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Being intimidated about even going to a crag...
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_fiend_


Nov 3, 2006, 1:09 AM
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Being intimidated about even going to a crag...
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Anyone get this?

You've got a selection of crags nearby. You've climbed on them quite a lot already. At many crags, the routes you want to do are quite hard, quite challenging. At a few crags, there's still some easier routes you want to do.

You're climbing okay, and you are genuinely inspired, but when it comes to the choice to go to one of the crags with the challenging routes, you're intimidated, you're reluctant to go there, reluctant to go somewhere where you might have to get a fair way outside your comfort zone, where you will really have to try very hard. You don't feel ready and the temptation is to put it off, go do a crag with easier routes, get a bit more practise in, leave your challenges for another day...

I get this - I think about Crag Z, with Route X on it, and I am really inspired, but also, well, really intimidated. I know that I'm physically capable, I'm on reasonable form....but I'm intimidated. Why? Scared of risking falling. Scared of risking failure. Scared of having to push myself harder than before. Worried about the lack of options if it doesn't feel right that day.

This is a challenge for me to face, to overcome that, to put myself in that arena. At the very least I can be at the crag, get on the first moves, and still walk away if it doesn't feel right. But I need to give myself that opportunity. I need to turn the situation around, and think "There is this challenging route there and that is GOOD, the route looks amazing, you almost certainly can do it, and it's a good, challenging experience to get on it". Not be put off by the challenge but to look forward to it when it actually comes to getting out there...


jonzoclimber


Nov 3, 2006, 5:25 AM
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Re: Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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you seem to have it all worked out yourself there. you're gonna have to figure out exactly why you're getting scared, not through some internet forum. I'm nervous every time I go somewhere new, but it's mostly just excitement. gluck


boo


Nov 3, 2006, 6:07 AM
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Re: Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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I know what you're talking about here. I call it demystifying a cliff. It happened to me a long time ago at a local crag, which is now a playground. I watched this unfold for others at a different cliff on a recent trip:

Great Head in Acadia. Place is haunted by a tragic accident which resulted in the crags name. Use your imagination and it won't be off the mark. Not many people go there, because the routes are very challenging. You have to wait for the tide to change, it's in the shade, and the water crashes onto the belays the whole time you are climbing. Imagine, a haunted cliff. We just needed bats.

So a bunch of us head out. One person said there were more people there in that day than likely a normal week, or month. Lots of laughter, encouragement for the leaders. And a couple of tour-ons, including me, gawking and awe struck by the setting. I couldn't wait to climb! I found the water to be the most relaxing white noise. Reminiscent of days as a beach guard and surfing. This rubbed off on the locals. One commented, this is the most fun I have ever had here. I want to spend more time here.

Not suggesting take a bunch of noobs, but it was interesting to watch the reluctance (and in one case memories of loss) ebb with the enthusiasm of the rest of us.

Go make that space your playground.


saxfiend


Nov 3, 2006, 8:36 AM
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I've been moving into similar territory recently, though my intimidation factor is not so much with a particular crag or route, but with moving up in the difficulty of my trad leading.

For a good while now, I've been focused on getting in a lot of mileage on routes that are mostly within my comfort range (5.8 and under) to gain confidence in my gear placement skills and endurance. More recently, I've led some pretty strenuous climbs and felt like I passed some good mental tests -- not giving in to fatigue or fear of falling. When I related this to Arno, his comment was that it's time for me to get on some well-protected routes in the 5.9-5.10 range with minimal fall consequences and be prepared to take a fall.

I feel like I'm ready (mentally and physically) to up the ante, and it's resulted in my looking at some of the local crags in a new light: whole sections that I would have avoided in the past are now calling to me to take the challenge. Plus I've been getting some nice encouragement about my climbing from friends who are much better climbers, and that helps.

Which reminds me -- I think climbing with people who are at a higher level is a real good thing when you're starting to push the limits. Following these guys on 5.11 stuff makes 5.9-5.10 seem not so intimidating, and when I'm leading, they're cheering me on, which always helps!

JL


zeke_sf


Nov 3, 2006, 8:56 AM
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as others have pointed out, sometimes you have to acclimate yourself to a particular crag. differences in rock and features are going to impact your ability to climb them, so you have to ask if these are factors affecting your psychology.

it sounds like you're building this crag up too high in your mind. if the routes aren't necessarily dangerous, you should reset your expectations. my anxiety rises when I set my bar for performance too high. go to those routes with the goal to experience them first, send later. concentrate on the immediate climbing, not the entirety of the route. I used to have a partner (albeit, in the gym) who'd say something like I was giving a route too much credit when I got nervous. give yourself a little credit.


degaine


Nov 5, 2006, 8:58 AM
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Re: Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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Sometimes you just have to step up to the challenge, suck it up, and climb - like on pitch 9 of a 12 pitch climb with the sun setting fast, no time to really be intimidated by the 5.XXb rating.

But those are pretty rare occasions.

I try to go with the flow of how I feel. Sometimes I'm so excited to climb, in the right mindset, extremely motivated so I'm almost in a dead sprint out of the car to the crag to attack my "nemesis".

Other days I feel like climbing, but am in a ho-hum mood about being challenged physically, so I'll do easier stuff and just enjoy being out on the rock. Sometimes my ego gets the best of me, I jump on a climb when I'm not feeling it, pee in my pants, then finish the climb.

I try to follow the idea biorhythm/"mental"-rhythm when I do any kind of physical activity: climbing, mountaineering, skiing, daily runs, etc., and adjust accordingly. With regard to the mountains, I try not to beat myself up for not doing something, relative to my lifetime, the mountains aren't going anywhere and will be there another day.

Personally, patience with myself and following how I feel has allowed me to progress far more quickly than just throwing myself at climbs for challenge or difficulty sake.


potreroed


Nov 5, 2006, 11:07 AM
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JUST DO IT!!!


xjlx


Nov 24, 2006, 9:39 AM
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Re: [_fiend_] Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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I started leading last spring, I know I can lead a few of the .10a's at my local crag. My fear is I don't always get out to the crag with my usual partner who I know can get up the climb if I can't, I psyche myself out of doing harder leads if I don't think I can finish them. I have top roped these climbs several times and had little trouble on them, I guess I am still just getting used to the whole leading game.


arnoilgner


Dec 5, 2006, 8:56 PM
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Re: [_fiend_] Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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Hello fiend,
Generally we get intimidated when we think of the end goal instead of the process. I suggest finding small ways to engage the routes, like breaking them into smaller decision points (stances/pro) and then deciding whether or not to continue when you get to these points instead of from the ground. When you consider a smaller risk it is easier to engage. And, if you leave an opening of getting off the route at various points then you'll be more willing to engage. What is important is the willingness to engage, which allows your body to find out what it is all about instead of relying on your mind's perceptions.
arno


_fiend_


Feb 2, 2007, 1:34 PM
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Re: [arnoilgner] Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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arnoilgner wrote:
Generally we get intimidated when we think of the end goal instead of the process. I suggest finding small ways to engage the routes, like breaking them into smaller decision points (stances/pro) and then deciding whether or not to continue when you get to these points instead of from the ground. When you consider a smaller risk it is easier to engage. And, if you leave an opening of getting off the route at various points then you'll be more willing to engage. What is important is the willingness to engage, which allows your body to find out what it is all about instead of relying on your mind's perceptions.

Agreed. I still have this intimidation but I also find when I get out there, it's okay, and I do okay on the routes overall. So I'm gradually learning to say "right give it a try".


slablizard


Feb 2, 2007, 4:45 PM
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Absolutely.

It happened to me 2 weekends ago. I was supposed to climb with someone, but once there a voicemail informed me that I was partnerless. So I headed to crag #2 that is WAY steeper than crag #1.
I got halfway the trail , stopped, my motivation tanked and I went back home and took the kids to the climbing gym ( in a PERFECT climbing weather day)

It was because I was afraid to fail in front of other ( stronger than me) climbers at the steep crag.
I worked my ass off 2 weeks in the gym and sunday I'll kick ass on those overhungs.
Still I prefer the other, where after 2-3 very hard routes I can finish my day on 11s. But hey..gotta step out my comfort zone right? ;)


(This post was edited by slablizard on Feb 2, 2007, 4:51 PM)


slablizard


Feb 5, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Stupid I know, but I recognized that I was afraid of failing more than climbing.
Not much in front of other climbers, I can't acre less actually but me.
WEnt there sunday had a great day.


arnoilgner


Feb 12, 2007, 7:32 AM
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fiend's comment: So I'm gradually learning to say "right give it a try".
-
fiend, i think you mean...right, i intend to engage.
-
isn't it a shame that our ego causes us to miss out on awesome climbing experiences simply because it doesn't want to look bad or because it focuses on the "all or nothing" in a climbing experience? set the ego's desires aside and just focus on what you enjoy about climbing. others will judge you if you fall off a route as well as if you make it up. they may think you suck for falling off or they may think you really gave a nice effort and at least got on the climb. if you make it to the top they may think you are a show off or they may think you are talented. who cares???? forget all that crap about what others may think about you. just climb...
arno


slablizard


Mar 15, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Re: [arnoilgner] Being intimidated about even going to a crag... [In reply to]
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arnoilgner wrote:
fiend's comment: So I'm gradually learning to say "right give it a try".
-
fiend, i think you mean...right, i intend to engage.
-
isn't it a shame that our ego causes us to miss out on awesome climbing experiences simply because it doesn't want to look bad or because it focuses on the "all or nothing" in a climbing experience? set the ego's desires aside and just focus on what you enjoy about climbing. others will judge you if you fall off a route as well as if you make it up. they may think you suck for falling off or they may think you really gave a nice effort and at least got on the climb. if you make it to the top they may think you are a show off or they may think you are talented. who cares???? forget all that crap about what others may think about you. just climb...
arno

Absolutely.
But that crag (Jailhouse) is really steep the warm up is a 12a ( closed now for a nest) and you either pull hard or pull hard there...no mid 11s climbs, just hard overhunging pump fests.
I like to climb well and I wasn't feelling in a good shape, and quite lazy that day.
And I know how muchh work a project requires.

that was excuse number 257 bis

:)


_fiend_


Mar 30, 2007, 5:21 AM
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In reply to:
fiend's comment: So I'm gradually learning to say "right give it a try".
-
fiend, i think you mean...right, i intend to engage.
-

Yeah. Same thing for me, I don't have negative connotations with giving it a try. Engage is a good a word as any....and that's what it's good for me to do.

However I'm not bothered about what others think, I'm very wary of that mental path and deliberately set myself aside from it. I'm harsh on myself, I know that, I get upset with failure (including, or perhaps especially, failure to engage, to commit, to continue....as much as failure to get up a route). That's what puts me off!


arnoilgner


Mar 31, 2007, 6:52 PM
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hi fiend,
just dig into what constitutes "failure" and what doesn't. i think you'll find you are associating failure with expectations about how you should perform. these expectations hinder learning. find a way to get excited about whatever outcome you create. you'll learn quicker that way.
arno


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