/ How often do you fall off on trad routes?

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JackM92 - on 15 Nov 2016
A climbing partner recently told me he felt that I was far more willing to attempt trad routes where I'm likely to fall off (my low skill level compared to half-decent route difficulty) than his other partners.

I've always viewed falling onto trad gear as a fairly normal part of climbing, and have gained real confidence in gear placements as a result of seeing them tested. Whilst I'm certainly not climbing anything especially hard, I've gone from being a VS leader to coming close to onsighting E4, with no training whatsoever, mostly due to reducing the fear of falling.

6 falls from around 100 leads this year doesn't seem excessive, all have been held by the first possible piece of gear, and I've got back on with renewed confidence knowing that I'm (fairly!) safe.

Therefore I'm interested as to how often other people fall off? And whether you feel shaken up by a trad fall or get back on the route feeling good?
IPPurewater on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
Only four significant leader falls in 40 years. One ground fall with my belayer going up in the air, so not full force. Smaller falls, less than one every couple of years.

I try not to fall when climbing trad.
Post edited at 17:13
olddirtydoggy - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I never fall and you're probably right that it stops me improving as fast. Funny thing was, we took some friends abseiling last year and all were scared apart from 1. He had total trust in the gear and was propelling himself off the rock as far out as he could as he decended. I remarked after that he could potentially be a great climber with that level of fear management or just reckless. Who knows.
Duncan Bourne - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I have a friend who practices falling at the climbing wall so that it is not a fear factor for him. He does change his ropes regularly by the way. While it is wise not to be too blase on a climb, and to be aware of how good your gear is and what your landing might be like, a fear of any sort of fall can be quite hampering.
Woolly on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I take a Trad lead fall once or twice a year on about 100 Trad leads per year.

The skill is to know when a fall is going to be OK

I think you can see how peoples climbing performance improves if you can push yourself closer to the limit from red pointing sport routes
Robert Durran - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Over a thirty five year climbing career about once every five years on average.
Ross Spours - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Personally, I have never fallen on a trad route, but then again I've only led about 300 pitches or so of trad!
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
Over a 40 year climbing career I fell off about four times in all. One, three years in, a monster of c.400' in Norway, resulting in serious injury (written about); another quite big one the next year, falling from the crux of Kelly's Overhang to about four feet above the deck; and two v trivial ones in 1983: one of about four feet from the crux of Vector on the first attempt, grabbing the sling as I fell, and a similar one on Barbarian (I think). If I had any others they were likewise so trivial that I can't remember them - without looking in my logbook. So, basically, about once a decade. The thing was we were just entrenched in the old maxim of 'the leader does not fall'. It was good: it made you get up routes. I think only sheer will power got me up the last bit of Cenotaph when my strength was fading. Ditto, the horrendous Jericho Wall (I would probably have died if I'd come off there).
Post edited at 18:22
IndyJK9 - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I've only been trad climbing since July and haven't fallen yet. I would have fallen a couple of weeks ago had someone not lowered me a rope. I almost wish I had fallen as to try and get over that fear of falling on gear but at the time I really didn't want to fall.
Cake on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Probably about only twice a year, but I do really like to get any climb on sight. I think I'm more likely to take a task than a slump these days which would not have been the case a few years ago, so that's improvement.
jimtitt - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Twice in 49 years.
Dave Garnett - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Ross Spours:

Proper, unexpected falling onto trad gear? Twice in 40 years, and both on relatively easy ground (one slippery foothold, one snappy flake)

And once onto bolts!
Greasy Prusiks on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Haven't yet.

I wonder how often the top climbers fall? Pretty regularly is my bet.
JackM92 - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

400 foot?! Sounds horrendous! Guess that modern ropes and gear make it much safer to go for it when unsure if you're good enough.
springfall2008 - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I haven't taken a fall yet, but then I've only climbed Trad for a three seasons so far. Like most people I've taken quite a few falls on sport outdoors.

I was wondering what the injury rate is on Trad, that is fall to serious injury percentage?

alan moore - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

> 400 foot?! Sounds horrendous!

Ashamed to say, I'm one of the select few who have done the South Post Bum Slide. Maybe a thousand feet and enough falling to last a lifetime. That's one fear that's best left unconquered...

deacondeacon - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I never used to fall when climbing. But now if it's a safe fall I'm willing to push on and take the risk.
In fact I think that out of the last four times I've been climbing I've fallen on three of them. Although that is more than usual.
Michael Gordon - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to alan moore:

> Ashamed to say, I'm one of the select few who have done the South Post Bum Slide.

On Creag Meagaidh? That sounds horrific

Michael Gordon - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

About once a year on rock. Think once this year so about right. About the same winter climbing which is less good since it would have more potential for injury (but didn't last season which I was pleased about!).
dek - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to alan moore:

Eek! What happened, were you soloing, or roped?!
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

> 400 foot?! Sounds horrendous! Guess that modern ropes and gear make it much safer to go for it when unsure if you're good enough.

It had nothing to do with the quality of gear, and everything to do with very poor judgement Ė which resulted in the failure of a main belay in steep rotten snow. (Have written about it in a certain award-winning book.)
doz on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

(Have written about it in a certain award-winning book.)

and a mighty fine read it is too!
Big Lee - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Only 1 proper fall out of 80 this year. Been taking it easy.

Last year 3 out of 77. All within the space of 4 days. All were well protected cracks though and 2 of the falls were on the same route, which was probably my hardest lead once I finally did get up.
Mick Ward - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Although I hardly ever fall off (coward!), in 50 years I must have lobbed hundreds of times, up to 50 feet. That's longevity for you - in more ways than one. I think the record was 22 or 26 (it was an even number) on/off the same move on the same day. Now my nine lives have been used up (and the next nine and the...) so I'm even more cowardly and can't imagine not having a F grade (or two, or three!) in hand.

Mick
Lord_ash2000 - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Never fallen off on trad, climbed 20 years but not done much trad in the last few years. But then I have no massive trad aspirations so don't push myself and also don't try to on sight hard routes.

If you carry on your road you'll probably become a very accomplished trad climber over the next few years. (or you'll deck and cripple yourself). But assuming you stay safe you should get to about E5 ish then you might need to train / get I to sport climbing to get better.
muppetfilter - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:


> I wonder how often the top climbers fall? Pretty regularly is my bet.

I can think of a few over the last 25 years of my climbing that fell and never got back up sadly, also some that fell got hurt and never climbed hard again.

I have seen probably 35 ground falls which ranged from the miraculously unscathed to the permanently life chaging. With this in mind I am very shrewd when i push the boat out on harder routes on a lead and im never blase about grades , gear or ropework.
Coel Hellier - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

> I have seen probably 35 ground falls ...

Really? I've seen zero, from about 30 years of climbing.
muppetfilter - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The joys of having Stanage 3 Miles from my door ...
James Oswald - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I've fallen on 30 or more routes in total in about 7 years of leading. I'd say that around 50% of them the gear was at or above my waist (including falling when down-climbing once or twice), 30% or so at my feet or slightly below and on one a good distance below my feet. The cluster of gear immediately below me has always held collectively, though I ripped a wire once. My biggest falls have been when high up on longer routes. I think that falling off when high up on well protected routes is relatively safe and really good for leading confidence.
Gordon Stainforth - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> Really? I've seen zero, from about 30 years of climbing.

You're fortunate. A very unpleasant thing to witness. Have seen three very nasty ones indeed, but fortunately never a fatality.
Post edited at 22:01
Bobling - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Four times I can remember in 340 routes. So not never but not regularly either! The only one that shook me up was when I was climbing something I'd climbed before without any difficulty. It was a shock to come off, and a shock when the last piece of gear, which I'd placed in extremis, popped. I got back on the route but didn't feel good about it and it affected my confidence for months.
James Oswald - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
To add to that, when starting I fell about 6 metres coming about two metres from the floor falling off minus ten at Stoney - my gear held but I was (too) far above it.
Martin Hore - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I thought my frequency of falling (as leader) was likely to be on the low side till I read this thread and saw how many posters have fallen even less or never at all. Mine is about once every 5 years (which is around once every 500 led pitches) over 50 years. I've certainly counted some classic lobs in that time though. Left Unconquerable, Left Wall, Regent Street - to mention just three.

Martin
Kevster - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Small falls every year, big falls every few. I've managed a 12m fall at swanage. Had to get back on and do it again or we'd never have got off the crag.
I tend to go for well protected and hard over easy but dangerous.
Mark Kemball - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Not so often these days, but when I first started, I used to think that if I'd not taken a fall sometime in the weekend, then I wasn't trying hard enough. I guess I'm not trying hard enough thee days, but then I don't bounce as well and it takes ages to recover from an injury.
Kevster - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

You could extend this by asking how often do you say take, when it was safe to fall or push on. I bet that happens loads.
kingholmesy - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
6 falls or slumps out of 33 trad leads / solos this year! This includes 3 falls above gear due to failing on the moves (one of which was a 30 footer), 1 fall due to a snapped hold, and 2 controlled slumps on to the gear.

That's a pretty high failure rate, but I've also managed the most hard (for me) routes of any year, as I've been really trying to push myself every time I've been able to get out tradding.

My take on it is that there are pretty of trad routes where it's fine to fall off as there's loads of gear. The key is not falling off the bold ones ...
Post edited at 23:49
Misha - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
6 falls out of 100 leads is a very reasonable hit rate if you're pushing the grade and if hey have all been safe falls, you're obviously doing the right things (just remember that you're only as good as your last fall!).

I've only done about 40 trad leads this year and have falle on 6 of those routes (sometimes more than once in the same place). All of these routes have been at the top of my grade. One of the falls was due to a snapped foothold, the rest due to it being too hard to onsight the crux (in fact in some cases I had to give up as couldn't do the moves). All have been safe falls.
The Ex-Engineer - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
> Therefore I'm interested as to how often other people fall off?

Not enough. One slump on gear out of 100ish routes in 2016. However I've probably spent slightly too much time on VS-E1 routes on grit and have only onsighted two routes of E3+.

> 6 falls from around 100 leads this year...

I think you're probably in the right sort of ballpark. Obviously it depends massively on the location and style of routes but I think falling on somewhere between 1% and 10% of substantial trad leads is required if you're properly commited to pushing yourself and climbing near your limit.

> And whether you feel shaken up by a trad fall or get back on the route feeling good?

It varies, although I tend to feel more positive about having gotten on the harder leads than being massively upset or freaked out about falling.

I generally set the limit that three falls on any route is more than enough stress. So it was three falls on Warpath (E5 6a) before retreating and three on the last pitch of Polaris (E5 6a) before passing the buck to my partner. However, when I took a substantial fall on Vulcan (E4 6a) that was enough to quit there and then. On a more positive note I managed to finish Equus (E2 5c) after two proper falls.
Post edited at 01:10
summo on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to alan moore:

> Ashamed to say, I'm one of the select few who have done the South Post Bum Slide. Maybe a thousand feet and enough falling to last a lifetime. That's one fear that's best left unconquered...

1994?

OP, perhaps 2 falls in 30 years with goodness knows how many 1000s of routes that would equate to, but the vast majority aren't done grade chasing, so falling would not be expected. If you ignore dropping onto gear that is practically next to you. All in summer.
alan moore - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to summo:

> 1994?

No, 2008 I think.

Mike505 on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I think I've fallen/slumped 5 or 6 times this year but I feel better for it, I like knowing where my current limit is and knowing I can trust my gear. While I do enjoy achieving an onsight there's also something very rewarding about being defeated by a route then coming back and cruising up it a few weeks/months later.
summo on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to alan moore:

> No, 2008 I think.

ah ok, remember when doing it then there was a distinct trail down the gully. Luckily for the person (although I recall they were hurt pretty bad) there was a lot of snow and the drop off the entry pitch was very limited.
Trangia - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Once in 56 years

To the PO how many of your falls have involved falling past your second's belay stance on multi pitch?
Dave Garnett - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

> To the PO how many of your falls have involved falling past your second's belay stance on multi pitch?

Never, obviously, but I've been that second!
Chris Craggs - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Hardly ever (never!) nowadays, but back when we were pushing hard and chasing grades it was expected that you would fall off on a regular basis. I never took many big falls, too much of a pussy-cat for that. Most of the way down Time for Tea was probably the biggest - I fell out of the groove near the top and ended up looking my belayer in the face, he was still on the ground and I was upside-down facing outwards,


Chris
ad111 on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I fell off my first E1 - from then on I've been constantly falling off trad. While I like to think that I'm a reasonably successful trad climber I have probably fallen off somewhere around 1 in 4 or 5 routes I have climbed since my first fall 4 years ago. However, I have only decked twice.

As the only times my gear hasn't held I didn't expect it to falling has become relatively normal and I tend to get back on the route feeling good. I know when my gear is good and when falling is a safe thing to so I like to think it allows me to push myself harder on trad.



nniff - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

'A few' probably captures the essence. I generally try to limit it to a slump rather than a fall and of late seem to have become quite good at very, very fast reversing. Generally to be avoided, but if circumstances permit and the risk is acceptable, then I'll do for it and hope for a good outcome in one direction or another - risk being a balance between the perceived robustness of the gear, perceived likelihood of falling off, probability of hitting something hard etc
Dave Garnett - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Proper, unexpected falling onto trad gear? Twice in 40 years, and both on relatively easy ground (one slippery foothold, one snappy flake)

> And once onto bolts!

I was forgetting, once soloing. Not all that far but definitely unplanned. That one did shake me for the lack of judgement it showed. That's rather odd statistics though, probably.
ianstevens - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
> 6 falls from around 100 leads this year doesn't seem excessive, all have been held by the first possible piece of gear, and I've got back on with renewed confidence knowing that I'm (fairly!) safe.

> Therefore I'm interested as to how often other people fall off? And whether you feel shaken up by a trad fall or get back on the route feeling good?

I've lost count of how many falls I've taken, even this year, let alone over the course of time. If you have gear in, what's the issue? Keep trying hard

This thread has suprised me - I genuinely thought people fell more often.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jon Stewart - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

If I take a proper fall once per year (plus a few slumps) then I reckon I'm picking the right routes. I often climb with people better than me which is also good for knowing where your limits are.

I think it's fair to say that if you never fall then you're not exploring where you limits are (which for many of us is an important part of climbing). But falling off the whole time isn't for me - it's dangerous. I've seen enough injuries and near misses out of a small sample of trad falls not to be relaxed about it.
ChrisBrooke - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Once off Inverted V when I was new to trad leading. Once off Long Tall Sally when I was new and overconfident at E1. That's about it, apart from the occasional slump. Oh, and I've taken the lob on Tippler Direct a couple of times. Safest fall on grit

I try to avoid it on the whole. I'd rather downclimb/back off than risk hurting myself, twisting an ankle or worse. I'd rather not risk having ANY downtime due to injury, so choose to be cautious and pick my fights.
jkarran - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

6/100 doesn't seem out of line with my experience when I was climbing frequently.

Never found they shook me up that badly but then I've never had a really bad one either, all my nastiest falls have been sport and bouldering and even then I've limped away from them all.
jk
nutme - on 16 Nov 2016

I do fall. Not sure of numbers. Probably not a lot as I quite often do long easy multi pitches. But when climbing on limit I get something like 5% falls maybe..

My thinking is that gear must hold or it's not worth placing at all. No half measures. If I can't place good pro when decide to have a long run out or retreat.
Post edited at 12:36
JackM92 - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

Those short, powerful trad routes with lots of big boulders underneath you do look a bit dodgy! The biggest falls I've seen have all been on winter routes, one 12-15m ground fall where my partner went straight into a snowdrift and was fine.
JackM92 - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

Fortunately never! All this years falls have been on single pitches on the Culm. Have held two substantial winter falls past the belay and don't fancy that myself.
Rog Wilko on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Another one for the "almost never" category. In a bit under fifty years of climbing I can recall two significant trad falls. People of my generation were brought up with the leader never falls injunction because gear was sketchy at best. Old habits die hard. My worst was on a route at Stoney, a crag probably implicated in more than its fair share of accidents in those days. My feet slipped off at a critical moment leaving me hanging from a jam that held long enough to give me a Smith's fracture, such a rarity that all the young doctors were summoned as they might never have another chance to see one.
Now of course in my dotage I'm even more wary of falling as i don't bounce so well.
The Ex-Engineer - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Mike505:
> ... there's also something very rewarding about being defeated by a route then coming back and cruising up it a few weeks/months later.

You must be progressing faster than me, or keener to avenge defeat.

This year I've finally got round to suceeding on two routes (L'Horla (E1 5b) & The Peapod (HVS 5b)) that defeated me 14 years ago and another Nonsuch (E1 5b) from about 8 years ago.
Goucho on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Can't remember exactly, but over 46 years I doubt I'd need to use all my fingers to count them.

I've obviously not been trying hard enough
Woolly on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

A very interesting response to the OP

I wonder if there is a correlation to when people started climbing?

I started in the 70's when the protection was poor and before sit-harnesses. The golden rule then was "the leader should never fall" for obvious reasons.

But people who started more recently have only known good protection and the red-pointing approach which has come across from sport climbing and therefore are perhaps more prepared to take a leader falls
Robert Durran - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:
> I've obviously not been trying hard enough

Or maybe the youth of today don't understand the true value the onsight and, rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted.

I don't think any of my handful of falls have been when trying really hard, but rather when something unexpected happens like a foot popping or a hold breaking; when I've tried really hard I've tended to get up stuff.
Post edited at 16:40
Fredt on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

3 times in 45 years.

Greeny Crack, Burbage in 1974 (showing off, fell off the top mantleshelf)
Namenlos, Stanage, 2003 (slipped off the ramp, thank god for tricams)
The Nose, Yosemite, 2007 (come on arms, do your... bugger)
muppetfilter - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Woolly:

There are routes I have reclimbed in the last few years that have had huge handhold improvements due to the damage done by gear, by lobbing with gay abandon on trad we could throw the acusation of chipping holds.
Woolly on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

not sure about "huge handholds", I would agree that cracks have opened up over time to allow better placements, but don't forget about how the polished rock has worsened over the years
Goucho on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or maybe the youth of today don't understand the true value the onsight and, rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted.

> I don't think any of my handful of falls have been when trying really hard, but rather when something unexpected happens like a foot popping or a hold breaking; when I've tried really hard I've tended to get up stuff.

Certainly when I started, onsight was the way everyone climbed, and falling off was viewed as failure, whereas now it seems to viewed as deferred success

But I try not to bother my head with it these days Rob. I just put it down to different points of reference.

No doubt though, someone will be along in a minute banging the 'if you're not falling off, you're not trying hard enough' drum

Mike505 on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

L'Horla had me off when I first started pushing E1 properly last year, it felt so intense! It had me off again earlier this year (after a party and some amount of booze the previous evening). I finally cracked it a few months ago, what a route!!! I've got a growing list of 'climbs to clean up' though, so little time and so much rock.
Wendy Watthews - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Of about 200 routes this year I took my only trad fall of the year this weekend. I had already rested on the gear. I used to be a lot more willing to fall and know the fear is holding me back. I hesitate move slowly and down climb rather then commit, luckily I have been gifted with really patient climbing partners who put up with my wussyness. A climbing partner of mine who is willing to fall has been pushing himself a lot lately and I have held a few of his recent falls, as he hasn't ended up a crumpled pile on the floor yet it is obvious that sometimes falling is a lot safer then we think.
Bogwalloper - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Mark Kemball:

> Not so often these days, but when I first started, I used to think that if I'd not taken a fall sometime in the weekend, then I wasn't trying hard enough. I guess I'm not trying hard enough thee days, but then I don't bounce as well and it takes ages to recover from an injury.

This is me. At weekend I'll climb and enjoy being in my comfort zone HVS/E1/E2 but if there's a great, safe looking route of E3 and above I'll give it a go - usually ends up in some sort of fall.
So normally - once a week or fortnight throughout my career ;-)

Wally
Rog Wilko on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Woolly:
> But people who started more recently have only known good protection and the red-pointing approach which has come across from sport climbing and therefore are perhaps more prepared to take a leader falls

As a general rule it is safer to fall off vertical or overhanging routes, which, also as a general rule, are most likely being attempted by younger climbers.
Generally much less of a good idea to fall off a V Diff than to fall off a (well-protected) E2, for example, where you'll probably stop before hitting something.
Post edited at 12:45
muppetfilter - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Woolly:

> But people who started more recently have only known good protection and the red-pointing approach which has come across from sport climbing and therefore are perhaps more prepared to take a leader falls

Funny you mentioned this as i was at the Peak BMC Area meet and a brief point mentioned was the increase in the number of new leaders getting injured in falls, maybe all of the articles about falling practice and falling being a big part of mental training and the concept that all gear placed outside is 100% trustworth and reliable has lead to this.
Valkyrie1968 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

As a general reply to those older climbers on this thread who have attempted to use the 'leader must not fall' dogma to disparage more recent efforts (which, I hasten to add, isn't everyone mentioning the idea, but the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it):

While that was salient decades ago, when it truly wasn't safe to fall off things - and, genuinely, the technical ability and boldness of anyone operating at a high level then is simply mind-blowing - anyone still wholeheartedly espousing that particular philosophy at this point in time, or worse still arguing that it is somehow 'better' than the modern approach of occasionally trying something outside of one's comfort zone and thus sometimes falling off things, either doesn't climb any more (in which case I'm sorry that you've had to stop), climbs using their old gear (in which case bravo), or climbs using modern gear (in which case your antiquated philosophy is hugely undermined by the fact that the gear you own allows the leader to do the thing that your entire system of belief is based on and, in fact, fall, and you are simply flapping your dick about in the vain hope of some minor adulation for past glories and clinging to antiquated notions that allow you to rationalise a climbing culture in which people climb harder than you and, what's worse, in different styles). I suspect that the respondents to this thread that I am replying to all fall into the first or third categories, and to the latter I say; I'm onto you.
Dave 88 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Bloody hell there's a lot of Culm I wouldn't want to fall on! What routes?
Dave 88 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Recently climbed with an IFMGA guide who said he hated falling and had only fallen once, which was on one of his guiding assessments. Really surprised me, but also made me feel good about being a complete fall coward!
James Oswald - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:
"Funny you mentioned this as i was at the Peak BMC Area meet and a brief point mentioned was the increase in the number of new leaders getting injured in falls,"

Would you be able to back up this claim with a reference to the statistics perhaps?
deacondeacon - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

> and the concept that all gear placed outside is 100% trustworth and reliable has lead to this.

I've never met any climber anywhere, ever that follows this 'concept' you're on about.

muppetfilter - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to James Oswald:

It was as i described above "briefly mentioned on the agenda" so no data was provided. A quick look through this years Edale MRT report shows a lot of falls and injuries.

http://www.edalemrt.co.uk/cgi-bin/createIncidentMap.cgi?mapMode=Year&mapYear=2016
Woolly on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

The skill of falling is knowing when it's safe to push yourself to the limit, e.g. good gear, good fall zone etc.

But most of all it's down to the individual, remember the best climber is the one having the most fun.

I hope competitive pressures to push to the limit will never become the norm in climbing, and people should not be rubbished if they want to climb within their comfort zone.
Robert Durran - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> You are simply flapping your dick about in the vain hope of some minor adulation for past glories and clinging to antiquated notions that allow you to rationalise a climbing culture in which people climb harder than you and, what's worse, in different styles.

FFS. What absolute, utter, arrogant shite. You are the one waving your tiny adequate dick around as you fall off yet another route. You are the only one criticising the way others climb.

Maybe some of us see judging our abilities and limits and an integral part of the climbing experience. Just because I drive a modern car with seat belts and airbags doesn't mean that I drive slightly recklessly round every corner in the knowledge that if I f*ck up there's a good chance I'll get away with it. But it is nice to know that if shit happens (and it inevitably occasionally does) then I have some sort of safety net. Sure, you can, if you like, go to a race track and spin off every second corner, but don't criticise those of us who choose not to do so.

Rog Wilko on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

Blimey, that's a bit over-the-top isn't it? I do hope it wasn't aimed at an old duffer like me, but I feel a bit offended anyway.
"attempted to use the 'leader must not fall' dogma to DISPARAGE more recent efforts"
"anyone still wholeheartedly ESPOUSING that particular philosophy at this point in time"
"arguing that it is somehow BETTER than the modern approach of occasionally trying something outside of one's comfort zone and thus sometimes falling off things"
"you are simply flapping your dick about in the vain HOPE OF SOME MINOR ADULATION for past glories"
"CLINGING TO ANTIQUATED NOTIONS that allow you to rationalise a climbing culture in which people climb harder than you"

I plead not guilty on all counts, m'lud.

I haven't re-read all the other relevant posts, but I didn't notice any of them doing any of those things, but maybe you can point out some that did.

Goucho on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> As a general reply to those older climbers on this thread who have attempted to use the 'leader must not fall' dogma to disparage more recent efforts (which, I hasten to add, isn't everyone mentioning the idea, but the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it):

> While that was salient decades ago, when it truly wasn't safe to fall off things - and, genuinely, the technical ability and boldness of anyone operating at a high level then is simply mind-blowing - anyone still wholeheartedly espousing that particular philosophy at this point in time, or worse still arguing that it is somehow 'better' than the modern approach of occasionally trying something outside of one's comfort zone and thus sometimes falling off things, either doesn't climb any more (in which case I'm sorry that you've had to stop), climbs using their old gear (in which case bravo), or climbs using modern gear (in which case your antiquated philosophy is hugely undermined by the fact that the gear you own allows the leader to do the thing that your entire system of belief is based on and, in fact, fall, and you are simply flapping your dick about in the vain hope of some minor adulation for past glories and clinging to antiquated notions that allow you to rationalise a climbing culture in which people climb harder than you and, what's worse, in different styles). I suspect that the respondents to this thread that I am replying to all fall into the first or third categories, and to the latter I say; I'm onto you.

I can't decide whether this is a wonderful example of generalisation and presumption, wrapped up in pseudo intellectual posturing, or verbal dioreha?

Trangia - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply :



> Once in 56 years

> To the PO how many of your falls have involved falling past your second's belay stance on multi pitch?

I am puzzled as to why this post attracted two dislikes, other than perhaps my typo in transposing the O and the P.

Would the dislikers care to explain? I am not offended, just genuinely puzzled?
Dax H - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I make a point of not falling at all but I only Bimble up to vs level and I'm quite happy there.
What didn't help was when myself and a mate were learning the guy teaching us placed a totally bomber cam and had my mate fall on it to prove how safe it could be.

It was bomber and the cam held, unfortunately the rock didn't, looking at the chunk that came out there was a hidden crack, most likely frost damage causing it to blow out and my mate to hit the floor, he was only a few feet up so no harm done but it could have been nasty.
Rog Wilko on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Trangia:

You're more of a target than me, Trangia, I only got one dislike for my first post!
I agree with you, I just don't understand. I couldn't see why anyone should actively dislike the content of either post. Find them dull, or uninteresting - just pass on, why not?
The Ex-Engineer - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Mike505:
> I've got a growing list of 'climbs to clean up' though, so little time and so much rock.

I completely agree with that sentiment

Although, I think this year the list has actually stayed about the same length with new failures failures balanced out by successes on several old ones.

The Ivanator - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Can't say I enjoy the anticipation of a fall, although when falls come then the release from the struggle can feel like a blessing (if the gear holds and no injuries occur).
I've been regularly leading Trad for about 7 years now and guess I've been on the sharp end of 500+ pitches, in that time I've had 5 proper falls I can recall and probably twice that in slumps onto gear. One nasty set of rope burns across my calf after getting the rope caught behind my leg, but gear held in each instance, although floor was too close for comfort in 3 cases.
P.S. Thanks Rob (x2), Stewart (x2) and Jez for catching me!
Mark Kemball - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Dax H:



> What didn't help was when myself and a mate were learning the guy teaching us placed a totally bomber cam and had my mate fall on it to prove how safe it could be.

> It was bomber and the cam held, unfortunately the rock didn't, looking at the chunk that came out there was a hidden crack, most likely frost damage causing it to blow out and my mate to hit the floor, he was only a few feet up so no harm done but it could have been nasty.

Must say, this is fairly naff teaching - if you must take practice falls on trad gear, (perhaps not a good idea in itself), then there ought to be at least another back-up in case of failure such as you've described.
James Oswald - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

Thanks for this - the number of fallen climbers attended to by Edale MRT over time (http://www.edalemrt.co.uk/cgi-bin/genChart.cgi ) has increased a bit over time. I thought it would interesting to see how the number of climbing accidents has changed per climber (proxied for by BMC members - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1279 ).
If you're interested it's in a spreadsheet here and doesn't seem to suggest that climbing related Edale MRT incidents per BMC member has changed much since 2001. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43Xmu9RyP0EN1VKRERyd0dSRTA/view?usp=sharing
JackM92 - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Dave 88:

Have come off on....Break on Through (E4), Misery Goat (E2, twice at the start), No Sweat (E1, took the wrong start, it was hard!).
Have fortunately managed to onsight all the dodgy Culm slabs I've tried so far...

Didn't have the bottle to lead Creeping Flesh, otherwise the fall count would be substantially higher!
Misha - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
Off topic but if you're coming off at Sharpnose it usually suggests a lack of fitness, so you might want to reassess whether indoor training is needed...
muppetfilter - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to James Oswald:
Thee are national statistics available with breakdowns of accident type, year and region here ( https://www.mountain.rescue.org.uk/information-centre/incident-statistics ) its only an indication as i suspect there are those i jured in falls who make it off to hospital without help from the Mountain Rescue. I would also suspect the percentage of climbers involved in accidents is decreasing but the number of accidents of a certain type is increasing hence that group being singled out. In the Edale stats there is a cluster of accidents around freshers fortnight that could well be mirrored nationwide.
I would be interested to see statistics showing the grades of climbs that people fell off to see if there is a pattern or a random spread.
Post edited at 23:20
Valkyrie1968 - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Rog Wilko:
Rog: I was hoping that my brackets would make it clear - "(which, I hasten to add, isn't everyone mentioning the idea, but the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it)" - so I apologise if you felt at all attacked there, as I enjoyed your contribution - you're certainly not guilty.

My ire was directed, essentially, at Robert Durran's post:

> Or maybe the youth of today don't understand the true value the onsight and, rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted.

That is what I believe is arrogant, that is what I believe constitutes criticising the way others climb - ironically, both things that Robert accused me of.

My issue is not with the maxim itself, as there was a time when it was a sensible approach to climbing, nor with people who climb like that today - god knows I do most days out. My problem is with the very common attitude on UKC, wonderfully exemplified by Robert's post, of 'young climbers today aren't real climbers, I am because I started at a time when the whole thing was fundamentally unsafe and so am somehow better and more "real"'. I think that it's belittling, conceited, and, more to the point, somewhat ironic, in that anyone who claims this and yet enjoys all of the additional safety conferred by modern gear is arguably a hypocrite.

Edit: Oh, and if anyone could explain what aspect of my post made it "pseudo-intellectual", aside from it being grammatically sound and well-structured, I'd be grateful, as at present the only conclusion I can draw is that Goucho is name-calling rather than actually dealing with the points I made. "generalisation" and "presumption" are closer to the mark (as, I suppose, is "verbal dioreha" [sic]), but only in response to the same issues in other people's posts, as I've hopefully outlined above.
Post edited at 10:56
French Erick - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I fall fairly regularly on rock and in winter. I don't like it but I try not to let it limit my performance. I'd still rather not fall! I would be hard pushed to put stats on it but probably as high 10%?!
My partner may be able to confirm?

I have trust in the gear I placed well and know fair well that I have pieces that are Psychological at best...I have always endeavoured NOT to fall on such pieces. I have taken fairly substantial whippers and the worse that happened to me was a lightly sprained ankle as a result (in winter).

I do not think it is my place to tell others whether or not they should/shouldn't fall unless it is blatantly obvious one way or the other. I'm no coach and my partners know that I only spout shite and thus whatever I say is unreliable.
JackM92 - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Misha:

Yes....I actually tried to onsight Break On Through to prove a point to someone who challenged me to lead a route on that wall without touching plastic. Spent far too long hanging around on the middle section then fluffed it with 4 meters to go, completely pumped out!

Aside from falling off it was a pretty slick lead, every bit of gear went in well first time, felt really good on the rock, but what held me back was a lack of endurance. So I watched some of Neil Greshams training videos and am now about to head to The Quay indoor climbing centre in Exeter
The Grist - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I have gone through periods when I am more willing and likely to fall off. A couple of years ago I had three relatively big falls on three e3's within a few months of each other. Two were going for it and messing up the move. Both times I fell onto good gear. Both times I inverted and one time I cut my chin. The other occasion I was backing off an e3 in Pembroke. I went up, failed to place gear and fell while down climbing. I fell backwards and hit a rock with my head knocking myself out. Luckily I was okay. My helmet was smashed up.

Those three falls came within 3 months of each other. Ironically all were on e3 at a time when I was starting to on sight e4. I have never fallen off any of the 10 - 15 e4 I have on sighted. I have backed off a few though.

Since those falls I have reigned things in and I am more risk averse. I think it was the Pembroke accident that affected me the most. I now do more e2 and the type of e2 that I usually avoid. I want to learn all the tricks to cope with 'unusual' moves rather than just hard moves.

I should probably raise the bar again next year. I think falling off is a part of climbing - whether it is trad or sport. It is just about managing the risk and falling off at the right times. It is mostly about confidence and having the full set of skills to manage the risk.
Robert Durran - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:
> Rog: I was hoping that my brackets would make it clear - "(which, I hasten to add, isn't everyone mentioning the idea, but the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it)" - so I apologise if you felt at all attacked there, as I enjoyed your contribution - you're certainly not guilty.

> My ire was directed, essentially, at Robert Durran's post:

> "Or maybe the youth of today don't understand the true value the onsight and, rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted"

> That is what I believe is arrogant, that is what I believe constitutes criticising the way others climb - ironically, both things that Robert accused me of.

So if you had an issue with my post alone, why did you make a general attack on "the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it" even though there was absolutely no suggestion in anybody's post that they gain any sense of superiority - the absence seemed to suggest that you were spitefully inferring this sense of superiority in many, possibly most, of us. You should have replied to my post specifically if, in fact, it was mine alone that you were targeting.

I think my use of the cliched term "youth of today" implied a certain amount of provocative tongue in cheek (possibly too much) but my point is serious - if you do not have an all or nothing approach to an onsight attempt, and a fall, with ground up as a back-up quasi success, does not mean outright failure, or climb with the intention of a ground up ascent and no onsight ambition at all, then I seriously do wonder whether there is such a strong motivation to hang on in there, and it is clear from their comments that quite a few posters in this thread do return to routes in order to get some sort of success after a failed onsight. I certainly find this when redpointing indoors (I almost never redpoint outdoors - life just seems too short). I find it far easier to try really, really hard when onsighting since failure on a redpoint is not really failure at all - if it's not going well or I'm starting to struggle it is all too easy to stop fighting and come back fitter, stronger or having worked the moves a bit more. So maybe some people who don't see the onsight as the be all and end all of success find the same thing on trad. I don't know, but I do wonder.

> My problem is with the very common attitude on UKC, wonderfully exemplified by Robert's post, of 'young climbers today aren't real climbers, I am because I started at a time when the whole thing was fundamentally unsafe and so am somehow better and more "real"'. I think that it's belittling, conceited, and, more to the point, somewhat ironic, in that anyone who claims this and yet enjoys all of the additional safety conferred by modern gear is arguably a hypocrite.

Oh please do f*ck off. How DARE you place a made up quote from me in inverted commas which I never made and the sentiment of which I NEVER implied. Disgraceful and despicable, the sort of shit which I really despise on UKC. And then you go on to repeat your generalized crap about hypocrisy. I refer you to my seat belt and air bags analogy I made at 16.40 yesterday - I did not criticize those who fall off a lot, just pointed out that it a perfectly ok to avoid doing so. YOU are the one doing the critisising; it is YOU who has a problem.
Post edited at 15:26
Valkyrie1968 - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Most of that seems to have been a general attack on me, rather than my points (why did I not single you out specifically? As I said, I was using your post as an exemplar for a general trend on UKC), consisting largely of indignation and outraged all-caps, but I did enjoy one part of that:

> I did not criticize those who fall off a lot

Let me recap some of your statements:

> rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted

And:

> Sure, you can, if you like, go to a race track and spin off every second corner, but don't criticise those of us who choose not to do so.

This one requires a little more imagination, as the metaphor is rather artful, but still, I'd say the message is quite clear. To finish, one from just lines below your claim to not criticise:

> if you do not have an all or nothing approach to an onsight attempt, and a fall, with ground up as a back-up quasi success, does not mean outright failure, or climb with the intention of a ground up ascent and no onsight ambition at all, then I seriously do wonder whether there is such a strong motivation to hang on in there

You might (and probably will) try and argue that many of these instances don't represent an outright condemnation, and you'd probably be right - they're not overt; what they do represent, however, is sneering, and my entire point here is that that (and, by the way, claiming someone has a "tiny, adequate dick" - although I assume you meant inadequate) is not very nice.
Goucho on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

and my entire point here is that that (and, by the way, claiming someone has a "tiny, adequate dick" - although I assume you meant inadequate) is not very nice.

Well if they have got a tiny dick, then it's a statement of fact. If they haven't, then the comment is probably unlikely to bother them?


Goucho on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> Rog: I was hoping that my brackets would make it clear - "(which, I hasten to add, isn't everyone mentioning the idea, but the ones who seem to gain some sense of superiority from it)" - so I apologise if you felt at all attacked there, as I enjoyed your contribution - you're certainly not guilty.

> My ire was directed, essentially, at Robert Durran's post:

> Edit: Oh, and if anyone could explain what aspect of my post made it "pseudo-intellectual", aside from it being grammatically sound and well-structured, I'd be grateful, as at present the only conclusion I can draw is that Goucho is name-calling rather than actually dealing with the points I made. "generalisation" and "presumption" are closer to the mark (as, I suppose, is "verbal dioreha" [sic]), but only in response to the same issues in other people's posts, as I've hopefully outlined above.

No name calling, just an opinion on your post.

And if you'd actually made a point, I would have dealt with it.

Robert Durran - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:
> Most of that seems to have been a general attack on me, rather than my points.

Indeed, because you have no substantiated points to make. You just nastily infer stuff that isn't there. This makes me angry and damn right I am attacking you for it.

> Let me recap some of your statements:

> "Rather than try their hardest to hang on in there, just give up and fall off as if ground up actually counted"

As I said, I thought the "youth of today" cliche which you have conveniently removed made it clear this was a bit tongue in cheek. In retrospect, I wish I'd played it straight.

> "Sure, you can, if you like, go to a race track and spin off every second corner, but don't criticise those of us who choose not to do so"

> This one requires a little more imagination, as the metaphor is rather artful, but still, I'd say the message is quite clear.

How the f*ck can you possibly interpret that as a criticism of those who fall off a lot - it specifically says its ok to fall off a lot and simply criticizes you for attacking those of us who don't.

> To finish, one from just lines below your claim to not criticise:

> "If you do not have an all or nothing approach to an onsight attempt, and a fall, with ground up as a back-up quasi success, does not mean outright failure, or climb with the intention of a ground up ascent and no onsight ambition at all, then I seriously do wonder whether there is such a strong motivation to hang on in there"

This was quite clearly a serious point, an attempt to get back to the actual debate about reasons for falling off. There is no criticism of anyone.

> You might (and probably will) try and argue that many of these instances don't represent an outright condemnation.

Indeed. None of them represent any condemnation whatsoever. It is all in your slimy little imagination.

> What they do represent, however, is sneering.

None of that either.

> And, by the way, claiming someone has a "tiny, adequate dick" - although I assume you meant inadequate) is not very nice.

Well you strted the stuff about "flopping dicks" in your initial unpleasant post. And yes, I meant inadequate, and it clearly is if you are such a massive arsehole that you feel the need to lie outright by completely fabricating quotes to try to make your nasty little attacks in the absence of anything of any substance to go on. I've no idea where your unpleasant and pathetic agenda comes from and what issues you really have.
Post edited at 18:04
Valkyrie1968 - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
I think that we have some very clear differences of opinion, and you're probably right in that we should leave them at that (I take it that that's what you mean by "f*ck off"). The only points that I'd like to make are:

1. I (and most other people who correctly use British English punctuation) use inverted commas to signify 'air quotes', not quotations (I use quotation marks, i.e. double inverted commas, for those) - which is to say that I wasn't so much "lying" and "fabricating quotes" (those are quotations, by the way) as paraphrasing the gist of your comments. Whether I've interpreted them correctly is another matter, of course, but it seems like you were greatly offended by that misunderstanding, so I wanted to clear it a little.

2. I started off our interactions with strong words, I'll admit, but I've not made any direct personal comments in this thread. The points I've made only apply to you if they actually ring true, and if they don't ring true, they don't apply to you. You, however - and this is leaving aside the issue of my genitalia and its (in?)adequacy (as Goucho notes, it's not actually offensive - I more pointed it out due to its being vulgar and cheap as an insult) - have really gone all out in directly, personally insulting me. As I said before, I've attacked your beliefs and actions; you have made this unpleasant by talking about my "pathetic agenda" and "worrying issues", and I think that that speaks volumes.
Post edited at 18:15
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Robert Durran - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> The points I've made only apply to you if they actually ring true, and if they don't ring true, they don't apply to you.

I've really no idea what you are trying to say by that. You specifically named me - I take that as very clearly applying to me.

> I use inverted commas to signify 'air quotes', not quotations which is to say that I wasn't so much "lying" and "fabricating quotes" as paraphrasing the gist of your comments.

Well if you write: Robert said "such and such", I think most people would take that to mean I actually said it. and given that your "paraphrasing" was a complete fantasy, I think I have the right to be angry. Maybe you should have just asked myself and others whether we hold these views before stating it as fact that we do.

> As I said before, I've attacked your beliefs and actions; you have made this unpleasant by talking about my "pathetic agenda" and "worrying issues", and I think that that speaks volumes.

Yes, you attacked beliefs and actions which were a fabrication of your mind. This does seem to me to suggest you have an issue hidden agenda. I think I am justified in being angry about being attacked for holding viewpoints which you have made up or imagined.
Jon Stewart - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

> I would be interested to see statistics showing the grades of climbs that people fell off to see if there is a pattern or a random spread.

Me too. I'd be very surprised by a random spread. I reckon the most common grades for serious injuries and deaths would be VS and possibly below, probably as a proportion of climbs done too.
NigeR on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:
In over 30 years, I've only fallen once while leading - the last move on the first pitch of Leftover on the Grochan, when my foot slipped.

It confirmed what I'd always suspected, that falling while on the sharp end isn't for me
Post edited at 21:23
Robert Durran - on 18 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Interesting thread. It would be easy to get the impression that everyone is happily falling off everything these days, but this thread suggests much the opposite, though that may be because of the self selection of the posters. If (presumably younger) climbers really are, for various reasons, becoming more nonchalant about falling off, I'm not quite sure whether to fear for them or to be a bit envious.
Woolly on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
It is an interesting thread, and a subject worthy of more serious consideration than it will receive on UKC.

For me its a lot more complicated than just being age related (I'm in my sixties and more focus on pushing my grade, and consequently falling more, than I was in my twenties)

Peoples attitudes to risk have changed over time. In the seventies when gear was poor it was accepted that bold run outs were normal. But you didn't want to fall because of the consequences and this was the limiting factor for many climbers. Now with better protection it has allowed the top climbers to climb far harder, but I think it has also created a mentality that if its not protectable it shouldn't be done and the average climber is now more cautious as a result.

I tried to do some research on this and concluded that the percentage of climbers climbing at VS and below was the same now as it was in the seventies.

Also we need to define what we mean by the fall - there is falling because a hold has broken off, which could happen to anyone at anytime. This is different to falling because you are pushing a move at the limit of your ability, whether strength, technique or mental, which is more likely to happen on higher grades (above VS)

Also I don't count slumping onto the gear which is a rest not a fall.

So for me I've got a bold climber mentality from the seventies, using modern gear to allow me to protect my climbs better and push myself harder, but I'm held back by an aging body
Post edited at 11:27
Goucho on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Interesting thread. It would be easy to get the impression that everyone is happily falling off everything these days, but this thread suggests much the opposite, though that may be because of the self selection of the posters. If (presumably younger) climbers really are, for various reasons, becoming more nonchalant about falling off, I'm not quite sure whether to fear for them or to be a bit envious.

I don't think they are Rob. If they were more nonchalant about falling off, I think we'd see more people going for the onsight, rather than working safe routes.

I could be wrong, but I wonder whether there's a psychology of expected failure when working a route, which actually has exactly the opposite effect of pushing limits in average climbers. Hence why there's often a big difference between people's worked and regular onsight grades.

I've found when I've been pushing hard towards my limit onsight, the desire to succeed makes me dig far deeper, and try much harder to not fall.

Knowing they can take a safe ride, might actually hold people back from really pulling out all the stops?

It's only a theory, and like many if my theories, quite possibly wrong, but for me personally, I always produce my best climbing when I'm really commited, on ground where a fall is not to be recommended

andrewmcleod - on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:

> 1. I (and most other people who correctly use British English punctuation) use inverted commas to signify 'air quotes', not quotations (I use quotation marks, i.e. double inverted commas, for those)

Disagree.

You can't write down air quotes; they are things you do with your finger. If you use a quote mark in text, it is highly likely that it will be assumed to be a quote. That's why they are called quote marks. If I wrote an essay in a University exam and put something in quotes which was a paraphrase, it would not be permitted. Fundamentally, the purpose of writing is to communicate clearly, and in this case what you wrote seems like a direct quotation and was reasonably interpreted by such. In any event, all the stuff I have just googled suggests that it is the single quote that is generally preferred for the initial quotation in British publishing (with double quotes used for quotes within quotes).

This is far more important than the other stuff in your spat with Robert... this is about orthography!

I leave you with this 'quotation' from the Oxford Guide to Style (badly typeset by me due to the limitations of the forum software):

Do not use quotation marks around colloquial or slang words or phrases. This device, called 'scare quotes', functions simply as a replacement for a sniffy 'so-called', and should be used as rarely:
>They have cut down the trees in the interest of 'progress'.
>Many of these 'hackers' seem rather clever.
In these examples the quotation marks are used merely to hold up a word for inspection, as if by tongs, providing a cordon sanitaire between the word and the writer's finer sensibilities. ('You may wish to avert your eyes, gentle reader, whilst I unveil the word "boogie-woogie".')
andrewmcleod - on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Falling off is not OK if you will be wearing away the gear placements. I did Topsail (VS 4c) at Birchen Edge the other day. What would be a very useful large cam placement in the roof has been largely worn away by people falling onto it. Following the guidebook instructions, I did not place the cam, and eventually decided I would try the roof (and succeeded) but in the knowledge that falling off might be quite painful (as the thread below the roof is bomber but I reckon you would hit the slab first). I therefore didn't need the cam to do the route, and almost certainly would not have fallen onto it, but that extra bit of safety for the unexpected has been taken away by people falling or dogging on the cam who probably shouldn't have been on the route.

I guess actually going for it and falling onto the gear occasionally might still be better than taking and weighting the gear regularly though!
muppetfilter - on 19 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

What i tend to see is that its a very rare occurance somebody is cimbing strongly and calmly then falls, its in my experience normally the out of controll climber that comes off, this to me indicates that they are on ground that they arent fully prepaired for.

I agree with what you say about climbing hard for your personal level being a combination of focus and somehow sheer willpower ;0)
The Ivanator - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to muppetfilter:

its a very rare occurance somebody is cimbing strongly and calmly then falls, its in my experience normally the out of controll climber that comes off

...ah, but how quickly the calm fluency can depart and transform into the gibbering panic (or perhaps that's just me).

Mick Ward - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to The Ivanator:

> ...ah, but how quickly the calm fluency can depart and transform into the gibbering panic (or perhaps that's just me).

Err... no Ivan, it's most of us actually. Amazing how the sudden appearance of a good wire placement can replace aforesaid panic with much more enjoyable emotions.

The 'Thank f*ck!' moment.

Mick

Robert Durran - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:
> You can't write down air quotes; they are things you do with your finger. If you use a quote mark in text, it is highly likely that it will be assumed to be a quote. That's why they are called quote marks. If I wrote an essay in a University exam and put something in quotes which was a paraphrase, it would not be permitted. Fundamentally, the purpose of writing is to communicate clearly, and in this case what you wrote seems like a direct quotation and was reasonably interpreted by such.

I imagine he knew all this and that his post was just laughable wriggling. Though even to describe it as paraphrasing was obviously just a childishly transparent lie.

> In these examples the quotation marks are used merely to hold up a word for inspection, as if by tongs, providing a cordon sanitaire between the word and the writer's finer sensibilities.

So that's 'Valkyrie 1968' told then.......
Post edited at 09:48
Robert Durran - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Woolly:
> Peoples attitudes to risk have changed over time. In the seventies when gear was poor it was accepted that bold run outs were normal. But you didn't want to fall because of the consequences and this was the limiting factor for many climbers. Now with better protection it has allowed the top climbers to climb far harder, but I think it has also created a mentality that if its not protectable it shouldn't be done and the average climber is now more cautious as a result.

And I suspect that today's average climber wouldn't have been climbing at all in the seventies. I also suspect that most of those who were climbing in the seventies would, if born 40 years later, have been today's elite.

Interestingly, I think you really do have to go back to the seventies to see a fundamentally different culture. I started climbing in the early eighties. Within about a year I was climbing on cams and rocks and I still am - changes in gear over my 35 years climbing have been tweaks rather than revolutions. If I have better protection nowadays, it is more through experience, cunning, the fear/common sense which comes with age the endurance gained indoors to hang on and place it, and increased spending power rather than improvements in the actual gear. If I were starting today, I'm not sure I'd be significantly safer than it was possible to be in the early eighties.
Post edited at 10:12
Valkyrie1968 - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

Hi Andrew, interesting thoughts. You're right about the use of "air quotes", but that's a terminological mistake on my part - my inverted commas were being used to, to quote from the Oxford Dictionaries page you refer to, "mark off a word or phrase thatís being discussed" - in this case, a phrase that needed to be surrounded by some punctuation so as to not be mistaken for either my opinion (which would have been the implication with no punctuation) or someone else's (which would have been the implication with real - i.e. double - quotation marks). I suppose I shouldn't have used the phrase "air quotes" in the first place, but was trying to explain the difference to someone who clearly doesn't have much of a grasp of language beyond swearing and using all-caps to express himself, and thought that it would convey the idea well to the layman.

With regard to British/American English and inverted commas/quotation marks - the historical trend has been to follow the traditional dichotomy of BrE = inverted commas for quotations, AmE = quotation marks for quotations but, speaking as a professional proofreader, this is generally not commonly followed these days. As you may well have seen on pretty much every page that discusses the distinction, what really matters is that one is consistent in one's usage of the two distinct forms of punctuation; my post above highlighted the fact that I, along with most style guides, use one form of punctuation to encapsulate quotations, and another for other phrases/concepts/quotations-within-quotations that need to be cordoned off from the rest of the text in some way. Admittedly I entirely skipped over that logical step in my desire to argue with Robert, and you're right to pull me up on it, but I felt that a more thorough explanation would likely have sent him into yet another fit of apoplectic name-calling.
Robert Durran - on 20 Nov 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:
I am afraid that your attempt to hide behind a smokescreen of punctuation niceties will fool no one.

To quote you directly (Thursday 17th at 13.07):
"My problem is with the very common attitude on UKC, wonderfully exemplified by Robert's post, of 'young climbers today aren't real climbers, I am because I started at a time when the whole thing was fundamentally unsafe and so am somehow better and more "real"'. I think that it's belittling, conceited, and, more to the point, somewhat ironic, in that anyone who claims this and yet enjoys all of the additional safety conferred by modern gear is arguably a hypocrite."

Anyone reading that would quite obviously take that, with its use of the word "I" as, if not quoting me directly, being very clearly implied by something I had written. Now you only had two of my posts to draw on, the quite innocuous reply to the OP on Tuesday 15th and the one on Wednesday 16th at 16.28 in which, while making a serious point, I made a slightly tongue in cheek and specific dig at ground up (versus on sight). If anyone took exception to this post I am happy to hold my hands up and apologise, but for you to somehow come up with the above from these posts is outrageous and offensive; it does not represent my opinion, you have no reason to believe it represents my opinion and climbers who actually know me will either know it does not or have no reason to believe that it represents my opinion. It is something you have fabricated and, for your own agenda, whatever that might be, chosen to present as my opinion.

If you have an ounce of decency you will withdraw it and apologise.
Post edited at 19:24
redjerry - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Jesus, its about time you geezers gave up your tighty whities and let your cajones run free for a change!...that goes for you too Big Bob.
Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to redjerry:
> .........that goes for you too Big Bob.

Ok, I'll try to act my act together by April ;-)
Post edited at 10:06
Peter B Pearson - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Probably about ten times in over 50 years of trad.Worst one was a 40 footer aiding Mecca in 1968.Too blase,I only clipped every 2nd/3rd point and when a rotten wedge came out and a golo failed I had quite a ride.Fell off the crux of Via Media on Stanage over 20 times in 1964 before I cracked it ,but with a ground fall of 4 feet that,s really safe bouldering.
Rob Exile Ward on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

Never taken a real whipper; just scrabbled down a few feet to slump on piece. Pathetic. I watched Jonny Woodward climbing something in Cheedale once, he placed a piece first time, a quick tug, then went above it then fell, ending up within 2 feet of the ground; and was totally relaxed about it.

I on the other hand have actually had two ground falls, one from the first crack of Valkyrie, and a 30' from a slate crack in the Pass (including bouncing off a ledge half way down.) . No injuries, but quite shaken!
The Ivanator - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Peter B Pearson:

Fell off the crux of Via Media on Stanage over 20 times in 1964 before I cracked it

Now we know who to blame for the polish!
MischaHY - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

There's a really good article here from Hazel Findlay about falling on trad. I've definitely heard her speak about it somewhere else too. Seems like it's a big deal.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/hazel-findlay-fear-of-falling
bensilvestre - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I fall off trad routes a lot. For me the best feeling in rock climbing is fighting for every move, gear a couple of metres below your feet with a gppd fallout zone, literally on the line between falling off or not. Reaching a jug and a bomber nut after that fight is an unbeatable feeling, and one that will only rarely be experienced if unwilling to fall.

The HF article above is what got me onto falling, and I quickly progressed from a sometimes e4 onsighter to confident e5 onsighter. Beyond that I found the physical gains and confidence on small holds from sport climbing necessary for progression, but i was onsighting e5 regularly before id climbed harder than f7a+, redpoint or onsight. And that was entirely due to confidence gained by falling.

But obviously, all traditional climbing is risk assesment first and climbing second, and the ability to distinguish between rational and irrational fear is one of the greatest skills of a climber. Obviously, some falls are more dangerous than others, even small ones with no ground fall potential. Steeper climbs with fewer ledges and better fall out zones are obviously the best places to be taking falls.

I wouldn't recommend taking practice falls onto rock gear as this unnecessarily wears the placementd, but for what its worth i wouldnt argue that more people falling these days leaves more damage. Pegs, which are rarely used on summer routes nowadays, are clearly far more damaging to the rock than falling onto solid gear.
deacondeacon - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to bensilvestre:

I wholly agree with everything you said.
Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:

> There's a really good article here from Hazel Findlay about falling on trad. I've definitely heard her speak about it somewhere else too. Seems like it's a big deal.


Excellent article in many ways, but it seems to me that the premise is simply untrue:
"If you donít fall, then youíre not climbing at your limit. If youíre not climbing at your limit then you cannot progress"

An alternative way to progress is to simultaneously raise your limit so that you can climb harder routes without getting any closer to your limit. Suppose you are climbing steady E2 within your limit but are unwilling to get on E3's because you don't want to fall off. You could boulder until you are absolutely solid at tech 6a and sport climb until you have the endurance to cruise, say, 7a onsight. You should then be able to climb E3 as far within your limit as you were on E2. Of course, this method does have a lower theoretical ceiling, and progression may be slower than also climbing to your limit and risking and taking falls, but it is a perfectly good way of progressing and I expect not at all uncommon, especially given how easy it is to raise your limit these days with sport climbing and modern training facilities.

John2 - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
OK, how about, "If you don't fall you're not progressing to you limit as quickly as you otherwise might"? I'm not sure even that's what Hazel was trying to say, because when you're very close to your limit there comes a point when you simply don't know whether you can do a move or not.
Post edited at 20:08
Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to John2:

> I'm not sure even that's what Hazel was trying to say, because when you're very close to your limit there comes a point when you simply don't know whether you can do a move or not.

Well, obviously not - that's why you fall off sometimes!
Offwidth - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
You seem to me to have dug a logical hole there. Its simply not untrue. If you dont fall sometimes onsight you are clearly not climbing at your limit and if you don't climb at your limit somehow you won't progress. Your idea just uses other methods of climbing at your limit to make less progress than Hazel's recommended method and to avoid onsight climbing at your limit as you want to avoid falling. I wish most climbers would find a middle way... a generation that is falling off all the time will trash placements on cruxy classic routes and if climbing often like this without experience will likely soon have some serious prangs. Falling commonly is best left until you (and maybe some experienced climbing partners) are happy with your protection, ropework and sensible routes choice (of where and when to push).
Post edited at 20:38
Goucho on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to John2:

> OK, how about, "If you don't fall you're not progressing to you limit as quickly as you otherwise might"? I'm not sure even that's what Hazel was trying to say, because when you're very close to your limit there comes a point when you simply don't know whether you can do a move or not.

It's not how quickly you progress that really matters, it's how effectively you progress - the two are not mutually inclusive.

My biggest problem with this 'if you're not falling you're not achieving your full potential' mantra being constantly wheeled out, is that it's a generalisation.

A one size fits all is seldom a realistic or responsible approach. Whilst it may be highly effective for some, it could be equally counter productive for others.

And there's a big difference between getting on a route where a fall might be a possibility, and getting on one where a fall is highly probable.



Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Offwidth:
> You seem to me to have dug a logical hole there. Its simply not untrue. If you dont fall sometimes onsight you are clearly not climbing at your limit and if you don't climb at your limit somehow you won't progress. Your idea just uses other methods of climbing at your limit.

No. Maybe you have misunderstood me. It does not involve climbing at your limit - you move your limit beyond E3 before climbing any E3's.

I agree with the rest of you post though. I climb mostly in Scotland on crags where you rarely meet anyone else. I was shocked on a trip to the Llanberis Pass this summer at the state of many gear placements.

Edit: Sorry, I think I now see what you are saying. But I never said you didn't have to climb at your limit while training for trad (bouldering, indoors, sport), just that you didn't have to do so while trad climbing (and so routinely risk trad falls), which I think, pretty obviously, is what is being claimed by Hazel and others.
Post edited at 21:06
bensilvestre - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I guess ultimately it depends what experience you want climbing trad routes. For me onsighting would loose a lot of its charm if I removed the doubt from the situation, which is essentially what your method of raising your limit well above the routes you are attempting would do. To me, doubt seems an instrinsic quality of adventure. I find onsighting a route at the limit of my physical and mental ability so compelling precisely because I do not know if I can do it when I set off. The reward is in over coming the doubt. I would find trad climbing solely on routes that I knew I could easily climb first go quite boring, and frankly, missing the point a bit. But each to their own
bensilvestre - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:
And for what its worth, I was shocked when I discovered that the finger locks on london wall were created by pegs being hammered in. But its a brilliant route. The misadventures of the past create challenges for the future. Sadly, stone wears, holds polish, gear placements break. Routes are getting climbed without old fixed gear, and some routes will eventually be reclimbed with broken placements. In some cases, user wear is even creating placements! (My piano, Nesscliffe)

Edit: not that im advocating taking multiple whippers onto crucial placements. I just think its very rewarding to climb with uncertainty, and that means taking some falls sometimes
Post edited at 21:33
Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to bensilvestre:

> I guess ultimately it depends what experience you want climbing trad routes. For me onsighting would loose a lot of its charm if I removed the doubt from the situation, which is essentially what your method of raising your limit well above the routes you are attempting would do.

I think that, in fact, almost everyone uses a combination of the two methods somewhere on a scale of, say, of 1 to 10, with 1 being to climb always comfortably within your limit and 10 being a kami-kaze go for it at your limit approach all the time. Most years I get up to E3 or E4 at 2 to 6, but my rare forays up to E5 have probably required a more 7 or 8 approach, though adrenaline and psyche has usually seen me through if I've gone for it - but I'm just not capable of that consistent level of psyche.

> I would find trad climbing solely on routes that I knew I could easily climb first go quite boring, and frankly, missing the point a bit. But each to their own.

I agree entirely (though I don't really ever bother with a second go - to me that would miss the point - but each to their own!)

Goucho on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to bensilvestre:

> And for what its worth, I was shocked when I discovered that the finger locks on london wall were created by pegs being hammered in. But its a brilliant route. The misadventures of the past create challenges for the future. Sadly, stone wears, holds polish, gear placements break. Routes are getting climbed without old fixed gear, and some routes will eventually be reclimbed with broken placements. In some cases, user wear is even creating placements! (My piano, Nesscliffe)

> Edit: not that im advocating taking multiple whippers onto crucial placements. I just think its very rewarding to climb with uncertainty, and that means taking some falls sometimes

Climbing trad is about playing percentages in your favour.

Going for a route where you've an 85 - 90% chance of success onsight, is pushing yourself within a realistic context of success. Going for a route where your odds are only around 60 - 70% is having a punt.
bensilvestre - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think that, in fact, almost everyone uses a combination of the two methods somewhere on a scale of, say, of 1 to 10, with 1 being to climb always comfortably within your limit and 10 being a kami-kaze go for it at your limit approach all the time. Most years I get up to E3 or E4 at 2 to 6, but my rare forays up to E5 have probably required a more 7 or 8 approach, though adrenaline and psyche has usually seen me through if I've gone for it - but I'm just not capable of that consistent level of psyche.

Great analogy. And yes, ground up is far less rewarding

Goucho on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No. Maybe you have misunderstood me. It does not involve climbing at your limit - you move your limit beyond E3 before climbing any E3's.

> I agree with the rest of you post though. I climb mostly in Scotland on crags where you rarely meet anyone else. I was shocked on a trip to the Llanberis Pass this summer at the state of many gear placements.

> Edit: Sorry, I think I now see what you are saying. But I never said you didn't have to climb at your limit while training for trad (bouldering, indoors, sport), just that you didn't have to do so while trad climbing (and so routinely risk trad falls), which I think, pretty obviously, is what is being claimed by Hazel and others.

Of course there is an even better way to progress.

Do lots of routes at a given grade, starting with those soft for the grade, moving through those solid for the grade, up to those at the top end of the grade. Then move up to the soft routes at the next grade up and repeat.

Of course this may be too pedestrian for those desperate to move up the grade ladder faster than Warren Beatty up a short skirt, but it certainly builds a much more stable platform in terms of consistency. And as an added bonus, you get to climb so many more great routes.
deacondeacon - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

> Of course there is an even better way to progress.

> Do lots of routes at a given grade, starting with those soft for the grade, moving through those solid for the grade, up to those at the top end of the grade. Then move up to the soft routes at the next grade up and repeat.

> Of course this may be too pedestrian for those desperate to move up the grade ladder faster than Warren Beatty up a short skirt, but it certainly builds a much more stable platform in terms of consistency. And as an added bonus, you get to climb so many more great routes.

That seems a rather analytical approach. If I go to a crag, guidebook in hand, how am I going to know which routes are soft and which are hard?
Think I'll stick to trying the routes that look great to climb or inspire.

Goucho on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to deacondeacon:
> That seems a rather analytical approach. If I go to a crag, guidebook in hand, how am I going to know which routes are soft and which are hard?

> Think I'll stick to trying the routes that look great to climb or inspire.

Being inspired and analytical (or realistic about how good you actually are, as I like to call it) are yet again, not mutually exclusive.

And a quick look at the logbooks on here, will give a good pointer as to whether a routes bottom or top end of the grade?
Post edited at 22:20
MischaHY - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

I get the theory, but you've actually completely missed the point. If you want to actually perform at your limit on trad (and why are you falling off if it's not your limit?) then the only way to do so is to climb at your limit. It's no use saying 'Yeah nah but if you can onsight 7c you can probably get a lot of E5s without falling' - E5 is no longer your limit. Therefore if you want to climb at your limit on trad (which is literally what the article is about) then you do in fact have to fall off, so that you are aware of what your limit actually is.
Robert Durran - on 21 Nov 2016
In reply to MischaHY:
> I get the theory, but you've actually completely missed the point. If you want to actually perform at your limit on trad then the only way to do so is to climb at your limit.

That is a different point - I have not addressed it so I can hardly have missed it! I was specifically addressing Hazel's point (which I quoted) that you need to climb at your limit on trad to progress (which, as I have explained, I think is untrue).

Your point actually seems trivially obvious anyway.
Post edited at 23:58
deacondeacon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

My greatest reason for climbing is for the experience of successfully climbing a route that is close to my limit. When everything clicks, from my mental attitude being in the right place so that I can push on and try my hardest, along with my body being able to physically succeed on the moves. That is why I climb and that is where I get the most fulfillment. If the price is that every so often I may take a safe fall onto some bomber gear once in a while that's fine by me.
I'm not talking about jibbering up a route and sketchily clambering through the finish where a fall would be catastrophic, I'm talking more about the headgame (and for me success or failure is usually down to the headgame) to be able to try my hardest on an onsight, having the ability to know when it's safe to push on and then to go for it.
Robert Durran - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to deacondeacon:

> My greatest reason for climbing is for the experience of successfully climbing a route that is close to my limit. When everything clicks, from my mental attitude being in the right place so that I can push on and try my hardest, along with my body being able to physically succeed on the moves. That is why I climb and that is where I get the most fulfillment.

Me too! I don't, however, always have the necessary psyche but fortunately I climb for many other reasons too.
sn - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

The percentage of falls I take seems to have trended downward with increasing age, despite the quality of protection trending upwards ! However, the rocks are still as hard / sharp / ledgy as they ever where...

My earliest real fall (getting on for 30 years ago) was off Tudor Rose at Swanage. I arrived at the clifftop to find I'd left my harness at home (130 miles away at the time), but my partner, not to be deterred, rigged something up for me involving slings. The abseil down was a good test of the set up, as was the eventual fall once pumped stupid on the traverse above the cave on pitch one. I was lowered back to terra firma (well a boulder sticking out the sea). Partner then led with aplomb, and I had my first lesson in prussiking since I was still too pumped..
sn - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to JackM92:

I would also add, with increasing age comes increasing disposable income, which collides with increasing choice of hardwear, but decreasing willingness to test it properly - I just make sure I make sure I weight my shiny cams when on belay to ensure I'm getting value for money..
jimtitt - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to sn:

> My earliest real fall (getting on for 30 years ago) was off Tudor Rose at Swanage.

The first ascencionist of Tudor Rose (and innumerable other routes at Swanage) retired from climbing having never taken a lead fall!
sn - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to jimtitt:

I must say this experience (coupled with a few other 'interesting' experiences) made future trips to Swanage in the following few years rather nerve-racking experiences. Often tended to end up in the Wye Valley instead. Must go back there one day, though it's a bit further away now.

Enjoyed some of your routes at St Vito recently - thanks !
Michael Gordon - on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

> Climbing trad is about playing percentages in your favour.

> Going for a route where you've an 85 - 90% chance of success onsight, is pushing yourself within a realistic context of success. Going for a route where your odds are only around 60 - 70% is having a punt.

And the 60-70% will be the more rewarding routes if you do get up them. Nothing wrong with having a punt.

I could stick to just climbing E2s with a 90% success rate. Or now and again I could try a carefully chosen E4 with a 30% chance of success. I don't think I need to say which would provide the more memorable experience.

If I don't try hard (for me) routes I will never succeed on any. And concentrating on trad climbing, the only way for me to get good enough to climb routes I would like to climb, is to get experience trying them. Obviously I don't set off on routes where I don't judge there to be any chance of success; that would be pointless.

I don't particularly want to know which routes are low and high in their grades. One means a soft tick, the other may put me off when I might have got up the route. And a lot of the time I won't necessarily agree with the logbook comments anyway.
Goucho on 22 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> And the 60-70% will be the more rewarding routes if you do get up them. Nothing wrong with having a punt.

I suppose it depends on whether you get more satisfaction from onsighting a route at or near your limit, in good style, or wobbling up something in bad style. I suppose if you dog the crap out of something long enough, you'll get up eventually?

> I could stick to just climbing E2s with a 90% success rate. Or now and again I could try a carefully chosen E4 with a 30% chance of success. I don't think I need to say which would provide the more memorable experience.

If you're only giving yourself a 90% success rate on E2's, I think you're being a bit optimistic giving yourself a 30% chance on an E4.

> If I don't try hard (for me) routes I will never succeed on any. And concentrating on trad climbing, the only way for me to get good enough to climb routes I would like to climb, is to get experience trying them. Obviously I don't set off on routes where I don't judge there to be any chance of success; that would be pointless.

Well, 100-1 odds give you a chance, so why not just get yourself on a bombroof E5 like London Wall?

> I don't particularly want to know which routes are low and high in their grades. One means a soft tick, the other may put me off when I might have got up the route. And a lot of the time I won't necessarily agree with the logbook comments anyway.

As I said earlier it's all subjective and down to individual preference, there's no right or wrong way.



Michael Gordon - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

> I suppose it depends on whether you get more satisfaction from onsighting a route at or near your limit, in good style, or wobbling up something in bad style. I suppose if you dog the crap out of something long enough, you'll get up eventually?


If 9/10 times you get up a route of a given grade, it is unlikely to be at or near your limit, now is it? There are always a few nasty ones or which don't suit your style, hence the 10% estimate for failure.

And how is safely onsighting a route which (unlike the above) really is near your limit 'bad style'?! Obviously some you will fail on, hence only the 60-70% success rate. The ones you 'dog the crap out of' are not considered onsighted, I hope you realise?


> If you're only giving yourself a 90% success rate on E2's, I think you're being a bit optimistic giving yourself a 30% chance on an E4.
>

Maybe 20-25% then, I haven't tried enough of them to work out the exact figure.
Michael Gordon - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

I'm viewing your London Wall comment as just being silly.
Goucho on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> If 9/10 times you get up a route of a given grade, it is unlikely to be at or near your limit, now is it? There are always a few nasty ones or which don't suit your style, hence the 10% estimate for failure.

Another generalisation.

> And how is safely onsighting a route which (unlike the above) really is near your limit 'bad style'?! Obviously some you will fail on, hence only the 60-70% success rate. The ones you 'dog the crap out of' are not considered onsighted, I hope you realise?

More generalisation.

> Maybe 20-25% then, I haven't tried enough of them to work out the exact figure.

And to be perfectly blunt, come back and give me advice on how I need to alter my approach to my climbing when you a) know what the f*ck you're talking about regarding my approach, and b) you've onsighted E7+ on a regular basis.
Post edited at 14:43
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Goucho on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I'm viewing your London Wall comment as just being silly.

You can view it how you want, it's of no f*cking interest to me either way.
Michael Gordon - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

Gosh, what's wrong with you? I haven't given any advice in this thread. You are the one who has been condescending and rude.
galpinos on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Likewise, it seems to me the only improvement in "Style" by Ondra on the Dawn wall is that he didn't have people jumaring up fixed ropes to resupply him with food etc. (though maybe I'm wrong about this). Otherwise, they both worked the route and eventually did it in one push - the difference in time is irrelevant.

He also went bottom to top, fixing as they went, not abbing in from the top, and he climbed the pitches in sequential order on the final push which, to me, makes a difference.

Basically, a mild improvement in style which one might expect form the best climber in the world attempting the second ascent.

Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to galpinos:

> He also went bottom to top, fixing as they went, not abbing in from the top, and he climbed the pitches in sequential order on the final push which, to me, makes a difference.

> Basically, a mild improvement in style which one might expect form the best climber in the world attempting the second ascent.

Oops, sorry, realized I put my post you replied to in the wrong thread - should have been the Dawn Wall one!
Goucho on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> Gosh, what's wrong with you? I haven't given any advice in this thread. You are the one who has been condescending and rude.

I'll tell you what's wrong with me?

I'm getting sick to death of this regurgitated and presumptive bullshit that if you're not failing and falling, you're not pushing yourself, or near your limit, and therefore won't progress.

It's different strokes for different folks.

I've been using my approach (not falling off on a regular basis - I think about 7/8 falls in total) for 46 years, and I reached onsighting E6 across a pretty wide variety of routes. Now approaching 60, I'm still onsighting E4 and the occasional E5.

I've seconded a handful of E7's, but know I couldn't have led them - and believe me when I say, that after all these years, I know more about my abilities on the sharp end than anyone else, irrespective of whether or not they've written a bloody book on the subject!

And if folk want to start hitting the dislike button, then go ahead, knock yourselves out, because to quote Mr Gable "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn".
Post edited at 15:40
andrewmcleod - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

I suspect giving up trad for 5 years and just training super hard at a mixture of bouldering and sport climbing would produce better results than trad climbing with (safe) falls anyway... :P
krikoman - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

> And if folk want to start hitting the dislike button, then go ahead, knock yourselves out, because to quote Mr Gable "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn".

Mr.Great Gable, I think you'll find.
Robert Durran - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> I suspect giving up trad for 5 years and just training super hard at a mixture of bouldering and sport climbing would produce better results than trad climbing with (safe) falls anyway... :P

Which is the alternative method to pushing your grade without lots of falling off which I proposed earlier!
Michael Gordon - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

But, as was pointed out, not really pushing your limits on trad since with that approach you return to trad significantly better than the standard of the routes you're trying.
ashtond6 - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Goucho:

Don't give a damn that much you rant on forums about it
Robert Durran - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> But, as was pointed out, not really pushing your limits on trad.

I said grade, not limit. My point was that your limit goes up, so that you can push your grade without getting too near your limit.

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