UKC logbooks - addictive?

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I am currently going through some issues in my personal life and this has prompted me to critically look at my life, what is good and what is bad and think about how some of those things affect me. 

I deleted Instagram a while ago as I felt like it took my attention away from the moment. I hadn’t posted any photos in a long time but did find the constant barrage of seeing all the climbing that people were doing did make me feel a bit shit. 

I then watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix and it made me realise that my use of the UKC logbooks was very unhealthy. And potentially one of many factors that have led me to behave in a dysfunctional manner. I found that if I looked at my partners latest ascents or the top ascents and people had been doing routes I wanted to do it made me feel bad about myself/my situation. 

I then realised that I felt a bit shit if I didn’t get into the top ascents or climb a route in a good style. 

I would find myself checking the logbooks all the time and it became addictive. I think this behaviour started a long time ago, when I first started to climb E5s regularly. In some ways they were very happy times, but I think there has been some deep-seated unhappiness in me for much of my life. The logbooks have unfortunately played a part in toying with my emotions, much like other social media platforms. 

I’m not sure the exact reason for this post but just wondered if anyone else had noticed this in themselves or a partner or friend? 

Or maybe in case someone else is having the same issues but hadn’t quite realised it yet. 

I have made my logbook hidden, but I’m not sure if this will work or not exactly. I feel there are lots of benefits to the logbooks- they can remind you of all those amazing routes you’ve done, be a good resource for others, but they can also be pretty damaging.

Anyway, thanks for listening 


 The Pylon King 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Yes! Spot on Duncan. I have been banging on about this (to my climbing freinds) for ages. Thankfully when I got banned in 2016 that put an end to my logbook addiction and have not gone back to it.

Post edited at 14:18
 The Pylon King 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I know someone who wouldnt second an easy route I led because it would lower his average grade in his logbook.

The Social Dilemma film is something everyone should watch.

Post edited at 14:20
 Phil Lyon 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Mark S Davi

If people treat the logbook as a log of their climbs, no worries.

If it is treated as a league table or competition, then you're screwed.

In the whole of life, if you live comparing yourself to others, you'll never be happy. There's always someone better which can make you feel down and there's always someone worse off, which might make you feel smug. Neither are good outcomes. 

I love the logbooks, I love Strava, I'm a geek when it comes to data stuff, but have to smash the ego down to enjoy seeing my own progress and use them to remember the good stuff.

It does help being distinctly average in my hobbies, perhaps it's harder when you get closer to the top grades, but realistically E5 isn't much compared to the elite climbers and every gold medal winner will eventually be beaten by someone else. 

 spidermonkey09 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Really good post. Hope you're doing ok generally.

I love the logbooks, they are my historical record of my climbing and of loads of great days out. They are also a way to compare oneself to others, consciously or unconsciously, and the more one cares about ones own climbing and development the more likely they are to be used in that way I think.

Fundamentally I look at the latest ascents and top ascents because I love climbing and they get me psyched to add routes to the list. I also look at them when I am bored at work inbetween reading the news, which I think is increasingly common lately! Sometimes, like you, I see someone has done a route I really want to do and it awakens emotions and feelings that I'd be better off without. Considerably more often, I see someone has done a route and I am really psyched for them, but it would be a lie to say the first response didn't occasionally happen.

They definitely have good and bad points. I have removed people from my 'partners' list in the past so their routes don't crop up in the latest ascents list but clearly this isn't addressing the root issue. I think I have to temper my own ambition, drive and competitiveness with the knowledge that fundamentally I am still shit and no one else cares about my climbing apart from me. As someone else said, if I treat it as a competition then the only possibly result is failure. 

 Derek Furze 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

An interesting commentary that got me thinking.  In the old days, I'd talk to my partners about what they had done, their experiences with certain routes and their advice.  Although we all kept logs and reported things to each other, I never once looked at a mates written record or trawled their comments.  The (possibly big) difference now is that the logbooks give access to the record and reflections of quite a few people - even those I don't know who keep their record open.  I quite like this as it is often interesting and provides good guidance - perhaps beta at times, but more often the sort of inspiring or reassuring comment you'd get from a mate in the pub.  I do find I gravitate to the comments of my listed partners and also that I'm delighted when I see they've had a good day somewhere.  I think some of my reason for keeping tabs is that I climb with a much wider range of people now, some of whom I might not see for a couple of months.  I like to see what they have been up to, but if they have done some great routes (even those I am targeting) then I'm generally inspired.  I guess that is a different response from yourself that simply reflects different circumstances.

As it happens, I have previously enjoyed your logbook comments, so will miss the guidance.  I hope your adopted strategy helps.  I'd also support the comments up thread, that comparison is always a bit of a frustrating exercise - some of my mates are able to climb loads more than me and sometimes I yearn to do a bit more, but I like my life and something else would have to give.

 Theo Moore 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Thanks for bringing this up Dunc. It's encouraging to hear that other people have experienced issues with how they use the logbooks too, and the way you've approached it is strikingly honest and brave. Talking about things like this - even if it's just to realise you're not alone  - seems like a good way to start. I hope that the discussion here is helpful for your relationship with the logbooks and climbing.

Personally, I have certainly experienced some of the behaviours you describe. Here's a few things I've noticed myself doing in the past:

  • Immediately logging routes as soon as I get back from climbing, often on the way back from the crag. The log is almost more important than the climb.
  • Choosing routes based on their grade, rather than quality, so that I get the biggest numbers in the logbooks.
  • Worrying about what people will think when they see in my logbook that I have fallen off a route or not onsighted it.
  • Worrying about what I will write in my comment, how it will make me look and what people will think of me. 
  • Setting myself a standard of performance e.g onsighting an E4 every time I go trad climbing, and worrying what people will think of me if I don't achieve it. 
  • Choosing logbook rivals - usually people that I don't know, and who climb at a similar level to me, and then being annoyed when they do a route that I want to do, and being triumphant when I do a route that they've fallen off. From this I would then consider myself better or worse than them (at what though, being a climber, being a human being!?).
  • I would often sort my logbook by grade to 'see how many E5s I've done' or how many routes of x grade I have onsighted. I would also do this to other people's logbooks soon after I had met them in real life or on UKC.

There's probably more than I've just listed but they are the ones that spring to mind. From reading my own comments it seems obvious to me that I have used the logbooks to compare myself to others and to judge myself, which both contribute to my sense of self worth. This doesn't seem like a healthy place to be.

Using the logbooks less

I have thankfully noticed that I behave less like this currently, although I can't put my finger on exactly why or a 'big bang' moment. What I can say is that for at least a year now I have been less psyched about logging. Usually I would log almost as soon as I had done a climb, but recently I can't really be bothered to do it, only doing so because I feel like I don't want to lose the record. Another motivation for me is that I really enjoy seeing what my mates have been up to via recent ascents (not necessarily to compare myself to them, but because I enjoy knowing what my friends are up to and that they're having a good time), and I want to provide the possibility of this same experience for them.

Like you I once made my logbook private. I did it because I was concerned that the publicity of it was affecting my performance when climbing. I was worrying so much what x would think if I fell off route y that it was making my climb worse! Shortly after hiding my logs I was encouraged (peer pressured!?) in to making it public again so it didn't last long. Less publicity for your logbook may reduce the comparisons to other people. Although perhaps it won't address the reasons why you have been using the logbooks in the way you do.

I have associated the idea of logging routes with seeing climbing as a means to an end - getting the tick over enjoying the experience. In the last 6 months I have generally become less psyched on climbing and gone from years of getting out at every possible opportunity to getting out once or twice a week. Psyche ebs and flows and I think 'do what you're psyched for' is a simultaneously useful and crap maxim by which to live your life. Whilst I'm not super psyched, I'll focus on other things.

Climbing as an identity

I think one of the trickiest things about having your identity tied up with that of being a climber is that whilst there are lots of amazing things about being a climber there are lots of restrictive things too:

  • You should train
  • You should dedicate everything else in your life to climbing. Your job, girlfriend, where you live, should all be set up to facilitate getting out as much as possible.
  • You should go to the crag when it's sunny at the weekend. Why would you do anything else?
  • You should only hang out with climbers, otherwise you'll waste time doing non-climbing things.

The list goes on, and the upshot of these 'shoulds' is that you feel bad when you don't do them. If you go to the pub rather than train, you feel bad about yourself. If you go to see some non-climbing friends at the weekend rather than going to the crag you feel bad about yourself. Climbing can enhance your life in so many ways but it can also restrict it.

Anyway, this is a long and rambling post talking about myself (so long I've used subtitles...), but if there are any parallels in there perhaps they will be helpful to any reader. One last thought about the logbooks: I was introduced to them at the same time as I started climbing and immediately loved them. Would I have started and been so enamoured with climbing if the logbooks didn't exist? A strange thought which highlights the possible extent of their influence.

Strong effort for bringing this up and talking about! If anyone wants to talk about it more or in private please send me a message.

Post edited at 15:39
 JMarkW 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Theo Moore:

Spot on. 

Post edited at 15:46
 Wil Treasure 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Theo Moore:

I have definitely experienced some of the things you mention. Not to a major extent with logbooks, but certainly with social media in a way that affects me negatively. I'm trying to cut back and change the way I use it.

 Michael Gordon 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

An interesting, honest and brave post. It may be that the unhealthy thing about logbooks, as with all other types of social media, is that the underlying reason many use it is to show to others what they are doing / how great they are, i.e. a vanity project. Once you start thinking like that, let's face it, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. 

It would be interesting, therefore, to know whether having it hidden makes a difference to personal wellbeing. My gut feeling is it may help slightly as you've effectively removed yourself from that aspect of social media and are now just keeping a personal diary. If you start thinking you'd like to have it visible again, consider why you're thinking that as it could be the social media addiction showing its ugly face.

I like to look over what I've done and the photos I've taken, but recognise it's best kept for my own personal amusement. I keep my own climbing logs on a word doc (as that way I don't have to accept incorrect UKC grades!), and my own photos on a computer, but not on a public social media site like flickr etc.

 The Pylon King 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Phil Lyon:

Totally agree.

Dont get me wrong, I think the logbook system is incredible. But can often become a case of the 'tail wagging the dog' (which applies to the internet/social media/smartphone issue).

 Luke01 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Nice one Dunc, I've been meaning for a while to  make my logbook private/visible only to partners and this has prompted me to do it.

It's a great tool but, as you say, you end up falling prey to the same miserable traps as FB and IG. 

I, too, watched the social dilemma recently. We're doomed! Hope you're OK mate. 

 Robert Durran 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Luke01:

> Nice one Dunc, I've been meaning for a while to  make my logbook private/visible only to partners and this has prompted me to do it.

> It's a great tool but, as you say, you end up falling prey to the same miserable traps as FB and IG. 

I don't record my climbs in the logbooks and nor have I listed my routes with paper and pencil or even put ticks in a guidebook for decades I (I suppose I take the approach that if  I can't remember a route then there probably isn't much worth remembering - it does mean I sometimes go to a crag and don't know whether I've done a route before but so be it). However, I do find the logbooks useful for their comments on routes and for the grade and quality opinions of others and I sometimes feel a bit guilty that I am not in return benefitting others with the enormous breadth of my wisdom! To be honest, I didn't even realise that they might be used for anything else.

However, I do get the FOMO thing with FB - I can have a perfectly good weekend climbing ever so slightly spoiled by seeing that others have made arguably better use of the weather or conditions, and I can even find myself slipping into the mindset of hoping others failed to make as good use of it - not healthy at all.

 Alkis 30 Sep 2020
In reply to The Pylon King:

> I know someone who wouldnt second an easy route I led because it would lower his average grade in his logbook.

There was a year where I wanted to maintain an E1 average and I was definitely guilty of that. It had more to do with a long belief that I am just not trying hard enough than what my logbook would look like but there is a draw to to the stats themselves for sure.

Post edited at 17:03
 sheelba 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Apparently some politicians who was seen as a potential prime minster was once interviewed and asked about his prime ministerial ambitions. He replied that he had intended to run to be prime minister for a time but then he realised he didn’t actually want to be prime minster, he wanted to have been prime minister. 

Do you actually want to do the route, or, do you just want to have done the route?

Making your logbook private might help but ultimately a healthier attitude to our own climbing and to the success of others is something that may need to be intentionally cultivated, certainly in my case! 

 Will Hunt 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Logbooks R lyf.

I spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at what others have done and reliving past glories/routs. If I so much as brush against somebody at the boulders then they get added as a partner so I can keep tabs on them more readily into the future. If I've not stalked you, ranked your ascents, and read your comments ad infinitum then you're nobody.

The key to this not affecting you negatively is to accept that you're a punter (for the avoidance of doubt, there is nobody who has so far posted on this thread who isn't a punter). I know that I'm crap so every time I get up something it's a victory. Every time I shamble I take it as another day's honest graft.

Everybody has their strengths and their weaknesses. If you find yourself thinking about your weaknesses then don't forget your strengths.

Footwork Finley is reasonably strong and he's the worst climber I know for squeaking up stuff against the odds, but his mind is made from jelly and he bricks it when he's an inch from the ground or attached to a rope.

The Nate Dogg is even stronger but he's a one-trick pony. He won't project like FF will (unless it's on Demon Wall Roof) so he'll probably run out of stuff to do in a few years.

Dave Warbs is the best trad climber that ever lived because he just does. Not. Let. Go. And because he's never been pumped and running scare on a trad route his mind is like a citadel which doubt cannot penetrate. Has he ever done a dynamic move in his life? No he has not.

etc etc etc.

 Will Hunt 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Also. This sort of thing is not a new phenomenon. I know of one Yorkshire stalwart who used to take  piece of tracing paper and place it over their guidebook and tick off their dream routes with a pencil. Just to see what it felt like.

 ashtond6 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Hi Duncan,

This is an absolutely fantastic post, as was Theo's response (which he & I have discussed in the past). I also put my logbook on private and received many messages from friends asking me to put it back on.

I used to just think I was trash as no one else ever logged dogged or DNF'ed routes - until I started talking to them & found out they often fell off as much as me, but didn't actually log them!

A good friend who is well educated in the psychiatric area asked me about it this summer due to pressure I place on myself at the crag, often meaning I don't enjoy the day. He also referred to the 'ego' part of it. 

Interestingly, i'm not too bothered about it now & have had no trigger for this change; this summer I logged almost nothing, then logged a big chunk without any particular dates, inevitably missing many climbs. I am also a few weeks out from logging. 

Anyway, I just thought i'd share my thoughts as your comments resonated strongly with me. I hope the stuff in your personal life sorts itself out soon. 

 mark20 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Good, brave post Duncan. I hope things are OK. I've been thinking about this for a while, as I've not been climbing as much as I'd like to recently and the logbooks can be a great source of frustration.

I'm sure I deleted all my 'partners' years ago, so I couldn't see their ascents pop up on the Latest Ascents page. But something must have changed on UKC some point as the page now shows ascents from anyone who has added me as a partner (...can UKC change this back please - I can't seem to delete them?).

I'll occasionally look at the Top Ascents page, mainly to see if any interesting harder routes have been cleaned or had rare ascents, or new routes, etc.

Instagram is particularly bad for making me feel shit. I've tried to follow only a few people, and again mainly to keep tabs on new routes / problems (despite instagram being an awful platform to document new routes, but that's another thread).  It's really nice chatting to people who don't log stuff or post streams of twaddle on social media, to find out what they've been up to! So I've become more conscious of what I post, now I rarely post photos/videos on facebook or instagram and try to talk to people more and let them know what I've been up to if I think it will interest them.

Post edited at 17:25
 Will Hunt 30 Sep 2020
In reply to mark20:

Mark, if Instagram is getting you down then please can I recommend @kookslams. You'll laugh, you'll cry (from laughing), it will change your life. You definitely won't be jealous of the people in the posts.

Post edited at 17:47
 Kemics 30 Sep 2020
In reply to The Pylon King:

Ive been definitelty guilty of this "tail wagging the dog" approach to climbing and having climbing days structured by possible ticks/logs

Paradoxically, some of the best moments i've had climbing have been strung out and pumped silly on a route and the possible onsight etc has kept me slapping up and staying on rather than slumping onto the gear. The logbook desire has outweighed my fear of falling and pushed me to some exhilarating moments of rolling over the top of a crag having only just barely made it. But that said ive also had days "ruined" by failing on routes...when otherwise it was a pleasant sunny day spent with friends. 

Recently ive had some amazing days climbing by going out with totally arbitrary objectives like climb every hvs on a crag, or every route on a buttress or every route by a certain legendary first ascentionist. This has made the specific grades unimportant and has led to a kind of relaxed enjoyment i somehow lost sight of along the way 

In reply to mark20:

> I'm sure I deleted all my 'partners' years ago, so I couldn't see their ascents pop up on the Latest Ascents page. But something must have changed on UKC some point as the page now shows ascents from anyone who has added me as a partner (...can UKC change this back please - I can't seem to delete them?).

I don't think this has changed. You can still delete partners and this will remove their ascents from your recent ascents list. Just go to your logbook > Partners > then click on the expand link on the left to get the pop-up.

To delete them, including their name on your logged ascent, click on the delete button.

If you just want to remove them from top ascents list then just delete the UKC User Name field and Update. That will preserve their name but you won't see their ascents any more.


Post edited at 17:49

 mark20 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Alan James - Rockfax:

Thanks Alan

In reply to sheelba:

Hi Shelby,

that’s an interesting one. And I guess quite a hard one to answer, except for the fact that I do in all honesty gain massive enjoyment from the act of climbing and especially the process of trying hard. For a large reason because to climb something tricky requires a focus on the present. Something that often eludes me in normal life; my brain is chattering away with all these thoughts. Once I step on to the rock to try something hard, all this slips away, and my mind is quiet. 

It is important to keep asking these questions though and is something I will continue to keep asking. 

 Nathan Adam 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

This is a great thread and has highlighted some of my own issues I have with using the logbooks, good on you putting your own personal issues out there Duncan. 

I am guilty of often recording my climbs before I've even made it home, and sometimes to the point of knowing what I'm going to put in my log (for what I deem as particularly special or important routes) before I've even done them. I've always known this is an unhealthy habit and probably ties into my own overuse of social media platforms, namely Instagram nowadays. Looking at it now I can see how I'm letting pre-perceived opinions of supposed "great routes" tell me how the experience should feel rather than forming the opinion on my own and that is not really any good reason to go climbing. 

As I've grown as a climber/person this has sort of started to recede and I can usually comment when I've found a route really good or not, but leaves me feeling a bit deflated that I need to log a route of high regard as something I didn't enjoy as much as I feel I should have. 

I'm thankful that I often don't compare myself to others and find getting up routes as my own personal challenge is enough without any comparison of people I know at a similar level and usually happy for climbing partners who are going well and logging routes regularly. I do however spend a lot of time looking at my yearly totals and whenever I look at 2016/2017 and not climbing much it disappoints me. I spent a lot of time doing other things I now perceive as wasteful (lots of time in the pub/parties/generally being a student), even though I had a great time with good friends I still feel I could've done so much more climbing instead. I guess that ties in with what Theo says about not feeling bad about climbing not being everything in your life and to just enjoy as much of the various aspects of it as possible.

I do get very serious FOMO during the winter season when I see a route in the logs that I want to do and often feel like I never do enough winter climbing, despite needing rest and avoiding overly horrible days, even if I manage 20-30 days out a season.

I've got an empty paper logbook filled with photos that Cubby has taken over his years as a climber that someone gave me a few years ago, maybe it's time to start writing in there as well/instead.

Post edited at 17:59
In reply to The Pylon King:

Thanks mark, really interesting that it took you being banned to kick your habit! 

In reply to Phil Lyon:

Yes this is all very true. Can be easier said than done though. 

I can be particularly bad at comparing myself to others, am I as good looking? Am I fatter than them? Muscular enough? Am I as good at my job? This is all down to a serious self-esteem issue. It could be what has pushed me to climb the things I have climbed. Though I do in all honesty love climbing (most of the time!) 

Regarding E5s, I know it is well off the pace, but it stems partly from it being THE grade that I wanted to climb when I was younger but was always too scared and either wouldn’t set off or wouldn’t give it full effort. This made me feel pretty bad about myself. 

The last time I had a serious relationship break up, suddenly a fire for climbing fired up. I was more focused, I tried harder. I suddenly realised E5s weren’t so bad. It felt really good to become the person I wanted to. My friends would congratulate me. I appeared on the top ascents page. To someone who has never been the best at anything this really gave me some self worth (albeit a hollow self worth now that I see it for what it is)

Such a complex life we live.

 metrorat 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

This is an interesting topic and a brave one to pipe up about; as others have said, well done for bringing it up.  I agree with the general feeling that, like other forms of social media, the logbooks have a dark side that can create a situation where the user ends up with an external locus of personal evaluation, and they base their self-worth on external factors such as grades or ability compared to others.  Its definitely a common problem but I wonder if making personal logs private is the correct response?

In the short term it makes sense of course because you remove the stimulus that draws one into ego-based comparisons and the derivation of self worth from displaying the 'trophy case' of your achievements, however it doesn't address the actual issue which, as the OP alluded to, exists in all forms of social media.

Low self esteem and the lack of a solid internal locus of evaluation will turn the experience of any social media platform sour.  Changing the channel or turning it off will alleviate symptoms in the short term but it wont fix the problem.  

If we all were to make our logbooks private then they wouldn't exist.  I personally love reading them for info and encouragement, and enjoy feeling part of a community.  They are also a good way to ground yourself with the climbers at large: was that hard for the grade/bold/loose or was I off route?  Theres certain people who i feel I know from reading their excellent/funny/scary logbook entries.  

In short I'm just trying to say that rather than choosing to not take part in the logbook community we might be better served trying to think how we can deal with the personal issues of self-esteem and ego without sacrificing a rich and beneficial climbing resource.

Post edited at 18:15
In reply to spidermonkey09:

Hi Jim, thanks for your reply.

I definitely used to use the top ascents in a more healthy way, it would remind me of routes that were in nick and to go and do them! Or I’d see a mate had done something cool and be psyched for them. That still happens, but it often illicits a negative response. It often centres around certain routes I want to do... Lord for example. Last year a load of people did it and I was fairly sure I wasn’t up to the task and so every time it got logged it would remind me it was dry and that I wasn’t up to doing it. It wasn’t a good thing!

Maybe I just need to get on it and break the spell!

Hope you are well.


 Michael Gordon 30 Sep 2020
In reply to metrorat:

I know what you're saying but social media gratification can be addictive. If we consider more extreme examples of alcoholism, gambling or porn addiction, ultimately the only way of dealing with any of these problems is to stop. 

It's still possible to vote on grades anonymously, so that's one small way to serve the community through the logbooks. 

 remus Global Crag Moderator 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Great post and an interesting topic.

As others have said it can be very hard to seperate off what you actually want to do vs. what you to be seen to be doing, which seems to be pretty central to a lot of the unhealthy stuff that comes from social media. For me logbook comments are a prime example of this, as I enjoy reading other people's comments on routes and will often try to craft a little witticism for a logbook comment on the way home from the crag.

For me, my logbook is the closest thing I have to a diary and reading back through stuff I've been on before is quietly satisfying and comes with a decent dose of nostalgia. On the other hand it can feel like a bit of a performance when you know other people are reading what you've written. Making my logbook private would be one way around this, but I really enjoy reading other people's comments and would feel a bit of a hypocrite to deny this to other people. With that in mind, I've often wondered whether you could have public comments and private comments on a route, where the private comments would only be visible to you.

 metrorat 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I take your point Michael, I just felt the need to stick up for the positive aspects of the logbooks.   It might be worth considering the functionality to comment on routes anonymously, rather than just have a hidden logbook.  Its always a but depressing when you check out a route and it's just a list of hidden, hidden, hidden. 

It might be nice, and take the pressure off some users, if we could still comment and share our views on the route/grade etc but have the username hidden.   It could serve the dual purpose of improving the way users interact with the logbooks while also minimising the damaging effects of the social media aspect.

Post edited at 18:44
 cwarby 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Fascinating post. I hide my logbook to all except my partner's; I find myself getting competitive as others have already mentioned.

Its not just ukc, I've recently noticed I chase benchmarks on the moonboard app as you get points to improve your ranking. Although BM's are useful, I think it's been detracting from training properly. 

Its funny how you get caught up in something without realising. 

Cheers for the post, I wish you well.

 remus Global Crag Moderator 30 Sep 2020
In reply to metrorat:

> It might be nice, and take the pressure off some users, if we could still comment and share our views on the route/grade etc but have the username hidden.   It could serve the dual purpose of improving the way users interact with the logbooks while also minimising the damaging effects of the social media aspect.

Personally I think there's a lot of potential for this to significantly detract from the logbooks. For me, the author of a given comment adds a lot of context. For example I stumbled on Trevor Hodgson's logbook shortly after he passed away, and reading some of his comments in the context of all the touching things written about him after he passed away was very touching.

 spidermonkey09 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Yeah, I identify with a lot of that. I don't think it's necessarily specific routes for me but more when I see people doing loads of volume, or ticking what I see as hard routes quickly, but also ones I think I should be capable of. Normally I am actually getting out climbing lots and having a great time doing whatever I am doing, so there is definitely an element of "the grass is always greener" at work. When I'm onsighting I am envious of those ticking their projects, when I'm projecting I'm jealous of those getting the satisfaction of onsighting!

There's also definitely a subsection of people who elicit those negative feelings when I see their ascents, probably those who I perceive as the same kind of standard as me, but with something I lack eg. They appear to be doing it easier than I am, they're stronger on the route, spending less time etc etc. I don't have negative feelings when I see people out ticking routes I am nowhere near doing or routes that I know I am capable of. It's that twilight zone where you feel like you are/should be capable of climbing certain routes/at a certain level that elicits those feelings for me. Unfortunately it's those routes that also give me the greatest satisfaction! (probably true for a lot of others).

Comparing oneself to others isn't inherently a bad thing I don't think, as inner drive, motivation and determination come from all sorts of places. I think barrows said something on ukb on this : your motivation could be burning off your mates, or not being burned off by your mates, but neither of those things are negative at source, it's how we process them. I think I will always consciously or subconsciously "compete" with other climbers in my head because that's part of what makes me tick and if I didn't climb I would play competitive sport or something to channel that. The (ongoing!) challenge for me is to balance those external motivations with internal ones to produce a balance that is healthy and weighted more towards climbing for its own sake than anything else. At the moment I am happy with that balance but there have definitely been times where I haven't, so I empathise a lot with your current state of mind! 

 metrorat 30 Sep 2020
In reply to remus:

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that everyone is anonymous.  Just that it could be an option. I totally agree that knowing the identity of who is commenting adds a huge amount to the value of the logbooks as a community resource.  I was only suggesting it as an option for those who feel compelled to hide their logs because they don't feel comfortable being identified by their username.    You'd then potentially still have some value from their anonymised contribution. 

 steveriley 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Very interesting but not entirely a digital problem. Two dumb personal observations:
1. Having a cracking day bouldering rattling through a load of movement and mileage, with a few more decent ticks ('upper echelon of mediocrity' level of course). Then being a bit sad because a lowly f3 shows up as your latest climb, rather than the mighty 6B you were triumphant on.
2. That entirely bonkers scenario where you're climbing alone, fall off something slightly craply and still look around to see if anyone was watching.

Wishing us all good mental health!

 Trangia 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Interesting post. I have only made one entry in the logbook, and then I decided to stop, because I really couldn't see the point of it. I used to keep my own record of everything I had climbed both rock climbs and mountains, but they are for my interest. I've got boxes full of mountaineering diaries, records and photos in the attic going back to the 1960s which I've kept for myself, but they are personal. They are of no interest to anyone else, other than possibly my children, but thy are useful aids for recalling various events in my mountaineering past.

I really cant see the point of putting this sort of thing on a public forum. Does anyone else really care whether I have climbed V Diff or an E1? I doubt it, so why publicise it?

 Neil Foster Global Crag Moderator 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Hi Duncan

Thanks for a very interesting post.  Whilst it might not have been easy to compose and upload, I think it was a positive action for you, and I hope you’ve been reassured by some of the replies.

I speak from the perspective of someone whose best climbing days are sadly behind them, so whilst I understand the competitive urges you describe, they certainly aren’t something I experience at all with the Logbooks.

But I do really enjoy reading others’ comments on routes I aspire to, or those I’ve just done.  I’m a great proponent of on sight climbing, but as I’ve got older I find some of my most memorable on sights are those where I’ve gleaned as much beta as possible beforehand, be it from speaking to mates, or reading the comments in the Logbooks….

What?  I shouldn’t log them as ‘on sight’?  Don’t worry, my most common logged ‘style’ nowadays is ‘Flashed with beta’!

I love seeing what my mates have been up to, and always go first to ‘recent ascents: your partners’, when I open the Logbooks.  But I also look at the Recent Top Ascents and use both of these for inspiration.  It’s never even occurred to me to look at things like average grade tables and somehow use those to pressurise myself into certain performance goals.

A few years ago I set out to transcribe my written diaries to the Logbooks, but I only got about a third of the way through that sizeable task.  Where I had written comments in my diaries, I faithfully transcribed these into the Logbooks, as I considered that these reflected my feelings at the time I did the route – even if I found some of them a little embarrassing now.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to transcribing the other two thirds, but what I do know is that I really regret two things about my personal climbing record-keeping:-

1 – That I didn’t always record who I did a route with, probably because I thought I would remember, and obviously you don’t.  In fact I had to invent a partner called ‘Can’t remember’.

2 – That for 2 or 3 years I didn’t keep a diary at all.  I know what routes I did, as I was always fairly methodical at underlining what I had done in my guidebooks, but for that period I have no record of dates or who I did the routes with.

For me, I tend to write some sort of comment with every route, and I find it extremely frustrating just how many of the folk climbing the routes I am interested in, or aspire to, write nothing.

We have a mutual friend – the son of a climbing partner of mine, and a very good climber, who nearly always puts a comment – something I have really appreciated particularly as he has become a globetrotter, mopping up the lifetime ambitions of me and his poor father with monotonous regularity.  By contrast there is another person operating in the Peak at the moment who has had a tremendous run, doing all manner of interesting, unusual, rarely repeated routes, and he writes precisely nothing.  Each to his own, I suppose, but certainly frustrating for me.

For big routes which mean a lot to me, I tend to write lengthy, quite personal comments (maybe not quite Misha-standard, but you know what I mean), and perhaps for that reason I have my Logbook set on Partners only.

I’m not sure whether this thread makes me want to change that to fully public; fully private, or leave it as it is!

Good luck Duncan, and finally just to reiterate what someone said further up the thread, I too enjoyed reading your logbook comments, though I certainly respect why you felt compelled to hide them.


 Graeme Hammond 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

As someone who spends probably an unhealthy amount of time climbing, then more time thinking about climbing or looking at shit on ukc. I have mixed feelings on my relationship to climbing and ukc and can relate to many of the issues on this thread. I could probabay write a longer post about negative side of climbing and ukc and what could be described as an obsession/addiction too but also the many positive experiences climbing has given me. However I just wanted to say you are not alone. 

Best wishes

 profitofdoom 30 Sep 2020

In reply:

Great posts, Duncan and Theo, thanks. Interesting and thought-provoking and useful IMO

 1poundSOCKS 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Trangia:

> I really cant see the point of putting this sort of thing on a public forum. Does anyone else really care whether I have climbed V Diff or an E1? I doubt it, so why publicise it?

It's really good to see what friends have been doing when I haven't seen them for a while. And I like to read the comments, sometimes before but generally after I've done a route, to see what other people thought.

 ChrisBrooke 30 Sep 2020
In reply to The Thread:

Thumbs up everyone for an interesting, honest, though-provoking thread. 

Examining our motivation for what we do and why we do it is one of the most difficult things, in my opinion. Largely, I'd guess, because it's often so hard to be honest with ourselves, and to see ourselves as we actually are, rather than the character we've constructed in our minds (the hero of our own story) that we think we are. There's undoubtedly conflict between the two, and the friction, or dissonance, between the two can be unsettling if we try to take the time to delve and actually examine it. 

I've suffered some of the things mentioned in this thread relating to logbooks, and social media more widely. It sounds like I should definitely watch that Netflix doc. I came off Facebook years ago due to the whole FOMO thing, and became a lot happier for it. My relationship with the logbooks is nowhere near as 'toxic' as it was with FB, but as with all these modern, social media things, there's positive and negative, and it's up to the user to engage in a way that 'works' for them, or not. I love the logbooks, and use them as a diary for myself, as well as enjoying reading other people's comments.

I think part of it might relate to a fear of death. I want to 'leave a mark' (and not just a skid-mark) on the world, and one tiny way in which I can feel I can imbue my life with more (albeit daft/false) significance is to have left a legacy of ticks in a UKC logbook. That obviously sounds ridiculous on its surface, but I think there's something to that. Social media more widely (your FB wall, your Instagram feed, your UKC logbook...and in my case my YouTube channel), is a way to 'leave a mark' on the world, something that will outlive us, something our kids might one-day be interested to look back at.... Maybe we're not just insignificant little lives which bloom for a few decades then disappear without a trace...... That's essentially what we are of course, but it doesn't sit very comfortably with most of us, so we scratch around to make ourselves feel like 'more'...

The question of UKC logbooks might seem trivial at first glance, but they could be meeting a deep psychological need.

Or maybe not. I don't know.

 Paul Hy 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I love the logbook, it reminds me of what I've done, its public so anyone can see it, warts and all, am i bothered about that, No.  Some people are climbing harder, good luck to them, some will not be climbing as hard as me, that's life.  The most important thing is the enjoyment of being outdoors fondling the rock.  Simples. 

 Mr. Lee 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

On a lighter note I've joked with my partner about getting my hardest climbs list read at my funeral one day. Don't know if that shows an unhealthy relationship! Hopefully I'll have improved upon the F4 hardest DWS before that time comes.

 Phil Lyon 30 Sep 2020

Challenge for all here worried about the negative effects of logbooks.

Only log the ones you fail on for a month.

 farhi 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I agree, the logbook can create a slightly unhealthy perspective on climbing if your personality is susceptible to it . I made my logbook private about a year about and it helped with performance anxiety and made me enjoy days out more. 

I would get so anxious knowing that people were possibly checking latest accents and would feel like I was being judged for everything I did and whether I did it quick enough or whether I climbed something hard enough or whatever.  

Logbooks are just like any form of social media in that they can cause feelings of inadequacy/negativity.   Either because you aren’t logging impressive enough climbs, or because you see the 1 RP someone logged on a route you struggled on, but don’t see the 5 working sessions that weren’t recorded. 

I hope the change works for you.

Post edited at 22:38
 Alkis 30 Sep 2020

Reflecting on this quite a lot, I feel that the log books have a profound effect on my enjoyment or non-enjoyment of climbing. I genuinely don't care who sees them, so the social aspect doesn't matter to me personally but the data itself does. It is stamp collecting. It is the same character trait that makes me be a completionist when playing games, that makes me work stupid hours and also why calorie/macro counting works for me. It becomes a compulsion.

If I'm honest with myself, the fact that I have avoided entire crags for years because I know that when I go there I will want to on-sight x or y and crap like that would mean that it is not at all a healthy compulsion either, I get really angry with myself when I do not meet a frankly irrelevant and stupid expectation of performance, especially when said performance tends to be compromised by me applying the same silliness to my working life.

Since it affects every aspect of my life and work, I am not entirely sure what, if anything, I could do to... well... care less!

Thank you for actually bringing the topic up and causing me to actually think about this.

 Jon Stewart 30 Sep 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Interesting post!

I've never kept a logbook because I don't like recording anything. I don't take any photographs, I don't keep any sentimental nicknacks, I don't even collect books or music.

I just experience life as it goes by and if I remember something I remember it, and if I don't then I don't - it doesn't exist anymore.

I've started ticking routes in a couple of guidebooks, and I've kept a list of favourite routes on my ukc profile so people can see that I do go climbing and plod up low e-grade classics around the country.

Works for me, but it's not normal.

Edit: goes without saying that I'm not on any social media except this site. I don't have an online "me" that tells others what I want them to know. I like the chat on here, where people generally don't know me so I can say what I want without repercussions! 

Post edited at 23:55
 Misha 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Sorry to hear that. I think social media (and the logbooks are a form of social media, in a way) is fine if used in a way which enhances rather than detracts from your life. If you find it detracts from your life, sure, switch it off for a while or forever. I find FB, Instagram and the logbooks are a great way to keep up with what climbing friends are up to, as well as finding out about conditions and getting ideas for things to climb and places to visit. This is all positive. I don’t suffer from FOMO - if I see someone do something impressive or simply being out in the sunshine while I’m stuck WFH (the office doesn’t seem to be a thing any more), I think that’s great and good on them for getting out. I don’t feel envious or at least very rarely. Having said that, I’m blessed with having a pretty high boredom threshold and a well paying job, so at least if I’m stuck indoors doing work I’m usually ok with that (plus this year getting any climbing done at all already feels like an achievement).

So it depends on your attitude / approach. There is a deeper issue here as well - why do you climb? Is it for pleasure or for the grade? Is it for yourself or to compete with others? I think inevitably as you progress through the grades and particularly with sport climbing a lot of people start focusing on grades and performance. I certainly do, to an extent. This is fine and provides motivation to an extent but you have to be careful not to let the grades dictate your climbing life and general mood. This is where trad, winter and alpine are handy as you can still have a bit of an adventure even without necessarily pushing the grade, relatively speaking.

I think it also helps being a bit of a punter, relatively speaking - I know that compared to people like you, Rob and others I’m basically a bit crap and so there’s no point beating myself up if I see people posting about or logging hard routes as I’ll never be able to do them anyway. This self flagellation over grades and performance probably becomes more of an issue as you move up the grades. Perhaps at the top end people are fine with m it as they don’t have anything left to prove to anyone.

I’m not saying this as a criticism and it probably doesn’t apply to everyone anyway. Personally, this focus on achievement, which is rightly or wrong so ingrained in modern day general culture, is something I’ve noticed in myself in a climbing context, at least to some extent. I think for some people this could lead to being depressed rather than inspire by other people’s achievements. Social media amplifies this but doesn’t cause it.

The best posts and logs are the ones where people are honest about things not going to plan or proving much harder than expected. We abseiled into the wrong zawn... got pumped and fell off... forgot the climbing shoes in the van... climbed like a sack of spuds today... Most people have these mishaps but not everyone mentions it and some people’s social media comes across as rather polished. You then get the impression that they’re always having fun and ‘sending’, when in reality they are just being selective in what they publish. We need more honesty.

 Misha 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil Lyon:

Very well put. 

 SenzuBean 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Interesting observations in the thread. I'm shocked at how common this 'logbook anxiety' seems to me. At least for me, a big part of the anxiety isn't really the logbook itself - but whether or not I onsighted a specific route - but this is really part of UK trad tradition and is a somewhat different issue I think. I think I would have still felt bad for missing certain 'key' onsights even if I didn't have a logbook.

With mountaineering routes, I don't care one tiny bit about whether I 'failed' or not - probably because I'm rationalizing it away based on conditions/safety.

I would like to say logbook anxiety doesn't affect me anymore, but that's really because life's other priorities have come up higher in the last 12 months and I've barely climbed at all.

 Misha 01 Oct 2020
In reply to ashtond6:

Re logging dogged / DNF routes: partly a question of honesty and partly because people don’t see them as worth logging, which is fair enough. I log them for future reference and often include details of where I got to and what I couldn’t do. Handy if you’re ever going to get back on the route. 

 Misha 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Neil Foster:

I hope you get through the remaining two thirds of your diaries! A nice perspective there - the logbook as a diary to look back on abs think, did I really write that!

Hard to believe there's anyone on here that hasn't experienced some of this on some level.

Anyone considered making a second account? An alter-ego you don't tell your mates about who's allowed to be shit? (I haven't, but it crossed my mind)

Post edited at 07:01
 Ed Bright 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Hi Dunc - long time. I've felt/feel exactly the same way. It seems strange to recognise it, but the logbooks have ruined lots of what should be amazing days out - sometimes before I've even set off for the crag.

Making my logbook private definitely helped, but I'm still working on the underlying issues - which for me is redefining what it means to have a 'successful' day out climbing.

This stuff is important, difficult to talk about, and even harder to overcome. I have a lot of respect for you for posting.

Post edited at 08:02
 aln 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Hard to believe there's anyone on here that hasn't experienced some of this on some level.

I've never used the logbook, never looked at it, and never felt the need to. 

 SFrancis 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I am sorry to read your post, your comments on routes are always an inspiration. I think it would be a real loss to UKC if everyone made their logbooks private, as I definitely use it to find perspective routes and if someone who is well travelled such as yourself, comments on how good a route is, I tend to take their word for it. I also have a lot of respect for people who log their epics.  I seek out routes, people i respect on ukc have recommended. 

I think there is a slight difference between other social media platforms and ukc, in that ukc is not so actively engaged in increasing user participation at the detriment of the users health. The logbooks do make things competitive, and i am not sure hiding your logbook will solve this. Competition can be inspiring but also has that dark side when your not performing. 

I feel hypocritical because my logbook is hidden, I did this as when i asked for beta on certain routes I was helpfully informed that it was way beyond me, and that i may even kill myself. The comments actually fired me up and I went and climbed the routes with no issue. I realised that your logbook is a bit of a CV, whether that is good or bad. I am more at peace these days so maybe I will un-hide it.... maybe 

In reply to Duncan Campbell:

This isn't necessarily a response to what you've written, more a few rambling thoughts about about my own experiences of mental health and climbing, although I'll begin with the logbooks.

For me, the logbooks have only ever been something positive, which is curious given that I've definitely over-thought a whole load of different areas in/around climbing, performance and what on earth I'm trying to achieve through my own use of social media.

When it comes to the logbooks, I think I'm lucky in that I've never suffered from FOMO too badly. As a result, when I see a friend has done something - especially if it's something cool (be that something I've done, or something I want to do) - it tends to fill me with a sense of joy, so much so that I'll often send the individual in question a quick message either to say congratulations or to ask how it was. Recent Top Ascents is, at least for me, just that - top ascents. If my name gets onto it I largely consider it to be a fluke, or a weak week for the rest of the world, so have never put too much weight on my own name getting into it. When it comes to style of ascent I think my attitude has become increasingly limber and lighthearted, which was an active decision on my part to keep climbing fun. Sometimes the pressure of the flash or onsight is too much, hence abbing down - or giving it a quick go on top-rope - actually makes the whole experience that bit more enjoyable (Master's Edge and Dalriada being good examples of this).

On a more practical note, there are genuine benefits to keeping a log, not least because if you're anything like me you will inevitably start forgetting stuff that you've done. This has only happened to me twice now, once when I actually repeated a route I'd done before (only to realise half way up) and the other when I was curious about a route I'd seen in a guidebook, only to click on it in the logbooks and see my own comment (is this something I should worry about?!). Once the storm has passed I suspect you'll appreciate keeping a record of what you've done, even if you don't think you've been doing loads, because someday you'll look back and think otherwise (especially given how well you've been climbing this year).

Anyhow, moving on from the logbooks, what did have a negative effect on me was training. I've put in some fairly concerted efforts over the years and whilst my more recent stint was fine (probably as a result of having a generally more positive attitude), the other two made me pretty jaded and depressed. For me, the problem is that it ultimately makes you feel entitled, whereby you feel like you should be climbing hard, or harder, and that climbing hard is all that matters. Now I'm not going to pretend climbing hard doesn't matter, because it clearly does (or at least it does to me), otherwise I wouldn't keep doing it; however, it isn't the be all and the end all. So in/around the time I was at my most depressed I decided to stop training and instead decided to focus on having the most fun I possibly could. This sometimes involved climbing hard, but also involved going new places and spending time away with the people I loved the most. What I had was arguably one of the most fulfilling climbing years of my life and I've tried to adopt that attitude in each year that has gone by. 

Finally, social media... 

It's infrequent I post on Facebook these days, but I occasionally post on Instagram; however, I do 'lurk' on both (and could probably do with lurking less). My posting tends to be quite sporadic, which ultimately coincides with whether or not I feel like I've got anything to say and (to an extent) my own mental health. If there's something I want to post about, and I'm feeling alright, I may or may not post; if I'm feeling down, or I just can't be arsed, I don't. 

Whilst there's undoubtedly people out there that experience none of the above, there are those of us that do. It doesn't necessarily have to be logical, but if you feel it then it's real, and if it's real - and it's making you unhappy - you should do something about it and this post is a fantastic place to start.

Many thanks to everyone that has contributed so far.

 dinodinosaur 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I know I've found myself with an obsession with logbooks. Often comparing myself to others unfairly and getting myself down because I didn't onsight x or I should be able to RP y because someone else I know did it in less sessions and they are weaker than me. Reality is we are all different people with different backgrounds, priorities and lives so comparing ourselves to others is pointless. Part of this obsession left me with the feeling I was being judged on every route I logged and stopped me trying routes I "should" be able to do. I've now hidden my logbook to leave me free to fail but still keep a log for my own personal memories.

With regards to fb and insta my phone lets me limit my usage to 15 mins a day which I've found a massive help to not get caught in an infinity scroll. 

 Rob Exile Ward 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

'I just experience life as it goes by and if I remember something I remember it, and if I don't then I don't - it doesn't exist anymore.'

That's just amazing, though I have to say most of my climbing mates are the same as you, and never took photos  - or were, I'm not sure whether they regret it now!

I'm the exact opposite, and am chuffed to bits at having a collection of slides dating back to when I started climbing at 16. I'm starting to digitise them now, and because they are slides they are as bright as they were when they first came back from the processors. I can just about remember the circumstances of every one, it's like an opportunity to vividly relive some of the best times of my life.

 Paul Sagar 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I had definitely fallen into the trap of not doing routes that were "too easy" because I was trying to "preserve my logbook average". However, since breaking my leg in May, I've realised that the average is screwed very far downward in any case, now - and actually, that's been wonderful. I'm just enjoying climbing classic VDiffs at the moment, and remembering why I love climbing outdoors.

Now, I don't recommend breaking your leg as a cure for logbook addiction. But it is effective!

 Tom Briggs 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Having your self-worth/identity too tied up in one thing and performing well in that activity is not ideal. Especially with sport, where ups and downs (whether it be injuries, or e.g. time out to have a family) and overall decline is inevitable.

Most of us need a balance with other areas of life and even within the activity you are most passionate about, you need to keep perspective (by most people’s standards you’re a very accomplished climber). 

Climbing is increasingly being portrayed (on Social Media) as a performance sport and yet the quality of the experience is not directly proportionate to the size of the number. I've had bouldering sessions where I've basically not enjoyed it at all (too much pressure and frustration), but climbed at my personal top level. And as Rob says, if you spend more time training you reasonably expect to see that effort rewarded in climbing harder routes. With trad climbing especially we know it’s not necessarily as simple as that.

I’d get off social media for a bit (I deleted FB a few years ago when my kids were young and I was feeling envious of others). Do something else where you put no expectation on performance (e.g. running or yoga for mental health/overall fitness), put effort into family, friendships.  Stay away from people who define value in the company they keep by how hard someone climbs.

Finally, I have found that this period going into the autumn can be tricky as we start to lose light in the evenings and momentum can slip away. Yet we feel we should be capitalising on fitness gained over the past few months. Others seem to be climbing their projects in perfect conditions, so why am I heading into a trough?

Climbing is mega and I still love it, but I've been much happier since having a broader range of interests. And I'm quite sceptical of the direction in which it's going. I've always been into training anyway, but I can find myself getting wound up by the amount of bullsh*t sprayed about the importance of training for climbers. Do your own thing!

 Climbandwine 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Thank you so much for this post! You are certainly not the only one who feels the way you do. I have to stop myself looking at others logbooks now or reading comments on routes I've done (mainly because I just can't take another person writing 'soft' on things I've tried so hard on anymore!) Happy climbing - keep up the logbook (whether private or not) so you have a wonderful reminder of all those fabulous routes/challenges/adventures you've had and are yet to have!

In reply to Each and every one of you who replied to me;

THANKYOU! What a brilliant, positive thread. A real credit to UKC. There are a lot to go through and Im not sure I have the time to reply to you all, but thankyou, really. I have enjoyed hearing from you all, some I know some I don’t. I feel a little less alone in my mad little brain now.

It has both saddened and relieved me to hear I am not alone in this. Hopefully it helped some of you out too. 

Interestingly, I have never worried about my grade average. I am all about my top ticks, the cream floating on top of the milk.

There is a lot to go through here, and I’m not sure where to start. But I guess addressing what my motivation to climb is, will be an important step going forward. As Rob said, climbing hard (for me) is I think going to stay with me. I hope I can learn to go about it in a more healthy way. I very recently read something about mental training - maybe from Hazel Findlay? Where it said something along the lines of “pushing yourself has to be done in a healthy way, what’s the point in climbing hard if you aren’t happy/it isn’t good for you“ and I remember that thinking ‘I don’t think I could take someone telling me that climbing hard isnt the most important thing’. Which looking back is obviously shockingly bad.

Another similar moment, that should have set alarm bells ringing was when Mina was battling with her RED-S diagnosis. She was making herself more happy and Healthy but a trade off for that was climbing performance. I don’t know if anyone else thought this but I wondered how I would deal with being in the same position? I remember thinking that I didn’t think I would be able to do what Mina did, to put aside climbing performance and ambition for her physical health. It worried me a little but I didn’t take notice of it properly. Looking back, alarm bells should have been ringing. 

I do love climbing, I think it’s partly why I have ended up where I am. I love it so much my whole identity is climber based. It’s great to have a passion, but it’s good to stop and smell the roses sometimes and good to have other interests too.

All climbing and not a lot else makes Duncy a dull/neurotic boy!

It’s really nice to hear that people enjoy reading my logs. In some ways it’s a little unhealthy for me to hear that as that old self esteem/dopamine hit has been stimulated again. But cutting through that it’s nice. I enjoy reading through other people’s too. And find them very useful. 

(Neil, if you’re reading still, can you add me as a partner? Would love to see what you got up to BITD and now also)

Going forward, I imagine I will keep logging. I’m inspired by Remus to be a bit more entertaining in my logs, if I ever make them public again. Which I hope to do once I’ve sorted myself out. 

A thing that often stresses me out also is there are a lot of things I want to do in climbing (some of them will require me to operating at The very top of my ability), and I often feel that time to do those things is running out, so if I’m not climbing near my limit I’m not improving towards them. This is something I need to work on also, to be more relaxed.

I am hopeful that this epiphany has come at the right time, not only to save my current relationship but also in that the coming winter will hopefully give me some space to grow into some other interests. I think running could be a good one for me. I used to do a lot more in years gone by, but recently have done very little. Running is the complete antithesis of climbing to me; I never time myself. I just go out and try to enjoy the flow of running over technical terrain in the peak. 

I often feel more relaxed in winter as the weather is shit and I don’t stress (too much) About it. I’m hoping that I can be in a more healthy mindset by next summer. Which will allow me to still push myself but in a happy healthy way. 

I think I will leave that there.

Once again, thanks to all who posted. Please keep posting if you feel you wish to, and if anyone would like to message me, feel free to do so. I would also like to help others through this if I can. 


Post edited at 17:56
 tjekel 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

This is an incredibly interesting thread, and thanks all for contributing. Made me think!

I wanted to add one thing from a perspective of not climbing hard (I'd need instant therapy if I started to compare myself). And this is something inbetween FOMO and dreaming of the next trip. And this also very much goes with the logbook and the area descrptions therin, the crag maps. Putting together imaginary trips. Imagining areas from a map, a few pics and scant route descriptions. This can be addictive as well, and it is for me. Probably spending to much time with this. 

 bpmclimb 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Paul Hy:

> I love the logbook, it reminds me of what I've done, its public so anyone can see it, warts and all, am i bothered about that, No.  Some people are climbing harder, good luck to them, some will not be climbing as hard as me, that's life.  The most important thing is the enjoyment of being outdoors fondling the rock.  Simples. 

Agreed. Not only are UKC logbooks very useful (guidebook writing, training courses, checking out prospective partners, etc), but also I get pleasure out of having a detailed record of my climbing: the stats, the different ways of filtering the data. The resolution I've always stuck to, which I'm sure keeps logbook use healthier, is to record everything, including seconds, top ropes, dogs, dnf - keep it honest is the way ahead

Edit ...... not just honest, but complete. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

Post edited at 20:47
 Misha 01 Oct 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

You’re touching on a related theme - modern society’s obsession with success and fear of failure. I actually think it’s got to get spat off and totally beaten up by a route now and then, just to remind you that hard routes don’t come easy and you have to work for it! As long as you learn something, it’s not really failure - rather, it’s experience. 

 Big Bruva 03 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

It's alright to be a little sad sometimes; all part of the human condition. It's what's made us so 'successful'. Over thousands of generations, frustration, jealousy, disappointment and low-esteem have incited people to try harder and natural selection has favoured these traits. If prehistoric humans had been content, we'd all still be happily living in caves.

 The Pylon King 03 Oct 2020
In reply to Big Bruva:

> If prehistoric humans had been content, we'd all still be happily living in caves.

And that would be a bad thing?

Post edited at 23:10
 Big Bruva 05 Oct 2020
In reply to The Pylon King:

> And that would be a bad thing?

That's for everyone to decide for themselves. I wasn't making a judgement.

 Cobra_Head 05 Oct 2020
In reply to Phil Lyon:

> If people treat the logbook as a log of their climbs, no worries.

I never thought anyone might see it any other way!

> If it is treated as a league table or competition, then you're screwed.

I'm very competitive but this never entered my head that people might do this.

Maybe my missus is correct and I don't understand other people

Another surprise for me was the reasons for climbing, quite a number of people I know climbed because, it shuts out all the "chatter" of life and makes you "focus on the moment".

I just climb because I like it and always have.

Am I a bad person?

In reply to Cobra_Head:

You aren’t a bad person - good for you!

In reply to The Pylon King:

> I know someone who wouldnt second an easy route I led because it would lower his average grade in his logbook.

> The Social Dilemma film is something everyone should watch.

Never understood the purpose of the average grade in the log books. It is meaningless and pointless and, if you started to care about it would lead to exactly the attitude you mentioned above.

One thing I've always enjoyed is doing quality lower grade routes for the fun of it but this seems to be trying making a negative out of it.

 Mr. Lee 06 Oct 2020
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Never understood the purpose of the average grade in the log books. It is meaningless and pointless and, if you started to care about it would lead to exactly the attitude you mentioned above.

Been guilty of this myself, although at the same time I think it's a pretty pointless measure. Partly because it doesn't separate leading from seconding/toproping. I think the way of just using the average of the 10 hardest climbs in the year to measure performance is a much better way of doing things. In the same way my hardest climb of the year is often just the route that suited me best, was over-graded, or something that I managed to scrap up on second or top-rope.

 Dave Garnett 06 Oct 2020
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> One thing I've always enjoyed is doing quality lower grade routes for the fun of it but this seems to be trying making a negative out of it.

Yes.  I don't deliberately do it to skew my grade but I've definitely not bothered to record a lot of easier things, especially if I've done them before.

On an even more trivial level, I notice that the statistics don't seem reliably to distinguish between South African and Australian grades. 

In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Yes.  I don't deliberately do it to skew my grade but I've definitely not bothered to record a lot of easier things, especially if I've done them before.

I've tended to use the log books as just a way of recording my climbs. The stat analysis bit hasn't bothered me but I can see how it could.

 Ramon Marin 06 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

Dunc, Im late to the party, but I'm glad you wrote this post. I've been on same boat as yours in the past. Fortunately, a bit like Neil Foster said earlier, through a combination of injuries and getting older (43 ain't 26!) I have had to learn how to let go of the tight reins of the ego. I say ego because the issue is not the logbooks, but the amount of self-worth we attached to them. Unfortunately, that's something that takes time to master, but being aware is the first step.

If you, like me, has engineered their whole life around climbing, it can be difficult to separate the Person from the Climber. The Climber tends to be evaluated by climbing relevant things, and the logbooks can be used to measure that, hence the use can be unhealthy (same applied to social media). I personally had to learn to let go of climbing climbing hard or worrying about style, and focusing in having a balanced life that provides happiness that doesn't just rely in climbing (or "achieving"). Once you start building that solid foundation, you can go back to logobooks and social media in a different way, but you'll find that, similar to what Rob said above, that they won't matter as much as they once did. 

Happy to chat anytime you want, you got my number

 George_Surf 07 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

I certainly have experienced some of this and many of the points Alan makes although luckily ive never been bothered what anyone else thinks of what ive written in my ukc log (which is lucky cos I probably wouldn't write much otherwise!).

for me the logbook is just a diary, its also to remind me of the route, anything useful I might have found, maybe about the quality, the gear or even some beta or just where it goes etc or the condition. partly this is for me but partly its for other people like me (who read logs to get an idea if a route is worth doing etc). my logbook was private until I went on a training course and made it public so the provider could read it, since then I got loads of people saying the logs/comments were useful, interesting etc so ive never bothered turning it back. 

its a shame you and Luke have gone private, me and Rachel regularly end up seeing your names on routes and your experiences often help us decide what to go and do. I will say that after a while you get an idea of how people climb and if 'xxxx' found a route hard I then have it in my head its going to be nails but sometimes you can surprise yourself by climbing something that someone better than you fell off. 

the logbooks also really really help esoteric or less travelled routes get a bit more attention. I hope you can finish logging all your stuff Neil I bet theres some diamonds in the rough there! 

 Cobra_Head 07 Oct 2020
In reply to Duncan Campbell:

> You aren’t a bad person - good for you!

Thanks Duncan.

I'm sometimes struck by my lack of vision sometimes, and yet I'm quite empathetic in many ways.

It's a funny old game. not sure I should get into any navel gazing though, there a can of worms no one needs to open

Hope you find a happy medium, competitive without the NEED, if you like. I might be that I'm used to losing, so it's not an issue for me.

Post edited at 14:29

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