Mas­ter­mind: Men­tal Train­ing for Climbers

Gripped - - REVIEWS - Mas­ter­mind Tom Valis

Jerry Mof­fat Kraft

It’s 2 a.m. and you’ve topped out on Alex Hu­ber’s 8c ( 5.14c) on the huge face of the Cima Ovest in the Dolomites. Be­low you, the Vene­tian plane comes into view, spilling out into the Adri­atic. Your aching limbs don’t no­tice that your brain is lit up like a firef ly. “How did I get here?” you might ask your­self on the hike down as your head­light beam cuts through the brief sum­mer night. Jerry Mof­fat will tell you that it was your mind that got you there.

It’s the most pow­er­ful force a climber might seek to harness; he states in his new book draw­ing from his ex­pe­ri­ences as the world’s best rock climber in a va­ri­ety of gen­res as sport climb­ing came to the fore in the 1980s. The book stands out from oth­ers in the genre by adopt­ing a graphic novel sen­si­bil­ity that em­pha­sizes per­sonal in­volve­ment in the men­tal train­ing game.

At every point i n the book, you’re en­cour­aged to put pen­cil to pa­per to cre­ate pos­i­tive self-aware­ness loops. It’s a for­mat that forces you to re­spond in a way that plain text sim­ply would not. Jerry clearly wants to as­sert him­self in your con­scious­ness. And it’s not just him – he’s thought­fully in­cluded nar­ra­tives from a va­ri­ety of lead­ing climbers at var­i­ous stages of their ca­reers, de­scrib­ing how they played the “mind card” to achieve an out­come very much in doubt. Whether you let Mof­fat into your thought pro­cesses is, of course, up to you. But the fun­da­men­tal value of his book is that it pro­vokes a re­sponse that can­not be dis­missed with the swipe of a fin­ger.—

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