Research > Research Inventory > Sports Psychology: The Interaction of Mind and Body

Cortisol and behavioral reaction of low and high sensation seekers differ in responding to a sport-specific stressor

Author: MO Frenkel, RB Heck, H. Plessner | Year: 2018
Summary/Results: Researchers divided 28 male beginner climbers into two groups using a scale designed to test for low- and high-sensation and then assessed cortisol levels, anxiety, heart rate, and climbing performance as measured by the duration of the climb. The authors found that high-sensation seeking seems to act as a “stress buffer”, enabling performance, and keeping cortisol levels low after researchers instructed climbers to “jump” into the rope at the end of the climb to create a reaction. However, there was no association with either heart rate or anxiety. Beta-Angel note: later in the paper, the authors seem intrigued by the potential for how self-regulation (regulation of stress, moods, thoughts, attention and impulses) could impact low-sensation seekers in stressful environments.
Reference: Anxiety Stress Coping. 2018 Sep;31(5):580-593.
Sports Psychology > The Interaction of Mind and Body

Memory impairment during a climbing traverse: implications for search and rescue climbing.

Authors: Epling et al. | Year: 2018
Summary/Results: No Summary Available.
Reference: Exp Brain Res. 2018 Nov;236(11):3043-3052.

Emotional Intelligence in Male and Female Sport Climbers

Authors: Marczak, Ginszt | Year: 2017
Summary/Results: No Summary Available.
Reference: J Educ Health Sport Vol 7, No 9 (2017)

Differences between traditional Visualization and Virtual reality on motor performance in novel climbers

Authors: Barca Martín et al. | Year: 2018
Summary/Results: No Summary Available.
Reference: J Sports Med Ther. 2018; 3: 028-035.

The role of the Cerebellum in rock climbing

Author: Lin CY, Kuo SH | Year: 2017
Summary/Results: A letter to the editor rather than a paper, the authors challenge the connection between coordinated motor performance of the body and the cerebellum (a part of the brain which facilitates muscle contraction timing and precision) in the brain by reporting on a single case study involving an individual with a damaged cerebellum who is relatively good at rock climbing, having won the gold medal for his category at the Climbing Adaptive National Championships in the United States, but poor on traditional measures associated with normal human movement,.  The authors provide alternative theories for this disconnect, including compensation by another part of the brain, as well as distinctions between horizontal (walking) and vertical (climbing) movement.  In their study of video of the individual crawling and climbing, the authors suggest that the stability produced by the movement of four limbs over two requires less “cerebellar-dependent coordination”.
Reference: J Neurol Sci. 2017 Dec 15;383:158-160

Rock climbing and acute emotion regulation in patients with major depressive disorder in the context of a psychological inpatient treatment: a controlled pilot trial

Author: M. Kleinstauber, M. Reuter, N. Doll, AJ Fallgatter | Year: 2017
Summary/Results: Researchers tested the effect of two exercises, a rock climbing exercise and a relaxation exercise, on 40 individuals with depression.  The study found that the rock climbing group had better outcomes in terms of their depression, their positive and negative emotional states, and emotional coping ability after the exercise. One qualification of the study is that participants could choose which group they participated in.
Reference: Psychol Res Behav Manag. 2017 Aug 16;10:277-281

The effect of potential fall distance on hormonal response in rock climbing

AUTHOR: J. Balas, D. Giles, L. Chrastinova, K. Karnikova, J Kodejska, A. Hlavackova, L. Vomacko, N. Draper | Year: 2017
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured the concentration of a variety of hormones before and after climbing in two different groups of climbers: in one group, the climbers clipped all of the bolts available on a route, and in the other groups, the climbers skipped every other bolt. The group that clipped half of the bolts saw a bigger increase in concentration of all hormones measured compared to the group that clipped every bolt.
REFERENCE: J Sports Sci. 2017 May;35(10):989-994.

Motivational orientation and risk taking in elite winter climbers: A qualitative study

AUTHOR: G. Jones, J. Milligan, D. Llewellyn, A. Gledhill, MI Johnson | Year: 2017
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Jones et al. examined the experiences of elite winter climbers to understand their motivation for risk-taking behavior. This qualitative study suggests that climbers pursue risk taking behavior as a result of a choice partially associated with the success of others, and partially associated with their own personal desire to master themselves as well as the identified goal.
REFERENCE: International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Vol. 15, Issue 1 (2017)

The effects of eight weeks sport rock climbing training on anxiety

AUTHOR: A. Ewert, D. Aras | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Nineteen students were examined for the effects of 8 weeks of sport rock climbing training on anxiety by breaking them up into two groups: a group that climbed and a group that did not. The program suggests that sport rock climbing training significantly reduces cognitive and somatic anxiety, increases self-confidence, and increases the oxygen volume of participants.
REFERENCE: Acta Medica Mediterranea, 2016 32: 223

Coordination in climbing: effect of skill, practice and constraints manipulation

AUTHOR: D. Orth, K. Davids, L. Seifert | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Orth et al. conducted a review of 42 studies on perception and movement in climbing. The authors conclude that both perception and movement are highly significant for increasing a climber’s ability, specifically that climbing is supported by: superior perception of climbing opportunities; fitting their body to the shape, distances, and moves of the wall; limb coordination; the direction of the climb and contact with the holds; and minimization of exploratory behavior. Beta-Angel note: while minimization of exploratory behavior appears to be important for performance, other research (see motor learning section) suggests exploratory behavior may be important for learning and transfer of lessons across multiple situations.
REFERENCE: Sports Medicine, 46 (2), 255-268

Climbing with a head-mounted display

AUTHOR: A. Woodham, M. Billinghurt, WS Helton | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured whether climbing performance and word recall were impacted under conditions where a head-mounted display showed climbers words and an auditory signal sounded during both (a) climbing tests, and (b) sitting tests. Woodham et al. suggest that physical tasks may be more detrimental to word recall than seated tasks and that visual stimuli might hinder climbing performance more than do audible stimuli.
REFERENCE: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society, Vol 58, Issue 3 (2016).

Heart Rate, Perceived Effort, and Anxiety during Top Rope & Lead Rock Climbing

AUTHOR: S. N. Drum, M. Kilgas, K. Phillips, P. B. Watts | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers tested 10 intermediate level climbers on both top rope and lead routes, specifically looking at heart rate and perceived effort. The authors found that lead climbing produces greater minimum and average heart rates, but not with respect to maximum heart rate or level of perceived effort despite significantly greater time to complete the route.
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Risk taking and ethics in rock climbing

AUTHOR: G. B. Gonzalez1 , C. M. Conroy1 | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers studied data from a series of 1:1 interviews and an online questionnaire filled out by 101 rock climbers which studied sensation seeking and risk-taking to determine how these factors related to demographics. The researchers suggest that climbers carefully consider risks within the sport and do not engage in risky behavior outside of climbing.
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Anxiety level and ability to climb routes in recreational indoor climbing

AUTHOR: P. Czermak | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers compared anxiety with technique across both top rope and lead climbing in a group of intermediate level climbers. The researchers found that a higher level of anxiety influenced climbing ability and technique, and that technique was also reduced specifically during lead climbing. Beta-Angel note: we hear at the project prefer the term “gaggle” of climbers to “group”, or perhaps a “murder” of climbers… occasionally a “school” of them (but only when they’re learning… together… as a group).
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Study of practical reasoning in regional and national level climbers during the ascent of an unknown natural boulder

AUTHOR: François Baux and Stefano Bertone | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers collected audio-video data as well as verbalization data of the activity of four climbers on a natural boulder that they had not previously tried to climb. The researchers looked for rules, or reasoning, the climbers used to help themselves climb the problem, and identified five rules which were common among the climbers.
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Importance of attention in mental training, analyzed through falling

AUTHOR: Arno Ilgner | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researcher used his teaching experience to describe an approach to falling which involves both physical positioning and mental training. The positioning includes arms and legs, shoulder-width apart and bent with an emphasis on refining breathing, eyes, and body positioning through drills which make incremental steps toward greater falls.
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Motivation and Habit Formation: An Exploration of Rock Climbing and Its Implications for Exercise Participation

AUTHOR: E. Dagnan, OTD, C-EP, B. Wood, J. Lazzaro, C. Morabbi, T. Zerwic, A. Bernard, & A. Byland | Year: 2016
SUMMARY/RESULTS: The study’s authors studied 77 individuals to understand both the motivation and barriers to climbing. The authors found that exercise balance, personal growth, and challenges were the most commonly reported motivators, that injury and time were the most common barriers, and that participants began climbing with external motivators but relied on internal motivators to continue climbing. Beta-Angel note: I always thought the more experienced climbers were motivated by external factors like social gatherings and beer.
REFERENCE: 3rd Rock Climbing Research Congress. Proceedings 2016, Telluride, CO

Psychophysical benefits of rock-climbing activity

AUTHOR: MC Gallotta, GP Emerenzziani, MD Monteiro Luigi Iasevoli, S. Iazzoni, C. Baldari, L. Guidetti | Year: 2015
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers compared the before and after psychological states of participants in a general fitness program, and participants in a climbing program. They found that both groups increased in physical fitness, and decreased in anxiety levels. However, participants in the general fitness program had a more increased “vigor.”
REFERENCE: Perceptual and Motor skills, Vol. 121, Issue 3, 2015

The effect of anxiety about falling on selected physiological parameters with different rope protocols in sport rock climbing.

AUTHOR: D. Aras, C. Akalan | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had a group of climbers top-rope a climb, and another group of climbers lead the same climb. They measured several physiological factors related to energy and oxygen consumption before and after each climber climbed, and also had them take a survey about their anxiety levels. They found that lead climbers tended to report higher levels of anxiety, as well as more energy consumption than top-rope climbers.
REFERENCE: Sports Med Phys Fitness 54 (1), 1-8. 2 2014 and

Pattern Recognition in cyclic and discrete skills performance from inertial measurement units

AUTHOR: L. Seifert, M L’Hermette, J. Komar, D. Orth, F. Mell, P. Merriaux, P. Grenet, Y. Caritu, R. Herault, V. Dovgalecs, K. Davids | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers attempted to ensure that a technical system called an “inertial measurement unit” works to help understand pattern recognition, joint angle and limb orientation in rock climbers of different levels. The technical systems were a success, able to assess the variations in movement and coordination between individuals and within individuals in order to understand the adaptation of climbers to different climbs.
REFERENCE: Procedia Engineering 72 (2014) 196 – 201

Manipulating cardiovascular indices of challenge and threat using resource appraisals.

AUTHOR: MJ Turner, MV Jones, D Sheffield, JB Barker, P Coffee | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers used two studies (one specific to rock climbing, the other throwing) and provided different instructions to participants within each task which led to cardiovascular activity: one focused on emphasizing the “threat” of the task, and the other the “challenge” of the task. Instructions differed in terms of perception of the difficulty (threat) or as a challenge to overcome (challenge), and also the extent to which previous participants either struggled (threat) or persevered (challenge). Previously, challenge instructions have been found to be related to superior performance in a range of tasks – however, Turner et al. found that there appeared to be no difference in rock climbing performance based upon the instructions given to participants.
REFERENCE: Int J Psychophysiol. 2014 Oct;94(1):9-18.

Dual-task interference between climbing and a simulated communication task.

AUTHOR: KA Darling, WS Helton | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers set out to build on previous research which suggests that impairment of memory occurs during climbing. Researchers looked at the ability of climbers to associate words and the ability to recall words, and found that word recall was reduced when required to associate words, but not when they didn’t. Darling and Helton suggest that the task of climbing may interfere with rehearsal and maintenance of words in memory.
REFERENCE: Exp Brain Res. 2014 Apr;232(4):1367-77.

Current understanding in climbing psychophysiology research

AUTHOR: D. Giles, N. Draper, P. Gulliver, N. Taylor, J. Mitchell, L. Birch, J. Woodhead, G. Blackwell, M. Hamlin | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: The authors did a review of psychophysiology research completed on climbers to the date of publication – 2014. The authors go over on-sight vs. top rope effects; the effect of experience and anxiety on performance, and risks and stress, concluding with a recommendation for the refinement of existing measurement techniques.
REFERENCE: J. Sports Technology, Vol. 7, Issue 3-4: Rock Climbing (2014).

A Preliminary Analysis of Motivation and Goal Orientation in Rock Climbers

AUTHOR: G. B. Gonzalez, P. Gonzalez | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured 92 climbers for demographic questions, a questionnaire, and on a scale of motivation. Climbers scored highest in terms of intrinsic (or voluntary based on interest) motivation and task (focused on tasks at hand rather than goals) orientation and the researchers suggest that age and other climbing-related factors may play a role in individual motivation to engage in climbing.
REFERENCE: 2nd International Rock Climbing Research Congress, Sep 2014.

A psychophysiological comparison of on-sight lead and top rope ascents in advanced rock climbers

AUTHOR: S Fryer, T. Dickson, N. Draper, G. Blackwell, S. Hillier | Year: 2013
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers tested the idea that lead climbing may be physiologically and psychologically more stressful than top rope climbing for advanced climbers by comparing stress in 31 climbers as measured pre-climb by an anxiety assessment and measured at interval by plasma cortisol (a hormone released as a response to stress), oxygen volume, and heart rate. Fryer et al state that while heart rate was significantly elevated during the last part of the route, climbers do not find lead climbing more stressful than top rope climbing during on-sight.
REFERENCE: Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Oct;23(5):645-50

Prolonged rock climbing activity induces structural changes in cerebellum and parietal lobe.

AUTHOR: M. Di Paola, C. Caltagirone, L. Petrosini | Year: 2013
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers analyzed the rains of 10 world-class mountain climbers and 10 individuals with no climbing experience to determine whether climbing changes parts o fthe brain. The authors of the study found differences in a section of the brain known as the “vermian lobules I-V” which they suggest is related to highly dexterous hand movements and to movement coordination and visual perception. They also found enlargement of the “parietal” area (normally associated with sensation) is related to predicting the consequences of action in order to correct for it. Beta-Angel note: I need to enlarge my cranial cavity to prepare my fingers. There’s a type of doctor that does that… right?
REFERENCE: Hum Brain Mapp 34:2707–2714, 2013

Effect of style of ascent on the psychophysiological demands of rock climbing in elite level climbers

AUTHOR: Tabitha Dickson, Simon Fryer, Gavin Blackwell, Nick Draper & Lee Stoner | Year: 2012
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Dickson et al. wanted to measure the difference between a top rope on-sight climb and a lead on-sight climb by measuring the perception of anxiety pre-climbing, blood lactate (a byproduct of the body’s use of simple sugars formed in association with muscular fatigue, often associated with being “pumped”), and plasma cortisol concentration (a hormone released in response to stress) while climb time, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood lactate, plasma cortisol concentration and task load were measured in response to the climb. The researcher’s results indicate that the physiological and psychological responses of elite level climbers do not differ for lead and top rope on-sight ascents. Beta-Angel note: I don’t know, I think top roping is so next level.
REFERENCE: Sports Technology, Volume 5, 2012, 3-4: Climbing Technology

Plasma cortisol concentrations and perceived anxiety in response to on-sight rock climbing

AUTHOR: N. Draper, T. Dickson, G. Blackwell, D. Winter, C. Scarrott, G. Ellis | Year: 2012
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers studied plasma cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) concentrations, anxiety, and self-confidence in 19 intermediate climbers during an on-sight climb. Researchers found that the style of ascent (lead or top rope) did not matter with respect to any of the measured variables, and that there was a strong relationship between plasma cortisol concentrations and both self-confidence (lower cortisol to higher self-confidence) and anxiety (lower cortisol to lower anxiety).
REFERENCE: Int J Sports Med. 2012 Jan;33(1):13-7 or full article at

Performance differences for intermediate rock climbers who successfully and unsuccessfully attempted an indoor sport climbing route

Authors: Draper, Dickson, Fryer, Blackwell | Year: 2011
Summary: No Summary Available Yet.
Reference: International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport 11(3) · December 2011
Link to Research

Self-reported ability assessment in rock climbing.

AUTHOR: N. Draper, G. Blackwell, S. Fryer, S. Priestley, D. Winter, G. Ellis | Year: 2011
SUMMARY/RESULTS: 29 rock climbers were asked to self-report their best on-sight lead grade, and then were asked to climb an indoor route to verify that self-report. Despite slight over- and underestimations in males and females respectively, there was no significant difference between self-reported and assessed on-sight climbing grades.
REFERENCE: J Sports Sci. 2011 May;29(8):851-8

Physiological and psychological responses to lead and top rope climbing for intermediate rock climbers

AUTHOR: N. Draper, GA Jones, S. Fryer, CI Hodgson, G. Blackwell | 2010
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Draper et al. measured climb time, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood lactate (a byproduct of the body’s use of simple sugars formed in association with muscular fatigue, often associated with being “pumped”) concentration, perception of anxiety, and task load. Research primarily identified that lead climbing was more physically and mentally strenuous, although there did not appear to be significant differences in anxiety prior to the climb.
REFERENCE: European Journal of Sport Science, January 2010; 10(1): 13-20

Behavior Analysis and Sports Climbing

Authors: Fleming, Hörst | Year: 2010
Summary/results: Under construction 😀
Reference: Journal of Behavioral Health and Medicine, 1(2), 143-154.
Link to Research

Training with mild anxiety may prevent choking under higher levels of anxiety

AUTHOR: R.R.D. Oudejans, J.R. Pijpers | Year: 2010
SUMMARY/RESULTS: The researchers had two groups of novice climbers practice throwing darts while hanging low on a wall. In one group, the researchers induced mild anxiety, while the other practiced without anxiety. Later, both groups’ performances were tested under low, mild, and high anxiety conditions. The climbers who practiced under anxiety did equally well under all three conditions, while the climbers who practiced under no anxiety did worse as anxiety levels went up. These results suggest that climbing under low levels of stress can increase ability to perform during high levels of stress.
REFERENCE: Psychology of sport and exercise, Vol 11, Issue 1, pg. 44-50 (2010)

Pre-performance psychological states and performance in an elite climbing competition

AUTHOR: X. Sanchez, MS. Boschker, DJ Llewellyn | Year: 2010
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had 19 climbers take a test to measure anxiety directly prior to a competition, and then assessed videos of the climbers to determine success during the competition. Climbers who experienced physical symptoms of anxiety before competing tended to do better on the climbs.
REFERENCE: Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Apr;20(2):356-63

Training with anxiety has a positive effect on expert perceptual-motor performance under pressure.

AUTHOR: RR Oudejans, JR Pijpers | Year: 2009
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers used a climbing wall to induce anxiety in expert dart players. Dart players who practiced at a tall height did better during a high anxiety posttest compared to dart players who practiced at a short height. These results suggest that a person’s ability to complete a motor task under stress increases if they practice doing the task under stress as well.
REFERENCE: Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2009 Aug;62(8):1631-47

Perceived anxiety and plasma cortisol concentrations following rock climbing with differing safety rope protocols

AUTHOR: CI Hodgson, N. Draper, T. McMorris, G. Jones, S. Fryer, I. Coleman | Year: 2009
SUMMARY/RESULTS: 12 participants climbed three different routes with increasingly risky safety protocols for rope safety. Researchers measured participants’ cortisol levels, and also asked questions about their self-confidence and anxiety levels, before and after each climb. Cortisol levels and subjective assessments of anxiety increased more in climbers after the climb with the riskiest rope safety protocol.
REFERENCE: Br J Sports Med. 2009 Jul;43(7):531-5.

Effect of an on-sight lead on the physiological and psychological responses to rock climbing

AUTHOR: N. Draper, GA Jones, S Fryer, C. Hodgson, G. Blackwell | Year: 2008
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers measured pre and post-climb anxiety levels as climbers completed two lead climbs: one onsight climb, and one climb that they were already familiar with. They found that climbers experienced increased levels of anxiety before attempting an onsight climb compared to a familiar climb.
REFERENCE: J Sports Sci Med. 2008 Dec; 7(4): 492–498.

The influence of anxiety on visual attention in climbing

AUTHOR: A. Nieuwenhuys, JR. Pijpers, RR Oudejans, FC Bakker | Year: 2008
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had novice climbers perform two identical traverses at different heights, inducing anxiety in the group of climbers who climbed that taller traverse. Climbers on the taller traverse spent a longer time looking for and at usable holds, suggesting that search rate may decrease at higher anxiety levels.
REFERENCE: J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2008 Apr;30(2):171-85.

Changes in the perception of action possibilities while climbing to fatigue on a climbing wall

AUTHOR: JR Pijpers, RR Oudejans, FC Bakker | Year: 2007
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had climbers climb a wall, and then report how tired they felt, and estimate how far they could reach. They found that as perceived fatigue increased, the estimates of how far they could reach decreased. However, the actual distance they could reach did not decrease. The researchers suggest that climbers perceive fatigue before it has really set in.
REFERENCE: J Sports Sci. 2007 Jan 1;25(1):97-110.

Self-handicapping in Rock Climbing: A Qualitative Approach

Authors: Ferrand, Tetard | Year: 2006
Reference: Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 18: 271-280, 2006
Link to Research

Anxiety-induced changes in movement behavior during the execution of a complex whole-body task

AUTHOR: JR Pijpers, RR Oudejans, FC Bakker | Year: 2005
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had climbers perform two identical traverses, but at different heights, thereby inducing anxiety in those who traversed at a taller height. They found that anxiety caused climbers to move slower, grasp holds for longer, and perform a higher number of unnecessary moves. They suggest that high anxiety levels can decrease a climber’s performance.
REFERENCE: Q J Exp Psychol A. 2005 Apr;58(3):421-45.

Anxiety-performance relationships in climbing: a process-oriented approach

AUTHOR: JR Pijpers, RRD Oudejans, F. Holsheimer, FC Bakker | Year: 2003
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Authors of the study measured anxiety, heart rate, blood lactate (a byproduct of the body’s use of simple sugars formed in association with muscular fatigue, often associated with being “pumped”) concentration, and muscle fatigue, and climbing time and ease of movement in 13 novice climbers in order to understand anxiety and behavior in low- and high-anxiety climbing situations. The results showed that climbing higher produced more anxiety, that heart rate, muscle fatigue, and blood lactate concentrations were all significantly elevated, and that the ease, or fluency, of movement (as measured by the length of climbing time and geometric entropy) was impacted negatively.
REFERENCE: Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Vol 4, Issue 3, July 2003

Memory for the functional characteristics of climbing walls: perceiving affordances

AUTHOR: MS Boschker, FC Bakker, CF Michaels | Year: 2002
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers had inexperienced, novice, and expert climbers study a wall with 23 climbing holds, and then attempt to recreate it from memory on a scale model of the wall. Expert climbers were better at remembering information, and focused on how each of the holds would actually be used. Novice and inexperienced climbers could not recall as much information, and focused more on the structure of the holds and the wall.  Beta-Angel note: from a practical standpoint, expert climbers were able to accurately recall a moderately difficult route after approximately 6 attempts, whereas it took 9 attempts for novice climbers and even after 12 attempts, inexperienced participants couldn’t recall more than 80% of the route.
REFERENCE: J Mot Behav. 2002 Mar;34(1):25-36.
Full text:

Psychological profile of rock climbers: state and trait attributes

AUTHOR: P. Feher, MC Meyers, WA Skelly | Year: 1998
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers analyzed 57 adult rock climbers using a variety of established personality tests. They found that advanced climbers tended to experience more tension, depression, anger, confusion, and mood disturbance than newer climbers.
REFERENCE: Journal of Sport Behavior 1998 Vol.21 No.2 pp.167-180 ref.70