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maculated


Mar 26, 2002, 12:14 AM
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99% mental . . .
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So I've been climbing for about 9 months now, averaging 2-3 days a week. Some in gym, mostly TR outside, some lead, starting trad. I am usually able to onsight 5.9s, and one time a 10a, and I've been spending a lot of time working out various levels of 10 routes. The lowest climb I've done in a while is today's.

I know I've improved vastly in the last three months, but I'm starting to see things almost becoming MORE difficult for me now. I went out to climb a local crag today that was only rated a 5.8 (the route beta here said 10a, but my guide said 5.8 and with all those holds, I say 8, too).

I'm not chasing numbers, but I do want to see some improvement and I seem to be stumbling on a mental block. I have no problem, sitting here and thinking, "Man! WHen I get on that rock tomorrow, I'm going to tear it up! No fear!" But then I got on this route, which was admittedly a little exposed and long, and I was Elvis legging, totally not composed, everything.

You all post about strength and the like, but I'm not hitting a wall because I can't pull these moves, I know I can. I just mentally break myself down. I would imagine this is some kind of beginner phenomenon, and I would LOVE some advice.


crackaddict


Mar 26, 2002, 1:47 AM
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When I was begining I was this way too. It did'nt go away till I got more experience, trusted my gear and myself and learned that falling was'nt so bad. I found out that the more time you spend out there and get comfortable on the rock the more it goes away. At one time I was climbing a lot in the gym. I felt really strong and I was doing a lot of 11's. But when I climbed outside I was doing mostly 8's and 9's and having trouble on 10's. I decided that I needed more time outdoors. I began to do a ton of bouldering and getting on routes. This helped me out a lot. I found the more time I spent on the real rock the more comfortable I was. I think that toproping at the gym had a negative effect on me. I was'nt up for the task when it was time to lead. Now I lead everything and spend most of my time outdoors. And I feel really comfortable on anything I try.
Well I hope this helps you.
Later.


rastalizard


Mar 26, 2002, 2:06 AM
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Hey Maculated,
I know your problem only too well.
I felt the same on Sunday.I had to back off a route because I was too scared to do a move I knew I was capable of.
It was exposed and run out,but I was not even prepared to try.

That being said, I usually try.

I focus just before the sequence of moves, mainly by doing a quick Kung-Fu breathing excercise.This slows the adrenalin down and allows you to get your breath back.
It is also great for the mind,it lets you get back in touch with why you are out there.
After that I can generally go on.

I will have to check out what others have to say as well.
Enjoy


kelownaclimber


Mar 26, 2002, 5:44 AM
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Hey Maculated,
Just get out there and spend more time on the rock...as you get more comfortable you will find the moves will come,and time on the rock will also make you stronger!!!


madscientist


Mar 26, 2002, 7:11 AM
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Visualize the moves and the sequence. First, determine what a fall is going to be like. If the fall is safe, then tell yourself that. Out loud if you have to. Then imagine yourself doing the moves without falling, and getting to the next safe, or rest section. If you can, even try to imagine what the rock feels like, what the moves feel like. The more realistic your visualization, the better. This also works wonders when you want to send that next hard project you have been working.


jdean


Mar 26, 2002, 8:01 AM
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The info above is the best anyone can give: more time on real rock is what it takes in the end. Gym climbing is a great way to train technique, but that's where the similarities end. You really can't train the mental aspect in the gym and that's what will make the difference. For example, in my opinion, I have found there are a few things you can't do if you are going to be successful:
a. you can't climb worrying about making the next clip
b. you can't climb worrying about falling.
It's like playing "not to lose" instead of playing to win. You as an athlete should know exactly what I am talking about. How many games have you ever seen won doing that?
If you are climbing "not to fall" or climbing "to the next bolt" you are not focused on the climb itself. You shouldn't even notice a runout. I have found myself too focused sometimes. I have unintentionally skipped bolts and still today have to have my belayer remind me to clip. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I have only been climbing since July and I just redpointed an 11a on Sunday, so I think I am going to stick with what has gotten me here. Remember, FOCUS and BREATHE. Draw this little imaginary bubble around you that consists of you and the next sequence of moves you have to pull. Visualize them and pull them, just like you were in the gym. I hope this helps.

M@


fiend


Mar 26, 2002, 8:49 AM
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Some things that will help:

  • Learn pranayamic breathing. Proper breathing helps to fight flash pump and keep you focused.
  • Spend time route reading. Try to work out the sequences before you get on the wall, it's often harder to see the sequence on rock as opposed to plastic, but searching out key holds and rests will help you a lot.
  • Creative visualization. Take a moment to picture yourself completing the climb, watch a ghost image of yourself climb the route in perfect style and grace. Very important to never allow your ghost image to fall at any point, this could lead to you building a mental block at a certain move/section.
  • Meditation. If you're not into the idea of meditation then just skip it, it won't do any good and will probably just annoy you Otherwise sit calmly, eyes closed, deep breathing and spend a few moments centering yourself. Try not to focus on the climb itself but instead run through your strong points with regards to technique, balance, power, endurance, etc.


Like I said, if you're into it (and a lot of people aren't) breathing and meditation exercises will really help with your confidence and style. A calm mind is infinitely more efficient than a nervous mind.

[ This Message was edited by: fiend on 2002-03-26 08:49 ]


jdean


Mar 26, 2002, 9:01 AM
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Amen to that. Do whatever it takes to gain focus and center yourself.


M@

[ This Message was edited by: jdean on 2002-03-26 09:01 ]


jt512


Mar 26, 2002, 10:14 AM
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What jdean said is spot on. I climb my best when I'm in that state. Unfortunately, I'm not always in that state.

Somebody wrote that you have to realistically determine the risk of making the move. I agree. Realistically determine if the fall is safe. If it is, commit. If you make the move, great; if you miss the move, great. You'll get to log some air time, and you'll have learned two things: one, how the move doesn't go, and, two, what that fall is like. Then, you won't be scared to take that fall again.

What if you determine that the fall would be dangerous. Then, realistically determine if you can do the move. If you determine that the move is easy for you, then focus, and make the move. If you determine that it is not, well, I'm not a bold climber. I'd back off.

Fear of falling when the fall is safe is irrational, but natural. Your rational mind may know that there is no real danger, but your conditioning tells you otherwise. You can unlearn this fear by getting more experience falling. Take practice falls. More on this in another post.

-Jay


jt512


Mar 26, 2002, 10:25 AM
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Practice falls.

Find a bolted route that is vertical to overhanging, and that doesn't have ledges or large holds to hit. Make sure you have a real belayer, one who can give you a dynamic belay.

Climb up to a high bolt on the route. You want a lot of rope out so that the fall will be softer. Clip the bolt and climb up only as high as you are comfortable falling. This my even be just up to the bolt. That's fine for your first fall. Warn your belayer and take the fall. If you were scared, take the same fall again. Once you are comfortable with falling from that height, climb a little higher and fall again. As you gain confidence that you will not get hurt, take longer and longer falls, until you can comfortably fall from the next bolt.

If you are chronically worried about falling, work some practice falls into your warm-up routine. You warm-up your body, right? Warm-up your head, too.

-Jay


miagi


Mar 26, 2002, 11:11 AM
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Yup, thats probably the biggest mental block is fear of injury or akwardness. I was on this 25 foot crag once and the first few foot holds were about the width and length of my pinky nail. It wouldnt be that bad but considering that they were sloping was really hard. I never wanted to put that much weight on it because i feared i would slip so i was hindering myself. Until i learned to take the risk, exert full strength, and have confidence in myself, did i accomplish the moves.

The fear of falling on static climbing moves can be dealt with easily. For me others im sure, dynoing is a real problem with that fear aspect. When i first started, when i dynoed to the next hold i was always thinking "man im going to lose my grip and probably fall and scrape the whole front size of my body off this rock" Plus i thought since this was a boulder "and if i scrape off the wall im going to lose my balance and land on my back or something". Until i said hell with it and gave it all my might did i ever accomplish it.



maculated


Mar 26, 2002, 10:06 PM
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Follow up to my original post: I went to the gym today (and MOST of my climbing is outdoors, so it's not more exposure to real rock that's the problem). I don't know if the climbs are WAY easier in the gym or what, but I was back to my 10s today, and if I hadn't been so pumped, probably could have nailed an 11. I'm even up to working V3 problems.

It's not the fear of falling that was killing me. That specific route I was talking about, I was on top rope. Even then, when I have taken lead falls, it's never been a big deal to me. At one point I decided that I should just lead it and stop worrying so darn much, but didn't because my partner advised against it.

I don't know. It's amazing. I'll try your techniques and read up on that breathing excercise. I'm a big fan of focused breathing, but obviously what I'm doing isn't working. Thanks guys!

[ This Message was edited by: maculated on 2002-03-26 22:17 ]


offwidthclimber


Mar 26, 2002, 10:27 PM
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dude, although this advice is not fear related, it definately has something to do with mental frustrations.

there's this slabby boulder problem at my home town area (where i grew up) that's supposedly a 5.10d lieback/arete problem. i've been spanked for 2 years on this problem. it's probably simply a matter of balance or something, but i'm still unable to unlock it. however, i've done V3 in about 3 tries and have climbed V4/5 before. i've climbed problems graded a lot harder at this location.

anyway, that's just the reality of climing. some days you'll get spanked on a tricky V2 but will onsight/flash a V6. it's all good.

anyway, peace out and good luck with making sense of it all!


addiroids


Mar 26, 2002, 10:38 PM
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Screw all that hippie Yogi bull$h!t and just slam a beer, shoot some 'roids, and get meaty on the rock. Unless you are doing a slab route, then either smoke a J (to relax you) or trip some acid (to imagine the holds being there).

I usually had the habit of substituting muscle for technique, but since I have been climbing long moderate routes for so long and not been in the climbing gym for over a year, I have become soft, so now I just have to actually use some skill. I still lift a lot, so I am able to tap into the inner strength I possess when I need.

TRADitionally yours,

Cali Dirtbag


rastalizard


Mar 26, 2002, 11:26 PM
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Screw al the Hippie shit, but take take acid and smoke a joint?
Add free love and you would be a hippie addroids.


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