I sweat easily

It doesn’t take much to cause me to break out into a sweat. A tiny bit of exercise and I start sweating. Even the spices in the mildest spaghetti sauce will cause my forehead to start sweating.

It turns out my fear of heights triggers an increased heart rate and sweat—just from looking at this picture I took when I was in Yosemite last month:

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Update: Here is a cropped version of the same picture:

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Visualize where his center of gravity is versus his right foot. He’s taking a picture so he isn’t using much more than his proprioception and ears to maintain his balance.

Now give me a towel to wipe the sweat off.


I had to look away after taking the picture. It made me way too uncomfortable.

Barb wanted to look over a similar edge about 50 yards away. When she got within about eight feet I asked her to stop. It was making me too uncomfortable. She got down on her hands and knees and continued. As she got to within about two feet I again asked her to stop. She stretched out and looked over to my extreme discomfort. She pulled back and said, “That’s a long way down.”

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I don’t know why she is smiling unless for some bizarre reason she likes my sweat.

17 thoughts on “I sweat easily

    • Same here. I’m fine on ladders or rooftops, if I’m a safeish distance from the edge and/or have something to grab on to (or am on hands/knees).

  1. At Vernal Falls, there’s an overlook that sticks out past the falls, with a waist high railing. To get better pictures, I wrapped a leg around the railing and leaned further out. Oh yeah, was by myself and the closest hiker had left ten minutes earlier. The dumb is strong in this one. Thankfully, the legs are too.

  2. I hate heights with a burning passion, which is strange in a guy who’s almost six foot five I suppose.

  3. Here, Here! I couldn’t agree with you more, Joe. Anything over the height of a standard step ladder gets me going. I once quit a good paying job as an apprentice electrician at a coal mine when they told me I was going to be running lightening protection off the side of a 286′ coal silo. I believe my response was two words, one word starting with ‘F’, the other with ‘O’.

    No way, no how, Nuh Uh. You wouldn’t get me anywhere close to that rock.

  4. I tend to have that repulsion of heights problem, but once I spent the whole day at the ceiling in the center of a gymnasium installing a loudspeaker array, supported by a wobbly air lift while handling heavy equipment and power tools. I was very tired at the end of that day, mostly from the having the screaming heebie jeebies, litterally weak-knee’d, for such an extended period. The motivation was strong. I designed that sumbitch and no one else was going to install it. Some people would laugh at my reaction I suppose, and they would climb some multi hundreds of feet up an antenna tower without so much as an elevated heartbeat. My lizard brain doesn’t allow for such nonchalance.

    Point being; if there is a need, your understanding of basic mechanics, and reason, can overcome your primitive reactions. Ok, well sometimes. To an extent.

    There was a guy from my home county who trimmed trees for a living. He was afraid of heights. Before he went up, as he was putting his gear on, he would vomit from the stress. Then he was OK to climb.

    • I got a quote for doing some tree-trimming around the house. $500 a tree. I went and bought my own spurs and belt for less. As long as I have something to grab for balance, I’m mostly OK. No hand-hold, no comfort. But then, I’ve been climbing trees since I was two. My mom used to dress me in bright colors so she could find me in the tree-tops around the house – just about gave the preschool teacher a coronary when she came to visit and meet me for the first time.

    • I can push myself to do things that make me very uncomfortable in regards to heights. Multiple times I’ve climbed a ladder to a small (about 6′ x 6′) platform 80′ above the ground. I’ve put on spurs, a heavy leather belt, and climbed a 25′ power pole to install a yard light. I’ve spent a lot of time scrambling around on roofs. It’s just that I can feel the, sometimes extreme, discomfort in some circumstances associated with heights.

  5. Seeing those pictures, all I can think of is “Gravity always wins!”… I’m not too fond of standing on the edge of something that tall… The view may be delightful, but the sudden stop at the end of the drop is dreadful!

  6. Somewhere there’s a old-old photograph of my Grandfather on that rock in Yosemite (or one just like it) doing a hand-stand. (I thought it was called “Dolphin’s Nose” but that doesn’t seem to Googl-out correctly.) I get shaky at the edge where extreme heights come into play, maybe because edge-perception and detection is such a powerful and foundational visual element, an early development in the part of the primitive “lizard” cortex.
    I have an Austrian friend who walked across one of those giant arches in Moab where I would fear to tread, but he’s done some mountaineering and hang-gliding so has good impulse and motor-control.
    After zip-lining (where the cable suspends you), I fount that heights themselves were not so much the problem, so it must be the “falling feeling” and “abrupt landing” that results and terminates the experience.

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