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baywolf


Feb 2, 2003, 7:26 PM
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Leaders not afraid to fall.
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Are you really afraid to fall on your pro? whenever im slingin pro, if i dont feel safe about a peice i put in the rock...then i either switch it out, or place another peice nereby. my feeling is, if i cant fall on my pro, then i should not be on that rock.
for example, this last saterday i protected a very sketchy .11c overhanging crack with the most beutiful ten foot roof i have ever seen outdoors. I knew the crux was mid climb, so i doubled up my pro before attempting it. and just as i planned it, i took about a ten footer. never entered my mind that my pro would fail. although there is a tricam stuck in that crack because of that flight. so with all this talk bout 'leader must not fall', how many of you actually push the limits on trad? has anyone had a cam(not tricams) of any type pop out? and if so was it the placement or the product which caused the piece to pop?

Jared.


vram1974


Feb 2, 2003, 10:31 PM
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trad is a mindf---

once you get comfortable with the idea of falling, pushing your limits is truly possible. One can't be as careless as bolt-clipping, but solid pro is solid pro, and the move shouldn't be harder just because it's not a bolt.

good post


ebrmusic


Feb 2, 2003, 10:43 PM
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I'm with vram on this one. Trad is a mental game, once you get over the fact that good pro WILL hold you, you can really push your limits without fear of getting hurt. I'm still working on getting over that, but i can feel the end coming where i can really push myself and feel confident on trad.


alpnclmbr1


Feb 2, 2003, 10:51 PM
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If your gear is good and the fall is clean go for it. On most routes falling at the crux section is fine. It is the runout easy sections that you donít want to fall on.
Not ever placing and leaving poor gear is a really good idea. I have seen to many people place a poor piece and then move up hoping to get a good piece, then placing another poor one. Do that enough and you are going to get hurt.
Avoid placing "psychological pro" like the plaque.

Never had a piece pull on me, but I have seen it happen. I have had pieces fall out from rope drag or a fall higher up the route. Long sling on your gear is a good thing. Doubling up on the hard part is good to.

If there is only one piece between you and getting hurt, then do not fall.

If you place solid gear it is safer to fall on then a sport climb. Good gear is way more trustworthy then a unknown bolt.

Climb on


brutusofwyde


Feb 2, 2003, 11:04 PM
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There are many climbs where knowledge of your limits, ability to read the rock, ability to downclimb difficult moves and work out difficult sequences without falling are the only things that will keep you alive.

Protection on these climbs is illusory at best, and trusting in the protection rather than your own judgement and ability will get you killed.

Brutus of Wyde
Old Climbers' Home
Oakland, California

*****************************************


"Watch Me!"


MIDNIGHT RAMPEST (5.10d R)
11/27/93

Jaques hails from Switzerland. A 5.12 sport climber, he sits on a ledge atop "Old 5.10" in Yosemite, California.

He looks down questioningly at Sue, Mike, Inez, and Sarah who have arrived at the base of the climb.

....."What did he say??"

Desperately clawing a rounded, one-hand side-pull, my feet scrape loose crystals and scrabble down detached weathered lichen as I fumble for a quickdraw and, panicked, snap home into a single, oxidized 1/4" bolt. (The only bolt for a long, long ways.) Left forearm fading I slap the ramp with my other hand, heel-hook/smear the ramp with a foot just as my left hand peels off the rock, cramped into uselessness by the horrid demands of the route.

Hurriedly shake out, chalk up, grab for the ramp with my left hand just as my foot slides away from the face, reset the
quivereing right foot, now my right forearm cramps and demands attention. So goes each desperate move.

I perform a meatbolic juggling act up a loathsome, unprotected narrow "ramp" slanting sickly up the vertical, loose prarie. How do I get myself into these
situations?

Every once in a great while, a brittle, rounded horn of corrupt diorite erupts from the ramp like a festering scab. Way, way above the bolt, with no crack in sight, I give up hope and drape a sling over one of these horns (immediately regret the act, as the sling creates a slippery, squirmy surface
on the only foothold within two miles.)

The ramp continues up the now-slightly-overhanging wall to the left of the Lunatic Fringe, and so do I, fastidiously painting each obnoxious little diorite pimple with the pretty stripe of a hopeful runner: HAPPY FACE's and "HAVE A NICE DAY's" in a morgue.

At one point, I try to envision the vectors of a fall-generated force applied to these decorations, these futile gestures in protection. Colorful thoughts. I begin shaking uncontrollably with fear. Some things are best left unthought up here.

Jaques, terrified below on the belay ledge, peers upward 90 feet to the soles of my shoes, now directly overhead. A single, upward flip of the rope at this point will unseat every runner on every horn between here and the ground. The ground, blue and
hazy in the void beneath my sweating, scrabbling, wimpering self.

Hey. What's this? Somewhere along the useless, mossy seam at the back of the hand-wide ramp, a 3/4" crack opens up for a length of five inches.

First I pinch myself, to be sure I'm not dreaming, then stuff the short opening with every piece of protection that will fit. I stuff more, draining the rack. The crack
disappears behind a mass of wires, cables, spectra, carabiners and slings, as I dance up this aesthetic classic. Wrap my left armpit over another of those wonderful, solid horns and call for more slings.

I cast off from the shore of this crack, back into the sea of uncertainty that has become my home.

Eventually the ramp ends, the island of protection fading in the distance as I sail up dynamic lunges between horns on the overhanging face.

Miles away, inconcievably far above, the pitch will end, after dusk, where a sweet night breeze breathes softly across the evening walls.

"OFF BELAY!!"

..... "What?"

"Come on up! It's a piece of CAKE!!"

..... "What did he say?"

*********************************************


nailzz


Feb 2, 2003, 11:07 PM
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I'll add a recent experience that was enlightening for me. I consider myself a fledgling trad leader that is slowly building confidence. I've never fallen on a piece but I have aided a moderate free pitch just to get myself used to the idea that the gear works and to see which placements hold and which don't. Not surprisingly, I learned fast after popping one #2 BD stopper and decking from about 10ft. I didn't get hurt at all but my heart got pounding.

A few days ago we were out on Schoolroom, an easy 5-pitch in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT. I had recently bought a bunch of BD Camalots (.3-3.5) and so I had way more active pro than I have ever climbed with. Last season I had two Metolius TCUs and two Power Cams, everything else passive. I started up the second pitch on lead feeling confident. The pitch was harder than it looked, so I got a little nervous but not quite sketched. By the time I got up the crack I had placed all four of my biggest cams and no passive pro. Each time I placed though, I felt totally secure on those cams, just by looking at them, tugging on them, and wiggling them a bit. It didn't dawn on me quite yet, but later I realized that that was one of the most secure times I've felt on my own gear. Every time I finished placing a piece, the thought of falling on it crossed my mind and every time I felt very secure about my placement holding.

I guess my point is that just having the cams to place made me way more confident. I made it a point to learn how to place a nut well last season, and I believe I can do it. But, there's still something about looking at those four lobes all sitting in mid-range with good contact and small chance of walking from the crack that boosts your confidence through the roof (no pun intended).

So, yeah, I felt very secure about falling on my pro in that case. And the fact that it was in late January gave me some lofty thoughts about what I could accomplish by the end of the year! Later I was talking to my partner and told him that this year it was very likely that I was going to take my first good fall on a trad climb. I felt like I could push it to the next level now.

Last note: A couple days ago I got to watch a solid climber take a good 8-10 footer on a tiny little nut that he had slotted into a shallow crack. It made my stomach drop to watch him slide down the nearly vertical slab and to imagine the piece popping, but it held without a budge. It was really cool and inspiring to see. After a short rest he got back on and finished the pitch.


apollodorus


Feb 2, 2003, 11:47 PM
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The best technique for getting better and flashing hard routes (instead of redpointing them), is to put in really crappy pieces for pro.

That way, you won't be tempted to hangdog.



[ This Message was edited by: apollodorus on 2003-02-02 23:51 ]


texplorer


Feb 3, 2003, 9:45 PM
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Some good comments here. I agree if the gear is good- go for it. There are definitely routes where it is hard to get pro in and I have seen several results of doing just that. I am however more optimistic than brutusofwyde. I have taken several longer falls on trad gear now and am comfortable running it out on good gear.

For those asking, I have pulled a piece of gear. It was at Indian creek. A variety of factors probably cam into play. It had snowed a couple of days before and the desert sandstone even becomes more soft when wet, I placed the cam blindly (a big no-no) and it was one of those crappy rock empire things. I learned several lessons that day but finished the climb after falling on another piece. What I take out of it is mainly not to place your pieces blindly and learn to jam straight in and not lieback.


vegastradguy


Feb 7, 2003, 4:53 PM
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I'm still battling that mindset of not falling on trad. I have yet to fall on lead, and its a constant mind battle for me. I almost want to pop so that I can trust my gear placements more and start really pushing my limits.

However, since I'm still relatively new to it, I'm going to stick to gaining mileage on easier stuff and as I work up the grades, I'll eventually pop and then i'll really start climbin!


stevematthys


Feb 8, 2003, 12:39 PM
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i think a better question is: Do you climb routes that take good pro, or do you climb r/x routes.


karlbaba


Feb 8, 2003, 9:27 PM
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In Trad, your judgement is constantly required to determine whether it is safe to fall on any given section. To say it's alway dangerous or safe to fall is folly.

Peace

karl


hanger


Feb 8, 2003, 10:15 PM
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I think I agree with Vegastradguy. I've been climbing harder and harder climbs on trad just waiting to fall. I'm of the mind that one should never fall on trad if you don't have to. Much the same as anyone who is against using any rope except for accidental mistakes. I've led 5.11 and I'm just waiting to fall. I know that my pro is good and I know it will hold me but I'm a little scared still.

anybody else out there a little hesitant to trust non-bolted anchors despite knowing they will hold any fall in question?


whitefingers


Feb 16, 2003, 12:59 PM
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My partner and I will be placing our first gear this year and we have been talking about starting with a TR and taking some safe falls on the gear we place to get an idea of how well it holds and what we can do better. I have only been climbing for twelve months so im not very confident with placing pro yet but look forward to our "experiments" this summer. Also, we will be climbing occassionaly with experienced trad climbers to get thier input. I hope this helps overcome the mental voodoo that is trad climbing.


beckerw


Feb 17, 2003, 1:07 PM
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i don't know if i agree with whitefingers. i feel like i am though my trad apprenticeship: i know when my gear is good and i know when it isn't. i am still guilty of placing brain candy, but it is wasted gear. i think you should climb enough routes til you kinow when the gear is good. Then when a fall does happen you won't get hurt. versus experimenting and possibly getting hurt. FYI: i have had a blue alien hold a fall when i thought the piece was a maringal placement. god i love those things.


ricardol


Feb 27, 2003, 12:51 PM
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i got over falling on my own gear my 2nd day out leading trad..

i was leading a finger to fist 5.9 crack, about 20 - 25 feet off the deck, and fell on the crux move onto a #8 nut at my feet .. (i had 3 nuts in at that time) ..

.. the #8 nut held without a budge .. examined it -- rested .. and then tried the crux again -- i fell 2 more times before i aided through the crux with a #2 cam..

.. that being said, i dont look forward to falling on pro -- and there have been times that i've made placements where i KNOW i can't fall ..

.. bascially -- if you think you could fall -- make sure you have bomber pro below you, or downclimb to set bomber pro! -- never take a chance .. on a questionable placement ..

.. the mindfuck about trad climbing is to focus on the climbing after you go past a dubious placement -- if you can't shake the placement out of your head you could blow a move and get airborne .. once you move past the pro, you have to stop thinking about it and focus on the climbing.. -- if you can't do that -- downclimb and make another placement.

.. the one other thing i alwasy keep in mind is to feel when you're about to peel -- and dont be afraid to whatever it takes to stay on the rock -- sometimes i need to yard on gear to get a rest -- in my book everything is fair game -- plug a cam and clip it so you can rest -- ok in my book .. do whatever it takes to finish the lead and climb another day.

-- ricardo


Partner camhead


Feb 27, 2003, 1:00 PM
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at least for me, the big breakthrough for trad is when you realize that psychological pro is worthless. if you are fairly sure that you can't get a good piece in, save your energy and power on up to a better placement. this is actually much more difficult to do mentally than it sounds.


murf


Feb 27, 2003, 2:48 PM
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Camhead,

I guess you've never have marginal gear hold a fall. Sometimes marginal gear surprises you, sometimes bomber gear surprises you. Sometimes that pysch piece will keep you off the ground.

Murf


ajkclay


Mar 1, 2003, 8:51 PM
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The comment about placing a piece then forgetting it is good. I try to do that, but I also haven't fallen on lead yet. - The thing that screws with my head is not whether a piece will hold, but the impact with the rock. It screws with my head just as much when faced with a big drop on a bolted climb as it does with traditionally protected gear, and rarely freak out when soloing (granted I solo a lot easier than I lead) - any suggestions for getting over the "impact fear?"


onamission116


Mar 3, 2003, 8:16 AM
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I agree that its good to push yourself when the gear is good, but don't worry about backing off if Elvis comes to visit. I've done it plenty of times and given myself plenty of crap for it, then decided that I'd do whatever the hell I wanted. For the record, my first fall was on a .75 tricam that I thought looked funky, but my 5 foot mini-whip didn't even faze the thing. While I'm DEFINATELY not saying that this means that all gear is good, you'd be suprised what is actually good for a decent force. I'm still learning all the time. :D


bandycoot


Mar 3, 2003, 9:00 AM
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I don't even get a rush from falling anymore. I just start wondering what went wrong. Provided, this is on climbs where the pro is good. I've fallen up to 20' and it doesn't really bother me much at all. just start pushing yourself on harder climbs with good falls, and test that gear! Sew it up and have some fun....

Josh


ricardol


Mar 3, 2003, 9:02 AM
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well -- i'd like to report that this weekend i went ahead and pushed my limits on trad ..

so far i had led up to 5.9 and not very gracefully ..

we were at pinnacles natl monument on discovery wall and decided that i would lead "The Roof" 5.10a .. its a corner crack leading up about 30 feet, and then traversing right about 30 feet under a roof to some rap chains ..

.. the reason i felt comfortable pushing my limits was because it looked like the pro was good and the crack was very protectable .. placed the following pieces

#5 hex, 3.5 cam, 3.0 cam .. then came the roof .. and i placed a .5 cam, then a .4 cam .. and finally a #12 BD wire .. it was so much fun to get out there on my edge and push myself .. the roof also had 2 manky pitons that have been there since the beginning of time ..

.. so what i learned is that when the gear is good, go ahead and push it -- you'll have tons of fun .. for now i'l try to only push one thing at a time -- either my gear placement skills -- or my climbing skills -- but not both at the same time.

-- ricardo


dingus


Mar 3, 2003, 9:37 AM
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In reply to:
Are you really afraid to fall on your pro?

Sometimes... many times, most of the time? Yes, I am afraid to fall, afraid to fall on my pro, afraid to test my system, unwilling to hurt myself, again, rock climbing. There, I said it. After nearly 3 decades of climbing, I still have a healthy fear of falling.

There are times when I don't even like to fall on TR.

For me climbing is not about blindly pushing my limits, always trying something harder, always trying to demonstrate "progress." I never much cared for others' definitions of progress anyway.

I want to walk up the rock. I want my climbing to be as smooth and as thoughtless as walking on a sidewalk. I don't count "tripping and falling" as progress, success or pushing my limits when I'm walking my kids to school and *generally* I don't feel that way about my climbing either.

If given the option of say... climbing something well within my current capabilities (my climbing head and abilities wax and wan over the years, like a sine wave, so often it is elusive as to where my ability currently resides) and trying and falling repeatedly on something over my head, I will almost always elect the former.

"You're not trying hard enough!" (for who?)

"You'll never get better that way!" (better at what?)

"Climbing is about pushing your limits!" (is that written in stone?)

"Trust your gear!" (I bestow my trust grudgingly)

"You're not doing it right!" (sue me)

There is no one true WAY to climb. You don't have to fall for this macho 'have to get better' attitude unless you want to (get it...? FALL for??? Hah! Sometimes I just kill myself!). It's OK to climb for your own pleasure and forsake the desires of others.

Here's a question... are REAL MEN (TM) afraid to admit they're afraid to fall?

DMT


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