• The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 5 - Strength Phase II
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance Phase
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • Improving Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Independence Pass, CO
    Independence Pass, CO

    Rock Climbing Training: How to Beat Fear


    I learned to climb in the 1970s, before sport climbing. Back then, many climbs were dangerous and falling was taboo. Because of that early experience, I’m nervous about falling. How can I beat the fear?

     —Karl Guthrie, Wimberley, TX

    This is the million-dollar question for many and I don’t think it’s just a generation game either. You can tell yourself that falling onto bolts is safe as much as you want, but it doesn’t make you feel any safer. Unfortunately, the only way to become more relaxed about falling is to fall a lot. Fortunately, no matter how deeply ingrained, this is the easiest of all climbing weaknesses to fix.

    First, check your belay system and make sure that your belayer understands dynamic belaying. Old-school climbers tend to give hard catches, while the new generation of sport belayers give slack and jump on impact rather than leaning back and resisting the fall. This subtle technique prevents the leader from slamming into the wall. After all, it isn’t falling that’s the problem, but hitting things! Belay gloves and devices with extra holding power are a good idea, especially with thin ropes. The belayer should brace and prepare to be lifted off the ground. Lighter belayers should tie themselves down to a ground anchor with three to six feet of slack in order to keep from being pulled up too high while still absorbing fall energy. It is also vital for the belayer to stand perpendicular to the wall, and directly beneath the first clip to prevent being pulled at an awkward angle and risk losing control of the rope.

    Pick a route that is gently overhanging and, preferably, lacks projecting features. Lead up to the last clip and lower down a few meters. Try some toprope falls with slack in the system and then work up to falling from level with the draw and finally from above it. Never take more than six or seven falls in a row or you will generate too much heat in the rope and the quickdraw. Swap ends of the rope when it is your partner’s turn to climb. Above all else, if you chicken out when you are above the draw, never call for your belayer to take you tight. Stick to the plan and drop off with the confidence that your belayer will give you a good, dynamic belay. It is the short falls from close to the draw that have claimed so many ankles. When falling, push yourself out slightly from the wall to clear any obstacles, but don’t overcook it or you will swing in hard. You can put your hands out to the side for balance or on the rope close to the knot. Keep your legs relaxed and slightly bent so you can absorb the energy on impact. Above all else, you must believe in this process. It has worked dramatically for every single person I have used it with. Good luck gaining your wings.

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