Aging Into Climbing

As we age, climbing become more difficult due to a number of factors. We tend to get busy with work, relationships, and many other aspects of living a full life.
We age physically, which can make climbing at our highest level a challenge over time. In this episode, Don is joined by co-host Lee Sheftel, who began climbing in 1980 at the age of 33, and who in 2006 at the age of 59 sent his first 5.14. Now 77, Lee continues his passion for climbing and has many lesson to share about staying in the game.
Together, Don and Lee share psychological insights and lessons they have received through experiences staying in the climbing game as they have aged. They also climb with and help two guest climbers overcome challenges they are facing related to mental aspects involved with aging and climbing.

Episode Co-Host – Lee Sheftel

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Co-Host – Lee Sheftel Biography

Lee Sheftel’s rock climbing journey began in 1978 with a transformative experience in the flatirons of Boulder where he wandered onto one of the flatirons facing 500 feet of exposure!  At the age of 32, he found himself scrambling up rocks and realizing the sheer intensity and potential danger of climbing. Determined to learn the proper techniques, Lee immersed himself in the world of climbing, even though he started relatively late compared to most climbers.

At the remarkable age of 59, Lee achieved a groundbreaking feat by successfully completing his first 5.14 climb, The Whole Shot in Maple Canyon. Now 77 years old, Lee continues to climb at a high level and frequents Rifle, Colorado, where he challenges himself on difficult routes.

Lee feels that performing well as an athlete is as much a mental endeavor as it is a physical one, and that his mindset is one of the reasons why he has succeeded in climbing beyond ages where most people quit. He is excited to be a co-host on Inside The Vertical Mind because he wants to make an important contribution to the climbing community and help others facing challenges in their climbing as they age.

Lee said, “I look forward to sharing what I have learned over the years regarding mindsets I have found essential to staying in the game and performing at a high-level, despite the inevitable challenges we face as we age.”

Lee said that he learned early on from his mother that if he wanted to accomplish something, he needed to apply himself both physically and mentally. He told us, “My mother used to tell us that we could do anything if we put our mind to it. At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about, but over time, I began to understand the wisdom in her words and grew to appreciate the power of the mind.”

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