Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced climber, you’ve probably wondered at least once, are experienced climbers scared?
It’s not just a fear of heights but above all a fear of falling off. If you are interested in altitude climbing or bouldering, this article is for you.
So are experienced climbers scared? Regardless of the level of experience, every climber has more or less fear, it is after all a natural reaction of our body.
There are two types of fear in climbing – the good kind, which sharpens our alertness and stops us from taking unnecessary risks, and the kind which limits or even paralyzes us.
From my experience, I can say that climbing itself makes us used to heights or even to the moment of an unplanned fall. Of course, depending on whether it’s rock climbing or indoor climbing, it’s a different kind of fear which can affect everyone. Honestly, nobody likes to slip and fall off the route when they least expect it.
Types of climbing and falling
Depending on where you are climbing you should be careful, remember climbing is an extreme sport. Not only does it expose you to injuries, but also to the stress of e.g. an unexpected fall. If you’re wondering what stressful situations await you on the wall or on the rocks, here are some hints:
- Bouldering, contrary to appearances, falling off a bouldering wall despite the low height can be more dangerous than when climbing with a rope – especially in rocks when instead of a deep mattress we have roots and stones under us covered with a crash pad. On the wall – there is no other way to overcome fear than practice. The only way is to practice controlled jumps from different heights.
- Rod climbing (top belay), if you have been bouldering for a while, you can try climbing on a wall with a top belay. This type of climbing already requires two people to work together, but allows you to get even more used to the altitude. If you go alone, you can use pitches with special automatic devices that will belay you if you fall off the wall. If you are a beginner, it is a good idea to go up gradually, resting on the block, swinging on the rope, and getting used to the height. It turns out that even here experienced climbers are afraid of falling off or of heights, but if they work on their fear they can overcome it.
- Climbing with a lower belay, here the problem with heights and the fear of falling is relatively greater. The average height of such a wall is about 20 m or even 50 m. When fighting fear, a method called the small steps’ method is helpful. Its essence is to find such a starting level where you will feel safe (we climb on an overhanging wall), then gradually move to the limit of comfort. Assuming that when leading, you are afraid of moving on the slopes, you should “tame” this kind of grip by walking on the rod.
Regardless of the type of climbing you want to do, the fear or dread of falling is always with us. However, you can learn to deal with it, it’s just a matter of practice. In this article, you can read why climbing is so scary.
What is the fear of falling away?
In sport climbing or simply on secured routes, both on rocks and on an artificial wall, falling and flying are not associated with loss of life, health, or even injury. However, good belaying is a prerequisite for such safe flying from the clips.
Then, falling off should become a habit and an integral part of climbing. Of course, you can climb without falling off, and many climbers prefer it. Everyone can climb the way they like, but if we care about overcoming our weaknesses, we should cross various limits, including those which are only in our heads and should be fought against.
The fear of falling off a wall or rock has its beginning in our head, under the influence of stress connected with it, sometimes a blockade or even paralysis occurs.
This is the moment when we are literally paralyzed with fear and cannot make any move. Mental problems, just like physical weaknesses, can be remedied. Nevertheless, it is necessary to train to control the psyche and to devote no less time to this issue than, for example, to building strength.
Even experienced climbers are scared, however, due to their determination and many years of practice they are able to control their fear. If you, too, Are afraid of certain situations on the wall or bouldering, try to practice the possible situations, but with determination and practice, this fear can be reduced or even overcome.
Fear of heights and climbing
Fear of heights affects a large group of people, some of them have it since their birth, others acquire it with age. Of course, some of us actually struggle with a dramatic and almost impossible to tame the fear of being at a great height. When it comes to climbing, depending on its type, we can have situations where we:
- A lack of confidence in the equipment, when it comes to climbing equipment it is worth betting on quality rather than looking for budget equipment. Often our safety or health depends on the equipment.
- Lack of confidence in your skills, if you are a beginner try to choose easier routes so that you can gain skills at the right place and enjoy your progress.
- Lack of trust in your partner’s skills, this situation refers mainly to climbing on rocks or on a high wall. The belaying of the other person or the skillful placement of crags is very important, trust is safety.
- Inability to behave when falling, regardless of our climbing level, we need to practice the situations of mental discomfort we feel when falling. Controlling the jumps from different heights will be very helpful here.
Anxious or stressful situations can happen to anyone, so it’s a good idea to start with good training under the supervision of a specialist. There are also typical climbing sections at various levels that will teach you both the basics and advanced climbing techniques. In this article, you will find out if bouldering is an expensive hobby, and what you should pay attention to before joining this beautiful sport.
In Summary – Are experienced climbers scared?
We already know that climbing is an extreme sport in which we can sometimes get injured. There are also several types of fear that we have to defend ourselves against on the walls, such as fear of heights or fear of falling off.
Fear is a natural reaction to stressful situations or mental and physical discomfort. Even experienced climbers are scared, however, due to their determination and many years of practice, they are able to control their fear? If you, too, are afraid of certain situations on the wall or bouldering, try to practice the possible situations.