Tag Archives: climbing mentality

Conquering a Fear of Falling

Climber Fear

Chelsea on Fuzzy Undercling (5.11b) in the Red River Gorge. Photo by Erik Thatcher.

Chelsea has been climbing for 11 years and has dedicated her life’s work to outdoor education as an Outward Bound instructor. The self-proclaimed lover of all styles of climbing: bouldering, sport, trad, mountaineering, and ice, has worked hard to overcome her fear of falling. Today she shares her story with you. 

I was fed up, utterly frustrated, on the brink of quitting climbing all together.

I had spent the majority of my decade-long climbing career not climbing anywhere close to my physical limit. Here I was, an Outward Bound Instructor whose job it was to teach people to push their comfort zones in order to learn what they are truly capable of, and I was not able to do that for myself. It’s not because I didn’t want to. I really did want to know what it felt like to try hard and to climb while pushing my physical limit.

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From Marathons to Multi-Pitch: Maximizing Your Mental Game with the Help of Others

Climbing Mental Game

Tess climbing at Seneca Rocks.

The mental aspect of climbing is one of the most challenging topics to address. Each climber has an individual experience of fear on the rocks shaped by their past experiences. Yet this experience is something that all climbers can relate to, regardless of their level. In today’s post, guest contributor Laura K. asked athletes about their experience of mental barriers and how the support of others has been instrumental in getting through challenging situations.

I’ve been both an endurance athlete and a climber for a few years. The mental barriers of climbing have left me baffled and stuck, while I have been able to push through multiple triathlons and long-distance running races. Is mental prowess achieved in different ways for different sports?

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Climbing in the Year 2030: Climbing Mentality

Photo credit: Royal Robbins

The mental fortitude that Lynn Hill demonstrates could be a focus in the future of climbing. Photo credit: Royal Robbins

Over the last two weeks, climber and author John Burgman, has looked into climbing’s crystal ball and predicted how the sport might change over the next 15 years. Today we go back to the future one last time and take a look at potential changes to climbing mentality. 

In a recent Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Lynn Hill was asked about the mental side of climbing, and she responded with her opinion that focus and mental fortitude don’t come so much from other people, rather they are strengthened within oneself. This was an appropriate answer because for a long time external resources—experts, websites, classes and books—that targeted the mental side of climbing did not exist. As a result, for many climbers, diving into psychological motivations and working on mental toughness for routes—or bouldering problems—long involved a sort of jury-rigged hodgepodge of non-climbing sources forcefully poured into one’s own climbing mold; take a meditation exercise that you learned in a yoga class, combine it with a visualization technique from a self-help podcast, use a little of that anti-anxiety breathing technique that a former roommate taught you, and apply it all to whatever crux is tripping you up at your crag.

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