|Yep, not scary at all.|
Almost every one will tell you that you need to practice enough falls to get the fear out of you. Get to the top of the wall, don't clip in at the screwgate and just jump.
When you fall enough times, you'll learn to trust the rope and the safety etc. You want to know your belay
I call bullshit on that theory.
Don't get me wrong, I agree that you need to do practice falls to know HOW to fall correctly. Hell I'd fallen incorrectly once before (foot caught on rope and flipped) which could have caused a concussion if not for the steep wall and a great belayer.
But if you think practice falls alone will shake the fear out of lead climbing, you may as well try stabbing yourself occasionally to end your fear of muggers and serial killers.
|Muggers only carry knives in the UK, Amercians should try shooting themselves.|
That's negative thinking. Through negative reinforcement you're basically mentally preparing your body for the fall, and what happens is, you're more likely to panic and fall...
|...which is what you want to do if you're Nicolas Cage in City of Angels|
That's exactly what climbing should be about (lead or not) - The Climb itself, and it only really clicked for me this Wednesday.
There's no getting around the fact that you're climbing on your own when you're lead climbing. A tight top-rope can let you cheat a little on your way up a difficult wall, but it's still you making the moves to get up there -nothing but your hands and feet to push you up the wall. Why should you change the way you climb because of the rope, which normally gets in your way anyway?
This excellent video on YouTube tackles this very well, particularly at the 2m44s mark. Getting tunnel visioned by trying to the clip in at the first opportunity, making unnecessarily risky moves for the sake of having the clip above you just doesn't make sense.
|He may not have a professor beard, but look at nature backdrop, this guy knows his shit outdoors.|
I got too tired from climbing.
In my quest to be a more efficient climber, to conserve myself for consecutive nights, I'd stumbled upon the right mindset, which renewed my much need confidence at leading, especially after my dry spell over the winter.
|I'll get the rope when he's finished.|
Now I struggled with my last leads, badly, and that was on F6b's. So it's safe to say I did not feel super confident. But Monkey Sees, Monkey Dares. Having felt more positive towards effective and efficient climbing, I gave it a go, and resumed the mind frame I was in when I crushed that F6a+ months ago.
My time on the wall was focused almost entirely on the holds, not the clips, so much so that I missed my third. My excuse was that I had to traverse right away from the clip, and by the time I returned left I was on the fourth. Anyhow, I proceeded up the wall, rested on a couple of jugs (pun!) and I was suddenly at the finishing screwgate. No wobbly feet, no desperate moves, just pure climbing.
|Rest on them jugs!|
Instead of flapping and grabbing random hand and foot holds like I always did, I was calm as an eagle and down climbed pass the last clip that I missed. I figured out the right spot to clip in, and climbed back up for the screwgate again.
|Finally reached the top, now I can start climbing.|
So do I have any wise words to share in summary? Are you kidding me? Do I seem like the summarising type? But for what it's worth, falling practice isn't what got me here (I hadn't done one since September / October), climbing is. The clip can wait, get yourself in a good position first.
|The intro of my next blog post.|
Just kidding, Monkey doesn't Jump.
Disclaimer - remember, I'm not an instructor, I'm probably full of shit with this ignore the clip bullshit, and I welcome any contributions to put me right. But like I said on the Monkey Explains page - this is primarily for my recollection and your amusement. Jumping never helped me with my confidence at leading, maybe it does to you.
And ALWAYS seek professional advice over some Monkey's opinion on the internet.