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By S.Mccabe
From boulder, co
Dec 3, 2009
Second coming

Sometimes I fall and sometimes I hang on my gear. When I fall I feel good. When I hang on my gear I feel like a bit of a puss. But both have helped me progress and advance my abilities.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Dec 3, 2009
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

I'm chicken shit about falling on trad, I'll flat out admit it. 90% of the time I'm of the 'leader must not fall' mentality. And hell yeah it's held me back in terms of grade progression, no doubt about it. For me, it's not a pride thing at all, it's straight up self-preservation. Like I said, chicken shit.

But I would have to add that it's situational dependent. I don't sport climb really (maybe 40 pitches total in 15 yrs of climbing) and a good deal of the trad/alpine lines I've sought either involve a backcountry setting, crap pro in dicey spots, ice, or plain ugly terrain for falling (ledges, horns, sharp edges, etc). No way am I just going to go for it in those instances and see what happens.

On the other hand, climbing in places like Yosemite, Indian Creek, etc, gives me the opportunity to push my boundaries. Falls are clean, reliable pro is plentiful - go for it.

Interestingly, climbing in the gym during winters has actually reinforced my leader-must-not-fall mentality (in terms of trad). In the gym you can push the crux without worry of the fall - sometimes you make it, sometimes you don't, and here's the kicker for me, sometimes you you make it but you're too spent to clip the draw. I've fallen while pulling slack for the clip, I've fallen mid-clip with finger in the 'biner, and I've climbed higher in hopes of a better clipping stance only to pop off 2+ skipped bolts above my last clip. Fine and dandy in the gym. Now juxtapose a trad route in those same situations. I don't want to push deep into a crux only to emerge on the other side too damn spent to futz in some RP. For me, I want a wider margin/reserve of energy left to actually hang out and place pro after a crux. Again, it's all situational dependent.

Overall, I enjoy climbing for the fun of it. I derive fun from the surroundings, the movement, the people, the challenge - each with different weights at different times. And so for me, 'failing' is simply not being able to appreciate those elements for what they are. Sitting at home broken (or worse) because of some botched trad lead is failure. Been there done that.

Yours,
Chicken Shit


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By darrell hodges
Dec 3, 2009

Mike wrote:
If you are not falling, you are not climbing hard enough.

hard enough for who?


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By Brandy Persson
From Vail, CO
Dec 3, 2009

Falling sucks. But then there's this weird excitement when you do, and you realize it's okay. Then when it goes wrong, and you break/dislocate both your ankles, you ask yourself was it worth it?.....just can't win.


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By Dave Pilot
From Boulder, CO
Dec 3, 2009
Jack Ripper

I can see your point about trad climbing. When I learned to trad lead I was told to not fall. I think the rationale was that the gear (when my mentors learned to climb) was less than reliable. I really took that to heart. I still do. But I've fallen on trad gear, not often, but it's happened. My foot popped on a route I had led a half dozen times before. I jumped on a route well below my ability and got spanked and had to let go after a long time deliberating the consequences. Do I see these as failures? Yes. But I don't go back and climb easier things to keep from falling. And I don't climb harder things to puff my chest. I go back and do the routes again, cleanly with no falls. Then I move on. I wish relationships were as unambiguous as that.


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By Brandy Persson
From Vail, CO
Dec 4, 2009

To add: my post goes for sport climbing and bouldering as I have never climbed trad. I have no business and no intent to speak for trad climbing. All my trad buddies go with the no falls rule. Can't really speak on that. Trad climbers have thick balls. God bless.


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By climber73
From Fort Collins, CO
Dec 4, 2009
Belaying at Ouray

To each his own. I've known some amazing climbers of the "old-school" type whom have climbed relatively hard and never fallen on gear. I respect those guys, but I climb differently. I've climbed trad for 10 years now, and take several whips a year on gear. There is definitely an assessment of gear quality and obstacles in the fall line prior to whipping, but I don't see a problem with pushing into fall territory on gear, especially when there is a classic on-sight at stake.

So, Tom, tell us something that we don't know. Why are you asking the question to start with?


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By Ian F.
From Phx
Dec 4, 2009

I would have to agree with Eric. I too am a chicken Shit. I have fallen once on Trad and that was on my first lead 17 years ago. My only mentor was Freedom of the Hills. I had placed a Stopper, and moved on. My foot slipped and I came off. Maybe 10 foot fall. The stopper held to my surprise, and since then I still have not, and refuse to, if I can control it, take a fall. I will plug a piece in panic, or down climb, or suck it up, and keep moving til I can plug a piece. But, I fear falling on gear like the plague.


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By Tradster
From Phoenix, AZ
Dec 4, 2009

I've fallen five or six times on gear. The first time was on a smallish Wired Bliss TCU at Granite Mountain near Prescott. That was a 20 footer, and when it held I was very happy and gained plenty of confidence in trad gear. A French climber was with us and said some thing like 'You Americans really do go for it.' Also fell on a Lowe Ball slider about ten feet, too. It took 30 minutes for the second to retrieve it, but it held well. I've ledge out on three different falls...my bad luck. Spent eight weeks on crutches after falling 35 feet onto a ledge. That was my longest and most painful fall. I drank nine Heinikens to fall asleep that night. If you are pushing yourself, you just might take a whipper or two.

A fall is failure, but better than a take or lower.


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By AnthonyM
Dec 5, 2009
Maroon Bells-Bell Cord Couloir

There's a picture (Wish I could find it) of me looking down at my belayer and slapping the wall, while laughing, after several 5 to 7 foot (lead) falls. This is one of my favorite climbing memories-I was having so much fun trying new moves and really pushing myself. The belayer and I were cracking up and that was probably about the time I realized I truly loved this sport/lifestyle.

Falls are part of climbing... They happen.


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By climberKJ
From Holderness, NH
Dec 7, 2009
flipping

Right on Erik and Anthony.

Who cares as long as you're having fun? It's different for everyone. Do what you're comfortable with.

Personally, I like falling. It gives me confidence and motivation to get up, do the move again, and know I am safe in the process. Of course, that's the whole key. Knowing when it's safe/not to go for it.

Falling/not falling, it's all fair play if you stay smart and you're still smiling.


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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Dec 7, 2009
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan

have you ever fallen in an gym? I haven't read everything but I'm just wondering.


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By Tevis Blom
Dec 8, 2009

me whipping on 'Sheik yer Bouti' ,still no send yet :(
me whipping on 'Sheik yer Bouti' ,still no send yet :(



It just seems like if you really want to see what you are capable of, you need to whip at least a few times.

I guess I agree with the 'no-fall' thing when climbing on gear, but even then, try hard enough and it happens.


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By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Dec 9, 2009

Even though I really don't like to fall on lead, I've taken a few whippers over the years. In general, it's a good idea not to get into the habit of falling on trad. I've seen a lot of people rip gear and get hurt on trad routes. Climbing in control, using good judgement, having route finding skills, and being able to down climb back to that last manky RP are all skills that are good to have. It would seem hard to not fall occasionally though.

For sport climbing it's definitely OK to fall now and then. Indiscriminate whipping is probably not advised and tends to ruin ropes quickly. I have found that I have a pretty good idea of what my capabilities are so it's not worth going on that next move or two when I know I'm already gassed. It was sort of fun taking falls intentionally in the gym the other day with my 10 year-old on the other end of the rope with a gri-gri.


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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Dec 9, 2009
Bunny pancake

Tom Hanson wrote:
Somehow I suspected that my inquiry would end up being an opportunity for all the superhardcore to spew about how they goforit. Yawn.


I am interested to why you think taking and hanging is somehow superior to falling. Taking and hanging you learn nothing about yourself or your abilities other than that you were once again shut down by XX corner or crack.

It seems to me like you just wanted to wax poetic about a time that is long gone and position yourself as a superior climber because you never fall.

Try hard enough and you will fall. nuff said.


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By phillip
Dec 9, 2009

Tom Hanson wrote:
Somehow I suspected that my inquiry would end up being an opportunity for all the superhardcore to spew about how they goforit. Yawn.


What thread were YOU reading? Weaksauce edit on your part.


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By Tom R
From Denver, CO
Dec 9, 2009
self portrait

Tzilla Rapdrilla wrote:
It was sort of fun taking falls intentionally in the gym the other day with my 10 year-old on the other end of the rope with a gri-gri.

Sweet! Now when nobody wants to give me a marathon belay on one of my obscure projects at crags nobody likes, can I borrow Gordy?


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 9, 2009
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

If you like staying in control then good for you. Never fall. If that is your gig that's cool. I think of Roger Briggs on Jules Verne. He stayed in control until he did the route. That's a cool story. Take the ego out of it and it is just another approach to climbing.


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By Eli Kramer
From Saratoga Springs, NY
Dec 9, 2009

I'm pretty guilty of climbing within my comfort zone. But I can still get a lot of enjoyment out of that.

That being said, the feeling you get on a hard climb when you're sure you're at your limit and you see the move, know you can't make it, but go for it anyway and stick the move... I don't know of a better feeling.


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By Tom Hanson
Dec 9, 2009
Climber Drawing

Michael McKinnon wrote: I am interested to why you think taking and hanging is somehow superior to falling. Taking and hanging you learn nothing about yourself or your abilities other than that you were once again shut down by XX corner or crack.
It seems to me like you just wanted to wax poetic about a time that is long gone and position yourself as a superior climber because you never fall.

Michael, did you even read my original post? Obviously not. I made no value judgements whatsoever. I understand that my climbing style is uncommon. I certainly never made any claims to it being superior. Many of the respondents however, did take on a somewhat superior tone, like so much chest beating. I only inquired if there was anyone else on MP who climbed like me.

phillip wrote: What thread were YOU reading? Weaksauce edit on your part.
Phillip, I was reading responses to my thread. The one I started, with a modest inquiry, in the context that Ive reiterated to Michael above.

I never meant for the original post to become a pissing contest, and if anyone thinks that Ive never pushed myself climbing, they never partnered with me thirty years ago (waxing poetic of bygone era).


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By Mark Roth
From Boulder
Dec 9, 2009
not climbing

Eric Rhicard wrote:
If you like staying in control then good for you. Never fall. If that is your gig that's cool. I think of Roger Briggs on Jules Verne. He stayed in control until he did the route. That's a cool story. Take the ego out of it and it is just another approach to climbing.

I think you mean Steve Wunsch...


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By Joe Huggins
From 666 Rue le Jour-Edge City
Dec 9, 2009
mmmm....tree

My first lead fall was in 1974; I decked out because my belayer dropped me. (His jaw was still hanging to his knees when I got up.) Over the years I've logged thousands of feet of flight time-trad and sport-and I've decked a few times. I think it depends very much on you. If, like me, you have no natural ability as a climber, it may be necessary for you to air it out in order to improve. But I don't recommend hitting the ground.


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By LIV
Dec 9, 2009
Kirk Couloir Challenger Peak

OK -- I HATE FALLING! I climb too much sketchy stuff outdoors and run out shit - and I - just don't fall. The "rock warriors way" is a bit too "soul searching religious" for me. I have my own ways of "getting there" and Linger's isn't it. It takes me doing it over an over again. Once I'm comfortable by doing it again and again, I can finally move ahead. Unfortunately, it means I don't flash routes, I only redpoint them. No worries. I don't care. You can't replace the smile on my face when I finally go back and do something that was impossible to me previously.


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By Tom Hanson
Dec 9, 2009
Climber Drawing

Shane Z wrote: "Falling is not failing, in fact, falling is an achievement. Yes, an achievement."

Yes, if falling is what you hope to achieve, then it is an achievement.
For me, avoiding a fall is what I hope to achieve, so if I don't fall is it any less of an achievement?


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 9, 2009
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

Thanks, I meant Steve Wunsch.


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