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New Life List: Climb a Via Ferrata

Get a taste of the vertical alpine world--no experience required.
life_list-patit-via-445.jpgTouch the sky on Europe's Via Ferratas. (Patitucci Photo)

Key Skill: Get Comfortable with Extreme Exposure

» Take 10 deep breaths from the belly. This stimulates the vagus nerve, in the diaphragm, which dampens the flood of adrenaline and lowers your heart rate. Focus your vision on just one spot, like a handhold or a flower growing from the rock, until your breathing slows.

» Check your equipment to reassure yourself that you’re protected, and repeat a mantra to yourself, like “I am safe and in control.”

» Make a plan. Look for all possible hand- and footholds, decide which order to use them in, and then focus simply on executing that sequence while also remembering to breathe.

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