/ I fell off, weeks ago
Spend time at lower grades than those that stress you so that you can become familiar with being on a route without fear messing your head game up.
Also, find a partner (or speak to your current partner) who will give you the right sort of support when you are in that situation. You may just need some encouragement or a little bit of spotting (of holds) to see you past the obstacle that is holding you up.
I lost my head for it completely after a winter break a couple of years ago. I went from comfortably leading HS and happy to try harder (but I was crap at the time) to gibbering on diffs.
what helped me was when I'd pretty much given up I stopped worrying about how it was pointless/embarassing/pathetic/whatever to climb TOO low a grade. I then went to a local crag and started soloing routes, starting with Mod. Now I wouldn't necessarily say go soloing, but I carried this on with leading too the next week. Start on the REALLY easy stuff that you may feel a bit daft on to start with and you'll find you progress back up much faster than you might imagine and feel much more confident.
so get on those mods and then diffs, then vdiff. Just try and enjoy the routes without worrying about performing well or anything. Hell, start on a scramble if it helps you build your confidence.
OP you are in danger of losing your head, back off the severes for a while and revisit some routes you know you can do diffs etc, and try doing some harder routes on a toprope to give you confidence in your technical ability. Perhaps soloing should be in the mix somewhere to give you a taste of that "got to keep going" feeling which is what you need to get used to, but ffs dont fall off!!
I took a 10 metre fall about a month ago, and my top three pieces of gear popped out. Since then I have been having very similar difficulties. I have been exploring the reasons I fell and the ways I myself have looked to overcome them in these blog posts: http://teamface.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/overcoming-fall.html
I don't know if they'll be any use to you, but feel free to have a gander!!
They will work with you to trust your gear and sort your head out.
Perhaps soloing should be in the mix somewhere to give you a taste of that "got to keep going" feeling which is what you need to get used to, but ffs dont fall off!!
I have to say this is bad advice, telling someone to put themselves in a position of danger is highly irresponsible. If someone has a problem with fear and trust climbing the last thing anyone should direct them to is to get 20ft above the ground in a situation where they can :
A. Fall and get hurt
B. Have to be rescued
C. Suffer further due to being even more scared
As has been said above to drop down a few grades and go back onto familiar ground and really get comfortable before moving on will help, also bouldering and strength exercise will do loads of good. The ability to crank hard and hang on for ages is a great boost of confidence.
Don't tell me it is bad advice tell the op not to follow it if you feel the need.
Not convinced the "lots of really easy stuff" works so well. Maybe for starters but I reckon you'll still get insta-gripped the second you get on something that's hard for you.
It's easy to be relaxed when you aint gonna fall. You also need to practice staying cool when you might fall. Fall practice is the way ahead. Start indoors, jumping off above your clip and trying stuff you'll fail on (make sure your belayer knows how to give a decent catch). Try some outdoor sport, again with the objective of pushing it above your bolt. Progress to pushing it on gear only if it's well protected and safe to fall off. Ideally break into this with someone who's got the experience to help you place good gear. Leading on pre-placed gear, if it's good, can be a gentle stepping stone too.
The really unfortunate thing about starting off is that stuff steep enough to fall on is, by definition, relatively hard. You have to overcome this horrible bump where you are pushing your grade but on ground where falls can be quite unpleasant. Hate to say it, but a steady diet of sport & indoor will allow you to get fit enough to attempt to safe steep trad lines and you'll probably have much more fun.
Personally I often get more scared on VS than E5 because there's always a bloody ankle-breaking ledge 5 foot below you.
> Not convinced the "lots of really easy stuff" works so well. Maybe for starters but I reckon you'll still get insta-gripped the second you get on something that's hard for you.
Maybe not for everyone but it did for me and it has done for a couple of other people I know.
Additional thing for the OP -
do you find you have trouble trusting your gear? It may be nothing to do with that, but if it you then what I did was have my very patient climbing partner comment on every piece of gear as he seconded up after me for half a dozen days out. There's always the piece of gear you know isn't that good, but it was really reassuring to find that I not only knew which they were but also that the vast majority of my placements were good and would hold (and the ones that wouldn't were usually just to protect 1 move where there was no better option or something like that)
Easier way to do what, climb again?
> Maybe not for everyone but it did for me and it has done for a couple of other people I know.
I found that lots of mileage on easy stuff helped with just getting accustomed to being on the sharp end and it becoming normal rather than something to be scared of.
At the same, I also did lots of bouldering. That meant that when I did start pushing it a bit more on lead, I had more confidence because the moves I was encountering were not as hard as I had done on the bouldering wall.
I took my 1st lead fall about 10 days ago, on a climb i had comfortably seconded twice before. There were at least two lessons learned from that experience:
(1) head wasn't right at all that day, i had taken a fall on the previous route while seconding on a route above my grade and had to back off, i was as a result very nervous about climbing at all.
(2) i have never been completely confident about my gear placement (new to leading), fortunately the cam i had placed just before making the move i fell from (was not feeling too confident about) held.This is in my opinion a positive learning experience, taking a fall with no bad consequences can be a good thing, and my gear held.
I've not climbed since, due to a combination of poor conditions and being away doing other stuff. It will be interesting to see how i feel on my next outing. May have to do lower grade climbs for a while to regain my confidence.
As long as your gear placement is good enough that it's safe to do so, I'd say if you can keep pushing now rather than backing off, you'll do your head a whole world of good.
I started on trad earlier this year, and have been trying my best to bring my sport climbing head for falling across with me. It's been up and down, but every time I've found myself scared to commit when it's objectively safe to push on, and pushed myself through it, it's made a difference.
I started off learning to relax and fall onto bomber gear, then to let go onto suspect gear with bomber placements just below. This was invaluable for learning what's likely to hold and what's not, so I can make a good objective assessment of the risks as I push on to climbing harder to protect lines. Finally, I had to convince my subconscious that long falls onto good gear were OK - that bit is still ongoing, but the other weekend I took my first couple of 30-footers, without being *too* stressed about it.
The pain and stress honestly doesn't last that long of you commit to yourself that you're going to deal with it head on :-)
Just a word of warning if you are going to start practicing falling.
Be very careful out there falling on easier routes as I am still going for surgery on my ankle 12 months on due to a 3 meter fall off a very easy climb.
Personally i have no intention to practice falling. In my opinion it is a recipe for potential disaster. I am just glad that my 1st lead fall was a "success" as in the gear held.
Knowing how to fall is very valuable. Knowing when not to is totally invaluable :)
> Personally i have no intention to practice falling. In my opinion it is a recipe for potential disaster. I am just glad that my 1st lead fall was a "success" as in the gear held.
Falling off is half the fun. Fine with a solid risk assessment.
> Just a word of warning if you are going to start practicing falling.
> Be very careful out there falling on easier routes as I am still going for surgery on my ankle 12 months on due to a 3 meter fall off a very easy climb.
Much easier to injure yourself on easier routes. More to hit.
Getting back onto climbs was tough mentally and physically. I built up slowly, got back to climbing just doing easy stuff and plenty of volume but also trying to push myself in some small, manageable ways each time so as to build up confidence as well as strength and stamina again.
I found analysing the fall and why I hurt myself really helpful. But the most useful thing I did was learning how to fall (and how to land if you're bouldering). You need to trust your equipment, and what your body can take and I found the only way to do this was to try it. It's all very well reading the safety advice on your harness or hearing someone say 'jump, it's fine', but when you're above your gear, pumped with sweaty tips the decision making process is very clouded with panic and fear.
My learning curve about what is possible was huge and my grades have jumped massively as a result. There's been ups and downs, screams and tears (on and off routes) but it's worth sticking with.
Hazel findlays article is great, so is some of the Head game stuff on DianeB's blog mentioned further up.
9 out of 10 climbers Dave McLeod is also a good read, but more than reading get out there start easy and work your way back up.
Buy a bouldering mat.
Scars are just about healed from a serious fall about 6 weeks ago. Luckily, my leading head isn't that far behind. I've found positive reinforcement really useful in getting my head sorted:
Last spring I took a 4 metre ground fall, and it took me around 5-6 months to get my head back to where is should be. This time round by making sure every climbing experience is a positve experience is a positve one, things are progressing much quicker:
Make sure you partner is giving you the right kind of support and encouragement.
Start small, and enjoy the little victories (like others have said get on mods and diffs, and enjoy them.
Practice falling inside (start on top-rope and progress onto clip drop technique, but make sure each fall is a positive one).
As others have said solowing (or low bouldering/traversing) might help too.
Do be affraid/embarressed about backing off routes, there are only really 2 grades: those you can do, an those you can't.
I had an odd experience recently. I've only been climbing for about a year and a half. Mostly indoor as I live in London. But a little sport in Portland and a few days mucking about on top ropes on Southern Sandstone. I recently tried trad for the first time, and the second time out (with a climber I met through an online forum) took a fall. He sprained his ankle (not surprised if he actually tore the ligament, looking at the swell. I ended up soloing the route (like brit technical 4b or something) to retrieve his gear. It was odd because I don't like falling (it has been something that I have been thinking about working on indoors - doing fall practice on the overhang to build comfort) and yet I was much more comfortable soloing the route than I had on the various trad climbs I'd done over those few days. Felt super focussed. I can remember saying, not six months ago - I will never solo anything. The guy I was with was very good on gear, knots, placement etc but his climbing was TERRIBLE. And I think it was the frustration of watching him that made me so comfortable with this simple solo. It makes me want to do a bit more of this which surprises me.
Broadly... am I mental?
No. But be careful.
Echo lots of other people's advice about backing off down the grades when you are leading.
However also do lots of seconding of harder stuff, so that when you get back into leading severes and above, the moves will feel easy, which should boost your confidence.
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