Getting over the Fear after a Highball Fall


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Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 12, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
@guyman yeah I've pretty much accepted that i could get hurt but love climbing tto much to let that affect me. Eventually ill move away from high boulders and stick to less risky ones......maybe
john hansen

Feb 12, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
I believe the climber in chichens pic is Honhold
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 12, 2013 - 11:49pm PT
I popped off a highball in 1985, fell 10 ft, $20,000+ surgery to screw leg & ankle bones back together.

1. A 150 lb weight falling 10 ft generates 2000 lbs of force.
2. Sometimes, in rock climbing, falling is NOT an option.

I think many people are too cavalier about falling. Really give it a good think; How far do you want to fall? What about the landing? For me, that's three feet.

There is rational fear and there is irrational fear. I don't think many successful climbers carry irrational fear. There is also an irrational lack of fear. Also, there is luck.

Top Roping hard problems is a great way to enjoy climbing.

Bouldering requires less gear, less set-up, but in my opinion top roping is way more fun and a better way to enhance your skills and find your edge where you can and can't make it.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 13, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
When you believe you are strong, you are strong.

I believe that Todd Skinner said that (Heueco Tanks days).

Self-delusion aside? I understood the utter truth of his statement the very second I heard it.

At the core of the ability to manage fear?

A belief that I can do it. That belief is centered on the ability to hang on and pull down, all the moves, all the way. Its a confidence game built on fitness.

They go hand in hand imo. I've climbed fat and know in my bones the insecurity of poor fitness.

From fitness stems the confidence of technique and the belief that "I can."


Mountain climber
San Diego, CA
Feb 13, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
Definitely true, DMT.

If there's any doubt on either end, regarding the mental and the physical components of the climb, it will be shaky at best.

The clue (for me) that I've done due diligence with a particular climb is if I can, on the final go, just feel like I'm "walking up it" in a seemingly effortless manner. And I'll have the same psychological state of calmness and confidence from the bottom to the top. For me it's a really light and free feeling of having FUN and being able to do what I want.

Feb 13, 2013 - 08:08pm PT
Pay attention to Spider. Look at Largo and the pain, expenses, etc. he's going through after falling in a padded gym. Ask yourself if it's worth the price. And keep in mind all those bone-racking jolts from jumping off up high, even on mats, will pay negative dividends both anatomically and neurologically as you age.

But if you must, you must . . . good luck!



Boulder climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2013 - 01:07pm PT

You're right, it is always important to be forward thinking of the possible outcomes of something like this. The risks to the body long term have to always be taken into consideration even if you don't get hurt in the initial falls that are taken.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 15, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Highball bouldering is flat out STUPID and gaurenf*#kinteed to get you hurt. Either rope up or solo but don't think it's ok to fall just becuse there is a pad down there somewhere and that is how they do it in the magazines....

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Feb 15, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
I think the knowing-in-your-bones "I can" is a product of putting in time doing the activity so there is a deep level of experience-based intuition to inform it, and the fitness associated with it. Time away from it dulls the fitness edge, and the mental edge, and the coordination/skills of operating at a high level of proficiency.

Having an injury fall is a big input factor for future fear calculations, understanding more precisely and deeply where our limits are and what are the consequences of failure. But when we digest that, our judgement of "is it worth it" will be more accurate than before.

Maybe the most important thing is to listen to our own assessment of "is it worth it" and be willing to walk away. If we're not ok with walking away from a challenge, we're not ready for it. There is too much emotional need clouding the rational calculations of risk.

Werner managed to say the same thing with one line.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Feb 15, 2013 - 06:43pm PT
I come from a gymnastics background and if you missed your mat while learning a trick it would be considered a major f**k up and your peers would think twice about your mental capacity. When learning hard tricks there is a long progression and you don't move on to the next progression until your totally ready , the big mistakes usually happen when you skip progressions. Glad you didn't get too hurt.

Sport climber
Feb 15, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
Take up sport climbing. Get comfortable falling on bolts.
Then do easier run out terrain on bolts.

Works for me.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 15, 2013 - 06:54pm PT
I just soloed 250 ft of ice today including a 60ft WI4 pillar but there is no way in hell i would boulder with the modern mindsect that falling/ jumping is acceptable and encoureged...
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