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My Ego V. My Friend's Ego
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wonderwoman


Feb 10, 2005, 7:28 AM
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My Ego V. My Friend's Ego
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I have a semi-frustrating, yet funny, story to tell. I have just started to practice some of the excercised in RWW. I have decided to start out some practice falls for my warm up and to start with really small goals and work from there. I should also mention that we are in New England so we are stuck climbing indoors for right now.

The other night I was climbing with my husband (Josh) and a friend of ours. I map out my route and identify what hold I was going to fall off, and then I tell Josh and ask him to just remind me of my goal. Once I get up there, I realize that I have misread the climb and the hand hold that I identified as my falling point is actually a foot hold and I don't feel comfortable taking a lead fall that size just quite yet. Josh reminds me of my goal (not yelling 'go for it' or anything), but I accept that I am not ready to fall on this climb and decide that I will set another goal on my next climb (which I followed through with later on).

So I get down and I am moving on and not being disappointed with myself. Not a word from my husband, but my friend pats me on the shoulder and then says 'Don't feel bad'. I say, I don't feel bad and start thinking about my next goal and looking at the route again.

My friend ties in to the same climb and suddenly decides that he is going to practice falling at the same point that I was hesitating. I think, that's odd, but whatever. He has a right to do whatever he wants, but I didn't know that he had any desire to practice falling. But then he comes down and starts telling me that he knows all about the book that I'm reading even though he's only read the index and starts giving me all sorts of shaman like advice about my climbing. I just smile and don't really say anything.

So, Josh ropes up and my friend is now belaying. I am sitting on the floor, looking at the route that I am going to climb, identifying what hold I am going to take a fall from and making a plan. I feel eyes on me and look into my friend's face.

"Don't feel bad", he says.

I think to myself, 'Stop'. But what comes out of my smiling mouth is: "Shut up."

Now, I am not the type of person to tell anyone to shut up and I felt really bad. I can't figure out if my friend was trying to show me up or somehow trying to teach me that falling isn't scary. But I am making an effort not to compare myself to others and it all felt very condescending. And it also felt like he was trying to make me relive the moment while I was trying to move on, set a new goal, and not dwell on something that I consciously chose not to do.

My husband thought it was funny. He said, "I told him not to say anything to you about it - he deserved it!" At any rate, despite the bumpy beginning of my night I was still able to climb better than I have in a long time. A few weeks ago I would have been moping around and feeling sorry for myself and not challenging myself for the rest of the time at the gym.

I guess I'm just venting. But I think that I am going to have to have a very direct conversation with our friend. I'm a very sensitive person and I guess I just need to figure out what my words are.


dirtineye


Feb 10, 2005, 11:10 AM
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Re: My Ego V. My Friend's Ego [In reply to]
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You raise an important point about climbing with other people.

Sometimes there is a fine line betwen encouragement or consolation, and just trying to show someone up.

Most good pals will not try to make their friends feel inadequate for failing to make a move or for bailing off a climb.

Falling practice is not something you need to be pushed (heh) over.

I'll give you a tip on falling practice:

Start out on top rope, get up off the ground, and first just swing back and forth a little, moving along the rock and working your hand and feet. THEn, with about one foot of slack, let go. if that works for you, try two feet, and so on. keep increasing gradually til you get a fair amount of falling distance.

For lead falling, start out hte same way. from below your falling point, jsut do a little swinging, then a short TR fall, and so on, then climb a little above your falling pro, and take a small fall. work your falling distance up very gradially.


IT is HARD to just let go of the rock and fall when you are not forced to, LOL! THe first practice falls I ever took were MUCH scarier than the real falls I had taken prior to practice falling, mainly beccause I just did not want to let go! It is just not natural to let go of prefectly good holds and fall. I guess that is part of why we practice falling, so that we can overcome our natural fear of falling and react intellegently.

IF you can get to one of Arno's climbing clinics I highly recommend it. He is really good at helping people with falling practice.


wa_hoo


Feb 11, 2005, 6:58 PM
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Re: My Ego V. My Friend's Ego [In reply to]
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Awesome advice dirtineye. I'd echo that.

One other tidbit I've figured out about who to climb with. I had a good friend I used to climb with, and all seemed to go well, until I started climbing with some more supportive people. I didn't realize how not supportive my friend was being until then.

Whenever we were done I felt slightly deflated. She climbs aggressively like it's a competition to finish the route first. She never supported me with my struggles, challenges, etc and never seemed to want any from me.

I spend my time and energy climbing and hanging out with people who support me and I support them. I'm climbing better and am enjoying the whole experience a lot more.

Arno's stuff is incredible, but it seemed to also inspire some change of company as my awareness increased.


naw


Feb 13, 2005, 8:49 AM
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Re: My Ego V. My Friend's Ego [In reply to]
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When I first started climbing, I had a friend who was very competitive with me. The strangest manifestion of it I ever saw is once when I was leading a 5.7 sport climb at the New River Gorge. I got off route and got pretty scared because I was directly above a ledge after a big high step, and I didn't feel like I could reverse the move. Anyway, I finally calmed myself down, reversed the move, and finished the climb. My friend started the climb, got to the same spot, did NOT go off route, but still got scared and freaked out for about 5 mins before finally moving on. Apparently he felt like his performance was so tied into mine that he actually psyched himself into getting scared for absolutely no reason at the same spot I had gotten scared at (for pretty good reason, considering a ledge out from where I was would have probably been a broken foot). One of the best things I took away from the Warrior's Way was to concentrate on my own performance and what I wanted to get out of the climb, and not focus on outside distractions. On the other hand, if I was in your situation, I definitely would have gotten bothered also. Some people can't be content in themselves; their ego requires them to constantly seek some kind of comparison to others. I'm a pretty tolerant person, but I simply refuse to climb with some of the people I know. I can't stand to climb with someone who's overly competitive, so I just tell some people "I'd rather not climb with you." Some people would say that's an ahole thing to do. The way I figure it, I've got plenty of friends, and plenty of willing climbing partners. I'm old enough and secure enough in myself that I don't see why I should have to bother spending time with people whos' company I don't enjoy. I do that at work all day. If you really like this friend, you should probably talk to them about the fact that you're seriously trying to incorporate the principles in the Warrior's Way into your life and your climbing, and his competitive nature is making you uncomfortable. If he's a mature friend, he'll probably understand; you might even enlighten him to some personality traits he didn't realize he had. On the other hand, if it continues, and I were in your situation, I'd tell him that I prefer not to climb with him. A lot of guys are so entrenched in their "oneupmanship" nature that they don't even realize how condescending they're being to everyone else around them. Another side note is that a lot of climbers never take the time to look at their own strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to get better, so they always want to do exactly what you do.


cagdbikeclimb


Feb 13, 2005, 4:52 PM
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Re: My Ego V. My Friend's Ego [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Most good pals will not try to make their friends feel inadequate for failing to make a move or for bailing off a climb.

Last weekend I started to lead a route that's well within my capabilities. About a third of the way up the pitch there's a section with loose flakes: not much opportunity for pro and not exactly secure climbing. Even though I've led the route before I decided to back off so I downclimbed back to the ground.

A friend was belaying me and my regular partner was watching. He [the regular partner] proceeded to berate me for not finishing the route. "What if you had been ten pitches off the ground? What if it was an emergency and you had to finish the pitch?" Well, I answered, it wasn't an emergency and I was 25 feet off the ground. If it was truly an emergency I would have dealt with it but since it was meant to be the warmup climb for the day I wasn't so concerned about finishing it. He then says because it's three number grades below my redpoint level that I should have stuck with it. He added, somewhat strangely, that the pitch was so easy that he would free-solo it. I told him that's great but doesn't have much to do with how I would climb the route.

The friend who was belaying me didn't say anything negative. After I told her I was coming down she told me to relax and be careful on the downclimb and that was pretty much it. An interesting contrast in styles.

I had been climbing with my regular partner for about two years. I no longer plan to climb with him.


wonderwoman


Feb 13, 2005, 6:38 PM
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Thanks to all of you for the insight. I'm told that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I guess that my friend's behavior should make me feel better! If he continues, I will definately say something to him. He may be a better friend than a climbing partner for me.

I did run into him at the gym the other day and he was practicing falling and telling other folks all about me reading this book. A woman came up to me and asked where she could get a copy. Who knows - maybe my friend will pick it up himself and he can start working on his own stuff.

Dirtineye, I took your advice about falling on toprope with a lot of slack out. Thanks for your suggestions!

Tiff


dirtineye


Feb 13, 2005, 7:47 PM
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Re: My Ego V. My Friend's Ego [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Thanks to all of you for the insight. I'm told that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I guess that my friend's behavior should make me feel better! If he continues, I will definately say something to him. He may be a better friend than a climbing partner for me.

I did run into him at the gym the other day and he was practicing falling and telling other folks all about me reading this book. A woman came up to me and asked where she could get a copy. Who knows - maybe my friend will pick it up himself and he can start working on his own stuff.

Dirtineye, I took your advice about falling on toprope with a lot of slack out. Thanks for your suggestions!

Tiff

Glad it helped. I didn't think it up, that is actually how Arno starts people off in his falling clinic.

Maybe if your friend reads Arno's book he will figure out how to be a better partner. A lot of the book is about self examination.


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