9. Climbing With Fear

Abseiling from the top of D-Minor, Mount Arapiles
D Minor Pinnacle Mount Arapiles

There are 101 blogs about “head game” and fear. The thing is it’s different for everyone and, to cut a long blog short, the only way to overcome it is through repitition and practice. So now that’s out the way lets talk about the good parts of fear.

Keeping You Alive

Fear keeps us alive. Nothing kills a climber as quickly as becoming complacent. Our sport is inherently dangerous and it’s part of what we love. Whether we’re conscious of it or not we all embrace our fear, to an extent, and with it we find ways to keep ourselves safe. Buddy checks, standard practices and safety gear are all essential and although I’m going to talk about pushing through your fear or the thrill of dangerous situations you should never actively try to put yourself in danger. Remember to stay safe and climb responsibly.

Making Memories

Some of my fondest climbing memories are of terrifying routes or scary scenarios that I’ve managed to overcome. It’s that special type two fun where you hate it at the time, but revel in it afterwards. Not unlike a scary movie, these moment elicit strong emotions. Beyond the emotional impact of these moments, they also help us grow. With each experience we learn confidence, problem solving and if we’re smart we also learn skills and techniques to avoid making the same mistakes.

Pushing Into Fear

Ridding yourself of fear takes time, practice and most importantly repitition. Whether you’re repeating a specific climb, or climbing with the same partner, repitition brings familiarity. Once you’re familiar with something it’s easier to not be afraid. But what do you do in the mean time? Many people behave differently when fear hits, some times we freeze, some times we get angry, or sad or maybe even laugh. End of the day it doesn’t really matter how you react, it only matters how you act. Reactions are your subconscious efforts to protect yourself, acting is a conscious decision. Find a way to take back control and push forward in the moment. For me it’s pretty easy, I talk to myself, sometimes it’s a song that’s stuck in my head, sometimes it’s a running commentary of what I’m doing. Either way I find the constant chatter keeps my brain from focusing on what could happen and instead I focus on what is happening. Find what works for you, the most important thing you’re trying to do is make one more move. Each time you freeze, or panic, or scream, just make one more move.

What works for you? Let us know in comments or on our facebook page. See you tomorrow!

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