Getting over the Fear of Falling

 So you look at taking a fall like this and not let it hold you back from climbing naturally.....  Ryan Palo taking the plummet off 'Just Do It', Smith Rocks

So you look at taking a fall like this and not let it hold you back from climbing naturally..... Ryan Palo taking the plummet off 'Just Do It', Smith Rocks

We all know someone who is nervous of falling, uncomfortable on a rope, tense, not moving very well. It's one of those hidden elements in improving at climbing that most people don't care to admit. But it is also something that is least understood in how to deal with it, or admitting it needs to be overcome.

Great post up on Rannveig Aamodt's website about getting over the fear of falling. What gives credentials to her to deal with it? This incident that I linked to here:

"Our lives are full of transformative moments, and April 26, 2012 was one of them. It was the day I took a groundfall that shattered my back, pelvis, arm and both ankles, and changed my life forever."

The post on getting over the fear of falling can be found here (which has been written since she came back to climbing - I believe she is back climbing 8a and above).

"The more comfortable falls you have under your belt, the less it will limit your climbing, and help you make the right choices during difficult situations.  One bad fall can be enough to set you back to scratch — I know all about this!  Therefore it is really important to practice this with an experienced climber and in safe environments."

I've used many of these tactics myself (probably once per year as a little personal refresher to make sure I've no hesitancy myself) and regularly when coaching others. An important step I'd emphasise is to not rush it. Start off with little falls in the first session, but just when they start going well, don't go straight to jumping off a couple of metres above the bolt (of which I've seen recommended by a few people). While you probably manage it once, you're not really over-coming the fear long-term. It takes some time but usually once you've gotten over it, it stays away almost completely with only minor refreshers (as I use on myself).


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Neal McQuaid