After an incredibly unsuccessful climbing trip yesterday, I decided the best way to get back on the horse today was to push my own personal limits a little, and try to lead a climb for the first time - meaning I was placing in gear to use as protection the whole way up the route, and the rope was below me, rather than above. I have practiced placing gear while firmly stood on the ground before, but I’ve never fallen on gear that I’ve placed, and in fact I’ve never taken a lead fall at all, which could be several metres as opposed to the several centimetres that I am used to.
It is a very different kind of situation to ones I have been in before while climbing outside - falling is riskier, but equally you are less likely to fall as the route itself is easier. I knew there was no reason for me to fall off the route at any point, it was well within my capabilities, but still… that fear is obviously there. A lot of fear was there, although I found even having a harness on seemed to trick my brain pretty nicely that I was safer than I was, as I don’t think some of the gear I placed near the top would’ve held me if I fell on it, so for the top third, falling wasn’t really a viable option.
For someone who gets anxious a lot and is also a serial overthinker, my approach to dealing with this kind of fear is to not think about anything at all, and simply do. That’s not really an option when climbing though, you still have to think somewhat rationally, to plan how to make things as safe and sensible as possible, listening to Nike too much is going to get you in trouble half way up the wall. I still need to work on that bit a lot.
Oh well. Got very scared, but didn’t die. A success in my books.