Falling while on lead happens, and it’s okay! It means you are pushing yourself, and learning.
Here are a few considerations when falling while on lead:
1. Be aware of your last draw. This determines direction of swing, and how far your fall will take you.
2. Know where the rope is, in conjunction with your feet. Try to keep your feet from getting tangled in the belay rope.
3. Body position. This allows you to anticipate your landing, as your body swings back into the wall.
4. Use your eyes. When you’re about to fall (or actually falling), make sure to look in the direction of the fall and analyze where you might land on the wall.
5. Always keep your hands and feet out for protection, ready to gracefully come into contact with the wall. Try to use your hands/arms and feet/legs as spring-like shock absorbers.
6. Stay relatively loose and nimble. Climbers who fear falling (and swing into the wall like a clenched wrecking ball) are the ones who most often hurt themselves!
6. Practice falling. Find a belayer who owes you a favor, and then find a relatively vertical wall. Practice taking incrementally further falls. But start small!
7. If your ego dictates you must take a huge whipper, make sure you practice on an overhanging climb that allows you to cleanly fall into open air.
Considerations for the belayer:
1. Position of the lead climber relative to the last draw. Factors include which way they might fall, if they might fall into the belayer, and/or tangle their feet in the rope.
2. Whether to initiate the belay stance (or eventually move) from the right or the left of the quickdraw. This helps prevent the leader from running their feet through the rope, as they progress past the first quickdraw and further into the lead climb.
3. Minimize distance of fall by taking in slack and arresting the rope, should the climber provide verbal communication of the fall beforehand.
We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!
Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.