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falling on trad gear...
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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

OK... I'm a new trad leader... I've taken several lessons from guides and from friends. And while I am comfortable and confident in my ability to place pro... I'm terrified of falling on it. When sport climbing I actually practiced falling. I practiced falling and I just fell... alot. It made a huge difference in my confidence climbing and it taught me to have faith in the safety system that I was using.

According to 9 out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes and The Rock Warriors Way... there comes a point to start practicing taking whips on gear...

How long after you guys began leading did you start falling on your placements??? How did you begin your "falling practice"??? And what got you over the hump of actually trusting your gear???

Thanks,

-jeff


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By agd
Jun 4, 2012
alaska

I've never taken a practice fall on gear. I just fall.


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Jun 4, 2012
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

the best way to deal with falling is dont fall. Either down climb or commit and send. This whole practice fall thing on gear is ridiculous. Did you practice crashing your car to learn how to deal with it should it happen while your driving (i hope it never does btw).

Just go climb.

I have fallen on gear obviously. It happens. I still don't trust my gear despite still being around.

Also do a search


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By JSH
Administrator
Jun 4, 2012
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

As a medium-old trad climber with more than her fair share of injuries, I'll say it flat out:

Intentional falls are just plain stupid.

Get your lead head together in a different way. If you want to make sure your gear is good -- aid on it. Injury and/or death sucks and is not worth the risk (and there is always the risk). No fall is EVER, EVER 100% "safe" and you should punch anyone who promises you they are in the face.

And here comes the onslaught of Warriors .....


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

Haha... I agree... no fall can ever be 100% safe, but I disagree with the concept of leaders never falling. I just want to start climbing some harder(for me) climbs. In order to do that... I realize that I will be taking the occasional fall. With a project, falling is part of the experience.

I just want to get comfortable before I go for a big ride.


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By SexPanther aka Kiedis
Jun 4, 2012
Thumbtastic

Odds are this is a troll post. That said, I've learned from responses to trolls, so here goes:

JSH has a point-we often tend to think of the purpose of the rope and gear being avoiding hitting the ground, but there's a whole cornucopia of random injuries that can come from even short falls.

My bit is that I didn't trust my rack for shit when I started climbing on it, so I did what any sane person would: I tested it myself, with a backup. My buddies "the brothers Wang" would roll out to a somewhat ghetto little crag called Iron Gate, set up a TR on a route, and then use the TR as a slacked-out failsafe as we led our way up routes that we 100% knew we couldn't make it up without falling. A few spectacular zippers (did I mention we were too poor to afford much more than a set of wires?) and a bunch of amazing saves by crap-looking placements, and I felt like I had an idea of what worked and what didn't. The routes we used were just over vertical, hence clean falls and guaranteed pump causing those falls.

Worked for me. Place three pieces in five feet and then whip if you feel the need to do some fall testing on your gear. If you're not completely horrible at placing, you should be all right, and the pieces you blow should teach you something.


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By Matt Hoffmann
From Squamish
Jun 4, 2012
 Matt Hoffmann - Matt on 3AM crack

I'm also in the "no intentional falls" group. Falling is a part of climbing and the more you climb, the more likely you are to take some falls. But, intentionally falling on gear seems more like a way to get hurt and stress your gear than to feel more confident. Gear shouldn't pull if placed correctly and there are no structural failures (gear or rock) but, I'd rather not run that risk.

My progression went something like this (after all the basics/top rope setup/etc):

-Seconding trad routes. Take a look at the placements. Ask the leader any questions you have. Discuss why this way not that way, why here, not there, etc

-Practice placing gear on the ground... a lot. Test it out in every way you can. Try funny placements. Figure out what works and what doesn't work. What walks and what doesn't walk.

-Mock leading placing gear while on a TR with an end trailing to clip to pieces. Have a solid leader (that you trust) rappel with you (single strand). Use a gri gri and a prussik (or other system) so you can totally let go and test the pieces to your hearts content.

-Start leading super easy stuff that you would never fall on. Get used to leading on gear.

-Slowly (slowly!) ramp up the difficulty. Eventually you'll fall. You probably won't be expecting it. Your gear should hold and you'll think... Huh... That wasn't so bad.

-Once you've gone through all this you probably have a decent idea of what placements you are comfortable with and what you aren't comfortable with (you won't always get placements you are comfortable with).


One other thought that helped me is that your gear is there as a backup. It is not your primary protection. Your primary protection is not falling. You only have to use your gear if your hands and feet fail you. (free climbing only and excluding anchors of course)

Not sure if that is helpful but, only in the past year or so have I felt comfortable enough to push the difficulty in trad which has resulted in more falling.


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 4, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

quoted from another recent thread:

By BoulderCharles
May 18, 2012 The time has come for me to just take some falls on trad gear. I'm looking for an area around Boulder where I can do this safely (read: top rope for backup, good gear placements, good position for my belayer, clear fall line, etc.). Any thoughts?
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By talkinrocks
From Boulder, CO
May 18, 2012
Happy Hour Crag

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By slim
May 18, 2012
i wouldn't really recommend happy hour, as a lot of the routes are over-featured (ie not steep, have ledges or corners, etc). what sort of grades are we talking? if less than 5.10, most of the routes in those ranges in the boulder area will require careful consideration of the same problem.

if we are talking the 11 range, probably the single best whip i can think of is off the top headwall crack on countryclub crack - excellent gear, tons of rope out for a soft big whip, plenty steep with a roof below (just be sure to clear the roof so you don't get your teeth knocked out).
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By rob.calm
From Loveland, Colorado
May 18, 2012
Here's some good advice to read before deciding to fall on traditional climbs Advice to the beginning trad leader around falling--don't;page=unread#unread

Cheers,
Rob.calm
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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
Practice falling on trad gear wont help you. It will mess up your cams and fix your nuts. If you're scared, double up on pieces and back everything up as your leading until you feel confident in your placements. There are some smaller roofs in the SSV (on Observatory Rock, etc.) you could play with if you insist, but don't waste your time in my opinion.
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By Jeff Chrisler
From Boulder, CO
May 18, 2012 If you aren't comfortable leading trad, and worried about falling, then I'd do a few things-
1. Get someone to look at your placements- ie an experienced friend or ideally a guide to critique and suggest better ideal placements in certain situations
2. Take lots of falls on sport- get used to falling there if you aren't already
3. Don't fall on trad leads - once you're comfortable with your placements there's no reason to start testing them out and f-ing up your gear and potentially yourself. Just climb, and a fall will happen at some point.
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By Dave Cummings
From Grand Junction, CO
May 18, 2012
Castle rock has some good cracks, bell buttress as well!
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By Brian in SLC
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 18, 2012
I was going to suggest a good therapist...
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By wankel7
From Dallas TexASS
May 18, 2012 Evan S wrote:
Practice falling on trad gear wont help you. It will mess up your cams and fix your nuts. If you're scared, double up on pieces and back everything up as your leading until you feel confident in your placements. There are some smaller roofs in the SSV (on Observatory Rock, etc.) you could play with if you insist, but don't waste your time in my opinion.


It helped me after spending three days taking Arno's falling and commitment class...it was a pretty awesome 3 days!

If you were to avoid a practice fall because it might mess up your gear then you might be afraid of messing up your gear in addition to falling on it. Fun!
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By kevin murphy
May 18, 2012 Agree with this being a bad practice, mileage on easy terrain is the best way to get prepared for gear climbing.Falls will happen.
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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
wankel7 wrote:
It helped me after spending three days taking Arno's falling and commitment class...it was a pretty awesome 3 days! If you were to avoid a practice fall because it might mess up your gear then you might be afraid of messing up your gear in addition to falling on it. Fun!


I guess I've taken enough I wasn't planning for, and therefor have a different view. I don't care about my gear, it's cheap enough, I just want it in prime shape in case it actually has to save my life.
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By JonathanHillis
From A small planet in the vicinity
May 18, 2012
I just chant "leader must not fall" as I navigate tricky sections. And when I do fall, well I sure do hope that last piece was not just mental pro.

In all seriousness I am a relatively new trad leader and I would not practice taking whippers on my gear. If it is cheap you should probably invest in better gear. My rack is far from cheap, matter of fact it is the second biggest investment in my life right behind my car and gaining. I treat all of the pieces like babies. I do want them to be in top shape when I do need my life saved so I don't whip on them "just to be sure of my gear"
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By prod.
From Boulder, Co
May 18, 2012 Diving board.

Prod.
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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
JonathanHillis wrote:
I just chant "leader must not fall" as I navigate tricky sections. And when I do fall, well I sure do hope that last piece was not just mental pro. In all seriousness I am a relatively new trad leader and I would not practice taking whippers on my gear. If it is cheap you should probably invest in better gear. My rack is far from cheap, matter of fact it is the second biggest investment in my life right behind my car and gaining. I treat all of the pieces like babies. I do want them to be in top shape when I do need my life saved so I don't whip on them "just to be sure of my gear"


By cheap, I mean an $80 cam is nothing compared my life or $30,000 in medical bills.
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By JonathanHillis
From A small planet in the vicinity
May 18, 2012
I understand your use of the word cheap... My point is that I pay a lot of money for my gear, I baby it, and because of that I expect it to hold me when I fall. Taking whippers on it is not going to build confidence in it. The only thing that will build confidence in my gear is solid placements. I slap a tri cam in give it a jerk and climb above it knowing that it is bomber. Because really you coulld place a hundred pieces and whip on them and they hold, then whip on one with a bit of a run out and it fail, purely because the placement was a little different.
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By JLP
From The Internet
May 18, 2012 The OP's ticklist suggests he might want to learn how to climb routes before falling off of them. Suggest a TR for routes you think you will fall on, at this point.

For falling, suggest one focus more on the act of falling while climbing than how that fall will be caught. Start with indoor bouldering, move on to indoor routes, then outdoor well bolted sport, then finally trad climbs. Log a few hundred falls in each area before moving on. Maybe a few thousand.

If you want to learn to place gear, suggest building anchors near the ground, then move to aiding some pitches.

If you want to combine all the above into one grand occasion, I wish you and your next of kin the best.
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By Luke Skyrocker
May 18, 2012 Yes, place anchors from ground level, put a sling on it and bounce test. Wear a helmet and don't look at the piece while testing it. If it pops, it will come out like a sling shot.
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By prod.
From Boulder, Co
May 18, 2012 "If you want to learn to place gear, suggest building anchors near the ground, then move to aiding some pitches.
"

Agree with this completely. Go aid some easy cracks, that is the best way to see if gear is good or not. Fuck falling, that shit is scary.

Prod.
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By nbrown
From western NC
May 18, 2012 If you don't trust your gear, go do a few clean aid pitches. You'll have to hang on every piece, quickly building your confidence in what works and what doesn't. A lot of placements look okay when your new and don't think your gonna actually fall (while on lead) - 'til you realize that you actually might, then of course, your perspective changes.

Falling in general is different - to me it's no difference whether on gear or bolts (I'm usually scared either way...).

Edit: someone already beat me to the above suggestion.
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 18, 2012
I heard you ask a question about taking your trad climbing to the next step. I'm rather surprised at some of the responses. It appears that some are assuming you are not ready to start leading harder climbs via the conservative minded question you asked. Assuming that what was written above in feedback by all the other contributors as steps in the progress of learning to climb safely have already been done, and you feel you have sufficient mileage practicing to step it up a notch then do just that, STEP IT UP. Find a climb that test your onsight ability, has good pro, is maybe on the steeper side for safety and just go for it. That is the "LEAP OF FAITH". To reccomend appropriate areas or climbs would require the grade that makes you think you are going to fall. I fall on gear all the time, on small gear and it works, every time. I have never pulled a piece in 18 years, but we all have have different experiences.

Good luck be safe
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By Keny Glasscock
May 19, 2012 Until you have actually fallen on gear you haven't fallen on gear. Work on placement on the ground: angle of rope travel, scenario's, slinging gear properly, etc. Then clean, clean, clean. I think you get more knowledge cleaning gear than you get from falling on it. Pay your dues on the belay ledge and then get on the sharp end, on a climb that you aren't going to fall or get all jimmy legged on and have at it. OJT is the best teacher.
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By Anthony Milano
From Littleton, CO
May 19, 2012
I learned to trad climb through a college class that dealt with "Technical Anchor Building." The final involved building a three piece anchor and loading it with 500+Lbs. I placed so much gear and had a ton of evaluations/advice... It was amazing. If you can find something like this-you ought to take advantage of such. As with the posts prior, placing gear from the ground level is great-even do it while camping, find a rock that will take gear and play around-see what happens.

Falling on your own gear is spectacularly frightening... After taking a whipper you get to look up and see your piece bend, adjust/settle, and hope it holds. I would never want to do it intentionally. Beware of the "zipper effect" when one piece rips, the next one, and the next one... Never seen it but have heard horror stories.

When in doubt/prior to the crux place TWO bomber pieces. I cannot stress this enough. If you can spare the piece it will help you climb more safely... it also alerts your belayer that you are entering a hard spot (you could just communicate verbally) and can build confidence for the hard moves-knowing you are secured.

Also consider sport climbing but placing between bolts, place as much as possible, have someone experienced follow you... Get lowered and see what pieces pop.
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By GregParker
From Denver, CO
May 19, 2012
I wouldn't take 100 practice falls onto my gear, but don't see a problem with some practice falls. I don't know your financial situation, but for most, damaging an $80 cam would be a very small price to pay to get rid of a fear a falling.

The best place I can think of to take a practice fall is Headline (.10a) at Little Eiger in Clear Creek Canyon. It has everything you are looking for. It is slightly overhung at the top for super clean falls, takes bomber gear (.5, .75, 1 BD cams if memory serves), and great belayer spot. The best part for you is... it is a sport climb, so you can back all of your gear up.

I agree with a lot of the above comments.

1. Get comfortable taking lead falls on sport routes.
2. Get lots of milage trad climbing. Inspect your own pieces, inspect others, and have others inspect yours.
3. Falls happen. I don't agree with the "leader must not fall" idea for general climbing. If you think this way, just solo. Of course it is different if you run it out or you are on R/X climbs.
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By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
May 19, 2012 For: Trad: "Leads 5.8 Follows 5.10a"

And: "top rope for backup, good gear placements, good position for my belayer, clear fall line."

You may consider N. Table Mt. You can access lots of the routes from above, there are loads of 5.6-5.9 trad lines between the bolted lines, the routes are short and near vertical. The only thing is being from Boulder, you might object to the minor distance. One challenge with Boulder Canyon is that routes in that difficulty range tend to be harder to set up top ropes, and the angle tends to be slabby in that difficulty range (adding to risk of catching an ankle or hitting something). Eldo is tough to set up TRs to practice leading.
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By ascender30
From Columbia, MD
May 19, 2012 "Practice falling on trad gear"
?......
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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
May 19, 2012 I've never been to CO but I hear there is plentiful rock there. If you can't find a route in your range that offers clean falls and is top-accessible, consider finding a bolted route that could take a piece or two near(above) a bolt. If you can't make a top rope backup, make a bolted one.

In theory this is a good idea, but only if you're sure falling on your own placements is the only thing holding you back. Often times it is not. My $.02
By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 20, 2012
You will learn a lot catching an experienced climber falling on a harder route. And following their leads. Belaying(catching) experience is just as important as fall technique or and climbing harder. I personally don't feel comfortable climbing with someone that has never caught a fall. I don't want to be their first.

the leader does not fall mantra is a bit over kill though I would say there are plenty of times this is true, there also plenty of times it is safe to fall.

If you're worried about damaging your gear on a fall you may plateau at 5.9. Gear is meant to be used. And replaced when it is worn. Cams can log more falls than you think before they need to be replaced.

If you are hangdogging on gear, perhaps backing off a grade or two until this doesn't happen. Enjoy those routes, there are many of them.

I don't think I started falling on gear until I progressed into 5.10 or so. It is a natural progression. First you learn where it is safe to fall and where it is not. You learn where it is safe to run it out and where you are not comfortable with it. The harder routes are generally safer to fall on. Follow many routes and go back some day and REPEAT them on lead.

Try logging a lot of falls on sport routes. Learn where on sport routes it is safe to fall. Push your limits, and go for it.

In over fifteen years of climbing I don't remember if I ever took a practice fall. But as you continue to climb and progress it will happen.
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By JPVallone
May 20, 2012 Most of the south facing routes on the Wind Tower in Eldo.
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By 1Eric Rhicard
From Tucson, AZ
May 20, 2012 Sorry about the tome below. I am waiting to go to work and I hope this helps someone with their fear.

I have been climbing since I was sixteen and I am 53 now. When I started leading I rarely fell and was able to climb up to 5.11 by the time I was 18. I have run the full range of fear from nervous to scared shitless. I remember climbing with Dennis Horning in 1981 and I was living and climbing at Devils Tower. When I told Dennis I had yet to fall at the Tower he told me I wasn't climbing hard enough. I disagreed and probably had some cocky response. I did eventually fall off of two routes that summer. I pulled back on and finished them. I didn't push as hard as I could have though and stayed away from the only 12 at the tower at that time.

I moved to Tucson AZ at the end of 1981 and for years after I still didn't fall all that much. Pro is not all that good on many of the older routes here. I didn't push that hard and didn't fall.

My fear of falling went from high to low. I remember being afraid of falling on top-rope at one point and being pretty annoyed. I didn't just let go and fall however. I held on tight and got up the pitch. The fear did not go away.

As more bolted routes appeared and I began to push hard as Dennis had suggested I began to fear falling less and less as I took more and more falls. Since I rarely did much trad climbing falling on gear was not an issue. I still at times was fearful of falling. This often lead me to not go for it on climbs that I should have on-sighted. That really pissed me off. I changed my goal.

From that point on I didn't care if I failed or sent the climb as long as I went for it. Going for it and falling was now a success. I on-sighted a ton more climbs closer to my limit. That was mostly on bolted routes.

The thing I believe about fear is this. The brain wants you to live and it instills fear to keep you alive. When I am off the ground and not feeling secure I get can become fearful. This can happen even if I am on an overhanging wall clipped to 4 bolts.

If I trust the system then my rational mind can overpower the normal but irrational fear. Most of us do this when we take an airplane ride. I needed to do this with trad gear, not stoppers but cams. To do this I decided to get on a route I knew I would fall on in order to help me in this process. I took many whippers on the smallest of cams and horizontal cams. I can still get nervous about it but I now trust them so much more.

I have done the hardest trad routes of my life in the last 5 years all because I now trust the gear.

If I am worried about a piece and I know I have bomber stuff between me and the ground, I will drop off. Once I have tested a piece (sometimes it takes a couple of falls), the fear is gone. I have done this on sport routes too. Every now and then I feel a little fear and if I am not trying to on-sight a climb I just let go. The fear goes away and I climb to my ability level.

Sorry this does not answer your question but I always feel like sharing my experience when I see the "leader must not fall" dogma popping up.

As always Arno Ilgners Book "Warriors Way" is helpful.

The advice about finding a bolted route where you can place some gear just above the bolt is a great plan as well. When you put the gear in try to get bomber placements, then make crappier and crappier placements until it fails. You will learn a ton about what makes a good placement this way.

When the fear is diminished or gone you will climb better and have more fun. Good luck!
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By Kevin Connolly
From Durango, Co
May 20, 2012 doing a few aid climbs will teach you a lot about placing gear, especially if its not super straightforward c1. keep free climbing without getting in over your head and eventually you will figure it out and get more comfortable.
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 20, 2012
Jesus Crimony I can't believe the responses here. THe guy asked for advice on where to go to step it up, not... " I'm a new climber with a brand new rack and I have no clue but I want to take big whippers" and yet a lot of people here are assuming he is clueless. If he is that's his problem and the rescue crew gets some more practice. Sounds like like you guys just want to here yourselves talk. Hey Boulder CHarles you want to go out and get your heart rate up?
Let's Go! I.M. me and we'll get it done. Everyone else can stay in the gym.
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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
May 20, 2012
prod. wrote:
Diving board. Prod.

Just seeing this thread for the first time;this is perfect. Use a #11 hex, and let 'er rip. You will lose all fear (bad idea-stay scared).
EDIT
Ben Walburn wrote:
Jesus Crimony I can't believe the responses here. THe guy asked for advice on where to go to step it up, not... " I'm a Hey Boulder CHarles you want to go out and get your heart rate up? Let's Go! I.M. me and we'll get it done. Everyone else can stay in the gym.

Dude..the guy is talking about falling (on modern gear) with a top rope backup. My first lead fall resulted in a sprained ankle from decking out from fifteen ft. Not because my gear failed, my 14 year old partner was a jackass-only said he knew how. My fault, shoulda' givin' him a test or something...
Anyway, I want to write something about the changes in the attitudes of climbers over the years;and I'll try not to come across as patronizing or obvious. This may also come over as stream o' consciousness as it is well into cocktail hour...
Safety is an illusion,trad climbing is dangerous as hell.
Using a top rope to back up a lead climb disrespects the art, unless it's in the gym. Learning is learning, after all.
There are two kinds of trad climbing apprenticeships-
Scrupulous seconding an accomplished leader.
Putting your sorry ass on the line despite your ignorance, lack of ability, cowardice, etc. All true in my own case...
(Living through it, because you "ride in the shadow o' Lady Luck's wings'", is an unproven strategy)
Bottom line, pay your dues
Learn carefully, back it up when you can, don't fall 'til you've given your best...Happy Cragging!
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 21, 2012
...and there is another post of someone talking about themselves and telling Charles what to do. Maybe Charles is just talking for sake of talking on Mp as well, but if he wants to test his own gear with his own ass on the line that's his business not anybody elses. I just get a kick out of how everybody is so opinionated here on MP and frequently make assumptions about another persons experience. Ok so he said "toprope back up" and that may imply that he hasn't put the mileage in. If you read my first post I stated that exact point

..."assuming that you have spent the time getting mileage and placing gear then just step it up until you fall"...

I didn't hear him say anything about extravagant huge Dan Osman whippers. My first fall on gear was 4 ft., exhilarating and opened the door to the next step in climbing. That's what is being discussed here. Yet another nay sayer who has been there and done that is pouncing on this guy for wanting to have that experience ( and me for saying hell ya go get after it), his only mistake was posting it on MP. I wonder how many of the tuff guys here would have made the exact same sort of posts if Mountain Project was around when they started climbing.
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By JLP
From The Internet
May 21, 2012 Ben Walburn wrote:
... make assumptions about another person experience.

Have you clicked on his profile yet? It doesn't sound like it.

Everything is indeed an assumption until you get to watch a person lead a few pitches near their limit. I think ticklists with recent entries do say something, though.
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 21, 2012
I know my comments aren't going to be popular with many people but gear works and if the guy wants to figure that out then that's his business. That's my point and I did preface my encouragement with
...if you have the propper mileage and your are comefortable with gear..
If you don't Charles then ya, you are probably going to get hurt.

I just re read my initial post and I stick by it, if you think I'm out of line then maybe you didn't read my initial post.
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By BoulderCharles
May 21, 2012 Hmm...interesting comments. Thanks to those who took the time to offer constructive feedback.

To clarify, I am experienced placing gear and learned to place gear/build anchors from an IFMGA rock instructor. I have also spent time aiding and taking falls on bolts so it's not a beginner's problem or a general fear of falling. Rather, it's about committing to moves on (what is for me) hard terrain. I'm not looking to take any epic falls but, rather, what I consider small falls (gear at feet).
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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
May 21, 2012
If you really wanna do it right, start climbing a number grade above what you are doing now. Either you'll make yourself a better climber, fall or both.
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 21, 2012
and that's exactly what I hear when I read your post. Good luck and do be careful the other comments are not void of experience.
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By Crag Dweller
From Denver, CO
May 21, 2012
there is a simpler way to do this.

find a sport climb with some sections that offer good gear placements. climb, clip bolt, climb a little bit more, place gear, fall.

that'll save you the trouble of finding a route that allows you to top rope and setting it up. it'll also save you the trouble of having two belayers or one who is trying to manage two ropes going opposite directions.

it'll also ensure that you don't get twisted up in and flipped over by the top rope slack.
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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
May 22, 2012
Darren Mabe wrote:
You will learn a lot catching an experienced climber falling on a harder route.(EDITED FOR BREVITY) its, and go for it. In over fifteen years of climbing I don't remember if I ever took a practice fall. But as you continue to climb and progress it will happen.

Good post.
Okay,I'm trying to get a reasonable perspective on this.
First-
Ben;I know you and respect you. You're no candy ass, and your comments are not bullshit.
Charles; it's a different world now. When I was learning, it was all about making it through til the next learning experience. Perhaps some of us oldsters are a little resentful of modern luxuries; just as Bridwell and Erickson might consider me a pansy...
Maybe the most rational bit of advice I can give is this: if you are losing control of your mental composure...dial it back-
sag onto a good piece
bail if you don't feel good
go ahead and fall if you like your pro
get beta from people who have done the route
remember that this game is not for the faint of heart; take pride in that
have fun
there's always another day, until you get yourself killed
If I've offended anyone with any of this, I apologize, cranky old guys are probably always going to bitch about the kids.
FLAG

By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 23, 2012
Hey Joe, I wasn't trying to start up with you personally and I know you have years of experience beyond mine. I read people's questions to the strict point of what they say or ask and try to respond accordingly. A lot of assumptions and condescending remarks (not yours) get thrown out on MP. I personally feel that it detracts from the integrity of the site so I tend to aggressively point that out at times. Let's get out into Eldo one of these days.
FLAG

By JLP
From The Internet
May 23, 2012 Ben Walburn wrote:
if he wants to test his own gear with his own ass on the line that's his business not anybody elses.

This is where you sound different than the other posters. My take is if I run into someone doing something that looks really stupid and dangerous to me, it may indeed be none of my business - not always, though. There is a big difference if someone actually asks for advice. In that case, the advice will vary by context. One becomes involved and responsible. I don't think any unreasonable assumptions were made. Is conservative advice bad?

How would you feel about your posts if the OP were killed in Eldo this past wknd, after this thread started? Pro pulling while lead climbing is the #1 cause of death there. OP seems to fit the demographic as well - new leaders. It happens.
FLAG

By Copperhead
May 23, 2012 Don't fall on 5.8, you'll get hurt no mater how good your gear is. If you want to know if your placements are good, get a mentor. If you want to practice falling, go to the gym or climb hard sport . No need for the mental masturbation about falling; when you are ready, it'll happen.
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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 23, 2012
The advice about not falling onto gear because gear is expensive and wears out is hilarious. I worried about that too when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing many years ago. A #2 camalot gets more abuse getting tossed around onto talus inside your pack than it does catching a 10 foot fall in a handcrack. I have blue and black aliens that I have bounced tested dozens of times and fallen on more than once that are good as new. Gear is designed to be used - if the fall is safe i'd rather fall on a good cam than a bolt i didn't personally place.

Go to Indian Creek, place gear every bodylength, rinse and repeat.
FLAG

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 23, 2012
Copperhead wrote:
Don't fall on 5.8, you'll get hurt no mater how good your gear is. If you want to know if your placements are good, get a mentor. If you want to practice falling, go to the gym or climb hard sport . No need for the mental masturbation about falling; when you are ready, it'll happen.


Also silly. Go fall all you want on the 5.8s on Turkey Perch. You would only get hurt if you actively worked at it. Don't do anything stupid like fall on a 5.8 right above a ledge, but also don't do anything stupid like fall right above a ledge on a 5.11.
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By Ben Walburn
From lafayette, CO
May 23, 2012
BoulderCharles wrote:
Hmm... To clarify, I am experienced placing gear and learned to place gear/build anchors from an IFMGA rock instructor. I have also spent time aiding and taking falls on bolts so it's not a beginner's problem or a general fear of falling. Rather, it's about committing to moves on (what is for me) hard terrain. I'm not looking to take any epic falls but, rather, what I consider small falls (gear at feet).


JLP
If you are gonna comment on a thread you should read it first. Because you just reinforced my point about people wanting to hear themselves talk.
Thanks :)
...and I would feel indifferent, if after everything that was said here, he went out and got hurt. If he did get hurt after this entire thread, with everyone's (including my own) advise to be experienced before trying this stuff, I would think of Darwin. Rock Climbing is dangerous! That's the inherent risk of the activity and is assumed that you accept it when you make post and ask questions here on MP. He asked for encouragement and we gave it to him.
My point (again) is that some people want to here themselves talk. And yes I too am guilty of that at times. I'm also sitting in Boston this week with a lot of time on my hands, and it shows.

..the fact that several post (from the naysayers) have been deleted is noted. I will leave mine up with my name next to them; although, I don't think I'm winning any popularity points on this one!
FLAG

By wankel7
From Dallas TexASS
May 25, 2012 Copperhead wrote:
Don't fall on 5.8, you'll get hurt no mater how good your gear is. If you want to know if your placements are good, get a mentor. If you want to practice falling, go to the gym or climb hard sport . No need for the mental masturbation about falling; when you are ready, it'll happen.


You know I took a nice fall on a 5.4 in the Gunks...I was fine...sweeping statements generally are wrong :p (Except my sweeping statement of course)
FLAG

By Baumer
From Boulder, CO
May 25, 2012
There are plenty of bolted cracks at Shelf Road. I'd suggest placing gear just above one and take a proper lead fall.
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By Jared Hall
From Estes Park, CO
May 25, 2012 Brian in SLC wrote:
I was going to suggest a good therapist...

It's shit like this that makes me wish I could upvote things here.
FLAG

By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
May 25, 2012
Ben Walburn wrote:
Hey Joe, .
'where you goin' with that gun in your hand? If'n I had a dollar fer...
No offense taken. Hope the same is true for you. I like this debate shit; I was raised as a Catholic,yet, I like new experiences.
FLAG

By Elena Sera Jose
From colorado
May 26, 2012
ok im no expert but may i say my opinion: get on something you can stitch up and freaking just aide it place every 2 ft if you have to and sit on every piece that will make you trust your placements and its relatively safe since you are placing so frequently, i would suggest a short straightforward crack with bomber pro. Choose a granite crag like Boulder Canyon it will hold pro for sure. Preferably have a trad mentor with you to critique your placements then clean it yourself on tr so you will see if some stuff is placed too deep or overcammed that also eliminates the issue of stuck gear (whose fault?) , some areas to consider are Riviera, Cob Rock, boulderado, Happy hour, nip tuck (definitely) Best of luck! climb safe!
the classic 5.9 line at nip tuck is perfect for practice: tr can be also set, when you get comfortable do it on passive gear only, its a lot of fun! sandbagged for the grade but good pro.
By Elena Sera Jose
From colorado
May 26, 2012
Brian in SLC wrote:
I was going to suggest a good therapist...

a massage therapist would be nice ...for afterwards! cos its a lot of work!
FLAG

By Mia Tucholke
From Vail
May 26, 2012
Trad falling....... Scary stuff, especially if your limit is 5.8-ish. I don't know too many (or any) climbs at that level that would be "safe" or "fun" to practice falling on. Hmmmm think broken ankles as those climbs typically are pretty low angle with loads of ankle breaking ledges.......


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Jun 4, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Watch Return to Sender a few times. I'm sure there's some other pertinent flicks but watching people whipping on c3's repeatedly should instill some confidence. Or that clip with Dedier (French/Swiss cat?) punishing that gear on Cobra Crack. I agree that practice falling on trad gear probably isn't the best decision. Cams, in particular, will show significant signs of wear; same thing with passive pro. Plus, it's like a last line of defense... think of it like a seat belt.

Sounds like you have no problem with the sensation of falling so maybe just expose yourself to some hard trad climbing and watch and/or belay some climbers climbing hard trad. Perhaps seeing gear hold repeatedly and following some routes to clean the gear would help some. If you do start cleaning these routes, note the placement (right down to the teeth/crystal placement), direction of the gear, depth of placement, size vs. other options. After you look it over, take it out, and re-place it. Try other placements and see why that one was better or ask about why something else you may see would not have been better.

Bottom line: just immerse yourself in gear placements. Learn from folks whipping on their gear. Follow them, belay them, buy them beer. You'll get there!


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By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 4, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord

FrankPS wrote:
So, Darren...has this subject ever been discussed before? :)

we could always link him to the Skeleton Key Thread...


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jun 4, 2012

Darren Mabe wrote:
we could always link him to the Skeleton Key Thread...


You mean the one thread that covers everything. snd nothing, at the same time? The Mother of All Threads? I get your drift...


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By generationfourth
From Irvine, CA
Jun 4, 2012

As a new trad leader I'm assuming you will be climbing 5.7-5.9 primarily? Get some mileage at these grades and good an all types of climbing at these grades (run out slabs, crack, OW, etc).

IMO you should be learning about when not to fall at this point. Honestly on every single .8, .9 I've been on and even most 10- I never ever want to take a fall on any of that. Low angle slab, ledges, etc.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Jun 4, 2012

Daryl Allan wrote:
Watch Return to Sender a few times.

I'm thinking films like this are the reason for these questions. It's kind of like watching pornos while you are still in elementary school.


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

Wow... from that post... people are extremely divided.

I realize rationally... it works. I understand the physics behind it... But it is the irrational that always wins out. For instance the transition from indoor to outdoor sport climbing... I didn't trust the bolts at all. I did everything I possibly could to hold on and not fall including pulling on a draw... it made it so that when I finally took my first fall outside I was gripped. I was as run out as I had ever been and took the biggest fall I ever had at that point. But I would have made the climb without falling had I not been moving so timidly. I was slow and overly cautious which caused the fall.

I am looking to prevent this type of learning experience.


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

I think the idea of aiding a few pitches makes sense


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2012
Bocan

haha Darren...could have probably just posted that link!!! :o)


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jun 4, 2012
Colonel Mustard

If nobody has said it already, 'practice falling' on sport routes if you must. Or, just sport climb and fall as a consequence of pushing the grade. You'll have the whole falling thing wired. What more is there to learn?

If you don't trust your gear, you need more mileage. You need to know when to trust your gear and when you shouldn't and just falling on it is inviting disaster if you don't know that distinction.


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

generationfourth wrote:
As a new trad leader I'm assuming you will be climbing 5.7-5.9 primarily? Get some mileage at these grades and good an all types of climbing at these grades (run out slabs, crack, OW, etc). IMO you should be learning about when not to fall at this point. Honestly on every single .8, .9 I've been on and even most 10- I never ever want to take a fall on any of that. Low angle slab, ledges, etc.


Honestly, I'm currently comfortable leading .6's... The idea of leading something like Modern Times (5.8) is pretty scary to me without having the confidence that my gear holds. 5.8's, 5.9's and up here, in the Gunks feel pretty steep to me.


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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jun 4, 2012
Axes glistening in the sun

alexdavis wrote:
I've never taken a practice fall on gear. I just fall.


+1! I "Try" to live by the old leaders maxim of "the leader must not fall." Course that comes from the days of hemp ropes and hobnailed boots.


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By Alex Washburne
Jun 4, 2012
I eat crack for breakfast.

Hey Jeff

I think, at the end of the day, none of us wants to be the person who tells you where/how to go take falls and then read about you getting injured the next day, because the reality (as stated above) is that no fall is 100% safe, and I don't even wanna take a 0.1% of telling someone advice that would get them injured.

That said, I know exactly what you're talking about. Having the right mentality during a climb can be a real deal-breaker, and I remember when I felt that it was my mentality, my fear of falling on trad gear, that was the limiting factor for climbing harder trad routes. Here's what I did:

1)Aid climb, especially hard, safe aid (A2 is good) that can lead to a fall on a piece that you've already carefully inspected and weighted (and not some rushed piece that you've placed while absolutely pumped).

2) Climb in Indian Creek with cams up the arse, but recognize that there are some serious caveats about sandstone (as my limited understanding has it, you want to sew it up because pieces may be more likely to slip out/not grip when you fall). I took my first proper whipper in Indian Creek, and my second, and my third, and so on until I lost count. All of the falls were unintended, but they were all on fun, challenging climbs that sported perfectly parallel cracks that allow for much easier placements while pumped. I had no intention of falling at Indian Creek, but it happened and thankfully it was on beautifully parallel cracks on which protection is made easy.

3) Start leading on ice (some may rightfully say this is horrible advice. Don't do it if you don't want to ice climb and if you're not okay with the risks involved in climbing a medium that breaks and melts every single year). With me, I wanted to become a better alpine climber of all kinds, so learning to lead on ice a natural step after learning to trad lead on rock. After a full winter of climbing above screws, the thought of even a tiny nut placement sounded like Heaven to me. In fact, I started doing some mixed climbs and found that my confidence was boosted tremendously whenever I placed rock pro (mentally, I felt like I wasn't protected by screws, but once I slipped in a good nut I felt as if it were a bolt). Note that I never fell on ice screws (and I DON'T recommend that at all - bounce test at ground level to you heart's content, but there's absolutely no reason to risk it when you're higher up), and I haven't fallen period while leading on ice, but doing it made me a more confident leader on rock. Some may rightfully say that what I've said above is horrible advice, akin to saying "if you're not comfortable with the risk of trad climbing, then try riding motorcycles while drunk and blindfolded and you'll see that the risks of trad climbing are nothing in comparison." My advice here only makes sense if you want to get into ice climbing anyways, and then my advice amounts to what I'll say in point (5) - with time and more experience, your confidence will build even without having to take falls.

4) Learn how to project hard climbs without recklessly taking falls. I received this sage advice from a friend at a time when a bunch of nutcases all around me at the Gunks were (literally) telling me to jump off a cliff and expect everything to be alright every time. You don't need to fall to get the "send" mentality - just find a challenging, well-protected climb, and go until your pumped, place a piece, and sit to wait out the pump. The next time you come back, you'll have the pro and the beta dialed down, and when you finally send your project, you will have pushed yourself much harder above your protection than ever before, all without taking whippers for whippers' sake.

5) Take it slow. Unless you're in a rush to go pro or unless you have a terminal illness and want to free climb the Moonlight Buttress before you croak, there's no reason to hurry and there's every reason to take things slowly. You'll get more comfortable with time and continual exposure to the sharp end, even without taking falls, and your confidence will come from experience (and not bravado). I did this at the Gunks, where I climbed insane amounts of 5.6's until I was finally sick of (the albeit sandbagged) low grades. I stepped up to 5.7's and climbed those for a while until I felt that they, too, were too easy. Repeat for 5.8, 5.9, and now I'm in the phase of climbing 5.10's in the Gunks. Note: I went all the way to climbing Gunks 5.9 (or Rumney 5.10d) on trad without ever taking a fall, and it was over the course of 2 years of trad climbing. The best old adage to remember: there are old climbers and bold climbers, but no old, bold climbers.

Now, I checked out your profile and saw that you're a climber in the Gunks. I'm also in the NE (NJ right now) and I frequent the Gunks. It's a great place to get really good at leading trad, but it's also a great place to get persuaded to try unreasonably reckless things. I was AMAZED at how many Gunks climbers on the carriage road were recommending that I just take some whippers on despite knowing absolutely nothing about my experience. I'll be the angel on your other shoulder telling you to be a little careful with their advice, but I'll also give you some good projects for the grades you seem to be climbing. You can climb them, and if you get pumped then hopefully you can either place a piece and rest on it, or downclimb to your last piece and hang there while you recharge.

Something Interesting,5.7+ (easy if tall and if you have a fetish for tiny feet... I thought it was harder than Modern Times)

Double Crack 5.8 (beautiful, long, and well-protected the whole way. A GREAT route to project with clear communication with the belayer the whole way).

Modern Times 5.8+ (the first pitch can be a bit runout, if I remember correctly, but the second, crux pitch is VERY well protected with a nut/tricam in the often wet crack under the roof and beautiful cams through the roof... I think BD .5 and 1)

Ant's Line 5.9 (a great project - gear the whole way)
Bonnie's Roof 5.9 (same, though harder now that the intermediate anchor is missing... if you're feeling adventurous, the direct finish is AMAZING, and also very well protected)


Once you're looking to break into 5.10, I highly recommend Nosedive. I aided it in prep for a big wall trip and found that it's insanely well protected with ledges big enough for you to be stable and place super good pro yet small enough beneath steep-enough wall to avoid hitting on the way down. I came back and led it free, and felt incredibly safe the whole way. For some unsolicited beta: Before committing to the barn-door and crux roof at the top, you can climb the face on the right, and then stem on the shallow, right-facing corner to place a nut in a tapering crack in the corner at about chest-level. Then, once you've swung and committed to the crack, you can soon fit either a BD .4 from a finger lock at the base of the crack, or you can fit a .5 to a .75 (possibly to a 1) as you climb higher.

I hope this helps, and I hope you get strong while staying safe! Feel free to message me if you have any questions about climbs I've done/good stuff in the area.

Best,
Alex


FLAG
By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

Old Custer wrote:
If nobody has said it already, 'practice falling' on sport routes if you must. Or, just sport climb and fall as a consequence of pushing the grade. You'll have the whole falling thing wired. What more is there to learn? If you don't trust your gear, you need more mileage. You need to know when to trust your gear and when you shouldn't and just falling on it is inviting disaster if you don't know that distinction.


I fall regularly while sport climbing... without falling, I'm not pushing myself to my limit. While I realize that with trad climbing, there are alot of "no-fall" zones, I still want to get a few falls out of the way, to get over MY issue with gear.

I have done alot of mock-leads and have taken many lessons from guides, and friends. I also have seconded and inspected gear and will continue to do so... as a normal part of climbing with friends. The rational side of my brain understands the physics behind gear placement...

I just have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that, that little piece of gear will stop my fat ass from falling... (just like when I first started sport climbing and didn't trust the strength of an anchor or a quickdraw... or like when first toproping... not trusting the rope.) It's all mental. I was just wondering how everyone else got over it.


FLAG
By Princess Mia
From Vail
Jun 4, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

well the reality is "that little piece may not stop your fat ass"


FLAG
By JEFFisNOTfunny
Jun 4, 2012

Alex Washburne wrote:
Hey Jeff I think, at the end of the day, none of us wants to be the person who tells you where/how to go take falls and then read about you getting injured the next day, because the reality (as stated above) is that no fall is 100% safe, and I don't even wanna take a 0.1% of telling someone advice that would get them injured. That said, I know exactly what you're talking about. Having the right mentality during a climb can be a real deal-breaker, and I remember when I felt that it was my mentality, my fear of falling on trad gear, that was the limiting factor for climbing harder trad routes. Here's what I did: 1)Aid climb, especially hard, safe aid (A2 is good) that can lead to a fall on a piece that you've already carefully inspected and weighted (and not some rushed piece that you've placed while absolutely pumped). 2) Climb in Indian Creek with cams up the arse, but recognize that there are some serious caveats about sandstone (as my limited understanding has it, you want to sew it up because pieces may be more likely to slip out/not grip when you fall). I took my first proper whipper in Indian Creek, and my second, and my third, and so on until I lost count. All of the falls were unintended, but they were all on fun, challenging climbs that sported perfectly parallel cracks that allow for much easier placements while pumped. I had no intention of falling at Indian Creek, but it happened and thankfully it was on beautifully parallel cracks on which protection is made easy. 3) Start leading on ice (some may rightfully say this is horrible advice. Don't do it if you don't want to ice climb and if you're not okay with the risks involved in climbing a medium that breaks and melts every single year). With me, I wanted to become a better alpine climber of all kinds, so learning to lead on ice a natural step after learning to trad lead on rock. After a full winter of climbing above screws, the thought of even a tiny nut placement sounded like Heaven to me. In fact, I started doing some mixed climbs and found that my confidence was boosted tremendously whenever I placed rock pro (mentally, I felt like I wasn't protected by screws, but once I slipped in a good nut I felt as if it were a bolt). Note that I never fell on ice screws (and I DON'T recommend that at all - bounce test at ground level to you heart's content, but there's absolutely no reason to risk it when you're higher up), and I haven't fallen period while leading on ice, but doing it made me a more confident leader on rock. Some may rightfully say that what I've said above is horrible advice, akin to saying "if you're not comfortable with the risk of trad climbing, then try riding motorcycles while drunk and blindfolded and you'll see that the risks of trad climbing are nothing in comparison." My advice here only makes sense if you want to get into ice climbing anyways, and then my advice amounts to what I'll say in point (5) - with time and more experience, your confidence will build even without having to take falls. 4) Learn how to project hard climbs without recklessly taking falls. I received this sage advice from a friend at a time when a bunch of nutcases all around me at the Gunks were (literally) telling me to jump off a cliff and expect everything to be alright every time. You don't need to fall to get the "send" mentality - just find a challenging, well-protected climb, and go until your pumped, place a piece, and sit to wait out the pump. The next time you come back, you'll have the pro and the beta dialed down, and when you finally send your project, you will have pushed yourself much harder above your protection than ever before, all without taking whippers for whippers' sake. 5) Take it slow. Unless you're in a rush to go pro or unless you have a terminal illness and want to free climb the Moonlight Buttress before you croak, there's no reason to hurry and there's every reason to take things slowly. You'll get more comfortable with time and continual exposure to the sharp end, even without taking falls, and your confidence will come from experience (and not bravado). I did this at the Gunks, where I climbed insane amounts of 5.6's until I was finally sick of (the albeit sandbagged) low grades. I stepped up to 5.7's and climbed those for a while until I felt that they, too, were too easy. Repeat for 5.8, 5.9, and now I'm in the phase of climbing 5.10's in the Gunks. Note: I went all the way to climbing Gunks 5.9 (or Rumney 5.10d) on trad without ever taking a fall, and it was over the course of 2 years of trad climbing. The best old adage to remember: there are old climbers and bold climbers, but no old, bold climbers. Now, I checked out your profile and saw that you're a climber in the Gunks. I'm also in the NE (NJ right now) and I frequent the Gunks. It's a great place to get really good at leading trad, but it's also a great place to get persuaded to try unreasonably reckless things. I was AMAZED at how many Gunks climbers on the carriage road were recommending that I just take some whippers on despite knowing absolutely nothing about my experience. I'll be the angel on your other shoulder telling you to be a little careful with their advice, but I'll also give you some good projects for the grades you seem to be climbing. You can climb them, and if you get pumped then hopefully you can either place a piece and rest on it, or downclimb to your last piece and hang there while you recharge. Something Interesting,5.7+ (easy if tall and if you have a fetish for tiny feet... I thought it was harder than Modern Times) Double Crack 5.8 (beautiful, long, and well-protected the whole way. A GREAT route to project with clear communication with the belayer the whole way). Modern Times 5.8+ (the first pitch can be a bit runout, if I remember correctly, but the second, crux pitch is VERY well protected with a nut/tricam in the often wet crack under the roof and beautiful cams through the roof... I think BD .5 and 1) Ant's Line 5.9 (a great project - gear the whole way) Bonnie's Roof 5.9 (same, though harder now that the intermediate anchor is missing... if you're feeling adventurous, the direct finish is AMAZING, and also very well protected) Once you're looking to break into 5.10, I highly recommend Nosedive. I aided it in prep for a big wall trip and found that it's insanely well protected with ledges big enough for you to be stable and place super good pro yet small enough beneath steep-enough wall to avoid hitting on the way down. I came back and led it free, and felt incredibly safe the whole way. For some unsolicited beta: Before committing to the barn-door and crux roof at the top, you can climb the face on the right, and then stem on the shallow, right-facing corner to place a nut in a tapering crack in the corner at about chest-level. Then, once you've swung and committed to the crack, you can soon fit either a BD .4 from a finger lock at the base of the crack, or you can fit a .5 to a .75 (possibly to a 1) as you climb higher. I hope this helps, and I hope you get strong while staying safe! Feel free to message me if you have any questions about climbs I've done/good stuff in the area. Best, Alex


Thanks... that was some great advice and route recommendations. While I understand your Ice climbing comments... I'm not into it yet.. but points #1 and #4 specificlly... start by trusting the gear to rest on it/aid with it... and go from there... I'll see ya in the Gunks.


FLAG
By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Jun 4, 2012
Colonel Mustard

JEFFisNOTfunny wrote:
I just have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that, that little piece of gear will stop my fat ass from falling...


The truly fun part is it won't always stop you. And you won't always be able to tell. Hope that helps!

Double up ;).


FLAG
By Larry S
Jun 4, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

JEFFisNOTfunny wrote:
I fall regularly while sport climbing... without falling, I'm not pushing myself to my limit. While I realize that with trad climbing, there are alot of "no-fall" zones, I still want to get a few falls out of the way, to get over MY issue with gear. I have done alot of mock-leads and have taken many lessons from guides, and friends. I also have seconded and inspected gear and will continue to do so... as a normal part of climbing with friends. The rational side of my brain understands the physics behind gear placement... I just have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that, that little piece of gear will stop my fat ass from falling... (just like when I first started sport climbing and didn't trust the strength of an anchor or a quickdraw... or like when first toproping... not trusting the rope.) It's all mental. I was just wondering how everyone else got over it.


I liked killis' advice about leading something over your head w/ a tr backup... pick a line that's got clean falls so you don't bust your ankles and go for it. That's what i did when i was brand new to leading. After that I didn't fall or push myself on gear for a long while. The reason was mostly that the climbs at the lower grades i was climbing at were not climbs that you could safely fall on, usually very featured or low angle, so I advanced really slowly thru those grades. Lately, my tactic has been to find a steep climb w/ good+ample gear, without any "no fall" zones, that is at my limit and go for it. (Maybe follow it once or ask for gear beta if you need a little extra confidence) Whether you fall or get it clean, you're pushing your mental limits on gear, and eventually you'll fall and get it over with.


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By Matt Hasenohr
Jun 4, 2012

I'm also a new trad leader, and I took my first fall on gear about 3 weeks ago. The fall was unintentional on a piece that I thought was ok. The person who really showed me the ropes with trad always stressed placements, so i feel my placements are pretty good. This piece however was as good as I could get for the rock, but still decent. I didn't take a big fall (piece was at my shins), but it really helped show me what pieces will hold and has boosted my confidence as I used to also be super afraid of falling and would down climb a lot. I haven't let this get to my head thinking anything will hold, but I spend a lot less time fidgeting with a piece making it a perfect placement. A friend once told me this: the only thing that is not redundant is the rope; if it breaks you're on the ground; BUT the one thing that makes it redundant is you not falling, so is it better to place a piece that you know will hold but isn't perfect or spend 30 seconds getting pumped placing the perfect piece?

And so after falling on gear, i'm now able to place a lot faster and move on (its all mental).

And about falling purposefully on gear...i wouldnt recommend it. Just push yourself!


FLAG


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