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Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out?
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sungam


Nov 2, 2008, 4:19 PM
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Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out?
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I'm no superman but I've done a few scary climbs.
One thing I have definitely noticed is that sometimes it feels like my mental strength is running out.
For instance-
A friend and myself were doing a route in the highlands notorious for it's long runout sections. We alternated leads for the majority of the climb, but when we came to the really shitzyourpants pitch and I was on the sharp end, I felt like I just didn't want to do it.
Perhaps normally I would go for it, maybe not. But I had a trip starting soon (Hey, I'm on it now!) and the last thing I wanted was to get hurt. So I handed that pitch to my buddy (The better climber).
The next pitch was just as run out, but the fall didn't involved the ledge system that the shitzyerself pitch had.
Anyways, my friend led that pitch and I followed him to the belay. While I was getting geared up for this pitch (it was about 140 feet long with maybe 4 gear clusters. a real pant filler) he turned to me and said "you have to climb this pitch. I can't bail you out. I just don't have the mental energy left". I lead the pitch without incident and the route finished grandly.

But (I'm kinda bored right now waiting for my GF to finish her homework while we baby-sit some meeting rooms for her job) I was just thinking about the mental energy thing, and how I often feel like I can only do so many scary things in one day.
Does anyone else feel this?
I don't think that it is due completely to the loss of physical energy and therefore a reduction in confidence, but also just feeling like enough danger has been had that day.
Is this a draining of mental energy? Adrenaline reserves running out? A subconsciouses calculation of how much risk is acceptable in one day?
I'm not sure, but I do know that I've often noticed it.
Any thoughts?


fresh


Nov 3, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Re: [sungam] Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out? [In reply to]
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I don't have an answer, but I once led all 9 pitches of what I thought would be an easy slab climb. it was my first time leading slab, so the 30, 40, 50-foot runouts caught me pretty off-guard. the last two pitches were like 5.3 and 5.1. they were almost too much for me. if I'd been with a partner who could lead, I'd have turned it over, but it really wasn't an option.

I think it has a lot to do with perception of the route. it was exhausting partly because I figured to be able to run up it. if I had expected a 10-hour day and horrifying runouts I probably would've felt stronger.


degaine


Nov 7, 2008, 5:49 AM
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Re: [sungam] Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out? [In reply to]
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sungam wrote:
Is this a draining of mental energy? Adrenaline reserves running out? A subconsciouses calculation of how much risk is acceptable in one day?
I'm not sure, but I do know that I've often noticed it.
Any thoughts?

Personally, I donít think that it has anything to do with adrenaline.

You canít be on 100% of the time. Iíve had days where Iím physically and mentally focused, and it all comes together, where I feel completely capable of running it out (even at my technical limit) or taking on 100% responsibility of my rope team (leading everything). Other days, Iím ďmentally drainedĒ or just not in my own personal zone.

And yes, you can be mentally tired. Your brain, just like the rest of your body, needs rest and recovery time.

Call it biorhythm or whatever. Donít beat yourself up in any case.


arnoilgner


Nov 13, 2008, 7:05 PM
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Re: [sungam] Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out? [In reply to]
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Hello sungam,
This is my take on it. We can only take so much of being outside our comfort zone. After a big or long dose of it we just can't take anymore stress. It is then that we need to get back in some sort of comfort zone, regroup, before we can get out there again. Sometimes that takes coming back another day.
Arno


surfergirl


Jul 14, 2009, 2:56 PM
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Re: [sungam] Mental Energy drain, or just Adrenaline running out? [In reply to]
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i just started leading and i think my adrenaline reserves, or whatever it is--something mental/chemical and NOT physical--is what limits me. i only lead at 5.8 tops and i'm otherwise in good shape, so there is no reason a few leads should tire me out physically, and it doesn't. mentally it's a completely different story....i feel completely drained after a day of climbing even though physically i feel fine.


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