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Ade

It's all in your head...

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So I've come to the conclusion that on a good day I can climb 2-3 times better than on a bad day and that good and bad days can run one after the other. I also failed on one route this year pretty much just by looking at it, although the weather was a bit of a factor. Granted it was very big and very scary, but I know I could do it.

 

I've started to look into mental training and visualisation etc. Can anyone recommend any books or other sorts of resources on this? There seems to be a lot out there so it's hard to figure out what's useful, especially as the mental aspects alpine climbing (which is what I do), as opposed to sport climbing or bouldering, seem to be very different from say running or golf (madgo_ron.gif lets not go there shall we).

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Yep. Got that and tried to follow up on some of the references too. What he has looks good although some of them seem a little dated. I'm checking them out but wondered if anyone else had any suggestions

 

While the "better climbing through fear and (self) loathing" approach works for Dr Doom, and on may levels I can identify with it, I'm not entirely sure that my better half will appreciate it. Even if I end up climbing harder, she's already horrified by my annoying habit of cooking to Skinny Puppy (the dog hates it) smile.gif.

 

Markcq's book is very good though. I'm a convert.

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Ade, I agree with you about bad days and good days. I've personally learned to accept the bad days and celebrate the good ones. I still have regrets about the days I've turned around and gone home because I'm not in sync. If you find any tips about pushing thru I'd be interested in hearing them.

 

PS are you the same Ade that lent me the guidebook on climbing in Spain last year? If you are, we're overdue for a beer and getting your book back to you.

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Ade -I think your problem is probably that you are too mature and well balanced. You admit that the wall scares you, your partners reciprocates, and it's all downhill from there. The key is to get in touch with your inner insecure juvenile. As long as your partner is on the same wavelength, both of you will be too worried that the other will think you are chicken-shit to back down.

 

Seriously, I don't know about any resources for you, but I've found that obsessive planning and pre-visualization are helpful in not getting psyched out. I search out other accounts of the climb, alternate guidebook descriptions, photos, and lie in bed at night thinking about the route. I've gotten a lot more psyched out by a route that I expected to be casual that looks slightly difficult than by routes that I knew from the get-go were going to be tough - maybe because since I didn't expect them to be very hard, I didn't study them very much?

 

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I don't know if you just rock climb, just alpine, or both. I only like to do Alpine stuff and I keep it below 5.8 so I am not sure of all the mental capabilities of doing 5.10+ sport or trad. Mentally what helps me is this: finding high carbo food that I like and eating something every 1 hour--I keep stuff in my pockets and eat on the hour (and not much each time), taking a sip of water every 15 minutes from my hose. I don't break much to keep my muscles moving. And most importantly having a partner who is motivated to do what you are doing.

 

That partner thing is the key. The combined power of two climbers is much greater than the sum of two separate climbers.

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Ade, try “Thinking Body,Dancing Mind” by Lynch/Al Huang”. It covers basic visualization techniques. I bought it some time ago, when I heard Bobbi Bensman recommend it. I figured, hey she has big fake breasts, she must know what she is talking about. It didn’t do much for me, but its not a bad intro to the topic of improving sports performance through visualization.

 

I’ve also read some of Krishnamurti’s stuff on fear, that Marc Twight recommends. It had some interesting philosophical ideas about fear that made me stop and think. Again, I don’t know if it helped me deal with it any better or not.

 

I’d try getting these from the library instead of buying them. They aren’t books that you need to add to your shelf, but if your curious about this stuff they’re probably a good place to start.

 

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Great subject IMHO

 

Visualization tech is a great way to supplement training. I find that I need a pretty clear goal before I see any results though.

 

I also failed on one route this year pretty much just by looking at it, although the weather was a bit of a factor. Granted it was very big and very scary, but I know I could do it.

 

Well the above statement needs to be taken in context. Was it the only climb attempted or was it 1 out of a dozen or more successes? If you have a zero failure rate then your probably not pushing yourself and visualizing wont be any help if your not willing to push.

 

I have backed off a few climbs in my time, and believe that it is healthy to do so once in a while. Lots of factors in alpine climbing, few are in your controll. If you are backing off once in a while then you most likely are pushing your limits (which for me is important to experience some of the time but not allways, I need a few cruiser routes for fun)

 

If your backing off most of the time then your probably setting unrealistic goals (or scoping difficult lines that infrequently come into shape)

 

In the "How to climb rock" series there is a book, How to climb 5.12, it discussess cycles of training, visualization and maximizing performance. It doesn't really deal with alpine climbing but I have found it helpful in setting short term goals. (and no, I am no-where near a .12 climber, although I have belayed 1 or 2) Bastards!!!! cheeburga_ron.gif

 

I also think that choice in partners is paramount to success. I have had alpine partners that only considered themselves during a climb, (not bad, but I believe that teamwork is important) I have also had partners that are driven to the point of exceding their abilitys (a very not good situ to find yourself in when the shit gets intense)

 

I think the best performance I can give comes when I am at ease with what my partners limits are, and when I can break down my fears into manageable sections of risk/exposure, reguardless of partners. That means clear goals, good communication skills, an ability to suffer and a realistic grasp of what the "team" can accomplish.

 

Just my fragmented thoughts on an early non climbing day.

Smoker

bigdrink.gif

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Hey, if you're going for a route that could kill ya, and that's your primary fear, yet you want to do it anyway, then you gotta accept your own death:

 

Imagine yourself dead, in a coffin, and marinate on that for a bit. Marinate on it 'til you got no more fear. If you can't get to a place of no fear, then keep on marinatin' 'til you do. Seriously. You have to be comfortable with the possibility of your own death to be able to enjoy the climbing at all- otherwise you're just Twighting out there, trying to slay your dragons of self-worthlessness.

 

And if you can't accept the possibility of your own death, then running or golf are absolutely fine alternatives, ones that can be enjoyed by sane and happy people.

 

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Thanks for all the feedback... I'll be digging out some of the references you guys sent.

 

Just to be clear I've failed on one or two alpine routes this year, ironically both on the same face, and looking back on it the weather was pretty epic. I also usually factor in bailing on a couple of ice lines each season because they're not in, don't feel right. True to form I bailed on something this past season. Failing is good, if you take it the right way, "I tried, I failed, I learnt", rather than just getting pissed off. But it's super annoying when you've invested a huge amount of time, effort and cash getting to the base of something to walk away from it.

 

All routes can kill you, getting to the route can kill you. Incidently nearly 4% if lightening related deaths occur on golf courses so I wouldn't recommend that either *. There are actually two things to be scared of; death and failure. I actually feel somewhat relieved when I've got so far up a route that I can fail up it. I've got more frustrated failing than I have fearful of dying.

 

I completely agree with the comments on partners.

 

I'm also contemplating doing more routes as a party of three. This isn't much slower if the two seconds simul-climb, although if you're trying to do a speed ascent two is the way to go. A three lets you split essentially the same weight in group gear three ways. And the difference in psych factor is huge, no more lonely belays. There's a third guy who may get things back together when the other two are burnt out. If the leading is hard then a three does a third less leading per person.

 

I did two routes like this in 2002 they were two of the best routes I got out on this year. My other favourite route was a speed ascent but in some ways these are less stressful as I'm usually doing them because I know I can do the route and just want to see how fast I can do it. They're also short, time wise, so it's not like you're out for days trying to keep your head together.

 

Forrest - You'll be hearing from my lawyers for suggesting I'm either mature or well balanced.

 

* An amusing set of statistics - no I don't want to have a discussion about these, they're purely for your own amusement.

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Ade:

 

I picked up "Mental Toughness Training for Sports" by James Loehr at a used book store a couple of years ago. For me it helped more with working through cruxes on rock climbs which I think is different than the stress encountered on a long alpine climb that builds up for hours.

 

You are welcome to borrow it. The information is a little dated and about as fun as reading a text book, so it's good bedtime reading. Let me know if you want it (or anybody for that matter).

 

fruit.gif

 

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For some reason this thread reminds me of a t-shirt, with the same cartoonist as the avy poodle. It's got a rat wincing in pain, with the title being something like, "My mom never loved me. Feel my pain."

My favorite is the one with the grinning old rat, hammer in one hand, chisel in the other and a tatoo on his arm: "Recently paroled ex-hardman."

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Pencilpusher - I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that anyone who expresses interest in the mental aspects of climbing is whining? That you have never had the experience of fear affecting your performance? That Real Men don't talk about this sort of thing? Please elucidate.

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Ha! There's another one of those Tami Knight t-shirts (dunno if they still have it) with a rather geeky-looking mouse/rat fellow on it, sporting taped-in-the-middle glasses, pocket protector, etc., with the caption "I used to be hard."

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Great topic. I like the climbing in threes suggestion -- another would be: on anything that scares you, perhaps the most obvious way to deal with fear is to follow it the first try so you have a very clear picture of where the tricky parts are -- just like learning any difficult sport route. Also, if any of you are into self-tracking, keep a notebook on the climbs and routes that you do or want to do, and include a listing of WHY -- is it fear you want to overcome, is it a route everyone says is awesome, is it a route that's turned you back before so it becomes more of a personal mission to conquer it -- all of these can give you ideas of what motivates you in your climbing. I like the request for books, I'll see if I can dig up some of my own recommendations.

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I put a photo of my next climb up on a wall RIGHT IN FRONT of my primary line of sight at work. I put this up as soon as I have a hard date for the climb. I also write the elevation on the photo in big majic marker. I must look at the photo 1,000,000 times before the climb. just try it, it is real simple but real effective

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Even better, if you are staring at a computer screen all day, use the photo as a backdrop. And have a screensaver of photos. Of course, you get less done, but what the hell... HCL.gif

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I put a photo of my next climb up on a wall RIGHT IN FRONT of my primary line of sight at work. I put this up as soon as I have a hard date for the climb. I also write the elevation on the photo in big majic marker. I must look at the photo 1,000,000 times before the climb. just try it, it is real simple but real effective

If looking at pictures worked, I'd be getting laid a lot more by big-titted beauties.

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Great subject!I don't think I have seen this on the site . When trying to get the most out of my humble conditioning I realize that mental Is a lot of it . That whole intervals timed rest period thing requires a whole lot of convincing myself that I can finish at a pace acceptable to me . It never seems as bad when it is over and remembering the spots where you had to motivate yourself to finish the drill are rewarding and give me confidance to maybe add on some more time or maybe a faster pace next time.I will have to read the Mark Twight book thanks for all the advice . It is nice to learn to improve.I am sure I will never do the things that alot of you do.I used to parachute a long time ago but heights while hanging off the side of vertical rock concerns me. I will stick to slogging as many dog routes on Rainier to test my conditioning a few times a year and similar things . To each his own right

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