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Falling on a lead climb question
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bioject


Mar 19, 2011, 1:03 AM
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Falling on a lead climb question
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I'm going to be doing my first lead climb tomorrow at a rock gym and I've been doing a lot of reading and research on the internet to prepare for it tomorrow. Having observed other people lead climb, it seems very common to fear and of course avoid falling at all costs.

As part of my research, I watched an instructional DVD called Sport Climbing 101 with Chris Lindner and the guy was talking about how falling was no big deal and quite fun actually. He obviously has the confidence and knows how to fall right every time.

The big question I have is, if ropes are rated for at least 5 factor 2 falls and you have to rely on a very experienced belayer to be ready to take the fall, and you could possibly crash into something while falling, why does Chris Lindner seem to be saying the opposite of what most of my climbing buddies feel about it? Also after a few good falls, wouldn't you want to throw that rope away out of fear of rope breakage?


shockabuku


Mar 19, 2011, 5:27 AM
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Re: [bioject] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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Factor 2 falls are very severe, and (in normal circumstances) don't happen in the gym or even outdoors on single pitch routes. You can look up the standard for calculating fall factor. In general, in order to experience a fall factor greater than 1 you have to fall below your belayer. Since in the gym your belayer is (normally) standing on the ground - it doesn't happen. Any climbing rope you're liable to encounter can take a huge number of relatively low fall factor falls. Gradually they tend to lose their elasticity and when they start to get stiff, you replace them. For a gym rope, which gets used probably daily, that takes on the order of 6 months I would guess.

Falling is generally more scary than dangerous though it certainly does have opportunity for disaster. Most climbing gyms place their lead climbing on overhanging walls that eliminate most of the danger of hitting something as you fall. This doesn't mean it's entirely safe however. You still have to prevent yourself from getting entangled in the rope and you need a competent belayer to make sure you have an appropriate amount of slack based on where you're climbing.

Learning how to fall safely is a skill. You start with easy situations, i.e. short, straight down falls, build confidence and knowledge, and grow from there. It's best to learn from someone who is experienced if that opportunity is available. If not, read a lot and be conservative. What you don't know can hurt you in this sport.


rockforlife


Mar 19, 2011, 8:21 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink


StuMsg


Mar 19, 2011, 8:37 AM
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Fall Factor = total distance fallen by lead / total length of rope between lead and belay

Chuck was free climbing above two multi-pitch climbers. Chuck then ripped off a hold and fell 10m grabbed the lead climber bellow who was 10m above his partnerand anchor (with no gear between).
Chuck fell 30m and there was ten meters of rope. 30/10 = factor 3 fall!!


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2011, 10:09 AM
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bioject wrote:
I'm going to be doing my first lead climb tomorrow at a rock gym and I've been doing a lot of reading and research on the internet to prepare for it tomorrow. Having observed other people lead climb, it seems very common to fear and of course avoid falling at all costs.

As part of my research, I watched an instructional DVD called Sport Climbing 101 with Chris Lindner and the guy was talking about how falling was no big deal and quite fun actually. He obviously has the confidence and knows how to fall right every time.

The big question I have is, if ropes are rated for at least 5 factor 2 falls and you have to rely on a very experienced belayer to be ready to take the fall, and you could possibly crash into something while falling, why does Chris Lindner seem to be saying the opposite of what most of my climbing buddies feel about it? Also after a few good falls, wouldn't you want to throw that rope away out of fear of rope breakage?

Falling is a big deal. You can get hurt, maimed or even killed in a relatively short and routine fall. Falling is also a normal, necessary and fun part of climbing. The key to falling safely is both planning ahead and maintaining good body position as you fall. Unfortunately you won't be able to do all that every time either. Sometimes you will simply have to hope that luck is on your side.

Oh and don't worry about the rope breaking. They sometimes get cut over an edge or from being pinched behind a flake, but the don't break.

Have fun out there!


pdpcardsfan


Mar 19, 2011, 10:44 AM
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I didnt think Chuck Norris ever fell...


rangerrob


Mar 19, 2011, 11:28 AM
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I have to correct Notapplicable here. Ropes do cut completely through on sharp edges if not protected properly. While this is not at all commonplace, it is not impossible, and happens sometimes. The edge, and the rock, have to be fairly sharp, and the fall generally a lead fall. But to say this doesn't happen ever is not exactly correct.

I kind of feel that the part of lead climbing that is least paid attention by beginning leaders is leading with the rope positioned correctly as you climb. A leader needs to be aware of where the rope is running between and around the legs. Falling with the rope behind your leg will almost gaurantee being flipped upside down. That in turn increases your odds or hitting your head, or heaven forbid, falling out of your harness if you haven't put it on correctly.

Take the time while making moves to know where the rope is. If you need to make an extra move to keep the rope free of your legs, then do it. Eventually it will be second nature when you move in certain ways to flip the rope where it needs to be, and you will be a safer leader.

RR

Oh and I forgot the dreaded behind the knee rope burn.......that totally sucks.


notapplicable


Mar 19, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Re: [rangerrob] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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rangerrob wrote:
I have to correct Notapplicable here. Ropes do cut completely through on sharp edges if not protected properly. While this is not at all commonplace, it is not impossible, and happens sometimes.

Um.

notapplicable wrote:
Oh and don't worry about the rope breaking. They sometimes get cut over an edge or from being pinched behind a flake, but they don't break.


bearbreeder


Mar 19, 2011, 2:03 PM
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Re: [bioject] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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the trick is knowing where you can or cant fall ...

a whipper on a chris sharma overhung project ... youll be fine

a whipper on a ledgy, less than vertical climb ... hope you got medical insurance

course ... in a gym you can always fall if its bolted properly

Wink


qtm


Mar 19, 2011, 2:50 PM
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Re: [rockforlife] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink

Climber is 4' above the belayer when he falls.

Belayer, without thinking, hauls in 2' of slack.

Climber falls 6' on 2' of rope, for a FF3 fall.


Khoi


Mar 19, 2011, 10:21 PM
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rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink

He was doing a via ferrata?


rangerrob


Mar 20, 2011, 4:44 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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Notapplicable, sorry the way you worded that made it sound like sometimes ropes cut a little over an edge, but will never break in two over an edge. Just making sure the OP knew the difference. My bad.

RR


notapplicable


Mar 20, 2011, 8:35 AM
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Re: [rangerrob] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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rangerrob wrote:
Notapplicable, sorry the way you worded that made it sound like sometimes ropes cut a little over an edge, but will never break in two over an edge. Just making sure the OP knew the difference. My bad.

RR

Ah, yeah I can see the potential ambiguity in the way I arranged those remarks. Good call on the clarification.


dan2see


Mar 20, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Re: [pdpcardsfan] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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pdpcardsfan wrote:
I didnt think Chuck Norris ever fell...

Sure, he could do any stunt that would actually put his life in serious danger. It takes real guts to be brave, but it takes real brains to get seriously more dangerous!

You notice, in the movie, there was danger of a ff-2, and he kindly let the other guy do it?


sungam


Mar 21, 2011, 3:43 AM
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rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink
Stone Mountain Running Belay.

n00b.


notapplicable


Mar 21, 2011, 4:43 AM
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sungam wrote:
rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink
Stone Mountain Running Belay.

n00b.

I decked at Stone Mountain a few weeks back...and stuck the landing!

^True story^


sungam


Mar 21, 2011, 4:49 AM
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Re: [notapplicable] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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notapplicable wrote:
sungam wrote:
rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink
Stone Mountain Running Belay.

n00b.

I decked at Stone Mountain a few weeks back...and stuck the landing!

^True story^
I caught a fall at Stone once. Like, the dude fell and I caught him in my arms. He didn't stick the landing, though...

^True story^


Stoves


Mar 21, 2011, 8:35 AM
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Re: [sungam] Falling on a lead climb question [In reply to]
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sungam wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
sungam wrote:
rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink
Stone Mountain Running Belay.

n00b.

I decked at Stone Mountain a few weeks back...and stuck the landing!

^True story^
I caught a fall at Stone once. Like, the dude fell and I caught him in my arms. He didn't stick the landing, though...

^True story^

How romantic Sungam to bad he didnt stick.


(This post was edited by Stoves on Mar 21, 2011, 11:01 PM)


sungam


Mar 21, 2011, 8:54 AM
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Stoves wrote:
sungam wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
sungam wrote:
rockforlife wrote:
Chuck Norris once took a fall factor 3 fall, figure that one out.Wink
Stone Mountain Running Belay.

n00b.

I decked at Stone Mountain a few weeks back...and stuck the landing!

^True story^
I caught a fall at Stone once. Like, the dude fell and I caught him in my arms. He didn't stick the landing, though...

^True story^

How romantic Sungam to bad the didnt stick.
He did bleed a little, which was pretty hilarious. Then some dude fell off of block route or something and broke his nose (or at least fffffuuuuuuuucccccccckkkkkkkeedd it up) and bled everywhere. He had been trying to impress some girls and they were all grossed out and shit, so we laughed. Then we climbed a 5.4.


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