Falling is really the dangerous part of climbing .They are the worst fear of a climber so it is important for you to identify your fears and distinguish whether they are rational or irrational. Once you master this discernment ability, you will be able to decide clearly whether to avert fear and push through, or acknowledge a risk that is unwise and back away cautiously. Your rock climbing training should include this, whether you are a beginner or an advanced climber. To know what happens when you fall while climbing, check out this article.
Your fear, however, will not magically disappear if you do that. If we take the measured risk and consider the safety factors, we can quell that irrational fear of falling.
What do you feel like when you fall? Maybe you have a tendency to ‘take’ instead of going for the next step? Would you rather not leave your comfortable rest? Do you think you will be safe if you let go and fall? Perhaps you have followed the steps in the previous article and run through a risk management assessment of the fall, knowing objectively that it’s safe, but still unable to overcome the fear of the fall because of its consequences. In this article, we will outline four easy steps to help you reduce your fear of falling.
Step 1: Identify the Risk
Start by identifying whether your fear of falling is rational or irrational, safe or unsafe, using the risk management assessment framework. Step one requires that your fall be within your personal acceptable fall range. In other words, you decide ultimately whether this fall is safe. You might not be injured if you fall, or the risk of a fall may be acceptable to you. Train yourself to evaluate these situations objectively.
Step 2: How to Fall
Instead of stiffening up when you are about to fall, relax your muscles. Breathe deeply and exhale when you fall and while falling, put your body in a cat-like position with your knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed, and your feet slightly bent with the soles of your feet ready to embrace the fall. Remember you need more than just climbing skills to climb a wall; you also need the ability to climb down safely (intentionally or not)! A soft body is vital for preventing ligaments, muscles, and bones from being damaged more than they need to be. Relaxed muscles allow the impact of hitting a wall (or bouldering crash pad) to be absorbed more easily than a stiff body. Try not to twist or turn your body when you fall. Prepare yourself for a soft impact by bracing your feet and using them to absorb the impact.
Step 3: Practice Falls
When it comes to rock climbing training, exposure is the best way to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. A fear of falling can be overcome by practicing falling.
It is important to note that too much exposure (especially really big falls) will not be helpful if you start with too much fear. It’s best to train your mind in a progressive manner. You should take many manageable sized falls rather than a few big ones to create a solid base of falls experience.
Make sure you are at a safe distance from your belayer and the ground before taking a fall. As a top rope user, make sure you do this exercise towards the top of your route and not close to ground level. Climbing ropes are dynamic, meaning that they stretch and you could hit the ground if you fall.
Starting your practice falls at the fourth or fifth bolt, or at least 30 to 40 feet above the ground, will ensure you can take a big fall without hitting the ground. Taking and catching falls this way increases your safety factor and builds your experience (and the experience of your belayer).
It goes like this:
Step 1: Top Rope Falls
- You could also ask your belayer to give you 3 feet of slack before you fall. Do this three times before moving on.
- Let the system slacken by 6 feet and take three falls.
- Take 3 falls with 10 feet of slack to improve your top rope falling.
Step 2: Lead Falls
- You need to take 3 falls after your last bolt is clipped.
- Then fall three times with your last bolt clipped at your knees.
- Fall three times with your last bolt at your feet.
- In 1-foot increments, move above your bolt until you have started falling 10 feet below it, resulting in a 20-foot fall.
- At every level of falling, it’s important to be aware of your breathing, your feelings, and what you’re saying to yourself. You must train your mind in order to climb rocks. It is important to note which falls cause you the most hesitation and discomfort, and which ones do not. Feelings teach us about our personal boundaries that we have created for ourselves. With this progression practice, these can be broken over time.
Customizing Your Falling Practice
To achieve your goal, you need to customize your fall practice. This progression is a good place to start if you’ve never fallen and only climb in the gym. If you have a traditionally protected project outside and are afraid of falling on the gear, do this progression on a safe traditional route. Rather than placing one cam, place two (for redundancy). Practicing this way is more realistic and will enable you to progress more quickly by decreasing your fear. The progression on an overhanging route is ideal if you are afraid of the exposure and big air of an overhanging sport route.
Step 4: Application to Your Project
The best way to practice falling is to tailor it to match the type of routes you plan to try. The problem is, however, that this isn’t always possible. Now that you have built your base by working through the progression, it’s time to start falling on your project. To determine whether a fall is safe or unsafe, you need to apply a risk management lens. To begin with, take small falls where it is safe to do so. Take your fall at the point where you feel hesitant to proceed on the route. It will completely change how you interact with your project. Your confidence will increase, and your ability to focus at the critical moment will improve as your mind lets go of the fear of failure. Don’t underestimate the mental aspect of your rock climbing training. You will climb differently after using it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What causes a fear of falling?
A fall can be a stressful life event that causes it. Many people experience mild levels of anxiety on a regular basis and consider it as part of life. A lot of people feel panicky and anxious about falling, however. This is a problem if it is affecting your life.
Does fear of falling cause falls?
Yes many a times fear of falling causes falls as you loose your concentration and think about your safety too much. In that case you can fall.
What phobia is the fear of falling?
The fear of falling is called as ptophobia.