Fear of Falling

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mmcfadden
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Fear of Falling

Post by mmcfadden » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:44 pm

Anyone have any goods tips on how to get over/control the fear of falling on lead? I have lead up to 10a, but it seems that if I have the option of leading or following, I tend to take the follow option. First decent whipper was on To Defy The Laws Of Tradition 3 years ago, and I can't seem to shake it. It wasn't a good fall, so it left me a little gun shy. Need to control this irrational fear!

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by dfspau2 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:05 pm

Lead and fall more... really dont know any other way...
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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by whatahutch » Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:19 pm

Go slowly. Warm up on something easy, clip the chains and tell the belayer to give you some slack and take a big "hang" from the chains. This usually gets the lead fall jitters out of my head and then I am ready for something a little more exciting.

But practice makes perfect.

Next time up leading up an overhanging route clip the fifth or sixth bolt and then climb to where your knees are at the bolt you just clipped. Let go.
Do it again.
Do it again.
Then climb till your feet are at the bolt. Let go.
Do it again.
Do it again.

Practice in the gym doing mock leads and falls.

Make sure you know your equipment is safe (good rope, good draws, good belay device) and most important that your belayer is competent and experienced at catching and arresting lead falls. This way you remove the doubt and mental fears.

Then get on your project and feel confident that you are safe.
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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by caribe » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:04 pm

mmcfadden wrote: Need to control this irrational fear!
How do you know the fear is not rational?

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by Spikeddem » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:35 pm

caribe wrote:
mmcfadden wrote: Need to control this irrational fear!
How do you know the fear is not rational?
Yep. Not sure that To Defy the Laws of Tradition is the best route to take a 40 foot whip on.

Regardless, read some material from Dave MacLeod and also pick up a copy of The Rock Warrior's Way. RWW focuses on the mental approach and how it maps into the physical performance.

Dave MacLeod said it well in his book. Essentially, most people in your case cannot take one big whip and get over the fear. You cannot dedicate a day of gym climbing to taking large falls and expect to be "fixed." Over time, a week, a month, a year, you'll get better and better and better. To really climb at the point where irrational fear does not even begin to enter your mind may take a very long time. Moreover, he also suggests that if you take time off from large falls you will likely suffer a setback. Consistency is important.

As someone that was dropped on a routine fall from above the 5th (or 6th?) bolt, I have had similar difficulties. The mentallity provided in the above books may help you. It has helped me.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by captain static » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:14 pm

What I advise people is to change your focus to identifying the next clipping hold and what it will take to get to that hold.
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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by philip_sallee2 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:10 pm

Rock Warriors Way or the Espresso Lessons are both good books to read to help with the fear. I think fear of falling has a lot to do with your approach to climbing. I used to be terrified to lead routes until I started to do a lot of bouldering, I got used to cranking out hard and sketchy moves and falling 10 feet or so unto padding. This helped me to get into the mindset of climbing and not just finding my way up a route, the rope and belayer are there to keep you from hitting the ground, not to help you or aid your way up like top roping can tempt you to do. I would suggest finding plenty of routes that are within your range and not do any top roping and focus on climbing and making movement through tough areas. I make it a point to lead nearly all the routes I climb, even if my partner has already lead it, I will yank the rope down and leave the draws up and lead it myself. Take the others advice on making small lead falls on purpose and pick up a copy of the RWW or Espresso lessons but most of all, enjoy climbing, have fun, push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone and be careful.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by Josephine » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:32 pm

Arno helped me. whippers on girls gone wild always help me too. There's no move on the route harder than 10a. Fall from the jug to clip the 6th and you'll go for a nice ride. Every bolt has a good fall. I also practice falling by taking my feet off first and then hanging straight before I let go (I have a tendency to push off).
"Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game." ~ Under the Tuscan Sun

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by krampus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:23 am

Make sure you fall and not push of. I can not stress this enough.
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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by mmcfadden » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:50 am

Awesome advice from everybody. Thank you.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by climb2core » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:59 am

Fear of falling is often from fear of the unknown. When you start to feel that fear, assess why. Is it truly dangerous? ie ledge or groundfall? If so, then fear is somewhat appropriate and only mitigated by confidence that you won't fall. If you are questioning if you will make it in these situations, I would suggest you are climbing over your head. However, that being said... there are few ledges in the Red and most climbs are well protected.

So in the event that you are feeling that fear creep up and you know the fall should be safe, then this is exactly the time to fall. If you feel it is too high, down climb some if you can and then fall. See what happens and how you feel. Then climb a bit higher and do it again. Repeat, repeat, and repeat some more.

It also helps to climb with people that routinely fall when climbing. My mentor taught me early on that I wasn't sport climbing if I wasn't falling. It just became normal. I have also climbed with groups where the culture was fear if falling... It is funny how fear can be infectious.

In short, what everyone else said. Practice falling and do it frequently in a controlled and deliberate manner. Then when you are gripped out your feet are above the last bolt it won't seem like a big deal to take the whip. You will climb stronger once you get to the point where falls are more of an awareness than a fear.

GL!
Last edited by climb2core on Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by Josephine » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:02 am

climb2core wrote: It also helps to climb with people that routinely fall when climbing.
+1
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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by milspecmark » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:06 pm

"If you're not flying, you're not trying". Wow, this was all great advise. The only thing I have not heard yet, which helps me, is breathing and meditation. The fear is in your head, attack it at the source. Go over the climb in your head before you start. Know where the dangerous falls can occur and know where it is safe. If overhung and no ledge, remind yourself of that while doing it. Even Ask your belayer to remind you "Hey man, your all good if you fall!" I think Dean Potter would be someone to watch and learn from with the way he mentally approaches climbing.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by pigsteak » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:49 pm

2012 crack attack crew will school u on the sharp end. Stay tuned
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

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Re: Fear of Falling

Post by krampus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:12 pm

pigsteak wrote:2012 crack attack crew will school u on the sharp end. Stay tuned
ha, shit piggy, I've probably had gear rip out on the sharp end more times than you have even taken falls on gear. Come check out the chicken this Saturday if you want to see some trad gear used for its intended function. :wink:
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