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By Elijah Flenner
Aug 5, 2010
I was reaching as high as I could to fiddle a small tricam into a flake above my head.

"The rest is easy, don't bother" came the call from my belayer.

He was right, the end of this 10- route is around 5.7. The last bolt was a good 10 to 15 feet below, while the first bolt is just above half way up this 90 foot cliff.

Got the piece, clipped it, started liebacking the crack before the anchor, just pulling onto the good ledge and CRACK. The rock broke. First bolt flew by, looked down and saw the second one coming. Stopped right before it. Ended up being around 40 feet, but without the tricam it would of been more like 70.

"Good thing you placed that tricam" my belayer calmly stated.

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By Ian Stewart
Aug 5, 2010
spencerparkin wrote:
I believe Ryan Kelly is correct on all counts.


Ryan is only correct in the case of a purely vertical wall. As soon as the angle changes, it's no longer correct. Take the extreme case of a completely horizontal overhang, with more NASA diagrams:

Why you fall more reaching for a clip on an overha...
Why you fall more reaching for a clip on an overhang.


From this you can see that reaching for a clip makes you fall more. This is still true in less overhung routes, but the more overhung it is the more of a difference it makes.

It should be pointed out though that even though you may fall more if you reach for a clip on an overhang, you will swing less from the fall. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If there's a wall close to you that you might swing into, it's probably better to risk the vertical drop and reach for the clip. On the other hand, if there are no walls around you and the extra reach may mean decking (like if you're doing a cave traverse), you probably want to climb to the next clip.

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