Zen Climbing

Climbing is a State of Mind

Zen Climbing Photo by liquene

Finding Zen in Slow Moves

September 28th, 2009 by Anders · Personal - Anders

These past months have been wonderful and hard at the same time. On one hand it is great to be back at the wall after 18 months without climbing at all. On the other hand it is hard to know that I can climb well, know the moves and the techniques, – and only be able to climb for a few minutes at a time, and simple climbing on top of this.

So I have been bound to find a different appreciation of climbing that I cannot remember having had before I stopped climbing almost two years ago.

In the mean time, I have been on a journey of self discovery along with massive client work, so I am becoming more aware of myself and the possibilities that I have mentally.

The state of Zen Climbing is thus becoming more important for me, since right now I can not reach the state by pushing myself physically under the roof or on hard pinchy routes.

Finding Zen in slow moves
Zen Climbing is about presence in the now. And pushing yourself to the limit will sometimes produce this state – almost as if it comes by it self. A full focus on every move, and a complete lack of thoughts to go, which allows for so much more sensing and physical presence.

So how can you produce this state “manually” while climbing without pushing yourself physically?

For me it has been about moving superslow. I climb so slowly that I have time to register details on every hold before I grab it. I touch the hold lightly before I decide where to hold it. While touching the hold, I sense it – how is it shaped, how rough is it, what colours does it have, where can I hold it? Only then do I hold it and move onto putting weight on it.

While doing this I keep my mind free from judging the hold. It has no “value” – good or bad – it is there to be held.

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It’s mental…

September 14th, 2009 by Rikke · Uncategorized

I think I’ve always known that climbing is a “mental” sport, and at the same time I’m only beginning to realise and how true it is – and how it’s true.

Have you ever thought about what differentiates a great climb from a poor one? Or what exactly you did right, when you realise than in your last climb, all of a sudden you found yourself in “the zone” and had a fantastic climb in flow and in complete presence with the rock?

I regularly have “bad” climbs and even entire bad climbing sessions/days – so when I recently had a climb in complete flow, during a trip to Sweden, I asked myself just that question: what exactly did I do right? 

Actually I’ve asked myself this question a ton of times and usually get answers like “good technique” or “that route plays well to my climbing style” or the like.

But this time I got a different answer – one that I’m still working on fully describing, but am willing to venture a preliminary hypothesis on, and that I will test and refine in the coming weeks and perhaps months.

The hypothesis is, that during the climb I was unaware of everything but the rock. More particularly, I was unaware of myself and for once not judging or commenting my own climbing as I was in the middle of it. Instead my entire focus was on one move: the one move I was doing in that very moment.

If this hypothesis should turn out to be true, there’s a simple learning in it: that while my head is usually swamped with thoughts of how well or poorly I’m doing, all these thoughts take away the focus I need in order to climb well?!


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Hey, this is where it starts!

September 1st, 2009 by Anders · Uncategorized

This blog describes the mental and physical journey of two climbers, Rikke Fabech Rønnau and Anders Fabech Rønnau.

We blog about mental issues, fears, focus, frustration and joy.

We also blog about our training, stretching and crosstraining.

And we review books, videos and inspirational websites along the way.

Hold on tight, it’s going to get personal!


Anders + Rikke.

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