Mastermind: Mental Training for Climbers
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.—