Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Practice Falling

I have been reviewing recommendations for falling on trad gear. So far, it’s just what I’ve always thought:

  1. Practice on a loose top rope so when you fall, the gear catches you first.
  2. Place gear on a bolted route so that if the gear blows, the bolts catch you.
  3. Place gear on aid so you gain confidence in your placements.
  4. Put in lots of pieces you trust and then fall

Dave MacLeod has always recommended practicing falling. He is talking here about falling on bolted routes. He says:

“But I want to make another point about falling practice. Most climbers vastly underestimate how many practice falls will be ‘enough’ to beat their fear and learn to be relaxed and confident in their leading.

Because those with a fear of falling problem find falling practice so unpleasant, this tendency is even further amplified by the constant temptation to feel like you’ve done enough. If you have to ask, you almost certainly haven’t

So just as it takes hundreds of sessions of pulling on small holds to go from novice to strong fingered advanced climber, it takes many hundreds of leader falls to go from falling averse nervous leader to confident relaxed leader...

Try a controlled and safe fall from the end of every single route you do at the climbing wall for 5 sessions in a row. Routes vertical or steeper, and a trustworthy belayer are among the pre-requisites for this being a good idea. Not one or two, every single one. So hopefully that will be between 25 and 100 falls with the bolt well below your feet”

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