The fear of falling is probably the single thing that holds more climbers back than anything else – more than finger strength and more than poor technique. When people first start climbing, their fear of falling can be overwhelming. This can be when they are above a bolt, a piece of gear, bouldering, or on toprope.

This overwhelming fear usually fades as climbers become more experienced. However, even experienced climbers are still affected by the fear of falling. Managing this fear shouldn’t be thought of as something that simply happens. It’s an ongoing process that must be continually and actively worked on. While this may sound daunting, improving your ability to climb without fear will allow you to climb far more relaxed and focus exclusively on the task of completing the climb rather than the what-ifs of falling.

To help you continue working to overcome the fear of falling, here are the top five fear of falling related articles from the TrainingBeta Blog. Each one contains valuable, although slightly different, advice about how to engage your fear. We suggest you read them all and figure out which tactics resonate most with you. Taking the time to work on the mental side of climbing may not seem as appealing as physical training, but it can have just as large of an impact on performance as even the best training plan.


Top 5 Fear of Falling Articles

  • Whitney Boland on Fear and Confidence in Climbing

    • “I once had someone ask me how I was so fearless when I climb. I thought this was a bit comical, because I don’t find myself to be fearless. Maybe I’m my own worst critic, but looking back on my climbing, I’ve had moments of irrational fear just as much as anyone else.” – Whitney Boland
Read It

  • A Step-by-Step Approach to Conquering Lead Climbing Fear

    • ““Conventional wisdom about training to lead climb will have the climber take falls over and over again in an attempt to inoculate themselves to this fear. This all-­or­-nothing approach is not just misguided, it is harmful. What I am suggesting is incremental progression to find the edge of your comfort zone, and then step ever-­so-slightly beyond it, and practice in this place until it no longer feels outside of your comfort zone. Then, step ever­-so-­slightly beyond your comfort zone, and do it again.“” – Crux Crush
Read It
  • Conquering a Fear of Falling – Crux Crush

    • ““There are two types of fear: Rational fear where there is a genuine risk present, and irrational fear, which has to do with perceived risk rather than actual risk. For me, it was this second type of fear that dominated my thoughts and kept me from performing. I had explored articles, books and blogs by famous climbers about overcoming fear. Many of these spoke to risk analysis of the rational fears I mentioned above, but no techniques resonated with me.”- Chelsea of Crux Crush
Read It
  • Dave MacLeod and The Fear of Falling

    • “But the subtlety of how to approach this effort seems to be important. I notice that some climbers seem to view their fear of falling as a foe in which they are in a constant battle with. Given the time and difficulty involved in overcoming fear of falling for a proportion of climbers, I can completely understand why it must feel like this. Nevertheless, viewing it along these lines could become self-defeating.” – Dave MacLeod

Read It
  • Eric Hörst: Managing the Fear of Falling

    • “The long-term effect of taking practice falls is that you will be able to detach from the fear of falling in safe situations and climb free with little or no fear load. Still, you will occasionally come upon situations where a fall looks to be completely safe, yet for some reason it’s making you feel a little scared (perhaps the fall will yield a bit of swing or it just looks weird). In such a case, you would benefit greatly by taking a single “test fall” in order to experience what it will be like—this will erase the fear you are feeling, because it’s not knowing what the fall will be like that you fear, not that act of falling itself.” – Eric Hörst
Read It

Cover photo: Nik Berry taking the whip on Planet Earth 5.14; courtesy of Matt Pincus | @mpincus87 


TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, climbing training classes, nutrition classes, regular blog posts, interviews on The TrainingBeta Podcast, personal coaching for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.

  Click here to subscribe