By: Sheila Estaniel
“Climbing is a complex game of problem solving, strategy, movement, and mental fortitude.” – Eric Horst, How To Climb 5.12
Whether you’re looking to climb a 5.12 or a 5.8, this book gives insight on how to get better fast. Each chapter focuses on different factors that affect your potential as a great climber. The author breaks the sport down into three areas where you can try to improve: mental, technical, and physical. A big one for me is the one called “Winning the Head Games”.
As someone extremely terrified of heights (Like, a serious case of Elvis-legs-while-top-roping kind of scared), I find the biggest challenge of this sport is the mental aspect. Eric Horst points to the well-known saying that “the greatest ascents result more often from mental breakthroughs than physical.” He breaks down the different kinds of head games you may encounter on the wall, then he encourages you to reflect and think about where you can start doing things differently.
He can’t say enough about the importance of visualization and emphasizes how every major athlete relies on it during their training. “You have to be able to get there mentally before you can get there physically.” This resonated with me a lot because it says so much about life in general. You have to believe you can do it. You have to see yourself accomplishing big things before you can execute successfully.
Another part I like is his relaxation techniques and recommendation of pre-climb rituals. Again, you have to train your mind so the body can follow.
Overall, I think this book is a helpful resource. Check it out and let me know what you think!