The fear of falling

I’m gripped, I’m climbing up to the 3rd bolt and i’m pressing down hard on two crimps, I know I’m out of sequence, I’m too square on for the next move. I start sweating and feel the pump. If only I reposition myself, relax on my arms and turn my body to the wall for the next side pull but I don’t... The 3rd draw is at my face and all I can think about is the 6m fall I’m about to take and the ground below and start shaking, shallow breathing with my elbows out... I’m panicking and I'm trapped. Trapped between one move opening up another universe and allowing me to safely clip at the 3rd and the horrible feeling that I have to let go. I need to compose myself but I don’t, it’s too overwhelming, the fear of everything in the moment. I shout to my belayer I’m going to fall, he says just try the move, by this time i’m screaming, I’m going, I’m falling… 

The beautiful mountain village of Hadash, where our local crag is.

This week has been tough at Hadash. I’ve had to come to terms with what is holding me back from being my true self and climbing like I usually do. It's fear...The fear of falling. The harder the route the more commitment I need; not just to work the moves or send the project but to fall, more... What we don’t realise is that we train ourselves to climb, but what about training ourselves to fall? They both go hand in hand and I will keep reacting the same way at the same place unless I address the problem and break the habit. Top roping and working the moves isn't the solution, it can help build confidence for the route i'm climbing but in reality I need to go back to the start; do all the easy routes and build up my “falling pyramid”(it’s making my palms sweaty already). The fear will always be there, it’s how to manage it thats key. Thanks to Read macadam for some much needed climbing coaching. 

Leaving for Dubai today for a corporate portrait shoot with Hadash on my mind and the lessons i’m learning from climbing. For now here’s the super inspiring Miguel Willis (rookie of the year) making Mentally Challenged 7a+ look easy as he climbs up to the chains.

Miguel Willis climbing Mentally Challenged at Hadash, Oman