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Your Mountain Mentality ?

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Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby Charles » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:30 am

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:
friendowl wrote:in one of my psychology courses a debate came up that people who willing engage in risky behaviors that could result in death are mentally unhealthy and suffer from some kind of childhood trauma.


When I was younger I definitely sought out danger and explored my limits, especially during solo alpine climbs and multi-pitch free-solo rock climbs in Yosemite/Tuolomne.

Can't tell you how many times I went up and down certain sections of routes. Got scared, backed down. Changed my mind, decided to push it a little more, went back up. Got scared, went down again. Over and over. A climb wasn't a climb unless I was shaking in my boots at one time or another.

Can't say that I ever remember any childhood "trauma," though. Just thought climbing was cool and enjoyed exploring my limits.

Can't remember who said this: "...only in adversity do we learn our own worth..."

Now I'm into cave diving, but it's strictly for fun. I don't feel that I'm trying to push my limits; on the contrary, cave diving is all about precision, remaining totally in control and eliminating risk. I don't see cave diving as being as risky as climbing. Cave diving is just another tool in my bag for exploring, just like learning to aid climb or learning to use a RURP or mashie.

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Good post.
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Postby The Chief » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:46 pm

This is a funny thread.....Image

Far too many folks these days analyze the sheet out of everything.

Takes the heart and soul outta the whole gig I say.

I guess that's college for ya.










Buttocks line...


"IF YA AIN'T SCREAMING OR YUR SPHINCTER AIN'T PUCKERING, YA AIN'T TRYING!"


Oh yeah, like one of my heroes stated time and time again...

"SHUT THE FK UP AND CLIMB WOULD YA!"

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Postby TheOrglingLlama » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:22 am

A picture is worth a thousand words -

Image

Image

Image

:mrgreen:
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Postby lisae » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:24 am

squishy wrote: I remember holding onto a Pinnacles crystal (you know the ones, mud lovers) and just hoping it held long enough to get up. .


Yeah, nothing like grabbing onto a hold and feel it move. . uh, maybe I'd better reconsider that move...

:-)
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Postby dien2liv » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:28 am

I think fear is essential in the woods, it keeps the rest of me in check and keeps things in perspective. The times when I get do get sketched out are usually attributed to some unknown. So I guess experience gained is how I counter-act my fear.
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Postby MoapaPk » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:15 am

I have a deep-seated fear of nuns. I do OK unless I meet nuns in the wilderness.
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Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby Big Benn » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:47 am

friendowl wrote:in one of my psychology courses a debate came up that people who willing engage in risky behaviors that could result in death are mentally unhealthy and suffer from some kind of childhood trauma.being stimulated by danger is also a symptom of individuals who score high on the p.t.s.i test.....after listening to my professor and some students discuss this it made me think of the mountains......i feel like all of us who really spend time outside faraway from the city have gotten into a situation where we could easily pass away....i myself have been in that slow motion death slide and im just lucky but many others wernt as lucky...but my question is How do you keep your fear in check and what kind of things do you think about or what goes through your mind when death is all around ?. I feel like climbers and hikers especially solo hikers are special people and i am fascinated by the mountain mentality.


I mainly walk the mountains alone. It does raise people's eyebrows when I say that. They see an overweight, older white haired guy in front of them.

I know there is a risk, especially as my preferred time of the year for walking is winter.

But I take care over route selection, always go fully equipped for the conditions, take a lot of interest in weather forecasts, local news reports etc.

I also tend to use the better weather away from winter to try out new walks that I feel are going to be OK to do in winter conditions.

So I have a safety first approach to my solo winter walking in the mountains. And my walks are just day walks. And on mountains in Wales that are not large by any standards.

That doesn't mean I have never faced a fearful situation. But I take every step to reduce that chance. And when I get into a difficult situation I am getting experienced enough now to be able to recognise it, and find a way of dealing with it. Turning back is something I have had to do only a few times. I love peak bagging but have come to realise that the old adage, "the mountain will still be there tomorrow", is a good one to follow!
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Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby Hotoven » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:13 pm

friendowl wrote:in one of my psychology courses a debate came up that people who willing engage in risky behaviors that could result in death are mentally unhealthy and suffer from some kind of childhood trauma.


Obviously Libs! :D :D :D
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Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby RayMondo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:27 pm

friendowl wrote:...but my question is How do you keep your fear in check and what kind of things do you think about or what goes through your mind when death is all around ?. I feel like climbers and hikers especially solo hikers are special people and i am fascinated by the mountain mentality.


Sometimes I can't keep my fear in check. And I experience fear in different ways according to the circumstance. Some things I do, like fast driving and hanging on the curves, I've always been fine with. There, I'm real relaxed - "flowing" (known as Flow State" or The Zone). It comes down to ones natural skill. So for that, maybe I need to step up to real racing.

In the climbing world, it took me a while to get used to big drops, then I began to enjoy that. But when I've become really stretched, fear comes in. It's a natural hormone response to get you fired up and beyond it. But the problem is, it can also cause you to shake and withdraw blood from the extremities - not good if you are in fine balance. The only way out for me is just to push through it.

But even without a direct drop, the worst fear I've found is being isolated in bad conditions, especially if it's iced. More so as I don't use crampons. That fear comes from real deep and my legs began to shake and go weak, you almost wet yourself, and a sense of forbidding sets in. That's really choking, and I've started to swear that I'll never come here again. Even say god, when I don't believe in a god. But what I do to escape it is close in tight, shut everything out and build a mental wall - even using my jacket hood to shut it out and create a "closer me". Then I face the next icy step in front of me, one at a time and just use plain precision to step my way out.

When I get past a short spell of fear, I enjoy the dopamine rush. But when it's the second, isolated type, there's no real after-rush. So I feel only relief. But nonetheless, I go because in those moments I feel so alive. When people look at us and wonder why we go and experience these things, I feel sorry for them because they've missed something deep that they see only as purposeless.

But you know what's get me is, that fear comes hard wired from the basal brain - the Amygdala. It was all well good in ancient times when we had purely animal or tribal threats, but these days we don't need half that s**t. What good does it do me when I begin to shake on a mountain and it affects my performance. What good does it do when some jerk at the office is causing you stress, but there's no real threat. I just want to turn it off, and for some time I've been working to achieve that. The primal stuff can remain just for when its really needed. I've been seeking a way to condition my thinking to differentiate, but there's umpteen million years of biology to get round.
Last edited by RayMondo on Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Big Benn » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:46 pm

Interesting that you don't use crampons in icy conditions Ray?
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Postby RayMondo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:10 pm

Bryan, I don't use crampons because I learnt that way, and I found I had innate dexterity (also applies to the feet) and I've been gifted with precision - so I found a natural line of engineering for work. But I don't do long technical sections on ice, nor been to big all technical peaks. Though I have got myself into some bad situations above a drop, were one slip may have been irrecoverable. But I did train and prepare, learning to use the axe in every conceivable orientation, literally sliding down in safe places to do axe breaking automatically - head first, on my back, spinning. N. Wales and the Glyders was my training ground. Still, for now, I don't need to do that kind of thing.
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Postby RayMondo » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:14 pm

Yeah, cave diving. Just such an awesome experience. But just altogher no way out. I would never do it. I can rely only on my skill and not just equipment.
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Postby Big Benn » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:18 pm

Ray, I need crampons on almost any up/down icy/ frozen snowy surface when in the mountains.

As opposed to your dexterity I consider my walking style to resemble that of an out of control elephant! And no one who has ever walked with me has ever challenged that statement.

So I find my 12 point Grivels, along with my lovely new 90cm Black Diamond walkers Ice axe, (thank you so much to the USA for making and supplying me with this), essential gear for my winter mountain walks. And I don't think they give me a false sense of security either.
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