Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Mechanic-AL » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 2:02 pm

Have there ever been any fall related fatalities up there?
My apologies for possibly being a bit negative here. Just wondering ??

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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Strider » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 2:22 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:Have there ever been any fall related fatalities up there?
My apologies for possibly being a bit negative here. Just wondering ??

AL

Yes, and one of these was within the last couple of years.

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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby eggs » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 2:35 pm

Yes - [edit] there are some very sad stories.
One Recounted here:
http://www.naturescribe.com/2009/07/federation-peak-part-2.html

I suspect this was at the exact spot I have shown the young guys dropping onto the ledge.
You must ALWAYS remember where you are..
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Strider » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 2:52 pm

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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 8:30 pm

Mechanic-AL wrote:Have there ever been any fall related fatalities up there?
My apologies for possibly being a bit negative here. Just wondering ??

Not negative, Al - it's part of the realistic picture.

I thought there was at least one other death apart from the ones mentioned, and I recently came across this near miss:
http://www.yart.com.au/pa/page.aspx?ID=54
Dion decided to go on when I turned back only 100 meters from the summit. Moments later he slipped and fell from a ledge when some rock crumbled in his hands. He started to fall down the face of Federation Peak. He said he felt as though time was running in slow motion and that it was time to die. By some miracle he grabbed an unsecured rope that was being put in position from above. He was lucky the guys holding the rope held him. Then, dangling one handed with a fall of several hundered meters below him, he scrambled to safety and waited out the climb while the others continued to the summit. The climbing party roped up as it started to rain and belayed to the ascent point safely. Dion was clearly in shock. I was glad I turned back. I have no regrets about not reaching the summit.


It did reinforce my concern to test hand and foot holds before I rely on them, to keep 3 points of contact, and to stay very focussed.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby DaveNoble » Thu 10 Dec, 2015 9:27 pm

I can recall a young and fit walker from Sydney, slipped and fell off and died - around 1980. She was an experienced scrambler and was a very sad loss.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby newhue » Sat 12 Dec, 2015 4:55 am

Considering how many have been before, and how many have fallen. Acknowledge the fear to produce the gravity, but don't dwell on it, focus on the rock. Three points of contact. DON'T FORGET IT. I can tell you it is very easy to peel off with two points, but much much harder with three. You can easily cope with a hold crumbling with three points. Two is a different game all together, and for the far more experienced dedicated climbers.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby durks » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 6:48 am

I don't want to labour the point - but, for example, the three points of contact 'rule' won't help if someone freaks out on the downclimb. For a climber, the final ascent of Federation is of course trivial; for a non-climber, not so. And bear in mind the conditions on the day mightn't be perfect.

Going up with my wife, I was pleased to have taken a rope. And, for peace of mind, I'd suggest that anybody else who has any doubts ought to take one as well (obviously, also, with the knowledge of how to use it.) But - each to his own, and I shall leave it at that.

(FWIW I'm an experienced rock climber and alpinist, who has witnessed his fair share of accidents over the years.)

PS: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (when it comes!) to everybody on this forum. I don't post very often - nor do I get to Tassie very often these days - but I value the forum and the various conversations on it.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 11:24 am

Thanks for your input, durks. It may well be that i'll need to wait for a better opportunity - it'll be hard to assess my readiness for it until I'm there. And we definitely won't be attempting it unless it's dry.
Going up with my wife, I was pleased to have taken a rope. And, for peace of mind, I'd suggest that anybody else who has any doubts ought to take one as well (obviously, also, with the knowledge of how to use it.) But - each to his own, and I shall leave it at that.

I know people vary in their thoughts on the use of rope in that particular context, due to an apparent lack of easy anchor points. I'm wondering how you secured the rope for your wife- what sort of anchor points did you use? Not that I'm planning to use them as a novice, just interested in what you found worked there.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby newhue » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 12:27 pm

Tortoise, I would not be concerned one little bit of the stigma, if any, to use a rope. If that what gets you there and back than excellent choice. Unless you are going to harness up I'd be looking at tape however. Always found it much easier to hang onto than rope. Climbing supply shops sell it.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 3:51 pm

newhue wrote:Tortoise, I would not be concerned one little bit of the stigma, if any, to use a rope. If that what gets you there and back than excellent choice. Unless you are going to harness up I'd be looking at tape however. Always found it much easier to hang onto than rope. Climbing supply shops sell it.

Nah, I'm not worried about stigma - I'm a tortoise after all.:wink: The problem is that so far we don't have anyone experienced with ropes etc along on this trip. There were some potential folks who aren't able to make it.
I haven't heard of tape - will check it out for future reference.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Hermione » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 8:34 pm

After following this thread I don't think I will ever be standing on top of Federation peak! Twenty odd years ago I couldn't climb the Gloucester tree in WA and have to say I do t think I've improved much over the last two decades! Anyway hats off to you for even trying Tortoise and good luck on the day!
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 8:48 pm

Thanks, Hermione. :)
I'm fascinated that while I've got a lot worse over the years (I remember being slightly nervous with some scrambling as a young 'un), I've been able to turn that around. My motivation is huge, which I think has made a big difference. I remember on the high wire concentrating really hard on what I needed to do - and realised afterwards that I hadn't been thinking about the 8m off the ground at all.

Have a great time in Tassie, btw.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Hermione » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 9:15 pm

I think my paralysing fear of exposure has got worse the older I get. Partly just awareness of my mortality, though being nurse has definitely made this worse. It's a bit limiting in terms of walking as there are loads of walks I'd like to do all over the world that have a degree of exposure. I'm super impressed with how you're going about preparing yourself for the challenge ahead.
I'm sure we'll have a great time in Tassie we always do! Our oldest daughter hasn't been walking there before so that's quite exciting.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby durks » Sun 13 Dec, 2015 9:26 pm

Tortoise wrote:I know people vary in their thoughts on the use of rope in that particular context, due to an apparent lack of easy anchor points. I'm wondering how you secured the rope for your wife- what sort of anchor points did you use?


We took a short light rope (well, 30m x 8mm - the shortest I have), a handful of slings and krabs, and a couple of nuts. We made a sit harness for my wife with a long sling; I just tied in direct; and then we adopted normal 'short-roping' practice (i.e. 'moving together' on a short rope; placing running belays and/or making fixed belays, all as and when thought necessary and/or prudent.) It's all a long time ago now, but I don't recall having problems finding belay points when I wanted them: there are enough spikes and cracks.

There's really only one major 'bad step': that's the one which people have already posted plenty of photos of. In descent, that feels like a slightly blind step down, and a fall would be bad news. I can certainly remember belaying my wife down that bit on a pretty snug rope.

If you haven't got anybody competent with ropework in your party, probably none of this helps. On our trip, there were just the two of us, and I didn't want any chance of an epic.

Whatever happens, have a good trip, and enjoy the experience of getting out into this beautiful area.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby north-north-west » Tue 15 Dec, 2015 9:27 am

DaveNoble wrote:You can always try the climbing gully (original route) - much less exposure, but the climbing is a bit harder.

Dave

Ahhh, there is another way up. thought there had to be. How much harder?
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby eggs » Tue 15 Dec, 2015 9:53 am

We did not hang around long enough to poke around to find the old route.
However - I believe it is described in the http://www.thesarvo.com web site: http://www.thesarvo.com/confluence/display/thesarvo/Federation+Peak
It starts from the top of Geeves Gully as it breaks out onto the Bechervaise side

The Climbing Gully
Height of the rock climb part is 36m
climb rated as a 12 when dry (Hard Difficult)
This is the original route to the summit and is still used by some parties. Start: On the Terrace, at the S-E corner of the summit block, adjacent to a vee cleft which decends towards Lake Geeves. [ie Geeves Gully]
1. 18m Ascend the obvious gully, starting on the right-hand wall and then moving into a cleft and up on to a large, sloping ledge. Belay here, taking care with loose rock.
2. 18m Climb the corner above the ledge until a chockstone overhang is reached; then traverse left, along a narrow, sloping shelf, to a notch which gives access to a large gully (Geeves Gully) leading to the summit. Scramble up the gully to the summit.

Even if I could find it, I would not want to attempt this without someone very experienced with me.
Last edited by eggs on Tue 15 Dec, 2015 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby eggs » Tue 15 Dec, 2015 10:27 am

Just doing a quick check from my photos - I do think I have captured the 36m climb.
I think it is describing the face ringed in this photo of the portal at the top of the lower Geeves Gully.
["Geeves Gully" is a bit complex - the big groove in the top SE side of Federation is called Geeves Gully - but so is the lower slot which swings to the SW and is part of the Southern Traverse]

OriginalRoute.jpg
The portal for Geeves Gully at the left and the potential old route rock climb ringed at right.


And for context - from an older thread - this Tasadam aerial photo of Federation Peak has the top of this climb marked with a yellow star - and the scramble up the upper part of Geeves Gully is potentially the dashed line.
The thin red line is my estimate of the current route up.
ProposedTrackSmD.jpg
Suggestion on where the current route is [red] and the scramble part of the original route [yellow]


And just to get into your head space - this is what you would be seeking to descend in the easier scrambly bit at the top of Geeves Gully.
Top of Geeves Gully.jpg
Looking down from the Top of Geeves Gully. At this point we are traversing right onto the slope down to the money shot groove, but the original route would have used this.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby newhue » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 5:34 am

Holy smokes eggs those pic are freaking me out now. I'm no great climber and I can't climb more than a grade 17. Perhaps I was just young and dumb as I to have lost much of my enthusiasm for ledges and heights these days, but I don't recall it being that big a deal. We had heard the stories through the club, how hard, how dangerous, how exposed, which we listen to carefully, but we basically just lobbed up and did it. I mean the whole walk has a reputation of being bigger than it is. Not to be trivialised, but it's basically just a long walk through the hills. If one is strong enough to do 4 days, than 8, than one can build to 12 days or however long they wish to take. The respect for nature and it's moods is still the same regardless of where you go. Spending 3 days in a tent with the rain, hail, and wind was almost as testing for me as climbing Fedders will be for you. I don't do inactivity well, but my wife loves it. The exposure along the range with it's ups and downs will see you mentally fit and strong enough I'd imagine. The work you are doing is probably far more than many of us would, and that is great. However many have climbed Fedders with a healthy fear of it. Your doing a great job but I'm thinking don't overwork it.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby eggs » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 7:40 am

I was just responding re the original route up, which would really be a lot less exposed.
Just need to rock climb that first section.

Today's climbing route is a mental issue, and I think photos can make it scarier than actually being there.
I have just climbed it this year at 56, and it was pretty straightforward at the time.
Looking at my own pics makes me think - did we do that!!
So yes. Photos may help in finding the route when you are there, but they don't do justice to the feel of the climb at the time. Being there is quite different.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 12:11 pm

Thanks eggs. Your pics and comments have really helped my mental preparation. :)

Unfortunately I've managed to sprain my bad ankle again - not in the bush, just walking along a road. :( So with that, and with it now being down to a party of 2, the trip is off for now.

On the plus side:
    My sports medicine GP advised taking the stays out of the side of my ankle braces to make it more comfortable while still giving a lot of support. Hopefully I'll still have enough flexibility. I can loosen them if needed for specific climby bits. The main pain the braces caused that interfered with walking longer distances was over the lateral malleoli. Now it'll just be down to the hot spots of rubbing when wet/muddy.
    I'll be able to get more experience and confidence on rock and with exposure before my attempt.
    I'd rather do it with someone comfy with ropes in that particular situation - I know there's different opinions on anchor points there.
newhue wrote:If one is strong enough to do 4 days, than 8, than one can build to 12 days or however long they wish to take. The respect for nature and it's moods is still the same regardless of where you go. Spending 3 days in a tent with the rain, hail, and wind was almost as testing for me as climbing Fedders will be for you. I don't do inactivity well, but my wife loves it. The exposure along the range with it's ups and downs will see you mentally fit and strong enough I'd imagine. The work you are doing is probably far more than many of us would, and that is great. However many have climbed Fedders with a healthy fear of it. Your doing a great job but I'm thinking don't overwork it.

I think that's true of the Eastern Arthur approach, but the only exposure on the way from Farmhouse Creek is really the Berchevaise cliffs if I've got that right. And I always feel better if there's some vegetation around.
(I'm good with inactivity these days. :) )

Re the work:
I can understand why Mountain Leapers /climbers can think it's not really a big deal (hi there stu and friends :) )
However, Mt Anne /the notch were massive for me. Not far off panic several times. I probably have 40 - 50 cm less reach than you. (I know shorties who are good with heights have no trouble.) I think most would agree that Fedders is (very) significantly more difficult than Anne from an exposure perspective.

The gain in confidence and practice of mindfully climbing/scrambling has already made a difference on scrambling routes. I no longer have the 'about to be sucked into the vortex' feeling I used to have with mild exposure. And the anxiety+++ is more like excitement - similar physiologically, but a very much better headspace in which to be when a slip will be fatal.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby newhue » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 4:36 pm

Sorry eggs, got you confused with Tortoise as the original poster.

Tortoise, I have climbed with, and watched plenty of short girls climb, honestly I think height is not much of a handicap. They just use their legs more typically, and take smaller steps. Most blokes tend to use their arms to much. I'm not trying to cut you down, rather encourage you to work through some of the mental barriers that we humans use to hold us back. I can understand the notch issue, it sure spooked me, and I was certainly sweaty palmed and nervous about it. To be honest I found it more troubling than the bulge. Weather because it was done before we did the Arthurs, or I was just focusing on the rock and task at hand as I keep saying when doing the bulge I can't say. But I didn't find the notch all that enjoyable at all.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby north-north-west » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 5:26 pm

newhue wrote:...honestly I think height is not much of a handicap. ...

Try these numbers: maximum reach available at full stretch for person 1 = 1.65m; maximum reach available at full stretch for person 2 = 1.95m; nearest viable handhold = 1.80m.
Now, who is more likely to have problems?

There are a lot of other contributory factors but, all else being equal, the shorter person is working harder to achieve the same result. If they can achieve it at all.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 6:05 pm

Sorry eggs, got you confused with Tortoise as the original poster.
If only I had the climbing capacity of eggs! :lol:
newhue wrote:Tortoise, I have climbed with, and watched plenty of short girls climb, honestly I think height is not much of a handicap. They just use their legs more typically, and take smaller steps. Most blokes tend to use their arms to much. I'm not trying to cut you down, rather encourage you to work through some of the mental barriers that we humans use to hold us back. I can understand the notch issue, it sure spooked me, and I was certainly sweaty palmed and nervous about it. To be honest I found it more troubling than the bulge. Weather because it was done before we did the Arthurs, or I was just focusing on the rock and task at hand as I keep saying when doing the bulge I can't say. But I didn't find the notch all that enjoyable at all.

Hey newhue,
Don't get me wrong - I appreciate your input too! It's good to get both sides of the story. See below re comments on short people. I do wonder if any of the 'short girls' you've seen climb are 1.5m short, 55 y.o., a bit clumsy, with a fear of heights?

Out of interest, did you use a rope at the Notch? I'm pretty confident that at that stage I would have had no hope without one. As it was, it took a lot of coaching as well to get me up it.
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=19317&hilit=+Anne

north-north-west wrote:
newhue wrote:...honestly I think height is not much of a handicap. ...

Try these numbers: maximum reach available at full stretch for person 1 = 1.65m; maximum reach available at full stretch for person 2 = 1.95m; nearest viable handhold = 1.80m.
Now, who is more likely to have problems?

There are a lot of other contributory factors but, all else being equal, the shorter person is working harder to achieve the same result. If they can achieve it at all.

Ok, maybe my guesstimate was a bit generous, but how far to I get at 1.5m?

Yes, absolutely, there are other factors. Taurë-rana, for example, is the same height as me, and can shimmy up almost anything. However, she's >a decade younger, has great balance and loves heights.
A taller person has more option for hand- and footholds, as nnw points out.
From what I've read, a major mistake beginner climbers make is to reach too far for the 'jugs', instead of using the 'ok' holds we aren't comfortable with. That puts balance out, puts our weight too close to the rock etc etc, increasing the chance of falling. But having fallen a number of times from 'ok' holds, I would only use them with ropes at this stage. More practice keeping my weight in the right place while edging etc, learning what I can trust with my particular shoes on specific types of rock will surely improve my options. Oui?
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Fri 18 Dec, 2015 6:21 pm

And from the thread on helicopters rescues, which seem to be becoming pretty common:
http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=21349&p=284018&hilit=baggers#p284018
stepbystep wrote:...Seriously though, walkers have become far too lackadaisical in their approach. Photography trophy hunters and abel baggers are big culprits I reckon.

I agree with sbs. I don't want to become one of the people who have to get rescued because they over-estimated their ability/underestimated the difficulty. Tassie peaks are calling my name loudly - I just need to figure out which 400 points are realistic for me. Fedders...well, it's reeeeally special...
Edit...but not worth dying for.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby newhue » Sat 19 Dec, 2015 7:20 am

Tortoise, it was a while ago now. I recall looking at it thinking holy crap.....The wife and I sat there pondering for a while, taking in the view as we decided do we need to do this. I don't mind a bit of adrenalin, but rivers of it flowing through you, overly clammy hands, and trembling is not one of my preferred sensations. Lucky for us, some solo bloke with a rope showed up. He climbed it and we then did the pack hauling. The wife and I then climbed it but not using the rope. Seeing someone negotiate it first was what we needed at the time. We were not climbers then by the way, only walkers.
I think with out a doubt the biggest problem you, I, many others face is in the head. The fear of it all, that is with all of us. Like public speaking, there are a few who like it, most fear it, but we can all do it. From what I have seen from my group of climbing buddies, which there is about 20 of us in all sizes and commitment, from short and petite, to tall and thin, to brick dunnies, to ones with boobs that just get in the way all the time; it's for most part all in your head. If you see shortness as a major issue, it will be. Control the fear to where you can get the job done and you have beaten exposure. Easier said than done, but where there is a will there will be a way with persistence. I still crap myself if I go climbing, my mates do as well, it's just we accept and manage different levels of fear within us.

To be honest these days, it would not bother me if I did't bag Fedders. In the pics earlier in this thread there is a lake with people swimming in it; just near Thwaites Plateau from memory. To wander up top above the lake with my stove and spend a few hours enjoying the view would see me more than happy. Truth be know the view from there is probably mush the same. Here in SEQ we have two mountains side by side. My Barney is a long day out. People do it a fair bit because its the bigger one. Mt Maroon is a lot quicker, just as pleasant but far less effort. Both have the same view basically. Depends on what you are looking for in your walking.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 1:12 pm

Some points taken, newhue. Thanks.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby beardless » Sun 23 Apr, 2017 10:28 am

I remember being at home and my palms sweating looking at the photos and videos of climbing Federation. That was much scarier than the climb itself, particularly as we had had about 9 days scrambling with heavy packs along the western and eastern arthurs to prepare us.We also had dry rock which made it less tricky. Possibly the hardest part is staying on the direct route.I was guided by someone who had been there before, had Chapmans notes and was following the cairns. Even then he took a slightly alternative route at the really exposed part and made it magnitudes more difficult and dangerous. The next day we saw three blokeswho were confident on the rock and climbed a significant way, but took a wrong turn and could not find the right route and did not make it to the top (even though they clearly had the technical ability. That being said, my camera was packed away in my pack for most of the climb up and down.And I took it very slowly.
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Tortoise » Sun 10 Oct, 2021 12:06 pm

Hey Beardless, sorry I missed your reply for a few years. Very slowly sounds like my approach. Good to hear that the photos/videos are more scary!

I'm reviving the thread with 26 sleeps to go till the next trip for a potential shot at Fedder. Yay! Eek! At least one of our party has summited in recent years, after nearly missing the way up, and spending ages looking for it. Reckon he'll have it down pat this time. Have I done enough in dealing with my fear? I guess time will tell. I know I have the competence to do the climb, as I've coped with technically trickier scrambles. I enjoyed Geryon South, but we used a hand line a couple of times. For Fedder, my head just has to agree with my body at the time. I know coming down is harder. But I also know how much it helps me to be guided to the next foothold when I can't see it myself. This trip is not my last option. I won't be feeling like I've failed if I have to pull the pin and come back with the rope-man. (Thanks so much for the invite! :wink: )

It won't be disastrous if I never make it to the summit. Other things in life are much more important to me. But it would be an amazing prize for me, and I want to give it my best shot. :)
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Re: Overcoming a fear of heights for Federation Peak

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 14 Oct, 2021 8:26 am

I'm a bit late to this discussion but I'll just chime in with a couple of thoughts.
I used to rock climb and never really had much trouble with exposures but lately I find even climbing ladders a bit on the troubling side.
In my case I think it's a balance issue as I've been neglecting that lately.
So a couple of questions about balance training.
Are you riding a bike?
What about rollerblades/skateboard or balance beam?
Also there is nothing shameful about taking a static rope and using it where needed, I carried one when I had my kids with me and I still carry a short but strong rope in my big bumbag.

Secondly as I've not read every post; have you tried indoor rock climbing at all? A few sessions in a rock gym with a harness and a belay partner might help, concentrate on the climb and not the exposures and it may be a little easier.
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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