Risk & Fear in the Alpine
Walking along a spine of rock, with no rope, slowly developing the sinking sensation that my own sneeze may send me tumbling. I breathe, I keep several points of contact, and in reality multiple climbers could reasonably fit where I'm standing. Still, a pit of fear builds in my mind and body, forcing me to stop where I stand.
I've found lately that fear has become the biggest barrier between my pursuits and where I'd most like them to take me. My gear is right, my partners are strong, and my planning is air tight, but in some of the moments I've dreamt about, I begin to shiver as my brain and body work in unison to drown my senses with fear. It's not a given, and at times the fear is exactly what makes me love a climb the most. Other times, though, it keeps me from chasing the opportunities I know I'm capable of chasing.
We all face fear, but everyone I talk to has a different mindset or skillset that they use to work with and overcome it. I've been told to breath...1,2,3 exhale...still the world can shrink around me, forcing panic. Others have told me to recite a mantra or motto to remind myself of what I can do. There isn't a right answer necessarily, but I'm curious what you do to handle fear.
I find fear to be a rather vulnerable subject. It's a window into a part of ourselves that feels fairly uncontrolled. We all respond differently. We all need more or less of it. I'd love to hear your stories about where fear has come from, and what you've done to utilize or mitigate it. I'm speaking from the context of the alpine, which is my favorite context, but I encourage you to bring up other sources of fear. We all find hard moments in different places, and I'm hoping I can find my own progress while learning about yours!