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jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 12:54 AM
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Odd Lead Fall
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So I hit up my first ever lead climb today. I was doing a 5.7 route which was pretty simple when top roped, but with the added factor of having to clip and such I ended up taking a fall. This fall ended up jerking me pretty much upside down (Luckily my harness fits well so I didn't fly right out of it) and I almost smacked my head right into the wall.

Before someone says it was backstepping let me clarify some points:

- I did not backstep. There was no body part in between the wall and the rope.
- The bolt was about 2-3 feet to my right and probably about knee level.
- The draws were not z clipped.


Honestly this experience has left me a little concerned about what happened. It doesn't make me fearful of falls (I later did a 5.9 on a route that overhangs for the first 3/4 and was not worried about falling at all), but I just want to know what could have caused this so I don't let it happen again.

Thanks for the help :D


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 5:44 PM)


lena_chita
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Dec 14, 2012, 4:38 AM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
So I hit up my first ever lead climb today. I was doing a 5.8 route which was pretty simple when top roped, but with the added factor of having to clip and such I ended up taking a fall. This fall ended up jerking me pretty much upside down (Luckily my harness fits well so I didn't fly right out of it) and I almost smacked my head right into the wall.

I am glad you are O.K.

Q1: what is your criteria for saying that our harness fits you well? (other than the fact that you did not fly out of it). Poorly fitted harness could contribute to inversion during a fall-- specifically, if the rise of the harness is too short, it makes you more likely to flip backwards, especially if you are very tall, or heavier on top (have a higher center of gravity than average):

here's a guide to harness fitting, so you can check:
http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/...o-fit_a_harness.html



jgsahm3 wrote:
Before someone says it was backstepping let me clarify some points:

- I did not backstep. There was no body part in between the wall and the rope.

Backstepping doesn't mean the same thing as putting your rope behind your leg, you can backstep and not end up with a rope in a bad position. (but this is just aside comment not related to your fall)

jgsahm3 wrote:
- The bolt was about 2-3 feet to my right and probably about knee level.
- The draws were not z clipped.

Q2: Was it an intentional fall-- as in, you found yourself in position where you couldn't move up or downclimb, and DECIDED to take a fall, maybe looking down first, checking with your belayer, etc.-- or was it an unintentional fall where you just slipped and fell, without making a decision that you were going to let go and fall?

I am asking this because some people who toprope get used to taking a fall by pushing off the wall with their hangs, bracing the wall with their feet, and sort of limply sitting down in their harness. You can NOT take a lead fall in the same fashion.

So, did you push off with your hands when you fell? Did you maybe have one foot much higher than the other, and did you leave your feet on the wall while pushing off with your hands? Did you go limp when you fell?


Q3: since you were couple feet to one side of your draw, did you swing into the rope and get your foot or other body part hooked on the rope during the pendulum?

Q4: your belayer -- how experienced is he/she? About as experienced as you are? Did the belayer take hard? Jump? Jump at the wrong time?


jgsahm3 wrote:
Honestly this experience has left me a little concerned about what happened. It doesn't make me fearful of falls (I later did a 5.9 on a route that overhangs for the first 3/4 and was not worried about falling at all), but I just want to know what could have caused this so I don't let it happen again.

Thanks for the help :D

Yes, you should be concerned.

Bottom line is, no one can really tell you. Your observations or recollections may not be accurate. It could be just a one-time freak thing, the combination of bad food position, your harness, your belayer, the exact position of the bolt relative to you... who knows.

Check your harness fit, make sure you have an experienced belayer who knows how to give soft catches and can tell you when your rope is in a bad position, remember to pay attention to rope position at all times, and learn to fall like a cat, actively balancing when you fall.


umeroz7


Dec 14, 2012, 9:18 AM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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Is this you?


http://www.dailymotion.com/...g_sport#.UMteFoVNOKw


shotwell


Dec 14, 2012, 9:50 AM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
So I hit up my first ever lead climb today. I was doing a 5.8 route which was pretty simple when top roped, but with the added factor of having to clip and such I ended up taking a fall. This fall ended up jerking me pretty much upside down (Luckily my harness fits well so I didn't fly right out of it) and I almost smacked my head right into the wall.

Before someone says it was backstepping let me clarify some points:

- I did not backstep. There was no body part in between the wall and the rope.
- The bolt was about 2-3 feet to my right and probably about knee level.
- The draws were not z clipped.


Honestly this experience has left me a little concerned about what happened. It doesn't make me fearful of falls (I later did a 5.9 on a route that overhangs for the first 3/4 and was not worried about falling at all), but I just want to know what could have caused this so I don't let it happen again.

Thanks for the help :D

Probably a couple of factors, most of which Lena already pointed out.

Your harness may not fit right. If the rise is off, you could flip easily. You also may have only tied in to the bottom tie in point. You can determine whether your harness fits appropriately by hanging on a top rope. If you're tipping back, the rise is wrong.

You could have kicked something on the way down. Like the rope, a draw, or a hold. You also may have just planted your feet, letting your momentum carry you across and over. Keep your feet moving until you come to a stop.

You may just need to relax. Being tense while falling will keep your from reacting correctly. You'll push off with your hands, freeze your feet, and not watch where your feet are stepping.


acorneau


Dec 14, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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Sounds similar to a fall by a friend of mine I witnessed.

He was roughly three feet to the left and four feet above his last draw (about 5 feet diagonally) when he fell. The climb was an 85-degree slab.

When he lost it he fell down; the rope pulled him to the right; rolling him onto his his butt and shoulder; and smacked the back of his head HARD on the wall. (Luckily he was wearing a helmet so he got off with a headache and a bruised hip and shoulder.)

When he came to rest at the end of the fall he was semi-horizontal with his torso/head angled down and his back nearly flat against the wall.

Luckily someone else was shooting video on his digital camera at the time so I have the whole thing in a video clip.


(This post was edited by acorneau on Dec 14, 2012, 12:51 PM)


Syd


Dec 14, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Re: [umeroz7] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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I reckon that at least half the people I've seen leading shouldn't be, because like the guy in the video, they don't have a clue.

I've seen some classics, like a girl spending what seemed like 10 minutes trying to make the first clip on a carrot bolt, to avoid a grounder (she hadn't heard about threading the bolt plate in reverse). Another girl couldn't make the start on a 16 (5.10a) so she went up 5m to the left, up 4m, back across to the right, then leaned down to do the clip, while we all held our breaths.


Partner cracklover


Dec 14, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
So I hit up my first ever lead climb today. I was doing a 5.8 route which was pretty simple when top roped, but with the added factor of having to clip and such I ended up taking a fall. This fall ended up jerking me pretty much upside down (Luckily my harness fits well so I didn't fly right out of it) and I almost smacked my head right into the wall.

Before someone says it was backstepping let me clarify some points:

- I did not backstep. There was no body part in between the wall and the rope.
- The bolt was about 2-3 feet to my right and probably about knee level.
- The draws were not z clipped.


Honestly this experience has left me a little concerned about what happened. It doesn't make me fearful of falls (I later did a 5.9 on a route that overhangs for the first 3/4 and was not worried about falling at all), but I just want to know what could have caused this so I don't let it happen again.

Thanks for the help :D

I'd bet dollars to donuts that your feet stayed on after your hands came off, you started to rotate, and... the rest is history.

Don't do that. Or correct it as soon as it starts to happen by kicking off slightly with your feet.

Some (most?) folks understand how to fall intuitively. Some don't. If you're in the latter category, you probably need to practice falling a few times in a safe situation to get the hang of it.

Cheers,

GO


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
here's a guide to harness fitting, so you can check:
http://www.metoliusclimbing.com/...o-fit_a_harness.html

My harness is actually fit through this method. I have also tried testing it like people say by hanging in it on a toprope and I just stay in a sitting position and I don't tip back or end up in a close to standing up position.

The fall was partially intentional but myself and the belayer weren't really prepared for the fall. I was getting ready to take an intentional fall but I just lost my grip on a hold and ended up taking it.

I might have pushed off a little during the spur of the moment. I don't exactly remember where my feet went but I didn't go limp when I fell.

Getting my leg caught in a piece of gear, rope, or on a hold. This is what I am thinking might have happened. Would this be enough to literally flip my upside down?


My belayer was experienced, but not really experience in lead. So he probably took the fall hard. I'm guessing if he was more experienced in lead and would jump and take the fall a little bit soft that reduces the amount of swinging that will happen which could give me less chance of getting caught on something or hitting the wall as hard?

I appreciate the concern and replies though I will be working on my lead falls and double checking to make sure my harness is correct.

If anyone has anything else to mention feel free I appreciate any advice given and I really do appreciate it.

cracklover wrote:

Some (most?) folks understand how to fall intuitively. Some don't. If you're in the latter category, you probably need to practice falling a few times in a safe situation to get the hang of it.

Cheers,

GO

I might try a few practice falls next time I lead. This will give my belayer a bit of practice catching falls softer as well as giving myself practice falling. Thanks for the advice.



P.S. In reply to Syd: I don't know if you are trying to say I shouldn't be lead climbing or if it was just a reply to that video, but if you were trying to say that to me then I really don't appreciate that. Experience is the best way to learn and how can you experience something if people say you shouldn't climb lead? I know how to clip, how to climb safely, and how to rest and communicate with my belayer, but I wasn't 100% sure about a few things involved with falling so that shouldn't make me unfit to climb especially when I am seeking to improve on falling by making this thread.


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 12:27 PM)


bearbreeder


Dec 14, 2012, 12:32 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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traversing falls where the bolt is to your left or right can be dangerous especially if till then the rope was running straight ... as you can cllp yr feet on the rope

if you swung, then its likely your body position or clipping the rope or a hold turned you in a funny way ...

if you are up high enough and the fall is clean, the belayer should give you a dynamic belay to minimize the swing

many beginner lead belayers are so afraid of belaying that they keep their partner very tight and even sit down into the fall ... that just makes the swing worse... and the climber hit the wall harder ...

find a competent lead belayer who knows when to give a softer catch ... and fall over and over again in the gym ...

its that simple Wink


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 12:35 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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The rope was running straight it was pretty much straight bolts up the wall, but the route starts on the bolts and then moves off to the side with the bolts staying to the side so the rope was completely straight while the route takes you off to the side. (Talk about runon sentence, but it's hard to explain it without doing so lol.)

I am thinking about just working on falls and leading in general with my belayer. He is a good friend and I enjoy climbing with him and we have good communication so I think if we just work on it both we can come out of this experience much better than before.


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 12:36 PM)


bearbreeder


Dec 14, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
The rope was running straight it was pretty much straight bolts up the wall, but the route start on the bolts, but then moved off to the side with the bolts staying to the side so the rope was completely straight but the route takes you off to the side.


chances are you clipped the rope swinging ... its sometimes SAFER for a pure traverse as you tend not to clip the rope ... than your case where the rope runs straight but youre left or right, in which case you really need to watch your feet clipping the rope or holds on the way down ... this is especially true on slabby or less than overhanging climbs

a hard catch will make this worse ...

be very careful with new belayers ... i know quite a few climbers who have gotten hurt because their belayer didnt understand the concept of a soft catch ...

in the gym my general rule is "keep me fairly tight on the first 3-4 bolts, then if i fall jump"

outside, well that really depends on the climb Wink


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Dec 14, 2012, 12:45 PM)


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 2:23 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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Thank you for the advice bear and yes I will be more careful from now on. Whenever I feel a fall coming on I'm really going to think about my placement on the wall and where I am going to fall if I do so I can keep my feet from clipping. Also, I am going to talk to my belayer about really learning to lead belay so we can both learn how to catch lead falls like they should be caught.


gunkiemike


Dec 14, 2012, 2:56 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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Just to show how old fashioned I am, when I read that it was his first lead...and he fell on it, I'm thinking, "He wasn't ready to lead yet". Really. Even in the gym I think it's important to lead climb successfully for a while before doing it unsuccessfully.


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 3:25 PM
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Re: [gunkiemike] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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How does that make you old fashioned or even make sense at all. Saying someone needs to be successful in something before they can be unsuccessful makes no sense at all. How do you expect someone to be successful in lead climbing without actually trying it?

That's like saying a child isn't allowed to walk and fall until they have walked for a year without falling.


gunkiemike


Dec 14, 2012, 3:32 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
How does that make you old fashioned or even make sense at all. Saying someone needs to be successful in something before they can be unsuccessful makes no sense at all. How do you expect someone to be successful in lead climbing without actually trying it?

That's like saying a child isn't allowed to walk and fall until they have walked for a year without falling.

Lead a 5.real-easy first time out. It that so hard a concept?


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 3:37 PM
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Re: [gunkiemike] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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I was leading a 5.7 when I fell. After the fall I dropped down to a 5.6 until i was more comfortable with lead climbing. Once I had hit the 5.6 with no problem we decided to work on 5.9 we had been eyeing for the past few weeks.

Just because you have been climbing for longer doesn't give you the right to tell me what ability I have. Falls happen to every single climber. If you want to give advice then that is what I am asking for, but saying I shouldn't be leading is just ridiculous.


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 3:40 PM)


csproul


Dec 14, 2012, 3:51 PM
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jgsahm3 wrote:
I was leading a 5.7 when I fell. After the fall I dropped down to a 5.6 until i was more comfortable with lead climbing. Once I had hit the 5.6 with no problem we decided to work on 5.9 we had been eyeing for the past few weeks.

Just because you have been climbing for longer doesn't give you the right to tell me what ability I have. Falls happen to every single climber. If you want to give advice then that is what I am asking for, but saying I shouldn't be leading is just ridiculous.
The bottom line is that he, and many others are of the belief that when you learn to lead, you should be doing so on routes that have almost zero possibility of falling. You should be learning the mechanics of leading or you should be learning how to improve your climbing...but not both at the same time. You will learn the mechanics of leading faster if you are not worrying about how to climb the route. Once you have the basics of leading, then take those skills into climbs where you might fall.


jt512


Dec 14, 2012, 3:56 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
I was leading a 5.7 when I fell. After the fall I dropped down to a 5.6 until i was more comfortable with lead climbing. Once I had hit the 5.6 with no problem we decided to work on 5.9 we had been eyeing for the past few weeks.

Just because you have been climbing for longer doesn't give you the right to tell me what ability I have. Falls happen to every single climber. If you want to give advice then that is what I am asking for, but saying I shouldn't be leading is just ridiculous.

If you fell on your first lead, then you chose too hard a route for your first lead. If you fell leading 5.7, then you weren't ready to lead in the first place.

BTW, you wrote "5.8" in the OP. Make up your mind.

Jay


gunkiemike


Dec 14, 2012, 3:59 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
I was leading a 5.7 when I fell.


From the OP - "So I hit up my first ever lead climb today. I was doing a 5.8 route which was pretty simple when top roped, but with the added factor of having to clip and such I ended up taking a fall."

jgsahm3 wrote:
After the fall I dropped down to a 5.6 until i was more comfortable with lead climbing. Once I had hit the 5.6 with no problem we decided to work on 5.9 we had been eyeing for the past few weeks.

Just because you have been climbing for longer doesn't give you the right to tell me what ability I have. Falls happen to every single climber. If you want to give advice then that is what I am asking for, but saying I shouldn't be leading is just ridiculous.

I wasn't there so what my advice would have been is a moot point. But it would have been, "Lead something dick easy". You did differently, and as long as you're OK with the outcome, that's fine with me.

You asked for analysis of what happened and I'm saying your choice of route was not a good match for your experience level. Just my opinion, having been at the game long enough to see lots of eager beavers get hurt. You don't like to hear that, that's OK.


crackmeup


Dec 14, 2012, 4:19 PM
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Why don't you learn to lead with an experienced leader/belayer who can tell you when you're risking a bad fall? Learning to belay outdoors while the climber is learning to lead is not ideal.

If you're not in a rush and have access to a gym, you may consider taking a lead climbing class. Lead routes in gyms are designed to be relatively safe. You will make mistakes, and hopefully you won't get hurt. I agree with those who say that if you fell on your first outdoors lead, you were not ready to lead. From your account, you made at least three mistakes fo a first lead:

1) You chose a route that wasn't ridiculously easy.
2) You fell incorrectly.
3) You had an inexperienced belayer.


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 5:49 PM
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I fixed the original post. It was late when I made it and I didn't 100% remember the difficulty. As to the other responses it would have been better to literally just say if you want to learn lead climb something you won't fall on until you have it down then move on. The response was worded in a way which sounded like I was being told that I shouldn't have been lead climbing at all which is why I responded the way I did. You have to remember this is a forum not real life you can't tell the emotion of another person through text as easy as speech.

Like I said a few posts back I am going to correctly learn how to lead climb and belay with my partner before I worry about moving on to harder things so we can avoid something like this happening again.

Also the whole experience was in a gym not outdoors. I would never try to learn something new and extra dangerous like lead climbing in an outdoor environment.


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 7:19 PM)


lena_chita
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Dec 14, 2012, 6:41 PM
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jgsahm3 wrote:
Also the whole experience was in a gym not outdoors. I would never try to learn something new and extra dangerous like lead climbing in an outdoor environment.

Facepalm!

Indeed, who would ever try to lead something on real rock for their first time? I wonder how people did it before the gyms? (/sarcasm)

Sounds like you might be in a bind. Your gym probably doesn't have very many routes below 5.7-5.8 (?) on lead walls. Do the best with what you have, keep practicing...


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 7:16 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
Facepalm!

Indeed, who would ever try to lead something on real rock for their first time? I wonder how people did it before the gyms? (/sarcasm)

Sounds like you might be in a bind. Your gym probably doesn't have very many routes below 5.7-5.8 (?) on lead walls. Do the best with what you have, keep practicing...
I forgot to throw in the /sarcasm in there as well (Was actually at the gym when I replied from my phone.) If I am rock climbing to begin with clearly the danger isn't something that would sway me away from doing it (Bouldering used to be my main style and I used to solo freeclimb some highball routes that I know I could do with the smallest chance of a fall before I had the gear to be safe while climbing at my limit), but you are right my gym only has a handful (IF that) of routes below 5.7 and the lowest I think is a 5.6. Also, the areas surrounding me don't have too many lead climbs available so I am pretty much stuck to the gym until I am able to set up a day long trip to somewhere that has lead routes.

I appreciate the advice from everyone though and I hope I didn't cause any hard feelings when I misunderstood a few things that were said. Climbing is something that changed my life and I am very passionate about it (Just as I'm sure all of you are as well.) I take in any piece of advice I get from experienced climbers and I really appreciate all the help everyone is giving me.


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 8:25 PM)


jt512


Dec 14, 2012, 7:46 PM
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Re: [jgsahm3] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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jgsahm3 wrote:
(Bouldering is my main style and I sometimes solo freeclimb some highball routes that I know I can do with the smallest chance of a fall).... Climbing is something that changed my life...

Given that you can't climb 5.7 without falling, climbing is something that is going to end your life if you continue to free solo.

Jay


jgsahm3


Dec 14, 2012, 7:58 PM
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Registered: Dec 8, 2012
Posts: 11

Re: [jt512] Odd Lead Fall [In reply to]
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Climbing a 20-30 foot boulder V0 is a little different than climbing a 40-50 foot wall and having to stop to clip draws (even though clipping doesn't take more than a second or 2). I never free soloed something I wasn't 100% sure I could do without a fall. Also, I no longer will be free soloing anymore (Whether or not I know I can do it) the only time I did it was while I lived in California and didn't have the gear to lead/toprope or run harder boulder problems with a crash pad.

I didn't mean to make it seem like I go out and try v5's free solo. I do appreciate the concern though.


Edit before I stop monitoring the thread:
One last time I really appreciate all the advice. From the concerns of my safety to the advice on how to improve lead climbing and what I can do to make sure something that could have been prevented doesn't happen again. All of it has really opened my eyes to a lot of different factors in climbing. Thank you all :D


(This post was edited by jgsahm3 on Dec 14, 2012, 8:43 PM)

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