If you've ever felt like a fear of falling is holding you back from climbing through hard cruxes of routes or problems, you're not alone! Fear of falling is something that all climbers, even those with years of experience, manage regularly. It can be one of the most scary parts of climbing. However, falling is a part of climbing and learning how to take practice falls is a skill that should be practiced.
As a personal trainer and fitness guru at Earth Treks, I hear a lot of the same mindset: “All of my climbing goals involve tall climbs on ropes. Why would I boulder?” At first glance, the logic behind the thought seems sound. If you want to run a faster mile, you spend a lot of time running miles. If you want to lift heavier weights, you… well, you lift heavier weights. The fact is that rock climbing, especially leading sport routes, demands a very precise ratio of power, strength, endurance and mental fortitude. That’s where bouldering comes in.
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Lead climbing is what I love most about this sport. While climbing can primarily be described as an individual sport, there is almost nothing more important to a lead climber’s success than trusting their belayer. This trust allows the climber to focus 100% on their climb and to commit to those harder and scarier moves. On the flip side, the fastest way to erase that trust is to give your climber a hard catch, which can happen if the lead belayer doesn't leave out enough rope while the climber is climbing. Hard catches can result in more than just a stunned climber, if your climber hits the wall hard enough, they could potentially hurt their ankles or hands.
My first experience multi-pitch trad climbing is what inspired me to work in the climbing industry and in many ways changed the course of my life. I remember getting to the top of Seneca on that first trip and thinking, “Now I get it! This is what climbing is supposed to be for me”. Climbing, while often a social activity, can also be very personal - a person’s goals, priorities and motivations are their own. At the top of Seneca I found my reason to climb and keep climbing. I wanted the ability to inspire others in the same way - it was time to plan a big climbing trip to expand my horizons and better hone my skills. I, along with Emily Sillcox and Sherie Lou Santos, was awarded an Earth Treks Avi Sengupta Staff Climbing Scholarship to venture out to Red Rock, Nevada and pursue my goals.
Lead climbing, easy to learn but difficult to master. Whether you learned from a friend or took an Introduction to Sport Leading class, Earth Treks is here to help you feel secure and confident on the wall! Take a look at these tips and tricks that can be useful if you are wondering how to continue to develop your lead climbing.