Guest Post: The Fall Factor

Ryan Brown is an instructor at AcerPlacer and is working on a BS in mathematics with a minor in secondary education. He is also an avid rock climber.

Mathematics can be used for an infinite amount of reasons. I specifically am going to discuss how math can be used to find the safety of a fall for a rock climber. There is a simple equation that one can solve to find out the danger in each possible fall. The equation is: (Fall Factor) = (Height of the fall before the climbers rope begins to stretch)/( Length available to absorb the energy of the fall). It can also be written as F= H/L. A fall factor of 2 is the greatest that one could have while lead climbing; this would mean that the climber would fall past the belayer or hit the ground. The smaller the fall factor, the softer the fall for the climber. Knowing this equation can help climbers place gear safely so they can have the safest and most optimal climbing experience.