150 Excuses for Falling Off - I Fell Off Because... Article

© Natalie Berry

Admit it, you're guilty. When you fall off, it's never your fault. The conditions weren't right, your belayer is an inattentive fool and the latest rock shoes you bought just aren't up to scratch. They say a workman never blames his tools. A climber, on the other hand, can apportion blame for failure to a seemingly endless list of both plausible and immaterial causes.

Lowering after some big air time in Ceuse, france  © Natalie Berry
Lowering after some big air time in Ceuse, france
© Natalie Berry

The most imaginative of climbers have an eye for detail when it comes to conjuring excuses reasons for falling off. Logic goes out the window and all manner of incongruous cause-and-effect explanations come to the fore. Inadequate morphology, unknown external influences, pre-session nocturnal alcohol consumption or previously uncharted fluctuations in gravitational forces - all legitimate reasons for those with expertise in excuses.

What's the most ludicrous excuse for falling off that you've ever heard? It may well feature in this list. Walls have ears...

I Fell off Because…

  1. It’s a high gravity day
  2. The walk-in tired me out
  3. My shoes are too old
  4. My shoes are too new
  5. My shoes are too big
  6. My shoes are too small
  7. My shoes were dirty
  8. The route was chossy
  9. I didn’t have a cup of tea beforehand
  10. I didn’t have Weetabix for breakfast
  11. I wanted to do a practice fall
  12. I climbed yesterday
  13. I haven’t climbed since yesterday
  14. My hands were greasy
  15. The hold was wet
  16. I ran out of chalk
  17. My chalk isn’t absorbent enough
  18. I used too much chalk
  19. The tick marks threw me off
  20. I had a cooking injury last night and cut my finger
  21. I was live-updating my UKC Logbook
  22. It started raining
  23. The wind blew me off
  24. The sun came out
  25. The sun disappeared

It was dark.
© Rob Greenwood

  1. My belayer pulled the rope tight
  2. It was sabotage
  3. The pads were in the way
  4. My mate gave me rubbish beta
  5. Crimps aren’t my thing
  6. Slopers aren’t my forte
  7. My fingers are too fat for pockets
  8. Jugs aren’t my strongpoint…
  9. I’m too short
  10. I’m too tall
  11. My legs are too long
  12. My arms are too short
  13. My legs are too short
  14. My arms are too weak
  15. I’m not flexible enough
  16. Falling looks great on a GoPro
  17. My skin is sore
  18. My feet are achy
  19. My training program only started 6 months ago
  20. I’m due to peak in a week’s time
  21. I’m too old
  22. I’m too young
  23. I’m past my physical prime
  24. I’m more of a boulderer
  25. I’m more of a trad climber
  26. I’m more of a sport climber
  27. I’m more of a rambler or scrambler than a dangler
  28. I'm more of an alpine climber
  29. I'm more of an armchair climber. Wait, what?!...

There were no holds.  © Rob Greenwood
There were no holds.
© Rob Greenwood

  1. The route wasn’t my style
  2. The route was rubbish
  3. Rockfax told me to go the wrong way…
  4. The crag was too busy
  5. The crag was too quiet
  6. I ate too many baguettes
  7. I didn’t have my protein shake
  8. I drank too much last night
  9. I didn't drink enough last night
  10. I didn’t do my yoga this morning
  11. The ambience wasn’t right
  12. The route has clearly changed
  13. The jug fell off
  14. There was a spider
  15. Thee was a snake
  16. There was a bird
  17. There was bird poo on the hold
  18. The hold broke
  19. I didn’t want to polish the holds
  20. The bolts ran out
  21. The bolts were rock-coloured and camouflaged
  22. My belayer farted
  23. I farted and lost my body tension
  24. I forgot to breathe

It's snowing...  © Rob Greenwood
It's snowing...
© Rob Greenwood

  1. A dog barked
  2. A bird laughed at me menacingly
  3. Local youths shouted abuse at me
  4. My phone rang
  5. I didn’t want to show up my mate
  6. I didn’t want to get too tired
  7. I got a whiff of smelly climbing shoe
  8. Onsighting is boring anyway
  9. I like the challenge of redpointing
  10. I wanted to pretend I was Superman
  11. I wanted to pretend I could fly
  12. Falling looks cool
  13. Adam Ondra falls off lots anyway
  14. My beanie fell over my eyes
  15. I got chalk in my eye
  16. I got grit in my eye
  17. I got muscle cramp in my forearms
  18. I got Elvis leg
  19. I got grit rash
  20. I spent too much time on the UKC forums this week
  21. I don’t ‘do’ tufas
  22. My spotter pulled me off
  23. A drone flew past
  24. There was too much rope-drag
  25. My mum told me to come down
  26. I don’t climb well on Wednesdays
  27. Nor any day ending in a ‘y’
  28. I was wearing too many layers

I was wearing too many layers. A winter's day at Gogarth  © Rob Greenwood
I was wearing too many layers. A winter's day at Gogarth
© Rob Greenwood

  1. My lycra was so bright it dazzled me
  2. I rested too little yesterday
  3. I rested too much
  4. I got too hot
  5. I got too cold
  6. My mate put a brick in my chalkbag
  7. Nobody was shouting “Allez!”
  8. People were shouting “Allez!”
  9. There were too many spectators
  10. There weren’t enough spectators
  11. I spent too long trying to remember what the guy did in the YouTube beta video
  12. I wanted to log “DNF” in my UKC logbook
  13. The route wasn’t in season
  14. My picks are too blunt
  15. Conditions were not perfect
  16. Conditions were “smeggy”
  17. Conditions were "disappointing"
  18. Conditions were [insert pretentious synonym for 'wet']

Conditions got Scottish...  © Chris Prescott
Conditions got Scottish...
© Chris Prescott

  1. The wind changed direction
  2. My photographer wasn't there to capture the ascent anyway
  3. The light was flat
  4. I got summit fever
  5. I was actually on the wrong route
  6. I mistook the 5c for the 9a beside it
  7. I didn’t want to resort to trying hard and swearing profusely
  8. My hair blew in my face
  9. The friction coefficient was less than ideal
  10. My nails were too long
  11. My biceps are so big I couldn’t lock-off low enough
  12. I broke a nail
  13. I didn’t have my lucky sending underwear on
  14. I didn't perform my pre-redpoint ritual
  15. I don’t like the colour of my mate’s rope
  16. The quickdraw bit me
  17. I got out of the wrong side of bed this morning
  18. The girl before me put grease on the holds
  19. My shoelace came undone
  20. I haven’t cut my toenails this week
  21. Someone on UKC said it was “tough for the grade.”
  22. My knot got caught on the rock
  23. I just slipped
  24. I let go…
  25. The best climber is the one having most fun…and I wasn’t having fun…
  26. I'm not Chuck Norris. Nor am I Alex Megos.

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20 Jul, 2016
Conditions were “smeggy” Conditions were [insert pretentious synonym for 'wet'] I'm pretty sure "smeggy" is actually different to just wet, and requires sea salt in the mix. It's almost like oil on the rock, rather than a bit of dampness that comes off with a bit of wiping. Anyway good list :)
20 Jul, 2016
My mate once said with a completely straight face "I didn't read the sequence" and genuinely wondered why I fell about laughing
20 Jul, 2016
'My shoulders f**ked.'
20 Jul, 2016
I once fell off because some knob-head started up a drone unexpectedly about 10 feet behind me (and 20 feet below me).
20 Jul, 2016
Afraid I don't get it either?
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