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How often do you fall on gear?
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jt512


Mar 28, 2005, 9:34 AM
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Falling is a form of failure...

Falling is only a form of failure in your mind. If your only goal is to always climb without falling, then falling is failure by definition. What if your goal is to overcome irrational fears about falling on your gear; then climbing until exhaustion and falling would be a success, by definition. Back to your goal: one problem with such a goal is that it is self-limiting. To meet it you must always climb routes that you are confident you won't fall on in the first place. Since you essentially know the outcome ahead of time, your opportunities to learn something new on the climb are severely restricted. If you don't see this, consider these two things: (1) you don't really know what your limits are because you haven't experienced them, and (2) you don't trust your gear, in spite of having climbed for a year and a half because you haven't ever had to rely on your gear.

In reply to:
If you and, needless to say, many climbers -- experienced ones -- have been killed or severely injured after falling on their gear.

Sure, but why the fear orientation? Climbers die, but for every one who has died tens of thousands haven't. Do you avoid flying and driving, too?

In reply to:
(Zippering, cams ripping, ledges, head injuries, decking, etc.)


All of the above can be avoided: Zippering is caused by failure of the bottom piece of gear to hold an upward pull (place a multidirectional first piece). Cams don't just randomly "rip"; learn to place cams properly. Protect above ledges (duh!). Many climbers have a rule about always having two pieces between them and death. Not a bad rule, IMO. Head injuries are caused by stepping in front of your rope and getting flipped over in a fall (don't step in front of rope).

In reply to:
I'm going to have to call B.S. on the following statement in your post:

I've fallen on so many cams and nuts, when placed properly, I don't see the difference between them and a bolt.

What you're basically saying is:

1. My gear doesn't pull.
2. When placed properly (i.e., to not fail), they don't fail, and/because...
3. ...bolts don't fail or rarely fail.

#1 is irrelevant, #2 is a circular argument,

#2 isn't circular; it's the definition of properly placed gear. Gear doesn't randomly fail. Bad placements fail. Learn to place well and to distinguish a good placement from a bad one. Back up critical placements. Go for it.

In reply to:
(Bolts do fail, and people get hurt all the time while sport climbing even when they don't...)

Failure of modern bolts is so rare that you can practically ignore the possibility. The most common reasons that people get hurt sport climbing are not knowing how to fall properly and climbing with partners who do not know how to dynamically belay. How often do you hear about a high-end sport climber getting hurt sport climbing? Almost never, and climbers at that level are taking scores of falls week in and week out.

-Jay


dirtineye


Mar 28, 2005, 9:55 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Falling is a form of failure...

Falling is only a form of failure in your mind. If your only goal is to always climb without falling, then falling is failure by definition. What if your goal is to overcome irrational fears about falling on your gear; then climbing until exhaustion and falling would be a success, by definition. Back to your goal: one problem with such a goal is that it is self-limiting. To meet it you must always climb routes that you are confident you won't fall on in the first place. Since you essentially know the outcome ahead of time, your opportunities to learn something new on the climb are severely restricted. If you don't see this, consider these two things: (1) you don't really know what your limits are because you haven't experienced them, and (2) you don't trust your gear, in spite of having climbed for a year and a half because you haven't ever had to rely on your gear.

Unreasonable Fear of Falling is an even bigger failure, and completely mental, as well as curable.

In reply to:
In reply to:
(Zippering, cams ripping, ledges, head injuries, decking, etc.)


All of the above can be avoided: Zippering is caused by failure of the bottom piece of gear to hold an upward pull (place a multidirectional first piece). Cams don't just randomly "rip"; learn to place cams properly. Protect above ledges (duh!). Many climbers have a rule about always having two pieces between them and death. Not a bad rule, IMO. Head injuries are caused by stepping in front of your rope and getting flipped over in a fall (don't step in front of rope).

Outard pull is also a big factor in zippering. Tensioned opposition cures zippering. Two pieces between you and death are sometimes not enough, as you can read in acidents and injuries.

About that properly placed gear does not fail business, well, climb on enough unclimbed rock adn you'll get a few suprises. BUT, sewing it up tends to take care of the occasional funky stuff.

Never pass up a bomber placement-- you might not get another.


keinangst


Mar 28, 2005, 10:21 AM
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I've been tradding (weekend warrior) for about a year, and just took my first real falls the other day.

I was sewing up this nice, just-less-than-vertical finger/off-finger crack. I was 3 pieces and 15'-20' off the deck. The crack took solid, medium to large nuts in confident placement.

I fell on the same nut three times, then continued on with no more falls.

It was refreshing, but I now have a new reason to not want to fall on trad: I want my damn gear back from the nut-eating cracks.


skateman


Mar 28, 2005, 10:42 AM
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If I could rate posts today, I would give the gold cup to Golsen. From my perspective he seems to be making a lot of sense. Let's face it, everyone climbs for thier own reasons.
A big reason for me is so that I may live to climb another day! Being new to trad leading, almost every lead I do is an onsight. My goal is climb the route without falling. In reality this is not always the case.

However, I climb with my son and other people that I love dearly. I have no desire to be the SAR posterboy by falling on gear with reckless abandon. A bad fall for me (or any other leader) on a long trad route will also put the rest of the party at risk. Self rescue is not a trivial procedure.

That's my two cents worth, your mileage may vary.

S-man


dirtineye


Mar 28, 2005, 10:56 AM
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In reply to:
I've been tradding (weekend warrior) for about a year, and just took my first real falls the other day.

I was sewing up this nice, just-less-than-vertical finger/off-finger crack. I was 3 pieces and 15'-20' off the deck. The crack took solid, medium to large nuts in confident placement.

I fell on the same nut three times, then continued on with no more falls.

It was refreshing, but I now have a new reason to not want to fall on trad: I want my damn gear back from the nut-eating cracks.

So where did you leave this booty, I mean, gear?


mistertyler


Mar 28, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Good post, Jay. I guess I should clarify my "failure" statement.

In the original post, fshizzle's comment that "you pretty much have to fall" implies (or implied to me, anyway) that people should be leading on gear at their limit and falling frequently. The overall tone of the post came off as mild chest-thumping (see the 4th option in the poll) and made it sound like he was proud of that fact that he falls all the time on gear. I made the "failure" comment because I don't understand why anyone would brag out falling; blowing an onsite, to me, is a kind of failure. On the other hand, falling as a way to push one limits isn't failure at all, although doing so frequently over gear can be, I'll argue, somewhat risky.

The statement about having to fall irked me because I think that philosophy should only be followed by more experienced leaders, a group of climbers who are not, I'd argue, the majority on this site.

At some point in my career I hope I'm able to lead 5.11 or 5.12 on gear. At that level, bone-crushing ledges are dealt with less frequently, and by then I expect to be very adept at judging the quality of my placements and evaluating the other technical aspects of the route I'm on. As I progress I'm certain that my aversion to falling will decrease somewhat (and fully expect to take my share of rides throughout my career), but I do doubt that my level of risk acceptance will ever allow me to take leader falls on a daily basis. To each his or her own, though.


wa_hoo


Mar 28, 2005, 11:26 AM
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I wonder if there isn't some way to get this thread cross-referenced in the beginner section. I found it because it was on the front page, but found it very insightful.


keinangst


Mar 28, 2005, 11:34 AM
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So where did you leave this booty, I mean, gear?

Knife Crack at Griffin, about 15' up. #7 ABC Huevo (cheapo BD stopper), and it's $5 I won't miss. It's bomber, so be sure to clip it on the way up :D


brutusofwyde


Mar 29, 2005, 3:03 PM
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I try to never fall, be it on gear or on bolts.

Do what you all want.

I'll climb the way I want.

There are many modes of "failure". Some are more lethal than others.

Brutus of Wuss


keithlester
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Mar 30, 2005, 7:26 AM
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I get off on beautiful, aesthetic routes regardless of their grade. The Gunks is filled with beautiful 5.8's, 6's, 4's, and even 3's that 5.12 and above traddies will happily wait in line for to climb. I love the problem-solving and creativity involved when placing pro, and being able to stop mid-pitch to turn around, savor the views beyond and below, and reflect with serene satisfaction on what it is I'm doing.

Hear, hear boss, my attitude exactly. Pushing numbers and falling on pro every day you go out is a form of eletism. "Iwanna be the best, better than the other guy etc etc"

Not the reason I go climbing at all, and I've been mountain soloing for longer than I've been trad climbing. For me its all about being up amongst the mountains, miles from the nearest noise, fitting in with my environment, doing no damage, coming home uplifted. Numbers dont do that for me.


jt512


Mar 30, 2005, 8:56 AM
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Pushing numbers and falling on pro every day you go out is a form of eletism. "Iwanna be the best, better than the other guy etc etc"

Hilarious. What ignorance.

-Jay


healyje


Mar 30, 2005, 9:04 AM
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There is another aspect of this discussion and that is that if you aren't falling on your pro while you are learning then to some degree you aren't learning. Your skills with protecting new and marginal placements will not evolve with confidence that only experience can provide.

This attitude is certainly a post-sport and post-gym phenom as before that you had no choice - there only was trad. It's strange in some ways that there are people now who only risk indoors or on bolts (and the example given of a bad cam could just as easily be applied to a bad bolt) - to each his own, but this whole business of leading trad way below your abilities seems damn peculiar to me.

You are basically saying that your faith in yourself goes down as the amount of self-responsibility you take on (placing your own pro) goes up; and the reverse, that the less responsibility you take on (using bolts placed by others) the more faith you have in yourself - as I said, damn peculiar...


yanqui


Apr 1, 2005, 7:38 AM
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I truly do not understand why someone climbs and does not push him/herself, I don't understand fear in a safe situation - fear to me is relative to consequences, I don't understand why people place pro - expensive, certified, thouroghly inspected, in great places, and still fear it.

I was able to become a pretty solid 5.10 trad leader basically without ever falling on lead. Sure, I hung a time or two when I got in trouble and whipped a couple of times when I made mistakes, but in the four or so years it took me to get solid at 5.10 I really only fell or hung a handfull of times on lead.

The thing is, for me, I could reach THAT level without loss of control. What was so difficult for me, to reach 5.11, was that it required giving up the natural desire for complete control. I remember an early attempt going first on a short 5.11 crack (Resurrection, or something like that, in Little Cottonwood's Green A Gully). And what stopped me cold was that I couldn't find a jam I could trust for more than a few seconds. My friend Mark, who was a much stronger crack climber, told me that, in order to do this climb, I would have to give up the desire to be secure at every minute and move up consecutively on jams like that: jams which might hold for a only a few seconds. The hard thing, and something that still can thwart me when maxing out, is the difficulty I have giving up my desire to maintain complete control.

This is not so much fear, although fear can be involved. I think many climbers get into the sport, because, to a certain extent, they are control freaks. They like the fact that they can exercise control in a situation that the average Joe would consider too risky and out of control. I think what you're calling 'fear' isn't so much fear in the traditional sense, that is: not 'fear' that rope will break, or 'fear' that the gear will pull, or 'fear' that the bolt will, etc., but rather a sort of natural resistance to giving up control.

So what if some guy's limit comes at 5.8 because he doesn't want to give up the control he feels when he climbs 5.8? Even brave guys who fall, approach their own asymptotic bound soon enough. Falling, that is: the willingness to give up complete control, is certainly a big part of the new explosion of difficulty in our sport. But that doesn't mean someone can't enjoy a satsfying lifestyle as a climber and reach a certain level of competence without hardly ever falling on lead at all.


esallen


Jun 12, 2005, 6:24 PM
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Took a 20-footer onto a 00 metolius TCU yesterday. Though a little bent now, the thing held and kept me from decking.

Eric


sbaclimber


Jun 12, 2005, 7:46 PM
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In reply to:
You are basically saying that your faith in yourself goes down as the amount of self-responsibility you take on (placing your own pro) goes up; and the reverse, that the less responsibility you take on (using bolts placed by others) the more faith you have in yourself - as I said, damn peculiar...
um, no... (see below)

In reply to:
There is however something along these lines I truly do not understand, and that is the climber that says they climb 5.11d sport and 5.8 trad. To me, a climber that can do that is missing a couple things: one, the ability to place and trust their gear, and 2, the abiity to control their fear.

Being one of those climbers, I'll bite.

As far as things that are missing goes:
I disagree with #1. I know how to place my gear properly, and I will trust a 'good' placement just as much as a good bolt (marginal placements and manky bolts are a different matter).

#2, You might have a point, when you talk about controlling one's fear, I struggle to control mine quite often, but generally not based on whether I am climbing trad or sport though.

You need a #3: What for me makes the difference between my sport and trad climbing abilities is my endurance (as in, I have none)! 1st of all, over the past 4 years, I have almost never been on anything higher than 30m. So, when I say I am a 5.10 sport climber, I mean I am a 5.10 sport climber for 30m. After that I would probably run out of strength and loose my ability to flash a 5.10. For the same reason, I say I am a 5.9 trad climber. I can hang around on a 5.8 forever, setting gear placements. On a 5.9, I can hang around for about 30m, after that... no more strength.

So, in other words, it doesn't necessarily have to to with fear or the ability to set gear. It could just be a matter of endurance.

and, yes, I do suck and need some serious training..... :lol: 8^)


kachoong


Jun 12, 2005, 8:33 PM
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In reply to:
There is another aspect of this discussion and that is that if you aren't falling on your pro while you are learning then to some degree you aren't learning. Your skills with protecting new and marginal placements will not evolve with confidence that only experience can provide.
In a way I kind of agree, however it's a bit of a catch 22. You'll certainly learn about your marginal placements if you fall on them.... you also might get seriously injured if you learn that your marginal placement wasn't good enough. Falling on well-placed gear is great for your learning curve, but how do you know it's bomber if you've never tested it? With experience, a good eye, instinct and enough safe falls on gear you'll become increasingly better at judging a well-placed piece. Sometimes it's pure luck that would have a piece catch your fall. We obviously do what we can at the time to make sure it's as good as it can get. But some people I think need to know exactly when to move on above it. If you know it's suspect, why move on? I know when I ice climb I NEVER move off an ill-placed axe, because if the second tool placement is dodgy too, what's to stop me from catapulting if something unexpected happens? I think aid climbing is good to learn trad placements.... watching a stopper jolt/settle two or three times down a thin crack before it finally rests somewhere 'better' is great for your knowledge on what looks like a good placement. Sure it's only body weight, but it's as close as you'll get to seeing what happens to gear during a fall.

I also agree with what
In reply to:
Falling is only a form of failure in your mind. If your only goal is to always climb without falling, then falling is failure by definition. What if your goal is to overcome irrational fears about falling on your gear; then climbing until exhaustion and falling would be a success, by definition.
Falling should never be deemed failure especially if you're pushing at your climbing limit. For me I climb very close to my limit on trad, but never push it too much, until I know I'm ready to move up a grade. Right now I'm trying to climb everything at our local crag that I can, up to and on my limit and then I'll know I'm ready for the next grade. Most of the time my climbs are onsights unless I've seconded it before, however I also know (from enough falling experience) that if I fall on my gear it will hold, since I will spend enough time placing it, or double/triple back it up if it looks at all suspect. If it's suspect and I cannot back it up, I'll not place it and back off or climb on to somewhere that has better gear.... I figure there's no point wasting energy placing shit gear if you can climb higher, in a relaxed state, and get in a bomber piece or even to a rest.

Having said this I still fall on gear, but probably do it only every 20 climbs or so.


renohandjams


Jun 27, 2005, 12:42 PM
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I try to never fall on my gear. I will rest, or do a mini fall for a break, but I never fall when I'm high enough to place again. Sport is different, but Trad is more just for climbing, and I don't want to try and keep track of my ropes fall ratings, lets see is this factor 1 fall number 10 or twelve kind of thing

You might think it's pussy, but I can still push myself without taking huge falls while doing Trad.

-Kenny
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Partner coldclimb


Jun 27, 2005, 12:56 PM
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I personally have never taken a fall on gear. I don't like to push myself to climb past my limit and reach higher and higher grades. Get this: I just got back from Thailand (a major SPORT climbing destination), where I fell five or six times, mostly on the same route. I just don't have the common climber's redpoint mentality. The climbs I enjoy most are really long moderate trad routes, where I can just plug in pro and move up the rock all day.

OTHER people have taken lead falls on gear I placed, but I never have. :?


caughtinside


Jun 27, 2005, 1:20 PM
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Coldclimb: Do what you like, but with that mentality you are limiting the number (and many would say quality) of climbs that are available to you.

That's always been a motivator for me, the harder I climb the more options I have. I still like climbing stuff well below my max.

I don't fall on gear very often. But, I did fall on the same bolt 6 times on Saturday. :x No RP for me! :lol:


kinosoo


Jun 28, 2005, 6:16 AM
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i haven't fallen yet but I'm new at this it my first year climbing trad. next time i have a rout with a nice landing though I'm going to jump.. maby...


bill413


Jun 28, 2005, 6:46 AM
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No appropriate category for my vote -
On trad, I probably fall 1ce per season.
On sport - most of the times I go out.
On mixed - it depends.


atg200


Jun 28, 2005, 8:06 AM
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until this year i fell very rarely. i would really only do routes i knew for sure i could get up without falling.

i don't know what changed in my mind, but i started pushing much harder this year. i've been climbing until i fall 90% of the time(i only took once when i shouldn't have, and i felt like a tool after doing that). my lead ability went almost instantly from being solid on any 5.7 and a bit scared on 5.8s to leading 5.9 fairly consistently and working in to easy 5.10s. if i could travel less for work and climb more consistently i am sure i would be solid leading 5.10 before too long.

i generally climb harder on trad routes than i do on sport routes, but mostly because i am better at crack and slab climbing than i am on high angle face climbing. it does not matter to me if my last piece is a bolt or a stopper - i am happy with either.

i enjoyed cruising on long easy trad routes and aid climbing for the last 10 years, but my progress this year has been a joy and a feeling completely different than years past.


choueiri


Jun 28, 2005, 8:51 AM
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I fall on my gear about 30% of the time when trad climbing and my gear has always held strong. Only once did a cam pop out when I was belaying a friend and he fell an extra 6 feet, which brought him to about 5 feet from the ground... always a good time. I generally trad climbs I have done many times before and the only times I fall on my gear are on newer climbs that I am not familiar with.

Tony


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Jul 2, 2005, 11:17 PM
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In reply to:
Coldclimb: Do what you like, but with that mentality you are limiting the number (and many would say quality) of climbs that are available to you.

That's always been a motivator for me, the harder I climb the more options I have. I still like climbing stuff well below my max.

I don't fall on gear very often. But, I did fall on the same bolt 6 times on Saturday. :x No RP for me! :lol:

Yeah, this I realize, and it was never more obvious than when I went to Thailand and couldn't climb MOST of the routes there. :lol: I do see and want the benefits of pushing myself, so on a good day I'll try to do so, but most often I just wind up taking things comfortably.


mikewong


Jul 6, 2005, 4:48 PM
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Re: How often do you fall on gear? [In reply to]
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I learned to lead on trad placements and only fell twice in 5 years of climbing 5-7 days/week.

I never fell gracefully until I started to sport climb. Now my arms and body don't flail anymore when I fall since I'm used to it now. I still don't like to fall on trad gear though.

Mike

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Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Trad Climbing

 


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