Getting over the Fear after a Highball Fall


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Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Feb 8, 2013 - 05:16pm PT

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Feb 8, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
I'd put a rope on and get some air underneath you.

Trad climber
Feb 8, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
Nothing wrong with being a pussy sometimes. Just don't fall again...problem solved ;-)

Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
@stevep, I agree, I tried the problem the week after not fully healed, think it helped mentally but didn't pull it off until the week after. You definitely have to put the fear out of your mind and not dwell on it.

@cosmiccragsman, don't think I would do that with an injured arm, that's way too extreme even on TR! I have a friend who TR'ed with a broken ankle with a cast on. The love of climbing sometimes is worth the risk!

Boulder climber
Feb 8, 2013 - 05:59pm PT
The obvious answer would be more, and or bigger (well placed) pads. Essentially you jumped off, but a pretty wild jump. It may have been a better strategy to use a burn to get a close look/ feel of those upper holds, then back-down in control - better informed, for another run at it. Hindsight is 20/20. propz -nice routes and climbing. Edit: The route traverses out to the left? In the first clip you looked like 2 moves from the top, and you were not going left at all.

Feb 8, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Going on 76 I just shake my head in wonder when I see how popular highballing has become. Although I soloed extensively for over 50 years I rarely did what these days is called a "highball." For me, fifty years ago, the Thimble was a climb and I treated it as such, being very cautious and going slowly and steadily, over several visits - no dynamics. Nowadays, when a climber falls and breaks an ankle or worse on much more difficult terrain and then wants to go back up "protected" by these dinky mats I can only speculate why. ;>)

But then I belong to a generation that began climbing in basketball shoes or heavy mountain boots and cord knickers, coiling a natural fiber rope and wielding a piton hammer on soft Swiss iron and clipping on with steel karabiners!
Jebus H Bomz

Feb 8, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Ah, Cosmic, my comments were more directed at the op. I know you climb. Cheers!

Feb 8, 2013 - 06:24pm PT

Interesting point. Which led me to think of this. I wonder how many modern day "boulderers" even know what the Thimble is? I've never made it to the Needles yet but when I do it's on the list.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Feb 8, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
You will never get advice from a better source than JoGill on this subject. BTW, if you placed a bunch of pads at the base of the Thimble, they'd just get run-over or parked on by a tour bus or a bunch of Harleys.

I know there are a number of people on here that could send the Thimble, but I took a good hard look at it a couple of years ago when I was there and promptly walked across the road and high-balled some 5.5.

Trad climber
estes park
Feb 8, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
I think its fairly well known, with only a couple repeats? Its definitely not on the modern day bouldering circuit (Park, Bishop, etc.).

Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
@jogill and rupell, that's an understandable viewpoint. But some people get a thrill out of doing dangerous things knowing you can be hurt, different strokes i guess. Thanks for sharing your viewpoints though

Trad climber
estes park
Feb 8, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
"I rarely did what these days is called a "highball."

I really have to call you out on this one:)
Never met you jogill, but I did have to pay the library a considerable sum of money for holding on to Master of Rock well past its due date when I was a young teen. I found some of the more obscure problems in the book around Estes including one on the edge of moraine park up above the bridge, a thin licheny seam, 30ft high or so, 5.11-5.12ish? Very impressive. Safe to say Jogill knows what highballing is about.

Feb 8, 2013 - 07:12pm PT

You might be missing my viewpoint and I might be missing yours. Just so where on the same page I boulder quite a bit. I also highball quite a bit. I also solo quite a bit. You get the idea. I just think that people that only enjoy one aspect of the sport miss out on the history of it. That's nothing against you. If it was the wrong place to bring it up I can understand that from your point. Tell the truth though before jogill mentioned the Thimble upthread had you ever heard of it?

Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
@rupell I had not heard of the thimble but looked it up and it was quite an impressive piece of rock. I think I may have missed the point and I apologize, no disrespect to anyone. I know some history of bouldering, no such things as the modern day climbing shoe and using a piece of carpet to protect the ground (not the climber)! I do appreciate the people before me who did so much for the sport. I guess I was taking the comment as people should climb with ropes instead of doing the high climbs without them. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Feb 8, 2013 - 07:47pm PT

No offense taken at all. Bouldering is an amazing pursuit in and of itself. I have friends that only boulder. I have friends who only rope climb. I just choose to do both. I can't really say I enjoy one more than the other or that one is better then the other. It's up to each person to choose what really drives them. I just climb.
all in jim

Feb 8, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but it looks like the main problem with the fall is that you missed the pad. Really taking the time to put the pads in the best spot seems like a crucial step in limiting the fear factor. It's good to be afraid if you are in a dangerous situation!


Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2013 - 08:12pm PT
@rupell im a sport climber also but mostly boulder though. Id like to try trad but cant afford a rack.

@jogill thanks for your contribution here and to the sport of bouldering!
gonzo chemist

Fort Collins, CO
Feb 8, 2013 - 08:21pm PT
Did a bit o' high-ballin' today out at Horsetooth Reservoir...jogill's old stomping ground.

Its all about staying relaxed, which is a bit of a contradiction. As far as getting back on the horse after getting bucked off...I'd rather get on steep stuff with a rope on.

Besides aren't you in MA? if so, you're not that far from Rumney and Cathedral Ledge. Apply those bouldering skills to tall objectives. Get on a rope, get a good belayer, and send some rediculous hard lines.

Otherwise, the only thing you can do is just steel you mettle, breathe, and execute the moves.

Social climber
Feb 8, 2013 - 09:36pm PT
Check out Jeremy Bernsteins story about Chouinard after his 160 foot in the tetons--"it took me a year but I got it back"
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 8, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
It might not ever be the same. Don't expect it to.

You got hurt. You always knew you might get hurt. Now you know what it's like.

I've done it. My arch is flat and it always will be. It took a while to get back up there and I still won't push it when I'm way up there. It has to be good holds or I come down. It's not the same.

Go get on some high easy problems that you know. They might scare you, but you know them so you will keep going. Eventually, they will feel easy again.

As for pushing it up high, that may or may not come back. It's part of life. If the line is good, there is still a chance.

PS- Suspended is a classic. The first jug has broken. It used to be like a steering wheel for the big jump, about the size of that old Sprint arcade game. It still works, but it's different.

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