Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Your Mountain Mentality ?

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
 

Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby friendowl » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:13 pm

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.
User Avatar
friendowl

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:49 pm
Location: los angeles, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby stormflap » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:12 pm

for me i am more fearful when im planning a trip. when i get there in the middle of some danger the fear is very enabling. with what you said.. i would look at from a skills perspective. not all people who climb dangerous mountains were exposed to some childhood trauma.. but i would say about 100% were exposed to less technical terrain in the beginning. the desire to achieve something bigger and more dangerous each time has to do with some comfort level gained from the previous climb. not to do with past trauma. so each climb has alot to do with the previous climb before that. .and so on until we retire or die. as for people who skip everything in between and go for the big one.. well i just dont know. but its definitely not the majority of us.
User Avatar
stormflap

 
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:35 am
Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby radson » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:42 pm

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
User Avatar
radson

 
Posts: 1937
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:34 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia
Thanked: 109 times in 76 posts

Postby billisfree » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:57 pm

The vast majority of the hikers/climbers have no intention of taking risks.

Neighter to people who get in cars and planes... and yet accidents happen.

I imagin... it's the inexpericenced newbies who are scared and think they're taking big risks.

It's good to be careful on your first few excursions... for something you may not be aware of.
User Avatar
billisfree

 
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:39 am
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Thanked: 16 times in 14 posts

Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby MarthaP » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:16 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.


Interesting that folks who face danger are considered mentally unhealthy. Frankly I think folks who take risks, along with the responsibility that goes along with it, are incredibly healthy because they're interested in something more than sitting behind a desk. They're also incredibly realistic - one faces danger with practically everything. Stick yourself with a pencil and get lead poisoning. Could get a list 100 pages long on this stuff.

I would also suggest that those who call people who take risks mentally unhealthy are, themselves, unhealthy from the amount of fear they feel. Postulating on something with which many of them likely have absolutely no experience, understanding, or education but can offer this kind of opinion is inifintely more dangerous and unhealthy than the act itself! I think it's called projection, no?

So I guess I'd first question the methodology of the medicine first. I don't think Jung would agree with your course's postulations. Nor would Carl Rogers. Nor Rollo May. “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." Could be said for fear, too. And Viktor Frankl? You're so afraid of something that getting it is inevitable, including fear and anxiety.

Beyond that, there are people who strive for greatness, for something out of the ordinary, to help move things upward and outward. It takes stepping outside the sandbox and taking risks, of whatever degree, to make change. There is huge courage doing that and most people lack that, to be honest with you. Got fear? Face it. You won't overcome it until you do. Afraid of dying? Face it, don't cringe from it. THAT'S what I call healthy.
User Avatar
MarthaP

 
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 1:13 pm
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Thanked: 4 times in 1 post

Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby Steve Larson » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:29 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.


I can think of, oh, say, about 6 billion people who fit that description. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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 ?


That's a good question for a soldier, or someone who's been involved in a large-scale disaster, but not climbers. Folks who take climbing seriously are involved in risk management in a kind of conscious way that most people never learn. I find it tremendously satisfying. I also have a lot of confidence in situations where folks around me are wringing their hands and obsessing about all the "what ifs". Now there's a sorry lot.
User Avatar
Steve Larson

 
Posts: 2451
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 12:12 am
Location: Glendale, California, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby timfoltz » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:48 pm

That's a good question for a soldier, or someone who's been involved in a large-scale disaster, but not climbers. Folks who take climbing seriously are involved in risk management in a kind of conscious way that most people never learn. [/quote]

I think climbers fit that description perfectly. The key is that we intentionally take part in risky behavior. Soldiers do not intentionally look to be put at risk, and people who are caught in a disaster type scenario were not intentionally looking for that to happen. IE world trade center.

When people ask me "isnt it dangerous" when talking about my passion for climbing, i point out how its more dangerous driving a car to the grocery store, or walking across the street. (Martha P, you cant actually get lead poisoning from a graphite pencil). The difference is that we go into these situations with a heightened level of awareness. I always play the what if game while climbing. What if this happens, how will I react, what will i do to survive, get home, etc. This keeps me alert and focused, and if something should happen, I have already run through the scenario and can respond quickly. However, when driving a car or walking across the street, one is not thinking about what if this happens, what will I do. They are typically not focused, and are usually not worried about their own well-being. Therefore it seems to make the point that us climbers (all encompassing term) are safer than those non-climbers in that we have a heightened sense of our surroundings, and can react calmly when something does occur.

Kennedy's moon quote above pertains to climbers as well I believe. It encompasses why we do what we do in a more thought out way than simply "because it's there".
User Avatar
timfoltz

 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:23 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby TheOrglingLlama » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:09 am

I do it because I need to impress my wife :mrgreen:
User Avatar
TheOrglingLlama

 
Posts: 735
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: Llama Lland
Thanked: 94 times in 56 posts

Postby peladoboton » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:16 am

i do it because i feel alive when i'm up there, plain and simple.

fear is something i deal with regularly, and facing it in the hills helps me face a lot of things here on planet earth.
User Avatar
peladoboton

 
Posts: 2307
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: SLC, Utah, United States
Thanked: 1138 times in 724 posts

Postby MarthaP » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:33 am

timfoltz - thanks for actually bashing through all my loquaciousness!

So one gets graphite poisoning from a pencil, then, right? :wink:
User Avatar
MarthaP

 
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 1:13 pm
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Thanked: 4 times in 1 post

Postby timfoltz » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:57 am

MarthaP wrote:timfoltz - thanks for actually bashing through all my loquaciousness!

So one gets graphite poisoning from a pencil, then, right? :wink:


Exactly! :D
User Avatar
timfoltz

 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:23 pm
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby MarthaP » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:33 am

Hey, DMT,

Great quote. Here's another one I adore. Arthur O'Shaughnessy.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
User Avatar
MarthaP

 
Posts: 1300
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 1:13 pm
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Thanked: 4 times in 1 post

Re: Your Mountain Mentality ?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:57 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.


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.

Image
User Avatar
Sierra Ledge Rat

 
Posts: 1117
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:14 am
Location: Appalachia, United States
Thanked: 241 times in 158 posts

Next

Return to General

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.