Bouldering’s appeal can be rooted from the fact that you would feel more free from the lack of worn equipment. It is just you and the 10-12ft wall, solving problems with just shoes and chalk on your hands. But what happens after reaching the top? You got to fall down.
The proper way of falling is one of first things taught in bouldering. As they say safety is priority. Even if the wall is shorter than the lead wall, a bad fall can still cause serious injuries. You can only do so much, especially when you’re stuck in an uncomfortable position, you can’t guarantee to fall the one correct way. But here are the common injuries from bad falls, and tips on how to avoid them.
The height of the fall can cause a severe jolt, called a whiplash. Remember to tuck your chin when you fall to counter the impulse to jerk your head.
Sprained wrist / arms
Don’t grasp a hold while falling, just let go, literally. Keep your arms tucked into your chest, and roll yourself backward or forward once you hit the floor. It might be your instinct to trying to catch yourself with your hands, fight it. Let your (stronger) lower body do the work, since your arms will get sprained from the sudden pressure.
Fall with the balls of your feet and bend your knees. feel the pressure spreading on your lower body to prevent shocks. But also remember this: a podium finish fall is not required from bouldering! You can always tuck yourself in and roll with your back.
So you’ve remembered the first 3 tips. But you still did something wrong, what could it be? Your knees hit your chest. Especially for female climbers, be conscious with your knees since it might your chest and get an injury. You can raise your legs after rolling with your back.
Sometimes you might end up falling back first. Twist your upper back to your sides to lessen the shock on your back.
Scratched arms and knees
Textures volumes are common, and with this type of injury, there’s nothing to do but to be more careful and let it heal. It’s not fatal and basically part of the bouldering culture.
Do I need a spotter?
Depends on the situation. Bouldering gyms have padded flooring so there are times when spotters are no longer needed. But when the problem set you in an awkward position, the spotter will ensure that you fall on your right side. For outdoor bouldering, the spotter’s goal is quite different. Since your protection is just a couple of crash pads (don’t worry this is still safe), the spotter ensures that you fall on the crash pad, and not on the bare ground.
Is it necessary to know all these tips?
It might be a lot to remember and take in, but falling will be more natural when you climb more often. Once you do, you’ll be more concerned with the solving problems and building strength.
What if I’m scared of heights?
No matter what happens, climb at the height you’re comfortable with. If you’re very anxious and it interferes with your mental game, it’s perfectly fine to stop at a lower height. You’ll get more confident in time and when you boulder more often. Plus you can always climb a few holds down until you’re at a safe zone where you can fall securely.