Set aside time to recover not only physically but psychologically before training again. Let your brain go soft. Watch a lot of television or read trashy spy novels or drink some beer. The shame of the extra fat you'll put on will propel you to train that much harder when you start again. A break from the extreme self-discipline required during training refreshes and prevents burning out and fosters a long and varied alpine climbing career. Time off can also help break the addiction cycle of needing to climb harder, higher, faster, and longer as your mind adapts to the commitment and risk of severe routes.

Time off need not mean forsaking climbing altogether. Cragging and waterfall climbing will maintain muscular tone without involving much commitment. Research and reading will keep the mind active and whet the appetite for future projects. Certain hobbies, like martial arts, practical shooting, or motorcycle racing, hone decision-making skills and self-awareness without burning out the desire to go climbing. Use the time you dedicate to rest and recovery foT evolving as a person, without feeling guilt for indulging in a period of relative sloth.

The psychological aspects of alpine climbing are far more difficult to master than the physical. Mental training methods and recipes are specific to each individual. Resources in the form of books, schools, and teachers abound for the climber wishing to delve more deeply into the inner workings of the mind. The future progress of alpine climbing resides in the mind. Improvements in physical fitness and developments in equipment will offer only slow and relatively limited advances, while great strides may result from perfecting the minds of a few gifted climbers,

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