me for it. I don't care to start a whole argument about this.

Even to this day I can shut off much of the fear of falling and climb at 100 feet as though I were only 2 feet up.

Hope that helps!

Keep climbing,

GT


lena_chita
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Jul 7, 2006, 12:30 PM
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I don't think any of those things listed are it. New rope, quickdraws about 1 year old, 2-yold harness, belayers with 2-6+ years of experience...

rationally everything is quite trustworthy. And i've taken falls, so it isn't a fear of unknown...

And it isn't that I'm afraid of losing control, or being unprepared for the fall, like was suggested in another thread b/c I'm afraid even when *I* deside that I want to come off the wall and ask the belayer to take me-- and then swing.

That's why I called it IRrational fear, :roll: .

I have thought about just working though it-- going on a wall with a roof in the gym and climbing routes on that wall every time I go there. But all it does is make me memorize those routes so they become easy, and the falls become not scary. But it is no help at all with new routes b/c a new route on the same wall becomes scary again-- but it's the exact same fall, damn it! Why is it scary on one route and not on another one on the same freaking wall?

This weekend I climbed quite a few overhanging/roof routes on a toprope outside. And every time I got under the roof (where the swing would be biggest if I fell) I got scared. But the roof itself is no problem when I finally stop shaking...

It probably doesn't make any sense to anyone b/c it doesn't make any sense even to me.


reg


Jul 7, 2006, 12:49 PM
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In reply to:
I don't think any of those things listed are it. New rope, quickdraws about 1 year old, 2-yold harness, belayers with 2-6+ years of experience...

rationally everything is quite trustworthy. And i've taken falls, so it isn't a fear of unknown...

That's why I called it IRrational fear, :roll: .

In reply to:
I have thought about just working though it--

maybe that's it then! just keep doin it and hopefully it'll go away - it did for me.

In reply to:
Why is it scary on one route and not on another one on the same freaking wall?

i dunno - wish i could help


This weekend I climbed quite a few overhanging/roof routes on a toprope outside. And every time I got under the roof (where the swing would be biggest if I fell) I got scared. But the roof itself is no problem when I finally stop shaking...

It probably doesn't make any sense to anyone b/c it doesn't make any sense even to me.


dirtineye


Jul 7, 2006, 2:21 PM
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Big swings are scary.

The rope can slide across edges.

you can swing backwards into things, like trees, or dihedral walls.

When you are out in space, You really are helpless if the belayer screws up, unlike when you are touching rock, there is always that chance you coudl hold on and save yourself.

I don't find your fear all that irrational.

Now, if yo uare aware of the problems, and you KNOW there aren't any that could really happen, as in, nothign to hit in your big swing, you KNOW your belayer is good as gold, and you are still havingreal trouble, hmmm.

All I can tell you is, I HATE top roping, I hate big swings out from under big roofs, ( I have actually screamed like a little girl once) I'll actually go to great lengths to avoid the swing if I can, and I'm glad someone else feels the same way, LOL!

The cure might be to stop sport climbing! BUt that did not work for me, hehe.

All in all, you are picking a good time to let your fear out, cause in a free swing you won't get hurt. IN a slab fall, you really must be concentrating to avoid some bumps and bruises or worse.

I think you should just not worry about it and laugh at yourself a little, that's what I do.

Tell yourself that if there were anythign to really worry about, you'd be paying attention to that and figuring out a plan, and not worrying when it is important to be concentrating on the fall and its outcome.

Cut yourself a little slack.


arnoilgner


Jul 7, 2006, 3:04 PM
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hello lena_chita,

Whether it is irrational or rational you need to find a way to engage your body so your mind won't think about it so much. Then with some body experience you can engage the mind again and work through it. Some of the mind crap will dissipate after you've done the body stuff.

Also, even though the new route is on the same wall that you've taken falls on doesn't mean it will be the same to your mind. It's new and that means unknown. You have some resistance to the unknown and rational arguments won't remove that resistance. But, your body will. Check this out.

1. Engage your body:
Get on that new route and do some short toprope falls. What's important is to make absolutely sure that you breathe deeply, look down, arms out, relax. Begin by simply breathing. You need to pick one thing to focus on and practice, so begin with breathing. Then add the others.

2. Engage your mind:
Get on toprope again, on a vertical wall (not overhanging) and get in a balanced climbing stance. Then slowly let go and go into the fall. You want to expand the moment when you go from control (holding on) to no control (falling). Anxious thoughts may come up but if you breathe you'll help diminish them and rewrite your current perception of falling.l

perhaps this helps.
arno


c4c


Jul 7, 2006, 5:14 PM
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maybe you should try golf?


wonderwoman


Jul 8, 2006, 8:52 AM
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Hi Lena -

I know what you mean! A while back I posted a similar topic that I called the 'psychology of slab' that got 3 pages of responses from people who felt that same way:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/...hp?p=1188093#1188093

For me, slab means a lot of fun footwork, even when it's a little run out. While I enjoy slab, I tend now to pick climbs that are doable but a little intimidating for me, like overhangs.

Sometimes when I'm climbing I will tell myself jokingly 'this is not an overhang, this is a nice, friendly layback!'. But guess what? It works when I talk to myself that way!

I would suggest you keep trying things that are challenging for you and maybe even keep a journal of what you feel when you're feeling scared on a climb. That way you can identify it and help overcome your fears.

Good luck and keep climbing. You are not alone!

Tiff


onsight_endorphines


Jul 8, 2006, 11:08 AM
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Roofs = big exposure = you're scared.

You sure that that's not all there is to it?

It sounds to me like the answer to this is something you'll have to come up with yourself.

C ya.


justthemaid


Jul 9, 2006, 10:59 AM
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My irrational fear is a bit different.

Lately I get COMPLETELY freaked out when someone is lowering me from ABOVE.

If the belayer is standing on the ground it's a non- issue for some reason.

It's totally weird, and I think it had to do with there being a few more rope management issues and it's sometimes a jerkier lower.

It's become so nerve wracking, I've started insisting on being the last one down so I can just rappel . I just feel more secure when my life is in my own hands.


saxfiend


Jul 10, 2006, 4:24 AM
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In reply to:
maybe you should try golf?
Maybe you should post frivolous and unhelpful responses to a serious question on some other forum. :roll:

JL


harmonrab


Jul 10, 2006, 6:22 AM
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hello everyone,

I have been climbing for about 2 and a half years and finally started leading recently. I understand this part of fear very well. Every time I go into a section with a roof on top scares the living s**t out of me even on top rope. Every time I saw an easy 5.5 section I thought of soloing. But, when I got close I didnt say a word and turned around. However, lately, my partner took me up on some scary traverses and some weird traverses which is like soloing (after getting off the route in a particular climb).
In all these situations, rechecking all my safety systems like harness knot, etc. while on a good ledge keeps me calm. Also, breathe in and breathe out everytime you get scared and JUST DO IT, if it feels good. You will see its all over in a matter of seconds and so far I got myself out of a situation following the previous procedures. Also, practice taking clean falls on top rope as much as you can. Start out slow and then take big falls
but, ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET no matter what. It might just save your life if things really go wrong.

**** PLEASE FOLLOW THE ABOVE AT YOUR OWN RISK ***** I AM NOT REPONSIBLE FOR INJURY OR DEATH**** MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PROPER TRAINING UNDER A FRIEND OR A GUIDE WHO KNOWS WHAT HE OR SHE IS DOING


dalguard


Jul 10, 2006, 6:56 AM
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You should be more afraid of being lowered from above. It's potentially more dangerous. Make sure whoever's lowering you has the rope redirected through the anchor and anchor them to something below them if you can.


acacongua


Jul 10, 2006, 7:05 AM
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These fears are not irrational. Are you new to climbing? Maybe after some experience on the rock, you'll be fine. Maybe try a little whipper therapy? Also, going out climbing with some people who are not struggling with the issues because that encourages me.


lena_chita
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Jul 10, 2006, 7:27 AM
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Whipper therapy? what's that? Sounds like some sort of a game for people with unusual sexual interests... :lol:

acacongua-- I've been climbing for 2 years, outside for 1 year, but only started leading this summer, so I can count my leads-- they are still under 20 total. I feel pretty solid on 5.8-5.9, only led one 5.10a so far -- which was also my only big lead fall, LOL.


Thanks for taking time to reply, everyone. There were several comments that really "hit", I need to work through them. I was sort of expecting to come back after a weekend and get a few pages of "stop trolling and use the stairs if rock-climbing freaks you out"...


acacongua


Jul 10, 2006, 9:29 AM
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No, that game has another name. :wink:

You take practice falls. Start at the bolt with a little slack out and let go. Do again a few hand holds above it and then just keep going.

It's important to note the proper technique to falling. In short, don't push off - even the slightest push off will create a nice hard swing into the wall, unless you're belayer is skilled with the soft catch even under pressure.


dirtineye


Jul 10, 2006, 12:25 PM
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In reply to:
No, that game has another name. :wink:

You take practice falls. Start at the bolt with a little slack out and let go. Do again a few hand holds above it and then just keep going.

It's important to note the proper technique to falling. In short, don't push off - even the slightest push off will create a nice hard swing into the wall, unless you're belayer is skilled with the soft catch even under pressure.

Pushing off or not depends on the sort of climb you are on.

Some climbs are bad to push off on, others require it.

THe slightest pushoff will certainly NOT create a nice hard swing into the wall in every case, or even in most cases.


flipnfall


Jul 10, 2006, 1:09 PM
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The other thing you could do is practice this a couple of times

http://www.barrytessman.com/images/rock/r0102.jpg

A little soloing to relax

http://www.planetmountain.com/...separatereality1.jpg

This has helped me to relax, too

http://photo.sohu.com/...813/Img221509363.jpg


wonderwoman


Jul 10, 2006, 1:12 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
No, that game has another name. :wink:

You take practice falls. Start at the bolt with a little slack out and let go. Do again a few hand holds above it and then just keep going.

It's important to note the proper technique to falling. In short, don't push off - even the slightest push off will create a nice hard swing into the wall, unless you're belayer is skilled with the soft catch even under pressure.

Pushing off or not depends on the sort of climb you are on.

Some climbs are bad to push off on, others require it.

THe slightest pushoff will certainly NOT create a nice hard swing into the wall in every case, or even in most cases.

And if you do take on falling practice, NEVER EVER EVER EVER get the rope behind your leg. That's super important because you could flip upside down an smack your head.


flipnfall


Jul 10, 2006, 1:17 PM
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In reply to:
And if you do take on falling practice, NEVER EVER EVER EVER get the rope behind your leg. That's super important because you could flip upside down an smack your head.

That's how I got my name "flipnfall". People used to call me "flip" because I would be so focus on the climb that the rope would tangle my foot and I'd flip when I fell. I still have rope burn scars from that.

Hey! One more post and you have a 1,000!

GT

p.s.
I didn't claim to be smart


wonderwoman


Jul 10, 2006, 2:00 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
And if you do take on falling practice, NEVER EVER EVER EVER get the rope behind your leg. That's super important because you could flip upside down an smack your head.

That's how I got my name "flipnfall". People used to call me "flip" because I would be so focus on the climb that the rope would tangle my foot and I'd flip when I fell. I still have rope burn scars from that.

Hey! One more post and you have a 1,000!

GT

p.s.
I didn't claim to be smart

Yes, I learned the hard way too, even though I wasn't 'practicing' falling at the time. I heel hooked, pulled the rope behind my leg to clip instead of between my legs and then fell on my face! I also earned the nickname 'crash' from my coworkers after coming into work with a bruise on my cheek.

Let's just say that experience left me with a lot of rational and irrational fears. But I'm luckily smarter because of it!

Hey, this is officially post #1000 now!


Partner bdplayer


Jul 10, 2006, 3:06 PM
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Shoot lena-chica..... With all this help, you'll be deep-water soloing in no time!

Eighty foot overhang with nothin' but water underneath- whooo hooo!!!!!


dirtineye


Jul 10, 2006, 7:08 PM
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Yes in the rope behind the leg deal is a bad idea.

I've seen it happen twice, and seen the result of another once. Luckily no heads smacked, but there were rope burns, which is about the best you can hope for, and heads missed walls by mere inches the times I witnessed falls with the rope behind the leg.

The belayer should warn the leader about this problem if he or she sees it.

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