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how to overcome a fear of heights?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby J-RockandRockpile » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:02 am

I also suggest you monitor your fuel - i.e. exposure tends to bother me more when I am low on food and my body is already fighting. Put a little something in your stomach and it tends to ease the stress.
I have been to the top of the mountain, and it is good

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby Guitarzan » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:16 am

I too have a huge fear of heights. I was always told to continually face those fears and it would get better. Well for me it hasn't but I can usually get through it with focus and deep breaths. Like some others have said focus on what is in front of you and don't look down...... :shock:
"Pain don't hurt."- Patrick Swayze ROAD HOUSE

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby rickinco123 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:34 am

Don't "overcome" it necessarily, that fear can keep you alive.

I have always had a fear of heights. When I was a kid and my grandfather would take me to the North Rim of the Black Canyon, my legs would literally shake and that still can happen to me in some circumstances yet several years ago I was able to free solo the Front Porch and get 600 feet of air under me.

For me it is all about familiarity. I spent my childhood skiing a lot, so chair lifts don't scare me. In the early 90s my sister was into climbing and I thought I could not do it because I was afraid of heights and wearing bright spandex. Around 98 I finally tried top roping and dabbled over the years until I lead my first pitches in maybe 2006. But I am definitely still afraid of heights, it can be almost a physiologic reaction.

I don't like free soloing BTW, I have just done a few times over the years to prepare for other stuff like the Bells traverse.

So that is my answer, familiarity.

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby mkrier » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:57 am

For me what has helped is:

a. Rock climbing
b. Start w/ small exposure - Work your way up
c. Concentrate only on next move

Exposure bothers most people at least to some degree. Keep putting yourself in places that are just barely outside your comfort zone and work on it.

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby Dan_Suitor » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:55 am

This is how I do it :mrgreen:


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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby flatlander681 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:30 pm

Thanks so much for the advice. I will take it slow, take a break when I see the tough spots coming and put one foot in front of the other and stay focused! I'll post my 2nd attempt outcome next week!

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby Tigerbear » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:52 pm

normal people are afraid of heights!
people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel...

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby jsdratm » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:55 am

I joined the Boulder Rock Club (climbing gym) recently and have already noticed a big difference in my handling of heights and exposure. The first time I self-belayed up the rock wall I was shaking and very uncomfortable. It took me a few times to trust that I could hold myself up on tiny hand and foot holds and that the self belay system wouldn't drop me to my death. Now I can do it pretty comfortably and noticed that I was a lot more comfortable scrambling on Mount Shavano's summit ridge this weekend. It makes moving up large rocks seem much safer and easier in comparison.

For starting out, I've found that their shorter bouldering walls help with building confidence in yourself without worrying about the height. Once you feel comfortable with the holds you get the confidence to go up the climbing wall and practice downclimbing as well.

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby rainydayrenee » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:36 am

I'm feeling the same way about an upcoming climb of Wetterhorn this weekend - I've only done Long's and Crestone Peak as Class 3 Scrambles and I'm a little nervous about the exposure on Wetterhorn. Can anyone offer some thoughts to calm my nerves? Some of the videos and trip report pictures have me anxiety ridden about it! I know from experience the pictures kinda look worse than it usually is but....nervous!

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Re: how to overcome a fear of heights?

Postby mtree » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:12 pm

I have found that obsessing over pics of the climb can increase your anxiety. Lay off the pics. Always remember, thousands of others have climbed this peak. You can do it.
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