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jefesuave


Jan 23, 2003, 8:16 AM
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Falling On Purpose
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I am a professed sport climber who has decided to hang up the draws for a while and start doing trad. Ive done leads up into 5.9. My problem seems to be my faith in the gear. I have yet to fall on a piece, and the idea of doing so scares me a little. Ive had several experienced climbers tell me my gear is fine and that i set solid pieces, but i still have that fear in the back of my head. I know this is going to hinder my advancement. So my question is, should I take a fall on purpose on gear that i know will hold (maybe 2 or 3 pieces in a row)? Thats how I got over falling on sport. Right now it seems like the best idea. Or is there a better way that you guys know of? Im all ears......

jeff


leaverbiner


Jan 23, 2003, 8:23 AM
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I would like to know the same thing . . . I have had about the same experience, and definitely have the same fear. . . I led a few sport routes on gear, and thought about doing the purposeful fall there by backing up my top piece with a nearby bolt . . . but don't know if taking a fall on purpose is just tempting fate, etc . . .


redpoint73


Jan 23, 2003, 8:30 AM
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I personally just waited until it happened unintentionally. It took about 7 years, but it finally happened! I don't know anyone that really falls on gear on purpose, but I do know trad climbers that climb right at the limit of their ability and end up falling pretty often.

If you are really concerned about the gear, you can experiment by placing gear, tying a pack or something at the end and throwing the pack down the cliff. Of course the pack probably won't weigh as much an actual climber.

Another thing a friend of mine did to develop trust in the gear was to jump off and aim for a pile of bouldering pads. The piece will take a realistic load, and if the gear pulls you will still be safe.

In any case, always check your gear after you fall on it (if you continue the climb). I've seen a piece hold for 3 falls, then rip out on the 4th (not me).


climbhigh23


Jan 23, 2003, 8:31 AM
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*disclaimer* - i have never lead trad.

but i do plan on learning some trad this summer, and what people have suggested to me is to lead a route on trad, but have a second rope (and second belayer) set up for a top rope. have the belayer on the top rope leave enough slack in the line to test your trad placements, but not so much slack that if your trad placements fail you hit the deck. hope this helps...



chi_girl


Jan 23, 2003, 8:38 AM
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Redpoint-
That's great advice, falling with a boulder pad below. And even throwing a pack down is a great idea too. My boyfriend and I just started trad climbing this summer. I have not even lead sport yet, but I am seconding him. His biggest fear though is falling on a piece. We've been climbing way below our ability to get used to it. He was talking of falling purposely though, and I have been wary of that idea. Though I am curious to feel the weight of a fall on lead because I have not yet.
Thanks for the advice, I will pass it on to him


yosemite


Jan 23, 2003, 8:40 AM
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Jeff,

A less dramatic way to get comfortable with your gear placements is to take a page out of the aid climbers’ book. Spend a couple of hours at the base of your crag placing gear right off the ground. Loop a few runners together to make a stirrup and bounce test the bejeebers out of your placement. Although this will not generate the same forces as a 40 foot whipper, it will give you a good idea of what does and does not work. Just make sure (1) if the piece pulls, you have a nice landing after your 6 inch fall and (2) the piece doesn’t clunk you in the head. This will also give you a controlled situation for learning the art of removing nuts after they have been weighted.

Gene


rocknpowda


Jan 23, 2003, 8:41 AM
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Do some clean aid. ie. just aid up a crack with nuts and cams. This is great for your head because you have to hang your body weight on every piece you put in. It doesn't take long to know what holds and what doesn't and it gives you confidence in the pieces you put in, not to mention it will get you good at knowing what piece to put in first try.

Taking safe falls on good pro is also a good idea. I am an advocate of air time.

Set it up, let go, and let gravity do the rest!


redpoint73


Jan 23, 2003, 8:45 AM
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climbhigh: that is a very good idea, as is yosemite's



Aiding is also a good way to build confidence in your placements, but I'm too much of a wimp!!!


sspssp


Jan 23, 2003, 8:47 AM
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The bounce testing gear (or just doing some aid climbing) is a great way to figure out what does and doesn't hold.
If you try this, don't look at the piece while you are testing it, wear a helmet, and wear eye protection (decent quality wrap around sunglassess are ok). When a piece pops, it can really come sizzling out.

Taking an intentional fall with a toprope backup might not be such a bad idea. Make sure you get the lengths correct.

[ This Message was edited by: sspssp on 2003-01-23 08:49 ]

[ This Message was edited by: sspssp on 2003-01-23 08:49 ]


kirkbrode


Jan 24, 2003, 7:11 PM
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aid climbing will make you good at placing gear in a hurry. you make a lot more placements in an aid pitch which gives you tons of practic. plus you will have make 'em work in places you would not even stop at on free route so you get practice non-straight forward placements. and you test every placement you make with your body wieght so you learn what will hold and what will not.

as for falling, definately practice that by putting in a couple of bomber placements and falling on then. start right at the peices at first and step a little higher each time. do it a steep, clean section way off the ground so you get some rope stretch. short whippy falls are the worst, it is nice to have some rope out to cushion the fall. step out just enough to clear the rock. I see people push out and that is bad caouse you come crashing in hard. you want to force to be absorbed while you are moving down, not in. which is also why medium falls can be nicer that little shorties. practice often, like at least on fall every time you go to the crag. and it early in the day to disspell the aversion. it will help your whole day.

dont wait until you are forced to fall. falling correctly takes practice and you need to know how to do it.


nailzz


Jan 24, 2003, 8:11 PM
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Quote:
make sure (1) if the piece pulls, you have a nice landing after your 6 inch fall and (2) the piece doesn’t clunk you in the head.


Number (2) is crucial! When you are bounce-testing a piece, DO NOT LOOK AT THE PIECE!! Look down at your feet, and wear a helmet. A piece of solid aluminum can do some good damage to soft flesh when driven by the force of a 150lb. + person generating as much force as possible on it, if it is suddenly pulled from it's place.


stevematthys


Jan 24, 2003, 8:44 PM
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lead a sport route, clip some bolts, place a piece, fall on the piece. if your pro rips out, big deal. you got a bolt right below you.


granitegod


Jan 24, 2003, 9:27 PM
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If you don't trust gear....it would be foolish to lead over it.

More frightening to me is the absolute blind trust you place in bolts....when you never know who placed it, was the hole drilled right, how old is it, how many falls has that hanger taken? Now sure, a fat 1/2 inch stainless bolt in solid rock is pretty reassuring, but I'll put as much if not more faith in a bomber hex/stopper anyday.

I suggest you place a bomber 3-4 piece anchor (or five or six!!), equalize it, then place another piece above that is somewhat marginal, but holds body weight. Then climb several more feet and fall on it!
Even marginal pieces will often stop a short fall. Climbing safely requires constant attention, from leader and belayer, whether using gear or fixed/bolted protection. The only way to be confident is to know the limits of what your gear will do....just be sure to learn this carefully!! with a wide margin of safety. One pearl of wisdom for new trad leaders: placing directional pieces when necessary to avoid dislodging gear when you climb past it or fall.


phyre


Jan 24, 2003, 10:08 PM
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I didn't read through all of the replies so if this is redundant I appologize. When I asked a similar question a while back someone recommended that I place a piece at arms reach from the ground and then fall on them. Worst case is you land on your butt. I've tried it a few times and was surprised at what held. It's also nice because it's something you can do even if you can't find a partner for the day.


coclimber26


Jan 25, 2003, 8:29 AM
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I have a little horror story about taking a trad fall on purpose. While taking a mountaineering course one of the classes was placing trad gear. The instructor climbed up and placed good pro in a crack 5 pieces total. He placed his last piece of pro (a medium stopper) Then climbed 2 ft. above the piece. He took his fall and the top 3 pieces blew. He was caught by a 1 1/2" cam and fell 25ft to litterally within inches of the ground.
Not trying to scare anyone with this but if you are going to fall on purpose I would recommend leading on a normal rope and having an additional toprope with about 10ft. of slack incase pro pops. In the past I would say that this is overkill but I was a little disturbed by the class.


clmbnski


Jan 26, 2003, 8:44 AM
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Quote:The instructor climbed up and placed good pieces in the crack...

Obviously they must not have been that good. I wonder how experienced the instructor really was.

Good=will hold a fall
Marginal=will hold fall depending on how forceful the fall was, use screamer
bad=will not hold fall, maybe useful for slowing you down as you fall.

If you know what you are doing you should have no problem falling on your piece. You may be a little afraid about the fall itself but wont question whether or not your gear will hold.

It takes experience to know what holds so I would suggest the aid climbing and other recommendations.
Sometimes you will just know something will hold. Like a nut wedged into the back of a crack that is obviously not coming out.
Placement like that will help you have more faith in your other placements


jefesuave


Jan 26, 2003, 3:28 PM
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hmmmmmm...nevermind. the problem solved itself...and no, it wasnt on purpose. note to self: work on smearing

jeff


tenn_dawg


Feb 22, 2003, 8:39 PM
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Woah,

Sounds like sombody needs to find a new instructor. I cant beleive that he had 3 crap placements in a row, and didin't even know it.

Please tell me that he didin't have some slick excuse like... Oh, well sometimes pro just pulls... or See I was trying to demonstrate the importance of good pro when others pull.

What a goober.

Travis


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