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Help! My Power is Leaking!
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arnoilgner


Jan 14, 2006, 7:31 AM
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Help! My Power is Leaking!
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Hello

I posted an article in the "articles" section on this subject. It is currently pending approval. When (if) it gets approved please read it and let's get a discussion going.
thanks, arno


saxfiend


Jan 16, 2006, 7:39 AM
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Just read your article, good advice.

This was timely as I experienced a moment of anxiety on lead this past weekend that I guess you could call a power leak. I was on a climb that went up a dihedral then traversed out right to face climbing. The holds on the face were less positive and covered with lichen. I had a good slot for pro but was not real confident in my stance. I took a quick look at my last pro (in the dihedral, 8-10 ft. back to the left); I was sort of dimly aware that if I fell I'd pendulum into the wall, but I didn't want to spend any mental energy on this because I felt like it would only distract me from the immediate task at hand (getting in a piece of pro). Long story short, I got in a piece without falling and finished the lead.

So looking back on this, I feel like I minimized my power leak by focusing on what I needed to do right then. I know you advise evaluating fall consequences, but doesn't that have the potential of being a distraction (and therefore a power leak)?

The other thing is that when I think about fall consequences on a lead climb, it tends to be something along the line of "well, there's nothing I can do about it at this point anyway, so I'm just going to make the next move and keep going." Is that just avoidance; is there a better way to approach this?

JL


dirtineye


Jan 16, 2006, 11:14 AM
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John, what climb were you on and how do you feel about your ability vs thew difficulty of the climb?

I'll jump in and say that your approach is wrong on the evaluation being a distraction. Maybe when you have more experience it will only take a quick glance, or a brief moment of your time, which is all it should take. If you are waiting til you are in trouble to make an evaluation, you could try anticipating potential problems and their solutions a little sooner, while you still have good options.

In your example, being dimly aware of a pendulum into a wall might be all the eval you need, as long as you already know how to deal with such a fall. If for example, you have taken such a fall successfully before and you will react correctly if you come off, you're good. On the other hand, if you are afraid of this sort of fall, have not ever done one of this kind, or maybe have other issues with falling, and you are going to have to sit there for 5 minutes pondering and planning, you might want to back track or downclimb to a rest postion and think things over there, where you don't have to spend a lot of energy to hold your place.

If you've climbed yourself into real trouble, as in, you are now facing certain injury from a near certain fall, I don't know what to tell you.

"Oh well, if I fall I'm screwed anyway", is an indicator that you have messed up badly, IF you are in over your head.

These last two sentences are extreme, and as a beginning leader you should take every precaution to avoid those situations-- by careful evaluation of your ability and your situation on the climb at the moment. Passing fail safe points would be a terrible idea for you personally on a run out 5.10 for instance.


One other thing, about style, ethics and such. Never let these things compromise your safety. IF you are on a crack, and it is way beyond your ability, and you are condsidering risking a ground fall because you think you could just make the next rest IF you don't stop to place pro, BY ALL MEANS get that thought out of your head, get in the gear, and live to fight another day, and forget about your brave and stupid act that is only meaningful in the long run if you fail.

End sermon, sorry. Let's go climbing soon.


saxfiend


Jan 16, 2006, 1:29 PM
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Hey, Curt, too bad you didn't join us on Sunday, we had fun exploring T-Wall South.

In reply to:
If you are waiting til you are in trouble to make an evaluation, you could try anticipating potential problems and their solutions a little sooner, while you still have good options.
Good comment. I was not over my head or "in trouble" on this climb, and I knew if I took the pendulum it wouldn't be fun, but I was not really worried about injury at that point. But you're right, I probably should have spent more time before I started the face moves to evaluate the fall potential/consequences. The climb was Sole Searcher, a 5.6 (sandbagged, of course :) ). I was going for the onsight, so there was a lot about the climb that I couldn't evaluate til I got there.

In reply to:
In your example, being dimly aware of a pendulum into a wall might be all the eval you need, as long as you already know how to deal with such a fall. If for example, you have taken such a fall successfully before and you will react correctly if you come off, you're good.
Yeah, I knew how to react if I fell. I knew it wouldn't be comfortable, but I wasn't worried about injury or death. My judgement at the time was that I was in good shape; if I'd felt otherwise, I'd have downclimbed and thought things over.

In reply to:
On the other hand, if you are afraid of this sort of fall, have not ever done one of this kind, or maybe have other issues with falling, and you are going to have to sit there for 5 minutes pondering and planning, you might want to back track or downclimb to a rest postion and think things over there, where you don't have to spend a lot of energy to hold your place.
This pretty much goes to the heart of my comments. I felt like it would be a waste of energy and concentration to think about falling at that point.

In reply to:
If you've climbed yourself into real trouble, as in, you are now facing certain injury from a near certain fall, I don't know what to tell you.
Heh heh, I bet you have a pretty good idea what to tell me! :D No -- like I said, I wasn't in over my head, and I was experiencing a "moment of anxiety," not stark screaming death terror.

In reply to:
"Oh well, if I fall I'm screwed anyway", is an indicator that you have messed up badly, IF you are in over your head.
That was NOT my thought process, and I didn't mean to give that impression. I've been in situations where I've climbed far enough above my last pro to realize that if I continued from there to the next good pro it would be a do-or-die situation, and instead of going on downclimbed a few feet to a stance where I could put in protection that would make the next moves safer. I don't think I expressed myself well; I guess it boils down to I don't feel like it's a good use of my time and energy when I'm in a tough spot to be thinking about falling. I will or I won't. And if I do, I already know I'm not going to die.

Reading back through this, it makes me think I really am evaluating consequences before moving on, but without doing that evaluation in a conscious or systematic way. Maybe that's what I need to do to avoid that "moment of anxiety" that could turn into a power leak.

Thanks for the good sermon, O PI Guru!

JL


dirtineye


Jan 16, 2006, 5:28 PM
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You have to be one with the PI.


When you can snatch the benedryll from my hand it will be time for you to leave greasshopper!

Well it sounds like you are doing better than your first post allowed then.

Here's an Arno-style question:

When you were uncomfortable with your stance, did you first think of trying to improve your stance, and look for little things that would make your position more comfortable? By more comfortable I mean that you could stay there more efficiently, wiht less energy expendature. That would allow you more time and peace of mind to then concentrate on gear placing.

It's hard to think of a normal 5.6 face where this would not be possible.


saxfiend


Jan 16, 2006, 5:53 PM
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In reply to:
Here's an Arno-style question:

When you were uncomfortable with your stance, did you first think of trying to improve your stance, and look for little things that would make your position more comfortable? By more comfortable I mean that you could stay there more efficiently, wiht less energy expendature. That would allow you more time and peace of mind to then concentrate on gear placing.
I did do that, and I made adjustments to get to what seemed like the best possible stance. Feet weren't too bad, just not a lot of good choices for hands. I picked the least slopey feature I could find, brushed off several years worth of lichen, plugged in my pro and slung it/clipped it, and moved on.

It wasn't that bad, really, just a lot thinner than I had expected on an "easy" route. Maybe more of a power drip than a full-fledged power leak! :)

JL


dirtineye


Jan 18, 2006, 9:22 AM
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Did we do the Elephant Crack at Palisades together? I can't remember. That's a 5.6 that you would need to be a solid 5.9 trad leader to do with great confidence, LOL.

Just one more thing about 5.6 slab (I think you said your climb was a 5.6 slab?) YOU usually don't need great hands on slab. You might try sometimes seeing just how well you can do on such a climb only using your hands for balance.

P1 of the OR, 5.7 at whitesides is a climb where 95% of the time your hands have nothing to actually hold onto. I'm NOT reccommending this climb to you at this point though, unless you follow it.


saxfiend


Jan 18, 2006, 10:06 AM
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In reply to:
Did we do the Elephant Crack at Palisades together? I can't remember. That's a 5.6 that you would need to be a solid 5.9 trad leader to do with great confidence, LOL.

Just one more thing about 5.6 slab (I think you said your climb was a 5.6 slab?) YOU usually don't need great hands on slab. You might try sometimes seeing just how well you can do on such a climb only using your hands for balance.

P1 of the OR, 5.7 at whitesides is a climb where 95% of the time your hands have nothing to actually hold onto. I'm NOT reccommending this climb to you at this point though, unless you follow it.
Yes, we did Elephant Crack, you led it, bad elbow and all. To paraphrase Orwell, some 5.6s are more 5.6 than others. :?

And no, my climb was not a slab route. It was a dihedral crack traversing to a vertical face. Not a no-hands situation.

JL


arnoilgner


Jan 24, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Hi saxfiend, sorry for the delay in replying.

Your comment: I know you advise evaluating fall consequences, but doesn't that have the potential of being a distraction (and therefore a power leak)?

Well...yes, initially. But, we must remember the foundational goal--learning. By assessing the fall consequence you fully face its reality. Then, you see how well you can move forward. If you are distracted by what you faced (fall consequence) then you need to investigate that so it won't be such a distraction in the future. Eg. falling practice. You do not want to trick yourself into committing or take a casual attitude. You want to be fully attentive to the consequences, identify what is distracting, and investigate those distractions to learn to overcome them.

Your comment: The other thing is that when I think about fall consequences on a lead climb, it tends to be something along the line of "well, there's nothing I can do about it at this point anyway, so I'm just going to make the next move and keep going." Is that just avoidance; is there a better way to approach this?

It's not avoidance, per se, but it is hoping behavior instead of doing something intentional. If you are simply hoping everything turns out ok then you are at the mercy of luck. Rather, you can do something about "it" by deciding NOT to take the risk, or if you've already committed you can down-climb, if the consequences are dangerous. If you are on well-protected trad/sport then you do want to commit forward but not by hoping but by deliberate intention to climb forward.
Does this help?
arno


saxfiend


Jan 24, 2006, 7:37 PM
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Thanks for the comments, Arno.

In reply to:
It's not avoidance, per se, but it is hoping behavior instead of doing something intentional. If you are simply hoping everything turns out ok then you are at the mercy of luck. Rather, you can do something about "it" by deciding NOT to take the risk, or if you've already committed you can down-climb, if the consequences are dangerous. If you are on well-protected trad/sport then you do want to commit forward but not by hoping but by deliberate intention to climb forward.

This is a good observation. In this particular instance, "hoping behavior" is probably what was going on: "I'm here, and rather than considering retreating or worrying about falling, I'm going to continue and hope for the best."

Most of the time, I feel like my thought process is that I'm not going to put any energy into concern about falling because I've already weighed the pros and cons and committed myself, so thinking about anything besides the task at hand detracts from that commitment. So for the situation I've described here, a better mental attitude would have been not to hope I wouldn't fall, but instead to have evaluated the situation better in advance, then proceed with the knowledge that if I did fall I would be prepared for it. Would you agree?

JL


arnoilgner


Jan 25, 2006, 8:36 AM
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Yes, I agree. Well stated. Prepare better before you go and then all attention must be focused on climbing, not falling or concerns about falling.
arno


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