What drives us to rock climb?

The following is an excerpt from Jeff Elison and my book Vertical Mind.


“It appears as though the joy of accomplishment, which psychologists refer to as “competence motivation,” is very important to climbers in keeping them engaged in and motivated to train for climbing. Competence motivation is recognized by psychologists as a fundamental and powerful source of human motivation. For me, personally, I love the feeling of reaching my climbing goals. I love even the thought of reaching my climbing goals. I find it very satisfying to send a sport route that I have been projecting. I love sending a traditional route in good style. I love sending a boulder problem that initially seemed impossible for me. I get very inspired by climbing wild features that seem improbable and exciting. The joy of accomplishment provides fuel to sustain this inspiration and translates inspiration into the training and effort required to make those dreams reality.

You get inspired by things that either feel or look impossible, or at least appear challenging to you. You get excited by the thoughts and visions of yourself in the throes of doing such things. You anticipate the feeling of joy you will experience when you clip the anchors, grab that finishing jug, or cruise the crux pitch. At some level, you find joy in accomplishing something extreme.”

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