/ fear of falling?

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JanBella - on 21 Apr 2012
unlike those lucky "bastards" who don't fear falling off on the lead i do. so here is the challenge: i'm gonna take as many lead falls as possible each indoor session until it feels absolutely natural. then i take it outdoors. please post your session/falls score on here.

session 1 falls 1 (not great but it's a start)
JoshOvki on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

My friend screwed up her knee practising to fall off inside about 2 months ago, just off crutches now and still not climbing. So be careful. If you are bolt clipping why not take falls outside too?
JanBella - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to JoshOvki: i never get on sport routes in lake district, that's all really
JoshOvki on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

Ah that would explain it. Sorry if I seemed off putting in my last post, just be careful. Even though it is in doors, doesn't mean it is totally safe. :)
JanBella - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to JoshOvki: ah absolutely!
_MJC_ - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to JoshOvki: Well if that's not counter productive to falling confidence then nothing is. How did she manage that?
JoshOvki on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to _MJC_:

I am not entirely sure. Sounds like she forgot to/didn't have chance to put her feet out and when knee first into the wall. I was in the wall but not climbing with her at the time. Was pretty swollen and went to hospital the same night, put in a splint and given crutches. About 3 weeks ago the splint came off, and a few days ago she stopped using the crutches. Had an MRI yesterday I think to see how it is doing, but not heard anything about it.
dmacmorris - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

Hey sorry to hear that you have a problem with falling but it's very common everywhere, indoor practise is good but i think the best way to work at it is with a petzl shunt on a outdoor top rope that way you can increase the size of your fall and you can create natural anchors.

Hope this helps
bpmclimb - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:
> (In reply to janko440)
>
> indoor practise is good but i think the best way to work at it is with a petzl shunt on a outdoor top rope


Backed up in some way?
col3 on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:
good idea, make sure you take small falls at first so you learn to fall 'well' (i.e. so what joshovki just said doesn't happen) and also always on vertical or overhanging walls. Fall practice really helped me, so hope it works for you too and good luck!
dmacmorris - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Sorry how do you mean backed up in some way?
EspenK - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: A way to get many falls into a session is to simply not clip the anchor but jump off at the top. Aim to never grab qd's or say "take", but fall off instead. And make sure your belayer knows how to take a fall - short, static falls aren't necessarily s good thing!
Ciro - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

Good decision - it'll be well worth your effort :-)

For the gym, there's a very simple way to start taking a lot of falls - just resolve to never clip the chain. As soon as you can bring yourself to do it add in a couple of worst case scenarios each session (jumping having climbed up to the next clip and pulled slack as if you were going to clip) and you'll get a lot more comfortable with it very quickly. Most important though is just to keep doing it - as Dave MacLeod points out in 9 out of 10 climbers, people often stop practicing when they're almost there as the fact it's not *that* scary any more means you can convince yourself it's not really needed, and the downward slide begins. One other thing I find useful - even though I've been good with falling on bolts for a long time, occasionally I still get gripped out of nowhere... If it's safe to do so, and I'm not going to blow an onsight, I'll throw myself off there and then, or climb up and do a worst case scenario, to show my subconscious that if it tries to f*ck things up, I'm going to do exactly what it fears. Climbing will usually feel totally free for quite some time after :-)
Ciro - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to EspenK:

Great minds think alike :-)

Also, if you find it difficult not to say 'take', you can take the option away by instructing your belayer before you set out to respond with 'no, keep climbing' if you do.
RyMole on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to EspenK:
> (In reply to janko440) A way to get many falls into a session is to simply not clip the anchor but jump off at the top.

This is my favourite. I believe the correct terminology is 'taking a victory leap'.
bpmclimb - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> Sorry how do you mean backed up in some way?

I'm interested in your idea of using a shunt for falling practice, and wondered if you trust just the shunt to catch your fall, or have some kind of backup (eg knot tied below the shunt, a bight of rope pulled up and clove-hitched to your belay loop, a second rope, etc).

dmacmorris - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

i 100% trust a shunt and my shunt is about 7 years old and still works like new, you could also use a Petzl Croll but never feels as safe purely because of it's design. I guess if your using a shunt for the first time a backup line with another shunt on it would be a good safety feature but means your transporting double the weight for that extra piece of mind.

The other nice thing about it for fall practise is that you can extend the distance it hangs below you by simple adding in a extra rope loop to it, the biggest fall i have taken on one is about 5 to 6 meters and feels even safer than a bolt well as long as your anchor is good.

Something to bare in mind if you are using them you need to keep the rope weighted at the bottom so that the shunt feeds the rope through itself with ease.
Mark Stevenson - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: FWIW you are probably looking at a minimum of 3 weeks and a good 30-100 falls to properly sort out your head with regard to being fully relaxed about falling. However, equally importantly you need belayer(s) who are relaxed about you falling off and actually know how to belay dynamically which is depressingly rare in the UK.

Unfortunately, you then need to keep falling off regularly to maintain that relaxed state of mind. For example, a month spent trad climbing outdoors rather than sport/indoor climbing will generally bring back a lot of hesitation but nothing that can't be resolved in 1-2 sessions with half a dozen falls rather than in the weeks it initially takes.

Contrary to popular perception, many experienced climbers who are 'good' at falling off are 'good' because they have put time, effort (and lots and lots of falls) into getting that way, not because of any natural inclination.
bpmclimb - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> I guess if your using a shunt for the first time


I may have given that impression, but actually I've used a shunt extensively for some time (keep getting stuck for climbing partners midweek).

I wouldn't say that trusting it comes easily, though, and I never would have regarded using it for falling practice as an option. This could, however, be irrational nervousness. I'd be interested in what others thought of this use for a shunt - any MIAs listening in?
Calder - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

Been doing this for a few weeks now. I try to fit in three or four forced falls a session. I started with tidgy ones and now take falls from a foot or so above the bolt.

I find falling from above roofs scarier so started with that as well more recently, those falls are still pretty small but I'll get there.

There is no doubt in my mind that doing this works - I'm way more relaxed now and willing to really push on through hard moves above a clip, and I took a bit of a whipper on Monday to prove it.

I also know I'll have to keep doing it (I'm nervous excited about doing the 'worst case scenario' of falling while clipping from a below the bolt!), and that I may also have to work on translating the confidence to trad. We'll see...
dmacmorris - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Thats interesting because i have always trusted it without any questions, What would you say makes you feel they are hard to trust at first?
needvert on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:
> ...you could also use a Petzl Croll but never feels as safe purely because of it's design....

You probably shouldn't tell people they can use a Petzl Croll since they really shouldn't, which also explains your feeling that it's not as safe ;)

http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/product-experience/self-belay-solo-climbing/introduction
mattking_109 - on 22 Apr 2012
Tiberius - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

I will fall unintentionally pretty much ever session, indoors and outside other than trad which I don't do much and I'm still learning really.

Indoors if the climb is an overhang, generally I won't bother clipping in the top chains, just climb to the top and jump off. Of course, I trust my belayer to be doing her job.
dmacmorris - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to needvert:

Very good post and yes i agree if i was to follow by the book you should't use either the shunt or the croll as they are not designed for self belaying. They technical do work but bring an element of danger since they are not designed for such an event, but i guess when you look at it most elements of climbing have a little danger involved.

bpmclimb - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> Thats interesting because i have always trusted it without any questions, What would you say makes you feel they are hard to trust at first?


Partly because over the years I've heard various anecdotes about shunts failing to bite, plus Petzl themselves don't recomend the shunt for self-belaying. I also worry a bit about shock-loading a single rope which runs over an angle at the cliff top.

But it's probably mostly that I've never really made an effort to get used to falling on them, or even got used to really going for moves while shunting. I reckon taking a few deliberate falls would lead to more trust in the thing.

I've actually got two shunts now, so can have two ropes on the go. Apart from more gear to carry, it's quite convenient in some ways (eg abbing back down the unweighted rope).
JanBella - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: session 2 number of falls 5
mobeirn on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: Another good thing to do is fall on every bolt except the first one, its also a good workout as you have to do a lot more climbing. If you have room don't clip the last bolt and jump off. Make sure your belayer knows to let a little slack into the system so you get a nice soft "American" catch. Especially important on steep ground near the bolt so you don't slam into the wall
gdnknf on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: Hey Jan. I did some falling practice at the wall I used to work at for a while and I don't think it really helped. Falling onto indoor, tested bolts is way different to falling onto gear you've placed. I think it's about trust.

You coming to Castle Crag on Thursday?
seaofdreams - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

I think there are a few points running together on this topic because "fear of falling" is complex. I do all or some of this when i feal i need to it not meant to be a regiment although i suppose it could be (perhaps should be for me ;o) - this may not work for everyone.

you need good people around you and good gear on you. a solid belayer is a given but there is more to a good partner than just a safe pair of hands. You can tell a good partner when they interact with you during the climb, a few words during some move and before a crux, eye contact if possible before being lowered off. good position relative to the wall (commonly wrong at the crag and wall) plus good feedback during and after the route. Also kit which is up to date will help and buddy checks (sounds corny but it is important - read/dont read climbing free).

I run through a mental warm up. a little yoga if thats you thing and then a few moments thinking about falling and running though that in your head. for me this and the next step are important because you are mostly fighting a conception rather than a reality (okay some people are fighting a justified conception - but you don't suggest this applies to you). If what I have been thinking about worries or nerves me I tell my partner and do my first route or two as clip drops from 3 to the top (clip and immediately fall). make sure your partner know your nervous and get them to help you verbally or laugh with it after the fall.

if that still worries me or im having an off day ill jump to straight up falling where I fall many times on the same move. its important that you stop between falls or groups of falls to let the adrenalin go away. you don't want it because its stopping you being scared and just allowing you to repeat a silly task without breaking the barriers down. I also try and look down and look at my partner before I fall - so I can see what is coming.

you also need to learn when its safe to fall. I wont write egg sucking stuff here but don't break ankles by hitting into things. there are also times in climbing when it is 100% not okay to fall - days like that define your climbing career.

HTH

on another note - it is a really bad idea (like really really bad and against most/if not all published advice) to shock any self belay set up mentioned above and therefore impossible to "practice falling" on them. please don't kill yourself with the aim of getting "hard" or because it adds a element of danger. risk is good, danger is not good
ads.ukclimbing.com
needvert on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to seaofdreams:
> ...it is a really bad idea (like really really bad and against most/if not all published advice) to shock any self belay set up mentioned above and therefore impossible to "practice falling" on them....

Indeed indeed - only TR self belay devices have been mentioned AFAIK, though rock exotica will sell you things for self belay on lead. We don't seem to talk about solo leading much...Hmmm an idea for a new thread I think!

http://www.rockexotica.com/products/belay_devices/all_solo_belay.html


Nick Russell on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to dmacmorris)
> [...]
> I'd be interested in what others thought of this use for a shunt - any MIAs listening in?

I'm not an MIA or anything, but I wouldn't use a shunt without backup. As others have already mentioned, Petzl don't recommend it for use as a self belay at all, so it's not tested or rated for this, certainly not for falls of the type we're talking about here.

My preferred option for top-rope self belay (whatever device I'm using) is to have two ropes: one for the shunt/other device, and one with a series of loops tied in. As I climb, I pull the shunt up, and periodically clip into the loops on the other rope. This is of course no more faff than clipping into bolts on a sport climb and ensures redundancy - always a good thing, right?

If you don't have, or can't be bothered to use two ropes (almost always the case for me), tie your toprope to the anchor on a bight in the middle of the rope, then the two halves act as semi-independent ropes for the system above.

JoshOvki on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Russell:

Don't Petzl say it is okay to use, but a Basic would be better? Or that is what I got from there blurb.

Just tie knots in under the shunt every couple of meters.
nniff - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:
> (In reply to JoshOvki) i never get on sport routes in lake district, that's all really

You show me someone who is fearless when it comes to falling on trad gear, and I'll show you someone who doesn't appreciate the seriousness of his position.
Nick Russell on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)
>
> Don't Petzl say it is okay to use, but a Basic would be better? Or that is what I got from there blurb.

Yes, it seems you're right (http://www.petzl.com/files/all/technical-notice/Sport/B03-SHUNT.pdf ). Sorry, I should have checked that out, rather than just relying on vague recollections of what I'd read here in the past.

>
> Just tie knots in under the shunt every couple of meters.

I agree this is a good backup, but wouldn't this quite a lot of faff while climbing? I suppose my suggestion with the second strand takes a lot more time to set up though...
bpmclimb - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Russell:

So to go back to the context in which shunting came up, if I may - that of using a shunt to practise taking leader falls ...

If a shunt should ideally be backed up when used as a self-belay device, then it is presumably even more important to have back up if deliberately taking falls on to it.

With the deliberate fall practising scenario, I previously mentioned a couple of worries: will the shunt reliably grip the rope if shock loaded, and should the rig at the cliff top take account of the shock load (ie avoid a single, stretchy rope running over an angle and being suddenly loaded).

Another safety issue occurs to me: sometimes the shunt sags down a little at the waist, runs down one side of the crab, and then twists. If fallen on from a height in this position it would seem possible to break the shunt or snap the crab.
nniff - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

Not to put too fine a point on it, and IMHO of course, you've got to be mad to practice leader falls on a shunt - a device that is no longer recommended for top rope self-belay. Many people do use use one for top-roping, including me, but most take care to keep slack out of the system becuase of the device's obvious limitations. If you're setting it up for the exact opposite then you're really asking for trouble.

Of course, that's not to say that the device won't work, but that's not the point.
Nick Russell on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)

> If a shunt should ideally be backed up when used as a self-belay device, then it is presumably even more important to have back up if deliberately taking falls on to it.

In a word, yes. (Of course, all this is just my opinion)

>
> With the deliberate fall practising scenario, I previously mentioned a couple of worries: will the shunt reliably grip the rope if shock loaded, and should the rig at the cliff top take account of the shock load (ie avoid a single, stretchy rope running over an angle and being suddenly loaded).

I don't know about the action of a shunt when shock loaded (anybody got any experiences?). Should your anchor not be constructed in such a way as to avoid the type of situation you mention regardless of what device you're using?
bpmclimb - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Nick Russell:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)

Should your anchor not be constructed in such a way as to avoid the type of situation you mention regardless of what device you're using?


Yes. But most people who shunt routes (including myself) don't bother set up a rig designed to minimise rope stretch over the edge (low-stretch rigging rope in a V-hang, possible rope protecters, dynamic rope over the edge) as you would for bottom roping. This is reasonable because the dynamic element of a fall will only ever be slight. They'll just attach ropes (more often than not just one rope) to anchors and start shunting.

When planning to take deliberate falls onto the shunt, there's a much stronger case for rigging with a shock load in mind. However, because the context is one of general shunting, I thought this could easily be overlooked, and so thought it worth emphasizing.
bpmclimb - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to all:

BTW the reason I'm going into this in detail is because earlier in this thread taking deliberate falls onto a shunt was recommended as a training method.
nniff - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to all)
>
> BTW the reason I'm going into this in detail is because earlier in this thread taking deliberate falls onto a shunt was recommended as a training method.

That doesn't mean that it's a sensible thing to do. Besides which, if you're worrying about the shock load on the belay at the top, you're concerned about the wrong thing: I'd fret about the ability of the shunt to hold the fall without sliding or opening up. If that happens, then just a melted stripe down your rope would be a good outcome.
Nick Russell on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)
> [...]
> However, because the context is one of general shunting, I thought this could easily be overlooked, and so thought it worth emphasizing.

Yes, I agree it's probably worth mentioning specifically here

bpmclimb - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to nniff:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
> [...]
>
> That doesn't mean that it's a sensible thing to do.

No I agree. When I saw it being recommended, alarm bells started ringing. As I didn't know for sure, and didn't want to dismiss the recommendation out of hand, I thought I'd try for some more feedback.

Besides which, if you're worrying about the shock load on the belay at the top, you're concerned about the wrong thing

Not so much about shock loading the anchors at the top, just specifically the idea of a stretchy portion of rope running over an angle at the cliff edge and then subjected to shock loading, which could damage the rope. But I wasn't saying that this was the biggest worry; I was just listing all the potential hazards that came to mind, in no particular order.
JanBella - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: session 3 number of falls 11
Ciro - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:
> (In reply to janko440) session 3 number of falls 11

Starting to feel easier to trust the system and let go?
JanBella - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Ciro: feels easier to commit to harder moves on the lead. you know if you fall you fall one can't do anything, but if the fear of falling is holding you back from doing hard moves then you gotta do something about it.
Ciro - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440:

Good work! If you're already finding it easier to commit to moves, you're going to see huge improvements in no time. I had to do it in two distinct phases - learning to take a deliberate fall, and then learning to push till I fell in an uncontrolled manner.
Ewano on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to janko440: I think i need some fall therapy, never taken an outdoor leader fall. Although to be fair it hasn't stopped me leading up to E4. Still, would help me push my sport grade. Any tips for me? Pretty sure it's not a fear of heights as i love soloing and highballing (possibly because i'm good at NOT falling off).
jkarran - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to bpmclimb:

> I'd be interested in what others thought of this use for a shunt...

I'd share you reticence (to put it politely).

jk

jkarran - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to dmacmorris:

> (In reply to needvert)
> Very good post and yes i agree if i was to follow by the book you should't use either the shunt or the croll as they are not designed for self belaying. They technical do work but bring an element of danger since they are not designed for such an event, but i guess when you look at it most elements of climbing have a little danger involved.

I'm guessing someone else will have beaten me to this but: The Croll is simply not suitable (and I don't just mean it's not recommended) for TR soloing, the body design makes a complete accidental rope release easy to arrange. The Basic or Handled Basic is a much better choice from the same family of devices.

jk
Quiddity - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Ciro:

Totally agree - it is a two phase process. First you need to be ok with letting go in a controlled situation - then you need to apply that to a more realistic situation, being ok with falling off when you are strung out at your limit, going for a move you're 90% sure you can't stick.

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