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By ShandyR
From Kentucky
Jul 22, 2012
I see climbers getting pissed off, making up excuses, swearing, etc. when they can't pull the crux on a climb. It looks really pathetic as you're watching them from down below. It drives me batshit because I do the same thing! And on 5.10s! ARGH!

Who else struggles with keeping their ego in check? I'm in constant awe of climbers good and bad who get spanked on a climb and don't let it turn them into whiny babies.

I've tried to be introspective about it, think positively and stop staking my ego on being able to finish a 5.x route. It's a battle. I don't have crazy outbursts or anything, I just feel humiliated if I'm hang-dogging a 5.10c. I haven't even been climbing very long, I'm really doing fine in the larger scheme of things! But apparently if I'm not some sort of climbing prodigy, the excuses start flowing....

I've noticed that there's tonnes of attitude from other climbers, lots of elitist remarks get thrown around that I've subscribed to. I feel mortally ashamed of TRing anything, even if its 3 grades above my limit, and would be a great learning experience. I feel ashamed if people (other girls) climb harder than me. And if I'm the best climber in the group and I'm rope-gunning for others, I worry that the others at the crag will write us all off because we stick to the 10s. It sounds crazy, but I've heard so many elitist comments about how anything under 5.11 is "not really climbing".

Obviously I try to be more rational than that, and remember I'm there to have a good time and learn, and to support other climbers, whether we're new partners and whatever grade they climb at. But I'm even afraid to go climbing with people I meet at the gym who are really good because I'm afraid they'll find out I suck (i.e. don't crush 11d while simultaneously texting a harem of lovers).

Just wondering if anyone else is always battling their ego! How do you escape from worrying about being judged by what grade you climb?

-Shan

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Jul 22, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
My self worth is certainly not defined by the grade I climb...

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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Jul 22, 2012
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
You need to relax. It's just rockclimbing.

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By agd
Jul 22, 2012
alaska
5.easy is just as much climbing as 5.15

Is my assumption that you climb mostly sport correct?

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jul 22, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
Read "The Rock Warriors Way".

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By Kenan
Jul 22, 2012
Shelf Rd
Monomaniac wrote:
Read "The Rock Warriors Way".


+1

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 22, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
I think if anyone were to utter an elitist remark to me or say something to me about top-roping, I would just laugh, pull my pants down and stare at them with my twig and berries just hanging there. One ridiculous notion deserves another.

Everyone gets scared. Everyone gets sandbagged. Everyone has off days where they climb like shit. Everyone progresses in different ways. Very few of us will climb to pay the bills and make a career out of it. Compete with yourself. It's supposed to be fun. Make your own ideals and subscribe to them, not all this other bullshit you've mentioned. The longer you're at it, the more you'll realize that it's just that: bullshit.

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jul 22, 2012
Ego problem?

Blotter is your spotter.


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By Travis24
Jul 22, 2012
lobbing in Independence Pass


If you're worried about what other people think, ask yourself, who gives a shit about what other people think? F*** them, go out there and have fun.

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By Carl Sherven
Jul 22, 2012
It sounds like you care way too much what low quality people think. Why would you care what people who make elitist remarks think? You've got just as much right to be there as anyone else, regardless of how long you've been at it or how hard you climb.

ShandyR: (i.e. don't crush 11d while simultaneously texting a harem of lovers).

Just remember, both of those activities will give you bragging rights if you're surrounded by shallow people, but only one will help you live eternally within the gene pool. Gotta have priorities.

Wow. Did I just write that? Must be bed time.

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By Derek Huff
Jul 23, 2012
Sounds like you are climbing with the wrong group of people. I assume this is at the red? There can definitely be clicky groups down there but whatever, climbing is supposed to be fun. Dont worry about what other people think about you, in climbing and in life. Also you are a girl so no one expects you to climb harder than 5.9 and they are probably just staring at your butt the whole time anyway.

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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Jul 23, 2012
Me and Spearhead
Got to agree w/ Jake on this one. The longer you climb the more you learn to let go of the bullshit.

The other thing is that if you dabble in all aspects of climbing and travel to various areas you'll learn very quickly to loose the ego... or you'll go insane. Climbing is vast and very, very few climbers are super good all around, on all types of rock and styles of climbing.

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By matt davies
Jul 23, 2012
Travis24 wrote:
If you're worried about what other people think, ask yourself, who gives a shit about what other people think? F*** them, go out there and have fun.

My goal in climbing is to get to the top of interesting routes with cool people. I stress here getting to the top. While my heritage is Welsh, I may as well be French, as much as I pull on gear. To me, it doesn't matter if I'm not performing at the cutting edge of my physical ability, as long as the views are good. Redpoint, pinkpoint, free, aid, bullshit. Grade is a quasi-subjective measure, and the fun-o-meter for me is always calibrated in smiles per foot. Ethics are for aesthetes, I'm just a guy who loves mountains. Have fun with it!

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jul 23, 2012
When I was in Basic Training there was something called the "Attitude Adjustment Chamber".

It was intended for those kids who were too stupid or arrogant to let go of their pride for the six weeks that basic lasted. Trust me, it was very effective, in that every one who went came back transformed...humble and obedient. Unfortunately I never experienced it so I could only speculate on how to run one.

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By chuck claude
From Flagstaff, Az
Jul 23, 2012
First climb after knee surgery <br />
If you add a more feathers, really bright ones, you'll catch more.....now reel them in slowly........


And Mike, the Attitude Adjustment room in climbing is called hard routes ( in a relative sense, since sometime can be hard for everyone). After getting your butt handed to ou for the thirtieth time, ego problem corrected......

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By BigJuggsjohnson
Jul 23, 2012
Stones
attitude training is being able to contain your mouth, emotions, anger , frustration, tiredness, fear, desperation, self pity, thurst, hunger, to be able to stay focused on the big picture and put your differences aside for the common good and safety of the party.

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By Count Chockula
From Littleton, CO
Jul 23, 2012
Count Chockula
The OP must have seen me flailing around on the crux of Reefer Madness yesterday. My ego got its ass handed to it, that's for sure!

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By BigJuggsjohnson
Jul 23, 2012
Stones
ok on "being judged" dude u should just climb more and if u think your climbing partners will judge you yes they will, you will judge them too, then you will decide wether or not you wanna climb with THEM. Hey those guys are so self centered they don't really care about you as long as they can get a belay on their projs (sport climbers and craggers) . When it comes to alpine and multipitch thats were personalities will have to really click or not.

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By Charles Kinbote
From Brooklyn, NY
Jul 23, 2012
On Waimea, 5.10d
Let me guess: you climb at the Red? Hah! The spray and wobblers there are legendary.

Dave MacLeod has a nice chapter in his book "9 out of 10 climbers..." about overcoming a fear of public climbing. The most effective way is to find a crowded crag, jump on a hard route, and fail badly...you'll realize it's not that bad. Adopt an underdog mentality.

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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Jul 23, 2012
matt davies wrote:
My goal in climbing is to get to the top of interesting routes with cool people. I stress here getting to the top. While my heritage is Welsh, I may as well be French, as much as I pull on gear. To me, it doesn't matter if I'm not performing at the cutting edge of my physical ability, as long as the views are good. Redpoint, pinkpoint, free, aid, bullshit. Grade is a quasi-subjective measure, and the fun-o-meter for me is always calibrated in smiles per foot. Ethics are for aesthetes, I'm just a guy who loves mountains. Have fun with it!


Your are truely awesome, and I hope to adopt your attitude NOW!

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By MountainManny
From Idaho Springs
Jul 23, 2012
One Trad Ass Motherfucker
Will S wrote:
Ego problem? Blotter is your spotter.


yes! or a blast off of a DMT rock from any belay station will also do the trick..or any combination of the two. Just don't try to clean your dirty Ego with Bath Salts...it only makes the crazy crazier.

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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Jul 23, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.
+1 on Monomaniac and Charles' recommendations of RWW and 9 out of 10 climbers. Props to you for observing your own response to failure in front of others. It was only recently that I've begun to actively tinker with my attitude and mental focus, and I definitely became a happier climber (and as a result climbed more, and better).

I'd also recommend climbing with people who seem to have the mental game down. I was incredibly lucky to have a mentor who had truly mastered this aspect of climbing, and could explain it articulately. Reading RWW is helpful, but it's even more transformative to learn from someone who has put it into action in their own life. It really is like a martial art - you need to know instinctively what mental moves and weapons to pull out when the going gets tough.

Another thing to try is changing your environment. I respond to failure totally differently depending on whether I'm at my home gym, my old college gym, Rumney on a busy day, a remote sport crag, or bouldering by myself.

---

To your specific points...

TR shame seems like a common phase that most climbers go through. At first you prefer TR to leading, even though the lead may be within your ability. Then you try to prove to yourself and your peers that you're not afraid of leading - this is where TR shame comes from. At some point leading will become so ordinary that the decision to TR something is unemotional. Ask yourself why you want to TR something. If it's going to be a great learning experience, or if leading would be unsafe, or even if it's an easy route but cleaning on lower is a pain... TRing is a perfectly fine idea.

If you haven't hit the "No saying 'Take' " phase yet, that usually comes next. Similarly, it can be a good thing to pressure yourself to take falls when you're not comfortable with them. When you are, then the decision to take-or-not-to-take can become more practical and rational.

Regarding being afraid to climb with stronger climbers, keep in mind that no matter how strong you are, there's always someone who onsights your projects (in Adam Ondra's case, that person is future Adam Ondra). I find that climbing with stronger climbers is the single best way to learn about climbing, and to get better. As a friend of mine likes to say, "Climbing is that wonderful sport where everyone sucks at the grade they climb at." (I think he stole that from somewhere).

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By Christian
From Casa do Cacete
Jul 23, 2012
Ooops...
Sounds like a social anxiety issue in general, as opposed to something specific to climbing. If you can't figure it out on your own, find professional help.

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By slim
Administrator
Jul 24, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i find it somewhat amusing when folks who climb for fun try to give attitude training advice to people who are trying to push their limits. its pretty easy to lob flowers over the fence when you invest nothing in the process and care nothing about the outcome. it is a completely different thing to invest so much of yourself into something, and deal with failure.

climbing hard is hard. not only is it physically hard, but it is pretty mentally draining as well. if it was easy it would be called 'knitting' or perhaps 'recreational climbing' (good term coined by Mike Anderson). not only do you have the typical climbing fears, but you have to deal with the fear of failure, and a bunch of other weird anxieties. its daunting to train for months to prepare for a hard onsite, where you only have 1 chance at it. your breakfast rumbles in your stomach, you are trying like hell to keep a positive outlook while looking up at the intimidation stretched out above you. part of you thinks you should feel ready for it, part of you feels like you might never be ready for it. some of my best onsites have happened when it started raining on me about halfway up, simply because it provided a convenient excuse for failure. pretty chickenshit in a weird way.

redpointing at your limit is similar, but different. in some ways, there is less pressure because you know that you have multiple opportunities. the flip side is the frustration of thinking you have it in the bag, and then flubbing it. it is pretty demoralizing to swing from the positive aspect of thinking you've got it, to wondering if you ever will have what it takes to do it.

climbing around people is an interesting aspect of climbing. if you are climbing around the right people, it is awesome. it feels great when you are up there fighting like hell, and your partners are hoping and cheering for your success. some of my best climbing experiences have been belaying partners when they succeeded on routes that were at their absolute limit.

the flip side is climbing around other people. i avoid it as much as possible. honestly, i only have about 5 or 6 people that i climb with. if they are unavailable i just go rope solo something. perhaps i need attitude training or something, but i find it incredibly difficult to try my hardest when i know that somebody who is familiar with how much effort i put into it is just sitting there watching me struggle. the absolute worst is when people heckle you while you are trying hard. its almost like a feeling of being totally alone. it gets even worse when they mock your iritation at being heckled.

the people that i am completely amazed by are those folks that put everything and beyond into a route, totally fail on it, keep their faith, and then come back and succeed. that is amazing. absolutely amazing. i try my best to emulate their positive attitude, but it is always a work in progress.

the key (i think) is not to give up at trying to have a better attitude. when you throw a wobbler, drop the f bomb, get snappy with your belayer, etc, always be the first to apologize. the key to a good apology is to not lace it with excuses or exceptions. just a straight up apology and that you will try to do better. just because you drove into the ditch doesn't mean you can't try to get it back up on the high road as soon as possible.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jul 24, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
Excellent post slim. Very well said.

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By ShandyR
From Kentucky
Jul 25, 2012
Thanks for your replies! I liked the one about the competitive aspect of it because I was just thinking how a lot of this comes from my uber-competitive personality! I've read the RWW, but in some ways, it doesn't deal with everything (at least for me). But, I love hearing everyone's ideas.
Seems like good climbing partners are key! And not assuming that just because there are lots of people out there who will diss new climbers, that not everyone is that way. Damn, it's just a bitch when people are climbing 6 grades harder than you, next door, and so laid back. Damn them for looking so good!
-Shan

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