The two words rock climbing and fear, do they go together? Do they even belong in the same sentence? Doesn’t the awesome adventure sport of rock climbing mean you have to be a superhuman capable of staring death in the face and scoffing?
Is it possible for a person with fear, to become a good or even great rock climber and be successful at the sport, or too their own standards of success at least? It would seem the evidence points to yes, and more then that, that fear is an integral component of rock climbing for many people.
We always have to be careful that our fear does not immobilize us or overcome us, but a measured fear and respect for every situation is just a great reality check.
1. Fear makes us careful.
One of the greatest benefits of fear in rock climbing is that it will make a person careful. Not a paralyzing fear leading to failure, but a calculated fear that leads to a heightened sense of focus on the problem at hand.
Sometimes a quiet fear of a difficult route or crux may help us focus our energy and body on successfully completing the task that is above us. Just having a reckless abandon to push upward at whatever cost can may times lead to accidents and failure.
Always remember that a small dose of fear is ok and will help you to concentrate and focus all your energies, making you a better rock climber in the end.
2. Defeating fear leads to confidence.
The second great reason that it is ok to have some fear in your rock climbing life, is that it can lead to building your confidence. It may seem opposite to think that fear could lead to such a thing, but it will over time.
Being able to overcome your fear and obstacles will lead to even greater confidence in your abilities to conquer the crux of the route when you move upwards past your fear. Time after
time your confidence will safely be built up that you are becoming stronger, faster, or a more well rounded climber in your technique.
The best confidence is built over time, and overcoming one small fear, one route after another, will lead to a hard fought for confidence in your abilities that cannot be had any other way.
3. Fear is human.
Just admitting to the fact that you have some amount of fear before setting out on that new route, is just admitting that you are human, and relieves that fear in the very act. Some of the best climbers in the world admit to having some fear before their climbs. Fear can focus their mind and remind them that they are human, taking off undo stigmas and false expectations to conquer every move on their first ascent.
Admitting to fear is not defeat, it is admitting you are human, and that you are willing to go up against your fear, and win. Fear is part of the human nature, especially in a razor’s edge sport like rock climbing, and does not lower you on the rock climber’s hierarchy.
In the end all you have to do is remember that fear is a tool to be used in rock climbing. Use it to focus your energy, build your confidence, and remind you of your humanity.
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