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Getting over lead falling
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Partner cracklover

Oct 18, 2012, 12:06 PM
Post #26 of 28 (518 views)

Registered: Nov 14, 2002
Posts: 10161

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:

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:



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,



Oct 18, 2012, 1:59 PM
Post #27 of 28 (500 views)

Registered: Oct 4, 2010
Posts: 494

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.


Oct 18, 2012, 7:45 PM
Post #28 of 28 (472 views)

Registered: Sep 26, 2004
Posts: 3389

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.


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