Tips on falling off in sport climbing

Tips on falling off in sport climbing

Tim Emmett provides some tips on what to look out for when falling off in sport climbing.

How things have progressed. In the old days of hemp ropes and hob-nailed boots, it was a bad idea for climbers to push themselves above their grade. Falling wasn't really an option. New-fangled gear has changed everything, especially in sport climbing, where if you don't fall you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough! Here are some tips for when it's your turn to take the quick way down!

  • If you are about to fall, make sure the rope is in front of your body and not caught behind your legs. This may flip you upside down and increase your chance of injury.
  • As you're climbing, make a mental note of potential obstacles you might hit on the way down - you'll have a better chance of avoiding them if you know where they are.
  • If you're quite a way past your last bolt and start to get the fear, one of the best ways to keep Elvis in his grave and not in your legs is to change the angle of your foot and put more weight on it, not less. Relax all the muscles you don't have to use and let them go limp. Smile, breathe deeply, think of Bruce Lee (or whatever gets you going!) and 'ave it!
  • If you do fall, push out at the last minute to reduce the chance of hitting things on the way down.
  • If you're going to slam into the rock, be prepared with your feet out in front of you with your knees slightly bent, ready to absorb the impact.

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