Falling when clipping


Original Post
Addison Smith · · Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Have you guys ever taken a big fall while clipping when you have a ton of slack in the system? One of the things I tend to worry about is if I for some reason am not able to clip and fall with lots of slack in the system that I'll deck if I'm not high enough and I feel like I over grip the crap out of stuff with my first few bolts just because I don't want to deck. How do you over come that fear or what do you do to prevent those things?

Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 105

1) good belay partner who knows how to ground run if you fall that close to the ground  2) clip closer to your waist so that you don't pull extra rope when clipping above you  3) breathe and have faith or  4) top rope on lead until you are comfortable (said somewhat humorously) 


EDIT - because of confusion further down in the thread, I'm adding that cliping at your waist isn't a universal answer if the next move is more risky.  Don't give up a good stance for a waist clip.  However, if the next hold is similar, move up and pull less rope if distance to the ground is a concern. 

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 143

lead more routes well below your limit, gradually ramp the difficulty up. 

Addison Smith · · Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
EricL wrote:

1) good belay partner who knows how to ground run if you fall that close to the ground  2) clip closer to your waist so that you don't pull extra rope when clipping above you  3) breath and have faith or  4) top rope on lead until you are comfortable (said somewhat humorously) 

Yeah I noticed clipping closer to the waist helps a lot with not having a lot of slack in the system for sure. I guess a lot of it just comes with time and experience as well

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0

As mentioned, first and foremost, a good and attentive belayer.  Clip closer to your chest  or waist level.  Be ready to down climb and have another go at it after a rest and recollection of thoughts or come back another time when you are more up to the task.  And with more practice, the death grip while clipping will gradually give way to a firm one.

Yes, this is a real danger.  Clipping the second or third piece of pro, sport or otherwise, is sometimes the most dangerous 'move' of the entire route.

PatMas · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

make sure your stance is the best possible. Most areas have bolts near good stances (relative to the grade at least). While you are learning if you don't feel confident in your holds/stance at a particular bolt, don't be afraid to grab the draw to clip. Especially if you are worried about groundfall potential. No one (well no one that matters) is gonna judge you for grabbing a draw to save your femurs. Especially as a new leader.  Once you clip and feel 'safe' again. Take some time to find a better stance near that bolt. You may learn what to look for on a route you do later in life.

But if if you aren't worried about hitting the ground, or a ledge. Take the whip. Get comfy falling. It's gonna happen. Probably a lot.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Two words ........ Do Not


everything listed is true... but sometimes you cant get the bolt to your waist cause the people who bolted it wanted you to clip from below... so you have a TR when you do the next moves. 

I always encourage people to practice getting really good at clipping and if you think your going to fly when clipping.... blow off the red point, grab the draw and get clipped in. 

A friend of mine had a horrible accident whilst clipping far over his head, he had the rope up and was fumbling with it... he lost control of the rope and it dropped down and was around his arm.... then he fell off!!  the rope tried to fillet his bicep!!!!!  It was about the worst thing I ever witnessed....


one last thing....... never use your teeth to hold the rope while you go for the second handful....I use my sweet lips but not my teeth. 



Mateo San Pedro · · OR · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 280

To those that recommend that this guy get a good belayer: that is bad advice. 1) All belayers should be good. 2) It gives him false reassurance that he can just blow the 2nd clip because his belayer will always stop him from hitting the ground.

The best ways to not fall while clipping is to not be trying to clip when you fall. If you are too gassed, stop, drop the rope and let your belayer know you are coming off. Or grab a draw. But you might ask, what if the clip is desperate? You can either go for it being aware of the danger of the fall or not go for it. That's a decision you have to make. But unless the rock breaks or your foot/hand slips unexpectedly, you shouldn't fall with slack out to clip.

r m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Back when I was wrestling with the same thing, we'd experiment at the gym. See how far we'd fall when clipping at waist, or head level, etc.

One thing that was rapidly apparent, was even with the megaclose spacing of gym bolts was you always fell way further than you thought you would.

Was good experience to have, since sometimes on outside routes it may well be 5+ meters between bolts. Makes me just a bit anxious thinking about falling with a bolt 5 meters below me!

Peter Lewis · · Bridgton, Maine · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 150

I just grab the draw. That's worked well for me since 1976. 

Erik Keever · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 245

The clip at the waist thing is interesting. Because that's what we're all reminded to do...

Yet virtually every video I see of hard sport climbs, most of the clips (close to 100% in comps) are not only not waist-to-chest height, but taken above the climber's head, often close to maximum extension. And in my local gym, and ones I visit, a substantial fraction of lead routes are clearly set with the assumption that you'll chicken clip every time.

Addison Smith · · Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
PatMas wrote:

make sure your stance is the best possible. Most areas have bolts near good stances (relative to the grade at least). While you are learning if you don't feel confident in your holds/stance at a particular bolt, don't be afraid to grab the draw to clip. Especially if you are worried about groundfall potential. No one (well no one that matters) is gonna judge you for grabbing a draw to save your femurs. Especially as a new leader.  Once you clip and feel 'safe' again. Take some time to find a better stance near that bolt. You may learn what to look for on a route you do later in life.

But if if you aren't worried about hitting the ground, or a ledge. Take the whip. Get comfy falling. It's gonna happen. Probably a lot.

Good advice! Thanks!

Addison Smith · · Ohio · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0
Guy Keesee wrote:

Two words ........ Do Not


everything listed is true... but sometimes you cant get the bolt to your waist cause the people who bolted it wanted you to clip from below... so you have a TR when you do the next moves. 

I always encourage people to practice getting really good at clipping and if you think your going to fly when clipping.... blow off the red point, grab the draw and get clipped in. 

A friend of mine had a horrible accident whilst clipping far over his head, he had the rope up and was fumbling with it... he lost control of the rope and it dropped down and was around his arm.... then he fell off!!  the rope tried to fillet his bicep!!!!!  It was about the worst thing I ever witnessed....


one last thing....... never use your teeth to hold the rope while you go for the second handful....I use my sweet lips but not my teeth. 



Thanks for the advice! Haha sweet lips lol that's funny 

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 834

The first rule of climbing is: don't fall when it will be bad if you fall. 

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0

Yes, all belayers should be good.  But the reality is there are plenty of inattentive belayers. Can't blame most of the drops and near drops on the Gri Gri or climber dropping the rope while clipping.

Mark Verosky · · Columbus, Ohio · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 15

I've fallen from the third bolt while making a clip at eye level. Took a good 20+ foot whipper. If you constantly get the fear of falling, you're gunna fall. The biggest thing to do is work on your mental game, that's the best advice I can give. 

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,894

So my longest fall was exactly that. Trying to clip the anchor from waaaay low, pumped out of my mind, and fell with all the slack from trying to clip. 40' fall, but luckily that was only halfway down the route when I stopped flying...  lol 

my rule of thumb is that if I'm pumped and don't think I can make the clip I either climb past to clip at my waist, or I take the fall. If it's a must make clip (no clipping stance above) then I'll normally just take the whip. I don't mind falling in general, but I hate falling with slack out. 

One thing I've done on a couple routes where I had a spot I was scared to fall and it was noticeably affecting my climbing is I'll take the fall, starting at the highest point I'm comfortable with, and then gradually work up higher until I reach the point where I was scared prior. After that, it doesn't even cross my mind because I know it's a "safe" fall. Obviously, if it's not a clean fall, don't practice the whip...! 

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
Erik Keever wrote:

The clip at the waist thing is interesting. Because that's what we're all reminded to do...

Yet virtually every video I see of hard sport climbs, most of the clips (close to 100% in comps) are not only not waist-to-chest height, but taken above the climber's head, often close to maximum extension. And in my local gym, and ones I visit, a substantial fraction of lead routes are clearly set with the assumption that you'll chicken clip every time.

The problem is that people think that clipping at the waist is ALWAYS the right thing to do and that "chicken clipping" is the sign of inexperience.  Not true.  You should clip from the EASIEST/BEST position.  Every clip is unique.  Thinking "I could clip from here but its over my head so I'll make one more move...oopsie" is one of the most common mistakes of those with an intermediate level of experience.  The expert knows that there are no absolutes.

gfdonc · · Melbourne, Australia · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 3

Clip a second draw which is a 60cm sling into the bolt.  Clip the sling, which will be at most at your waist, then clip a normal draw into the hanger when you get comfortable.

You can preset this by having a single biner with both a sling and a standard draw.  You may need this if the hanger won't take two biners (most do).  You can even preclip the sling into your rope for desparate situations (i.e. you're protected as soon as you clip the hanger).

In my experience you fall a lot further than you expect when clipping above your head with an armful of slack.  Happened to me once and I nearly decked, no fault of the belayer.

Play safe,

Steve

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
Addison Smith wrote:

Have you guys ever taken a big fall while clipping when you have a ton of slack in the system? One of the things I tend to worry about is if I for some reason am not able to clip and fall with lots of slack in the system that I'll deck if I'm not high enough and I feel like I over grip the crap out of stuff with my first few bolts just because I don't want to deck. How do you over come that fear or what do you do to prevent those things?

climbing friend,

you may become more comfort, with the increasing experience. it is quite correct you must not fall while clipping the first few bolts or you may deck or end with belayer's head in the cheek of your butt. Do not pull up the slack to clip unless you have quite good stance. try not to clip scared high above your head as if reaching for distant stars of warm toprope security

also do not hesitate utilize the stick clip if there is a sketchy clip low down. it is the sport climbing, ha ha, not proving your manliness/womanliness on high alpine adventure

finally you must be most bold in your heart

Buddy Smith · · GA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 40

Since it's the Beginners Forum I assume we're talking sport. To me the thing about sport is that I have infinitely more confidence in each clip. Decking possibilities aside, I always climb harder on sport. My best whipper ever was 35' while clipping. Soft and easy but long and scary as f&$@! But safe. Clip at the best stance, but use some gym time to learn to trust and live with falls that will be clear and clean. Learning to fall when safe on sport will make you stronger and more confident when you go to trad and people are saying, "when in doubt, run it out."

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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