ultranos: kino standing, staring ahead (contemplative)
[personal profile] ultranos
('ello. I just started climbing this past weekend, and [personal profile] rydra_wong asked if I'd cross-post this here.)

Yesterday, I got a phone call from two friends of mine. They were debating on going to either EMS or REI for climbing gear, and since I'd been making noises about possibly trying, did I want to come with? Since I was, at the moment, covered in dust from cleaning, doing anything else sounded great, I said sure. And somehow, the intent of "just looking at climbing shoes" became "buying a pair of climbing shoes" which then became "also buying a harness kit".

I really should have seen that coming.

Anyway, while we were waiting in the store, one of them mentions going climbing tomorrow, and after some double-checking on our phones for the climbing gym's beginner class on weekends, he offers to shift back his climbing time so I could take the class. Which is how I ended up making a half-asleep phone call to the climbing gym this morning to register for said class. (The guy on the other end of the phone when showed up later was amused.)

I climbed a few times as a kid. The local YMCA had an indoor rock wall, and I took the class when I was about 10. I really didn't retain much. But I remembered loving it, despite, at the time, believing I was terrified of heights. I also remember that fear being the reason I took the class in the first place.

Something about that assessment, that I'm afraid of heights, never really quite meshed with reality. I love flying. I love leaning over the 2nd story porch and watching the sky. I'm fine running along scaffolding. When I need to clear my head, I go for high places and just sit and think, like roofs and roofdecks. But make me lean over a 20ft ladder to hang lights in a theatre, have me jump down 3ft from the last rung of a scaffolding ladder, put me on a dive platform 15ft over a deep pool, and I'm paralyzed. The last one is even weirder when I'm fine springboarding off of a 10ft tall diving board.

It was after my last knee injury, when I was nervous about jumping down 3ft, that I figured out my problem. It's not heights I'm afraid of. It's falling. It's leaping off with nothing to catch me but the ground or water. And with a bad knee that can't absorb impact as well as it should? That fear is just magnified.

Which brings me to the wall. I didn't get up to the top. I think I was the only one of the six in the beginner's class who didn't. And I forgot my knee brace, so when it was suggested on the first try that I put all my weight on that leg so I could get my other foot to another hold, I balked. Maybe I was wrong. But I didn't trust my body there. And I got tired because I made my arms anchor me and pull me up. But on each of my 3 tries, I made it halfway up the wall before my hands slipped or got too tired or I couldn't find a foothold for the precious few milliseconds I knew my bad knee would hold me while bent. I'm not a good climber because I don't trust my body. Yet.

But when I looked down, I was surprised at how far I'd gotten. And when I let go of the wall, I didn't fear the fall.
fadeaccompli: (exercise)
[personal profile] fadeaccompli
I'm relatively new to climbing--about three months now--and mostly climb at the gym, and I'm running into some interesting psychological blocks in my bouldering lately. If I've fallen off a route before--especially if it happened unexpectedly, and high up--I find it a hell of a lot harder to get back on that same route again later, despite not having picked up any real injuries or even pain in the process. (Hurrah for padded gym floors, plus crash pads.)

So...is there any particularly good way to work past this block? It keeps coming up especially on routes that go fairly high, or that are really tricky to climb back down from. It's not bothering me at all when I'm on a rope; after a few rounds of that, I knew I wasn't going to fall very far, so I can cheerfully plummet off the wall again and again. But in bouldering, sometimes it's enough to make me not try a route at all, because I've done a solid thud from the top hold before.

Suggestions? Anecdotes? I'm just hoping there's a better answer than "wait for it to go away."


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