/ psycological training for climbing

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captainfire576 on 16 Jul 2012
Hi looking for psycological training for climbing, not walls and sport, real scary alpinism. Confidence, relaxation, visualisation, kinithentic rehersal etc... stop being a soft or man up coments are not helpfull and illestrate ur ignorance. I am only on this forum because typically none of this is covered by any of the other forums. I am not a budist. Suggestions guys and girls?
softlad - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: If the tone of your post didn't seem to be quite so aggressive, I'd be more tempted to reply helpfully.
jkarran - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Personally I'd listen to whatever misgivings your inner voice is troubling you with. Build your experience and exposure gradually, you'll find the risk level you're willing and able to deal with and you're likely to live a bit longer.

Failing that: MTFU :)

Post looks like a troll, I'd not expect too much helpful input unless you straighten that out.

jk
captainfire576 on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: noted guys. this may be some of the problem folks. thanks for your intrest lol
captainfire576 on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to jkarran: not a troll. looking for help.
captainfire576 on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to jkarran: the level of risk I am willing to accept does not live up to my ambitions. I need to work on this.
JLS on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

>"the level of risk I am willing to accept does not live up to my ambitions"

It's an intresting topic. I'd never really considered that the techniques you mention would be applicable to alpinism. My assumption would be that these sort of techniques were more suited to short duration activites such as pole vaulting or sport climbing. My guess was that what made a good alpinist was "drive" and if you didn't have it, you couldn't artificially manufacture it with pure thought.

Are you expecting to visualise the whole of the 1938 route or something? I'd have thought that a) things weren't going to turn out like you imagined them which would leave you there without your crutch and b) I can't imagine being able to draw on these techniques when your brain has been fried after two days in hell on a hard route. I imagine it's drive and autopilot that gets you through.
lanky_suction1 - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Very interesting post. I am a hypnotherapist; I have a few 'specialisms' including sports performance. I have worked with a few climbers to improve performance, mainly sports/ bouldering.

I have thought carefully about how I would deal with a client who came to me wanting to be 'braver' for want of a better word, when (lead) climbing or mountaineering. I have to say I have decided I would be clear that I am not willing to work with this as a goal. Although there are many things I could do along the lines of what you mention, I just don't feel it would be morally or ethically right to work with someone to overcome what are actually sensible fears that work to keep you safe. If you don't feel you are climbing within your limits, you're right to be scared!
Bulls Crack - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

illestrate ur ignorance.

No comment needed.
shark - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

If you have a career leave your job. If you have girlfriend / boyfriend / children then leave them. If you hold on to the notion that you have something to lose it will hold you back. If you want to further fuel your bravery with self-loathing then slaughter them all and move to Scunthorpe. The final step on your journey is to seek out the one they call Haston. He'll see you right.

HTH
Dave 88 - on 16 Jul 2012
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> The final step on your journey is to seek out the one they call Haston. He'll see you right.
>
Tell him Andy K sent you, to learn how to do pansy free climbing before you can move on to the much tougher discipline of aid climbing. If you survive what follows, you'll never fear anything ever again.
lmarenzi - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> If you want to further fuel your bravery with self-loathing then slaughter them all and move to Scunthorpe.
>

I thought it was Preston?

jkarran - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

> the level of risk I am willing to accept does not live up to my ambitions. I need to work on this.

Why? That inner voice is what keeps you alive, it's telling you you're out of your depth. Listen to it, get out alive and come back with more experience. Learning to ignore the fear will just get you killed.

jk
shark - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> [...]
>
> Why? That inner voice is what keeps you alive, it's telling you you're out of your depth. Listen to it, get out alive and come back with more experience. Learning to ignore the fear will just get you killed.
>
> jk


It increases the risk but death isn't inevitable

Stone Muppet - on 17 Jul 2012
Hmm yeah, fall practice isn't exactly appropriate for alpinism is it!

I recently read the Rock Warrior's Way and (while I have no ambitions towards being an alpine hardman myself) I think you'd find it interesting, maybe you'd benefit from it. It contains an in depth discussion that goes to the bottom of the reasons why you might want to climb beyond your limits. Maybe more from a "beneficial belief" rather than "truth" framework, but the line is blurry.
Ryan Simpson on 17 Jul 2012 - AAnnecy-651-1-78-86.w86-209.abo.wanadoo.fr
In reply to captainfire576: Have a look at

http://www.horizonexpeditions.co.uk/rock-climbing.html

I work here, ad on the staff we have the british climbing teams sports psychologist. Although the standard course is geared towards rock climbing, Im sure that something can be adapted to what you're after.
iksander on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: I think the usual route is via gaining fitness experience and incremental progression to harder/ scarier things - where are you with that?
jkarran - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to shark:

> It increases the risk but death isn't inevitable

True. I deliberately over emphasised my point given I have no idea how much experience this chap has. He's not exactly asking how to deal with Elvis-leg when above the bolts at his local wall.

jk
Kemics - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Fear is only relative to your physical limit. With the exception of the freak few who can climb in very dangerous situations when the outcome is unsure, I think most people climb potential dangerous routes knowing falling is unlikely. Get stronger, better and faster. Then you wont be afraid. Possibly not the answer you're looking for but if you want mental tricks you might get yourself somewhere you shouldn't be.

That or anti-depressants. I've heard a few people who went through rocky patches ticked off their sketchiest routes with a brain full of anti-depressants. That now off the pills seem impossible to climb.
myserable old git - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: Take up yoga it solved all of my problems, all you really need is the ability to relax in stressful situations and yoga will teach you that.
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ross - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: Hiya, I'm no expert but would suggest a couple of things have helped me.
1) Yoga, as mentioned already
2) Read Mark Twight's stuff
3) When you want to give up, think of your future self who will thank you for not giving up. (A tip from the fat walrus)

I listened to a Vince Anderson interview recently where he had some really good advice about becoming comfortable with being out of control for periods on big routes. Sadly I can't find it now, I'll keep looking.

I've found that if I want to achieve my ambitions enough, that over rides fear or any other barrier. If you've done the preparation the crux is setting off up the route and if you really want it then you won't quit.
Good luck, Ross.
captainfire576 on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: Thanks for the feedback. Some of which were considered and usefull lol (sorry am I being aggressive again?) My physical abilities far excced my psychological abalities. At me best I was seconding 6 grades harder than I lead on trad routes. I understand u can't visualise the whole of the 1938 route, you can aquire phsychological skills that will stop my under achieving. Most sports phsycology techniques deal with the risk of failier no actuall physical injury. It is sensible to be afraid of pain and death but I do seem to be under achieving massivley. FYI I have been climbing for over 25 years, Winter ML, SPA, done half a doesen alpine trips and 2 trips to the Andes.
lmarenzi - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

So for the sake of argument, you regularly lead up proper HVS but can toprope an E5 with no real gear, which is like doing a 6c+ sports route?
shark - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to ross:
> 3) When you want to give up, think of your future self who will thank you for not giving up.


Funny that. I look back at the person I used to be who seems increasingly like a stranger that took risks with my the life I lead now and my yet-to- be-concieved children and think 'what a tw at'
Skyhook on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:
> Hi looking for psycological training for climbing, not walls and sport, real scary alpinism. Confidence, relaxation, visualisation, kinithentic rehersal etc...

If you build up your experience then I would have thought that it's most unlikely you'll need this 'psychological training'.

In particular, over-confidence is not something you'd ever want in alpinism.

captainfire576 on 20 Jul 2012
In reply to lmarenzi:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> So for the sake of argument, you regularly lead up proper HVS but can toprope an E5 with no real gear, which is like doing a 6c+ sports route?

At my best I lead VS/4c on rock but seconded British 6b on rock.

lmarenzi - on 20 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Seconding is generally easier than leading. It's partially psychological, but also a question of route finding, risk assessment, gear placement, carrying a rack, rope drag and the weight of double ropes etc.

I climbed Technical Master, a boulder problem at Millstone this spring, which gets UK Tech 6b. But also this spring I failed to climb an HVS 5a on Stanage. So it looks like we might be in exactly the same boat, and I would think virtually everyone is in a similar, if not identical, predicament.

In sport climbing top roping a route might be between half and a full letter grade easier, and seconding about half a letter grade. But in trad the difference between leading and seconding is going to be massive, lets say on average 3 whole grades. In other words, I would expect HVS leaders to be able to second up to E3. However, on really serious routes, the difference becomes much, much greater.

You mention UK Tech 6b. That could be anything between E3 and E9. What E grade are we talking here?

If it turns out that you got up every single VS you tried and most HVS and were able to second up to E3 then I am not sure you really have the problem you think you have.

If you were very tall (and therefore heavy) I would also expect you to have difficulty with climbing 5a routes, but be able to lank the occasional far reach which might get 6b but seem nothing more than 5b to you. And again the world would be in order.

Perhaps we would need to know a little more about you?
neilnt - on 20 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

I would also suggest reading "the Rock Warrior's Way" (or "expresso lessons" if you want a shorter version). Both books are completely about how to get your head right to climb as hard as your body will let you.

Yours,

Neilnt
sikcby - on 20 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Super simple: start to meditate.

10 minutes per day, and try to increase that time every month, it wont be quick and easy, but I ensure you that this is one of the best mind trainings you can find, in fact this is probably the best mind training.
Nath93 - on 20 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576: Buy Extreme Alpinism, read mental training section. It helps, a little.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Jul 2012
In reply to lmarenzi:

Funny, I always find that seconding I tend to climb less well as I just rush at it too much.

In reply to captainfire576:

I'm not sure you can train your mind, either it copes or it doesn't... maybe you are just thinking too much?
lmarenzi - on 22 Jul 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

You have a good point there. My own seconding is rubbish because I never pay much attention. I am sure if the second was worth something I'd try harder, and it would be easier than leading, but its hard not to mess around when the rope is coming from above.
captainfire576 on 22 Jul 2012
In reply to lmarenzi: All the VS 4cs I have lead have been truamatic. The 6b was about E4 I think and was in fact a sport route on rock but was top roped. I seconded 5b/c quite consistantly with th odd single pitch of 6a. I have been out of the loop a bit recently with a rotator cuff injury and then latterly a groin strain I picked up in the alps last year. I am trying to get up to form. Confidence is a very perishable skill, but even on my best form, it is my achiles heel.
lmarenzi - on 22 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Given what you say I would agree that the difference between what you can lead is too low vis a vis your technical ability, HVS/E1 with confidence would be more like it.

Confidence comes from being comfortable doing what you know what to do. I don't think you can train it as a stand alone component of climbing performance. I think some of the posts above are pointing you in interesting directions. Fall practice may remove any irrational fear of falling, but can only be safely done once you have a good belayer, rope and bolts, properly backed up, on overhanging ground so you don't bang into anything on the way down ... so a pretty unrealistic scenario for someone leading VS. Still worth doing if you can do it, and remember to stay safe and take it one step at a time over many times. And once you have done it remember its only good to be confident above a safe fall ...

Something that I had to learn was how to deal with the nerves that inevitably come when trying hard or serious routes. The info is in a video that I have watched dozens of times. Its Jerry Moffat's pro tips on "getting it done" on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpIyjTM_Iuc

Let me know what you think, captain.
captainfire576 on 22 Jul 2012
In reply to myserable old git: I am working on that. I went to meditation classes but ironically they were too streedfull lol. All that Budism made me feal really uncomfortable. believe it or not I now have an app on my phone for learning meditation!
captainfire576 on 29 Jul 2012
In reply to lmarenzi:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> Given what you say I would agree that the difference between what you can lead is too low vis a vis your technical ability, HVS/E1 with confidence would be more like it.
>
> Confidence comes from being comfortable doing what you know what to do. I don't think you can train it as a stand alone component of climbing performance. I think some of the posts above are pointing you in interesting directions. Fall practice may remove any irrational fear of falling, but can only be safely done once you have a good belayer, rope and bolts, properly backed up, on overhanging ground so you don't bang into anything on the way down ... so a pretty unrealistic scenario for someone leading VS. Still worth doing if you can do it, and remember to stay safe and take it one step at a time over many times. And once you have done it remember its only good to be confident above a safe fall ...
>
> Something that I had to learn was how to deal with the nerves that inevitably come when trying hard or serious routes. The info is in a video that I have watched dozens of times. Its Jerry Moffat's pro tips on "getting it done" on youtube.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpIyjTM_Iuc
>
> Let me know what you think, captain.

Watched the link. Jerey at his best. I he went to my school u know. Lead trad E4 in 2 years before he left school. He only started because he wanted to take someone elses place on a climbing trip to piss him off (the other guy couldn't go because he had to play rugby for the school team. Apparently after his secon climbing trip he said "I wanna be better than Ron Fawcett" and the rest is history. Sorry, I digress.

Watched the link. All good stuff. but he says be nervous not anxious. mmm...well if it was that easy..... but still worth a watch neverless. thanx

captainfire576 on 29 Jul 2012
In reply to lanky_suction1:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> Very interesting post. I am a hypnotherapist; I have a few 'specialisms' including sports performance. I have worked with a few climbers to improve performance, mainly sports/ bouldering.
>
> I have thought carefully about how I would deal with a client who came to me wanting to be 'braver' for want of a better word, when (lead) climbing or mountaineering. I have to say I have decided I would be clear that I am not willing to work with this as a goal. Although there are many things I could do along the lines of what you mention, I just don't feel it would be morally or ethically right to work with someone to overcome what are actually sensible fears that work to keep you safe. If you don't feel you are climbing within your limits, you're right to be scared!

Its potentially dangerous but i feel that my anxiety is out of proportion to the actuall risk, given the grade i climb. I am doing some hypnosis stuff at the moment. I think it has benifited in the past so i am giving it another shot, but the jury's out at the moment.

captainfire576 on 29 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to shark)
> [...]
> Tell him Andy K sent you, to learn how to do pansy free climbing before you can move on to the much tougher discipline of aid climbing. If you survive what follows, you'll never fear anything ever again.

I have just read Psycovertical. That is one of the most insperational books i have read for a long time. I am just starting Cold Wars.
captainfire576 on 29 Jul 2012
In reply to sikcby:
> (In reply to captainfire576)
>
> Super simple: start to meditate.
>
> 10 minutes per day, and try to increase that time every month, it wont be quick and easy, but I ensure you that this is one of the best mind trainings you can find, in fact this is probably the best mind training.

working on that. i have been to classes, but it was very stressfull! To much Buhdism!

captainfire576 on 29 Jul 2012
In reply to ross:
> (In reply to captainfire576) Hiya, I'm no expert but would suggest a couple of things have helped me.
> 1) Yoga, as mentioned already
> 2) Read Mark Twight's stuff
> 3) When you want to give up, think of your future self who will thank you for not giving up. (A tip from the fat walrus)
>
> I listened to a Vince Anderson interview recently where he had some really good advice about becoming comfortable with being out of control for periods on big routes. Sadly I can't find it now, I'll keep looking.

> I've found that if I want to achieve my ambitions enough, that over rides fear or any other barrier. If you've done the preparation the crux is setting off up the route and if you really want it then you won't quit.
> Good luck, Ross.

Thanx dude. The best rocklimbing text is Performance Rockclimbing by Dale Goddard and Udo Neumann. I have recovered from the various injuries this book has inflicted on me but now thanx to Mark Twight, I have a experienced hypothermia too.

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lmarenzi - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to captainfire576:

Yeah "nervous not anxious ... and the two are very different."

The point is that being nervous is a good thing and you need to tell yourself that being nervous is what is going to make it possible for you to climb something that otherwise you would not be able to climb.

Easy, once you understand that its true.

And crucially, don't forget point 4, "cause that's wot itz all abaut."

Anyway good luck. Time for some difficult VSs, methinks. Get to the foot of the climb, look at it good and proper, feel nervous, think it's all fine, go for it and enjoy, whatever the outcome.

Maybe its time for you to burn off some mates just like Jerry did?

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