Arno Ilgner is the author of 'A Rock Warriors Way'. In this article he case studies a climber who shows a 'lack of deliberateness':
"Climbing is full of transitions and how we negotiate them determines how deliberate we climb. Transitions are also full of ambiguity, which can cause a climber to rush or stall out...
First you let go of preparation. You've assessed the situation and more assessment isn't useful. Many climbers keep on assessing until doubts permeate their mind. Assess well but then make a conscious decision to stop assessing."
In reply to Paz: I have to say, when I reach a rest stage 1 is think 'Thank God' which possibly equates to his stage 1. But stage 2 is think, 'What the f*ck do I do next?'. I can't believe he doesn't tell us to work out the next moves / gear placements.
In reply to dan bailey: I agree. I've not actually read his book but the snippets I have read from it, I find hard to follow. Very 'American' (no offense intended!)
To me, I think what it's saying is,
At each stance (and at the start of the route) think about your next moves up to where you can get in gear/or next rest position and once you've done that and figured if it's safe to take a fall etc then just stop thinking about it because that might invite negative thoughts. Switch off your brain by taking a few deep breaths etc to focus, then fully commit to the moves. Vocalise each stage of this to enforce it.
In reply to John2: Er, I don't know if that's what he wants people to do. That's just my interpretation of the above article. But agreed, it could be written without the wishy washyness. Then again, as with a lot of these types of books they need to be padded out with fancy words and terms etc to actually be able to fill book length, rather than just a few pages. (All IMHO of course)
In reply to Paz:
I'm with you on this one Paz I find his articles very difficult to read and therefore have no inclination to wade through the book. The shame is that the advice is probably excellent, it's just that I find the way his gives it quite grating - 'psychobabble' is too strong a word, but it's along those lines somewhere.
Still, as Mick says, each to their own, obviously many people like it. I was reluctant to say anything like this on cidernut's thread as I didn't want to denigrate her achievement.
Also Mick, 3000-odd views doesn't equate to 3000 agreements, but you knew that!
And like it or not, we're in symbiosis matey. If you had no users, you'd have no advertising space to sell. Maybe I don't often appreciate the effort you put in enough I don't know, but don't act like we can't all just go and resurrect uk.rec.climbing or something if your adverts become really intrusive.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> And like it or not, we're in symbiosis matey.
That dear Paz is what the basic concept of UKClimbing.com is.... no one who works for UKC is not aware of that, it is fundamental to how we work and drives us to do what we do.
arno10 Jul 2008
In reply to all
Funny, I never thought I was a new ager or wrote like that, although I can see people's point about the warrior references in my book. I'll need to rethink this next time I write something. Interesting point anyway.
It seems like someone could read the "practice tip" at the end and see practical value in it. Maybe they couldn't stomach the writing and stopped early. I do go into important elements of figuring out what you'll do (how to climb, fall consequence, etc). I can't cover everything in one article so I didn't go into specific detail about how to figure out your plan or the fall consequence. The point of the article was transitions: how to stop preparing and begin climbing, which happens many times on a climb.
Anyway, many times it is difficult to communicate coming from different backgrounds. Regards,
>Assess well but then make a conscious decision to stop assessing."
A very good point. A very, very important skill in most mind games - certainly chess and bridge - is to know when it's time to stop thinking and start doing. One famous player described his greatest attribute as being that, 'I can tell in ten seconds that I will be no wiser if I think for an hour.'
I know what people mean about the writing; undoubtedly it is in a style which is more popular in America (and arguably airports) than here.
Having said that I think this article makes some excellent points and I would pretty much guarantee that anyone who rejects it out of hand as psychobabble could probably climb harder if they opened their mind a bit more to the importance of correct performance states (now there's some psychobabble for you) and how they could try to improve their own.
jacksona18685toot10 Jul 2008
In reply to arno: I thought it was an great article which put into words what I have started to do independently. I will find it a help in my climbing and know a number of people who could benefit from this. I found the article clear. The author clearly wasn't attempting to cover gear placements and details of looking for particular moves.
> Still, as Mick says, each to their own, obviously many people like it. I was reluctant to say anything like this on cidernut's thread as I didn't want to denigrate her achievement.
Don't worry, I'm fully aware (and accepting) that many people don't get along with the book - my article was not an advert for it (it was just sharing my experiences, which happened to be related to Arno's book), so I certainly wouldn't be offended by reading varying views on Arno's writing. In fact I'd read similar views before I even read the RWW myself which made me wary of reading it, but I (eventually!) bought it anyway and got into it right from the introduction. Found it pretty well structured too. I'm of the opinion that the RWW won't be for everyone, I reckon that everyone can get *something* from it but if you don't struggle with mental issues you'd probably be better off reading something else. For some people (me), it's great though.
> Also Mick, 3000-odd views doesn't equate to 3000 agreements, but you knew that!
My article wasn't putting a statement out there to be agreed with or disagreed with, it was my own personal tale...
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC) I found that real hard to take in dude. It reads to me like practically meaningless new age-y psychobabble. Perhaps i need to be more deliberate?
It did to me at first by skiiming through it I noticed a few points which related to my most recent hard (for me) lead. It was a long pitch, I was struggling mentally (first time at the crag, only my second route on that rock, I'm gash at stamina routes) and the only way I could do it was to break it down into sections of climbing between "rests". In my case.decent footholds and some gear. I then worked through similar stages to what Arno described then repeating the process.
I find Arno's writing a bit difficult but the content is spot on.
In reply to johncoxmysteriously: I'd agree with that 100%. I find that mental chitchat and over analyzing a route ends up with me making all the excuses in the world as to why I *can't* do it. Whereas if I just have a quick look and think, 'aye, that's a good looking route,' spot some rest places and where I'm going to get my 1st bits of gear in, then just shut off, get on with it and get on the route then I'm ok. The ability to be able to do just that is something I can't seem to do at will though and very much depends on my mood on the day.
That's why I don't read more of them, or am selective in my choice.
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
But unlike Bridge and Chess, the point is that Climbing's a movement sport. It doesn't matter what performance state you're in (as if there's such a thing as a single correct one, feck off) if you succesfully climb the piece of rock in front of you (in a way that's as safe as possible, given that you want to do it).
Some people's mental state could do with a little work yes, but IMHO the vast majority of people would do better to be more open minded towards their footwork and technique and concentrate on those and their gear.
In reply to Paz: Surely many/ the vast majority (whatever) would do better to work on ALL these things, footwork, technique, more efficient gear placement *and* mental state and each individual should be able to prioritise as to what needs the most work. No, at the end of the day it doesn't matter, if you are managing to get up stuff, but it depends on whether you want to improve or not though. Some folk will be happy enough bimbling along, but I think that it's the nature of climbing that most folk want to get better and climb harder and for many it's mental blocks, fear, whether it's of falling, or fear of the system not working etc that holds them back *as well as* the other things you mention. But, I think that at different points in a persons climbing erm 'career' (for want of a better word) that all these things will need tweaked/worked on at some point or other.
>But unlike Bridge and Chess, the point is that Climbing's a movement sport.
So what? They are all activities where sometimes thinking is helpful, and sometimes it isn't.
>It doesn't matter what performance state you're in (as if there's such a thing as a single correct one, feck off)
Of course there isn't. I thought my choice of expression 'correct performance states', might have given away that I agreed with that.
> if you succesfully climb the piece of rock in front of you (in a way that's as safe as possible, given that you want to do it).
Obviously. But that's a meaningless statement. If you do it right, it doesn't matter what tools you used to do that. Of course. But it doesn't follow from that that being in the right mental state doesn't make it easier to do it right. Manifestly it does.
Thanks for your summary of Anna Karenina. It'll do for me.
> So what? They are all activities where sometimes thinking is helpful, and sometimes it isn't.
In untimed Chess and Bridge competitions you can think all you like.
Bridge is a bit about deception and communication (isn't it?) so it's diffrent, but do you really get that many natural players who can wing it wihtout thinking and repeatedly beat a grandmaster.
In climbing you can't always stop and think, least of all on climbs at your limit. Routes where you can stop are easy, IMHO, as they're called rests! And even when you can stop and rest there're other more important things you can possibly concentrate on, like the task in hand, placing gear, ditching bits of your rack, working out where you're going, cleaning your boots, working out possible ways to do the next move, wokring out where there may be a hold that you cna't see and where you can see there are definitely no holds. The fact that these routes with rests will be easier means that at a given UK grade they'll be bolder, so it's all the more important to do what I'm on about, making sure your gear's as good as possible, and making sure you go the right way and minimise the chances of falling off.
> >It doesn't matter what performance state you're in (as if there's such a thing as a single correct one, feck off)
> Of course there isn't. I thought my choice of expression 'correct performance states', might have given away that I agreed with that.
Sorry I missed the plural.
>But it doesn't follow from that that being in the right mental state >doesn't make it easier to do it right. Manifestly it does.
Well yes, but you're back to the singular now so I may refer you to my previous retort (unless I'm reading this wrong). My point is that you can't prescribe the right mental state in advance, e.g. from an article, let alone one suits all one, as it depends on the rock in front of you.
>In untimed Chess and Bridge competitions you can think all you like.
There are no such things, I'm afraid. Take my word for it, in both games there are times when thinking is good and times when it's bad.
>do you really get that many natural players who can wing it wihtout thinking and repeatedly beat a grandmaster.
'Grandmaster' in bridge is an exclusively UK term and basically another word for 'punter' (don't ask me why, would take too long to explain). But in chess, no, there are no natural players who don't need to think ever. But every player, up to world champions, (both Kasparov and Anand have written often about this) has to understand that sometimes it is better to go with your intuition quickly, and why. And the same is even more obviously true in bridge if for no other reason than that often to think is to betray to an opponent that you have a reason to think and hence what your hand is.
>Routes where you can stop are easy, IMHO, as they're called rests!
Well, obviously you're better than me. Indian Face has a good rest, and I wouldn't call that terribly easy. And you'd better be in the right state of mind before you leave it, I imagine.
No-one is disagreeing that you need to carry out the technical tasks you mention, but the article is about what you should do once they have been completed.
>but you're back to the singular now so I may refer you to my previous retort
There is a correct mental state for every given climber and occasion, which was the context of my remark you are now quoting. Overall there is more than one, which was the context of my first remark.
That's quite interesting what you've said about Chess and Bridge. I've never tried Bridge, but I almost wish Chess didn't make me fall alseep.
It's a while since I've read the Cloggy guidebook (the crux of trying Indian Face it seems for some people ), but doesn't the hard bit of Indian Face start after that rest? Isn't the rest where it leaves an E4? And if it's a good rest and you're not in a great state of mind you can get rescued or escape, and if it's a shit rest you're going to wish you got on with the climbing earlier as now you're even more tired and your feet hurt.
Then once you've completed your tasks you should get on with it, in the UK. This is Britain for heaven's sake, it could rain any minute, don't hang about, just bloody get to the top! And your partner wants to get a route or two in too and you both probably want to make last orders at the pub.
So yes, with the singular/plural confusion I was reading it wrong.
> Anyway, many times it is difficult to communicate coming from different backgrounds. Regards,
Hi Arno, first of I wanted to say that I've found many gems in your book which I've ploughed through a couple of times now and I consider it to be of great value. Having lived in Boulder for a couple of years I guess I'm more accepting of the style than most, it is known to all my climbing friends here as 'that hippy book'. I'm not sure if you are aware of just how great the 'cultural gulf' is between the writing style in the book and the typical mindset of the British climber. This is a real shame as I don't know any climber who wouldn't benefit from some of the information and ideas it contains, but at the same time know of very few who would be willing to dissect this text to find them. Its crying out for a no-nonsense euro-rewrite - you just need to find the right co-author. Maybe these or future articles on UKC could provide the basis for trying this out?
> I'm not sure if you are aware of just how great the 'cultural gulf' is between the writing style in the book and the typical mindset of the British climber [...] Its crying out for a no-nonsense euro-rewrite - you just need to find the right co-author.
Up to a point, I agree. I came at the book with as much cynicism as anyone. I'm very much an objective, facts-and-figures, no-nonsense type so almost gave up on the book before I'd got through the first chapter just because the style and the language put me off so much. But there's something about the very act of persevering with it, reading through what appears on the surface to be bullshit, that makes you take on board what he's saying much more than you would if you just read the 20-page (or 2-line) synopsis. Maybe it's the fact that you've invested time & effort in getting to grips with it or maybe it's the fact that you've had to take in the message to be able to discard the chaff around it. Either way, I'm sure that while a no-nonsense Euro version would have more of an instant appeal to most people, it wouldn't be half as valuable.
> (In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC)
> >Assess well but then make a conscious decision to stop assessing."
> A very good point. A very, very important skill in most mind games - certainly chess and bridge - is to know when it's time to stop thinking and start doing. One famous player described his greatest attribute as being that, 'I can tell in ten seconds that I will be no wiser if I think for an hour.'
I like that very much. I was jumping into a river today from increasingly higher positions. Eventually we did a jump that you had to clear a ledge to make it. It took me about 20 mins to pluck up the courage as i was constantly changing my mind about where to jump, how to jump and where to land. Eventually i did it how i first thought that i would, and it worked - only just as i slipped and nearly made a real arse of myself.
If i could stop the indecision it would improve my climbing massively. I am always looking for a different way to do a move - so much that i become un-able to make a choice and do it.
In reply to arno: i read RWW and thought it was one of the most useful bits of climbing reading ive done; the framework for analysing climbs / sections of climbs before you do them and being satisfied with / confident in your decisions gave me a much more solid mental platform from which to tackle stuff. yes, people can improve their technique and strength but im pretty certain that, for a majority of climbers, improving their mental approach is the one thing that would give a step change in climbing performance. The Rock Warrior's Way seriously improved the mental aspect of my climbing and what ultimately i may be able to achieve.
In reply to lasonj: i think its already helped me progress in that i feel more in control of climbing situations so irrational and unjustified thoughts do not cloud my climbing in the way that they used to. this feels like a much more solid base from which to climb and has, at least in part, contributed to a steady progression in difficulty over the last year or so since reading the book. i doubt i would feel as certain and ambitious about my objectives looking forward without this 'base'. as to what actually transpires i cant say but theres every reason for me to feel i can continue to make grade progress.
the book may though have struck a chord with me and tackled a particular weakness i had (my level in trad was nowhere near my sport mainly due to fear) so it may not do it for everyone but i guess most climbers could benefit from a little less irrational thought when climbing at or near their limit?