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Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to
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Partner kimgraves


Jun 25, 2004, 2:16 PM
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Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to
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Hi Gang,

Iíve just joined the group, so you can read about me in the "Introductions" post if youíre interested.

I have a question about getting yourself on a climb that you just donít feel right about.

Last weekend I was going to lead ďSixishĒ at the Gunks. Itís considered a hard 5.4 and a testpiece leading to the next level. I just couldnít get myself on the route. I had a million excuses: I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep; I was sore from digging a 4 foot hole in the garden the day before; my bowels wouldnít leave me alone; I just didnít feel right. I tried to use the Warrior principles; I tried Horstís Answer sequence. I just couldnít do it. My problem is that I donít know how to analyze this to know whether I make a wise decision or I just need to do the Warrior thing better.

I think it was partially fear. I was afraid because it was steep and sustained Ė more so than anything else Iíve lead. I was afraid that Iíd get up and have to come down because of my stomach problems. I was afraid because I didnít feel confident (even though itís only 5.4 Ė well within my climbing level).

Weíre going up again on Sunday. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Regards,

Kim


iamthewallress


Jun 25, 2004, 4:19 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you don’t [In reply to]
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You could try breaking it down into specifics for what you need to do to pull it off. (i.e. step here, pro there, scoot, scoot, big reach....) Use analysis to help get rid of "phantom fear".

Also, you can try to address you 'excuses' so that they aren't issues, real or perceived, this coming weekend: try to sleep enough, take immodium, etc.


dirtineye


Jun 25, 2004, 6:04 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you don?t want to [In reply to]
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IF you have real physical issues, like you might have to get off fast and run for the bushes to releive yourself, that's different from whiney excuses.

Maybe you were just too hard on yourself. Three of your reasons sound real.

BUT, there's nothing wrong with coming down for your stomach's sake, or climbing on a little sleep, or being sore and climbing.

Did you really want to do that climb?

Why were you lacking confidence?

Maybe the three physical reasons in combination were something you were wise to acknowledge.

By the way, how confident are you in your newfangled gear? Could some of your lack of confidence or fear lie here?

Arno didn't write the RWW to trick people into doing things they are not ready to do. Ask yourself if you really are ready in every way for this climb. If the answer is yes, then take steps to rule out lack of sleep, soreness and stomach trouble as wallress suggests.

Then see what happens.

I'd just forget about this last time, and start fresh. The RWW is a tool box, not a bible. Use the tools to their best advantage for you. Be sure to have fun on the climb.


unabonger


Jun 28, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to [In reply to]
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Sometimes there's no analysis or technique or principle to explain nervousness properly. Sometimes the scary only becomes possible when you want it enough. Sometimes we never find reasons to want "it".

There are probably lots of things you can do to overcome whatever is stopping you from doing this climb. Many of them aren't in a book. Is "single minded obsession" described in RWW? Is it healthy? I don't know. But its gotten me up a few routes. "SMO" leads to all sorts of creative breakthroughs. And explanation of "why" you break through is only clear in hindsight, and then it is only poorly explained.

The fact that you've posted here about the routes tells me you may have a case of "SMO", and I bet you do the climb soon.

UB


Partner kimgraves


Jun 28, 2004, 1:11 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to [In reply to]
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Thanks gang for your help.

My partner, Matt and I made our weekly pilgrimage to the Gunks yesterday. I made sure to get enough sleep the night before and was fully recovered from any work in the gym. I felt about 90% versus the 30% I felt last weekend. And I had spent the week thinking about whether I wanted to climb the route and why.

Sixish is a sustained 5.4. Though itís technically easy, itís steep with great exposure. Most of the pro has to be placed with one hand while keeping balance with the other. (Iím sure thatís common on harder climbs, but not so on the easier leads Iíve done.) In addition most of the places for pro are horizontal Ė only cams and tricams will work easily Ė nuts are not very useful.

I lead up the first pitch and twenty feet off the deck I realized how scared I was. It was just felt so vertical. I actually said it out loud Ė though Iím not sure Matt heard me. But I looked up and saw a rest. I knew my pro was bomber and I was up high enough that I wouldnít deck if I fell. I reminded myself that 5.4 was easily within my range. I did the ANSWER sequence, flashed a smile, and went for it. When I found the first rest, in the corner I spend several minutes recovering. I found the next rest and repeated the sequence.

The first belay is hanging off of two fixed pins and some piece of mank. There is an ďAmerican death triangleĒ through the pins to use as a rappel sling, and so not enough space to clip through the pins. In addition, I had used all my small cams on the first pitch (I only have three) and so couldnít build a solid anchor. Matt thought there was a ledge just above so I lead through, thinking if worst came to worst, Iíd just link the two pitches. There was no ledge. It was just sustained, steep 5.4 all the way. Because the route runs back and forth, rope drag started to become a problem. Even though I had slung every piece of pro with a two-foot sling. As I got close to the end of the pitch, I would have to drag up four of five feet of slack, then drop it and let it be absorbed by the system before I could lead up. All the while I was fighting to keep it all together: keep looking down for foot holds; keep finding the hand holds; stand away from the rock; keep breathing Ė all those basics. Remember, itís only 5.4. Horizontal placement after horizontal placement. The pro was good; the fall consequences were low. I even though about taking a fall on purpose. But I wanted to send without falls (whatís that about?). Toward the end of the pitch the angle and the difficulty lessoned and I ran out the lead 10ish feet between placement Ė I was out of runners and out of pro for horizontal placement. But I knew I was okay. I kept looking up and remembered Mark Twight saying, for safety, look up toward the belay rather than down to the ground.

Matt followed and arrived at the belay completely spent and freaked. ďI need to reset,Ē he said. We spent a half hour reracking and recovering. Had some GU and water. We were both pretty freaked. But by the end I was ready for the final pitch. The route goes up a wall then traverses right over an overhang. So there is exposure almost immediately. Then the route goes through a notch in the overhang Ė but if feels like youíre doing a small overhang. On the traverse is one delicate 5.6 step between 5.4 handholds. Itís a balance move that takes focus. I just watched my breath as I made that step. It was a moment of grace, which made the climb for me. No fear at that point Ė too focused. Stepped up through the notch, stemmed across and saw 4th class not far ahead.

Maybe one of the values of the Warrior Way is just to have a language to address the issues Ė like being able to say, ďwhat, are the ďfall consequences?Ē Once I can do that, I can keep it together because I have a handle on whatís going on. Fear recedes in the face of information.

Thanks gang for all your help. Iím sure Iíll have more questions.

Regards, Kim


unabonger


Jun 28, 2004, 2:12 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to [In reply to]
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Great job. And maybe treat yourself to a couple of new cams to use on your first 5.5 lead!

UB


dirtineye


Jun 28, 2004, 4:34 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you don?t want to [In reply to]
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That's a good point about the RWW giving you the vocabulary to address issues.

By the way, two feet is not a long sling, it is the standard length. Rope drag is a bad thing, for several reasons. Get some longer slings, and especially with horizontals se if you can run a nicer, more drag free line.

Congratulations on your success.


dredsovrn


Jul 5, 2004, 3:42 PM
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Re: Q: Getting yourself on the rock when you donít want to [In reply to]
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I find have found myself almost praying for rain on some days. Not really outwardly, but deep inside. I have been climbing well, and hadn't had any problems. Falling fine, following fine, and doing some decent lead, but somehow, didn't want to do it.

The night before a recent climbing day, I told my wife I really just wanted to go out and have a great, FUN day of climbing. The next day I followed a .7, then a .10b. I was ready to follow some more, just TR stuff. My partner said, "why don't you lead that .7 we just did. "Oh, OK." It went fine, but I was tight to the second bolt.

That same crag has only one trad climb. A pretty easy .8. My partner said "why don't you lead that trad .8." I walked over an looked at it. Overgrown, a little dirty (the excuses were working already). Then he said, "or there is a .10a sport over here." I was in the middle. Holy sh!t 10 on lead. Hmmmm. "OK." Did I just say OK?

There is one spot on the climb with no bolt that can be protected with gear. Almost fell off setting a nut that pulled. At the roof, I looked down at the last bolt 10' below my feet and said "breath" to myself. I focused on enjoying the climb and cruised to the top. The feeling was great.

Sometimes you can look inside and know you are BSing yourself, and push yourself past it. Sometimes it is nice to have a great partner who knows you are BSing yourself and pushes you past it. Doesn't matter whether it is .4 or .14, the head game is the same. Stick with it and enjoy the experience outside the comfort zone.


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