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trad0001


Mar 30, 2012, 8:58 AM
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Nervousness and Motivation
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hi all
one of my biggest barriers with climbing and getting better is getting nervous right up to the start of the climb (whether it be in the alpine or just the crag) and sometimes I`m nervous the whole time (especially on a multipitch climb or long alpine climb). And this directly affects my motivation.
I try to make excuses or hand my lead off to my partner, which isn`t fair for them. It also doesn`t let me climb as hard as I want and as often...

Does anyone else have similar problems with getting nervous and it affecting their day of climbing
Whenever I finish a pitch or my lead block, I feel a lot better. but until that i am nervous the whole time, even if its well below my grade, and I start to get nervous again prior to starting my next lead.
comments or suggestions are much appreciated


GeckoBat


Mar 30, 2012, 9:35 AM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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You're obviously afraid of something (eg. the infinite possibilities of what could go wrong). Can you describe what goes through your thought process when you begin your climb? There's reasonable fear and unreasonable fear...


Dip


Mar 30, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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trad0001 wrote:
hi all
one of my biggest barriers with climbing and getting better is getting nervous right up to the start of the climb (whether it be in the alpine or just the crag) and sometimes I`m nervous the whole time (especially on a multipitch climb or long alpine climb). And this directly affects my motivation.
I try to make excuses or hand my lead off to my partner, which isn`t fair for them. It also doesn`t let me climb as hard as I want and as often...

Does anyone else have similar problems with getting nervous and it affecting their day of climbing
Whenever I finish a pitch or my lead block, I feel a lot better. but until that i am nervous the whole time, even if its well below my grade, and I start to get nervous again prior to starting my next lead.
comments or suggestions are much appreciated

Is it possible that you're climbing for the wrong reasons (if there is such a thing)? To me it sounds like you're not enjoying yourself when you're out there, and if that's the case why are you doing it? There's nothing wrong with always wanting to follow, or only climbing single pitch routes, especially if that's the time you're having the most fun. You only live once and there's a whole slew of shit in life we gotta do that we may not want to, don't make your recreational activities one of those things.

Apart from that, and if i'm totally off base, I find that humming a little tune while i'm sketched out and scared is helpful, usually some stupid 80's b.s. that's bound to be stuck in my head for the rest of the week. Deep breaths, visualizing success, or realizing that sometimes being nervous is part of the fun could be helpful too.


trad0001


Mar 30, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Re: [GeckoBat] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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I started climbing with the thought that the leader must not fall, and until I took my first lead fall I was always worried about falling. I still am worried about falling and getting hurt, and so thats one big fear (getting hurt). But thats one of the big factors i must accept

I don't like disappointing people. So I worry I'm not climbing fast enough or efficient enough, or do something wrong. And usually I found partners who climb at least a full number grade higher than me, so I was always worried about annoying them because I am not as good.
I haven't found a full time partner, usually its one week or two week max as people pack up and leave and others come (squamish summer for example) so that is always difficult too I found.

I should point out that I love climbing. I especially love the mountains and that passion was ignited again when I went to the bugaboos a couple years ago. I enjoy cruising easy cracks just as much as I love following harder lines which are out of my lead capability.
For example, I was comfortable leading 5.9, but never tried anything harder. But I could follow most 5.10's, and even a few 5.11's with minimal assistance.

i haven't really pushed myself hard enough I sometimes think, I have never pushed myself to exhaustion or the highest possibility of a fall (just going for it)
whenever I fall it's usually from poor technique (off balance crack) or from slipping.


GeckoBat


Mar 30, 2012, 10:44 AM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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It's funny that Dip mentions the humming thing. I do a similar thing to calm myself but it's more like a pushing of air through closed (not clenched) teeth and it's done in tune to something relaxing. I find it calms me and helps to control my pacing.

I suggest climbing within your abilities and remove the pressure to chase grades. Climb for the love of being on the rock, not to get to the anchors.

Finding a regular, dependable, reliable and safe partner will do wonders for your confidence on the sharp end. If you're doubting or concerned even in the slightest about whether your belayer is dependable, you'll be fighting that mental battle on every climb and it's really not something you want to have to contend with. Good luck..


james_va


Mar 30, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Re: [GeckoBat] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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I second GeckoBat.

You say you're always nervous now, but surely there's an easy enough grade at which you would not be nervous at all. Find someone happy to get the mileage, and climb a lot at that grade until you're comfortable -- even bored.

After you've "captured" that feeling, expand the zone in which you feel it by gently edging up in your grades after you feel so relaxed that you're "bored" at each one.

My 2 cents. Good luck!


boadman


Mar 30, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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I think that Dave Mcleod's book "9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes" has some thoughts that might help you. It sounds like you have a combination of a fear of falling and performance anxiety, both of which I think all climbers struggle with at some level whether they like to admit it or not. He's got some good ideas about how to break through those barriers.

I personally have a pretty crippling fear of falling after a couple of wierd accidents, so I force myself to take 5-10 (safe!) lead falls when I'm warming up, regardless of whether I'm climbing sport or trad.


Partner cracklover


Mar 30, 2012, 1:29 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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If it's crippling or causing you to push hard leads over to your partners, that's not cool.

But aside from that, you could be describing me. I usually get nervous before and during climbs that are challenging for me. It's just part of it.

Aside from that, I would say that if you're climbing with new partners all the time that could definitely increase anxiety. Nothing like having a long-term and compatible partner to make it all seem more fun.

Good luck,

GO


Traches


Mar 30, 2012, 1:53 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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If you're afraid of falling, you can get over that easily enough-- practice taking them! Find a non-sketchy route and intentionally take a couple big lead falls until you feel comfortable with it.


bearbreeder


Mar 30, 2012, 10:03 PM
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practice falling ... in the gym ... and lead everything ...

then do that on sport climbs which have a safe fall

then on trad with the same with alot of gear

you may blow out a piece or two eventually, but thats what DP action is for Tongue

you should always keep in mind though that there are place you absolutely cant fall ... and climb accordingly


trad0001


Mar 31, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Re: [boadman] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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boadman wrote:
I think that Dave Mcleod's book "9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes" has some thoughts that might help you. It sounds like you have a combination of a fear of falling and performance anxiety, both of which I think all climbers struggle with at some level whether they like to admit it or not. He's got some good ideas about how to break through those barriers.

thanks for the advice and kind words. I guess one purpose of this thread is I was trying to figure out whether other people have the same issues as I do (to one extent or another)

cracklover wrote:
If it's crippling or causing you to push hard leads over to your partners, that's not cool.

No it's not like that.

I will describe a short scenario.
8 pitches, rated 5.10c.
pitch 1 - 5.9
2 - 5.7
3-5.8
4-5.10c
5-5.10a
6-5.9
7-5.8
8-5.10a

the person I would go with would be comfortable at the grade (unlikely to fall). I could only lead 5.9 so I would follow the harder pitches. But for example, because it's the first pitch, and its the hardest grade I can lead, i would offer the first 5.9 to my partner to get off to a speedy start (speed to avoid nightfall, not to finish)
and they would suggest that since I am comfortable on 5.9, I try one of the .10a pitches, but because of my fear of falling or hurting myself, I would immediately turn it down instead of analyzing the pitch first.

And that does make sense that if I keep changing my partners, I will remain anxious. I will also try humming or breathing and see if that helps. I get a lot of mileage, and unless I have led the pitch before, I still get nervous, even on easier climbs with one tricky move. It sounds like practicing falling may be one of the best things I could try. The falling part doesn't scare me, its a fear of hurting myself, especially on multipitch (where I tend to be even more conservative) the last thing I want is a broken bone or a concussion. But if I practice falling then I am actually "preparing" for the worst, and that seems like something that will fix my issues

Thanks for the kind words everyone, I will start practicing some lead falls


bearbreeder


Mar 31, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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go out and climb more ... moderate leads if needed and TR at yr limit ... then lead more at yr limit on climbs with good gear ...

nervousness is normal ... fear is normal ... the trick is being able to overcome it should it make sense to do so ...

also not to ignore it should there be good reason


ceebo


Mar 31, 2012, 2:30 PM
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I have fears too, and i went through the stage of beating myself up over it. What brings on the fears is just details, the real part is that you are trying to tackle it.

Maybe give yourself more credit, you are doing things already that take some guts. I bet their are many world class level boulderers who would shit their pance on the things you do.

What gave biggest progress for me was finding the most crippeling part of the fear and letting it go. That was climbing to height i percieved as serious to death consiquence and jumping off un anounced. It was not easy, but it felt like a huge barrier was removed. With irregular partners the fear comes back but i find that its now a more natural warrented fear than a irrasional ''its all trying to kill me'' one.


(This post was edited by ceebo on Mar 31, 2012, 2:38 PM)


trad0001


Apr 1, 2012, 6:24 PM
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Re: [ceebo] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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ceebo wrote:
I have fears too, and i went through the stage of beating myself up over it. What brings on the fears is just details, the real part is that you are trying to tackle it.

Maybe give yourself more credit, you are doing things already that take some guts. I bet their are many world class level boulderers who would shit their pance on the things you do.

What gave biggest progress for me was finding the most crippeling part of the fear and letting it go. That was climbing to height i percieved as serious to death consiquence and jumping off un anounced. It was not easy, but it felt like a huge barrier was removed. With irregular partners the fear comes back but i find that its now a more natural warrented fear than a irrasional ''its all trying to kill me'' one.

Thanks for the kind words. I definitely do have a fear of climbing very far past my gear, especially on less than vertical walls. I will try jumping off and getting more comfortable with the height. thanks!


superchuffer


Apr 1, 2012, 8:05 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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don't believe everything you think. if that doesn't work, smoke a bowl, take up sport climbing, or both.


Marylandclimber


Apr 3, 2012, 2:23 PM
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Make a joke out of it to yourself like this guy!
skip to around 0:40
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJcvhBDxFkA


donnie


Apr 3, 2012, 7:03 PM
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Re: [Marylandclimber] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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haha that video still makes me laugh!


donnie


Apr 3, 2012, 7:07 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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Nervousness is ok, it happens. Like others have said, hum a tune, think of something off the wall, etc to get your mind off the nerves usually works. You could also use the nervousness sometimes as a tool to push you further, sometimes works. I've handed leads off to partners before when they know the route and I don't, but with my regular partners I'm usually the guinea pig, so nerves either get pushed aside or you take a fall and get it out of the way and push on. I'm not a badass climber, so take it with a grain of salt.


clumsy


Apr 3, 2012, 7:15 PM
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Re: [donnie] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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A conversation with fear - http://www.amazon.com/...-ebook/dp/B004GEAH6I is great book. Although it's written about skiing, it explains a lot and can be applied to just about anything.


granite_grrl


Apr 4, 2012, 6:42 AM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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Seems to me that you're taking on more stress than you're ready for at this point. Do you find it just as stressful to lead 5.7 as it is to lead 5.9? Maybe a day of easy cragging and only doing some harder leads if you feel like it?

I went through a pretty bad climbing accident a while ago and coming back was hard. There were a lot of miserable days because I was just terrified. I did not enjoy climbing on those days and it would make me wonder why I was trying to get back into it. I learned to take small bites though and I just kept (and still keeping) working my way through.

The only way to improve is to push yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to take it all on at once. You have to take things at your own pace, not what you precive your partners expect.


sungam


Apr 4, 2012, 2:37 PM
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Sometimes I get really nervous about routes. I notice that it tends to be the days everything feels in a serious mood. I always try to take a leaf out of Pinky Pie's book and laugh more. A good banter = less stress, more enjoyable (and often faster) climbing, and better memories.


livinonasandbar


Apr 4, 2012, 8:58 PM
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Re: [trad0001] Nervousness and Motivation [In reply to]
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Trad, do you experience similar anxiety in other, non-climbing situations? Do you get spooked easily by loud noises or other surprises? Do you lie awake at night or early morning fretting over things? Do you often feel like you've had too much coffee when you've had none? Are you often conscious of your heartbeat? How much stress are you dealing with in your daily life?

General anxiety can make climbing a bummer, since you're already amped up on cortisol before you even get your shoes laced. Facing down a challenging lead may just push you toward a mild panic reaction.

Or not. Just something to consider...


trad0001


Apr 7, 2012, 11:55 AM
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granite_grrl wrote:
Seems to me that you're taking on more stress than you're ready for at this point. Do you find it just as stressful to lead 5.7 as it is to lead 5.9? Maybe a day of easy cragging and only doing some harder leads if you feel like it?

I went through a pretty bad climbing accident a while ago and coming back was hard. There were a lot of miserable days because I was just terrified. I did not enjoy climbing on those days and it would make me wonder why I was trying to get back into it. I learned to take small bites though and I just kept (and still keeping) working my way through.

The only way to improve is to push yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to take it all on at once. You have to take things at your own pace, not what you precive your partners expect.

Thanks, that definitely makes sense. I do get stressed and maybe I need to slow down the pace to what I am comfortable with.

Thanks everyone, this should be a successful climbing season with all these tips!


Angel_Ant


Apr 14, 2012, 9:56 AM
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My main climbing partner has similar anxiety issues while climbing. What we have been doing is finding routes that we know she can easily send. I'll climb it on lead, and she will follow on top rope. If she feels good and comfortable on it, she will do it on lead. If she isn't comfortable, we move on.

Have a chat with whoever you climb with and tell them that you're nervous. If they get annoyed or frustrated, don't climb with them. A good friend and partner won't make you do something that makes you uncomfortable.


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