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Problems with nausea while trad climbing.


Original Post
Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

This has been driving me absolutely bonkers for about half a year now.  About that time I started working on harder trad routes that possibly involve a bit of overhang or weird offwidth sizes.  From what I can tellI it's mostly happening when I have to hold alot of core tension to fiddle with a placement for a while.  It has also happened to me on some offwidth stuff in the 4-5 camalot size range.  Is this maybe a problem with not having enough core strength so I'm overtensing it causing stomach to turn?  I have also been kind of wondering if maybe technique will help with this.  At least in the case of a handcrack it has happened to me on twice I now I am still tending to place gear above my last jam instead of below.  Should I possibly be trying to focus on placing only while resting on my skeleton when at all possible?  Any other ideas?  BTW this has happened with full and empty stomach and everything in between and it has never happened to me on sport.

Luke Pace · · Arkansas · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 70

yer gunna die


Sam Miller · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 30

Its pretty common for people to puke on hard offwidths, especially when struggling. Route names like "Belly full of bad berries" illustrate this well. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

It could be worse.  A lot worse.

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Ted Pinson wrote:

It could be worse.  A lot worse

Yup already seen that.

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100

Spend the next year strengthening your core.  Ab & Back exercises will do just fine, no more than 3x a week, cardio in between, and rest for recovery.

planks, crunches, light deadlifts

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
IcePick wrote:

Spend the next year strengthening your core.  Ab & Back exercises will do just fine, no more than 3x a week, cardio in between, and rest for recovery.

planks, crunches, light deadlifts

Sweet, finally some real advice lol.  I plan on hitting up the climbing gym here in a bit and I'm going to start working that stuff into my routine more starting today.  I need to probably actually get back to taking the core class at my gym again as well (I did it for about 3 weeks and they were whooping my ass so I gave up for some stupid reason lol).  So in your experience this has alleviated nausea problems?  Thanks.

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100

It will certainly help

edit to add:  FEAR.   To some extent will also trigger this involuntary reaction 

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100
Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
IcePick wrote:

It will certainly help

edit to add:  FEAR.   To some extent will also trigger this involuntary reaction 

That hasn't so much been a problem for me anymore with trad.  I've gotten 3 falls on gear now and so I'm not constantly fretting about my placements anymore.  Maybe it's still having some effect on me but it's certainly not as big an issue as it was before.

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100
Christopher Smith wrote:

That hasn't so much been a problem for me anymore with trad.  I've gotten 3 falls on gear now and so I'm not constantly fretting about my placements anymore.  Maybe it's still having some effect on me but it's certainly not as big an issue as it was before.

That’s great.  You may not feel fear but the brain is powerful and will override.

this may or may not be a twofold problem, core/anxiety and will dissipate with miles on the stone.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476

I take ticks on here with a grain of salt, but if the current list is an accurate representation I think you just need to be looking for better body positioning. under 5.10 it's rare (he's not at the gunks) that you'll have any *sustained* overhang. When you come up on a roof find a stance that lets you weight your feet, get gear out as far as you can, then fire it. Don't screw around placing gear in the middle of a roof unless it's absolutely needed to keep you off the ground/ledge.

As for gear, definitely curb that and get in the habit of placing at your chest. It's more strenuous to place high, your blocking your jams, and now the rope is more in the way. 

IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100

Christopher.  Consider yourself lucky here. You’ve actually received some good advice.   Rare here.  Not saying it will last long though 

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
IcePick wrote:

That’s great.  You may not feel fear but the brain is powerful and will override.

this may or may not be a twofold problem, core/anxiety and will dissipate with miles on the stone.

True enough, I know I'm certainly battling against my amygdala too with regards to this stuff (especially since I do have some fear of heights).

Christopher Smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
Nick Drake wrote:

I take ticks on here with a grain of salt, but if the current list is an accurate representation I think you just need to be looking for better body positioning. under 5.10 it's rare (he's not at the gunks) that you'll have any *sustained* overhang. When you come up on a roof find a stance that lets you weight your feet, get gear out as far as you can, then fire it. Don't screw around placing gear in the middle of a roof unless it's absolutely needed to keep you off the ground/ledge.

As for gear, definitely curb that and get in the habit of placing at your chest. It's more strenuous to place high, your blocking your jams, and now the rope is more in the way. 

The tick list is mostly accurate as far as trad goes.  This particular route is not exactly sustained overhang, it's a right facing dihedral that has the first 12'-15' slightly overhung (maybe 5*-10*) on both walls.  The crux itself is right at the top of this section (it's a 1 1/2' flared section that is slightly bigger than fists to me so I have to make a big move completely past it).  I think part of the problem is I keep thinking that if I don't place above my head them I'm risking a ground fall even though every fall I've taken on that crux was tiny and the pro is generally pretty damn good.  Funny because in reality I'm probably introducing the possibility of a bigger fall with the high clip.  Once again probably just a matter of me needing to consciously override my amygdala.

Klimbien · · St.George Orem Denver Vegas · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 480

Patients may complain of symptoms such as lightheadedness, seeing “black spots” in front of their eyes, nausea, and sweating. This can occur during any emotional or physical stressor that overstimulates the vagus nerve.There are many causes for vasovagal response, though usually associated with a syncopal episode. When the vagus nerve is overstimulated, the body's blood vessels dilate, especially those in the lower extremities, and the heart temporarily slows down. 


This likely is NOT the full story, but maybe a part of it. 

Kyle Taylor · · Atlanta Ga · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Sorry you're dealing with that! I've dealt with a fear of heights my entire life and now I'm a climber! Anxiety will cripple you if you allow it. Hate to sound cliche but it may be mental to a degree. Certainly core work could help too... but do you find yourself getting strained or stressed? The brain is a fickle thing- your body will revolt against you if your brain isn't in it. Look at Daniel Woods for example. Mind over matter. Focus on breathing.

CrimpDaddy-WesP · · Hollis nh · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 320

I know that I am not in great shape, and when I just climb normal vertical stuff, regardless of how much I thrutch, I never feel nauseas. But when I am exerting a whole body workout, since I'm not in great shape, sometimes I overwork myself and its like where you run too fast too long and feel sick. I think its just that my cardio sucks. When doing offwidths or climbs that might require the whole body in overdrive, I could see the same thing happening. 

Acmesalute76 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 55

It looks like you climb about 5.8, so you should be focusing on your technique above anything else. Strength will not limit you at this point. 

I've gotten a bit nauseous on some OW but generally that comes from a combination of not being warmed up and thrutching with bad technique. Learn to use your feet more.  

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
Christopher Smith wrote:

The tick list is mostly accurate as far as trad goes.  This particular route is not exactly sustained overhang, it's a right facing dihedral that has the first 12'-15' slightly overhung (maybe 5*-10*) on both walls.  The crux itself is right at the top of this section (it's a 1 1/2' flared section that is slightly bigger than fists to me so I have to make a big move completely past it).  I think part of the problem is I keep thinking that if I don't place above my head them I'm risking a ground fall even though every fall I've taken on that crux was tiny and the pro is generally pretty damn good.  Funny because in reality I'm probably introducing the possibility of a bigger fall with the high clip.  Once again probably just a matter of me needing to consciously override my amygdala.

I tend to climb trad at grades around my onsight level so this happens more often on sport, when it comes to anxiety about the fall I've found the only way to get through it is to make myself take the fall. That's assuming that it is safe (clean) and the gear is bomber. I'll always double up my gear if it's under hand size as well. 

Joe Garibay · · Ventura, Ca · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 96

Awesome. Not just me. I struggled on an over hung crack and thought I was going to lose it while hanging in my belay. I felt that I could calm myself and almost did but the leg loops on the harness wouldn’t allow my legs to recoupe. This caused me anxiety leading to more nausea. All was cured when I was as relaxed on the ground. 

  Conditioning and experience I would be my best medication for dealing with it again. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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