UKC

NEW ARTICLE: FALLING – The Law of Gravity we all Obey

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 UKC Articles 19 Oct 2015
Myself falling off Suffix at Dumbarton, 4 kb

Whatever game you play, the one thing that is universally accepted is that no one wishes to meet the ground whilst accelerating to, or falling at terminal velocity. The fun is to tempt fate, not to join it, thus overcoming the fear of falling is the biggest challenge facing the climber.

A light-hearted article on Falling, from several perspectives: The Watcher, The Holder and The Fallen.

Read more
 ianstevens 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

"More than 99.9% of the time we reach the top without incident"

Implies that we fall off every 1 climb in 1000. Certainly not true!

Otherwise, great article
1
 Offwidth 19 Oct 2015
In reply to ianstevens:

I agree, I fall off trad less often than that and some people have climbed trad for decades and never fallen

For the author ... why the fall on Long Tall Sally?
 Rachel Slater 19 Oct 2015
In reply to ianstevens:

Unless incident means hurting yourself, more than just falling?
 ianstevens 19 Oct 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
> I agree, I fall off trad less often than that and some people have climbed trad for decades and never fallen

I meant it the other way. I've probably got a ratio of about 20 falls/330 success on trad (had to look up the latter number!), but then I'm still young and push myself to and beyond my limits.

Rachel - good point - but that's not how I interpreted it from the article.
Post edited at 13:40
 brices 19 Oct 2015
In reply to ianstevens:

Falling off doesn't mean an injury or problem. I fall off many times every time I go climbing and have yet to have a "Incident".
 cb294 19 Oct 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

> For the author ... why the fall on Long Tall Sally?

In this household we obey the law of gravity!
 Offwidth 19 Oct 2015
In reply to ianstevens:

On a trad route basis I've got well over 10,000 leads (most onsight and more than half on grit) and less than half the number of routes with falls you have (but some routes I fell a few times... eg The Link at Stanage)
 Offwidth 19 Oct 2015
In reply to cb294:

Bridging the upper corner is an odd position to fall from that's why.. normally a foot slip is needed there before gravity does its job.
 humptydumpty 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

The Holder's story on the Triolet is terrifying!
 JohnWoodrow 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Best article I've read on UKC for a long time, well done and thanks.
 jsmcfarland 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

loved reading the stories, nice one. The biggest fall I've ever had was indoors bizarrely enough. Skipped the last quickdraw to go for the chains, fell probably 9m and ended up nearly level with my belayer!
1
 jkarran 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, really enjoyed that. It's reminded me to stay warm and dry this winter
jk
 cb294 19 Oct 2015
In reply to Offwidth:

I know, just needed an excuse to make a cheap Simpsons joke that unfortunately no one appreciated...

CB
In reply to UKC Articles:

Brilliant. I particularly liked "The rope and your equipment gives you control over your mind."
Some harrowing tales, although the prurient side of my mind really wanted to know what happened later when working as a voluntary instructor...

The Triolet story reminded me of my near-death experience, although was more protracted and made me feel a little sicker as a result.
 d_b 19 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

As a sovereign citizen with my own ideas about physics I do not consent to be governed by the "law" of gravity...
 Offwidth 19 Oct 2015
In reply to cb294:

Doh (so to speak).
 ashaughnessy 20 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

It was a big fall at Almscliff that taught me how good Friends are.
Anthony
 SGD 20 Oct 2015
In reply to Offwidth:
Tis not the Author that's me!

I remember it well - my 1st leader fall


I was in-experienced and got it wrong - ho hum
Post edited at 16:16
 climb41 20 Oct 2015
In reply to SGD:
Hey SGD, I remember they used a photo of you in Gravity magazine, in an article I wrote about breaking into the 'E' grade leading. But you were still on the rock in that pic!!
 SGD 21 Oct 2015
In reply to climb41:

I remember Gravity Mag - I used to look forward to Asqwiths column, always made me smile.

After I fell off I finished the route and then did it again clean.
 GridNorth 21 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article Steve. You sell yourself short, I remember and climbed with you back in the 70's. Like me, you may not have been "A" team but you were no slouch for the time and your ability was respected. I was at the foot of Green Death when Keith fell of it and fractured his pelvis,if I recall, after vowing never to climb it again. Sounds like he had several more close encounters

Al
 SChriscoli 22 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

We only have two fears that we are born with.

Loud Noises and Falling.

Every other fear is learned.
In reply to SChriscoli:

> We only have two fears that we are born with.

> Loud Noises and Falling.

And Clowns.
In reply to Offwidth:


> For the author ... why the fall on Long Tall Sally?

I've also fallen from the top of LTS to the bottom (the second of my two trad falls in 12 years...), just bruising my heels when the gear above the little nose kicked in. It's possible to mess up the top if you're not very good and get scared. Both of my falls occurred in the first couple of years of starting to lead. I'm a bit more careful now, hence not climbing that hard.... Funnily enough I climbed it again years later and, of course, wondered what all the fuss had been about.
 Steve Chad 22 Oct 2015
In reply to GridNorth:

Al Evans, is that you? Al Thewless was another climber "Al" at that time when I was in Sheffield.
How are you? Good to hear from you and thanks for the comments. I always tend to be self depreciating, and I think it adds to the humour of the article.
I met up with Kieth and Liz a couple of years ago. Doesn't climb any more. Still looks fit though.
I'm in Cape Town now, with my Russian lady - not mail order, I met her on a hike here.
Come on down for a holiday, I can offer free food and board. Great hiking and climbing here.
All the best
Steve Chadwick
 Steve Chad 22 Oct 2015
In reply to planetmarshall:

Mmmm not sure. I'm no qualified expert in human psychology but it would seem to me that fear of the dark is an innate fear.
 GridNorth 22 Oct 2015
In reply to Steve Chad:

No this is Al Randall. I knew Al Thewless, Bill Briggs, Les Bonnington, Pete Brayshaw, Al Wildman, Chris Plant etc.

Al
 Sean Kelly 22 Oct 2015
In reply to SChriscoli:

"Back to Etive Slabs again. It had been a good day and we had done a few fine routes. I had not fallen, and this despite being on the first pitch of The Long Reach, when I had happened to glance down to find that an attractive lady had taken up residence on the coffin stone and was sun bathing dressed only in a lacy bra & pants. I trembled, but stayed on. Anyway we were bathed in that pathetic self-opinionated glow that you get when you think you have done ok, and thoughts were turning towards a well-earned pint."

This reminds me of Dave Pearce (of Dream of White Horses fame) some time in the mid-seventies climbing the big pitch above the overhang on The Long Reach. Anyway he lost friction and started to slide all the way down the slab, but still staying on his feet. I was on Pause and fully expected him to crash in me. However, luckily for us both he stopped on the very lip of the overhand and turned to me and said...
'...needs a little more rubber!' and then proceeded to re-climb back to where he had slipped.
 barry donovan 22 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Many years ago working up through the grades on Etive Slabs - Spartan Slab, Hammer, Swastika - I met a guide with a client. He didn't even bother to have the client belay for him owning to the fact there was no gear on the first pitch anyway; he just led a rope off a pile attached to the client.

I'd never been to the slabs before which can be wickedly run out and precarious on the most immensely grippey rock that I've ever climbed on. At a shared belay we talked and he said that falling on the Etive Slabs was a unique proposition. It either comprises a terrible scuffing road rash slide or the most ambitious and bold try to turn round, gain their feet and take a run at it. It never ends well and in the true wry humour of the Celts the experience is called getting an "Etive Kiss".
 Michael Gordon 22 Oct 2015
In reply to barry donovan:

The chapter in Hard Rock is worth reading - similar to what you say above.

I think in a fall onto gear it's probably best to slide, utilising as much friction as possible. Turning round works low down when you can do a few steps and controlled jump onto something soft placed strategically on the ground. What must be avoided is an uncontrolled roll/somersault!
 NW_Rich 23 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

I'm very much a beginner and I have been invited to do some Ice climbing this year with an experienced friend, I'm very glad I read this article. Its made me rein in some of my excitement and exchange for caution and awareness.

Thanks
 Steve Chad 27 Oct 2015
In reply to NW_Rich:

Please don't let my article stop you trying ice climbing. It's a real buzz!
Remember you are just 'tempting fate - not necessarily joining it"
To risk is all
 Timmd 27 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

''The route was complete and I navigated us through the raging white out down the ridge, across the corrie and on down to the snow covered Coire Mhic Nobuil path. Back down to the car by torchlight, surrounded by the white silence of falling snow, each of us prisoners to the weariness of a long day. Behind us invisible but huge and brooding in the last heavy snow fall of winter lay Alligin. Born on the wind along with the snow that swirled around me came the breath of the mountain 'Take care Stephen, falling can be terminal.' ''

Nice bit of writing at the end, I liked the whole article.
 Robin Brooke 28 Oct 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

great article - thanks - had me chuckling and nicely distracted from work!
In reply to UKC Articles:

Three pebble Slab - funny as I was exactly in that situation a couple of weeks ago, made the "hard" move over the overlap, looked at the slab , looked back at the gear..did the math on where a fall would end up, took a few tentative moves up, decided as it was only second time on grit this year and wasn't confident with my smearing...but I did at least reverse the moves back off the slab, to the good stance just below the overlap..there to wait as my belayer got to practice their rope work they tied me off to a tree, escaped the system, went round with the end of the rope (60m thankfully) set up belay to then chuck the end down to guide me up...

I was led to understood after that the Mountain Rescue are very familiar with coming to the aid of those that slip off three pebble slab and manage to break ankles and the such like.

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