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Your first lead fall...

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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby jesu, joy of man's desiring » Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:08 pm

--

like 1977 in Joshua Tree, when I was 17. On a 5.9 crack/stem thing called The Orphan. An 8 footer onto a swami belt, which wrenches your guts unpleasantly.

Far worse, a year before I took city buses 60 miles out to Mt. Rubidoux, to clamber around on the small cliffs there, in my Pivetta Red Spiders. I got about 20 ft up...realized it was too hard...could not go up or climb down...got sewing machine legs..finally tried to climb up to the top and FELL OFF.

Like a 45-foot fall, including the long tumble down the slope...I went down to the Alpha Beta Supermarket there and spent about an hour cleaning my wounds...bought some bandages...and took the bus back home.

--
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby mvs » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:35 pm

Sky Ridge at Smith Rocks, 2001. On a 5.8 pitch, bolted. The fall was a complete surprise. It was over before I had a chance to be scared. We went on with the route, no big deal. I remember the pitch after being so great because of a neat traverse.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby JJBrunner » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:53 pm

Took my first whippers a couple days ago. Not just one, like 10. This was on a sport climb, I haven't taken any HONEST falls on trad yet. It was supposed to be a 10a, but I got on the wrong climb and it was maybe an 11. The crux was above a bolt and I kept trying it, taking about 15' falls each time. It twas fun! I'll get that route eventually! Never did pull that crux move...
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby hellroaring » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:45 am

a few years back at Lover's Leap. On The Farce...it's like 5.4 or 5.5 something like that. The traditional start traverses out to left putting you quite high before you can get a piece of gear in. I had just started leading trad, it looked easy but my partner insisted I do the direct start since you could something in sooner. Should have listened to my inner voice cuz i ended up falling and smacking my left ankle on a rock outcrop. sprained it pretty bad. read online later that the move i fell on was more like 5.9 or something so i felt a little redeemed. always listen to that gut feeling you have folks, know what i mean. i guess the most important thing is that the large nut i placed did what it was supposed to do and kept me from a 15-20 foot ground fall.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby colint » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:50 pm

If I remember correctly, and I don't think I do, my first real lead fall was on Crack of Dissent, 5.10a trad, at City of Rocks Idaho. Pulled a piece and bruised my heal hitting the ledge with rope stretch. Prior to that, I'd done practice falls on sport climbs. Anyway that is the first fall I remember. I may actually have fallen on the Regular Route on Fairview Dome before then.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby Hotoven » Wed May 11, 2011 6:16 pm

knoback, how come no one wanted to ever belay you?

My first lead fall was on a slightly overhanging 5.9 crimpy wall. I was scared out of my mind, but it felt good to get my first fall out of the way. This was only a 35 foot sport route too. I fell about 5 feet and almost slammed into the wall because I grabbed the rope, haha certainly a Jr. mistake!

I haven't fallen on trad yet, but I don't climb it very often...yet! :D
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby GlacierCountry » Wed May 11, 2011 8:03 pm

My wife and I are fairly new to climbing and took our first "climbing trip" to Red Rocks at the end of March this year. Up to that point we had done a fair amount of top roping but had only lead climbed a few times in the gym and once on real rock. We climbed with 4 friends who were very experienced. I was lead climbing a 5.9 route and was almost to the top of this 50' route when I fell.

There was an hourglass shaped hold washed into the crack in which I had my right thumb and middle finger in opposition, completely around the 2" diameter hold (this was a really cool feature). Foot holds were decent little flakes but the next hold for my left hand was not clear to me. I took a leap of faith that I would find a good hold when I extended my legs and leveraged with the hourglass feature. As I did this, I could then see the anchor bolts at the top and I knew I was almost done. Unfortunately I had myself in such a position that I really needed a good left hand hold for balance and there wasn't anything there. I popped a foot off a flake trying to extend further and this caused me to peel off the crack.

I was 5-6' above the last cam when I fell. It held rock solid and I was a little surprised with myself in that I was not very shaken at all by the fall and by nature I'm generally a little skiddish. It didn't hurt, although I did peel a 4cm patch of skin off my medial upper tibia (an hour later it sure hurt). The fall was actually reassuring that everything was okay and I could trust the gear. I continued climbing, falling yet again in the same spot! But alas, the challenge of getting past that spot and the comfort of having two falls without significant consequnce prompted me to keep going and I made it past that section and to the top.

In summary, it was probably a great first lead fall. Had something more scary happened I might never have climbed again, who knows.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby CClaude » Wed May 11, 2011 9:54 pm

Swithich wrote:Hasn't happened yet (I keep realizing at points about 10 feet above the previous bolt how much that is going to hurt someday).

BTW, how is a 30 foot fall not a bad fall. You can easily die from a 30 foot fall. Just saying.

-Swithich


I've done lots of 30ft falls (actually one one route) and its not bad, if they are clean falls. Unfortunately this thread is about first falls and they tend to be on easier terrain which is actually the last place you want to take long falls (since they tend to have things you can hit, like holds, ledges,.....). Its tthe harder routes (clean lines and sometimes overhanging which makes for clean falls). Not very fair huh,... when you have the most experience the falls can be clean, and when you have the least experience the falls are realistically the most dangerous.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby teahupo26 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:16 pm

MY first was 7 years ago in Ton Sai on a very short 6a+ route. i didn`t know what was happening-blind panic as i realised i wasn`t gonna make the clip then i just fell. I had no idea how i fell or where my head and body was in relation to the rock or the world.
Felt such relief when i stopped and i hadn`t even touched the rock on the way down. Felt no fear after,just relief. took a 5 minute break and led it to the top straight after. turns out my first was one of my best :)
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby The Chief » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:19 pm

It was back in Oct of '69 on one of Woody Stark's chimney FA's, The Flake. He took us out to JT for another Boy Scout/Webelo Merit Badge climbing weekends. He led it and left the pro in situ, pretty much sewing it up to keep up from falling long but safe etc. We all had to lead the line to the top of the flake where he had an anchor set up and he would then lower us after completing the lower route as the top had yet to be FA'd. I watched as several of my buddies struggled and took their small falls on the crux traverse move towards the top. Remember, we didn't have rock shoes back then. Only Chuck T's and PF Flyers. Then came my turn. I was determined not to fall where everyone else had. Got on it, was flowing smooth and feeling good. Then came the traverse right outta the chimney onto the flake. Put my right foot out, solid. Grabbed the flake and then brought my left foot out onto the flake, zing.... popped. I was never scared cuz I was too focused on making the move and being the first not to fall. Oh well. I remember hanging and really concentrating on the moves right to get to the anchors some six or seven feet away. Got it on the next try and everyone cheered as they did for all of us that made it. That was the fateful moment in my climbing career. I was hooked!!!

I will never forget it... never.



Edit: My first "Sport Climbing" lead fall was a year and half or so later on the first P crux of Walk on the Wild Side, Saddle Rock, JT, during another of Woody's led BSA trips.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby hoser23 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:40 pm

My first lead fall was on the first pitch of Table of Contents on Stately Pleasure Dome,
Tuolumne Meadows. Fell twice on it at different spots. It was July 27, 1985 and my first
.10 lead. I will never forget the feeling I had on the second fall trying to "think" up and will
my body to ascend as I slowly succumbed to gravity. Thunder storm chased us off after the 2nd. pitch.
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby Buckaroo » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Can't remember my first lead fall. I started climbing alpine sans ropes so never have practiced climbing to fall.

It was probably on a sport route or aid solo

Only have a handful of trad lead falls, probably about 5 or 6 in 18 years.

do remember my last lead fall. A week ago rope soloing the 6 pitch Davis Holland-Lovin Arms at Index, crux of the 3rd pitch, and crux of the climb. Got through the crux and thought I was safe. Mantling onto a sloper ledge exiting the crux and raising the body the angle of the feet changed and they both popped simultaneously on the apparently slick granite, the hands just greased right off the sloper ledge. Held by the smallest piece on the rack, the 3/4 DMM Wallnut. It was such a surprise that I didn't jump off, just skidded down about 15 feet unhurt. It's not quite vertical at that point. The fact that the system all worked was quite a relief because I was using an "Aid Soloist" and have never taken a free climb fall with this setup. It was good the nut held because the yellow TCU below it levered sideways from the force and the cams were backwards on one side, it would have pulled. The climb went much better after that due to the added positive psyche.

I used to climb with a partner that was into falling. He would intentionally push beyond his limits very frequently. He took some big falls and even pulled gear. He encouraged me to "climb to fall" more, which I did somewhat while climbing with him. Another thing we would do was to intentionally jump off on good gear just to conquer the fear. I've have since gone back to the alpine mantra "leader must not fall".

Nice thread topic BTW
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby mvs » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:19 pm

Buckaroo wrote:...A week ago rope soloing the 6 pitch Davis Holland-Lovin Arms at Index, crux of the 3rd pitch, and crux of the climb...Held by the smallest piece on the rack, the 3/4 DMM Wallnut. It was such a surprise that I didn't jump off, just skidded down about 15 feet unhurt....


Awesome! I just looked up my notes about that pitch from years ago and found:

me, 2005 wrote:I remembered that chucK had said a #5 HB Offset was the ticket to protect this section, and happily I had one! So I racked it close and tried again. Sure enough in a tiny flare I fit the little brass nut securely. "Whew a bomber piece!" I said. Here I lost my chance for a free ascent because as I passed the nut I couldn't resist...pulling on it. 5.10c Index faces apparently scare me a little bit! Another move or two and I was above the face and placing a nut in a small pocket that appeared excavated by eager fingers. I continued on rapidly easing terrain to the belay station which has a fantastic position high above the town.


So I totally know the place you are talking about! :lol:

Buckaroo wrote:I used to climb with a partner that was into falling. He would intentionally push beyond his limits very frequently. He took some big falls and even pulled gear. He encouraged me to "climb to fall" more, which I did somewhat while climbing with him. Another thing we would do was to intentionally jump off on good gear just to conquer the fear. I've have since gone back to the alpine mantra "leader must not fall".

Nice thread topic BTW


Seems like maybe you are both right. Doing falls can be a good idea to conquer fear. But once conquered, maybe it becomes needless risk. Do you think you would rope-solo stuff like Davis-Holland without such earlier training?
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Re: Your first lead fall...

Postby PellucidWombat » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:03 pm

My first and only fall so far was this spring in Yosemite Valley. The fall was a surprise at the surprise on The Surprise. I had just gotten in a bad #0 3CU (2 of 3 heads were engaged) but the crack & stance were bad enough that I felt I was more likely to fall while getting in better pro than just climbing through the section. I was reaching across the crux face when the flake crimped in my right hand ripped off. Pop!

"Fuuuuuuuhaawwwk!" I blurted out as I smashed onto my chest to the left and started bouncing down the slab, all the while thinking about how bad my last piece was.

The fall was only about 15 ft and pretty harmless apart from some slab rash, and luckily my piece held! I climbed back up to it, and seeing how easily the cam was rotating on the two engaged lobes, I decided to hang on the piece and get in a good nut past it before looking for a different way to climb the crux.
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