Fighting the Fear of Falling

I first started seriously lead climbing last Spring (March 2017). I thought it would be no big deal, just another type of climbing. However, the fear of falling was (is) petrifying! The natural state is to be afraid of taking a fall. Evolution wise that makes sense. It takes a constant effort to overcome this natural fear.

It starts out like any normal climb. Clip into the first bolt no problem. Like any good climbing beta “Just go up!” The fear just gets worse and worse. The “elvis leg” kicks in. My legs keep shaking like crazy with Elvis leg syndrome. I’m not even thinking about how I have protection on the wall or an excellent belay partner. Just like Ralphy from A Christmas Story I think to myself, “Oh fudge.”

I manage to get a quick draw on the wall. My thoughts turn from “Oh fudge” to “I am way above my last quick draw”. Immediately I grab the webbing on the quick draw and dog bone* to safety. Once clipped in I yell, “TAKE”, and only once the rope is tight do I let go of the draw.

And repeat.

Repeat again.

This time I made it slightly above the protection and decided to fall instead of falling later with a larger fall.

Keep repeating.

Finally, clip into the chains. Sounds fun, right? Really depends if you are the climber or the belayer. 😉

Over the next few weeks we will tackle some common problems, and ways to slowly, but surely overcome them.

The Curriculum

Problem 1: Mental Script

Nonexistent, just panicking.

Problem 2: Dog boning

Feels safe, but often lead to a reverse clip

Problem 3: Endurance

Only one bolt in length

Problem 4: Safe Zone engrained

Only feel safe at a clip

Ways to put this in action

Games, games, and more games!

*Dog boning is the art of assist climbing where the gear is used to get to the top. Dog boning specifically references grabbing the webbing in between two carabiners of a quick draw.

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