Wrestling Fear

While you’re reading this post, I’m enjoying the beginnings of a much-needed vacation in Canada. Having never been to Canada before, we’ll be doing a short exploration of Vancouver and finding some hot springs to take a dip in on the coast; but mostly we’ll be spending our time in Squamish for some world-class rock climbing.

wrestling fear

While I truly can’t wait for the adventure, I have a deep, dark secret I need to share with you.

I’ve been wavering.

That is, my abiding love for the sport of rock climbing might be faltering at the moment.

The last couple of times Loren and I have headed out for a long day on the rock I’ve been less-than-enthused and, in some cases, downright terrified. My mental game is off. My mind plays tricks on me when I’m multiple pitches up hanging on trad gear; and, to be honest, it’s taking the fun out of it.

I’m hoping that this trip — which guarantees a repeated face-off with these feelings for 6 days straight — will bring me back around and remind me why I value the emotional demands and physical challenges inherent in this sport.

Wrestling fear

Lately I’ve been letting fear win. I’ve let fear take the fun away from my sport instead of using it to grow like I was when I first started.

The very first reason I listed in 5 Ways Rock Climbing Empowers You was that it pushes you outside your comfort zone repeatedly. I still believe that having a pursuit that forces you to stretch and grow mentally and physically is worthwhile. It’s important not to stagnate, to avoid complacency, to strive and to learn. I still believe that there’s value in those aspects of climbing. For some reason lately, it’s just been scaring the crap out of me more than usual. This trip is either going to remind me why climbing is my preferred proxy for that mental stretch or demonstrate that it’s not, and I need to find a new one.

fear in rock climbing never really goes away. I'm wrestling mine right now.

Here’s a picture of how I feel about climbing right now. Photo courtesy of Brian Biancardi of Chronicles of a Closet Dirtbag

I still love climbing

All this is not to say that I intend to stop climbing. I absolutely do not. It’s just to say that I might want to scale back what I’m doing outside to simple weekend cragging and not blindly follow my climbing tribe into the sky on adventures that are not part of my larger picture life goals. Or maybe I just need a reboot, and this trip will change all that and turn me into a multi-pitch climbing machine! Doubtful.

In truth, my goal is to keep loving my sport. I don’t have to climb the Nose of El Cap or sleep on a port-a-ledge or go ice climbing to feel good about my sport. And I don’t need to keep up with those in my climbing tribe who feel called to do great big projects that I have no desire to do. I’m ok with being left behind in that way, even though I miss our cragging weekends.

Of course I want to keep getting better, as most people do with any sport they play, but becoming a better climber isn’t a life goal of mine. Climbing can be a lifestyle or it can be a sport. I’ve jumped tracks, and unless something magical happens on this vacation, I’m fine with my new course.

I have major love for this sport. I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing it in some form or fashion. How that manifests remains to be seen.

In the meantime, fear will not win in Squamish!


fear in rock climbing never really goes away. I'm wrestling mine right now.

Photo courtesy of Brian Biancardi of Confessions of a Closet Dirtbag



I'm a wellness professional with a Master's in Integrative Health, passionate about spreading health, happiness and personal fulfillment to as many people as possible. I have a professional background in health and wellness, dietary supplements, and nutrition, and embark every day to live a well, balanced, happy life. In being true to myself and what I seek in life, I hope to inspire others to do the same, to cultivate wellbeing in their own lives.

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