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Maximum Climbing

As physical as climbing is, it is even more mental. Being technically sound and physically honed is not enough to navigate a high-ball boulder problem, personal-best lead, intimidating big wall, or treacherous mountain. Ultimately, we climb with our mind - our hands and feet are simply an extension of our thoughts and will. Becoming a master climber, then, requires that we first become a master of our mind. This book is about more than mental training - it's about brain training. From the three pounds of brain matter between your ears emanate not only your thoughts, but also all motor skill, muscular recruitment, and the mystical forces of intuition and will power. Given this broad purview it becomes clear that the brain is the epicenter of all aspects of climbing performance and that brain training is of paramount importance to participants in all climbing subdisciplines. No matter if your preference is bouldering, sport climbing, traditional, alpine or mountaineering, the quality of your performance and experience arises from the hundreds of billions of neurons and synapses in your brain. Consequently, the brains of master climbers (of every kind) run a most complex "software" that facilitates execution of highly refined motor and mental skills, and gives rise to the intangible psychic forces of intuition and will power. You might consider Maximum Climbing, then, to be your user's guide to the software of your brain.
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About the Author

An accomplished climber of more than thirty years, Eric J. Horst (pronounced hurst) has climbed extensively across the United States and has established hundreds of first ascents on his home crags in the eastern US. A student and teacher of climbing performance, Eric has personally helped train hundreds of climbers, and his training books and concepts have spread to climbers in more than fifty countries. He is widely recognized for his innovative practice methods and training techniques, and since 1994 he has served as a training products design consultant and online Training Center editor for Nicros, Inc., a leading manufacturer of climbing walls and handholds. Eric is author of Training for Climbing, Conditioning for Climbers, How to Climb 5.12, and Learning to Climb Indoors, all of which have foreign translations. His articles and photos have been published in many outdoor and fitness magazines including Climbing, Rock and Ice, Dead Point, Urban Climber, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Health, Muscle and Fitness, Experience Life, and Men's Journal, and he has appeared on numerous TV broadcasts and produces Training Tip for Visit Eric's Web site,, for training articles and information on all his books, or to schedule a training seminar, an editorial interview, or speaking engagement. Eric currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Lisa Ann, and his sons, Cameron and Jonathan.


"There are volumes of books on how to train your body for climbing, but Maximum Climbing teaches you how to climb better by flexing the most critical muscle-the three pound one between your ears. Using a highly detailed step-by-step process that is clearly presented for beginner to expert climbers, Eric Horst instructs on mental training. His book runs that gamut from A to Z, but my favorites include how to manage fear, build confidence, and focus-three areas all of us need to work on by, until now, didn't even know where to begin."-Duane Raleigh, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Rock and Ice "For anyone interested in learning more about how the mind works and how important psychological factors are in determining the quality of our experience and performance, Maximum Climbing is a useful and fascinating read. In this powerful text, Horst presents an impressive collection of mental training techniques, practice exercises, and insights for climbers at all levels of ability."-Lynn Hill, first woman to climb 5.14 "Eric Horst's Maximum Climbing fills a deep need for a training book that explores the broad array of elements that make a climber, fully integrating the physical, technical, mental, and spiritual. This is a book as much about the soul as grit, as inspiring as it is educational."-Susan E. B. Schwartz, author of Into the Unknown: The Remarkable Life of Hans Kraus "Eric Horst's new book Maximum Climbing, provides climbers with a clear path to athletic mastery. As a climber and performance coach, I've sought out every piece of information I could find on improving athletic performance. Use the methods put forth in this book, and you will improve; not just as a climber, but as a human being."-Steve Bechtel, CSCC, Elemental Training Center "Dissolving the illusion of mind/body separation, Eric Horst's Maximum Climbing shows the way to achieve what I like to call one's Vertical Path: a completely holistic state of being in which the spirit-the essence of climbing-is woven into the tapestries of our lives."-John Gill, legendary boulderer and master of rock

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