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This course was developed by Arno Ilgner, a renowned rock-climber and author from Tennessee. Ilgner distinguished himself as a pioneering rock climber in the late s and 80s, when the top climbs were bold and dangerous first ascents, with few of the bolts and other fixed protection many modern climbers expect. These climbing exploits, together with Arno's personal struggle to find a adventurous and meaningful life, became the foundation for his unique physical and mental training program: The Warrior's Way. In , after a thorough study of the literature and practice of mental training and a survey of the great warrior traditions, Ilgner formalized his methods and began teaching his program full-time.

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His book, The Rock Warrior's Way , became a best-seller in the climbing community, garnering outsize praise and testimonials from a who's who of famous rock climbers, from Jim Bridwell and John Gill to Tommy Caldwell. Since then, he has helped hundreds of students sharpen their awareness, focus attention, and understand their athletic and life challenges within a coherent, learning-based philosophy of intelligent risk-taking.


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Ilgner considers the joy and satisfaction in the effort the "journey" intimately linked to successful attainment of goals, the "destination". Alumni of his courses now include some of the nation's most prominent climbers.


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This 2-day camp addresses the fear of falling and helps you to improve commitment. We'll practice falling, movement, and resting exercises and apply all learned skills to a challenging route. We'll do this in small increments creating appropriate progressions for each individual student. You'll leave with a structured method for taking appropriate risks with diminished fear.

A climber leads with ease and confidence on Longs Peak in Colorado. Dylan Taylor. This course is for climbers who have been climbing at least six months consistently and who know their knots, basic belaying, and movement skills. Students should be able to climb about 5.

Applying the Rock Warriors Way - VLOG1

Lead climbing is not required. Most exercises are on toprope. The instructor will determine which students can lead based on our risk matrix.

The aim of the course is to improve commitment or overcome fear of falling. Climbers who are comfortable climbing to their limit and falling on top-rope will benefit most from this course once they have learned the basics of leading trad and sport climbs. Even those who are already leading may fill in gaps in crucial skill areas by taking our four-day Learn to Lead course, which includes intensive practice placing protection, building anchors, and taking falls on gear.

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On the other hand, many people who are early in their climbing careers need mileage on the rock as much as they need new skills. For those people, we recommend private guided climbing and instruction , where the guide balances instruction with optimal climbing goals, tailored to the needs of the individual client. At minimum you will need a harness, shoes, belay device, and a helmet and rope if you have one. Please see the gear list for additional gear information.

Warrior's Way instruction can be scheuled on private basis, subject to guide availability. We do not have any group courses scheduled at this time. Please call for more information. The idea is to expand the inner circle by gradually climbing above your grade. Only my inner circle is not expanding.

To call myself average would be an insult to average climbers. Physically, I think I have what it takes to become a decent climber, but internally I am a great ball of mental blocks. I have no delusions of ever becoming a Chris Sharma.

UKC Gear - The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers by Arno Ilg

I just want to get out of the kiddie zone and climb harder routes. There are no free lunches. Ilgner has been climbing for more than 30 years. Ilgner certainly has found this guru path honestly.

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After a stint in the military and a series of low-satisfaction jobs, Ilgner studied his way out of a mid-life crisis, researching how humans, from Buddhists to soldiers, respond to fear. According to Ilgner, the mind feeds the body false information in order to avoid the stress of a difficult climb. For a climber to move past his own fears, he must ignore his mind and trust his body instead. When you climb, climb. Most of us climb slowly, constantly reassessing the route and doubting ourselves throughout the climb.

The Rock Warrior's Way

But once the decision to climb is made, climbers should move past risk assessment and simply climb, focusing attention on their bodies, not the potential pitfalls that may or may not occur along the route. All mental training is, is identifying where you want to focus your attention and redirecting that focus when you get distracted. To do this, I need to climb easy grades faster than normal while I focus on my breathing.

It ends with a narrow roof about 12 feet off the ground. Easy, but fun. I take several deep breaths before I start, trying to focus on the air expanding my lungs. I keep this up for exactly two moves before I forget my breathing altogether and climb like I always climb: full of awkward pauses and maximum effort.