The past few days of climbing have underlined for me the impact of mental space on climbing experience. First, I’ve been more relaxed and confident than ever, and it seems like instantly my climbing improved. How did I get there? I’ve read books that stress the importance of a positive internal dialogue, but I’m sure I didn’t talk myself into a good headspace. On Saturday morning I just felt good, and carried that feeling onto the rock. Today it seems like I just recognized the right feeling when I got it, and managed to preserve it. Magically, climbs that once seemed horribly difficult now seem easy.
In contrast, I’ve been watching my fiancee Ann struggle with finding the right headspace. She’ll nearly break down on an easy climb, then sail up a hard one. I’ve learned to recognize some of the things that affect her headspace, but I can’t tell her how to reach ‘The Zone’. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to continue to get there effectively. But I do know it helps to be able to recognize the feeling, and once you have it, hang on to it!