Learn How to Improve Your Climbing Performance and Have More Fun in the Process!
"In Vertical Mind, Elison and McGrath psychologically define many of the mental training tips I've learned through decades on the rock. Now, climbers have a clear blueprint and exercises to follow in order to psychologically prepare for climbing."
-- Lynn Hill, first person to free climb the Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite
Watch This Short Video to Learn More About Vertical Mind (book and audio book)
How Will Vertical Mind Help You?
What would it feel like to send harder climbs more quickly and have more fun in the process?
We would all love to climb at a higher level and have fun doing it.
But it is so hard and requires so much work.
You train by climbing outdoors and in the gym, but don’t progress as quickly as you’d like.
You experience fear that you know holds you back, but you don’t know what to do about it.
You spend lots of time and energy climbing and training without seeing significant progress.
Does this sound familiar?
Has Something Like This Ever Happened To You?
I remember, it was 10 years ago and I was trying to send some 5.13 project climbs in Rifle Mountain Park and found them taking a long time to complete. I would sometimes one-hang them several times before sending them. I started to lose motivation and climbing began to feel like work. I was disappointed that I felt I was strong enough to send them faster, but when they dragged on I began to dislike trying them again and again.
I felt very frustrated and even thought about hanging up climbing for the season.
How Did Vertical Mind Come to Being?
I'm Don McGrath, a climber for over 30 years and the Co-author of the book Vertical Mind: Psychological Approaches for Optimal Rock Climbing. For over 8 years I have been showing climbers who feel stuck and aren't getting the performance and joy they desire from their climbing how to use scientific concepts from psychology to improve their climbing performance and find more fulfilment.
Because I was so tired and fed up with my struggles, I decided to find a solution. I went into action and started researching and talking to experts about how to overcome the challenging I was having with my climbing and my motivation.
What I discovered was that what was holding me back was fear and other mental aspects of my climbing. So I read everything I could get my hands on about mental training be it for climbing, running, weight lifting, or anything athletic.
Then with my newfound knowledge I started practicing and experimenting what I learned, and I was so happy because I started sending my projects much more quickly and with less struggle. The results were amazing.
I was also fortunate to spend time climbing with Jeff Elison, a long-time climber and psychology professor at Adams State University. His research was well aligned with what I was finding.
We were so excited about what we were uncovering together that we decided to collaborate on a book, and the result was Vertical Mind.
You Will Learn These 3 Keys
To using scientific concepts from psychology to improve your climbing performance and find more fulfilment...
When these three keys are implemented in the proper way, the results are astounding.
What Climbers Are Saying About Vertical Mind
Rocks Are People Too (Amazon Reviewer)
This one is destined to become a classic. Before reading it, I wasn't convinced that there was much to say about the subject that hadn't already been said in books like Performance Rock Climbing, How to Climb 5.12, The Rock Warrior's Way, etc. It turns out there was quite a bit.
Usually, when someone offers advice, what they are really leading with is "be more like me". While that can be useful, it often doesn't translate to a richer understanding. Vertical Mind instead leads with "here's the current science of how our brains and our neural pathways work" and then proceeds to link the science with the authors' understanding of the climbing game, with a partial bias toward hard sport climbing. Whereas we have all (?) heard suggestions to take practice whippers, write down beta, climb with motivated partners, etc, this book explains in very simple terms the neurobiology behind why these habits can help, why other habits might hurt, and what we need to do as individuals when we recognize a need to change a habit.
It's fascinating stuff. It applies to climbing, and to much more than that.
Scott (Amazon Reviewer)
Absolutely fantastic book! This takes Arno Ilgner's concetps to a higher, more scientifically-based, level. McGrath and Elison beautifully combine science, psychology and a wealth of climbing experince to create a book that's not just entertaining to read, but will help you take your climbing to the next level. Whether you are a 5.7 or a 5.14 climber, stuck at a plateau or struggling to get past a self-imposed setback, this book gives you the tools and the science on why they will work when applied to re-engage and succeed. I have been climbing for over 15 years and this has been one of the best books that I have ever read on the subject. If you are looking to take your mastery to the next level, highly consider taking the time to read and apply the lessons learned from this book.
HC (Amazon Reviewer)
Fantastic book. I have been climbing for about five years and continue to improve. But I had not thought about the fact that I have more to learn than just physical improvement. The book covers so much. You can read it whenever you like, rest days, recovering from an injury, etc. I started reading it on an outdoor climbing trip and it was very beneficial. It covers so much I can't write in a review. I highly recommend it. It's not just about climbing, it also goes into how the mind works, which I find fascinating. Great book.
TJ Parsons (Amazon Reviewer)
I've read quite a few books on climbing performance, including the small number that effectively tackle the mental aspects. Overall, I found this book to be the most useful and most clear of the lot. It has the notable advantage of being really quite well written, and with a pleasingly lighthearted tone. Putting the contents into practice already has lead to some improvements for me.
Harrison (Amazon Reviewer)
After completion of The rock warriors way, I was interested in more literature I could get my hands on that could help aid me in my climbing progression. Never do I write reviews on items that I really enjoy simply because of time but this one was warranted. The rock warriors way Is a good starting point I feel like, but after just skimming the surface of this book it seem like the words within the rock warriors way were just words of encouragement compared to the data compiled within the pages of the THIS wonderful piece of literature. Being in the medical field it’s amazing how they get down to the exact neural response and formulate ways to create new “scripts” in order to get BETTER. If science isn’t your thing I can see the material being dry to a layperson, but then again, if you don’t find science interesting chances are your climbing journey will be short lived. My two “aha” moments in life were discovering my love for medicine and my love for climbing and I am truly greatful that such an amazing tool exist to help aid climbers everywhere. Im astonished that this book hasn’t gained popularity. It really seems like you kinda have to be looking for something like this in order to find it. If one can understand these principles and their entirety they can be applied to every day life not just at the crag. Will forever be thankful to you Don and Jeff hoping some day I might get the chance to run into you guys. Thank you again for such an amazing tool!!!