Good to hear what I always thought down in text by another climber. I'm fairly new to rock climbing, but having lead a bunch of routes, (all different levels) it is mainly a head game that you have to win to be productive. Sometimes its easier to lead stuff at your limit then it is a new route at a lower rating.
Great post DMT. I have noticed this as well…just this past weekend actually. I'm not sure if I am less scared on lead, but rather so scared that the Fear takes me to another place mentally. Fear is a useful survival mechanism, after all, and should be respected in that sense (climbers understand this better than most). For me, the Fear sets in right when I wake up on a climbing day. It urges me to bail on the climbing trip, or stay on the ground at the base of the climb, or down climb after the first few moves; all the while trying to keep me safe from the threat of falling to my death. But then I make a few more moves and I’m up there, past the point of seemingly safe return with a shitty placement below me, frozen for a minute (or 15) and the Fear gets so intense, so loud that I no longer recognize it. And then it’s gone. It’s as if the Fear went super-sonic. It’s as if it lost its usefulness and said “Alright, I tried…you’re on your own now”. And then you are left with only one quiet and real option…to climb.
It is these lessons with Fear that I find most rewarding about lead climbing.