Falling Safely- International Climber’s Festival

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Added By: Jamie

If you’re looking for a festival that truly encompasses what the climbing community is, then head to Lander,WY in July. Packed with clinics, gear trials, people, competitions, and free food; the International Climbers Festival (ICF) honestly has it all. If you want more information on our trip there check out Chris’s blog post!

 

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For me, this trip’s focus was on a Saturday clinic I signed up for with a friend, entitled ‘Fall Safe’. I think by it’s name we all know what this clinic probably was about.

Hosted by Alli Rainey and Kevin Wilkinson (both awesome awesome people), the few of us in this class signed up to basically lead fall for the entire morning session. Sound fun? For me, this was a terrifying notion. Falling on lead is one of the biggest mental blocks I have had in climbing and has significantly deterred me from getting any better. It was not an overnight cure but taking this class has been a lifesaver for me since then. Utilizing their advice, I have been seeing some improvement, mentally, and can consistently push myself a little further each climb.

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Highlights

Before the climb:

  1. Always always always check all the gear you are planning to use.
  2. Trust your belayer.
  3. Maintain communication on the climb.
  4. Discuss the climb prior to sending (i.e Tricky fall sections- may need to give more/ less slack than usual).

During the climb:

  1. If you are scared about moving onto the next step because you are afraid of falling… just tell your partner you are falling and let go. After falling you may be able to get back on and try the move that previously sketched you out.
  2. Think about why you are scared.
  3. Start with small falls and work your way up. Taking a large whipper may make the fear of falling worse.
  4. Breathe.

After the climb:

  1. Don’t let anyone bully you about not finishing a route because you were scared. They are not you. You know your limit and it is your choice on how far you get pushed.
  2. Don’t bully yourself. You came down for a reason. Think about what made you feel so nervous and try to use that to motivate yourself next time.

For the belayer: Make sure you know how to give a proper catch and review techniques on how to do so.

Go ahead and think about these things on your next climb. So far they have made a difference for me and I hope they can do the same for you.

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As a note, climbing is dangerous. This is not a article on how to lead climb, it is advice on how to address the mental blocks that go along with climbing. Please seek guided instruction before going on your own adventure. 

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