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Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment?
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_fiend_


Jul 12, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment?
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This is worth exploring I think...

A tenet of RWW is that climbing outside ones comfort zone will be naturally uncomfortable, mentally and probably physically. The idea is to recognise that discomfort and work on not escaping it, but living through it, doing the best you can with it, and overcoming it through action rather than through escape.

So you are on a route, the way ahead is unclear, the situation you are in is increasingly uncomfortable - you are getting pumped and your feet are hurting. The conditions aren't ideal. You can see a general area to aim for but it requires committment, risking a fall, and temporarily increasing the physical discomfort.

You recognise those issues, and you also recognise your ability to push on to the next area, you can set yourself the task of doing so or falling.

But what if the discomfort is really stopping your enjoyment of the climb. What if the physical pain and mental discomfort is getting to the stage where all there is is pain, discomfort, challenge, and possibilities - but no actual pleasure. Obviously we all go through some pains where enjoyment is temporarily lost (mmmm those biting jams for example), but where it is becoming too constant, too much??

After all climbing for almost all of us (mountaineers and offwidth specialists excepted) is about enjoyment - even the challenge and pushing ourselves is in some way about the enjoyment of developing, progressing, and overcoming odds with our skills.

Is it giving in too easily? When should one stop trying to push past? There's no clear answer I guess, just personal lines in the sand. I've been in uncomfortable situations where using RWW tenets has helped me get on, climb, AND enjoy the climb. And I've been in other uncomfortable situations where I have given up and escaped, despite what RWW says, because the potential enjoyment has been too distant...

Thoughts?


acacongua


Jul 12, 2006, 1:02 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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You think too much.


el_layclimber


Jul 12, 2006, 1:34 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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If climbing becomes more painful than fun, then you are trying to reach the top to untie shoes, and escape pain meaning that you are climbing in a goal rather than experience-oriented mindset. I would much rather be more physically comfortable and push my psychological limits.
Can you climb to a rest, shake out and catch a breath? Climb on.
Is the entire experience a continuing exercise in misery? At what point is the pain you are putting yourself through likely to cause an injury, keeping you off the rock for months? Do you want to be like Mark Twight when you grow up? What are you learning from that?


Partner heiko


Jul 12, 2006, 1:44 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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you're not a competition athlete who HAS to do certain things for certain reasons.

what's your motivation for putting yourself under such amounts of stress?

climb when you feel like. don't climb when you don't feel like. your body and mind usually give you good signals, you just have to read them.


dingus


Jul 12, 2006, 3:05 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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Some of my most rewarding climbs were at the time the least pleasurable. That I was able to push through 'storm and doubt,' 'dig deep,' and all that other horse shit, well for me, produced some satisfaction.

And too, anyone who's been at this any length of time knows that some aspects of our sport are not 'pleasure domes,' Things like wilderness big wall approaches, 2nd morning on a wall, etc. The things that make you retch.

We learn early and often to at least try to push through pain, fear, lethargy, exhaustion. Jeez, I have literally blacked out at least 3 times due to various combinations of heat exhaustion, dehydration and lack of fitness.

But there have also been times when pushing through was as effective as beatingt my forehead against a brick wall.

Learning to recognize when to hold em, fold em and run away is probably a life long process, ever changing as we ourselves change.

I once penned a story about an ice climb I was about to do. I'd done it before and went on to do it more than once since. But that morning, as I prepared for the climb, I felt nothing for it.

Nothing that is, except for dread. I tried all the tricks. I did the mental gymnastics. I reminded myself of the things we have said above in this thread.

I knew I could do the climb. I knew it.

And still, all I felt was dread. I was like a prisoner of my own twisted ambition.

In the end, that day? I fled. I threw my pack back in the Jeep and I fled.

It almost took more, I don't know, gumption? Fortitude? To run away than it did to stay. I take that back, it took MORE. It was so hard for me to do it took an hour of dithering at the trailhead AFTER having the thought, before I summoned the courage to say , NO.

Odd, having to sumon courage to runaway, but there you have it.

Anyway, later that same day I hiked a desert peak, impromptu, without anyone on the planet knowing where I was.

And sitting on the top of East Sister, I was suffused with the knowledge, the absolute certainty, that I had done the right thing.

Now I've dreaded each and every major climb I have ever been lucky enough to attempt. But each of them were also accompanied with a variety of other emotions, tempering that sense of doom.

That morning whilst getting ready to climb North Peak for perhaps the 10th time, I was out f emotional gas. There were no competing emotions, all I had was dread. Otherwise I was absolutely dead inside.

AS a result of that day, I'm now much less likely to get talked into some dreadful project, whereas in the past I'd be all, "Chuya!"

Now I don't think you need, or better said, I need, to stroke my pleasure pulses with every climb. But I don't think you have to suffer 24/7 either. We all have to find or at least search for our own balances. I think they are ever-changing.

DMT


_fiend_


Jul 12, 2006, 3:10 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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Excellent post el_layclimber

In reply to:
If climbing becomes more painful than fun, then you are trying to reach the top to untie shoes, and escape pain meaning that you are climbing in a goal rather than experience-oriented mindset.

Yeah maybe that is the crucial difference - if it becomes so bad that I just want to be out of it (by climbing or escaping) rather than experiencing it as part of the journey...

In reply to:
Do you want to be like Mark Twight when you grow up?


LOL :o


Edit: Good post too dingus, I agree with some of the sentiments there - when there is suffering there has to be some inspiration too. And sometimes it feels right just to say "no".

Although, most of the climbs I've pushed myself on, mentally and physically, have also been the most enjoyable actually doing it....some discomfort but an overwhelming pleasure in the movement, the technicality, the situation, the experience, the state of mind, the committment, the rock....

Then again I don't do big walls, aid, offwidths, and snow is for skiing and ice for putting in drinks :wink:


arnoilgner


Jul 15, 2006, 8:37 PM
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Re: Discomfort from the chaos vs. genuine lack of enjoyment? [In reply to]
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fiend, your comments:

"But what if the discomfort is really stopping your enjoyment of the climb. What if the physical pain and mental discomfort is getting to the stage where all there is is pain, discomfort, challenge, and possibilities - but no actual pleasure. Obviously we all go through some pains where enjoyment is temporarily lost (mmmm those biting jams for example), but where it is becoming too constant, too much??"

You need to cycle in and out of the stress/discomfort. If you are in discomfort too long you get burned out. If you stay in your comfort zone too long you get complacent and don't learn. However, most people don't understand the value of discomfort. We all tend to rush through it to gain the satisfaction of the accomplishment. If we valued learning more then we'd be more present for the discomfort because learning occurs in discomfort, not in comfort. Most folks have little ability to deal with it. Can discomfort be pleasurable? Randy Leavett once said that he really enjoys getting totally pumped before falling. He knows he's really giving his all to the effort. Could we learn something from this?
arno


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