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Fear of heights to beat

Thu 25 Jul, 2019 3:50 pm

HI all, I am planning on doing the Larapinta trail next year. As always my severe fear of heights is spoiling my anticipation. Im planning numerous walks that gradually include more heights and narrow paths up to and including those similar to the Larapintar. Hoping for help in finding those hikes around VIctoria? I have done the Overland without issue and only a bit freaked on the last day of Milford track as a indication. TYIA

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Thu 25 Jul, 2019 6:24 pm

Hmm, to be honest you’re going to struggle if you can’t get your fear of heights under control.

There are some stretches where you will be quite high and close to the edges of cliffs and drop-offs.
Euro Ridge, Brinkley Bluff, Counts Point in particular come to mind.

Re walks that are similar, I like the Mt Macedon loop and it is similar in some ways to the Larapinta.
Start at the Mount Macedon pub and go clockwise. The mix of hills and flats will stand you in good stead.
The western side of Mt Tworong is particularly good for you - you should think of going up and down this several times to get used to the rocks, the elevation changes and the height.

Of course, it will be cold and wet which is not like the Larapinta!

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Thu 25 Jul, 2019 6:47 pm

I would also recommend other high stress/anxiety things as well. Getting used to dealing with height by doing heights does work, but you will make ground faster by also exposing yourself to other similar stresses. If you really don't like spiders or snakes (enough that you would avoid those sections at the zoo) then go hang out in those areas of the zoo. (maybe start with a museum if its bad) Take every opportunity for a high balcony or bridge walkway. Tree top adventure park, climbing wall, all can be used to work yourself into it. Have a way out, and a way to try again.
Don't think of it as "becoming unafraid" think of it as "conditioning to still be functional while afraid" It shocks me how many people are ashamed of being afraid of heights. We don't have tails, wings or claws! Sure you could have a phobia, but that's different. I'm guessing that you can handle a flight of stairs, so its just a fear that is bigger than you want. At the end of the day, if you set yourself a goal that is reachable, like doing things that are scary and enjoying them, then you will find success. Setting the goal of doing an entire walk while never once feeling nervous about being near the edge of a cliff, well, unless you plan on the Phineas Gage method, it just isn't likely to work, and is more likely to make it worse as you get discouraged.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Thu 25 Jul, 2019 6:55 pm

I highly recommend you to start doing exposed scrambles with someone who can belay you on a rope. The best exercise for your brain.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Thu 25 Jul, 2019 8:05 pm

Hi Lenishta,

I suffer from a different condition the French call "L'appel du vide", the call of the void. Basically an urge to jump off a high place. Not great when the Blue Mountains are in your backyard. Once I had identified the problem I was able to research and study it, I now rarely suffer from the condition and when I do, my rational mind is able to give feeback to my emotional mind and control the situation.

I would say it is the same with your fear of heights, get a better understanding of why and dont't let it stop you doing what you want to do. Work your way up (pun intended) but you should be right once your logical mind gets a better understanding of the psychology behind it.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 3:04 am

All good advice, but you guys are making the Larapinta sound much more vertiginous than it is.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 7:02 am

The Grampians has many walks that go next to cliffs. While it may be hard to arrange, consider doing easy, low-angle, short rock climbs with a rope. After a while you will get used to how climbing technique. The Sugarloaf near Buxton has two very easy climbs, Tigris and Euphrates, grades 1 and 2 from memory, as easy as they come.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 8:05 am

Is it a fear of heights or a fear of falling from a height (and the sudden stop at the bottom)? It is different and will make overcoming it different. Can you stand at a lookout with a rail or fence and look over? My nephew said he had a fear of heights but I managed to get him over a cliff on a rope. Once the weight was on the rope he felt more confident. I am a bit the same. Understanding the triggers for the anxiety helps you manage it better.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 10:25 am

I worked on my fear of heights for a year, and was thrilled with the result. My fear wasn't severe like yours, but I want to do more 'extreme' things.

    Mt Anne the 1st time: Panic++, paralysed by fear at times, thought the only way off would be dead or by helicopter.
    Mt Anne a year later: LOVED it!!!!
    The (infamous) Notch the first time: Panic++, paralysed by fear at times, thought I was going to die.
    The Notch a year later: LOVED it!!!!

What I did:
1. The Climbing Web
climbing web.jpg
climbing web.jpg (8.56 KiB) Viewed 10739 times

I went most days up a climbing web at a local park. (Felt a bit silly, but hey...!) They vary in size, but ours is quite big.
On ours there's a plate right near the top you can stand on. It moves until your weight settles, just to increase the adrenaline.
At first, I thought I might die, or be seriously maimed. White knuckles. Did a bit of CBT and some breathing exercises while I was at the top. Consciously made myself relax my hands, and eventually started to enjoy the view. Then took one hand off. :shock: More of the same. After maybe a month, I only had a few butterflies as I raced up and just got to enjoy the view.

2. Rock Climbing Lessons
Two very kind chaps gave me free climbing lessons, which were brilliant. They gave me:
    Practice being safe at an increasing height
    Practice focussing on what I needed to do, rather than the fear
    Plenty of new skills - how to use my weight, straight arm etc to magically make new holds
    Re-defined good holds to finger-holds and toe-holds :)
    A bucket load of confidence

3. High Ropes Course
A local children's campsite has one of these. I hired it out myself for an hour or two (it comes with instructor, harness etc). Climb up spikes on a telegraph pole to a log 4 m off the ground, then a wire 8 m off the ground. Then a couple of other wires. My first goal was to be able to walk 'casually' across the log, instead of inching across sideways. That took a lot of goes, upping the difficulty a little each time. Plenty more CBT and breathing exercises while I did it.

4. Took every opportunity to scramble on rocks, take a more difficult little option when I was out bushwalking. More CBT etc.

5. Chose to listen to a positive tape in my head. One of my rock-climbing instructors gave me a huge gift in that regard, by saying, "Tortoise, you're a natural at this." :D

Still not sure if I can manage Federation, but I'm looking forward to having a really good go. Two potential options, in different groups. Both options will give me confidence in different ways. The first would be with a group I know well, who helped me up the previously impossible Geryon North and South. The second would be with a very experienced rope man.

Hope this might give you some ideas. All the very best!

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 2:32 pm

I got over my fear of heights without really meaning to on a trip to Canada. By the time I had crossed the Capilano Suspension Bridge (and back), gone in the gondola to Grouse Mountain and ridden a couple of chair lists at Whistler, I was over it. I recall one specific moment on the chair lift where the ground dropped away and was replaced with cloud/fog - scared me at the time, but that was the last time. There are the tree-tops walks in the Otways and Warburton areas that might also be worth a try. Cathedrals has some good ridges to help you too.
Sometimes, when adrenaline kicks in, its amazing what can be achieved.
Good luck with it.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 26 Jul, 2019 7:49 pm

Book a day trip abseiling with a respected company.

Or you could come with me. I will teach you the skills on the ground, then try a boulder, a pitch, an overhang :)

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Sun 28 Jul, 2019 5:52 pm

Just to be clear for the original poster: there is no need for ropes, abseiling or rock climbing on the Larapinta!

As an example, the image below is Euro Ridge in Section 1. The trail goes within a metre of the steep drop off on the left hand side. If you’re okay with that then you should be able to handle the few other areas that are also steep and/or high.

Image

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Sun 22 Nov, 2020 9:16 am

Heights freak the hell out of me on my own and I've turned around at times but I managed to do the whole Larapinta trail.

I started at Mount Sonder and got really close to the top before the wind picked up and I grabbed the nearest rock. Lucky I did or the whole mountain would have fallen down! I waited for someone else to come along and asked if I could walk behind them. At the top they said they thought I was joking but I assured them I wasn't. After that I was fine with the rest of the trail but I did focus on the ground rather than the view a few times.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Sun 22 Nov, 2020 12:57 pm

Helicopter spur in the Upper Howqua valley area is a good steep scramble for those who are new to such things. Best to go up. I would not be keen to go down it.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Sun 22 Nov, 2020 2:17 pm

flywire wrote: ... but I did focus on the ground rather than the view a few times.


That is more or less the way to do it. Focus on something else. If scrambling, force yourself to focus on the climb; on technique, on routes, on hand- and foot holds. When traversing cliff edges or narrow ridges focus on what is immediately in front of your feet or on the far distance. When all else fails, stop, get your breathing under control and think clearly about what you need to do.
And always remember that there is no shame in turning back. Alive is better than foolhardy.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Sun 22 Nov, 2020 3:24 pm

I'm a solo hiker and it's mainly the fear of the unknown; are you actually on the track, how many m/km does this go on for?

For context I turned around on these occasions:
* heading NW from the Wilpena pound office I never made it to Tanderra Saddle - after a few switchbacks track was near vertical
* big boulder near the peak at the Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park
* 9.) You can get an indication of how far you will fall if you slip ... a looong looong way down!!! If you are afraid of height, Mt Bruce is not for you. iirc you have to climb around that cliff somewhere :twisted:

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Mon 05 Apr, 2021 5:32 pm

Just reading this as I have a huge fear of heights, I freeze and can't move or think straight. I can get light-headed too, either from panicking or actual vertigo, who knows.

I have a walk with exposure in June in the Capertee area, but will be in a group, so will prepare myself ahead of then and know I can listen to others voices etc in a group.

In the next week, I will be in the Flinders Ranges. Wanted to see sunrise from a good vantage point but it seems from the previous post maybe Tanderra Saddle solo may not be a good choice? Mount Ohlssen Bagge instead? Anyone who knows the walks care to chime in?

I am all for challenging myself, hence Capertee walk this year, but on my own I will lack rational guidance.
I did get a bit off course on DandharaCrags (Northern NSW) this year and managed to get myself in a very exposed spot, I had to get myself through it, so did, but it really used up a whole lot of adrenaline!

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Tue 06 Apr, 2021 8:30 am

I made numerous treks in the Himalaya, but was able to overcome my fear despite being exposed to some truly fearsome heights. I think with exposure you gradually lean to control it. On the remote trails there was no choice but to take a deep breath, steel myself and get on with it.
Now, some twenty years later I still feel uncomfortable approaching the railing of my 16th floor balcony.
If it gives you any comfort, I once used to cycle with a small group which included Michael Groom. We had much in common with our shared experiences in Nepal, and I was very surprised when he admitted during one of our conversations that he was also afraid of heights.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Tue 06 Apr, 2021 10:28 am

Ms Mudd

Sunrise shots have 2 very different goals.
Its nice to see a full orb of the sun cutting the horizon, which is a common sight in the Flinders, but much better with clouds providing a broader canvas for the colours. Not much height is needed for this.
Conversely, looking away from the sun towards the ranges being lit up is my preferred view.

Its been a while since I was on Tanderra Saddle - but we have taken little kids up that one. Its main view is towards the sun, and a nice view of the curving ranges to the north, but little into the Pound. Its a long walk to get there though.
However, Mount Ohlssen Bagge is a shorter walk with a wider vista than Tanderra Saddle - especially over the Pound to the Elder Range.

Even quicker is the short but steep scrambles up the ABC Range above Acraman Campsite.
In this shot I have ringed the smaller peak which gave terrific views [steep climb from the front]. See this shot: http://new.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=1824&p=360342&hilit=ABC+range#p360342
The Acraman site is also ringed.
Its a shot from the taller more northern peak of the ABC Range - best climbed by going up the gully towards the eastern side and working your way up from there. The front [west face] is too steep.
0977ABCSouthSm.jpg
Sunrise from the high point of the ABC range above Acraman campsite


Because it is so open in the Flinders, there are many smaller hills with great views. The Heysen Trail to the tops about 600m south of Yanyanna Hut would give a fantastic outlook with no vertical drop offs.
0900RockyRangesPanSm.jpg
View from South of Yanyanna Hut

Sunrise from the small hills adjacent the Rawnsley Park caravan park and huts is great. See the long distance shot http://new.bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=7647&p=312798&hilit=Sunrise+on+Wonaka+Hill#p312798
You also have views towards the Elder Range and the walls of the Pound.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Mon 10 May, 2021 1:41 am

Hi Lenishta, I'm planning on doing Milford track next summer, but as you my fear of heights makes the preparation a tad more stressful. You mentioned you were freaked on the last day of Milford track. How bad was it?


Lenishta wrote:HI all, I am planning on doing the Larapinta trail next year. As always my severe fear of heights is spoiling my anticipation. Im planning numerous walks that gradually include more heights and narrow paths up to and including those similar to the Larapintar. Hoping for help in finding those hikes around VIctoria? I have done the Overland without issue and only a bit freaked on the last day of Milford track as a indication. TYIA

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Mon 10 May, 2021 9:15 am

When Surfing in bigger surf if you sometimes have to execute a controlled fall down and across the face of the wave especially if you are late to turn and paddle and find yourself in the wrong position :-0. This can be a bit scary at first .Like many outdoor activities it takes some nerve and some skill. You won't get the necessary experience by avoiding these situations. Going up rock faces when bushwalking is another one of these situations and so is XC skiing down a big slope.
If you know what to do then just do it . It is often a mind game.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Mon 10 May, 2021 11:56 am

jujubanda wrote:Hi Lenishta, I'm planning on doing Milford track next summer, but as you my fear of heights makes the preparation a tad more stressful. You mentioned you were freaked on the last day of Milford track. How bad was it?


Lenishta wrote:HI all, I am planning on doing the Larapinta trail next year. As always my severe fear of heights is spoiling my anticipation. Im planning numerous walks that gradually include more heights and narrow paths up to and including those similar to the Larapintar. Hoping for help in finding those hikes around VIctoria? I have done the Overland without issue and only a bit freaked on the last day of Milford track as a indication. TYIA


I have been up high in various paces in NZ South Island, including Fiordland and other parts of the west coast. Have also done a couple of the so called Great Walks, but not the Milford. Have also been on a couple of the peaks in the Flinders.

I have never encountered anything that seriously concerned me, although I have chosen to avoid a couple of patches of bad ground. Stopping when moving through this terrain is often a bad idea, as sensible movement seems to provide stability and confidence, and definitely reduces the chances for stuff to give way under you.

The paradox is that I DO NOT like going near balcony railings in tall buildings and similar. I get a little uneasy and the drop almost draws me in. Yet in the aforementioned places, I have no trouble at all. I am wary around sharp drop offs, but that is more to do with the possibility of an edge crumbling or otherwise giving way while I am on it, and not due to any fear of heights per se.

Go figure.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Tue 11 May, 2021 10:53 am

I'm a little confused. I am pretty bad with heights but I found Milford fine. Where on the last day of the Milford was it bad, from memory the last day (from Dumpling hut) is about as flat as you can get? I've day hiked a lot of the Larapinta and I found that fine too - you don't need to get close to the ledges!

If you can handle the ridge at Cathedral ranges you should be fine for pretty much any walk I've ever been on.

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Tue 11 May, 2021 12:07 pm

Casparvitch wrote:
If you can handle the ridge at Cathedral ranges you should be fine for pretty much any walk I've ever been on.


Good tip. A bit out reach for non Victorians,but still a good tip. :)

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Tue 11 May, 2021 10:13 pm

Tortoise wrote:
    Mt Anne the 1st time: Panic++, paralysed by fear at times, thought the only way off would be dead or by helicopter.
    Mt Anne a year later: LOVED it!!!!
    The (infamous) Notch the first time: Panic++, paralysed by fear at times, thought I was going to die.
    The Notch a year later: LOVED it!!!!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Re: Fear of heights to beat

Fri 14 May, 2021 6:05 pm

You shoulda seen me the second time! :wink:
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