"It's all about the altitude bro!"
Yeah I have often wondered what exactly it is about climbing that I like. What makes me keep at it. How to overcome fear etc.
So let's start typing and maybe I'll figure it all out, messy, mixed up but some what decipherable I hope.
There are people, who brag and people who get into magazines. But that's not what climbing is for me, I'm 32 so as Skinsk said age is starting to rear it's ugly head and as time goes I sometimes wish I had pushed myself harder, but still those big achievements, while they make you feel great when you pull off the hard climbs, still aren't what it's about for me. I was leading last weekend and realizing the climb was harder than anticipated, wondered why I was doing this to myself, and thought well if I can't get up this then no one climbs today as my partner was not a leader, so I just got on with it. The bolts seemed spaced out but the more I clipped the happier I become. After that I didn't feel any special achievement, just I felt like I had got the job done. It was only later in the day on top rope that I truly pushed myself that I felt some sense of achievement.
I'm not afraid of heights (just injury!), in fact I love them, I think that's why I climb I just love the perspective. I love mountains and being up them and seeing the views. I love cliffs and the feeling that we are beating natures plan. We weren't designed for this, yet here I am 300 feet up on some cliff looking down on my surroundings. Is that some sort of god complex? I don't know but I really enjoy the perspective it gives me.
I pretty much always feel some degree of fear when climbing on lead, but seldom if ever on top rope. Like punchy said, you need to recognize it and then deal with it. I deal with it in different ways depending on the circumstances, generally I think about it, realize I don't want to give up and climb through. Often I feel people are relying/waiting on me and this helps push me on, not to prove myself to them but rather so as not to disappoint them, It seems this trait follows into most aspects of my life. Generally my fear increases as the fall consequences become more dramatic but I always find that concentrating harder on my climbing relieves fear and of course improves my performance. I don't normally attempt lead climbing outside my comfort zone, but for some reason this year I am trying to break out of this mental barrier I have formed, happily I think I am slowly succeeding.
I have a friend who was finding it hard to start up leading again, he said "I know the climbs easy, I can do it, but my body is frozen in place and I just can't break past that barrier!" so he asked "how do you do it?" I said, I push those thoughts to the rear and concentrate on the problem of getting to the next bolt or gear placement. I just force myself to do it and don't over think it. Two weeks later he was leading, he had finally forced himself over that imaginary brick wall which was a really nice thing to see. But I still have my own brick wall , Just my wall is in a different place (grade) than his. Now I am not saying I am a better climber physically, but mentally I seem more prepared to put myself out there than he was. But it looks like that's all beginning to change, so two thumbs up to him.
I love getting out of the city, being in the bush or high up on a rock in the sunshine. I love thinking about my gear placements and options and succeeding in getting through that pitch. I love hanging out with friends, breathing fresh air and, getting cool pictures. I love overcoming problems and my fears. But most of all, I just love being up there! I always used to say to my mate back in NZ, "It's all about the altitude bro!" and really, maybe for me it's just that simple.
Last edited by rockboy : 05-18-2006 at 01:38 PM.