At work we talk about risk assessment, this is where we compare the consequence of an event against the likelihood of that event happening. We talk about making judgements and decisions on what is acceptable.
I went to the hair dressers the other day and the guy was taking about how playing games help with his reaction time and helps develop his skills in making decisions quickly so it becomes second nature.
I realise that when we climb we are consciously doing that. More so when trad climbing than bouldering. Every move we are potentially increasing the consequence of the fall and this happens subconsciously and sometimes consciously at the worst of times… However they are split second decisions… Or thoughts. We think about whether this bit of gear is placed well and will hold my fall, then immediately we think about the likelihood of falling based on the difficulty of climbing and terrain… Which is then followed by the consequence of falling. Why do we focus on likelihood first? Maybe because we are somewhat in control. We can mentally be stronger and relaxed so we reduce the likelihood of slipping or freaking out and getting nervous. We can assess the difficulty and terrain and understand the likelihood. We can mentally block it all out and focus on the climbing itself.
But it’s a bit of a catch 22, the higher you climb without placing protection, the greater the consequence.. And it grows somehow exponentially.
Maybe this is why climbing is so different from other sports? We’re constantly on the brink of life and potential death, rapidly making life choices as we are distracted by all the other things that climbing entails… Foot slipping, arms pumping out, focusing on being efficient despite the fact that we’re increasing our consequence of serious injury.