Forums: Climbing Information: Technique & Training:
ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy?
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Technique & Training

Premier Sponsor:

 
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All


healyje


Jun 15, 2011, 8:52 AM
Post #26 of 48 (2974 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [jape] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

'Onsight' is quite different a mode to be in than if you are falling thirty times on the last move. I had an FA where I fell twenty-four times on the last move (a wide, overhanging pinch to finish a roof) and finally had to spend about five hours at home basically 'meditating' visualizing that move and then went out and stuck it. The actual climbing was as 'mindless' as possible as I had wired the sequence down to the grains-of-sand level in my head before leaving the house.

Definitely it's a 'to each his own' sort of deal, but with regard to falls: perceiving, gauging, and assessing the risk associated with them for me is part of the movement and in no way a discrete, foreground mental activity. This is where other posters have mentioned 'automation' and the experience / 'flow' derived from getting in significant yardage.

Overall [mindless] 'flow' is what you're aiming for with all other concerns - solving the moves, route finding, looking ahead for and placing gear, gauging falls, etc. - becoming well-integrated, continuous tasks running as quietly as possible in the background. Getting there requires lots of time on stone and yardage under your belt.

If you haven't experienced that 'flow' much then I'd recommend picking out a small sequence of routes you love the movement on that are at or slightly above your limit (say three of them) and simply climb that sequence in the same order again and again until you have each climb so ruthlessly wired you can do them all but blind folded at slightly above your resting heart rate. Really dial them down so there is no superfluous or wasted movement.

Once you know what that feels like, the challenge then is to be able to get to that same place and maintain it on moves and routes you've never seen before. That's a wide gap, if not a gulf, I know - but it's the objective in the long run, particularly in trad climbing where if you don't have all the 'logistics' smoothly integrated with your movement you will have a hard time staying in the moment as you will always be getting jerked out of it to deal with some 'issue' (usually mental, but emotional concerns can rise up and swamp you during a [logistical] pause).

Last, there is no hanging on the rope during an onsight and many hard FAs have sequences where neither falling or resting on the rope is an option. That really isn't a reality most folks can suddenly confront out of the blue and deal well with - it takes some 'practice' to come to terms with. This is where my comments pointing out that onsighting and 'working' routes with sport tactics are essentially mental / emotional opposites are coming from. I'm not saying 'sport' is bad, but rather if 99% of your experience in 'figuring out' routes is by hanging at the end of the rope then you'll be ill-equipped to deal with the challenges associated with climbing at or past your limit onsighting or if you find yourself in a situation where hanging on the rope isn't an option.

You also won't develop an emphasis on finding and milking rests, and believe me, there are routes out there where getting up them is less a matter of being able to do the moves than being able to stick the rests. So what I'm suggesting is if 'onsighting' or FAs is what gets you off you should spend at least some of your time not hanging on the rope - instead come back down and try the sequence again from the ground, belay, or last full rest - give it another go 'on the fly' to learn to think and problem solve while actually climbing in a continuous stream of movement.

Oh, and practicing downclimbing can also be highly rewarding.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jun 15, 2011, 11:14 AM)


DouglasHunter


Jun 29, 2011, 10:35 AM
Post #27 of 48 (2920 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 1, 2010
Posts: 104

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (4 ratings)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
What makes you think an onsight attempt is somehow different than any other climb or that it requires a 'strategy' of any sort?

For serious climbers and coaches the obvious answer is that different types of athletic / cognitive challenges require different response from the athlete. On-sights and redpoints are very different types of athletic challenges; climbers can improve their performance by adopting tactics that are best suited to those challenges.

For folks who are less serious about or less interested in how the mind and body respond to the different challenges posed by climbing its not an issue that matters.

To the OP:
For me, I try to learn everything possible about the route before leaving the ground. I read sequences, I look for rests and clipping stances and cruxes, I also go over pacing, movement initiation and how to deal with ambiguity, fear, or getting pumped faster than I thought I would. Basically my on-sight tactics are based on the fact that the work the climber does on the ground doesn't "cost" anything in terms of aerobic or anaerobic energy production. Of course its often impossible to know everything from the ground but a skilled climber can learn a great deal from the ground, make a plan and then change that plan based on new information when then time comes.

I have written at length on this topic in a new book coming out at the end of the year.


healyje


Jun 29, 2011, 1:35 PM
Post #28 of 48 (2902 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [DouglasHunter] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (5 ratings)  
Can't Post

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
What makes you think an onsight attempt is somehow different than any other climb or that it requires a 'strategy' of any sort?

For serious climbers and coaches the obvious answer is that different types of athletic / cognitive challenges require different response from the athlete. On-sights and redpoints are very different types of athletic challenges; climbers can improve their performance by adopting tactics that are best suited to those challenges.

Well,leaving aside irrelevant 'coaches', and as a 'serious' climber, I suppose first I'd have to agree different endeavors require different responses and therein lies the real rub.

A big part of the reason you even bring up that disparity is because, for most climbers these days, what constitutes climbing is so far removed from onsights / 'redpoints' as to almost be a different sport. So sure, if what constitutes 'climbing' 98% of the time you are roped-up is [aerial] bouldering up routes hanging from the end of the rope then yes, absolutely, onsighting / FAs are another beast entirely and one you won't be prepared for. And if you are unaccustomed to wrangling that beast it will definitely require an altogether different mindset as you suggest.

DouglasHunter wrote:
For folks who are less serious about or less interested in how the mind and body respond to the different challenges posed by climbing its not an issue that matters.

Nor is it an issue for people who can't see the forest for the trees, I suppose. The answer the OP needs isn't to do a bunch of mumbo-jumbo when suddenly attempting to do an onsight, but rather to spend a greater percentage of their time on a rope climbing like they are climbing onsight - i.e. not hanging. Instead come down to the ground, last solid rest, or to the anchor and give it another go without hanging (repeat until you get it or are burned out). In the end, if 'onsighting', or climbing like you are, is less less than 5% of what you do when tied into a rope then, hey, guess what? No amount of 'tips' is going to really make all that much of a difference.

DouglasHunter wrote:
For me, I try to learn everything possible about the route before leaving the ground. I read sequences, I look for rests and clipping stances and cruxes,...

Yeah, well only so much of that is available sometimes, particularly on multipitch and especially multipitch FAs.

DouglasHunter wrote:
I also go over pacing, movement initiation and how to deal with ambiguity, fear, or getting pumped faster than I thought I would.

If you need to consciously do that roped in at the base of a climb I should think you're a day late and a dollar short.

DouglasHunter wrote:
Basically my on-sight tactics are based on the fact that the work the climber does on the ground doesn't "cost" anything in terms of aerobic or anaerobic energy production.

And overall of little utility if what you are trying to overcome is a near complete lack of experience climbing without hanging your way up a route.


DouglasHunter wrote:
I have written at length on this topic in a new book coming out at the end of the year.

Hmmm, I'm sure it will be as great as all the other climbing books out there, but if onisghting and FA is what they dream of then reading won't do anything for them if they continue to make 98% of their climbing experience bouldering up routes hanging on the end of a rope.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jun 29, 2011, 1:41 PM)


DouglasHunter


Jun 29, 2011, 2:10 PM
Post #29 of 48 (2889 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 1, 2010
Posts: 104

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (5 ratings)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
I suppose first I'd have to agree different endeavors require different responses and therein lies the real rub.

A big part of the reason you even bring up that disparity is because, for most climbers these days, what constitutes climbing is so far removed from onsights / 'redpoints' as to almost be a different sport. So sure, if what constitutes 'climbing' 98% of the time you are roped-up is [aerial] bouldering up routes hanging from the end of the rope then yes, absolutely, onsighting / FAs are another beast entirely and one you won't be prepared for. And if you are unaccustomed to wrangling that beast it will definitely require an altogether different mindset as you suggest.

You seem to have an axe to grind with the way other people climb, so be it. But its not a matter of "mindset" its a matter of what is required in each type of climbing in term of the cognitive and physical demands of the performance. There is a huge difference between attempting to execute a difficult movement sequence after it has been memorized, and trying to execute a movement sequence on the first try with incomplete information about that sequence. The reason I brought up the difference is because they are radically different challenges, it has nothing to do with the habits of climbers. Regardless of an individual climber's habits, redpoints and onsights are and will always be very different athletic challenges.

In reply to:
The answer the OP needs isn't to do a bunch of mumbo-jumbo when suddenly attempting to do an onsight, but rather to spend a greater percentage of their time on a rope climbing like they are climbing onsight - i.e. not hanging.

You miss the point and make the point at the same time. Applying correct tactics is not mumbo-jumbo even if the climber is inexperienced at on-sight climbing. Less experienced climbers will simply be able to apply fewer tactics and apply them less well but you even mentioned one tactic involved in on-sighting that being down climbing. Well, reading sequences, pre-visualizing, and so on are just more advanced on-sight tactics that even inexperienced climbers can work with. They just do so at a lower level.

"healhje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
For me, I try to learn everything possible about the route before leaving the ground. I read sequences, I look for rests and clipping stances and cruxes,...

Yeah, well only so much of that is available sometimes, particularly on multipitch and especially multipitch FAs.

I don't think you don't have a point, obviously the degree to which a route can be read from the ground varies a great deal in different contexts. But this has no bearing on the degree to which a climber should apply tactics from the ground to try and glean information.

"healhje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I also go over pacing, movement initiation and how to deal with ambiguity, fear, or getting pumped faster than I thought I would.

If you need to consciously do that roped in at the base of a climb I should think you're a day late and a dollar short.

Nope, quite the opposite, its part of what made me a very good and extremely consistent on-sight climber.

"healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
Basically my on-sight tactics are based on the fact that the work the climber does on the ground doesn't "cost" anything in terms of aerobic or anaerobic energy production.

And overall of little utility if what you are trying to overcome is a near complete lack of experience climbing without hanging your way up a route.

Look, everyone has to start learning on-sight tactics at some level. Less experienced climbers will be able to do less productive work from the ground but one learns, as you point out, by practicing. using good tactics on the ground and then reviewing after an on-sight attempt is part of that learning.

"healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I have written at length on this topic in a new book coming out at the end of the year.

Hmmm, I'm sure it will be as great as all the other climbing books out there, but if onisghting and FA is what they dream of then reading won't do anything for them if they continue to make 98% of their climbing experience bouldering up routes hanging on the end of a rope.

I know its hard, but try not to be an ass, its not becoming.


healyje


Jun 29, 2011, 3:13 PM
Post #30 of 48 (2881 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [DouglasHunter] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (7 ratings)  
Can't Post

DouglasHunter wrote:
You seem to have an axe to grind with the way other people climb, so be it.

None whatsoever, but it's common sense that if you don't do an activity 98% of the time you are roped-up then you are going have a pretty hard time coming up with the goods [on demand] the 2% of the time you do attempt it.

DouglasHunter wrote:
But its not a matter of "mindset" its a matter of what is required in each type of climbing in term of the cognitive and physical demands of the performance. There is a huge difference between attempting to execute a difficult movement sequence after it has been memorized [hanging from the end of a rope], and trying to execute a movement sequence on the first try with incomplete information about that sequence. The reason I brought up the difference is because they are radically different challenges, it has nothing to do with the habits of climbers. Regardless of an individual climber's habits, redpoints and onsights are and will always be very different athletic challenges.

Again, we disagree - the 'problem' isn't that you don't have things worked to death or memorized, but rather you simply have little to no experience working out sequences while actually climbing unaided by the rope 'on-the-fly'. More of that experiences is what is required.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
The answer the OP needs isn't to do a bunch of mumbo-jumbo when suddenly attempting to do an onsight, but rather to spend a greater percentage of their time on a rope climbing like they are climbing onsight - i.e. not hanging.

You miss the point and make the point at the same time. Applying correct tactics is not mumbo-jumbo even if the climber is inexperienced at on-sight climbing. Less experienced climbers will simply be able to apply fewer tactics and apply them less well but you even mentioned one tactic involved in on-sighting that being down climbing. Well, reading sequences, pre-visualizing, and so on are just more advanced on-sight tactics that even inexperienced climbers can work with. They just do so at a lower level.

Again, forest for the trees - the issue isn't doing anything 'different' on rare occasions when you attempt to climb something you don't have wired from hanging on the end of the rope, but learning the requisite mental and emotional capabilities necessary to work out unknown sequences on the fly without the aid of the rope.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I also go over pacing, movement initiation and how to deal with ambiguity, fear, or getting pumped faster than I thought I would.

If you need to consciously do that roped in at the base of a climb I should think you're a day late and a dollar short.

Nope, quite the opposite, its part of what made me a very good and extremely consistent on-sight climber.

Well, I'd say that's your tactic/crutch, not mine - that's more active mental activity then you'll ever find me doing. In fact, I do the opposite and attempt to clear my mind entirely to the degree possible, but to each his own. Personally, I'd recommend my approach over yours, but then I think we can agree you'd do the same.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
Basically my on-sight tactics are based on the fact that the work the climber does on the ground doesn't "cost" anything in terms of aerobic or anaerobic energy production.

And overall of little utility if what you are trying to overcome is a near complete lack of experience climbing without hanging your way up a route.

Look, everyone has to start learning on-sight tactics at some level. Less experienced climbers will be able to do less productive work from the ground but one learns, as you point out, by practicing. using good tactics on the ground and then reviewing after an on-sight attempt is part of that learning.

Maybe don't think of climbing without hanging on the rope to figure out the sequences as a matter of 'tactics', but rather just think of it as 'climbing'; instead think of bouldering your way up routes working out the sequences from the end of a rope as a practice 'tactic' and don't make that practice more than about 50-60% of your climbing if you want to get good at onsighting and FAs.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I have written at length on this topic in a new book coming out at the end of the year.

Hmmm, I'm sure it will be as great as all the other climbing books out there, but if onisghting and FA is what they dream of then reading won't do anything for them if they continue to make 98% of their climbing experience bouldering up routes hanging on the end of a rope.

I know its hard, but try not to be an ass, its not becoming.

Neither is saying someone is "not serious" while declaring yourself an 'expert' because you can type.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jun 29, 2011, 5:21 PM)


stealth


Jun 30, 2011, 3:54 PM
Post #31 of 48 (2812 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 44

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
You seem to have an axe to grind with the way other people climb, so be it.

None whatsoever, but it's common sense that if you don't do an activity 98% of the time you are roped-up then you are going have a pretty hard time coming up with the goods [on demand] the 2% of the time you do attempt it.

DouglasHunter wrote:
But its not a matter of "mindset" its a matter of what is required in each type of climbing in term of the cognitive and physical demands of the performance. There is a huge difference between attempting to execute a difficult movement sequence after it has been memorized [hanging from the end of a rope], and trying to execute a movement sequence on the first try with incomplete information about that sequence. The reason I brought up the difference is because they are radically different challenges, it has nothing to do with the habits of climbers. Regardless of an individual climber's habits, redpoints and onsights are and will always be very different athletic challenges.

Again, we disagree - the 'problem' isn't that you don't have things worked to death or memorized, but rather you simply have little to no experience working out sequences while actually climbing unaided by the rope 'on-the-fly'. More of that experiences is what is required.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
The answer the OP needs isn't to do a bunch of mumbo-jumbo when suddenly attempting to do an onsight, but rather to spend a greater percentage of their time on a rope climbing like they are climbing onsight - i.e. not hanging.

You miss the point and make the point at the same time. Applying correct tactics is not mumbo-jumbo even if the climber is inexperienced at on-sight climbing. Less experienced climbers will simply be able to apply fewer tactics and apply them less well but you even mentioned one tactic involved in on-sighting that being down climbing. Well, reading sequences, pre-visualizing, and so on are just more advanced on-sight tactics that even inexperienced climbers can work with. They just do so at a lower level.

Again, forest for the trees - the issue isn't doing anything 'different' on rare occasions when you attempt to climb something you don't have wired from hanging on the end of the rope, but learning the requisite mental and emotional capabilities necessary to work out unknown sequences on the fly without the aid of the rope.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I also go over pacing, movement initiation and how to deal with ambiguity, fear, or getting pumped faster than I thought I would.

If you need to consciously do that roped in at the base of a climb I should think you're a day late and a dollar short.

Nope, quite the opposite, its part of what made me a very good and extremely consistent on-sight climber.

Well, I'd say that's your tactic/crutch, not mine - that's more active mental activity then you'll ever find me doing. In fact, I do the opposite and attempt to clear my mind entirely to the degree possible, but to each his own. Personally, I'd recommend my approach over yours, but then I think we can agree you'd do the same.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
Basically my on-sight tactics are based on the fact that the work the climber does on the ground doesn't "cost" anything in terms of aerobic or anaerobic energy production.

And overall of little utility if what you are trying to overcome is a near complete lack of experience climbing without hanging your way up a route.

Look, everyone has to start learning on-sight tactics at some level. Less experienced climbers will be able to do less productive work from the ground but one learns, as you point out, by practicing. using good tactics on the ground and then reviewing after an on-sight attempt is part of that learning.

Maybe don't think of climbing without hanging on the rope to figure out the sequences as a matter of 'tactics', but rather just think of it as 'climbing'; instead think of bouldering your way up routes working out the sequences from the end of a rope as a practice 'tactic' and don't make that practice more than about 50-60% of your climbing if you want to get good at onsighting and FAs.

DouglasHunter wrote:
healyje wrote:
DouglasHunter wrote:
I have written at length on this topic in a new book coming out at the end of the year.

Hmmm, I'm sure it will be as great as all the other climbing books out there, but if onisghting and FA is what they dream of then reading won't do anything for them if they continue to make 98% of their climbing experience bouldering up routes hanging on the end of a rope.

I know its hard, but try not to be an ass, its not becoming.

Neither is saying someone is "not serious" while declaring yourself an 'expert' because you can type.

The thing is Mr. Hunter keeps himself inside, so he can't get hurt. Or blindsighted!
Its actually protection ! Jest sayin !
Get him to come out and play with you, so you are on level ground . Climbing ????????????


rockprodigy


Aug 17, 2011, 7:36 AM
Post #32 of 48 (2704 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 10, 2002
Posts: 1540

Re: [stealth] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (6 ratings)  
Can't Post

Sorry in advance for digging up an old thread.

First, I don't understand this pointless bickering between DH and Healy. Clearly the OP is asking what you do in the moments before an onsight and Healy insists on talking about what you should do in the months and years leading up to an onsight. He has a point, but doesn't need to be so obtuse about it...gotta love the internet.

The OPs question is somewhat ill-posed. He asked about the PSYCHOLOGY of onsighting, but then goes on to ask very specifically about reading sequences, which are not the same IMO. Reading sequences before an onsight attempt is an important step, but kind of a boring discussion topic. The psychology question is very interesting, however, because it is so hard to have the right mindset.

What should your attitudes and expectations be (ideally) before and while you attempt a hard onsight? Should you be afraid that you're going to fail? Should you be very confident that the route will be easy for you? It seems that both of these options are the wrong approach, so is it something in between? Then again, even if we knew what the best mental state were, is it possible to create that mental state on-demand before an onsight attempt?

There are a couple of ways to come to an answer. One is to think of your best onsights and try to reconstruct your mental state at the time, as well as the events and circumstances leading up to it that created that state. Often when someone succeeds on a hard onsight, they say it was "easy" or "effortless", so another approach might be to look at all climbs that feel that way, and try to understand why they do. For example, for those that have a regular warmup route they climb often, they probably climb it in a very relaxed state, a state that might be ideal for hard onsighting. This state is easy to achieve during the warmup, but not on a hard route, why is that?

At least a whole chapter could be written on this topic, if not an entire book in itself, so I'll try to "cut to the chase". For me, when I try a hard onsight, I want to be in a mental state I call "cautious optimism". I need to feel that there is a high likelihood I will succeed on the route, but an understanding that it will be hard, and I will have to try hard. This means, I need to have confidence that I am "good" enough to send the route, which you can't lie to yourself about. The only way I know to have that confidence and really believe in it is through a route pyramid. If I'm about to attempt a 13a onsight, I have tangible confidence if I've onsighted other 13a's, or many 12d's, especially if they are of similar styles and at the same crag. The hardest thing to do is onsight at a new crag, so I will start smaller...maybe 12b, and build up a few routes at lower grades before working up to the route I want to eventually onsight. Confidence gives you several advantages on an onsight. It makes you believe that you can recover if you make a mistake, and it makes you believe you'll figure out the right sequence through the crux. This relaxes you, and helps you climb with a relaxed grip, and thus conserve energy throughout the climb. The relaxed mental state makes it easier for you to take the climbing as it comes and solve movement problems as they are presented.

On the other hand, if I think the route is too hard for me, I will likely overgrip throughout the climb, wasting energy. My movements will be very rigid and static rather than flowing because I'm constantly thinking I may need to retreat at a moments notice. I don't believe that I will find good places to rest, so I'm in constant fear of pumping off. When I come to a crux sequence, I'm likely to rush through it too quickly because I'm certain I'm going to get pumped and fall off if I climb slower. On a route I believe I can climb, when I grab a very small or uncomfortable hold, I'm likely to take my time looking for alternatives, whereas, on a route I believe is too hard for me, I'm likely to accept that this is the correct sequence, and I'm simply not good enough to climb it. In short, it is so much easier to climb a route that you THINK is easy, it's just not that easy to get in that mindset if the route is truly near your limit.

That said, there are also make-or-break moments, when you really just have to throw down and bust out some hard moves. That's where you don't want to think the climbing is too easy, but you do want to have the confidence that when you reach that crux, you have a good shot a succeeding. You then spend some time exhausting all of the possibilities to "flow" past it, and if that doesn't work, you just pull hard and go for it, knowing that you only have one shot, so you better climb in a manner that you won't regret later -- try hard! Just make sure you're able to calm back down after you stick the crux sequence so you can keep cruising to the chains.


(This post was edited by rockprodigy on Aug 28, 2011, 12:08 PM)


damienclimber


Aug 19, 2011, 2:32 PM
Post #33 of 48 (2662 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 13, 2011
Posts: 313

Re: [rockprodigy] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

rockprodigy wrote:
Sorry in advance for digging up an old thread.

First, I don't understand this pointless bickering between DH and Healy. Clearly the OP is asking what you do in the moments before an onsight and Healy insists on talking about what you should do in the months and years leading up to an onsight. He has a point, but doesn't need to be so obtuse about it...gotta love the internet.

The OPs question is somewhat ill-posed. He asked about the PSYCHOLOGY of onsighting, but then goes on to ask very specifically about reading sequences, which are not the same IMO. Reading sequences before an onsight attempt is an important step, but kind of a boring discussion topic. The psychology question is very interesting, however, because it is so hard to have the right mindset.

What should your attitudes and expectations be (ideally) before and while you attempt a hard onsight? Should you be afraid that you're going to fail? Should you be very confident that the route will be easy for you? It seems that both of these options are the wrong approach, so is it something in between? Then again, even if we knew what the best mental state were, is it possible to create that mental state on-demand before an onsight attempt?

There are a couple of ways to come to an answer. One is to think of your best onsights and try to reconstruct your mental state at the time, as well as the events and circumstances leading up to it that created that state. Often when someone succeeds on a hard onsight, they say it was "easy" or "effortless", so another approach might be to look at all climbs that feel that way, and try to understand why they do. For example, for those that have a regular warmup route they climb often, they probably climb it in a very relaxed state, a state that might be ideal for hard onsighting. This state is easy to achieve during the warmup, but not on a hard route, why is that?

At least a whole chapter couldn't be written on this topic, if not an entire book in itself, so I'll try to "cut to the chase". For me, when I try a hard onsight, I want to be in a mental state I call "cautious optimism". I need to feel that there is a high likelihood I will succeed on the route, but an understanding that it will be hard, and I will have to try hard. This means, I need to have confidence that I am "good" enough to send the route, which you can't lie to yourself about. The only way I know to have that confidence and really believe in it is through a route pyramid. If I'm about to attempt a 13a onsight, I have tangible confidence if I've onsighted other 13a's, or many 12d's, especially if they are of similar styles and at the same crag. The hardest thing to do is onsight at a new crag, so I will start smaller...maybe 12b, and build up a few routes at lower grades before working up to the route I want to eventually onsight. Confidence gives you several advantages on an onsight. It makes you believe that you can recover if you make a mistake, and it makes you believe you'll figure out the right sequence through the crux. This relaxes you, and helps you climb with a relaxed grip, and thus conserve energy throughout the climb. The relaxed mental state makes it easier for you to take the climbing as it comes and solve movement problems as they are presented.

On the other hand, if I think the route is too hard for me, I will likely overgrip throughout the climb, wasting energy. My movements will be very rigid and static rather than flowing because I'm constantly thinking I may need to retreat at a moments notice. I don't believe that I will find good places to rest, so I'm in constant fear of pumping off. When I come to a crux sequence, I'm likely to rush through it too quickly because I'm certain I'm going to get pumped and fall off if I climb slower. On a route I believe I can climb, when I grab a very small or uncomfortable hold, I'm likely to take my time looking for alternatives, whereas, on a route I believe is too hard for me, I'm likely to accept that this is the correct sequence, and I'm simply not good enough to climb it. In short, it is so much easier to climb a route that you THINK is easy, it's just not that easy to get in that mindset if the route is truly near your limit.

That said, there are also make-or-break moments, when you really just have to throw down and bust out some hard moves. That's where you don't want to think the climbing is too easy, but you do want to have the confidence that when you reach that crux, you have a good shot a succeeding. You then spend some time exhausting all of the possibilities to "flow" past it, and if that doesn't work, you just pull hard and go for it, knowing that you only have one shot, so you better climb in a manner that you won't regret later -- try hard! Just make sure you're able to calm back down after you stick the crux sequence so you can keep cruising to the chains.

Excellent post. Seems like the op thinks by reading a book he will acquire the technique,talent and confidence to onsight hard climbs outside.
You on the other hand have accomplished the mental strategy to follow through with your goals.
So what's your advice for other to attain onsighting 5.13's?
Or should we just accept the reality of our personal best?


rockprodigy


Aug 26, 2011, 7:58 AM
Post #34 of 48 (2604 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 10, 2002
Posts: 1540

Re: [damienclimber] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

Sorry for the delay.

First, never accept reality. My personal belief is that in the sport of climber we are nowhere near the limit of human performance. We have just barely scratched the surface, therefore, even the best climber in the world has lots of room for improvement, so certainly the rest of us do as well.

Pushing your on-sight ability is different from pushing redpointing, and unfortunately, not many people put effort into it or even write about how to do it. The first thing you need to realize is that the two are different in almost every way:

Physically - An OS route will have bigger holds and easier moves. You'll likely climb it slower, so the duration of performance is longer.

Technically - You'll be doing moves that you have never done before, but hopefully they are similar to moves you've done before. You may struggle to find all the holds, especially footholds.

Mentally - Everything is unknown. In RP'ing, many climbers try to get into a mental state where they climb on "autopilot" while only thinking about staying calm and breathing. On an OS, you don't have that option, you must be actively engaged in problem solving in the moment.

So these differences dictate how your training should be different for OSing. The first thing I advocate is to get as much mileage as possible, on real rock. If you aspire to OS well on many different types of rock, then that's what you must train on. Route pyramids are great for this, and IMO should not be composed of gym routes.

For more "physical" training, I recommend lots of ARC sessions, with the most useful being up and down lead climbing. You can do this in a gym or at the crag. Basically I tie in and lead up a route, then down climb it (unclipping as I go) then up the next route all without stepping on the ground or untying for ~30 minutes.

On an OS, the fact that you have to figure out the moves as you climb dictates that the majority of the climbing must be below your anaerobic threshold, otherwise you would pump off before you had time to figure out the sequences. Therefore, you must push that threshold up in order to be able to OS harder grades. While most of a given route will be below the threshold, there may be sections that are harder, but your ARC training and capilarity/vascularity will help you recover from those sections without pumping out. All of this is irrelevant if you are overgripping. During the ARC sessions, it is imperative that you practice proper breathing, pacing and rationing effort, especially how hard you are gripping. Practice finding rests, and shaking out...learn what it feels like to get recovery on a jug on steep terrain.

At some point, your ability to do hard moves must improve, but in the short term, this is probably not a limiting factor for most people. I would guess that most people are capable of doing every move on a failed OS, but they fail because they overgrip, get nervous and forget to breath, and lack the ability to recover after a demanding sequence. These skills can all be obtained by practicing them, but most people choose not to.


hyongx


Aug 26, 2011, 4:15 PM
Post #35 of 48 (2585 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 16, 2004
Posts: 209

Re: [Learner] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Learner wrote:
What is your mental strategy for on-sighting a route?


All these folks are writing essays! Dang!

Short and sweet,

A willingness to fall.

If you aren't willing to fall, you won't climb smoothly. You won't just go for that dyno. Calling take should not be an option on onsight attempts.


A-Bowl


Aug 26, 2011, 5:05 PM
Post #36 of 48 (2572 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 13, 2006
Posts: 76

Re: [Learner] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Sport onsights:
A little easier. just try to figure out from the ground where the rests are and the cruxes are, attempt to decipher the moves and just keep plowing to the good holds if they get bad mid crux. Sometimes you need to skip a bolt cuz the crux of many sport routes is in the clips the first go. I look for chalk like crazy on sport routes. Tells you where resty spots are cuz people can chalk up and generally gives you an idea of where the holds are. They can throw you off but more often than not they will help you. Its a matter of luck anyway at the higher grades when you are forced to stab your way through stuff.

Trad Onsights:
Heres the real mental puzzle. Read everything you can from the ground. Rests, sequences, gear, go for it spots and sew it up spots. You have to find that mental balance between overprotecting and running out to the point that it scares you and lowers your performance. Learn the balance between going for it and down climbing till you are rested and ready for cruxes. Make a gear nest before cruxes which will give you the extra mental confidence, especially in the thin stuff. Keep you mind open. Many old school trad routes require climbing one feature to protect, downclimbing then going up an entirely different way to the next rest. Let the rock challenge you, your goal is to make the route as easy as possible. Nothing is "off" and getting to the next belay without falling is your only goal. Try hard and keep reminding yourself that you will never have this chance again.... if you climb with that attitude you will climb till you fall or onsight. Either way its the best feeling you can get.

On a side note. If you fall, get over it and quickly get into red point mode, figure out what you need to do, lower down and redpoint that pitch.

say what you want.


patto


Aug 26, 2011, 7:01 PM
Post #37 of 48 (2561 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 14, 2005
Posts: 1451

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

All most all of my climbing is onsight trad. Often its multipitch.

Rehearsing, mental imaging!? Nah I just climb. Wink


healyje


Aug 26, 2011, 11:09 PM
Post #38 of 48 (2545 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [patto] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

Also, some climbs are more about seeing and sticking unorthodox rests as much as they are about sticking the hard moves...


flesh


Aug 27, 2011, 11:11 AM
Post #39 of 48 (2518 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 11, 2011
Posts: 417

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

If you read my mock comp thread.... I've never done anything else better for onsighting, boulders that is, after 3 or 4 sessions doing it my onsight level went up about a grade....

Not sure how it translates to routes. I'd guess that if you used the same idea and changed it a little for routes it would work.

Bottom line is, if you want to get better at onsighting, make it a point, maybe once a week for a couple months to do nothing but onsight. You'll prove to yourself everything everyone here has already said, and therefore use it. You'll pick up some other tricks as well. The best onsighters, practice onsighting often. On those days, purposely limit yourself to one or a maximum of two tries per route/boulder.

Personally, the best climbing days are either ones spent onsighting at your onsight limit, those days it just comes together and the days you get your hardest redpoint. Good news is, you can have lots of great, stimulating onsight days, bad news is, you won't have that many days where you push your redpoint level.


healyje


Aug 28, 2011, 12:53 AM
Post #40 of 48 (2484 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [rockprodigy] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

The reason there is a "psychology question" is because over the course of the past thirty years 'climbing' has changed significantly and "onsighting" isn't what 98% of people do 98% of the time. Most of the time folks 'work' routes out hanging on the end of a rope and the notion of climbing things without 'working' or hanging on them has now become the exception, not the rule.

In other words, they only reason there is a "psychology question" is because 'onsighting' is now a novel activity distinct and apart from what climbing 'is' for most people; i.e. it's such a different notion that it must require a different mental, emotional, or psychological approach in order to do it.

The answer is pretty straightforward - skip the psychology and, for at least half of the time you are tied into a rope, don't hang on it - either you're climbing, falling, or lowering, but not hanging. Do that for awhile and you'll realize no other mindset or psychology is required.


jt512


Aug 28, 2011, 10:40 AM
Post #41 of 48 (2469 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21891

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
The reason there is a "psychology question" is because over the course of the past thirty years 'climbing' has changed significantly and "onsighting" isn't what 98% of people do 98% of the time.

Why is there a psychology question about redpointing?

Jay


healyje


Aug 28, 2011, 10:46 PM
Post #42 of 48 (2426 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [jt512] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

jt512 wrote:
healyje wrote:
The reason there is a "psychology question" is because over the course of the past thirty years 'climbing' has changed significantly and "onsighting" isn't what 98% of people do 98% of the time.

Why is there a psychology question about redpointing?

Jay

There isn't a question about redpointing. The process of redpointing is basically what climbing has become and 'is' for the majority of today's climbers.


jt512


Aug 29, 2011, 8:57 AM
Post #43 of 48 (2396 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21891

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
jt512 wrote:
healyje wrote:
The reason there is a "psychology question" is because over the course of the past thirty years 'climbing' has changed significantly and "onsighting" isn't what 98% of people do 98% of the time.

Why is there a psychology question about redpointing?

Jay

There isn't a question about redpointing.

Hague and Hunter just wrote a book about it.

Jay


healyje


Aug 29, 2011, 9:30 AM
Post #44 of 48 (2386 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Posts: 4199

Re: [jt512] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (2 ratings)  
Can't Post

jt512 wrote:
healyje wrote:
jt512 wrote:
healyje wrote:
The reason there is a "psychology question" is because over the course of the past thirty years 'climbing' has changed significantly and "onsighting" isn't what 98% of people do 98% of the time.

Why is there a psychology question about redpointing?

Jay

There isn't a question about redpointing.

Hague and Hunter just wrote a book about it.

Jay

Trad is from Mars, Sport is from Venus - climbing has really come of age now that sports have become a self-help subgenre. Writing books absolutely makes it real and did you know that the AMGA is about to spin up a TR Therapy and Lead Counseling course?


ghisino


Aug 31, 2011, 2:40 AM
Post #45 of 48 (2341 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 12, 2005
Posts: 246

Re: [healyje] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

healyje wrote:
Trad is from Mars, Sport is from Venus - climbing has really come of age now that sports have become a self-help subgenre. Writing books absolutely makes it real and did you know that the AMGA is about to spin up a TR Therapy and Lead Counseling course?

Laugh



yet i strongly believe that if "sending" is important for a sport climber, there might be more psychological traps along the way than for o/s.


of course none of this would exist if sport climbing was still "training", but it isn't.


given the trend i predict that in in some years we will have psychology issues in gym climbing...Tongue


billcoe_


Sep 19, 2012, 1:53 PM
Post #46 of 48 (1751 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 30, 2002
Posts: 4668

Re: [DouglasHunter] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Dave MacLeods review of the Hunter book from his training site (link below):

In reply to:
Redpoint - a whole book on tactics finally!


Finally weíve got hold of some stock of Hague and Hunterís new book ĎRedpointí in the shop (right here). The authors are most famous for their superb book The Self-Coached Climber which is justifiably one of our better selling climbing improvement texts. Like Iím sure most experienced coaches know, tactics are becoming an increasingly important area that forms the difference between progress and stagnation among modern climbers. So they have written a whole book dedicated to perfecting all the tactical tricks and advantages for both onsight and redpoint climbing.
Itís a worthy addition to the knowledge base and Iíd say there are very few climbers around who are not aware of, or milking all the tactical advantages offered in the book. Whether you read it as a beginner or intermediate level climber to open up a whole new world of tactical awareness and advantage, or as an expert climber reminding yourself of all the tricks you could be using to get that crucial extra edge for your current goal, Iíd recommend it.
Itís a substantial subject and a substantial book too. Thereís even a 30 minute DVD that comes with it to see the tactics in action. They have included some assessment forms and checklists in each section to help you get a clearer idea of where you stand with your use and prowess of different tactics or skills. This sort of thing maybe doesnít appeal to everyone. But if writing things down isnít your style, you can just skip them and simply read the advice. Just as with The Self-Coached Climber, the book is thoughtfully laid out, well illustrated with colour photos and thorough without being a mind-number.
As a coach visiting ever improving climbing walls with stronger and fitter climbers, Iíve appreciated that tactics are the big deal for climbers these days. More and more often, climbers have the strength and fitness from many hours in the climbing wall. But without even knowing it, lack of tactical awareness has placed the glass ceiling above their head much lower than it ought to be. Itís a shame when that happens.
You can get hold of a copy from our shop here.

http://www.onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/

And don't forget to milk the rests and not yourself.

Regards to all:


villageidiot


Sep 24, 2012, 6:36 PM
Post #47 of 48 (1653 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2005
Posts: 104

Re: [Learner] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

Because of the limited number of attempts I have on route per given trip I usually try to focus on sending harder routes in two or three 'burns' or an onsight. The third bastard-child option, long multi-month efforts on a single route seem costly to me in terms of potential experience, and I try to avoid being caught up in more than one or two at a time. I always try to determine before hand if I am onsighting or redpointing-not doing so is a waste of time and more importantly, energy. I'll outline my process below in hope of showing why the two strategies are mutually incompatible.

When red pointing I have already determined that it is unlikely that I can onsight a route, and I am trying to learn the most efficient way to climb the route without exhausting myself. I'll climb slow and methodical, checking out most of the holds, hunting for rests. When I hit any section I am unsure of how to climb, I'll rest on the rope, and try and run a few scenarios thru my head before ever doing any moves. If a section of easier climbing did not feel easy, I may go back and try it again before moving on. If I don't retry it, I'll definitely give it a second go after lowering from the anchors.

Ideally when I reach the crux I am not even pumped, and I am at my strongest and more importantly smartest. I might consider pulling on the draws to get thru the crux so I can check out the holds from above. After I have plan for getting thru the crux next time around I move on, checking for rests, and red point cruxes that could spoil the send. On the way back down, route permitting, I may try to link a section containing the crux to check my beta.

Thus when I get on a route for a second burn I am only trying to execute a sequence I have believe will get me through the crux.

Onsighting is alot like the first burn (or any other burn where I have realized I have to seriously rethink my beta), but with the added complication that I now have to balance in my head whether is better to hang out at spot and try to recover, or press on. Giving up is not an option because, I have already devoted my strongest burn of the day to this route. Safety considerations on some routes may dictate whether to press on or not, but its best to decide on the ground what you are prepared to commit to, and allow most of one's faculties to be purely devoted to route finding.

Of course if your just climbing easy routes, just try to focus on climbing, and not looking down girls shirts from above.


villageidiot


Sep 24, 2012, 6:42 PM
Post #48 of 48 (1652 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2005
Posts: 104

Re: [villageidiot] ON-SIGHTING: Mental Strategy? [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

Don't spend a ton of time thinking about the various ideas old men proclaim as the TRUTH. Whether they have found something that works for them or not, they are stuck with it and can't change.

Figure out what works for you by actually trying different ideas.

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

Forums : Climbing Information : Technique & Training

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook