Forums: Clubs: Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way:
Please help define the physical space of the "Risk Zone
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way

Premier Sponsor:

 


iamthewallress


Jan 29, 2004, 12:12 PM
Post #1 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 1, 2003
Posts: 2463

Please help define the physical space of the "Risk Zone
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I was reading about how we are supposed to determine a Risk Zone, which Arno suggests is to a good protection opportunity, rest, or the anchors, for example, we are suposed to gather what information we can about that area and then commit fully to entering that risk zone and checking our conscious mind at its door.

My problem is in defining what this risk zone should be. For me, the risk zone tends to be each piece because I can't fathom a way to subconsiously get the right piece of gear out, place it, and evaluate it, even if I've got a pretty good idea which piece I am going to need before I get there (the exception being fixed gear or pre-examined placements). The problem with defining my risk zone by my gear, aside from the fact that I tend to place more than I need, is that I end up stopping and getting ready to reassert myself at each gear stance, and often this costs me energy.

How do you define your zones? How do you deal with placing gear when you are trying to avoid too much conscious deliberation?


unabonger


Jan 29, 2004, 1:02 PM
Post #2 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 8, 2003
Posts: 2689

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Some of this might relate to the learning process that Arno spoke of in a post below. (From unconsiously incompetent up to unconsciously competent). When you can choose and place gear with less conscious thought then the risk zone can be less "busy" and it becomes easier to define.

Still, because of the complicated and varied nature of gear placement, there are always complicated placements that take more thought than others, no matter how adept one gets.

An experience that helped me progress in gear placing efficiency was doing routes repeatedly. Using the same gear, or correcting mistakes by finding more efficient or safer placements or better stances on a climb I'd done, furthered my competence and confidence. (Vascular Disaster at Moore's, anyone??!!)

Here's an idea, others please comment: Maybe you can practice enlarging your risk zone--on an easy section, consciously define your risk zone two pieces of protection ahead. In other words, by relegating the intermediate piece to an area within the risk zone means you plan to do it with less immediate awareness, then plan to reengage your more conscious mind for the second piece. If you need to.

Thoughts on that?

UB


dirtineye


Jan 29, 2004, 1:20 PM
Post #3 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 29, 2003
Posts: 5590

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ok if you are saying that placing gear is a risky time for you and that it wastes too much energy, it sounds like you might need more work on how to place gear without using up too much energy.

Maybe you could work on just getting on the bottom of the climb a foot or two off the ground adn try finding ways to be comfortable on one hand and two feet, learing the tricks of balancing and perching as much as possible rather than hanging on to the rock and gripping tightly.

I'm not sure what you mean by too much gear. If you are not confident in your placements, then no amount is enough. It also sounds a little bit like your expectations are unrealistic. You can't know what piece will be right before you get there. Are yo uwasting mental effort and cluttering your mind by criticising yourself for not automatically making a perfect palcement with the first piece you try? If you are, this is not helping you, instead it is frustrating you more and syphoning away the thinking that woudl better be spent on getting a different piece in there.

Don't worry about having to try two or even three pieces. Do give yourself credit for getting a good piece in. Do go out and test your pieces by hanging on them until you know they will hold. I always give a piece a yank to set it and see how it settles in.


THink about this: A large part of trad climbing is getting in good gear. This is a lot of fun. As you do it more, you get better, and you will learn how to place gear without pumping out in the process. For me gear placing is a thoughtful process, it is not subconcious at all. You must use your eyes ears hands and brain to determine what piece goes in what spot. The subconcious part for me is the general confidence and expectation of a good outcome that grows wiht placing a lot of good gear in a lot of situations.

In the gear placement selection and fitting process, the only concious thoughts that help are the ones about the size and kind of piece that will work, whether the placement is solid, and whether you are well balanced and efficient in your energy use. Part of the energy situation is, Are you BREATHing?. The car won't run without gas!




In a tense situation, often I will not get the first piece I try in. I've sometimes had to try several different pieces before geting the right one, and downclimb to a rest between each one. Instead of beating myself up for this alleged shsortcoming, I just am happy that I now have good gear and go from there.


Other times, I have not had the option of down climbing or hanging, nad have had to just hold on wiht one hand and fiddle with several pieces of gear to get the right one, while taking intermediate rests ( in this instance that is holding on with both hands).

One climb tihs summer was very demanding, it had a very steep roof, and I was halfway out and at the most horizontal point, when I got to a placement that had a loose rock blocking the spot where the piece was goign to go. So I had to wiggle the loose rock out of the way, put both hands back on, get the piece off the rack and put it close to the slot, and hold on with both hands again, then place the piece and set it, and hold on with both hands again, then clip the piece with a sling, and hold on with both hands again, and finally clip the rope, and after one more 'rest ' with both hands on, I could finally move on out the roof.

(these times are one of those situations where it is extremely important to remember to breathe. Holding your breath while doing a difficult task like placing a tricky piece is natural, but it really saps your energy)

At no time in this little gear fest did I have the chance to do anything but concentrate on what I had to do. I did not feel particularly at risk, but when you are really concentrating risk is not what is on your mind at all, rather accomplishing the task that advances you tkase up every thought.

I had confidence in my partner and my other gear, and it was time for more gear, so I think you could say I had already and unconciously made the risk assesssment. knew it was time for a piece, and from then on worked to get the piece and maintain my position and conserve and maintain energy. While placing the piece, that is all I thought about, including thoughts like, "Balance is good. OK, that wil take a 9 hex.", "OK Move that rock. Opps it's stuck, Shift weight, rest a sec, Keep breathing. Wiggle Rock left a little, good. OK rest a little, Place the hex, set it, wow great spot. rest a little. Two foot sling. extend it. rest a little, Clip rope."

Thoughts about balance, feet, changing grip to allow a little more blood blood flow, shifting feet to rest your leg muscles a little, droppign your heels, these become so natural you don't even think about then after a while, you just do em, but you are still vaguely aware of these needs, so I put em in. It never hurts to mentally check on these things either, epecially the breathing.


Well this is a big mess, but I hope it answers your questions somewhat.

If that was all too long, look at this:

Wallress, sometimes I get the impression you worry too much. Practice your gear close to the ground. Pretend you are 100 feet up. Practice relaxing while you do it. Think only those thoughts that help you. Make it fun, if it isn't already.


*******************************************************

Well said Bonger.


iamthewallress


Jan 29, 2004, 2:03 PM
Post #4 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 1, 2003
Posts: 2463

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Ok if you are saying that placing gear is a risky time for you and that it wastes too much energy, it sounds like you might need more work on how to place gear without using up too much energy.

Thant wasn't what I was asking at all. In the book Arno says that during the "Giving" phase we are suposed to define a finite "risk zone" that we will fully commit to and aim to remain fully engaged and operating as subconsciously as possible within that zone until we reach its end at which time we restart the the preperation/giving phases. This seemed intuitive for me on sport climbing and bouldering, but where gear is concerned, it seemed as though my "risk zones", being delinated by the places where I'm pausing, becoming conscious again, and recommiting, were a bit small on traditional climbs.

In reply to:
Wallress, sometimes I get the impression you worry too much. Practice your gear close to the ground. Pretend you are 100 feet up.

I'm not afraid to place gear, and I'm not afraid of heights, although I do worry too much in general. There is a difference between having a question about something and being worried though, just as there is a difference between asking others how they avoid the wasting of power by becoming conscious when placing a piece and worrying about the act of placing gear.


dirtineye


Jan 29, 2004, 2:13 PM
Post #5 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 29, 2003
Posts: 5590

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Ah well, sorry I missed your point.


jt512


Jan 29, 2004, 2:17 PM
Post #6 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21904

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I was reading about how we are supposed to determine a Risk Zone, which Arno suggests is to a good protection opportunity, rest, or the anchors, for example, we are suposed to gather what information we can about that area and then commit fully to entering that risk zone and checking our conscious mind at its door.

...The problem with defining my risk zone by my gear, aside from the fact that I tend to place more than I need, is that I end up stopping and getting ready to reassert myself at each gear stance, and often this costs me energy.

I'm interpreting your post differently than the other responders. I think what you are saying is that some gear placements are too strenuous to hang out at and start going through the warrior processes for the next risk zone. When this is the case, then you would be better served by defining risk zones based on good rest stances than by good gear placements. I've led so few trad pitches in the last year that I'm going to have to give you an analogy from sport climbing. On a route like Maynard G Krebs (the one I posted the dyno picture of somewhere else in the forum), you clip the first two bolts from the starting ledge, and then must commit through 3 more clips all the way to the anchor. There are no rests on the route. You have to get your shit together on the ledge, and then commit all the way to the anchors befause there are no opportunities to reassess in between. The entire route is one risk zone. So, when I climb this route, from the starting ledge, I assess the risks of falling from each Risk Point (TM) on the route, the risk points being the longest possible falls at each bolt. I don't leave the ledge until I have accepted the consequences of each of these falls.

That said, I suspect that if you find yourself frequently placing gear from strenuos stances that you might be reacting to phantom fear by placing more gear than you really need to protect yourself, so perhaps, where you could use some practice is on objectively assessing risks and the consequences of falls.

-Jay


iamthewallress


Jan 29, 2004, 2:36 PM
Post #7 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 1, 2003
Posts: 2463

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
That said, I suspect that if you find yourself frequently placing gear from strenuos stances that you might be reacting to phantom fear by placing more gear than you really need to protect yourself, so perhaps, where you could use some practice is on objectively assessing risks and the consequences of falls.

No doubt that I could benefit from this, and I am working at improving in this area. Your response was along the lines of what I was thinking about too. Sometimes, a no-rests finger crack for example, you have to fire in your gear and climb on without pause. More typically, however, there are rests and stances that are good for placing gear, and doing so is reasonable. I want to learn to minimize if not eliminate making each one of these be a boundry for a risk zone though if it makes the climbing flow better or spares me so much as the amount of energy that it takes to bring an extra biner along. Aid climbers law...it all adds up!

Unabonger was on to what I was asking. Most simply, placing even modestly tricky gear require becoming conscious for me. I can feel like I'm "flowing" and making good, quick, conscious decisions at times, but I was wondering if it was an acceptable analogue to what Arno was suggesting about being in a pure, unconscious state of movement or if working towards an unconscious state even when placing gear is even the goal.


lou_dale


Feb 3, 2004, 8:44 PM
Post #8 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 27, 2003
Posts: 53

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

iamthewallress......let me see if i understand what you were asking - not sure but will see what happens here.

what i personally consider the risk zone - anything outside of my comfort zone where i am challenged. this is very positive and to me just shy of a wee bit scarey but also exhilerating. anything within the risk zone (learning zone, if you will) to me could be where i am most alive. there is risk - apparent risk - there......whether it is danger or just falling but it is where i am at my peak of being very alive - not that i'm not now but....

example: i'm on a climb i have done eighty hundred and eleventy times. i know this like i know every wrinkle on my face. there is no challenge to it...i can run up this thing and down climb it and i'm not really learning anything NEW from it - and i've done this so much that i don't even really take the time to remember it - i have become complacent in my actions.

new climb - it's a brand new ballgame - a new grand adventure and even though i do not know all the moves i may or may not make, each time i do make something that causes me to examine the route and test my abilities to their fullest - i am learning, i am growing, and i am no longer in that sit on my laurels, i'm comfy, this is a no - brainer - comfort zone.

yeah, i might fall - or maybe not.....but when we take the challenge, scared or not - and after you have examined the consequences of your fall and safety factors - then you move forward outside of what you know - you are in the risk zone (or learning zone).

and each time we move outside of what's nice and cozy and comfy, we grow just a little more - and a little more.

sometimes it is just one or two sequences on a climb.....sometimes it's the whole route.

we are birds.....we want to fly but in order to fly, you have to stretch your wings and take that leap out into an unknown area......you may fall but eventually, you take flight............in that very moment, you couldn't be more alive....truly alive.

that is what the risk zone is for me......now. a way to learn and grow, to stretch my wings and fly.

to me, at least..............

LOU


joe


Feb 13, 2004, 3:39 PM
Post #9 of 9 (3583 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 897

Re: Please help define the physical space of the "Risk [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

here are my personal "risk zones":

-the first bits off the deck or belay where a fall would result in a groundfall or a factor 2 onto the belay. i always try to get solid gear in ASAP, even if the climbing is easy.

-making a tough clip. this is when i get the most scared when leading. i can't tell you how many times i botch clips for fear of falling with the extra rope. this occurs mainly when i am sport climbing. i'm the guy who pulls up the rope, almost make the clip, then drops the slack for the belayer to suck back in. this could happen several times on a single clip for me. it's pretty funny actually.

-unavoidable long run outs. when the gear is crap, i slow down and compensate for the lack of protection with increase in focus and deliberate motion.


a lot of times on a solid handcrack or easy climbing, i'll get into a rhythm and just start punching it. the next thing i know, i am WAY out above my last peice and looking at a ground fall. i try to recognize when i am doing this and protect myself, even though i feel solid. this scares the crap out of my poor belayers but i just get on those juicy perfect handcracks and it's like shifting gears. vrrrooooooomm!!!


Forums : Clubs : Mental Training: The Rock Warrior's Way

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$53.96 (10% off)
$62.96 (10% off)
$49.46 (10% off)
$107.96 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook