Ep. 11 - Psyched on the Psyche: Performance Psychology & the Ethics of Development with Tom Beirne

Dec 21, 2023

In today’s episode with Tom Beirne, we talk about the psychology of performance and the ethics of developing a new dry-tooling crag.

Tom doesn’t love labels — and definitely don’t call him the dry-tooling guy — but to help paint a picture he’s a mixed climber from Seattle who especially enjoys questing, runs The Barn, a dry-tooling gym, helped to develop Wayne’s World, a dry-tooling crag, and is a former high-level collegiate athlete and World Cup competitor… in dry-tooling.

Through all of his experiences he’s been fascinated by the psychology of learning, training and performance — especially as it relates to exploring choss piles or competing. As Tom quotes in our chat, “you don't rise to your level of expectation, but fall to your level of training”. 

Interested in how to raise your own level of training and rise to the occasion? Listen on.


2:23 - On changing on the name of "dry-tooling"

3:44 - Starting The Barn

7:44 - Getting into climbing and solo lead climbing as a beginner

17:47 - The joy of questing

28:43 - Dry-tooling in Korea and training for the World Cup

38:26 - Lessons from the military: Stress inoculation, learning to suffer well, and practice

45:54 - Self-reflection and keeping a climbing diary

53:03 - Visualization tactics

57:03 - Know (and examine) your motivations

1:00:08: - Developing Wayne's World

1:09:52: - Ethical considerations for development

Resources and links:

Want to climb at The Barn and train with Tom? You can check out their schedule and upcoming events here.

In the area and looking to climb at Wayne's World? This is the Mountain Project page. And here is an article with both Wayne and Kyle talking more about the development.

Ready to dive into your own motivations and psychology when it comes to climbing? Tom was greatly influenced by Arno Ilgner's "The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training For Climbers".

Lastly, a big thanks to Kyle for offering a few Ice Screw Cannons for this episode's giveaway. To learn more about his speciality climbing gear, including ultralight backpacks, aid ladders, and portaledge system, head to highmtngear.com.


Of course, a big thanks to our sponsors for supporting this show!

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NW Alpine: There aren’t many companies that make climbing-specific apparel in the U.S., but NW Alpine does, and have been since 2010. They started with simple principles: to create functional and durable clothing for people who get after it in the alpine. Today, their Black Spider is a lightweight, grid fleece hoody for moving fast in the mountains while their Fortis line is made from fabric spun with ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibers so you can tackle project after project after project. Learn more about their products at nwalpine.com.


Tom would like to thank his partner, Renai, for her support spanning many adventures. 

Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!).

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.