Overcoming the Fear of Falling: Soft Catch to prevent injuries

Overcoming the Fear of Falling: Soft Catch to prevent injuries

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67 thoughts on “Overcoming the Fear of Falling: Soft Catch to prevent injuries”

  1. Dat thumbnail… 😮 Fortunately not so bad, but that footage is sick. Good explanation too. Conclusion is spot on; light belayers with heavy climbers will already move dynamically, heavy belayers with light climbers need to move dynamically else they will injure the climber (either by crashing them into the rocks, or in the case of a totally vertical fall, by causing their spine to catch the entire impact).

  2. The other way round – the lead climber is heavyer – I use the Edelrid Ohm for lead climbing. Check this out. A great safety plus….

  3. Thanks for sharing. Definitely helmet terrain.
    Good idea to experiment the theory. Off course big weight difference makes for hard/too far falls. Imagine to belay a kid – even jumping does not help, since you just pull them upwards with your weight. Soft catch from 5th clip (indoors) only, to avoid decking the lead climber. A hard catch is almost always better, than a grounder.
    A common misconception: At around 2:40 you can see, that the x-Amplitude to the right stays the same, no matter how much slack you give. It helps here, since she gets under that edge and has more time (and less acceleration) to sort her feet and hand to the wall. It also helps on constantly steep walls, since you get more away from the wall. But slack does NOT change the x-Amplitude.

  4. Jumping is not the only way for dynamic belay. You can let some rope go through the belay device, but it doesn't work with grigri

  5. cool video, nice work, clean edit 🙂
    2:34 advice to give slack is only great in roof, overhang or if there is a little ledge from my point of view, some people give to much of slack.
    One important point, for tonsai roof, you've got a lot of friction through the quickdraws, the belayer isn't even pull contrary to the gym hardcatch
    , in some scenario, only the last meters of rope will stretch (solid line), due to that friction/angle/rope drag, extanding the draws reduce the problem, use larger carabiner (the idea of a pulley)
    in those scenario,and also when you belay someone lighter, you will not be pull even if ou jump, of course be further to the wall, allow you to walk when you feel the rope pulling, but this requiered more coordinations, clean ground, and increase risk of hitting the wall for the belayer.
    my main advise is to learn dynamic belay with belay plates like reverso, leather gloves are a great plus
    it's by far greater if you belay someone lighter, when there is rope drag, and for multipich.
    With training you can belay someone heavier than you (gloves are recommended), without hitting the wall/roof/first quickdraw( great way to break your hand)
    the main advantage is also the total control, you can choose do not stop directly the fall, if you see a ledge, or a sharp rock, or any dangerous shape
    classic dynamic belay would only reduce the impact/pendulum on those obstacle

    Good climbing 🙂

  6. DANG. What a fall. You are badass girl! I hope to be climbing at your level someday! I think in the USA, that would be a 5.11D correct?

  7. I learned that you should never grab the rope when falling. It was done multiple times in the video. Grabing the rope can get your hands get caught in the rope and you do not have them available to control your impact if necessary.

    Apart from that: Good and informative vid!

  8. Great Vid. Really interesting comparisons in the gym. Some questions: How do you time the jump? Is it a case of kind of "following through" as you, the belayer, feel the impact of the fall on your body? Or do you start the jump before you feel the rope coming tight? Or is it pretty intuitive and self evident when you should initiate the jump after practising the technique? Is there a "wrong time" to jump? (I ask this because, as one normally knows when the climber is about to fall, I wonder about what would be the consequences of jumping too early, for example).

    I'm not at all experienced with holding falls but have heard a lot about "soft catches" before. These might sound like dumb questions to those who have experience of catching falls and using this technique, but because I don't have this experience, I'm not sure how crucial the timing of the jump is…


  9. The catch was definitely the main culprit in this instance, however a soft catch is not always viable. Also, there are two other things that contributed to the result: 1. The leader panicked instead of preparing for the fall. They also grabbed the rope, which gives the leader less control over the dynamics of the fall, not more. 2. Bolt placement is usually better than this, so that there is a bolt in the roof, at a reachable distance from where the angle increases. This makes a wall impact much less likely in the event of a fall, whether with a soft or hard catch.

  10. Part of the issue is when you fell, you grabbed the rope with your left hand. This caused you to rotate in the air. With your feet facing the wall, it would have still been a weird fall, but not as bad. I've had people short catch me onto a ledge where my feet ended up about head height and it's not that fun, but I've always been OK. I've also stopped my fall with my hands before, again, not that fun, but i've always been OK. So keeping your hands free by not grabbing the rope is more ideal. The belayer should essentially be climbing the route with you. As a belayer, I am always thinking about what will happen in a fall. Sometimes a hard catch can stop a ground fall or hitting a tree or ledge. Sometimes a softer catch with more slack will steer the person falling around an overhang, reduce inward movement, or cause the person falling to never touch the wall at all.

  11. 3 clips off the ground and much more slack or "softer belay" could result in a ground fall vs a bruised scratch you sustained. The nature of the route seems far more relevant in adjusting the belay than a blanket "soft belay" technique. Also why the fuck were you NOT wearing a helmet ??? At the very least when leading, wear a helmet ! When belaying, wear a helmet. Both lead and top rope climbers have DIED as a result of their belayer being knocked out from rockfall resulting in a ground fall for the DEAD and "stupidly trying to be fucking cool climber".You won't look so "cool" when you're dead climber! You both seem far too focused on being hipsters and really have no business doing "instructional" videos, unless you're trying to instruct how NOT to do things. "Peace and love" won't help either of you when your heads cracked open because you can't be bothered to wear a helmet ! ;))

  12. Hey! Soft catches are always better provided the extra fall distance won't cause the leader to hit anything. In rare cases the belayer can let the leader fall FURTHER in order to miss obstacles. The belayer has to be very alert and have a good feel for how much rope is out (because you get more stretch with more rope) and what the path of the fall will be. A soft catch would have spared you your injury and the belayer should have been ready for this given that you were in no danger of hitting the ground. Also, as others have said, you should take some practice falls without grabbing the rope so you can break that dangerous habit.

  13. You can also simply do this with a deferent belay device. A gri gri will often catch instantly but something like a super 8 will let you slow the fall. I enjoyed watching this thanks 👍🏻

  14. Thank you very much. This is very useful video! My friend has experienced a very bad fall only because she was much lighter than her belayer and was not dynamic belayed. She flipped completely over (head down) and bumped hard with her whole body against the rock. Very experienced climbers swear they have never seen anything like this in their careers. Nobody could explain why it has happened but you just gave the explanation in your video. She just got very hard stop and the power forced her whole body to flip over. The helm saved my friend, so please wear the helm indeed if you like to stay away from the wheelchair or worse.

  15. Thank you for making this video! As an inexperienced lead climber/belayer, this is one of the most useful videos I've seen for lead climbing. Really appreciate your sharing this!

    Also: Please wear a helmet. As I'm sure you know better than I do, you can get flipped so that your head is facing the rock. Not worth it, and you can deck out your helmet with cool stickers if you're worried about it not being cool to wear one. You're such an asset to the community, and it would be a shame to lose you to a preventable accident.

  16. The helmet is really, really important. Something like 6 months ago, the climber I assured fell back down to the ground from 4 or 5 meters because he fell while hanging his rope in the drag. He didn't climb since that day because his shoulder was hurt but his helmet saves his life despite being totally destroyed…

  17. As I certified climbing trainer I noticed two mistakes the belayer did and I just wanted to point them out to maby prevent some injuries…
    First thing, alsways wear shoes while belaying, especially when you belay a heavier person or if you train falling with your partner. Wear some sneakers but no climbing shoes, otherwise you may end up with broken toes…
    The second thing I noticed is that the belayer belayer sometimes grabbed the rope above the belaying device when he cought a fall. If you also do that, try to get rid of that habit because your fingers might end up jammed in the first clip. (And you can see how high he gets wehen he jumps to catch the climber softly.)
    Nevertheless it was a very interesting and enjoyable video, thank you 🙂 . I discovered your channel today and I really like it. thumbs up

  18. If she had hit her head nobody would have been laughing, and she would have been dead. Theres literally NO REASON to not wear a helmet.

  19. I fell like this during training, but I didn't get hurt… There was a like 19 year old boy on the wall next to me, and I hit him then he slipped and fell…

  20. Nice video and the jump technique looks useful in the gym. But would it be appropriate in an inclined wall/cave like the one where you guys were climbing?

  21. I have to say that I watched her hit that wall a total of 3 times. Each time it physically hurt me (as only a man can testify). So sorry you had to go through that but very glad it wasn't worse. I hope you'll be wearing helmets from now forward. 🙂

  22. Ahhh it's so easy to make judgements off the back of clinical test in a gym.  At the end of the day both processes have their uses at certain times & places.  That's where getting experience comes in…..

  23. That helped me a lot!! Thanks. Especially your "first rock-hit" (pun here…) is what always scares me most of falling. You were very luck that this didn't affect your kidney though!

  24. What a drama -.- I thought I would see an open fracture or something and not some abrasion 😀 Youtube really thrives from all these dramakids XD

  25. Hey, was impressed by how strong and smooth you looked on 5.11d. Smiled when you shared you wanted to finish and need to not come back. Have felt that numerous times on rock, ice and while on skis.

  26. I think it's wonderful that you shared this. Mistakes can be embarrassing, but sharing them can save lives so others can learn, and I think it says a lot about your character.

  27. I agree that when falling into space, trying to give a soft catch is appropriate. However, what if they gave her so much slack that she impacted the ground? It's often difficult to determine how far they will fall, so how do you judge the amount of slack to give?

    There is a growing dogma to "always give a soft catch," but there are situations where this increases the danger. For example, if they are certain to impact a ledge or obstacle if you give a soft catch.

    Another example – A climber above a roof – if you provide the wrong amount of soft catch and only their lower body clears the roof and their upper body impacts the roof. (I watched this exact situation in the gym last week)

    What about a vertical wall? Fall on a slab?

    I advocate and teach using a "situational catch." At every moment I evaluate where the climber will end up if they fall. I evaluate whether a soft catch is appropriate or puts the leader in more danger. The amount of slack I provide is constantly changing based on the situation, and whether I will try to provide a soft catch.

    We should be thoughtful in how we belay – one size does not fit all…

  28. Thanks for actually answering the question with experimentation! This was so helpful!! +1 for the scientific method 😉

  29. As a personal experience, I had a similar fall with a static belayer and unfortunately I hit the wall with my head (but I had an helmet). I recommend that you climb (if possible) with a partner that already knows you and your style of climbing. Another thing is that you don't need to jump while you catch you partners fall, you can just give dinamic fall by giving a bit more rope while the climber falls. Good luck and safe climbs!

  30. Хорошая тема! Однако есть ограничения в применении. У вас же на канале была встреча шея-попа 🙂 Т.е. при небольшой высоте этот метод работает при условии отнесения точки страховки в сторону. И не уделено внимание частоте оттяжек)

  31. I know it's a few years old at this point but I really appreciate videos like this. It's so important to know what can go wrong and WHY it can go wrong. Climbing is dangerous, it's important to know what to do and what not to do.

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