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First trad fall and thoughts about the safety of easy routes


. Mobes · · MDI · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
MojoMonkey wrote:

I wonder how many GoPro wearers feel that extra little pressure to do something unwise because it makes better video for their youtube followers.

Somewhere around 50%?

Ziv I · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 0

I think this thread is ready to be closed now. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

(Also lol what youtube followers? I have one video on my channel and it's of me falling on a 5.5 that I uploaded for this post. Really, INTERNET FAME HERE I COME. The GoPro is just for me, and if you think I'm a "nerd" or whatever that means, then good for you. I'll keep doing what makes me happy and you can climb GoPro-less or shirtless or only with nuts or whatever, because that's what 'true climbers' do.)

C. limbnski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

An aside from the discussion above

When you start climbing in todays world many (most?) people start in a gym, eventually learn to lead climb, something basic about anchors and cleaning, then take it outside.

You can do this because it is assumed someone has already done the hard work of building a protection system for you. You don't have to think about it, just clip a draw and climb on.
(This is a bit hyperbolic for emphasis, you should definitely be thinking about it.)

No one is doing that for you in trad climbing. It's all on you.

That is an overwhelming amount of information at first. It really takes a lot of time and study to get it figured out to the level that it's mostly a background process. Then you can focus on other aspects of the climbing and environment, enjoy yourself, and feel like you are climbing 5.4.

It takes time and practice, and OP I commend you for trying to go out and get after it. Knowledge is power, or  'the more you know, the less you need'.

SeƱor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Mike P wrote: Respectfully, in most mentorship relationships I've had (both in climbing and other fields, both as mentor and mentee), it's not really about what the mentee can give back. That's why it's a mentorship rather than a partnership.

It's just about paying it forward, because other people did the same for you. (Or perhaps because you wish other people had done such a thing for you.)

This is absolutely right. Ziv has showed himself to have a sense of humor, a willingness to self-reflect and a sense of adventure. That's a lot more than most people bring to the table already. Add in the mild sexual favors and guitar lessons and he's golden. 

MojoMonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 66
Ziv I wrote: I think this thread is ready to be closed now. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

(Also lol what youtube followers? I have one video on my channel and it's of me falling on a 5.5 that I uploaded for this post. Really, INTERNET FAME HERE I COME. The GoPro is just for me, and if you think I'm a "nerd" or whatever that means, then good for you. I'll keep doing what makes me happy and you can climb GoPro-less or shirtless or only with nuts or whatever, because that's what 'true climbers' do.)

I did have someone in mind as I followed/caused more thread drift, but it was not you. And that person has a lot of lead climbing experience (so not a comparable situation) but the few videos I watched made me cringe. Perhaps only my imagination, but I felt the focus was more on narrating the video and trying to sound calm/cool for the perceived audience in difficult sections of climbing and not on getting good gear. And maybe they'd take then "when in doubt, run it out" mantra to heart even without a camera.

I realize that even before GoPros there was peer pressure from the peanut gallery, but at least the higher up the climb you got the less they could see or comment on so maybe the pressure eased. Different situation than a possible audience being able to replay everything you saw/said/did at will forever. I suppose that could get edited out, but who posting GoPro videos does that, right?

More relevant to you and this thread, just something to be mindful of to make sure it doesn't creep into your decision process out there even if it doesn't now.
· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Ziv I,

Hey bud, no one is hating on you, people are sharing from their perspective, some are crotchety like a drill sergeant. Others are patient, like a parent or older brother, all of us want to see you succeed. Why? If for nothing else to glory in your success. Go out to Indian Creek some time, you'll see people cheering on random strangers. Also, none of us want to see you die or get maimed. You will find climbers are the first to respond to an accident including helping recover your gear.

Bill is right, it takes a lot of our time to bring someone along, I have, I also implored on them to pay it forward. The people I've mentored are now competent partners. I hope to continue meeting other people to learn from, including those that are real, crotchety. I had a flight instructor who liked to cuss while yelling at you. Several times when I could have died while flying I didn't because his voice was in my head, "fly the fukin airplane." I have also had friends remind me just by pointing at something I missed, I accept it all.

I think some of this is generational disconnect. Where some see the tools of the trade, nuts, others see antiques. Same for go pros, some see them as unnecessary while others a tool to record for posterity. And yes, it is way cool to lead a route on just nuts. But to do so safely you have to build competence, which is why I think you came on here.  

Keep the sexual flavors for your partner, I will happily trade for investment advice. 

doug342 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I actually saw a presentation a few years back about the influence of social media (GoPros probably apply?) on decision making in mountain environments.  The talk was at ESAW (Eastern Snow and Avalanche Conference) so it was more skier focused but, the same concepts probably apply.

https://www.academia.edu/4986241/Decision-Making_and_Social_Media_The_Millennial_Generation_s_Persistent_Weak_Layer

It was given by Jerry Isaak from SUNY Plattsburgh.

Nick Haha · · Baltimore, md · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 140

Thanks to everyone who replied so much helpful insight on this Page.  As someone who’s just starting to learn trad,  this was beneficial.  Zik..... as much as this thread has started to annoy you, it will help many in the future.  Thank you as well

Rob D. · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 30

I read this thread last night and thought about it a bit today.  I think in the gunks there are a lot of gym climbers that come thinking that because they can pull hard, they should.  Most of the first pitch of High E you can take no hands rests whenever you please and gear is so plentiful that the biggest problem for new leaders is typically drag from placing too much (and not extending properly/choosing awful places for gear).  In the gunks it's very easy for a strong gym climber to turn a 5.4 into a 5.9 by being unacquainted to the style of climbing and the route finding.  Most of us can look at a slot and tell you whether it's going to be positive or not, but a new climber doesn't have that luxury.  This is one of the reasons,  while climbing a section of 5.2 climbing, this new climber fell.  I think that is one very important reason to get as much mileage as possible following before you lead, or if you're going to be leading (for whatever reason), it's almost always nice to have gotten on the climb before or at least be comfortable with the style.  The fact is, it's hard to translate any outdoor climbing to the gym, and it's incredibly difficult to translate easy Gunks climbing to the gym.

Billcoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 833
Ziv I wrote: Hi everyone,

I recently started trad climbing after ~3 years of climbing. After taking a two day course with a local guide, I followed up with a couple of successful multi-pitching easy routes days at the gunks and got super excited about trad. The Saturday before last me and a couple of friends were heading to the gunks again to climb High Exposure. I started leading the first pitch (5.5) and about 25ft into it (after my second piece of gear), I made a move without planning my next hold and ended up falling. Luckily the piece held (a #1 cam), but my foot hit a ledge on the way down and I sprained my ankle pretty bad.

For "entertainment" value, here's the GoPro video of my fall - youtube.com/watch?v=vJZti8H…

I am still recovering but the fall made me think about trad leading easy routes and I have a couple of questions I would love to get your opinions on:
1. Do you overprotect your first 30ft on the wall? After all if the cam didn't hold I would have probably hit the ground.
2. The whole experience made me highly doubt the safety of easy routes. Because easy routes are usually less steep, your chances of hitting a ledge and getting hurt at any fall are significantly higher. If that's the case, wouldn't you opt for harder routes as long as they are steep and you have good placements? I usually climb 5.11s at the gym and I opted for 5.5-6 (gunks sandbagged but still), but I'm starting to question my decision process.


1st) A 2 day course with a guide is hardly a good start. My thoughts are study as much as you can (reading/watching), try and find a mentor to follow around. In @ 2 years you will know enough to get yourself killed, so be careful, but everyone should have a good couple solid years to get started. Figure out where someone like Rich Goldstone (doesn't have to be that old:-)) is going to be and see if you can coax that person out for a few laps. Be upbeat, pay your share and do your part and you might become a regular. You are already doing the study part by asking the question here so good on you! Although wanting the discourse to end negates that a tad.

Regarding your #1, it depends. I look at the holds and rests and decide what I should be doing vis a vis what the fall potential looks like and what the pro looks like at my possible rests. There's really a lot more going on that I can lay down in a brief summary. After a while you can look at a line and get a good feel for all the complexity's fairly quickly, but not for a while will it come. As you climb, that map of what you were planning to do (ie, at the 12' mark you are planning to rest on that stance there and put a pice in there) is a reference point, when you arrive 12' up things may look differently -the holds are more rounded, or the "crack" won't take a piece after all...then what is your backup plan and how does that relate to what you were planning on stancing/piece placing next 6 feet up or whatever. on and on.

I almost always prefer a solid cam (if not more) then a nut, not the reverse -if possible. The cam keeps the rope close to the wall so the nuts don't rip out. Nuts are light to carry, and even if you don't use them because cams are better/faster generally, nuts can be real nice to have a couple when you are at the end of a long pitch and all of your cams have been placed and you are looking at a long runout with a crux and you're tired:-)  Also, some areas take some types of pro better than others. People in Joshua Tree and the Gunks often find the Lowe/Trango Tricams useful on some routes, most places in the country they suck.

Regarding your #2 -this is good! Don't lose this feeling just yet. You can later a few years from now. Low angle stuff can kill you as easy as anything else. I was out with my son once. Son wanted to invite this super climber out, fella climbed hard 5.11/5.12 in the gym but he was a new climber like my son - they had been climbing a year, indoors and outdoors sport. SC got stuck, then he fell off a easy 5.3 OW/chimney pitch. If he had been leading that and the single piece available had pulled out, he would have taken a nasty rolling 60-80 footer. It was only an embarrassment for him as I had him on belay. I tried to make the point that those kinds of holds are only encountered out in the wild, it's nothing to be embarrassed about, just be aware that gym holds don't always duplicate real holds/horrible body positions/stupid foot placements and combinations thereof. That gets sussed out by being outside and encountering them.

Learn everything you can, follow a few highly experienced folks to learn more, and enjoy yourself. PS, thanks for the video.
Ben VanderStouw · · Rochester, NY · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 85

Unrelated to question but practice falling as well. Don't grab the rope like you did in the video, be ready to push yourself away (much better description in The Rock Warriors Way by Arno Illgner).

J Kuginis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

So I got a GoPro a number of years ago for mountain biking - watching the clips after made me ill so I stopped. Then I thought to try it climbing. Wearing a head cam really felt strange and turned a 5.11 into way hard.  so I stopped using it for climbing. So after 5 or 6 uses it lay in the cabinet until I thought "hey what about white water kayaking". So I no longer  have a GoPro.

Moral of the story (re climbing) - it makes it harder and more likely to fall and feels strange 

PosiDave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 65
Ziv I wrote: I think this thread is ready to be closed now. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

(Also lol what youtube followers? I have one video on my channel and it's of me falling on a 5.5 that I uploaded for this post. Really, INTERNET FAME HERE I COME. The GoPro is just for me, and if you think I'm a "nerd" or whatever that means, then good for you. I'll keep doing what makes me happy and you can climb GoPro-less or shirtless or only with nuts or whatever, because that's what 'true climbers' do.)

Take the GoPro off until you know what you are doing enough to not fall on a 5.5 pitch. Whole recording may make you happy, breaking your ankle obviously does not.

It is one less thing that makes you not focus on actually learning what you need to do (place gear, build anchors, extend pieces, think before moves, etc).
Studies prove that social media, obtaining Photos, video, etc do make people do riskier things (even if subliminally). 
Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 1,688
J Kuginis wrote: So I got a GoPro a number of years ago for mountain biking - watching the clips after made me ill so I stopped. Then I thought to try it climbing. Wearing a head cam really felt strange and turned a 5.11 into way hard.  so I stopped using it for climbing. So after 5 or 6 uses it lay in the cabinet until I thought "hey what about white water kayaking". So I no longer  have a GoPro.

Moral of the story (re climbing) - it makes it harder and more likely to fall and feels strange 

Thoroughly entertaining; thanks for that!

Every time GoPro's go on sale, I'm tempted. Thankfully, I've resisted the urge every time. For the activities I do, I just don't think it'll capture footage that's interesting enough to actually do anything with...
David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 137

Having a camera that sits on a tripod and films you climbing seems a lot more interesting to me--watching footage of myself climbing has been helpful in discovering some weak spots in my technique.

bridge · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
J Kuginis wrote: So I got a GoPro a number of years ago for mountain biking - watching the clips after made me ill so I stopped. Then I thought to try it climbing. Wearing a head cam really felt strange and turned a 5.11 into way hard.  so I stopped using it for climbing. So after 5 or 6 uses it lay in the cabinet until I thought "hey what about white water kayaking". So I no longer  have a GoPro.

Moral of the story (re climbing) - it makes it harder and more likely to fall and feels strange 

As a learning resource for beginning leaders, I had the thought of wearing a GoPro on easier routes to capture how I chose to protect them.  Not that I'm an expert, but the existing YouTube channels I've seen don't seem to set a very good example in terms of how to safely protect climbs. I was lucky enough to follow some excellent nut technicians during my early days of leading, and that translated to, I believe, a more diverse ability to safely protect situations.

Alas, I tried it once and really didn't like how it changed my headspace, even on easier terrain.  Too bad, because I think this project could have perhaps been a help in an era where it's hard to find mentorship.
Tim Parkin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Too many people jumping in an kicking someone when they're down. If people had bothered to read the thread before commenting they could have just added whatever was pertinent. However the thread has now lost a lot of it's usefulness for repeating 'opinions' rather than facts (most of which are blindingly obvious).

For those few that added really constructive comments, I thank you as I'm just learning myself. Regarding the GoPro, nothing wrong with using one at all as long as it doesn't get in the way (physically or mentally) however, one or two cameras on the ground as well make a lot more interesting viewing and give you much more to learn from.

Finally, congratulations for the original poster for actually posting a thread and asking for feedback and for being mature in his reaction! With the amount of negativity here it will be a while before someone else does similar. 

MojoMonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 66
Tim Parkin wrote: Too many people jumping in an kicking someone when they're down. If people had bothered to read the thread before commenting they could have just added whatever was pertinent. However the thread has now lost a lot of it's usefulness for repeating 'opinions' rather than facts (most of which are blindingly obvious).

For those few that added really constructive comments, I thank you as I'm just learning myself. Regarding the GoPro, nothing wrong with using one at all as long as it doesn't get in the way (physically or mentally) however, one or two cameras on the ground as well make a lot more interesting viewing and give you much more to learn from.

Finally, congratulations for the original poster for actually posting a thread and asking for feedback and for being mature in his reaction! With the amount of negativity here it will be a while before someone else does similar. 

Your first post on MP is to bump a thread that was dead for weeks to complain about people not reading the whole thing before commenting. And then added a comment of really nothing new?


I gave you a thumbs up.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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