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ceebo


Mar 25, 2011, 2:54 PM
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Gaining partner trust
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Well, basically up to a certain height i am fine. Once i get to a height i perceive as ''decking is death'' i really start freezing up, it is costing me almost a whole grade worth in performance. Through elimination i figured out the height and feeling of falling does not bother me, the fear is partner error.

I do trust him and we have done allot of practice falls at many heights and distance. But still i have the lack of trust. I know that a good belayer should always expect a fall.. but i just cant bring myself to do it unless he knows it is a practice.

Should i just man up and start throwing myself off unannounced?. Is this trust just something you build over years with the same partner?.. any help please.

I realy don't want to be one of those climbers who stay within their limit rather than falling Unsure


shockabuku


Mar 25, 2011, 6:19 PM
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ceebo wrote:
Well, basically up to a certain height i am fine. Once i get to a height i perceive as ''decking is death'' i really start freezing up, it is costing me almost a whole grade worth in performance. Through elimination i figured out the height and feeling of falling does not bother me, the fear is partner error.

I do trust him and we have done allot of practice falls at many heights and distance. But still i have the lack of trust. I know that a good belayer should always expect a fall.. but i just cant bring myself to do it unless he knows it is a practice.

Should i just man up and start throwing myself off unannounced?. Is this trust just something you build over years with the same partner?.. any help please.

I realy don't want to be one of those climbers who stay within their limit rather than falling Unsure

If you really think your partner is a good belayer then you have to force yourself to go for the move and risk the fall. I think purposely falling without letting your partner know is just stupid. Do you think that if you know you're going to fall you won't get hurt if he drops you?


notapplicable


Mar 25, 2011, 7:53 PM
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Re: [ceebo] Gaining partner trust [In reply to]
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Can you articulate why you think your belayer might drop you? Is there something they do, or don't do, that causes you to feel this way? Or is it just a vague and irrational fear of belayer error?

If you have reason to be concerned, stop climbing with that person until they can receive proper instruction. If it's simply the fear of "belayer error" without any reason to believe they may make an error, it just depends on how much you want it.

Thing is though, you could be dropped. It does happen. So I suggest acknowledging that you are willfully putting yourself in harms way and that the decision is 100% yours. Do that and the fear becomes irrational. If you can't do that, don't climb.


socalclimber


Mar 25, 2011, 8:01 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] Gaining partner trust [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
ceebo wrote:
Well, basically up to a certain height i am fine. Once i get to a height i perceive as ''decking is death'' i really start freezing up, it is costing me almost a whole grade worth in performance. Through elimination i figured out the height and feeling of falling does not bother me, the fear is partner error.

I do trust him and we have done allot of practice falls at many heights and distance. But still i have the lack of trust. I know that a good belayer should always expect a fall.. but i just cant bring myself to do it unless he knows it is a practice.

Should i just man up and start throwing myself off unannounced?. Is this trust just something you build over years with the same partner?.. any help please.

I realy don't want to be one of those climbers who stay within their limit rather than falling Unsure

If you really think your partner is a good belayer then you have to force yourself to go for the move and risk the fall. I think purposely falling without letting your partner know is just stupid. Do you think that if you know you're going to fall you won't get hurt if he drops you?

Actually, his problem is simple. He doesn't trust himself. The practice of lead falls aside (which I think is stupid and dangerous), his problem is his lack of confidence in his own skills.

While I fully understand the worry over a belayer, this has new leader written all over it.

Maybe the OP should stop trying to lead for a spell and get their foot work dialed and other skills. If you want to start leading, sport or otherwise, start on routes WELL BELOW you ability to follow or top rope. Leading and climbing are two separate skills. Period.

Don't try to learn both at the same time.


TheRucat


Mar 25, 2011, 8:14 PM
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ceebo wrote:
I do trust him... But still i have the lack of trust.

That doesn't make sense. Your starting to sound like my girlfriend.


ceebo


Mar 26, 2011, 8:37 AM
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Re: [socalclimber] Gaining partner trust [In reply to]
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In reply to:
if you really think your partner is a good belayer then you have to force yourself to go for the move and risk the fall. I think purposely falling without letting your partner know is just stupid. Do you think that if you know you're going to fall you won't get hurt if he drops you?

What is the difference between going for a dynamic move and falling, over purposely falling without warning?. It is not like i am going to shout down before every move ''i may fall here''. However as you mentioned just going for it seems like the logical idea. But fear being fear..

In reply to:
Actually, his problem is simple. He doesn't trust himself. The practice of lead falls aside (which I think is stupid and dangerous), his problem is his lack of confidence in his own skills.

That is so far from the truth, i do allot of free solo endurance training on 25 foot walls. By now i am that confident in my own ability, that i would happily up/down climb a 25m 6a free solo. On your other point, ''9 out of 10 climbers'' by dave macleod (who has decades of experience) heavily emphasises the need to take many practice falls. He states that lead fall related fears are THE most common factor in holding people back from their true potential. To give credit to him, it was only by means of elimination during practice falls that i uncovered what my true problem is.

In reply to:
While I fully understand the worry over a belayer, this has new leader written all over it.

Yes you are right, i have only been leading for around 2 year.. but i sure as hell dont want this fear to reach into year 3-4 or 5.

In reply to:
Maybe the OP should stop trying to lead for a spell and get their foot work dialed and other skills. If you want to start leading, sport or otherwise, start on routes WELL BELOW you ability to follow or top rope. Leading and climbing are two separate skills. Period.


While i agree my footwork may not be perfect, i am able to lead 5-10M 7b. And pushing on 7c's (meaning many falls). Ontop of my endurance drills i feel my training covers footwork more than enough. As i already explained, when the heights increase the consequence of a fall in the event of belay error is to scary for my brain to overcome. Attempting big dynamics at my limit that are likely to result in a fall puts me a step closer to my fears being realised. I have tried a few times to just get up their and do it.. but the fear is too intence and i back down on a hard move.. my brain just refuses to allow it.

As i understand the only way to overcome your fear is to expose yourself to it.. but as much as i really try, i seem to cut off before i put myself in a positioned to be exposed. It feels like a dead end street atm.


Partner jammer


Mar 26, 2011, 8:52 AM
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ceebo wrote:
Yes you are right, i have only been leading for around 2 year.. but i sure as hell dont want this fear to reach into year 3-4 or 5.

From what I read here, your fear stems from the lack of confidence your partner has in his abilities. You could either look for a different partner or find a way to be comfortable with his abilities, even though he is not. Your confidence in him may change the way he sees himself.


dugl33


Mar 26, 2011, 9:31 AM
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ceebo wrote:
Well, basically up to a certain height i am fine. Once i get to a height i perceive as ''decking is death'' i really start freezing up, it is costing me almost a whole grade worth in performance. Through elimination i figured out the height and feeling of falling does not bother me, the fear is partner error.

I do trust him and we have done allot of practice falls at many heights and distance. But still i have the lack of trust. I know that a good belayer should always expect a fall.. but i just cant bring myself to do it unless he knows it is a practice.

Should i just man up and start throwing myself off unannounced?. Is this trust just something you build over years with the same partner?.. any help please.

I realy don't want to be one of those climbers who stay within their limit rather than falling Unsure

Yes, and yes. Here's the thing -- while calling down "watch me" is a natural response going into a cruxy section, I would bet yelling down "falling" for many people is a form of giving up, and a precursor to merely letting go. Are you falling or are you bunched up, out of sequence, and scared, and just want to get "it" over with? Why do it? Why should you need to?

I suggest expressing your fears to your partner, owning them as yes completely your own and irrational, and stating flat out that in the future no warnings will be forthcoming of an upcoming fall. And then, yes, start falling off, unannounced.

Sometimes as a new leader you are also a new belayer, and haven't caught many lead falls. You build up catching a fall in your mind as somehow a big deal, complicated, whatever -- when in reality its not. First off, the rope doesn't immediately go tight, it falls with the climber. There is at least a fraction of a second to react. Reaction or no reaction one must merely hold on to the brake side of the rope. Its not rocket science.

So, I guess I would recommend that you not only fall off unannounced -- maybe down low on the route at first and close to a bolt, but that you also would benefit from catching a few more, preferably unannounced, lead falls yourself.

Just be smart about it. There are times when its just best not to fall, and if you're going to practice falling you should be selective about where and how you go about it.


socalclimber


Mar 26, 2011, 9:51 AM
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ceebo wrote:

In reply to:
Actually, his problem is simple. He doesn't trust himself. The practice of lead falls aside (which I think is stupid and dangerous), his problem is his lack of confidence in his own skills.

In reply to:
That is so far from the truth, i do allot of free solo endurance training on 25 foot walls. By now i am that confident in my own ability, that i would happily up/down climb a 25m 6a free solo. On your other point, ''9 out of 10 climbers'' by dave macleod (who has decades of experience) heavily emphasises the need to take many practice falls. He states that lead fall related fears are THE most common factor in holding people back from their true potential. To give credit to him, it was only by means of elimination during practice falls that i uncovered what my true problem is.

You've been leading for two years, I've been leading for twenty. Your advice here is worthless and you are at best barely more experienced than the OP. I really don't care about what books you read, or how much you are willing to put your neck on the block. That's your decision. The biggest difference between you and the OP is that the OP is being honest with us and most importantly himself.

You on the other hand are coming off as an ego driven testosterone fest.

To the OP:

What you need to be doing here is not trying to overcome your fear. You need to learn to manage it. What does this mean?

Fear is a response to situations that we feel we cannot control. It might be life threatening, it may be career threatening, it may be an irrational fear of things that go "bump in the night". Regardless, the most important thing to understand is how you manage your fear, not "overcome" it.

Fear is a good thing, it helps keep us in check. The problem lies when it completely encompasses you. Usually what happens is you start to realize that things are getting a little more serious than you bargained for or were expecting. Now comes the point where either the fear takes over, or you get a grip on yourself and deal with it. This is a very individual process. What has worked for me over the years is to take a deep breath and a brief pause to get my shit together. This generally involves a brief conversation with myself like "you can do this, look at the rock, make your next move". It generally works for me.

What works for you only you will find out. No book or practice falls are going to help with that.

Once the fear starts to set in, and your heart rate starts to increase and the adrenalin begins to flow, your ability to think clearly will begin to degrade rapidly. This is not good.

This is precisely why I am telling you to back off on the difficulty of your leads for a while and gain your confidence in your abilities.

You fear has nothing to do with your belayer, and everything to do with your lack of confidence. That's ok, you just need to put it into perspective and deal with it realistically.

Unfortunately, climbing has changed it's course. When I started we learned to trad climb where falls were not just some form of "whoopsie I slipped" with no consequences. There were potential for very dire consequences from falls so you worked hard to ensure they didn't happen that often.

With the advent of gyms and sport climbing being the new starting point for climbing, people are learning that it's no big deal to fall. This is usually ok in these environments since the routes tend to be steep, and well protected with bolts. The problem with this methodology is when you decide to head in to the trad world, things are very, very different, and this methodology can lead to disaster.

In parting, as I've repeated over and over in this thread, take your time. You have all the time in the world to lead harder routes. Start slow and get your skills and head together. The rest will come later. The more confident you are with your abilities and yourself, the more you will be able to push yourself up the ladder. At some point, you will hit your peak and realize, "well, that's it!".

Forget the numbers. There are plenty of 5.8 trad routes to get yourself killed on. The numbers mean nothing. When you are on 5.7 territory and your last piece is 30+ feet below you, tell me how you feel? Take a "practice" lead fall in that arena, I dare you.

I commend you for owning up to your fear.

I'll be curious to hear how things go for you. Please feel free to post up more.


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Mar 26, 2011, 9:52 AM)


socalclimber


Mar 26, 2011, 11:53 AM
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Whoops, I mixed up threads. My mistake. You are the OP.

Either way, it changes nothing about my statements, advice or stance. Put your penis back in your pants. If you are that worried about your belayer, then find someone else to belay.

Either way, you're a beginner, live it, accept it, and you will live long.

I'm not buying what a bad ass soloist you think you are. You got good, sound solid advice, take it if you're smart.

One minute you're braying about how solid you are, the next you are complaining about your belayer....


(This post was edited by socalclimber on Mar 26, 2011, 11:54 AM)


shockabuku


Mar 26, 2011, 4:36 PM
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ceebo wrote:
In reply to:
if you really think your partner is a good belayer then you have to force yourself to go for the move and risk the fall. I think purposely falling without letting your partner know is just stupid. Do you think that if you know you're going to fall you won't get hurt if he drops you?

What is the difference between going for a dynamic move and falling, over purposely falling without warning?.

If you really have to ask: In one case you're climbing, in the other case you're fooling yourself. What is to be gained out of falling purposely without telling your belayer?


ceebo


Mar 26, 2011, 5:01 PM
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socalclimber wrote:
Whoops, I mixed up threads. My mistake. You are the OP.

Either way, it changes nothing about my statements, advice or stance. Put your penis back in your pants. If you are that worried about your belayer, then find someone else to belay.

Either way, you're a beginner, live it, accept it, and you will live long.

I'm not buying what a bad ass soloist you think you are. You got good, sound solid advice, take it if you're smart.

One minute you're braying about how solid you are, the next you are complaining about your belayer....

I just felt your first post was under the assumption that i was a 1 week climber so to speak, i have prior ''casual'' years climbing in TR and bouldering before i really started pushing myself hard in leading. As a result your post did not feel very relevant, but that was my fault for not giving enough detail in the op. I just figured the problem description alone was enough. My second post was only an attempt to kinda explain.. or give reason for a more specific response, hell.. something like that. I'm sorry, i did not intend it to come off as ''i'm bad ass'' or egotistical. That is far from me, honestly.

I do appreciate your advice and i am not disregarding any of it. But i have a question for you, i understand the dangers in trad and i can also fully understand why falling their is not something you want to do often, unless you have balls of steel maybe. As you said though sport climbing is allot more safe meaning you can fall allot, obviously the result is you can climb at or above your limit allot more of the time (once any fear is controlled). So given that, why do you think it is a bad idea doing practice falls to try and build that mental fortitude?.

It just seems to me that unless you acclimatize yourself and nion remove any fear of lead falling, then that fear will always spark hesitation, or staying within perceived comfort zone. That to me means the sport climber has the mental state of a trad climber, witch eliminates the benefits to be gained from the safer environment of sport climbing.

Hopefully you don't take insult to that, i would just like you hear your counter thoughts. Im a sucker for wanting to hear every side to every story Laugh.

Realised i was referring to sport climbing as just lead climbing.. but i guess you know what i mean. Changed it anyway.


(This post was edited by ceebo on Mar 26, 2011, 5:35 PM)


socalclimber


Mar 26, 2011, 5:10 PM
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No problems, and my apologies if my tone was harsh. I want to digest your current post and will get to it in a few minutes. You raised some good questions.

Thanks


socalclimber


Mar 26, 2011, 8:30 PM
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ceebo wrote:
socalclimber wrote:
Whoops, I mixed up threads. My mistake. You are the OP.

Either way, it changes nothing about my statements, advice or stance. Put your penis back in your pants. If you are that worried about your belayer, then find someone else to belay.

Either way, you're a beginner, live it, accept it, and you will live long.

I'm not buying what a bad ass soloist you think you are. You got good, sound solid advice, take it if you're smart.

One minute you're braying about how solid you are, the next you are complaining about your belayer....

I just felt your first post was under the assumption that i was a 1 week climber so to speak, i have prior ''casual'' years climbing in TR and bouldering before i really started pushing myself hard in leading. As a result your post did not feel very relevant, but that was my fault for not giving enough detail in the op. I just figured the problem description alone was enough. My second post was only an attempt to kinda explain.. or give reason for a more specific response, hell.. something like that. I'm sorry, i did not intend it to come off as ''i'm bad ass'' or egotistical. That is far from me, honestly.

I do appreciate your advice and i am not disregarding any of it. But i have a question for you, i understand the dangers in trad and i can also fully understand why falling their is not something you want to do often, unless you have balls of steel maybe. As you said though sport climbing is allot more safe meaning you can fall allot, obviously the result is you can climb at or above your limit allot more of the time (once any fear is controlled). So given that, why do you think it is a bad idea doing practice falls to try and build that mental fortitude?.

It just seems to me that unless you acclimatize yourself and nion remove any fear of lead falling, then that fear will always spark hesitation, or staying within perceived comfort zone. That to me means the sport climber has the mental state of a trad climber, witch eliminates the benefits to be gained from the safer environment of sport climbing.

Hopefully you don't take insult to that, i would just like you hear your counter thoughts. Im a sucker for wanting to hear every side to every story Laugh.

Realised i was referring to sport climbing as just lead climbing.. but i guess you know what i mean. Changed it anyway.

Well, let's sort things out first since I clouded your original post.

Much of what I said I still stick by, my general feeling is find a new belayer. I am VERY distrustful of belayers I don't know. Which is why I don't let people I don't know belay me. But, at some point you need to find someone, preferably with far more experience to belay you. This should help. I don't blame you for being wary of belayers. In my early days, belay accidents were almost unheard of. Now, they seem to be common place. I constantly have to re-teach people how to belay properly.

I guess I need to further qualify why I really don't like this concept of practice falling. To me, leading is leading. As a guide I get a fair number of sport climbing clients who stroll across my path that seem to not understand why I warn them on their lack luster attitude towards falls. This concerns me. The concept of the consequences of falling are lost. I get responses like "I take falls all the time, it's no big deal".

This is a mentality that can kill.

One of the wonderful things about sport climbing to old crusty trad climbers is that we get a chance to climb and for a change, not worry about getting injured or worse. It's a nice change. This doesn't mean our guard is down, it just means there is far less stress and attention required. We can go out and push it more than we might be likely to do on a trad style route.

If you are really having a hard time with your trust levels for your current belayer, then try to team up with some crusty old bastard like me and see if that makes you feel better.

I'll be curious how you approach this, please post more on this topic, it's a legit one.

And, my apologies for getting ahead of myself and jumping on you!

Just remember,

"Gravity is a harsh mistress!"


jt512


Mar 26, 2011, 8:44 PM
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socalclimber wrote:
If you are really having a hard time with your trust levels for your current belayer, then try to team up with some crusty old bastard like me and see if that makes you feel better.

Unfortunately, their are plenty of crusty old trads who can't belay worth a damn either, and worse yet, don't think they have any responsibility to do so, since, after all, the "leader must not fall."

Perhaps the OP's problem is this (as I think someone—maybe you—suggested up-thread): he doesn't have the expertise as a belayer himself to judge the expertise of other belayers. If so, then every belayer is to him a game of pure chance: I'd be nervous, too. My advice to him then would be to become an expert belayer. Once he knows, from his own experience as a belayer, what expert belaying is he should be able to recognize it, or the lack of it, in other belayers.

Jay


ceebo


Mar 27, 2011, 10:04 AM
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Hmm you guys are really helping allot here (and thnx jay).

I have been thinking allot on this and trying to figure out why this fear is so intense. As you both pointed out i lack in lead mentality and experience, but i now contemplate if that is the entire problem (i do not doubt it has a large role).

For around 5 years i have been teaching TR belaying to a variety of people. The difficult part in it is that judgement must be 100% spot on every time in allowing a person to ''pass'' if their level of maturity is good enough to entrust them in the first place.

I am almost always in a state of alert thinking can they be trusted, are they ready? have i made the right judgement?. Even after passing a person i still find myself on edge that they will slide back and get complacent (as many do). so i still find myself making regular passing checks.

I wonder that if being exposed to this constant learning phase that people go through, and ofc correcting any mistakes they make along the way (minor ones thank god) has played some part in building this irrational fear in trusting others.

My personal issue aside, your talking of trad also made me think more. I live in a country that was and mostly still is trad. With a heavy trad culture i wonder if that reaches far out into are community be it indoor or outdoor climbs. It may be that the old school and new trad climbers play a large role in shaping the attitudes people have toward taking falls of any kind. I do not see allot of people willing to through themselves off a route in sport (hell i had to persuade my partner for an hour). That could just be that people have a natural fear though. I do find it rather coincidental that my partner got sucked into climbing initially through trad.


Anyway, hopefully not to boring of a read..

I have took on every suggestion here, so what i plan to do instead of just aimlessly throwing myself at the problem..

First step i will have a good talk with my partner and explain my irrational fear (he knows i have ''a'' fear but i was not direct).

Second, every session i will climb 3-4 big walls under my limit.

After that i will take 3 practice falls (1 at low section, 1 half way and one from the top). I know you disagree with this but i feel it is something i must do. It will just better put my mind at rest to know he is mentally warmed up and in the mindset of being alert for falls. Eventually i have the trust not to need this, i hope.

Last step, i will try and expose myself to the actual fear, climbing a big route at or above my limit. Hopefully keeping positive about any tiny progress.. even getting 1 extra inch higher than the last session.

Maybe if i stick to that every lead session it could help, what do you think?.


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