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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

Crossing Limits

The ascent to AmaDablam's Camp 1 requires exposed granite ridge climbing

Crossing Limits