Agree with falls being nastier on easier terrain, especially slab. I don't think anyone has said this yet but.. One habit that can decrease the severity of falls on easy slab is to have your belayer take in slack rapidly, as in run away from the base of the climb. You can take in several meters quickly this way and sometimes thats just what you need to stay off that ankle sprainer ledge, just keep that brake hand on the whole time. You do not want to do this on steep routes, however, when a soft catch is supposed to keep you from slamming back into the wall.
Firstly, glad you are ok, and still coming back for more.
Brandon Seerup wrote:If so, is there a "correct" way to fall on a slab to minimize injury?
No. As long as you didn't backstep and take a 'flipper', then you did ok.
Of the slab routes I've climbed, the bolts were placed to protect the sketch moves (not equal spacing) so my belayer could keep it snug for the move, and when I blew it, I only had to lean out backwards with hardly any sliding down.
I have just always taken the "Don't fall here" approach on a lot of stuff in Rushmore and the Needles (Needles can be downright scary). Moderate stuff in both areas tend to always be at least a little run out and often slabby.
That fall seems about what I would expect. Where you pretty far up the route? The further up you are, the more rope stretch you get. So keep that in mind. And don't push off (if you did) vertical or less than vertical terrain, as others have mentioned. Just try to get your hands in front and keep your eyes open so you can properly spot your landing and prepare yourself for the potential impact.
Another post mentioned having your belayer prepared to run backwards. I definitely always remind my belayer of this when heading up run out slab type stuff. It can save several feet of the cheese grater potentially. If the belay spot is elevated a bit and your belayer can safely jump off it that can quickly pull some slack in as well.
Thanks everyone for the input, kind of confirms what I think I already knew. My leads to date have been pretty cleanly divided into steep sport (RRG) or trad (Devil's Lake), so this whole less-than-vertical sport thing was definitely a new experience. I definitely did not intend to push the grade on this trip, but as someone mentioned, stuff happens. I think it may have actually been the first lead fall I've taken on a route that I was fully expecting to send without issue.
Injuries aside, Rushmore is a pretty incredible place and the volume and accessibility of high-caliber routes is just amazing. Can't wait to make it back there.