Trad Climbing anxiety

I’m having one of those moments,  lying in bed knowing that in the next day or so I’ll be putting everything at risk on a crag. It’s annoying as before I get to a crag I have a charity event to help run, my grandma’s birthday and my grandparents 60th  wedding anniversary to celebrate. My mind however ticks back to focus on Sunday, made worse by not knowing which crag I’m going to, it being my friends birthday. Being the only climber in our group willing / able to lead at the moment with Chris out of the country doesn’t help, there’s an expectation I’ll put up routes, I’ll succeed.

People who haven’t led don’t understand these thoughts, I’m sure for accomplished climbers they can switch off the nagging in their mind, but I can’t. It’s possible to watch our by hour my heart rate creep up and with it my stress levels. I hate being at the whim of someone else choosing a route, I can’t plan, think of gear placement until I’m there.

Sleep doesn’t happen at the best of times, tonight feels a long way away


22 thoughts on “Trad Climbing anxiety”

  1. That’s quite a big responsibility. Surely there must be someone else who can go along? Are you putting up a top top or placing gear and they’re seconding? I assume there’s a competent belayer at the other end or are you having to do that at the same time as climb? That would be amazing. Breathe, everything will be ok, make sure you enjoy yourself. Get them to warm up with some bouldering or traversing first.


    1. No I’m the only one currently willing and experienced to lead. I never top rope, far too safe. The people who now belay me tend to be quite anxious as they’re inexperienced at it as well as not fully understanding what I’m doing with gear. We will learn together as we go.


      1. I agree to a point but there is a time and a place for top roping and certainly for working on a complex route, it’s often what I do. You are very trusting. If there’s someone new belaying, I expect someone experienced at the end of the rope. Where my life is concerned… question. Of course, we are all individual and all have our own likes and dislikes. Nothing worse than having someone belaying with the rope so tight that they pull you off the wall.


      2. Yes, I’m currently shouting my belayer into letting me have rope. It makes me ensure my gear is well placed. Do you have a large group of clmbing friends? I do prefer bouldering though.

        There’s another person starting to learn to lead and place gear which helps as a belayer.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Probably quite a few, yes. I’m no expert though as I’ve only climbed outdoors once. Mostly due to unforeseen circumstances, surgery, injuries, weather etc. Next year will be different. Bouldering means you don’t need to rely on anyone else which is great.


      4. I’m a lot better thank you. Managed to get to the gym; lots of stretching, gentle stuff mostly with very light weights, handstand push ups, core, balance, scapula pull ups etc. Was great for me to get out. Pottered in the garden as well. How are you feeling with so much to do?


      5. Thank you. I’m never quite sure as I’m having huge problems with my blog and have come close to deleting it and starting all over again. 3 course? I do eat an awful lot but over the course of the day and in much smaller meals. I don’t eat any sugar or processed food and after a while, you sort of get used to that. At my age, I have to do everything I can to prolong my time here on earth. It’s a balance though; time for everything.


      6. With this blog? Why what problems are you having? Yes, I’ve got much better at eating, particularly at work where I’m the only person in my team that eats fruit, salad or drinks water.


      7. Well done. You’re setting a good example. What on earth do the others eat?
        I’m trying to get new titles up on the menu but then can’t put anything on that page.


  2. I haven’t led and have to admit, I have no desire to either – but I can totally understand your thoughts. To be honest, I even get nervous before a crag and I’m only ever seconding – I just don’t have a lot of faith in my climbing abilities I think. I usually do okay but stick to the easier grades and pick and choose a bit. You’re not getting that luxury though of even picking and choosing – I’d truly hate that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah thanks for the reply. It’s strange when I first placed trad gear I loved friends but as time goes on I find myself using more nuts, they seem more solid and I don’t know why. As I was teaching a friend to place gear tonight I noticed how much I recommend using a nut


      1. Why is it you prefer nuts? They’re very fiddly, I always end up in an awkward position trying to place them, half of the time the placement can take a couple of minutes *sigh* haha you must be very good to have your placement so fluid! I hope you had a fun night teaching.


      2. I think it’s that when a nut is in, it feels really solid, a cam always looks a bit flimsy to me. Tbh it’s just practice. I’m not particularly confident outdoors and therefore don’t climb high grades, I just climb a lot of routes


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