Do you find your “inner dialogue” important during your psychological demanding ascents?
“During” a psychologically demanding ascent, the perfect situation to find yourself in is the “flow” state I mentioned earlier. Once your thoughts become cognitive, things become more difficult to control, and wandering thoughts can have negative effects on your performance. There are a few little things I say to myself that seem to work. These are phrases I have found through trial and error; no magic words to share, you have to discover what works for you.
Do you use music for controlling your mental state - for example aggressive one before bouldering and relaxing one before hard onsight or sending risky route?
Music is incredibly powerful for altering your mood and on rare occasions, I have used it before, and even during climbing. I try to keep these occasions rare, so that the music doesn’t loose its potency. In very stressful situations, like on Muy Caliente for example, my music was a godsend.
Have you ever been into Eastern philosophy and techniques of controlling mind: like meditation, yoga etc?
A few years ago I began to read into meditation and found a few useful little techniques that I still use today. The trouble for me was to take things further, required a lot of time and patience, and I was spending most of my time doing other things. Perhaps this is just a proof that I am not ready for Eastern thinking…
Your career is pretty long, you had some better years and worse years, so I’m sure you experienced problems with motivation in some way. How did you cope with them?
Sex, Drugs, and Rock’n’Roll ;) Seriously, there have been up and down times, but this is just life – you need to experience difficult periods to make you appreciate how amazing the good times are. If I am unmotivated for climbing, I try to focus on other things for a while, things away from climbing that I find fun, like skiing, downhill biking etc. If you don’t push, then one day soon you will wake up and once again, all you can think about is climbing.
Are you serious about setting climbing goals or you rather tend to follow intuition in your career?
I am not one for setting specific goals, instead I am better to have a few vague ideas of what I would like the future to hold, and see what direction these move me. If I get too focused on one thing, I risk losing my motivation and running into a wall. It’s always nice to have options, to move with your feelings.
The last topic is about goals, so what are your general goals for the next 10 years of climbing?
General goals are firstly to keep having fun, and this means exploring new things. I want to become more involved with multi-pitch and big walls, something I have done very little of in previous years, but it is starting to excite and intrigue me. I want to continue to improve my sport climbing, as I feel this is really the key to success in all other disciplines, and also a lot of fun in its own right. Trad will obviously continue to be a big part and is where I feel my heart will always lie.
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