Confidence in somebody's climbing and in his abilities is an
essential attribute. One candevelop self-confidence through training
andmountaineering experience, just as he can learn how to use his
self-assurance topersuadehimwhenhe isready tocrosshis limits.
I believe that a climber can strengthen his confidence by
dwelling on what he does well. He should not compare himself
unfavorably with others, or suppose that others are judging him
adversely. If aclimberdoes feel inadequate inanyarea, hemust train
to improvehis skills. It is important for amountaineer to takepride in
what he has done well, and approach his tasks like a genuine
sportsperson: train to improve strengths and eliminateweaknesses,
but at the same time recognize that doing as well as he can, and
constantlyraising that level, is themost thathecanexpect.
For someone tohavesignificantmountaineeringgains,hemust
take risks. Confidence and courage are required, as is the ability to
lookatalldirectionsbeforehe leaps. Being inventivemeansbelieving
in his ability and being brave enough to risk being wrong. When
dealingwith risk, a climber tries to think likeanentrepreneur, that is,
calculatewhethera risk isworthwhile,and if it is, find thecourageand
build the self-confidence to take it. When facing any risk, onemust
adopt the best mental attitude and concentrate on the positive
potential, the upside. Be aware, though, that there is always a
downside. Even themost confident person should consider, even at
thebackofhishead,whatwill happen if theworst comes to theworst.
If the downside is personally unacceptable, hemust look for ways of
limiting therisk, ideallya fail-safeposition.
On top of everything else, amountaineer needs a tremendous
physical energy to do any climbing job well. But the energy that
makes the difference between success and failure is in themind. He
can generate drive by determinedly and persistently channeling his
energy towards a chosen purpose. It is only human to have grand
ideas that arenever turned into reality, yet ambitious plans areoften
perfectly viable. What is lacking is the willpower to activate them.
Keep ideas alive by planning action and having the rightmindset will
helpanyclimber todrawhisattention tovaluableobservations thathe
might otherwisemiss.Analpinist canonlyabandonhisplansbecause
his analysis has revealed faults, not becausemental laziness or fear
hasstoppedhim inhis tracks.
Driveandenergysuggestphysicalattributes. It is true that, just
as some people are born with greater physical powers, so certain
psychological giftsare innate.But there isacritical similaritybetween
thephysical and themental.Everybodycanchooseand reacha target
forpersonal success.Byconcentratingon thatobjective,aclimberwill
generatedrive towardsachieving theend.He canmultiplyhisenergy
bychanneling it towards thepurposeonwhichhismind isset.
There is no good alternative to the goal of perfectionism
seeking topperformance inyourself,andbeingconstantlydissatisfied
with a less-than-perfect result. Be your own best critic, drawing
attention to your faults, and going into search of excellence. The
pursuit of the highest possible standards automatically points you
towards achieving excellence. If you achieve perfection in climbing,
youmust be the best, which is the proper objective in any context.
Even momentary perfection is extremely hard to achieve, if not
impossible. In practice, aiming for excellence will mean performing
significantly better than your present standards, which are always
The ascent to AmaDablam's Camp 1 requires exposed granite ridge climbing