Author Topic: Bad head for heights  (Read 171 times)

Islandplodder

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Bad head for heights
« on: 17:28:14, 05/09/19 »

I have a really bad head for heights, and I think it's getting worse with age - maybe I am less confident in my balance and so on.  It does limit where I walk quite a bit.
I found a two day course which is designed to help improve things.  It apparently starts with a talk and ends with clients confidently abseiling off a cliff.
I'm a bit tempted to try it and wondered if anyone has done one of these courses and knows if they work. I don't need to do Sharp Edge or the Aonach Eagach ridge, I just want to go for a walk without scanning the map for places I am likely to find myself stuck and terrified.


Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #1 on: 18:13:23, 05/09/19 »
A course might help. I have found that familiarity with exposure does make it more tolerable. I have crossed Crib Goch in both directions (including the north ridge) and completed the Aonach Eagach, but my first experience of CG was pure terror.


It is possible the the balance issue is something physical. My wife suffers from labyrinthitis, which can make her dizzy and lacking in balance. The degree varies, but gets worse with tiredness. I suffered it once for a couple of months following a viral infection and wouldn’t fancy scrambling or abseiling while under its effects.

ninthace

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #2 on: 18:18:04, 05/09/19 »
I am not in your league but it is an odd phenomenon.  As I get older I feel more uncomfortable near drops.  I can still look straight down if I have to, provided I feel really secure in my footing (poles braced and as far back as I can get) but I prefer not to.  I feel always feel happier if I have a handhold.


On the other hand, I have no problem at all abseiling, it is great fun! 
Solvitur Ambulando

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #3 on: 18:23:52, 05/09/19 »
That is funny. I had been across Striding Edge and Crib Goch, and free climbed some moderate climbing routes, but abseiling was a totally different proposition. I think it is the getting started that is my problem.

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #4 on: 18:46:08, 05/09/19 »
I'm scared of heights but generally go up on high paths you could fall off anyway, not with sheer drops yet but steep drops which are just as dangerous really as you'd keep going if you fell but look less intimidating. I'd plausibly do a sheer drop now as I'm getting braver with heights. I've done abseiling as a kid but only down a dedicated abseiling wall not down a cliff or anything. It didn't do anything to help my fear of heights.

I just keep doing things that scare me a little bit which gives you a bit of a thrill and they get less scary. I suppose if you start doing things that really would scare but are in reality relatively safe like abseiling down a cliff you might get less scared more quickly.

Tell us about your course if you do it I'm interested, might even do it myself.

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #5 on: 18:56:54, 05/09/19 »
Repetition is the key - if you're in a new situation you're going to find it more intense.  I know when a family member smashed up their ankle with a simple fall (from a slip anyone could have had on a wet day) it showed me how precious mobility is and how that could have happened to anyone... not to mention the weeks if not months if healing, physio and rehab it takes once something happens to you. 


Personally I don't have an issue with heights but that is mainly as I'm practiced at moving over rough terrain - however I still take my time regardless of weather conditions.  Same with abeilling, once I had a 'near miss' I was a lot more careful with checking and double checking, taking my time and having the focus entirely on the task at hand rather than worrying about it.  Overall I'd much rather be out and about even being a little pensive, than not choose the routes with exposure at all...

BuzyG

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #6 on: 19:02:12, 05/09/19 »
I think it's a double whammy as we get older.  The fluid in your inner ear thickens up I believe. That creates a very real physical thing, that compounds the other effects of getting older and effects confidence.  Not that I am an expert in such things.  I just learnt a little about the ear, when I had to stop surfing.


I was surprised how easily I got back into rock climbing, after so many years away.  Never had much fear of heights.  I don't stand up on top of trig points any more though.   ;)

Islandplodder

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #7 on: 19:11:05, 05/09/19 »

Oddly, I'm not sure the abseiling will be such a problem, as long as I can convince myself the rope is secure.  Generally I am not too bad up and down, even easy scrambling if there isn't too much exposure.  What gets me is ridges and contouring on a steep slope, especially if I come to a corner I can't see round!


BuzyG

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Re: Bad head for heights
« Reply #8 on: 19:13:57, 05/09/19 »
That is funny. I had been across Striding Edge and Crib Goch, and free climbed some moderate climbing routes, but abseiling was a totally different proposition. I think it is the getting started that is my problem.


It is also a trust thing.  You have to trust your equipment, your partner if they rigged the route and most of all, yourself.  It is a simple fact you can die very quickly if you get it wrong.  However the same can be said of crossing the street.