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inahurry


Oct 17, 2012, 2:25 PM
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Getting over lead falling
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i've recently stared lead climbing at my gym. The group i'm has started to take lead falls to overcome any fears. I would really love some help getting over that horrible feeling in my stomach when i let go, i get so freaked out i think i will never advance in lead climbing please help.


ItsEvan23


Oct 17, 2012, 2:33 PM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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Hey dont get down on yourself as this is very understandable.

When climbing at the gym get yourself on an overhanging wall if they have one. If not you can surely practice this on a vertical wall.

Begin by climbing past your last bolt and just communicate with your belayer over and over on a 1,2,3 count and take a bunch of practice falls. Do it in different positions etc to get yourself comfy. I had this feeling as well until i took a nice 15 foot whipper outside and just screamed with happiness when i ended up 15 feet from the ground fine.

Getting your mind ahead of this is VERY essential in advancing your lead skills. When im climbing the 5.12's im working on i would never make progress constantly thinking about my fall factor and safety. focus on your body and how you can be most efficient with your feet at that moment. its very unlikely that you will get hurt (assuming your belayer is competent) falling on lead unless you're on a low angle slab where you might bump some knees pretty hard.

sorry for rambling, get at it and take some big falls!


inahurry


Oct 17, 2012, 3:25 PM
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Thank you so much for the advice. I'm really inspired to get out there and just take a nice fall and get it over with. I will definitely take your advice and work on some practice falls.


tradmanclimbs


Oct 17, 2012, 5:48 PM
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Your Gonna Die


RobAT


Oct 17, 2012, 7:15 PM
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Don't practice falling. especially if it scares you. Climb safe and hard and falling will take care of itself.

For what it's worth, my first intentional fall was twelve years after my first lead and after 80-100 accidental falls. I fell 90% of the way to the ground trying to teach my belayer a lesson in the dangers of lead-climbing. It could have been a disaster and I escape by shear dumb luck. Almost nothing that I did contributed to my safety. I can think of no compelling reason to intentionally fall off a climb.


vinnie83


Oct 17, 2012, 8:25 PM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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I took up base jumping a few years back and now falls don't seem to bother me too much, at least as long as they are clean and well protected. That would involve you getting into a completely different hobby and probably be counterproductive.


guangzhou


Oct 17, 2012, 8:25 PM
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Re: [RobAT] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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Robat,

I couldn't disagree more.

First, this person is practicing in a gym. Gyms have bolts rather close together and overhanging wall offer a safe environment to practice falling in. making sure he's not back-clipped and make sure his belayer can handle catching a lead fall.

Reasons to practice falling include getting over you fear of falling. Unless you are comfortable with falling, you can never push your limits in climbing. Hesitation will seep in, especially when a move becomes a bit hard and you think you might fall while attempting the move.

Learning to fall is the key. learning to fall mean getting comfortable with the system, learning to identify when it's safe to fall, and understanding that falling is part of the process.

Actually, when someone takes a leading class from me, my climbing gym, or my guide service, fall is part of it. Every learning to lead class in our program, from Gym Climbing to Trad Climbing as a falling component. In our gym, to pass the "lead Certification" you have to demonstrate a fall.

Like you, my first fall was not practiced. Took a 40ft fall on pitch three of a Yosemite classic. I was uninjured, but Psychologically the fall effected my climbing and confidence. if I had practiced all along, I would have moved on much quicker.

Sorry you took a big fall where you fell 90% of the way to the ground. Not sure how far that is because I have no idea how high you were. I do believe that at the time, you had not developed your ability to assess the risk of what you were doing.


guangzhou


Oct 17, 2012, 8:28 PM
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Re: [RobAT] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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RobAT wrote:
Don't practice falling. especially if it scares you. Climb safe and hard and falling will take care of itself.

For what it's worth, my first intentional fall was twelve years after my first lead and after 80-100 accidental falls. I fell 90% of the way to the ground trying to teach my belayer a lesson in the dangers of lead-climbing. It could have been a disaster and I escape by shear dumb luck. Almost nothing that I did contributed to my safety. I can think of no compelling reason to intentionally fall off a climb.

Just don't want to to disappear, especially the bold part.


bearbreeder


Oct 17, 2012, 8:37 PM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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1. find a good belayer ...

2. find a good overhanging route in the gym that is within your abilities ...

3. tell the belayer something like "keep me tight on the first 3-4 bolts and after that give me a dynamic belay (if they arent a lot lighter than you)"

4. climb ... be very careful to keep your feet on the outside of the rope, especially on traverses ...

5. if you dont fall before then ... when you get to the top just let go and take the fall

those who are not willing to fall on safe clean falls at the gym or on sport ... dont even bother listening to them ... basically those people will never progress anywhere and will hold you back ...

they are people who are too afraid to admit their own fears .... and they dont climb very hard at all

i honestly dont know anyone climbing well into the 11s and 12s trad or sport who wont take a fall when its good/clean and on good backed up gear

Tongue


shockabuku


Oct 17, 2012, 9:16 PM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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Here's a starting point for some ideas: http://warriorsway.com/


RobAT


Oct 18, 2012, 3:51 AM
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Re: [guangzhou] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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guangzhou,
well spotted. I was hoping someone would pick up on that one.

Most (all) of the people that I know who are really good climbers are pretty comfortable falling. Fear is obviously a performance killer, I'm just not sure that practice falling is the way to go. Do you think there is more benefit to intentionally falling than the alternative?


guangzhou


Oct 18, 2012, 4:18 AM
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RobAT wrote:
guangzhou,
well spotted. I was hoping someone would pick up on that one.

Most (all) of the people that I know who are really good climbers are pretty comfortable falling. Fear is obviously a performance killer, I'm just not sure that practice falling is the way to go. Do you think there is more benefit to intentionally falling than the alternative?

If you are scare of falling when the falls are safe, than it's a weakness in your climbing. As a climber, I do what I can to work on my weaknesses. Can improve things if you don't practice or train for them.


ecade


Oct 18, 2012, 5:45 AM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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inahurry wrote:
i've recently stared lead climbing at my gym. The group i'm has started to take lead falls to overcome any fears. I would really love some help getting over that horrible feeling in my stomach when i let go, i get so freaked out i think i will never advance in lead climbing please help.

This is a game I played with a buddy and I found it very helpful.

So when you're scared of falling, in gym, where most likely the entire area is an safe falling zone (provided your belayer is competent and you don't have a clipping fall high up that you ground on), I say take the fall.

But what happens:
1) you make a clip and call take - this is bad, its will (or at least for me) cause me to see clips as save points and it was harder for me to move fluidly
2) you will clip easier routes where you know you won't fall.

So me and a buddy played the following game
He picks my route, I pick his route. You can't call take, well you can, but, your belayer won't take, calling take just lets your belayer know to reassure and support you and to be ready that you may fall. Once you take the fall you can jug up and rest.

Of course there are limitations. Like you can't put someone on a route that is well past their working grade (we would decide on that before each session). And, like I hate sloppers, hate hate hate, so I could if he said do this route and upon examining I saw that I had to make a precarious clip off a slopper choose a route of a harder grade.

We never played this game outdoors, but I found that having played it indoors made me more confident outdoors.

Play it for a few sessions and you might find it helps.

Best of luck and of course, don't get hurt, decide for yourself, regular disclaimer stuff... I just don;t want any liability

cheers

(Oh, and I've not read the entire thread only your post, so sorry if someone offered this already and if anyone gives you crap, just ignore them, its the standard here on this site)


j-s


Oct 18, 2012, 8:08 AM
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I am not leading yet, but I can tell you about my fall experiences with top roping.

First. Let me say that the fear of falling is sometimes unconscious for many people. I mean : you know that the fall will be safe, but hesitate to let go the wall and find yourself over-gripping each hold with an unconscious fear of falling.

It's part of human nature. However I remarked that kids at the gym have less fear of falling than adults, perhaps because our sense of risk and danger grows as we get older.

For my part, I have never practiced falling when following my TR climbing courses. I think this was lacking and the gym should make new climbers practice falls when they take any course, wether its TR or lead climbing. This way, the climber can reduce his fear of falling, and the belayer can know how it feels and how to stop a fall efficiently and safely (always have a backup belayer if you are novice).

My first fall experience was when I got climbing outside for the second time, still having that kind of fear of heights that's sometimes present when you begin this sport. My partner was a lot more experience than me. However, when climbing one specific route where you have to get out of an overhang located atop, I could not grab the hold and just slipped off the rock. This was an unexpected fall and I could not even tell me belayer that I was falling. Fortunately there was little slack in the rope so I did not fall very low. But the fact it was outside, on a high route, and that it happened unexpectedly made me scream like I was insane.

How happy was I when I realized I was not dead. My partner took a good laugh at me and explained me that fear will subside over time.

Nowadays, in the gym, I am still kind of frightened of falling : what if the belayer does not stop my fall? If the rope breaks?



This is one of the things that only practicing will help you overcome. If not overcome, it will impair your climbing as you will always have this fear in the back of your mind, even if you are not aware of it. It's there, you feel it, and you become insecure, nervous and overgripping holds as you get higher up the routes.

(If you dislike practicing falls, you have to take a one, at least once, wether its intentional or not : just so you know you can trust yrou belayer and the gear. From that point, one has already made a huge step).


(This post was edited by j-s on Oct 18, 2012, 8:16 AM)


Partner cracklover


Oct 18, 2012, 8:36 AM
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shockabuku wrote:
Here's a starting point for some ideas: http://warriorsway.com/

The above has worked for some folks. For others, it's just way too much mumbo-jumbo.

If you'd like a more practical approach, I'd suggest the clip-drop methodology, which I have personally found to be superb: http://www.ukclimbing.com/...les/page.php?id=1838

Cheers,

GO


lena_chita
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Oct 18, 2012, 9:34 AM
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cracklover wrote:
shockabuku wrote:
Here's a starting point for some ideas: http://warriorsway.com/

The above has worked for some folks. For others, it's just way too much mumbo-jumbo.

If you'd like a more practical approach, I'd suggest the clip-drop methodology, which I have personally found to be superb: http://www.ukclimbing.com/...les/page.php?id=1838

Cheers,

GO

I do get the basic idea behind the method-- start with clipping-and-dropping (which is, essentially, a toprope fall), and then progress to taking slightly bigger falls in really small increments.

My problem with that method is that, having taken falls from slightly above/below the just-clipped bolt, I find these falls to be very jarring and unpleasant, compared to a bigger fall from well above the last bolt. And combined with the draw placement usually being somewhat to the side of where your body's gravity center is, this kind of short fall usually includes a bit of a swing.

I personally absolutely hate the swing part of it. It feels like the rope pulling me sideways really messes up the nicely balanced sense of falling with gravity. I feel like it actually doesn't teach people to stay in a good "falling cat" position, when they start with these small falls and learn to expect the jarring pull and wall impact.

Yes, I do get that giving a dynamic belay will make the swing into the wall less severe, and the catch softer. Having extra rope out for the essentially-toprope falls in the first stages of clip-drop will also make the swing less bad. But in the clip-drop technique they tell people to give a "snug catch" in the first stages, and to me it seems that for a person who is already afraid of falling those falls would be so unpleasant that they will be counterproductive.


Fred20


Oct 18, 2012, 10:15 AM
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I went on my first climb outside (Sand Rock) and took 2 pretty hard falls on the same route. Neither were intentional since the holds were slopers and it was just the crux of the climb.

On the 1st fall, my left toe got jammed pretty good, the 2nd my left leg caught the rope while i swang to the side (was above clip to the right)

Not sure there is anything I could have done to avoid getting my left leg caught by the rope... it turned me around and put me upside down except my right heal kicked the wall pretty hard and I was able to reorientate myself from there.

Needless to say I was glad I was caught each time, but could only think that maybe the catches weren't dynamic enough (I saw the belayer slide on the ground when I got turned around the 2nd time, he was heavier than me, not much tho).

I know everyone talks about helmets only protecting mostly for rockfall, but after my 2nd fall I couldnt stop thinking about how much it would have sucked if my right leg didnt catch the wall and if my head and stopped the fall.

good thing my harness was on tight or I surely would have come out of it! :P


csproul


Oct 18, 2012, 10:21 AM
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Fred20 wrote:
I went on my first climb outside (Sand Rock) and took 2 pretty hard falls on the same route. Neither were intentional since the holds were slopers and it was just the crux of the climb.

On the 1st fall, my left toe got jammed pretty good, the 2nd my left leg caught the rope while i swang to the side (was above clip to the right)

Not sure there is anything I could have done to avoid getting my left leg caught by the rope... it turned me around and put me upside down except my right heal kicked the wall pretty hard and I was able to reorientate myself from there.

Needless to say I was glad I was caught each time, but could only think that maybe the catches weren't dynamic enough (I saw the belayer slide on the ground when I got turned around the 2nd time, he was heavier than me, not much tho).

I know everyone talks about helmets only protecting mostly for rockfall, but after my 2nd fall I couldnt stop thinking about how much it would have sucked if my right leg didnt catch the wall and if my head and stopped the fall.

good thing my harness was on tight or I surely would have come out of it! :P
What does this have to do with the OP's question?

I think you answered your own question. Don't let the rope get behind your leg and you won't get flipped upside-down.


markc


Oct 18, 2012, 10:47 AM
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If you're going to practice falling, a couple of caveats to keep in mind. You have to make sure that the fall is going to be as safe as possible. If you're not skilled at evaluating the potential consequences of a fall, it's a good idea to have a more experienced partner providing input.

An acquaintance habitually took practice falls in the gym. He took an intentional but unannounced fall low on a route, and ended up colliding with his belayer. The belayer's nose was broken, but he kept the climber off the deck. The belayer was obviously in a bad position, but the climber should have analyzed the consequences before lobbing off.

This should go without saying in any context, but you also have to make sure that your belayer is solid. A climber in the habit of taking victory whippers was dropped by her belayer and had significant injuries. She's certainly not the only person to post about getting dropped by a belayer. In climbing, there is always some degree of risk.


bearbreeder


Oct 18, 2012, 10:56 AM
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the other danger ive seen over and over again about people who dont take practice falls is that they often dont have any sense of where the rope is ...

when you climb with the intention of falling in mind in the gym, you should be quite aware of where the rope is and how youre clipped ...

ive seen people who have been leading for "years" or even "decades" but say they never fall climb consistenly with their ropes behind their legs .... because they never visualize it or have any real experience with it happening ... especially on traverses

ive also seen em shake like a dog when climbing above their gear or bolt all the time ...


Fred20


Oct 18, 2012, 10:56 AM
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 when i fell my leg wasn't behind the rope...when rope swang me to the left my left leg got caught, not sure if that makes sense, makes me wish i had a video to review, unless being to one side of the rope means it is given your foot is behind it...

As far as OP, I agree only that in order to be comfortable with lead falls you should practice as safely as possible, since i've taken falls before i wasn't expecting my leg to get caught, but it did.


bearbreeder


Oct 18, 2012, 11:09 AM
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Fred20 wrote:
when i fell my leg wasn't behind the rope...when rope swang me to the left my left leg got caught, not sure if that makes sense, makes me wish i had a video to review, unless being to one side of the rope means it is given your foot is behind it...

As far as OP, I agree only that in order to be comfortable with lead falls you should practice as safely as possible, since i've taken falls before i wasn't expecting my leg to get caught, but it did.


if you are above your last bolt on a traversing part, both feet should be to the outside of the rope ... so yr case if you were to the right and above the last bolt, keep yr feet to the right of the rope

now on a diagonal fall you need to be fairly careful of the rope BELOW the last bolt/pro ... be especially wary if the rope runs vertical till the last bolt, at which point you traverse ...because when you fall you will swing and your feet can clip the rope BELOW the bolt/pro ....

in this case a dynamic belay would help if it was possible, or be aware of the situation and be ready to watch your feet in the fall ...

none of this will you learn by not not falling ... you only learn this through experience ....

theres 2 parts IMO to learning to fall ...

first is what you can do BEFORE the fall ... ie put in the proper gear on traverses, keep you feet in the right positions, have a plan of action to access and avoid the dangers of a fall, and if you should fall be aware of what actions you might have to make ....

second is the have the presence of mind as to what to do DURING the fall ... do you hop back slightly to avoid a ledge, watching your feet during the fall, assuming the fall position ... etc ...

NEITHER of which you will learn by not taking or be willing to take "safe" falls


Fred20


Oct 18, 2012, 11:14 AM
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bearbreader described it perfectly, thanks!


csproul


Oct 18, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Fred20 wrote:
when i fell my leg wasn't behind the rope...when rope swang me to the left my left leg got caught, not sure if that makes sense, makes me wish i had a video to review, unless being to one side of the rope means it is given your foot is behind it...

As far as OP, I agree only that in order to be comfortable with lead falls you should practice as safely as possible, since i've taken falls before i wasn't expecting my leg to get caught, but it did.
Your leg should be behind the rope; ie the rope should be between your leg and the rock, not behind your leg. If you got flipped upside-down then almost certainly your leg caught on the rope or on some rock feature. Since you said:
Fred20 wrote:
Not sure there is anything I could have done to avoid getting my left leg caught by the rope...

I can only assume it was the former.

After reading Bearbreeder's post, I can see you may be talking about the rope below the last bolt catching your foot. This is a bit different, but I still don't see how this would flip you upside-down. It'd spin you, but I can't visualize how you'd get flipped.


(This post was edited by csproul on Oct 18, 2012, 11:21 AM)


Fred20


Oct 18, 2012, 11:28 AM
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i guess it was more like a spin, i was just facing down, sorry for confusion


Partner cracklover


Oct 18, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
cracklover wrote:
shockabuku wrote:
Here's a starting point for some ideas: http://warriorsway.com/

The above has worked for some folks. For others, it's just way too much mumbo-jumbo.

If you'd like a more practical approach, I'd suggest the clip-drop methodology, which I have personally found to be superb: http://www.ukclimbing.com/...les/page.php?id=1838

Cheers,

GO

I do get the basic idea behind the method-- start with clipping-and-dropping (which is, essentially, a toprope fall), and then progress to taking slightly bigger falls in really small increments.

My problem with that method is that, having taken falls from slightly above/below the just-clipped bolt, I find these falls to be very jarring and unpleasant, compared to a bigger fall from well above the last bolt. And combined with the draw placement usually being somewhat to the side of where your body's gravity center is, this kind of short fall usually includes a bit of a swing.

I personally absolutely hate the swing part of it. It feels like the rope pulling me sideways really messes up the nicely balanced sense of falling with gravity. I feel like it actually doesn't teach people to stay in a good "falling cat" position, when they start with these small falls and learn to expect the jarring pull and wall impact.

Yes, I do get that giving a dynamic belay will make the swing into the wall less severe, and the catch softer. Having extra rope out for the essentially-toprope falls in the first stages of clip-drop will also make the swing less bad. But in the clip-drop technique they tell people to give a "snug catch" in the first stages, and to me it seems that for a person who is already afraid of falling those falls would be so unpleasant that they will be counterproductive.

Your concerns are reasonable, but I think you simply misread the article. They don't suggest doing what you think they suggest. They definitely don't have you give a snug catch in the "first stages". Rather, in both the first stage and the third stage the belayer practices giving progressively more dynamic catches.

The only times a snug belay are recommended are
- At the beginning of the first stage:

In reply to:
First Stage
Tope rope falls. Climb up any route on a top rope. Take top rope, rope stretch falls at each bolt as you progress up the wall. Belay style: from snug belaying to a dynamic belay. This is good training for a belayer who isn't familiar with dynamic belays.

- Then again for the second stage...

In reply to:
Second Stage
Clip-Drop. Clip at shoulder height and drop. Belayer does very close snug belaying. Essentially rope stretch falls.

But these are supposed to be essentially TR falls also. The bolt should be right at your shoulder/head, and the climber should be below the bolt, not to the side. Definitely no whipping around or getting pulled sideways. You can see this stage at 1:40 in the video on the page I referenced.

The falling position you're describing is actually what happens at stage four...

In reply to:
Fourth Stage
Clip-Fall. Clip at shoulder height and make a move past the clipped bolt or clip at waist or in an 'awkward position' (e.g., choose route with lots of sidepulls and flagging moves) and then let go of the hold(s). Dynamic belay essential. Think about position of feet relative to rope and learn how to avoid being flipped or burning legs before next stage.
(emphasis mine)

So as you can see, they agree that for such falls, a dynamic belay is essential.

Hope that helps,

GO


saint_john


Oct 18, 2012, 1:59 PM
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Re: [inahurry] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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inahurry wrote:
i've recently stared lead climbing at my gym. The group i'm has started to take lead falls to overcome any fears. I would really love some help getting over that horrible feeling in my stomach when i let go, i get so freaked out i think i will never advance in lead climbing please help.

I've seen noobs taking seriously risky "practice falls" in the gym.
Do you trust your belayer? If your belayer is a noob can you practice falls with an experienced climber?
An experienced climber should be able to help you take practice falls in the safest possible way. That could help eliviate some of the fear you may experience.


guangzhou


Oct 18, 2012, 7:45 PM
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Re: [saint_john] Getting over lead falling [In reply to]
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While reading this, it reminded me of the first ascent of the Salathe Wall on El-Capitan. The exposure was so bad, that they were taking practice falls to clear their head. Those practice falls helped them focus more while climbing.

I am a big fan of the Warrior's Way and can say the author lives what he writes. I do think that a course/clinic from him is much easier than the book.

Eman


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