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tequilaboom


Oct 10, 2011, 10:25 AM
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Falling
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Hey people,
I'm a new lead climber (got into trad a few months ago), and I still have a crazy fear of falling. In the gym, it's much less of a problem because chances that I'll hit something are minimal. Outdoors is when the problem really begins. I'm not sure what it is: the act of falling or the fear of hitting some rock on the way down scares me more..

Because of this, I just refuse to lead anything past 5.7 outdoors (even though I can climb much better on TR). Maybe my gear will pop - who knows! This is a huge limitation for me.

Does anyone have any advice on this? Is it just a matter of inexperience?

Thanks everyone!


johnwesely


Oct 10, 2011, 10:54 AM
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tequilaboom wrote:
Hey people,
I'm a new lead climber (got into trad a few months ago), and I still have a crazy fear of falling. In the gym, it's much less of a problem because chances that I'll hit something are minimal. Outdoors is when the problem really begins. I'm not sure what it is: the act of falling or the fear of hitting some rock on the way down scares me more..

Because of this, I just refuse to lead anything past 5.7 outdoors (even though I can climb much better on TR). Maybe my gear will pop - who knows! This is a huge limitation for me.

Does anyone have any advice on this? Is it just a matter of inexperience?

Thanks everyone!

Falling on sub 5.7 routes is much more dangerous than on routes 5.10 and up. That being said, know your limits and don't get in over your head.


tH1e-swiN1e


Oct 10, 2011, 11:09 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] Falling [In reply to]
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Practice falling more and trust your skills. Also, they say if you dont trust your gear, dont climb on it.


johnwesely


Oct 10, 2011, 11:12 AM
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tH1e-swiN1e wrote:
Practice falling more and trust your skills. Also, they say if you dont trust your gear, dont climb on it.

That isn't useful advice. Beginners should not trust their gear until they have some experience under their belts.


healyje


Oct 10, 2011, 11:42 AM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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tequilaboom wrote:
...Maybe my gear will pop - who knows!...

If not you, then no one. You have to be able to judge the quality of your placements or you shouldn't be leading - you should be seconding competent leaders until you can tell the difference between good, marginal, and bad pro.


superchuffer


Oct 10, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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wear a helmet


ablanchard17


Oct 10, 2011, 1:53 PM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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Dont be afraid of taking a clean fall on good gear.

Be afraid of hitting a ledge. because even if the gear holds a ledge could injure you. There are just some places you dont want to fall, roped or not. good gear or bad,


Partner cracklover


Oct 10, 2011, 1:56 PM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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Oh god, here we go again.

Your fear is very well placed. Ignore it at your peril.

Since it sounds like you learned to climb in the gym (nothing wrong with that, I did too) your technical knowledge will take time to catch up to your physical climbing ability. If you push yourself and fall now, you could get lucky, or you could get dead.

I strongly recommend filling up your bag of tricks before you dig too deeply into your bag of luck, and try not to fall until you're ready.

To those of you advising a new trad leader that he should ignore/overcome his fear and start lobbing off routes, I think you're giving really bad advice. For all you know, this guy is the last person who should be leading at all, much less lobbing off routes.

Again, pushing yourself on your gear is something you do when you are ready.

GO


jeepnphreak


Oct 10, 2011, 2:04 PM
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tequilaboom wrote:
Hey people,
I'm a new lead climber (got into trad a few months ago), and I still have a crazy fear of falling. In the gym, it's much less of a problem because chances that I'll hit something are minimal. Outdoors is when the problem really begins. I'm not sure what it is: the act of falling or the fear of hitting some rock on the way down scares me more..

Because of this, I just refuse to lead anything past 5.7 outdoors (even though I can climb much better on TR). Maybe my gear will pop - who knows! This is a huge limitation for me.

Does anyone have any advice on this? Is it just a matter of inexperience?

Thanks everyone!

Ya know it is OK. Go climb a crap ton of 5.7. Find multi pitch climbs that will challenge you technically rather than physically. Get used to placing gear and learning what a good placement is and what it looks and feels like. Than after 30/40..100 routes get on a 5.8 and climb another 100 pitches. Than climb 5.9s and so on. Keep stepping it up. You will get better, your gear placement will get better and faster. After a while you will fall but by that time you probably will be 5.9 or 5.10 or harder and the fall will be clean and pretty. Getting past the mental crux is part of climbing. I find that climbing lots makes it easier.


tequilaboom


Oct 10, 2011, 3:02 PM
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Re: [jeepnphreak] Falling [In reply to]
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Thanks for the replies guys. Everyone is basically correct here: my experience level is waaaay too small. Nevertheless, when I did climb with guides, they all said my equipment placement is very good - they would trust my gear - but I don't trust it myself haha. I definitely don't want to push myself on trad in the near future.

Anyway, my problem is that I can't even bear to imagine that I would fall. I don't even try to do difficult routes because of the fall chance increasing.

Basically like jeepnphreak said, I just need to practice.

Has anyone here taken a huge fall? Does anyone remember their first big fall and how it felt? What about gear popping out? Just wondering if anyone has a personal account.


deserttortoise


Oct 10, 2011, 3:48 PM
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Buy this book. They have it for Kindle which you can download for free and have the book faster than you can read this post. The book "Performance Rock Climbing" by Dale Godard and Udo Nueman does the best job of giving you the information on how to deal with the fears incurred in climbing. It breaks your fears down into real forms of emotion and then prescribes many ways with which to address them. Its scientific but by climbers.. I don't know but these guys really have the answers to the hundreds of different things (both mental and physical) that can effect your climbing. They help diagnose the problem and then provide real and usable methods to overcome the problems. I kind of bought it by mistake but it's now one of my most referenced climbing books. Hope it helps, good luck.


johnwesely


Oct 10, 2011, 4:00 PM
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Re: [deserttortoise] Falling [In reply to]
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deserttortoise wrote:
Buy this book. They have it for Kindle which you can download for free and have the book faster than you can read this post. The book "Performance Rock Climbing" by Dale Godard and Udo Nueman does the best job of giving you the information on how to deal with the fears incurred in climbing. It breaks your fears down into real forms of emotion and then prescribes many ways with which to address them. Its scientific but by climbers.. I don't know but these guys really have the answers to the hundreds of different things (both mental and physical) that can effect your climbing. They help diagnose the problem and then provide real and usable methods to overcome the problems. I kind of bought it by mistake but it's now one of my most referenced climbing books. Hope it helps, good luck.

PRC is a pretty boring book. If you want something interesting, go with Nine out of Ten Climbers Make the Same Mistakes.


jeepnphreak


Oct 10, 2011, 6:28 PM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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tequilaboom wrote:
Thanks for the replies guys. Everyone is basically correct here: my experience level is waaaay too small.

Then go climbing alot more.

tequilaboom wrote:
Nevertheless, when I did climb with guides, they all said my equipment placement is very good - they would trust my gear - but I don't trust it myself haha. I definitely don't want to push myself on trad in the near future.

well there you go. youll be fine.

tequilaboom wrote:
Has anyone here taken a huge fall? Does anyone remember their first big fall and how it felt? What about gear popping out? Just wondering if anyone has a personal account.

My largest was a 25 maby 30 footer. I was pulling a roof and my finger jam slipped. I felt my fingers give and a second later I was hanging on the rope. It happend so fast there was not much time to think abot how it was going to feel. It didnt hurt, it really was not a bad experience at all. The only bitch was that I had to climb 30 feet back up the rock to gain the lost ground. Oh yeah, the piece I fell on was a #5 bd stopper. the wire freyed a bit from a small pendulum but it held and didnt not pop out. Suprisingly enough my second got the piece out.


deserttortoise


Oct 10, 2011, 7:49 PM
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Re: [johnwesely] Falling [In reply to]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Changed my climbing for the better, May 21, 2011
By cm - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes (Paperback)
His notes about how to see and understand climbing are invaluable.

The fear of falling bit is also really important and often underrated in importance and impact.


I went to Amazon... good review johnwesely. The above was a copy of a review and mentioned falling. This may be the one...


Partner cracklover


Oct 10, 2011, 10:53 PM
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Re: [tequilaboom] Falling [In reply to]
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tequilaboom wrote:
Has anyone here taken a huge fall? Does anyone remember their first big fall and how it felt? What about gear popping out? Just wondering if anyone has a personal account.

Dude, it's sounding like you're starting to fetishize falling, and that can't be healthy.

Just climb. If you're so impatient that you can't stand to do easy routes just because you've clawed your way up a 5.11 in the gym, trad climbing may not be the right discipline for you.

GO

(edited typo)


(This post was edited by cracklover on Oct 11, 2011, 11:10 AM)


Rmsyll2


Oct 11, 2011, 7:42 AM
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'cracklover' said "trad climbing may not be the right discipline for you." Good point, imo. Why do you think you have to do Trad? It isn't about climbing, which you can do far better (though not in the same places) on top-rope. Trad is about the gear and the fear. None of this sport makes any sense anyway, so if you don't like it, don't do it.

A common rule is to lead only a route you have TRd clean ten times. Another tactic is to do mock lead, meaning plugging gear while on TR belay.

.


Partner robdotcalm


Oct 11, 2011, 3:21 PM
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Rmsyll2 wrote:
A common rule is to lead only a route you have TRd clean ten times..

News to me even though I've been climbing for 40 years.

Rob.calm


csproul


Oct 11, 2011, 3:34 PM
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Rmsyll2 wrote:
'...A common rule is to lead only a route you have TRd clean ten times....
.
I've never heard this "common" rule and virtually nobody I have ever climbed with (I can think of 1 or 2 that are that conservative) follows any such "rule". Believe it or not, there are a lot of trad climbers out there that attempt onsights near or above their current climbing ability.


stoneguy


Oct 11, 2011, 5:02 PM
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I am practicing lead as well, and I just run a TR, place gear on the way up and jump on it as much as I can. I am surprised at how little pro I can get in, even at easy levels, which essentially tells me I need more practice. (And I guess that's "mock lead")


rockclimber1


Oct 11, 2011, 5:33 PM
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In my opinion, it's not your fear of falling that's holding you back, it's the fear of the unknown. What will you hit? How far will you fall? Will your gear hold? The best way to overcome this is to break down everything that is making you scared so that it is not an unknown factor. There's an article about this on my blog.


tequilaboom


Oct 11, 2011, 5:48 PM
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Thanks again for the replies everyone.
People are right, maybe trad is not for me. However, even taking into account my fear of falling and fear of the unknown (as someone pointed out correctly), I still keep coming back to trad climbing, and putting myself in these situations. Every time I'm about to make an iffy move, or place pro that I think may not hold, I tell myself: "never again!" but when I succeed in these climbs I just find myself in love with trad once again.

I do appreciate the personal accounts - they help me out a lot - and that is why I ask questions on these forums.


shockabuku


Oct 11, 2011, 6:14 PM
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stoneguy wrote:
I am practicing lead as well, and I just run a TR, place gear on the way up and jump on it as much as I can. I am surprised at how little pro I can get in, even at easy levels, which essentially tells me I need more practice. (And I guess that's "mock lead")

Not all rock types or locations facilitate the placement of trad gear. That's why they either get bolted or are top roped.


jjones16


Oct 13, 2011, 7:26 AM
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Yes, some people may be right. Trad may not be for you. Then again, it might. I would hesitate making my decision based on forum advice on the Internet. Everyone (with a few exceptions of extremely bold people that are perhaps just wired differently) has had at one time or another the same fears you have. I know I did, and still do from time to time. It kinda seems like that you're biggest hangup is first; taking falls. I won't get into the mechanics of it, but if you hope to progress in climbing there's a process your brain goes through before during and after a fall. Learn to manage it. Google Arno Ilgner. Second is not the actual fall, but falling on gear. Anyone that says that their first significant fall on gear wasn't a scrotum tightener is full of shit. I had a big hangup as well. Sounds to me like you've followed, been guided, and that your gear placement has been deemed fairly solid by people that know gear placements. So, why not fall on a piece? Try this: Find a place that is bolted, but also has a few spots to place some protection. An ideal spot would be at least four bolts up on a route with a crack or good horizontal a few feet above the bolt. Climb the route with draws, and once you get a good distance off the ground (hence the 4th bolt recommendation) place a piece of gear above the last bolt; but only a foot or two. Take a fall on the gear. It's a win/win. If your piece holds, your trust in your gear will increase tenfold and so will your confidence. If it doesn't hold, you know that your fears were founded and you can either go back to the drawing board, or more seriously consider not exploring that particular discipline of climbing.
Disclaimer: This is just a suggestion. I do not guarantee any results. If you are injured because you did it wrong, I will not take any responsibility. Make sure you have a belayer that is competent. Make sure YOU are competent.


tequilaboom


Oct 13, 2011, 9:05 AM
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jjones16 thanks for the awesome and insightful advice. I will try this next time I'm out. How long have you been climbing yourself?


jjones16


Oct 13, 2011, 9:28 AM
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Altogether I've been climbing for about two years; although 9 months of it I don't really count because they were when I was 21. I was a Marine, and got a chance to go to Assault Climber's Course- a USMC school that teaches the basics of climbing, self rescue, aiding, and crossing. It sucked. The instructors were arrogant dickhead SpecOps douches and they ran the piss out of us every GD morning. I climbed for nine months, then got out of the Marines, got married, had a kid, yadda yadda yadda. I didn't pick it back up again until last year; at 35 years old. Luckily, I had some prior training and experience and didn't have to start from square one. I did, however, go out and buy a few books and still sought instruction and mentoring from experienced climbers. I have no problem admitting where I'm weak and asking for help.

The only time I had led was at that school, and I remembered having extreme acrophobia and fear of falling. I think I almost Elvised myself off a comfy ledge one time. Anyways, because I picked the basics of gear, ropework and technique back up rather quickly, I decided I would try to overcome my fear and get into leading right away. Like most, I began in the relatively safe setting of a gym, then progressed to outdoor sport routes, then to trad routes- all within just a few months. I have to admit that I haven't taken many falls on gear, but I do NOT climb like some do (with regard to trad) with a no fall policy. I trust my gear, and if things are too sketchy for me, I bail. It's as simple as that. No shame, just some temporary disappointment. Nor do I absolutely push my limits. I pick routes that I think I can learn something from, look fun, and that have an aesthetic quality to them. Trad, to me isn't about pushing my abilities. It's about adventure, route finding, testing my level of proficiency and effiency with gear, rope and technique, and above all, fun in a beautiful setting. I use grades as a loose guide to help me locate routes that I won't be shitting my pants on, but also cannot fly up with ease. I find for me, the more I do this, the more comfortable I become, and the more logical and fluid progression is... albeit slow (which I'm fine with). The bottom line is, everyone has advice. Everyone has something that's worked for them. It might work for you, it might not. Take what people tell you with a grain of salt. If it sounds like a viable suggestion and you decide to try it, do so safely and with an open mind, and with max effort. Don't put a ton of pressure on yourself with regard to grade or your level of ability. When you go down this path of coveting others' abilities and bashing yourself, you are almost certain not to progress. Everyone does their own thing in their own time. If you try to force it, you won't be having fun. I don't know about you, but I'm much more inclined to really dig in and do my best when I'm having fun. Good luck, and be safe.

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