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Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls
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dirtineye


Feb 15, 2004, 9:02 AM
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Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls
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OK we all want to apply RWW techniques to dealing with falling, but I wonder what everyone thinks about the differences in roped falling vs bouldering falling, and how and if we can use things learned from one in the other?


evan


Feb 16, 2004, 9:30 AM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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Dirtineye, good question.

What I'm about to write may ellicit some negative responses.

From my own limited experience, I tend to unfairly sort boulderers into two general categories: those who have extensively climbed routes, and those who haven't. In my more impatient moments, I tend to simplify those two categories even more into people who let their fear of falling interfere with their development as climbers, and those who don't.

Your experience in handling falls off of a boulder will only transfer over to a roped climb if you subject yourself to similar "stop and assess" scenario. In other words, if you only boulder problems where the fall is inconsequential, I don't see any benefit to your mental condition while on the sharp end of a rope.

I'll write some more after I get a bit more coffee into my system.

Cheers,
Evan


dirtineye


Feb 16, 2004, 9:40 AM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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Well, if you are talking about those 3 foot falls from a cave roof onto a crash pad. I agree, but there are no inconsequential falls from a highball LOL.

Stop and assess... hmm, you can assess from the ground for most boulder problems. Again, in a highball you can possibly stop and assess... I've done a good bit of that.

It's interesting that you are talking about the mental aspects, that is a valid subject. I was only thinking about thetechnical aspects of dealing with the fall once it had begun.

But let's discuss both.

I'll claim that bouldering in a way that you need to make a good landing and pay attention to how you fall and how you meet the ground can be valuable mentally and technically-- mentally because you learn that you can fall and handle it, technically because if you do it correctly you will not get hurt, and you learn to very quickly react to the shorter distances and you must provide all the cushioning yourself. For example, even with a crash pad, if you land on your heels you will NOT enjoy the result, so you might di it once by accident and then never ever again.


evan


Feb 16, 2004, 11:22 AM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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Dirtineye,

I'm glad that you brought up the subject of highballs.

I've only done three problems that I would classify as highballs. Personally, I consider a highball a problem which consists of executing moves at such a height and angle that a fall would almost certainly result in serious injury, (i.e., you wouldn't be able to just dust yourself off and walk away). Highballs have always been the only boulder problems where I have mentally had to prepare myself; I always note a specific point or movement of no return. If I fall above that point, I have to accept the fact I'm putting myself in serious jeopardy and be comfortable with the consequences of the fall.

That point of no return is my "stop and assess" point. If something doesn't feel right I'll back off, take a lesser fall, and won't think twice about it.

Technically, I'd argue that the actual act of falling while bouldering doesn't transfer over all that well to roped climbing. Spotters make a *huge* difference. I have been quite literally plucked from the air by a strong spotter, and had my skull saved because of it. I've also put myself in positions involving heel and toe hooks with the distinct possibility of a fall while bouldering that I wouldn't even think of attempting while climbing roped.

I'd like to hear some thoughts on this from some of the more experienced, old-school boulderers. Too bad, Curt isn't on this forum.

I don't take lessons on how to fall from my bouldering sessions. What I hope does transfer over from bouldering to routes is the ability to pull harder moves than if I climbed routes exclusively, and read cruxes faster than previously.

Cheers,
Evan


dirtineye


Feb 16, 2004, 11:38 AM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Technically, I'd argue that the actual act of falling while bouldering doesn't transfer over all that well to roped climbing. Spotters make a *huge* difference. I have been quite literally plucked from the air by a strong spotter, and had my skull saved because of it. I've also put myself in positions involving heel and toe hooks with the distinct possibility of a fall while bouldering that I wouldn't even think of attempting while climbing roped.

When you have a good spotter it does make a difference, but past a certain height the spotter isn't a whole lot of help, at least a southern spotter isn't LOL. What I've seen is that the faller is still supposed to be taking care of himself, and the spotter is there to keep your head and shoulders off the ground if need be. If someone is landing feet first on the pad, the spotter does nothing.

The times I needed a good spot, I got one. I agree that if you come to depend on a spotter, then bouldering falling would not help at all with roped falling. When I feel off one of my favorite highballs three times in one day, ( all the falls I ever took on it LOL) There was nobody around and no pad for the first two, and that really makes you focus on how you take the fall. This particular fall is out of a layback, so you have to do something right or if your supporting hand comes off in the reach you will hit the ground on your back or there abouts.

I don't do that problem when it is wet anymore for some reason.


shank


Feb 16, 2004, 3:17 PM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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I think some of it is good for you, reaction time is part.
But I don't think the learned technique for falling bouldering is good to transfer because when you fall bouldering your impact is more or less straight down, whereas rope it will be somewhat inward. Did that make sense?


dirtineye


Feb 16, 2004, 4:30 PM
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I think some of it is good for you, reaction time is part.
But I don't think the learned technique for falling bouldering is good to transfer because when you fall bouldering your impact is more or less straight down, whereas rope it will be somewhat inward. Did that make sense?

Well here's how I relate to that point:

First, in many bouldering falls you try to land on your feet and you are perpendicular to the ground, but you still try to hit with the balls of your feet and cushion the impact by bending your knees. In roped climbing you are also trying to hit with your balls of your feet and cishion the impact. Although you are swinging in, and you need to have your hands up in case they have to help, there are more similarities than differences between roped falling and bouldering IMO.

And then there are those falls where you are takign a big pendulum, with your body nearly horizontal, and ( You hope) your feet will meet the wall just about in the same way as if you had jumped off a boulder problem. In other words, you are back to feeling the force of hitting the wall in about the same way you would when bouldering-- the wall is perpendicular to your body and the force of the pendulum swing is also nearly perpendicular to the wall.

But to me the biggest thing is what you already agree on, and that is the reaction time. in bouldering whatever you are going to do during a fall had better be fast, because you just dont have much time in a short fall. It is this quick reaction that can save you butt in a fall from an awkward position. In my experience you develop this quick reaction out of self preservation if nothign else! In roped climbing if you react quickly and correctly even a shorter fall from an awkward position will turn out better, at least that's what I'm betting on, and so far my experience has been positive in that regard.


curt


Feb 17, 2004, 1:29 PM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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Here is how I see some similarity. I put this in a PM to dirtineye a couple days ago--before I joined this forum -
In reply to:
Anyway, I think in roped climbing and bouldering both--it is a matter of how far you will fall and what you will hit that matters. In bouldering, you know that every fall will result in hitting the ground, while in roped climbing (especially, perhaps sport climbing) there is near certainty of not hitting anything.

For me, the same decision making process is applied. I decide on a highball boulder problem where the "point of no return" is--and I either back off there or fully commit for the top. Assuming I have correctly identified the point of no return, hesitation or second guessing above that point can never lead to a good outcome--only a bad one.

Curt


dredsovrn


Apr 16, 2004, 4:12 PM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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I am not sure I would see them as the same type of falls, but the fear can be the same. As mentioned earlier, on closer to the ground problems, it isn't much of an issue, but on highballs...thats another matter.

I have certainly reached that point on highball problems when I realized how high I was, and that my pad was in the wrong place. Just the same, I have looked down to see that my last piece is 20' below me, and I still can't find a good placement. To me, the fear is the same. The RWW way techniques have helped me to breath deep and re-focus in those moments. I have done so by doing just that. Taking a deep breath, and telling myself to be here, now.

At times like that, it is easy to start thinking about topping out, or seeing a crack that might take good pro instead of staying in the now.


dredsovrn


May 24, 2004, 4:28 PM
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Re: Roped climbing falls VS bouldering falls [In reply to]
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I appologize in advance for the rambling length of this post.

I had not bouldered for a while and found myself without a climbing partner this Sunday. I threw my pad, shoes, and chalk bag in the trunk and headed out. Right before I left though, I noticed a old copy of Tao Te Ching on the kitchen table. I bought it in college and dug it out a few months ago after reading the RWW. I threw it in the trunk.

I warmed up on a V1 and moved my pad to a V3 that had plagued me on my last visit. I grabbed my water bottle and picked up the book. It was hot. Probably 90 degrees and humid, so I thought I would break for a minute before launching into the new problem. I skipped the introduction because I didn't want someone elses interpretation. I wanted to discover the meaning on my own.

"The way that can be spoken of is not the constant way; the name that can be named is not the constant name." Or so it starts in my translation. Those familiar with the text know that it goes on to list a myriad of contrasts. I jumped on the rock and started working on the problem. I popped off a few time. Not burnt, or frustrated, just foiled. I sat down and read some more. More contrasts.

As I got ready to try again, I thought, why the hell am I reading this if I am not going to think about what it means or what I can do with it? Why the contrasts? I decided that Lao Tzu might be indicating that things are not always as they seem, and perhaps things are that and then some. I
stepped back from the problem and looked at it. I had been trying to essentially lieback this arete. What if I positioned myself differently and tried to use some of the thin edges along the sides and climb in a more vertical fashion?

As I focused on being open to what I might find, I found new positions that made the climb flow. As I neard the top (about 20') I felt myself starting to focus on the top and my heart beat. I paused, looked down at the pad and assessed my fall potential. Not bad. I breathed deep and reached over the top for an unkown hold. I kept breathing. Sloping hold for topout. Then I felt a shallow pocket, adjusted my foot and pulled over the top.

I following the same process on successive climbs. Read some, scan the problem, work on it, read some, try again. A great day. I learned a lot about a lot and am looking forward to more.


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