How can you estimate if you're going to break your leg or not lol?
When I took that fall on White Horse it definitely effected my climbing. In a way it was a great experience, the whole system worked and I only bumped my knee but it shattered the facade, my hubris and newbie sense of confidence. Now as soon as I feel in over my head, my leg starts shaking and my climbing goes out the window.
My risk management now is to lead things I believe I have a 99% chance of completing while mitigating the other 1% with gear placements. As has been expressed to me by some pretty talented (older) climber friends, "you shouldn't lead ice if you think there's a chance you could fall." To which I say, "What about trad?" ... to which they say, "Basically the same rule applies."
I'm not thinking about the specific anatomical injuries as that would further degrade my prospect for a successful lead. Of course, even this prudent approach proves inadequate most of the time. I get pissed off because there's a huge generation gap between good trad climbers and the next gen and the beta is abstract at best. Unlike most hobbies, it seems to resemble an upside down pyramid, with most of the knowledge and participants being decades older and better and fewer new entrants into trad.
Most of the route descriptions, beta, and tips comes from you accomplished guys who can't really remember what its like to be new. So then I show up with my girlfriend and a route will say something inviting like "Joe's Joe's First Ascent: great 5.4 beginners route follow the obvious crack". So then I'm thinking, "Ok Im on-siting 5.10 at the gym and 5.8 at Rumney, I know there's disparity between the ratings and I'm not great but 5.4? C'mon this has to be well below my ability, we have to have finally found a route that's challenging, safe, and fun."
So then I'm cruising and everything is working great and then all of a sudden the gear placements start to become non-existent and the moves get crimpy, the 5.4 feels more like a 5.8 and then my leg starts shaking, there's no obvious crack, wet moss everywhere, and its non-stop terror until I flop over the top in relief." It never fails too, I'll consult with one of my seasoned climber friends up there and get one of these...
"Ha, ha, you did [insert route name here] everyone knows that's a dangerous [choose one: runnout, old school, sketchy, chossy, sandbagged,] route."
Said route was probably put up in the 1980's by some local young talented maniac climber with a death wish, crushing brews/smoking with his guy friends powered by enough hubris to topple a small army and themselves at the same time.
Someone needs to come out with a book called "Frickin Easy Climbs: New Hampshire Trad Climbs Novices Will Actually Find Fun And Safe"