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carolyn

Backing off vs Pushing self

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Im not really sure if this is a question. And if it is, if there is really an answer. I would however love to hear other's thoughts on this subject.

 

A few days ago I did my second lead. I followed someone before going up and tried to climb it 'as if" I was leading (ie/ making more conservative moves). Ive done this climb a zillion times. Its super fun and one of the easiest Ive done. For some reason it was WAAAAAAAAy hard on this particular day....and the way I approached it. I planned on leading it next. I began to doubt myself a bit, though. I also bashed my elbow the night before on a climb. It hurt like hell and I wasnt sure if I should "physically" put myself in a situation such as leading.

 

I talked to my parter about it a bit. He believed I could do it, but was concerned as to whether or not I would back off if it was too much mentally or physically. I sat in silence, thinking: "No way. If I start it, Im going to do it!" I had to stop myself and remember how important it is to back off if its too much. Then I wondered if I would?!?!?!

 

I led the route and it turned out to be INCREDIBLY fun and rewarding!

 

I guess what I was wondering is if anyone has experienced this conflict between knowing your limits and stubborness? What kind of cues do you use (internally) to decide if its time to back off or not? Is this something that you 'learn' thru experience or is it always there?

 

 

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This might sound a bit hokey, carolyn, but I have a little thing I keep in the back of my head to help me make this decision. It's something Peter Croft said at a slide show when someone asked him the same question about soloing.

 

Ask yourself if you are having fun. If you are not having fun, then it's time to go home.

 

Obviously this is highly dependent on your defintion of fun. It works for me though.

 

I can try and give you more insight into what I mean if this sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. wink.gif

 

thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif on the leading. laugh.gif

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Carolyn,

I ususally carry a flask of scotch with me for situations like this. It has helped me get up some of the hardest climbs I've led. You should try it some time.

 

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I climbed an ice route this winter that I really wanted to bback off but I kept climbing a little higher to what looked like good ice so I could place a scew I felt confident about lowering off. All the ice was bad so once i got thru the crux it was just easier to go to the top. Hardest ice pitch I've led so far. So you see sometimes you succeeed EVEN WHEN you are TRYING to back off!!! yellaf.gif

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Experience, as in climbing a lot, will help you answer this question.

 

You want to push yourself, but you don't want to get hurt (too bad). You should try to keep the consequences of something bad happening low (ie. cuts and bruises not broken bones).

 

Climb a lot, scare yourself a bit, but don't freak yourself out.

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Dru said:

Hardest ice pitch I've led so far. So you see sometimes you succeeed EVEN WHEN you are TRYING to back off!!! yellaf.gif

 

"Failing upwards" I believe that is called.

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Depends. On ice, don't fall. On sport, go ahead and climb till you fall. On trad, fall if the pro is good, the fall is clean, and you don't mind falling.

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carolyn said:

... What kind of cues do you use (internally) to decide if its time to back off or not? Is this something that you 'learn' thru experience or is it always there?

Can I do it safely? What happens if I do fall? Is the pro right there and the terrain steep enough that no injury is possible? Where is the next opportunity to rest or place gear? Can I put in 4 or 4 pieces of gear at the crux? Can I down climb to a rest if I cannot make it safe enough or am I going to get suckered into a dangerous runnout?

 

Regardless of what is happening internally, if you can make it safe, then it's time to go for it. Learn how no not die. Dying is bad form. Everything else is OK. You are the only one keeping score. Make it safe and send it.

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carolyn said:

I guess what I was wondering is if anyone has experienced this conflict between knowing your limits and stubborness? What kind of cues do you use (internally) to decide if its time to back off or not? Is this something that you 'learn' thru experience or is it always there?

in my experience those conflicting feelings can back to you anytime. kinda frustrating too when you been at the game for years and years and you get totally fucking gripped. but then thats part of the allure. climbing never gets easier.

sounds girlified and shit i know but i try to climb with a sense of joy and it works for me.

then again some days im a spaz no matter what ana others im smooth like astroglide.

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Pushing yourself can be rewarding. In situations like that I usually ask my partner how things look. If they are scetched out too, then I should probably back off. Some days I feel generally sketched out about everything, just a mood I guess.

 

Sometimes when I'm sketched out I take advantage of my location and practice anchors and rope stuff. Or just eat. cheeburga_ron.gif

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Retrosaurus said:

Can I do it safely?

 

Unfortunately, beginners don't have the experience to determine this when they are climbing near their limit, both in terms of their climbing and their gear placements. Read the Kropp Accident report.

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Retrosaurus said:

Can I do it safely? What happens if I do fall? Is the pro right there and the terrain steep enough that no injury is possible? Where is the next opportunity to rest or place gear? Can I put in 4 or 4 pieces of gear at the crux? Can I down climb to a rest if I cannot make it safe enough or am I going to get suckered into a dangerous runnout?

 

Regardless of what is happening internally, if you can make it safe, then it's time to go for it. Learn how no not die. Dying is bad form. Everything else is OK. You are the only one keeping score. Make it safe and send it.

well said mitch!

Crofts words of wisdom are key ingredient.

NOT FUN THEN GO HOME

 

Always have an idea where you will fall too if you blow a hard spot before you try to crank. Try to be like a cat and always land on your feet. Never forget to breathe and always SMILE! grin.gif and celebrate your conquest! bigdrink.gif

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"Conquest" & "Peak Bagging" etc...

 

Not a good attitude. Smacks of hubris.

 

I don't think Croft/Potter etc use that sort of language.

 

We all have our "tick lists" I guess, but that isn't the aspect of climbing that I like to celebrate or encourage.

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peak bagging is not conquest

it's more like collecting coins, or stamps, or comic books

a geek sport Geek_em8.gif

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Dru said:

peak bagging is not conquest

it's more like collecting coins, or stamps, or comic books

a geek sport Geek_em8.gif

 

Dru,

Climbing mountains that you have never climbed before is great, but the word "bagging" implies that you have "conquered" that particular mountain and it needn't concern you anymore. I "bagged" Peak X so now I can tell all my friends I've climbed it and they will be impressed. I now "own" that mountain. Nevermind that I took the easiest route up the mountain and followed a guide...

 

I agree it's a very nerdy thing to do.

 

"Peak Bagging" = Hubris

 

...now if I can just get those other Six Summits.... wink.gif

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Peak baggin' is cool.

 

Denouncing someone else's hobby as nerdy is far greater "hubris" than peak bagging will ever be. usuck.gif

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why is that any of us cares so much about what anyone else chooses to climb or why? (outside of a purely beta/technical curiosity regarding a particular climb)

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Back on topic, I find that I have "butterflies", or what have you, when facing a tough lead, and I may not feel into it. However, I usually go for it anyway because it is simply self-doubt, and I come out better for it. It's part of overcoming fear and outside influences. When I have felt way out of it, I have backed off.

 

Keep leading, carolyn.

 

H Roark

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Alpinfox said:

 

The Fountainhead Speaks!

 

 

Welcome...

 

foun·tain·head (fountn-hd) n.

1. A spring that is the source or head of a stream.

2. A chief and copious source; an originator: “the intellectual fountainhead of the black conservatives” (Jerrold K. Footlick).

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chucK said:

Peak baggin' is cool.

 

Denouncing someone else's hobby as nerdy is far greater "hubris" than peak bagging will ever be. usuck.gif

 

Geek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifGeek_em8.gifthe_finger.gif

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The mind game is what its all about! Conquering your fears and pushing through it is one of the most rewarding aspects of climbing. No fear no fun. Cheers

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