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Obsessive-compulsive sport climbers
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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Mar 3, 2010
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

A post Mono made on another thread got me thinking. Are sport climbers more likely to be obsessive-compulsive than other climbers? If so, what kind of obsessive-compulsive tactics have sport climbers been known to employ?

(BTW, I stopped short of calling it O.C.D. because of the word "disorder," which, to me, implies real suffering. I want to be sensitive to the fact that O.C.D. affects the lives of millions of people in a really profound and difficult way. I am asking about tendencies, not disorders.)


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Mar 3, 2010

They seem to be obsessed with bolting any and every rock available!


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Mar 3, 2010
My dogs got ups yo!

This is my experience:
1) Went to bed early the night before.
2) Laid off the crappy food.
3) Made sure when I clipped the draws they were all facing a certain way.
4) Kept up with Cardio to reduce the extra load.
5) Kept dragging my belayer to my project.
6) Would always put my left shoe on first.

I would say most people do #1-5 when projecting, but #6 is more obsessive-compulsive than anything else. I know inside that I'm going to succeed, or fail regardless of which shoe goes on first, but it always seemed like a bad omen if I switched up this ritual.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 3, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

  • I know back in the day it was chique to clean your shoes with rubbing alcohol between burns.

  • Using rest-steps on the approach to prevent leg hypertrophy



  • I've seen people with the handle cut off their toothbrush

  • duct-taping rubberized kneepads to shaved legs


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Mar 3, 2010
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Monomaniac wrote:
**Skin treatments of all sorts: scissors, sandpaper, mysterious foosball ointments...


Did you every try the Antihydral Mono?

  • Wearing yellow shoes at all times.

  • Cooling fans on hangboards.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 3, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

The tube is in my pocket as we type.


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By Jasmine Kall
Mar 3, 2010
Getting ready to climb!

jarthur wrote:
This is my experience: 1) Went to bed early the night before. 2) Laid off the crappy food. 3) Made sure when I clipped the draws they were all facing a certain way. 4) Kept up with Cardio to reduce the extra load. 5) Kept dragging my belayer to my project. 6) Would always put my left shoe on first. I would say most people do #1-5 when projecting, but #6 is more obsessive-compulsive than anything else. I know inside that I'm going to succeed, or fail regardless of which shoe goes on first, but it always seemed like a bad omen if I switched up this ritual.


I am of the other type. Trad climber...

1) Stayed up late the night before cleaning and organizing gear
2) Found half eaten cliff bar from trip two weeks ago.. Breakfast
3) Check and double check each piece to make sure it wont walk back
4) Hiked 4 hours to get to base of mountain.. Hope that burnt off the 6 pack from last night that was consumed while organizing gear
5) Partner trades pitches up Mountain
6) Always put right foot in first


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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
Mar 3, 2010
mmmm....tree

Monomaniac wrote:
*I know back in the day it was chique to clean your shoes with rubbing alcohol between burns.

"back in the day"? When was that? The nineties? Sorry, I have a friend who's always using that expression, it makes me peevish...by the way, there is no que in chic.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 3, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

back in the day


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 3, 2010

I think certain people are more likely to be OC than other people. What style of climbing they prefer is irrelevant. I run into far more sport climbers that don't pay any attention to training, skin preparation, number/length of burns, rest time, shoe care, wake up time, etc. than those that do.

There is plenty of OC behavior in other genres....

I've heard of alpinists not bringing a toothbrush to save weight, making Excel spreadsheets to calculated the weight of their pack, and sleeping on top of a ski resort to acclimatize before heading up to Alaska.

I knew a trad climber who would spend more time driving than climbing in a weekend just so he could get to this obscure crag to get the jump on FA's...he was convinced that some anonymous rival was lurking in the shadows waiting to snake his "uber-classic" lines.

One guy once cross country skiied into Castle Rocks SP in Idaho in the winter after high-centering his car to lead routes on gear before the bolting ban was lifted so he could get FAs before everyone else.

Then again, I've known sport climbers who carry thermometers to the crag and scrutinize 8a.nu to see if people think their project is "soft" or not.

Come to think of it, those were all the same guy.


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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
Mar 3, 2010
mmmm....tree

Monomaniac wrote:

PF!(painfully true; maybe this will catch on)The older I get, the better I was. Of course, we mustn't forget the ultimate OCD pre-climb ritual-the pre-excuse...Back in the Day it applied to things such as not having any chemical support, if you know what I mean.


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By Mike Slavens
From Denver, Co
Mar 3, 2010

Jay Knower wrote:
Are sport climbers more likely to be obsessive-compulsive than other climbers?


No, I don't think sport climbers are more OC than other types of climbers. Alpine climbers drill holes in their toothbrushes to save weight. Trad climbers are practically meteorologists because they obsess over the weather so much to avoid the rain. Gym climbers spend more time making sure their outfit makes them look cool then time they spend actually climbing. Wannabe climbers watch climbing videos like NFL players watch game film to make sure they can drop a pro climbing name at the right time. Everybody has their OC tendencies. Besides EVERY climber moves their hands along with the holds when describing a particular squence, its particularly funny when a heel hook is involved.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Mar 5, 2010
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Mike Slavens wrote:
Gym climbers spend more time making sure their outfit makes them look cool then time they spend actually climbing. Wannabe climbers watch climbing videos like NFL players watch game film to make sure they can drop a pro climbing name at the right time.


These aren't examples of obsessive-compulsive tendencies. These are examples of your stereotypes.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Mar 5, 2010
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Ian F. wrote:
They seem to be obsessed with bolting any and every rock available!


Yawn.


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By kachoong
From The Outback, Texas
Mar 5, 2010
Climbing at Frog Buttress

Climbing in general is an activity that has potential for people doing things the same way every time... clipping bolts the same way, tying knots the same way. The techniques employed need to be addressed systematically as part of safety.

Trad climbers actually have more gear to become OC over. Something like having the same racking system on each climb is more an efficiency issue than compulsive.

OC behavior however is observable. What do climbers do before they leave the ground that isn't really neccessary? Other than the "mandatory" safety checks? I've seen quite a few. Make sure laces are neatly tucked in or the same length on each side. Hands in chalk X-amount of times. Blowing on hands after chalking. Pull on tie-in knot repeatedly (after already checking it). Touch toes. Make sure helmet is exactly centered.

Watching the olympics recently my wife and I chuckled a few times at the "ticks" some athletes had as part of their prep. A few striking ones were in the womens ariels. Touching the helmet repeatedly to get in the zone was one... if they were distracted or had to wait a few more seconds, they'd touch the helmet again and again. Is that considered OC behavior or is it instinctive and part of their "routine"? They perhaps believe they wouldn't do their best without doing it.

Interesting topic!


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By Will Butler
From Boulder, CO
Mar 5, 2010
ice park

I get way more OC about projecting Trad routes. I think it's the "projecting" in general that gets people into these routines, regardless of which game they choose to play.


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Campton, NH
Mar 5, 2010
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Will Butler wrote:
I get way more OC about projecting Trad routes. I think it's the "projecting" in general that gets people into these routines, regardless of which game they choose to play.


Good point. I think the whole idea of a project is to find a climb where everything has to be perfect in order to send.

This whole idea of perfection really gets me obsessive: My shoes have to be perfectly clean. My hands have to be perfectly chalked. The draws have to be hanging in the perfect place. I have to climb during the time of day when the conditions are most perfect.


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Mar 5, 2010
My dogs got ups yo!

Jay Knower wrote:
These aren't examples of obsessive-compulsive tendencies. These are examples of your stereotypes.


My thoughts exactly.


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By mschiffhauer
From Bakersfield
Mar 5, 2010

I'm glad to know I'm not the only "right foot first" person. And I do this with all the shoes I wear, climbing or not.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Mar 5, 2010
Bucky

Jay Knower wrote:
Good point. I think the whole idea of a project is to find a climb where everything has to be perfect in order to send. This whole idea of perfection really gets me obsessive: My shoes have to be perfectly clean. My hands have to be perfectly chalked. The draws have to be hanging in the perfect place. I have to climb during the time of day when the conditions are most perfect.


Thats interesting, because I always send my hardest routes when I am NOT obsessing. In other words, when I am obsessing I am too nervous and I am over thinking as opposed to reacting. Thats not to say that I don't have my beta dialed when I send something hard...usually when its at my limit, there are a certain set of subtle moves etc. that I need to do correctly to make the route feasible. However, I often end up sending when its just a "mileage burn" at the end of the day or a burn when I am convinced that I won't be sending that particular go; when this happens, I usually climb more relaxed and I am simply letting my body react as opposed to over thinking. I sure wish I knew how to get into that mindset and out of the obsessive overthinking/nervous one.


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By Mike Slavens
From Denver, Co
Mar 5, 2010

Jay Knower wrote:
These are examples of your stereotypes.


And a thread title of "Obsessive-compulsive sport climbers" is an example your sterotypes.

Sorry, the attempt at poking fun and a bit of sarcasm was a mis-fire.


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Mar 5, 2010

Jay Knower wrote:
Yawn.



Right? You ask what Obsessive traits "Sport Climbers" have. But, can't seem to realize that many sport climbers are absolutely obsessed with FA's and bolting the hell out of evry rock they can find. I would venture to say that there are a handful that are actually just obsessed with bolting, regardless of FA's, just for the sole purpose of development, and recognition.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Mar 5, 2010

boulderers might have sport climbers beat. i've seen boulderers who keep their shoes in zip lock bags, brush every hold on the problem(myself included sometimes :/ ), brush holds with rubbing alcohol to get them really dry, wait until holds aren't in the sun anymore, mantras before pulling off the ground. etc

at some level some of those might become important but generally not :)


most of the ticks and routines with olympic and pro athletes are set routines to help visualize and are probably suggested by a sports psychologist.(to have one.. not the actual movements) thats why baseball players step out and fix their gloves every pitch, golfers do all kinds of things


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 5, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Ian F. wrote:
many sport climbers are absolutely obsessed with FA's and bolting the hell out of evry rock they can find.


There certainly are climbers that fit this description. I don't know how you define "many", but I can only think of a few in the entire country. I don't think that qualifies as "many", but they are an extremely vocal (in terms of actions) segment of the sport climbing population, which probably skews your perception of their numbers.


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By Jim Gloeckler
From Denver, Colo.
Mar 6, 2010

There are a certain amount of trad climbers out there that have OC tendencies of putting down sport climbers or gym climbers in an attempt to claim superiority. No matter how much they do it they can't stop, even if it makes them look silly.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 6, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Jim Gloeckler wrote:
There are a certain amount of trad climbers out there that have OC tendencies of putting down sport climbers or gym climbers in an attempt to claim superiority. No matter how much they do it they can't stop, even if it makes them look silly.


lol!


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