Getting back on the rock - need some inspiration.


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Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 7, 2012 - 05:33pm PT
It's time for another one of these threads...this time for me.

A few months ago, I had a pretty scary experience, as some here may know. I had a grand mal seizure while jugging up the first pitch of New Dawn. It turned out that a medication I was taking, along with some other factors, was the culprit.

When I returned to the Valley a couple weeks later for Facelift, one of the first questions that a friend asked me was "So are you done, or what?"

The resounding answer then, and now, was NO. I haven't achieved my goals, and I love the mountains and being on the rock as I do few things in life. I tend to progress at a really slow pace...I have been climbing for 10 years now, and I am just now getting to the point where I feel that I have the tools and experience necessary to start working on walls. I don't want all that time to have an end result of not achieving my goal of climbing the Nose.

I got cleared to climb again a couple weeks ago. I admit that I have been cheating a bit, spending time climbing in the gym, but I haven't been outside at all.

The problem I am having is getting the desire to actually saddle up and head out to climb. I am a bit confused about it, because I am not scared to go climb. I know what fear is, and this isn't it. But I can't seem to get to the point of actually getting off my ass and hiking out to the crag. I was going to climb last weekend, but when Saturday morning dawned it was overcast, a bit windy and that's all it took to make me not want to go through the hassle of humping my gear out to Red Rock and getting vertical.

My friend Wendell often tells me that "You can find a thousand reasons not to lead a climb. The trick is, to find the one reason to go do it anyways."

I miss climbing, I miss being out with my friends for a day at the crag. I really dislike the fact that I have gained about 20 pounds the last few months from not getting out to even hike much. I try very hard to be very honest with myself, and I am usually pretty in touch with my mind and body. But right now I am just not figuring out what is going on.

If anyone would care to chime in on this, and share if you have hit a similar point, it would really be appreciated.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
But...but....Locker, cmon man.... :(

Heheh. Thanks for the smile bro, needed that.

The Granite State.
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
They don't make twinkies anymore.

How much do you want to lose?

I'll match you, mofo.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 7, 2012 - 05:54pm PT
I would suggest to get all your gear together and go out there with no intention of climbing at all. Grab your stuff, walk to the cliff, all the time thinking that you won't climb. Simply be happy being there in that beautiful spot, talking climbing to whoever is there. Maybe you can put on your harness and belay someone but don't climb!

See how that works!

Trad climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
quit stressing.

eat some bacon. have another beer.

clear out some extra room in the closet, make some room for your dignity.


the last bivy
Dec 7, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
Mark H has an excellent suggestion. Don't worry too much about it BECAUSE it is the dark time of year. You are supposed to feel like drawing back in, hibernating so to speak, like the rest of the mammalian world.
Laze around sleep more, focus on love and sex and wait for it... it's gonna turn around just like always..Mayans notwithstanding.

Dec 7, 2012 - 07:25pm PT
Years ago my climbing partner left to get fat.

Months went by until he returned 30 pounds overweight.

LOL he wanted to get fat on purpose to see what it's like since he's never ever been fat.

I couldn't believe what I saw, hahaha

So he shows up fat and out of shape and tells me this being Fat business sucks and is stupid.

He then goes on this crazy ass climbing binge for 2 weeks straight and loses almost all of it.

Mind blower.

Go for it ... you can only lose what you want ..... :-)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 07:30pm PT
Maybe it's still too soon after your traumatic/negative experience.
I have paused my climbing after similar negative events; it has always started up again.
Usually it takes me a couple of months before climbing seems like it would be fun again.
Something about how the recent negative memories fade and the older positive ones kick back in.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
I agree with Clint. It can take quite a while to get over bad experiences. Your mind is telling you to lay off. You can try to force yourself, but my guess is that you won't have much fun.

The extra weight is not simply physical, I suspect it weighs on your mind as well---it would on mine. You know your performance level is going to be down just because of that blubber you're lugging along.

And, as just mentioned above, its winter anyway. I'd say focus on coming out of the gate strong in the spring and don't bother about getting out at all unless you genuinely feel the urge.

If you do go climbing, make sure to treat yourself to whatever you really feel like doing. Bouldering, short routes, half days, top-roping, long scrambles---make sure it is something your really want to do and not something you think you should be doing.

Start a conditioning program to lose the fat, do lots of gym climbing, pick a climbing goal for the Spring that is challenging but within the realm of possibility, and get on real rock until you really want to.
Captain...or Skully

Dec 7, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
I tend towards negative reinforcement, so I'll pass on that aspect.
Just keep moving. Yes, it IS that important.
Get your ass up there. (see?) ;-)
Cheers, bro.

Trad climber
a place where friction routes have velcro
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:27pm PT
If you wait too long after a traumatic experience you might not start up again at all... Just sayin'.

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Dec 7, 2012 - 10:30pm PT
Like LP says, it's hibernation time. Bundle up, go for a walk. Something fun to do is to go on a "reconnaisance" hike - take the guidebook and go find the base of routes you might like to do some day.
Big hug, amigo.
John M

Dec 7, 2012 - 10:33pm PT
Go cragging. Josh is perfect for that. Lots of one pitch climbs you can hang at the bottom with everyone. Find a group of people who will take you out with no commitment on your part other then to show up with your shoes and your harness. Then hang out. Its amazing how healing it can be just hanging out. Better be a warm day though. hanging out when it is butt cold sucks.. haha.

Then who knows. the urge might hit you and you will be right in the moment. The main thing is to get outside and around climbers.

I'm sure there are people on this forum who would let you head out with them with no commitment on your part.

zero chance of climbing while sitting on your couch
98 percent chance you will get on something if you are at least out there with the harness and shoes.

Thats not true of everyone. Sometimes physical stuff gets in the way along with the mental stuff. But if its mostly mental, then a big part of the battle is getting to the crag.
John M

Dec 7, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
someone post up some Josh pictures. Include a few sunsets.

Trad climber
Dec 7, 2012 - 11:58pm PT
Joshua Tree.....As requested.....

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut

You need to WANT to be there.......just let it happen. Marks advice is great. Just get out and smell the stone. Hang with friends. Toprope. Boulder. Camp-out under the stars. I'll happen.

Remember. It's supposed to be fun. If its not, do something else. Wish you the best on your journey.

Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut


Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Dec 8, 2012 - 12:12am PT
You did not look that out of shape when we met a few weeks ago, and I doubt you piled up much lard since. You are in a vicious circle; "I am fat because I do not climb, and I do not climb because I am fat". That is leading to nowhere. All you need is to go on the rocks, do some easy stuff and the fire will come back. Take Cosmic on his favorite climb (birdland?) and enjoy the moment. By January, you will be chomping at the bit. Also think of Kilimanjaro and the need to get in shape. Cheers!!

Trad climber
The rock doesn't care what I think
Dec 8, 2012 - 12:25am PT
Mark Hudon wrote:

I would suggest to get all your gear together and go out there with no intention of climbing at all. Grab your stuff, walk to the cliff, all the time thinking that you won't climb. Simply be happy being there in that beautiful spot, talking climbing to whoever is there. Maybe you can put on your harness and belay someone but don't climb!

I like this too. As others have said, you may still need more time to process your accident. So just be outside in some cool places. Carrying all your baggage and that will help you get fit. Be in the place, breath it in. That will help in itself.

Side note: the Latin word for military heavy baggage (I'm talking at least a Legion's worth) is called "impedimenta." From which we get impediment. Food for thought on the next big wall while hauling. Ha ha!

Mark's advice reminded me of a story I heard Peter Croft tell once: He had backpacked in a couple of days to some climb, but when he got there, for some reason, it wasn't the right time/circumstances to do the climb. So he came back out. But he said it was one of his most memorable and magical climbing experiences... a time where he didn't even touch the rock. It's about the journey. The climbing is part of that journey, but there's a lot more out there than just the activity in and of itself. For me, in a way, the climbing is a vehicle to be in some really cool places. Just the fact that you know where the places are and are able to haul your allegedly fat kishka there gives you access to experiences 99.3% of everyone else isn't even aware of.

Heal up and don't be too hard on yourself. The climbing will be there, in time. Don't waste now pining away for it... there are plenty of other edifying things to delight in right here, right now! You know what they are for you!


Trad climber
Dec 8, 2012 - 12:35am PT
You can do it!

I will be in Las Wages for a few days over New Years. If you want to cruise up a multi-pitch moderate I would be keen.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Dec 8, 2012 - 01:02am PT
Just get outside. Inspiration will be in the last place you look.

Gym climber
It's not rocket surgery
Dec 8, 2012 - 01:08am PT
Getting back on the rock - need some inspiration.
Hey Vegas, you are one.
It'll go.
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