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Tips on getting over the Fear of Lead falling


John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 471
David Kerkeslager wrote:

It's often true that a long soft catch is better than a short hard catch, but not so often that it can be summed up with "that's just bad belaying". Often the safest catch is a short hard catch, and a short hard catch in that case is correct belaying. There's no way to soft catch into a ledge or ground fall.

We're talking about long vs. short falls.  Not about ledges, groundfalls or anything else.

And I stand by my statement.  If the biggest hazard is getting "whipped into the wall", that's just bad belaying.  

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
John Byrnes wrote:

We're talking about long vs. short falls.  Not about ledges, groundfalls or anything else.

And I stand by my statement.  If the biggest hazard is getting "whipped into the wall", that's just bad belaying.  

With tha qualification, sure, that's true, but it's key not to leave out that qualification. I see some new Gunks leaders putting in slack and whatnot to give a soft catch, when all that means on beginner Gunks routes is that they'll bounce off two ledges instead of one.

baldclimber · · Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Fritz N. wrote:

Eat a slice of bacon after every lead fall you take.


Where do you keep the bacon?  In your chalk bag?  How many slices do you bring?  Does the bacon fat on your fingers make holds greasy?  Does the bacon smell attract bears?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Drederek · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 315

No pussyhangs, go till you fall or send.  

Daniel T · · Riverside, Ca · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 35
John Byrnes wrote:

Of course they are.  But they are no different from getting more and more pumped and knowing you're gonna fall, eh?

That's just bad belaying.  See the current thread:  Soft catch vs. hard catch.   

Maybe "whip" was the wrong description but It still feels like its a whip.  The fall still takes less time and my reflexes are slower.  Id rather take the fall several feet above the last bolt that with the bolt at my knees or ankle height.  And yes I'm talking about sport climbing without ledge or ground fall risk.

Hayden Moore · · Allen, TX · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Yesterday, my wife and I went to a nice easy lead route and just took whippers on purpose. First, we jumped off at waist height from the bolt. Then, knee height. Then, with the bolt at our feet. Then, I climbed all the way to the next bolt and jumped off. My wife is always scared of catching my falls due to weight difference, but this was good practice for both of us to just get over it. I should mention as well - this was on an outdoor sport route. It was like 5.4, but had a nice section where one bolt was over a dead vertical section, so it was safe to jump out on. 

Then, I hopped on a route that was at my limit. I got about halfway up, realized I was at the crux, and knew I was going to have to work the route. So I jumped off right there to just get it out of the way. Helped me tremendously when actually climbing it. I didn't get the send, but it wasn't because I wasn't pushing myself - I fell 5 more times on it before realizing I was just going to have to come back. 

Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

I, breathe, meditate before I start, then when I am climbing if I notice I am losing the composure I felt at the bottom, I breathe, compose and keep climbing, I also try to remember to rest as I climb and if I know I am going to or fall i meditate as I descend, all the fear goes away. Works much of the time.

M

Mark Says · · Aspen, CO · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 395
Mason Stone wrote:

I, breathe, meditate before I start, then when I am climbing if I notice I am losing the composure I felt at the bottom, I breathe, compose and keep climbing, I also try to remember to rest as I climb and if I know I am going to or fall i meditate as I descend, all the fear goes away. Works much of the time.

M

You must fall a lot slower than I do.

Mason Stone · · Boise, ID · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Most people are used to conventional time, try not to freak out as you fall, your breathing won't increase, your senses and mind will stay clear and you will notice more. yes it happens fast and gravity affects us both the same way but our response may be different. This is why I think people say time slows down during accidents, fights, etc. The sensation is something you can control.

Let me also say, it is not so much I think of the story of my life as I go down, but I find the mental state I am in is consistent throughout the fall. When I have been scared, I stay scared through the fall until its done, when I fall and I am in what I call my calm/meditation point that is the state I am in when I recover, perhaps this might be a better explanation. I am curious if any of you feel being calm when you fall keeps you calm during and after?

Mark Says · · Aspen, CO · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 395
Mason Stone wrote:

But continue to freak out if you must.

Thank you, I will.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
David Kerkeslager wrote:

.... I see some new Gunks leaders putting in slack and whatnot to give a soft catch...

Adding slack prior to a fall does not give a soft catch, in fact, it makes the catch harder.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Ken Noyce wrote:

Adding slack prior to a fall does not give a soft catch, in fact, it makes the catch harder.

The full sentence you quoted part of was "I see some new Gunks leaders putting in slack and whatnot to give a soft catch, when all that means on beginner Gunks routes is that they'll bounce off two ledges instead of one." Please don't cherry pick only parts of what I say.

For a discussion of more slack vs. less slack giving a softer catch see here. It doesn't seem like there's a simple answer.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
David Kerkeslager wrote:

The full sentence you quoted part of was "I see some new Gunks leaders putting in slack and whatnot to give a soft catch, when all that means on beginner Gunks routes is that they'll bounce off two ledges instead of one." Please don't cherry pick only parts of what I say.

For a discussion of more slack vs. less slack giving a softer catch see here. It doesn't seem like there's a simple answer.

I cherry picked the part I wanted to clarify, I don't care about the second half of the sentence.  I was simply pointing out the indisputable fact that adding slack to the system does not give a softer catch, all it does is increase the fall factor which means a harder catch if all other things are equal.  

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Ken Noyce wrote:

I cherry picked the part I wanted to clarify, I don't care about the second half of the sentence.  I was simply pointing out the indisputable fact that adding slack to the system does not give a softer catch, all it does is increase the fall factor which means a harder catch if all other things are equal.  

Did you watch the video in the thread I linked? I tend to believe video evidence over your declarations of indisputable facts.

"If all other things are equal" is a non sequitor, those falls aren't even the most common.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
David Kerkeslager wrote:

Did you watch the video in the thread I linked? I tend to believe video evidence over your declarations of indisputable facts.

"If all other things are equal" is a non sequitor, those falls aren't even the most common.

No I didn't watch the video, I don't have 15 minutes at the moment, but the physics is fairly simply in this case.  If all other things are equal is a totally valid argument as it is the only way to truly compare two scenarios, adding variables just confuses things.  I have no idea what you mean by "those falls aren't even the most common".

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Ken Noyce wrote:

No I didn't watch the video, I don't have 15 minutes at the moment, but the physics is fairly simply in this case.  If all other things are equal is a totally valid argument as it is the only way to truly compare two scenarios, adding variables just confuses things.  I have no idea what you mean by "those falls aren't even the most common".

You have time to argue, but you don't have time to actually understand the problem?

Do you have time to define what "soft catch" means, in physics terms? Because if we're talking "indisputable facts" you should know that even what that means is a matter of dispute.

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
David Kerkeslager wrote:

You have time to argue, but you don't have time to actually understand the problem?

Do you have time to define what "soft catch" means, in physics terms? Because if we're talking "indisputable facts" you should know that even what that means is a matter of dispute.

I actually understand the problem quite well.  Soft catch in physics terms means increasing the length of time over which a force is distributed (i.e. decreasing the magnitude of the acceleration).  Adding slack to the system doesn't do that, all it does is increase the energy that has to be dissipated. 

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 277
Ken Noyce wrote:

I actually understand the problem quite well.  Soft catch in physics terms means increasing the length of time over which a force is distributed (i.e. decreasing the magnitude of the acceleration).  Adding slack to the system doesn't do that, all it does is increase the energy that has to be dissipated. 

I think most climbers define the "softness" of a catch to refer to the forces experienced by the climber. These forces are highly correlated to the fall factor of a fall. If you add slack to a given system, the fall factor approaches 1.

For a low-factor fall (less than 1), this means that adding slack increases the fall factor, resulting in harder catch. (To put it in terms of fall energy vs. energy absorption: the amount of energy to be dissipated increases faster than the system's ability to absorb and dissipate that energy.
- Example 1: A fall from 10 feet above a 50-foot-high bolt with no extra slack: FF=20/60=.33    
                     With 10 feet of extra slack, that fall becomes FF=30/70=.43
                     The fall factor increased, and the catch got "harder".

However, for a high-factor fall (greater than 1), adding slack would reduce the fall factor, resulting in a "softer" catch. In this case, the system's ability to absorb energy and dissipate the energy of the fall increases faster than the amount of energy added to the system by the longer fall.
- Example 2: A fall from 10 feet directly above a multipitch anchor, with a clean fall zone below the anchor. FF= 20/10=2.0
                     With 10 feet of extra slack, that fall becomes FF=30/20=1.5
                     The fall factor decreased, and the catch got "softer".

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,122
Andrew Krajnik wrote:

I think most climbers define the "softness" of a catch to refer to the forces experienced by the climber. These forces are highly correlated to the fall factor of a fall. If you add slack to a given system, the fall factor approaches 1.

For a low-factor fall (less than 1), this means that adding slack increases the fall factor, resulting in harder catch. (To put it in terms of fall energy vs. energy absorption: the amount of energy to be dissipated increases faster than the system's ability to absorb and dissipate that energy.
- Example 1: A fall from 10 feet above a 50-foot-high bolt with no extra slack: FF=20/60=.33    
                     With 10 feet of extra slack, that fall becomes FF=30/70=.43
                     The fall factor increased, and the catch got "harder".

However, for a high-factor fall (greater than 1), adding slack would reduce the fall factor, resulting in a "softer" catch. In this case, the system's ability to absorb energy and dissipate the energy of the fall increases faster than the amount of energy added to the system by the longer fall.
- Example 2: A fall from 10 feet directly above a multipitch anchor, with a clean fall zone below the anchor. FF= 20/10=2.0
                     With 10 feet of extra slack, that fall becomes FF=30/20=1.5
                     The fall factor decreased, and the catch got "softer".

Good point, I was neglecting falls with a FF > 1.  Typically when we are talking about giving a soft catch, we are talking about single pitch cragging where the FF will always be < 1.  In a multipitch scenario, with a high FF, yes, giving additional slack will decrease the fall factor resulting in a softer catch.

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20
Dave Kos wrote:

Once you are comfortable with falling, remind yourself to never be too comfortable.

This.  Think about this Ormes story (he lived):

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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