In inclined or only vertical climbing terrain, many are afraid of falling. Accordingly inhibited is climbed and the existing strength and ability is not optimally exhausted. To reduce the fear of falling, a systematic fall training is necessary.
A guest post by Katharina Völker from target10a.com
If possible, you should climb long routes with the fall-is-any-time non-dangerous mentality. Prerequisite are good equipment and a trusted backup partner. Only if you manage to free yourself from the fear of falling and climb as long as your hands are on the grip, you will be able to exploit your strength and technology.
Even experienced climbers have to fight with the fear of falling
Occasionally, I hear an experienced climber complain that he is still wrestling with fear of falling. This is because the fear of falling is not systematically reduced by experience in climbing. Only those who regularly crash, also reduces their fear of falling.
Regular fall training to combat the fear of falling
You will benefit from fall training in a number of ways. First of all, you learn to trust the security system. In this way, the almost ridiculous fears, such as breaking the rope or breaking a bolt, can be reduced. But more importantly, learn how to fall properly - upright with a relaxed body and without your foot threading into the rope or getting caught on the rock. These are all the critical skills that should be made largely unconscious through practice.
Finally, in safe situations, these practice falls gradually remove the innate fear of falling. Over time, these experiences will become imprinted on your mind. Thereby you reduce the fear of falling and are able to make the right decisions while climbing. You can climb as much as you want, it won't take away your fear of falling. But you will learn to deal with this fear in such a way that it does not prevent you from climbing.
Performing the fall training
Your fall training works best in the controlled environment of a climbing gym or a well-secured route in the climbing garden. Practice in a slightly overhanging sport climbing route that does not contain any protruding handles. Use a good rope, check your knot and strap and get yourself backed up by an experienced safer. Start with short falls, with knees at hook height. Including rope stretching this will lead to about one and a half or two meters wide fall. When you get used to this short fall height, you'll climb a little higher so your feet are at about hook height. Depending on how much rope has already been spent, or how far you have already climbed, this leads to a medium-length sport climbing fall of more or less three meters.
Higher training falls in the overhang
Train these short- and medium-length falls at least once a week for a few months. Gradually, you will find these stunts a no-big-deal, which in fact they are. Some climbers go further and make practice crashes with their feet half a meter or more above the last fuse - these longer sport climbing falls can reach a total of 4 to 6 meters in length, depending on the climbing height, the rope stretch and how much rope the safer spends. These longer crashes should always be done on at least 30 ° overhanging routes. As a result, you fall freely in the air. The likelihood that you hit the rock or thread your foot into the rope is low. Important for all fall heights: First climb up enough in the route so that it does not come into contact with the ground, even if the save is too dynamic!
Long-term effort needed
In the long term, you will be able to free yourself from the fear of falling in safe situations and thus be able to climb freely and without fear. Occasionally there will still be situations that make you a little scared for some reason. Perhaps you are afraid that you could swing a little if you fall, or that the climbing position is suspended. In this case, you benefit enormously from an individual in this very situation. Carry out a conscious and planned fall on the spot in order to be prepared for a real “go” and to be less concerned with the fear than with the climbing.
Gradually reduce the fear of falling
Ultimately, the fight against fear of falling is a long-term endeavor. We do not talk about days or weeks, but months or years to get the problem under control. It is a long process, for which two conditions are necessary: the readiness for regular training falls, as well as the courage to push oneself to the limits and to accept real falls when climbing in the attempted access.
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Credits: Original article by Eric Hörst published on 19.02.2015 trainingforclimbing.com. Translated with the kind permission of Eric Hörst.
Note: LACRUX assumes no responsibility for the performance of your fall training. The training arrangement described above is a recommendation and need for re-examination by an experienced person.