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Exposure...Make or Break the hiker/climber?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby CO Native » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:33 am

Keep in mind pictures can be a bit deceiving as well.

Here is a Colorado class 3:

Image
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Postby Yog » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:43 am

Yeah, I just read in the "class III vs class IV" thread about "low class IV", and "high class IV"....I would have to agree with that.

And yes, pictures can be extremely deceiving!

What class III route is that, CO Native?
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Postby CO Native » Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:43 pm

That is the route up Broken Hand Pass.
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Postby Matt » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:09 pm

CO Native wrote:
denalibound wrote:Nobody really has a fear of heights, they have a fear of falling!


Nobody really has a fear of falling, they have a fear of the landing.


Nobody really has a fear of landing, they have a fear of injury or death.
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Postby El Vecio Bepi » Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:49 pm

I was about 10 when my father, without any previous warning, took me to the Via delle Trincee in the Tyrolean Dolomites--a mile-high maze of vie ferrate, rickety suspension bridges... and dreadfully-exposed ladders.

It was just on one of the ladders--climbed with no harness, of course--that my father had the unfortunate idea of immortalizing the moment by taking my picture.

And it was still in the days of all-manual cameras.

So while he was gingerly adjusting the settings on his Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, I had ample time to survey the landscape below, which looked so vertically far away as to actually give me a realistic image of the Earth's convexity--either out of self-delusion or overly-sharpened senses.

It was at that point that my inner system was faced with a decision: either make me go completely bananas or make me snap out of it. Fortunately, it was the latter. To this day, I am still a quivering chicken when I look off a building or a bridge, but natural heights such as mountains and cliffs do me absolutely nothing.

I guess the gentler tactic would be to gradually increase the steepness of your trails and the level of exposure... but what I recounted was what worked for me--I guess you could call it the time-saving, shock-therapy option.

...By the way, the picture turned out OK, although my facial expression on it, needless to say, is a sight to behold...

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Postby Two Headed Boy » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:25 pm

Nobody really has a fear of landing, they have a fear of injury or death.


There it is del_sur. I was waiting for that, and now that being said I think you only will feel comfortable with heights if you believe that you are safe. I believe that you have to be confident in your partners abilities, your abilities, your gears abilities, etc., and the only way that happens is to go do it, get a good partner and start to understand evrything and become OK with it. If you believe that you are safe then the heights won't be such an issue so I suggest you read, research and learn everything you can about climbing and become a safe climber.

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Postby CorduroyCalves » Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:54 am

This thread is of particular interest to me since I'm definitely considering spreading my wings, although if class IV in Colorado was like the picture in the link, I think I'd have to pass. Glad I read all of the posts to see that it's not as tough as that. I actually feel better after reading this thread, but we'll see how things go at the moment of truth :wink:

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Postby F Bomb » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:05 am

Nobody really has a fear of heights, they have a fear of falling!


Just to clarify, I'm terrified of heights, not falling or landing or getting injured. It's the heights. My body immediately freezes and doesn't work like it should. I imagine if I fell I would instantly be calmed!

Here's what I did/do, maybe it will work for you maybe it won't. I'm still a big big puss just to clarify.

The only thing that works for me is to climb airy routes and climb at the gym or the canyon. The more I climb the less it bothers me. I go to the climbing gym whenever the wife and kids allow me to, I'm in no danger of being good at it but it's amazing how quickly you feel comfortable at the gym.

It is definitely my personal challenge with climbing (exposure). While I'm still terrified of it and it makes my hands sweat (including that pic earlier in the thread) I actually crave climbs with exposure now. I feel the difference everytime I climb and it's nice to get results so quickly. Good luck.

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Postby Billygoat » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:42 am

Here's another suggestion for you, if you are close to Denver you could visit REI downtown on the Platte River and have a go at climbing the "Pinnacle" which is located right inside the building. It is a man made rock face with a number of different routes and difficulty and about forty feet high. There are trained employees there to outfit you with a harness and "show you the ropes" and belay you. By the way, when I say trained employees, I don't mean just trained for helping climbers within the facility, but these are employees that go out on their days off and do some high class technical climbing so I felt pretty safe in their hands. Funny, I never thought to ask any off them if they're members on this site. Maybe they were some of you guys out there. If so, thanks again for the experience.

You can do this rain or shine and it is free to REI members and for a minimal fee if you're not. I've done this a couple of times and it's a blast!

The last time I went, I took my kids to let them try it but the Pinnacle was closed while they had a big sale going on. You may wan't to call them first and find out if it will be open before you make the trip. Hope this helps.
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Postby mainpeak » Wed Mar 21, 2007 11:18 am

Duffus Kentucky Climber wrote:The exposure on class five sport routes will get your attention. A twenty foot fall at any altitude will break major bones.


I have to ask for clarification on this one. Assuming a competent belayer, the only way a lead climber should take a 20 foot fall on a class 5 sport route, is if she backclips or mis-clips a bolt.

On sport routes, the bolts should be much less than 10 feet apart, resulting in a shorter lead fall in worst case scenario. I don't see major bone breakage on sport route falls.

Most beginners will be on top rope for a good while anyway, allowing them to take as many "safe" falls as they like, with little more danger than a scrape on the knee.

Just dont want anyone to be scared away unnecessarily.

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Postby CO Native » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:39 pm

I've been on plenty of sport routes with anchor spacing greater than 10 feet. Besides, 20 feet is not a bad fall on dynamic rope if you keep your fall factor low. Watch this video and you'll see a guy take a huge fall with no trouble because his fall factor was less than 1.
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Postby denalibound » Wed Mar 21, 2007 2:00 pm

F Bomb wrote:
Nobody really has a fear of heights, they have a fear of falling!


Just to clarify, I'm terrified of heights, not falling or landing or getting injured. It's the heights. My body immediately freezes and doesn't work like it should. I imagine if I fell I would instantly be calmed!

Here's where I'm coming from. Most people who have a fear of heights, don't mind being in a commercial airplane, or in a 10 story building. Most people with a fear of heights walk around the observation deck of skyrises without a problem as long as they stay away from the edge. They aren't afraid because they feel safe.

It's when those people are placed in situations where their security feels threatened, like being close to the edge of a tall building, or flying in a small prop plane, that they have a natural response of fear. The fear isn't trigged by how high you are, but how safe you feel. So the actual fear may not be the fall, the landing, or injury or death, I think it's really a fear of loosing control of your safety.

In your case you may associate this feeling of fear with heights, because that's were it occurs for you, but that doesn't make it's relationship causal. It's merely the situation in which that fear is most often triggered. You state that the more time you spend in those situations the better you feel. I assert that the reason you feel better is because you gain trust in yourself, others (like those who belay you), and the equipment creating a situation where you don't feel your safety is at risk.

Now overcoming this feeling while climbing may not translate well to looking over the edge of a 30 story building with no handrail or flying in a helicopter because you have not had time to develop a sense of trust in those situations and now feel your safety may be at risk. I think this demonstrates that a fear of heights, is probably more closely associated with personal safety than heights itself.

A fear of heights, flying, the dark, falling, spiders... its all a fear for your safety. Just a different trigger.
Last edited by denalibound on Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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