Practice Falling

Practice Falling

Post by JB1J » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00


I am (I feel the shame) a top rope climber, and have been climbing about 4
years.  Like most top rope climbers, I have always asked my belayer to keep
slack out of the rope. When I fall, I fall a few inches (maybe a few
millimeters with static rope).

However, the other day at a gym that uses dynamic ropes on their walls, my son
and I decided to "practice falling". We would go up a ways, call for the
belayer to simply lock off (ie: stop taking in the slack), then climb some
more, and just let go.  It was fun!

Of course, these were perfectly vertical walls with no danerous projections,
but I now have a lot more mental readyness to begin sport climbing and someday
maybe even leading.

If you have't tried falling, go for it!

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by JuneRive » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>I am (I feel the shame) a top rope climber, and have been climbing about 4
>years.  Like most top rope climbers, I have always asked my belayer to keep
>slack out of the rope. When I fall, I fall a few inches (maybe a few
>millimeters with static rope).

>However, the other day at a gym that uses dynamic ropes on their walls, my
son
>and I decided to "practice falling". We would go up a ways, call for the
>belayer to simply lock off (ie: stop taking in the slack), then climb some
>more, and just let go.  It was fun!

>Of course, these were perfectly vertical walls with no danerous
projections,
>but I now have a lot more mental readyness to begin sport climbing and
someday
>maybe even leading.

>If you have't tried falling, go for it!

GEEEEZ! I've only  been climbing for a few months now so I'm new, but this
kind of sounds ridiculous to me. I had an older climber teach me the basics,
but I started to (and wanted to) lead the first day I was climbing. Not hard
stuff, of course, but just leading. Now (three months later) I lead 5.10's
and feel pretty good about it. So if you need to practice lead falls, my
question is, why not go out and lead?
    I have taken a couple falls, and they can be (are) scary. But I really
"don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
years before leading is THE way to climb.
    Just get some instruction, go lead and have fun!---------J.R.

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Inez Drixeli » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> GEEEEZ! I've only  been climbing for a few months now so I'm new, but this
> kind of sounds ridiculous to me. I had an older climber teach me the basics,
> but I started to (and wanted to) lead the first day I was climbing.

What kind of basics?  Place cams, stoppers, etc. or only clip bolts?
Agreed, clipping is easy, although you'd be surprised....

 Not hard

Quote:
> stuff, of course, but just leading. Now (three months later) I lead 5.10's
> and feel pretty good about it. So if you need to practice lead falls, my
> question is, why not go out and lead?

Because "practising" falls on lead is not what learning to lead is about.

Quote:
>     I have taken a couple falls, and they can be (are) scary. But I really
> "don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
> years before leading is THE way to climb.

Since you have only been climbing for a few months, I assume that is the
same time frame for your interest in this newsgroup.  You are wrong,
top-roping isn't considered THE way to climb here.  Besides, if some
people want to TR, let them.  

Quote:
>     Just get some instruction, go lead and have fun!---------J.R.

Not everybody likes to lead.  I know some good climbers who just don't.
Leading is something that has to come to the climber at his/her own pace.
If a climber wants to practise leading and falling on top rope, they
should do that.  

Just for the record, I started leading half a year after I learned to
climb and I never practised on top rope. I too just started leading.  I
learned from following, never took a lead class.  Worked fine for me, but
I would not jump to the conclusion that this is the way everybody should
learn.

Also, there is more to leading than just placing the next cam...you have
to know about fall consequences, route finding (unless, of course, you
have a straight line of bolts above you...), anchors, second protection,
and so on.  Frankly, to assume all this can be done in a short period of
time is a bit too rash for my taste.

--
Inez Drixelius
Berkeley, California
"Real women wear knee pads"

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Robert Tern » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00



*SNIP*
#However, the other day at a gym that uses dynamic ropes on their walls, my
son
#and I decided to "practice falling". We would go up a ways, call for the
#belayer to simply lock off (ie: stop taking in the slack), then climb some
#more, and just let go.  It was fun!

Last Sunday in your local gym...

Climber on wall:
    "Uh,
(20 seconds pass)
umm, I just don't...
(20 more)
can't I just.... you know..."
   "No."
   "But I'm SCARED."
   "If you don't let go and take the fall like daddy says, You'll be***ing
my clifbar wrappers for dinner."

No really, on the non-abusive side, taking practice falls is actually quite
good for practice. Or so I hear.

#If you have't tried falling, go for it!

Hey, if you feel like that, I know some great routes for you. Do you have
any heads, or will you need to borrow some?

Robert "Valley of the Fallen" Ternes

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by crack bab » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:


> >I am (I feel the shame) a top rope climber, and have been climbing about 4
> >years.  Like most top rope climbers, I have always asked my belayer to keep
> >slack out of the rope. When I fall, I fall a few inches (maybe a few
> >millimeters with static rope).

> >However, the other day at a gym that uses dynamic ropes on their walls, my
> son
> >and I decided to "practice falling". We would go up a ways, call for the
> >belayer to simply lock off (ie: stop taking in the slack), then climb some
> >more, and just let go.  It was fun!

> >Of course, these were perfectly vertical walls with no danerous
> projections,
> >but I now have a lot more mental readyness to begin sport climbing and
> someday
> >maybe even leading.

> >If you have't tried falling, go for it!

> GEEEEZ! I've only  been climbing for a few months now so I'm new, but this
> kind of sounds ridiculous to me. I had an older climber teach me the basics,
> but I started to (and wanted to) lead the first day I was climbing. Not hard
> stuff, of course, but just leading. Now (three months later) I lead 5.10's
> and feel pretty good about it. So if you need to practice lead falls, my
> question is, why not go out and lead?

I think maybe you're missing the point.  It isn't as if people practice
falling as a substitute for leading but as a training tool.  Overcoming
the fear of falling is a very useful step towards being able to more
effectively concentrate and execute moves on lead. (before I start a
conflagration of internet flames, I am only referring to the fear of
falling itself - not the fear of hitting the ground having one's brains
exit through one's ears)  

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>     I have taken a couple falls, and they can be (are) scary. But I really
> "don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
> years before leading is THE way to climb.
>     Just get some instruction, go lead and have fun!---------J.R.

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Ilana Ster » Tue, 27 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> I think maybe you're missing the point.  It isn't as if people practice
> falling as a substitute for leading but as a training tool.  Overcoming
> the fear of falling is a very useful step towards being able to more
> effectively concentrate and execute moves on lead.

I recently took the Boulder Rock Club's clinic on this
very topic (along with one of my usual gym partners, Greg
Hill, who used to read and post to rec.climbing but probably
doesn't any more).  It was interesting and useful, although
not a miracle cure.

Thankfully, we did not spend the time taking whippers!  
We investigated how much more strength we actually have
than we think we have by doing a campus board***
exercise.  We discussed confidence in one's belayer.
We noticed when we were relaxed and when tense, and worked
on focusing on exhaling on hard moves, rather than on
holding our breath (and getting gripped...), very useful.
We did a drill where we climbed a moderate route and
let go when Chris (the instructor) told us to, so we could
see how the gear did keep us from splatting, no biggie.  We
talked about thinking of the clips as being part of the
route, rather than focusing on the clips as "what's keeping
me alive" (this really helped me).  We did a drill where
we hung onto the rope anchor bar at the top, with the
rope clipped in about at our knees, until we had to drop
from muscular failure (my scream was heard all over the
gym!)

The clinic was a bit intended for sport climbers, which
I am not (other than my off-season gym stuff).  But I find
that climbing in the gym helps my trad ability, and improving
my gym climbing improves my trad ability, and that my
ability was plateauing because I was leading much below my
toprope ability.  So since I took the clinic I have been
gym leading at my gym toprope ability.  (Attempting, anyway.
But it surprises me how I really am better than my brain
tells me -- when I go for holds rather than giving up and
yelling for a take, nobody is more surprised than me that
I actually manage to make the move 2 out of 3 times!)

I hope this translates to better trad climbing in the
summer -- we'll see.

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by james i robertso » Wed, 28 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

> > GEEEEZ! I've only  been climbing for a few months now so I'm new, but this
> > kind of sounds ridiculous to me. I had an older climber teach me the basics,
> > but I started to (and wanted to) lead the first day I was climbing. Not hard
> > stuff, of course, but just leading. Now (three months later) I lead 5.10's
> > and feel pretty good about it. So if you need to practice lead falls, my
> > question is, why not go out and lead?

Falling is a skill just like anything else.  lead climbing is much more
involved than just climbing.  alot of times our perceptions of reality are
much different than reality.  it is better to practice falling in a
controlled situation than to try to get it right twenty out.  your first real
lead fall could be the one that crushes your mellon.  take it from someone
who watches the chopper fly out every weekend at josh.  also, it's not
usually hard climbs that get people hurt it is usually the easier stuff just
remember twenty feet out is twenty feet out no matter if its 5.6 or 5.11.  
stick with those older climbers there is a reason there still around.

blue skies
jim

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Hend » Thu, 29 Jan 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
>  But I really
>"don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
>years before leading is THE way to climb.

Rampant? That's news to me.

David Henderson
Toronto

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by EEKHUB » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>>  But I really
>>"don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
>>years before leading is THE way to climb.

   You know...I don't get what you are saying about "The way". Is "The way",
the way that "everyone else is doing it" ? Who cares how anyone else is
learning to lead...does it really matter how they learn? Is climbing a clickish
trend, and we are all  followers that must do things "The way" that everyone
else does it??? Get a life, get a rack, and climb....enjoy...and get along!!!
    Erik
 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Steve Tyle » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Quote:


> >>  But I really
> >>"don't get"  the idea that seems rampant in rec.climbing that top-roping for
> >>years before leading is THE way to climb.

>    You know...I don't get what you are saying about "The way". Is "The way",
> the way that "everyone else is doing it" ? Who cares how anyone else is
> learning to lead...does it really matter how they learn? Is climbing a clickish
> trend, and we are all  followers that must do things "The way" that everyone
> else does it??? Get a life, get a rack, and climb....enjoy...and get along!!!
>     Erik

I wanted to start leading last summer.  I did some 5.2's and 5.3's at
the Gunks.  I got on two 5.5's: Double Chin and Dennis.  These routes
made me really nervous so I asked on this Newsgroup about those climbs.
 Gawd Damn! did these people have opinions on learning to lead!!
Some people told me to stop leading and follow an experienced leader for
another year.  Other people told me to only lead 5.2's

Finally, someone gave me some good advice: If you're uncomfortable, back
off, otherwise, don't listen to other people telling what grade to lead
or when to start, everyone is different.  

My opinions on this have solidified over the winter.  I think that it's
good to try any lead climb 4 grades below your top - roping level.  I
can climb 5.9's on top-rope at the Gunks.  I will try any 5.5 at the
Gunks whether I have top roped it or not. (Unless the protection is
rated R for rare;-).  I will climb recommended 5.6's and 5.7's if I have
top-roped them before, or they are recommended by experienced people who
know me well.  (Plenty of those at the gym)

There is no special way to learn to lead.  You must learn safety
techniques first though.

Incidentally, I took the CLimbetter class with Jason Campbell and
Tiffany Levine two days ago.  They handed out a packet to assist us in
continuing their training techniques (if we wanted).  In it they
recommended taking practice falls on sport routes to help with your
mental game.  My personal opinion on practice falls is: What practice?  
I'm gonna fall anyway, I get plenty of practice without trying.  I won't
practice falling on trad gear.

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Ian Mulvan » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

just remember, if your not falling off your not trying hard enough :-)

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by The Yet » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

Falling off isn't a problem. It's the landing that sucks.....

--
 Power is nothing without control...and both are useless in an offwidth!


      http://www.christs.cam.ac.uk/~pfj20

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by JuneRive » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

JuneRiver wrote A BUNCH OF ***in message

Quote:
>GEEEEZ! I've only  been climbing for a few months now so I'm new, but this
>kind of sounds ridiculous to me.

Ok, Ok....I stand corrected on bunch of what I wrote....Maybe I was just
having a bad day....live and let live and all that...........But, I still
don't understand the attitude of wanting to lead (apparent from the first
message), but having to spend 4 yrs TRed and jumping off a wall to get used
to a fall. But that's just me......TR forever if you want.

----------------J.(no offense intended)R.

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by james i robertso » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

I won't practice falling on trad gear.

sounds to me that you have things pretty well in hand but really you are
going through the steps, just fast.  you have got really involved and have
"done your homework".  you have had training that many have never done.  

as far as trad gear understand that the differance with trad gear and
bolts/sports climbs it that climbing a trad route is like putting up a first
ascent because your are putting in the pro.

since the pro is directional everything has to work together.  slings and
natural pro should be used.  if you can get this you are well on your way.  
books i always suggest are basic rockcraft,advanced rockcraft,and long's
anchor systems.  the royal robbins's books may seem out of date but many
routes where put up when tying off a knob or pillar was expected for the
route to go. and what happens when you drop your repell/belay device can you
make carabiner brake device or use a mutner hitch?  i wonder if tiffany
levine could and isn't jason cambell the guy who dropped someone?  if you get
this stuff down it would be a good idea to test your perceptions with reality
every once in awhile with a trad fall.

once when surfing in mexico a friend told me to surf in mexico you have to be
a waterman not just a surfer the same holds true for trad routes.

good luck
jim

 
 
 

Practice Falling

Post by Steve Tyle » Fri, 30 Jan 1998 04:00:00

I must correct my previous post.  I cited Jason Campbell's hand out at
the Climbetter class.  Here is the quote about practice falling:

"... Take 3-10 safe falls of a route having a dynamic belay, good
equipment, & no obstacles."  He said nothing aboiut it being a sport
route.  I just wanted to correct my earlier post.  I assumed it to be a
sport route.

My philosophy on the leading thing evolved after I did some leading that
 "scared" me.  Nowadays I don't get worried about being a little scared.
 If I am going to lead a 5.7, I may get a little nervous.  That's part
of the fun.

Thanks,
Steve