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How did you decide to do your first lead?
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kylekienitz


Sep 30, 2009, 8:07 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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My suggestion would be to do it sooner than later. I top roped for a number of years before leading even though I was ready. I didn't because my friend's dad (a guide) who taught me everything I knew about climbing didn't ever mention it. I just assumed that he would let us know when he thought we should start leading. Because of this I got way too comfortable climbing on TR. Once I did finally lead I was scared out of my mind. My fear didn't go away, even when I started leading trad.

Finally, this season (five years after I started climbing) I have been able to confront that fear. But, it has taken a lot of work and focus. I'm not sure if my HUGE mental block was a result of all the TRing, but my suggestion would be start leading before getting too comfortable with the rope above you. Obviously you should be comfortable with the gear, placements, anchors, etc. But if you are ready then get on it.

Now when I am focused leading it is the most exhilarating thing, instead of me just crapping my pants up the entire wall and not enjoying the climbing.


phillycheese


Sep 30, 2009, 8:32 AM
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Re: [dingus] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
phillycheese wrote:
phillycheese wrote:
I did my first trad lead this summer. I mock led with a good friend who critiqued my placements. I had cleaned a ton of routes before and mock leading on TR didn't confuse anything. Leading is leading. If you've never lead sport or trad, I could see the TR mock lead as confusing. If you've led sport before and are comfortable with it, then I don't see it as an issue.

I was glad to have someone critique my placements. I felt like I was back at school waiting for my grades to come in. I (mock) led on TR once and then went for it. I climb better on lead than I do on TR so i actually placed my pieces much better on lead than I did on TR.

Although we both have wives and kids so I assume we are a little more conservative than most when it comes to this stuff. I'm okay with that.

Fixed for ya. In case you didn't see the first reference to "mock" leading. My bad for forcing you to assume the second reference to"leading on TR" was also... a mock lead. I'll make sure to keep things clear.

Well to be clear then, replace 'mock' with 'faux' ie mock leading is not leading. The problem some have with it is it doesn't foster 'lead-head' and doesn't simulate the risk/emotional baggage that goes with leading.

That said I know some guides who have recommend this practice to certain clients. We're all wired differently and we all have our own risk evaluations.

The real reason to be careful how you say it though... is if you imply through omission that you led something and in conversation it turns out you top roped it you will not only get mocked you will get MARKED.

In terms of tribal relations, you are only as good as your reputation with your fellow climbers. You don't want them thinking of you as a liar, certainly when you're not, just perhaps not careful enough with a statement.

Doesn't seem like a biggie, but in the game of free climbing it is THE turning point.

DMT

Gotcha. No worries man. Thanks for the heads up. I knew what I was getting into when I posted in the first place.


TarHeelEMT


Sep 30, 2009, 9:20 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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My first lead was a two-pitch trad route (Sentinel Buttress) at Moore's Wall.

I picked it because I had followed it before, because of the awesome belay ledge, and because it was well beneath my ability as a second.

It was a great route, and I like the fact that I did not do my first lead on top rope. I went with a very experienced climber who evaluated my placements on each pitch.


LostinMaine


Sep 30, 2009, 9:35 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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You are ready to lead for the first time when you find a belayer you have 100% confidence in (who has experience belaying a leader). The worst thing you can have on your first lead is a gumby belayer tying him/herself in knots, confusing "slack" and "rope" commands, petting the crag dog, mixing up brake hand sequence, and offering words of wisdom like "hey, you look pretty."

Find someone who can belay you, solo up to you if need be, and has mastered male machismo phrases of encouragement.


ldrmn


Sep 30, 2009, 1:22 PM
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Re: [LostinMaine] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I have been leading sport up to 11b all summer, and I know, there is nothing worse than a dazed belayer.

Saturday is the day, ill let ya all know how it goes.

So, if you only trad climb, how do you push yourself up the grades?

Top roping the route before hand is the only way I can think of. Which is fine, but what about the thrill of a challanging onsite?


TarHeelEMT


Sep 30, 2009, 1:30 PM
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ldrmn wrote:
I have been leading sport up to 11b all summer, and I know, there is nothing worse than a dazed belayer.

Saturday is the day, ill let ya all know how it goes.

So, if you only trad climb, how do you push yourself up the grades?

Top roping the route before hand is the only way I can think of. Which is fine, but what about the thrill of a challanging onsite?

I'm not really sure I understand what you're asking.
I work out in the gym, and then just decide to go for the higher grade if I'm having a good day at the crag.


seatbeltpants


Sep 30, 2009, 2:00 PM
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Re: [dingus] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
The real reason to be careful how you say it though... is if you imply through omission that you led something and in conversation it turns out you top roped it you will not only get mocked you will get MARKED.

In terms of tribal relations, you are only as good as your reputation with your fellow climbers. You don't want them thinking of you as a liar, certainly when you're not, just perhaps not careful enough with a statement.

Doesn't seem like a biggie, but in the game of free climbing it is THE turning point.

DMT

mate, this is spot on. a guy i occasionally climb with just doesn't get the distinction, and given that he's grade obsessed he has earned himself a reputation for being completely full of shit.

"dude, i flashed a 5.11 last weekend!", he'll say.

anyone else i'd take this on face value, but not this guy. if you ask him for details it'll turn out that he "flashed" the route on top rope, at the gym. or that he top roped it and yanked on draws on the way up. or that the route he flashed on trad was actually seconding.

bragging about grades bugs the hell of out of me (probably because I'm weak, to be fair), but bragging about grades when the story isn't entirely true?

steve


ldrmn


Sep 30, 2009, 2:18 PM
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Re: [TarHeelEMT] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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TarHeelEMT wrote:
ldrmn wrote:
I have been leading sport up to 11b all summer, and I know, there is nothing worse than a dazed belayer.

Saturday is the day, ill let ya all know how it goes.

So, if you only trad climb, how do you push yourself up the grades?

Top roping the route before hand is the only way I can think of. Which is fine, but what about the thrill of a challanging onsite?

I'm not really sure I understand what you're asking.
I work out in the gym, and then just decide to go for the higher grade if I'm having a good day at the crag.

I hear from alot of people that you don't want to fall while trad climbing. Obiously, some times it happens.
But say you want to throw caution to the wind and hop on something burly, or a bit harder than your used to, is that a bad thing???

I think the reason I have really enjoyed leading sport is that I'm not afraid to hop on a route a number grade(or two) higher than my comfort zone, and grunt my way through it.

I know trad is a totally different game, and im sure the rewards will be different. But I have found that the best way for me to get better at climbing 10's, is to climb 11's. Ill miss that option :(


dingus


Sep 30, 2009, 2:21 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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All depends on what you hit on the way down, nawmean?

DMT


Partner cracklover


Sep 30, 2009, 2:38 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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ldrmn wrote:
So, if you only trad climb, how do you push yourself up the grades?

Slowly.

Guy I used to climb with - superb climber. British guy. Mostly climbed trad. He continued to get better and stronger his whole life. Almost never fell on lead. In his late 40s, he was a solid 5.11 trad leader.

In reply to:
Top roping the route before hand is the only way I can think of. Which is fine, but what about the thrill of a challanging onsite?

Later, when you have your shit together. How old are you? You have plenty of time to learn how trad leading works, and then start pushing the grades.

GO


billcoe_


Sep 30, 2009, 2:39 PM
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Re: [dingus] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
All depends on what you hit on the way down, nawmean?DMT

ding ding ding ding! We have a winner right here folks.....!!!!


crazy_fingers84


Sep 30, 2009, 2:54 PM
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Re: [LostinMaine] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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LostinMaine wrote:
...the worst thing you can have on your first lead is a gumby belayer tying him/herself in knots, confusing "slack" and "rope" commands...

I don't consider myself a gumby belayer, but I am confused by the "rope" command. I use that when I am pulling a rope from the anchor. Why would this ever be used in a lead situation?

LostinMaine wrote:
...Find someone who can belay you, solo up to you if need be...

How can somebody belay you and solo up to you at the same time?


(This post was edited by crazy_fingers84 on Sep 30, 2009, 2:57 PM)


ldrmn


Sep 30, 2009, 3:22 PM
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Re: [crazy_fingers84] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I am 27


TarHeelEMT


Sep 30, 2009, 7:36 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I hesitate to make comparisons between how you push yourself up the grades in trad vs. sport, because I have only occasionally ever climbed sport.

With trad, it's a slow cautious process. You CAN hop on something that is an aggressive grade and just go all out while climbing trad. It had just better be well within your ability to protect.

I suppose that's the answer to your question, really. Trad consists of two different skill sets, both of which can be challenged by a route - your ability to climb the route, and your ability to protect the route.

A route can be difficult in either regard, and you will end up pushing yourself through the grades in each regard. Just make sure that you're only challenging yourself on one of those skills at a time.


ladyscarlett


Oct 1, 2009, 1:51 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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Hmmm, wasn't too long ago when I asked a very similar question! In this very same section of this forum. You could actually track my mental "ramp up" to my first lead through this forum as it's all in my thread...there were a lot of good shares too!

Deciding to trad lead is one thing, and I think Dingus has it right.

About picking the exact climb, that's a little different and depends - heh! My buddy who had climbed it before (without me) put the rope down at the base and asked "you want to lead?" and I answered "Yes!"

Now that I look back I can see a series of factors that my buddy probably took into account when picking it. It was short (1pitch). I was in sight of my belayer for at least 80% of the climb. It also meant I was within easy ear shot. It was a crack, no bolts - either for an anchor or anywhere on the climb. This also meant pretty easy route finding and guaranteed protection opportunities. That's probably just a few...

I'm not saying that you should look for these things, just some possible factors to think of. Or do what so many here seem to have done (including myself), and let crazy, albeit trusted, friends choose for you! Then all you have to do is lead!

ldrmn wrote:
So, if you only trad climb, how do you push yourself up the grades?

Man, already thinking of pushing the grades and don't even have a half season on the sharp end. A not so gentle reminder that I really need to grow a pair of balls!

In reply to:
Top roping the route before hand is the only way I can think of. Which is fine, but what about the thrill of a challanging onsite?

My favorite way to "keep the challenge" and still onsite...delicious multipitch! Leading 1 or 2 pitches of 5.6 is one thing. Leading 5-6 pitches of 5.6 is another. Mental and physical endurance become much more immediate matters. Commitment feels like more of an issue when there's the possibility of being caught in a lightening storm 4 pitches up with no way of retreating. It's fun out there!

Have fun!

Safety third!

ls


LostinMaine


Oct 1, 2009, 8:08 AM
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Re: [crazy_fingers84] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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crazy_fingers84 wrote:
LostinMaine wrote:
...the worst thing you can have on your first lead is a gumby belayer tying him/herself in knots, confusing "slack" and "rope" commands...

I don't consider myself a gumby belayer, but I am confused by the "rope" command. I use that when I am pulling a rope from the anchor. Why would this ever be used in a lead situation?

"Rope" is universally short for "up rope" which means "take in a bit of slack, but not to the point of tension on the climber." Imagine a leader climbing up, clipping his/her top piece of gear, down climbing to a stance/ledge to take a rest. If out of view of the belayer once starting back up again and the rope is quite slack, a leader might say "up rope" or simply "rope" to get some of the slack out of the system so that a fall would not result in decking on the ledge he just took a rest on.

In reply to:
LostinMaine wrote:
...Find someone who can belay you, solo up to you if need be...

How can somebody belay you and solo up to you at the same time?

Simple self rescue. If the gumby leader is climbing with the lead rope between his/her legs, blows a move, the rope catches his/her leg, flips her upside down and knocks her unconscious, you bet your ass the belayer had better be able to escape the belay quickly, and feel very comfortable rope soloing up to the stuck leader to provide assistance (assuming of course that the leader is stuck over 1/2 the rope length distance away).

Or, you can choose a simple, short route with gobs of people and rangers around.

My point is this: when starting to lead, have a competent belayer who is comfortable belaying a leader.


ladyscarlett


Oct 1, 2009, 9:43 AM
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Re: [LostinMaine] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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LostinMaine wrote:

Or, you can choose a simple, short route with gobs of people and rangers around.

My point is this: when starting to lead, have a competent belayer who is comfortable belaying a leader.

Personally, I'd have thought that simple and short wouldn't be bad for a first lead. Not the most exciting, but will get the first out of the way.

And as for gobs of people and rangers...well, we are out there to look good after all! How are we going to "look cool" if no one's watching?!


Man, priorities these days!

And yes, a confident, competent belayer is good. Even better if they carry your shoes up!

heh

ls


lena_chita
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Oct 1, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I took a 2-day class during Sterling Rope Goddess on the Rock weekend. During that class I got to practicce placement on the ground and did 4 mock leads with an instructor jumaring on a rope next to me and commenting on placements.

My first real lead was more of a frustration-driven than anything else. There was a large group I was with, everyone was climbing slowly, I climbed ever other route and there was nothing else to climb but this short 5.8 crack... One of the guys had gear. I took it and lead the route.


LostinMaine


Oct 2, 2009, 6:49 AM
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Re: [ladyscarlett] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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ladyscarlett wrote:
LostinMaine wrote:

Or, you can choose a simple, short route with gobs of people and rangers around.

My point is this: when starting to lead, have a competent belayer who is comfortable belaying a leader.

Personally, I'd have thought that simple and short wouldn't be bad for a first lead. Not the most exciting, but will get the first out of the way.

And as for gobs of people and rangers...well, we are out there to look good after all! How are we going to "look cool" if no one's watching?!


Man, priorities these days!

And yes, a confident, competent belayer is good. Even better if they carry your shoes up!

heh

ls

Very true. Few other sports allow one to feel perfectly comfortable climbing shirtless in 30 degree weather just for a sexy photo shoot.

Ironically, some people starting out have not caught on and actually feel pressured when there are lots of people watching them thrash on a 5.2.


dingus


Oct 2, 2009, 6:52 AM
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LostinMaine wrote:
ladyscarlett wrote:
LostinMaine wrote:

Or, you can choose a simple, short route with gobs of people and rangers around.

My point is this: when starting to lead, have a competent belayer who is comfortable belaying a leader.

Personally, I'd have thought that simple and short wouldn't be bad for a first lead. Not the most exciting, but will get the first out of the way.

And as for gobs of people and rangers...well, we are out there to look good after all! How are we going to "look cool" if no one's watching?!


Man, priorities these days!

And yes, a confident, competent belayer is good. Even better if they carry your shoes up!

heh

ls

Very true. Few other sports allow one to feel perfectly comfortable climbing shirtless in 30 degree weather just for a sexy photo shoot.

Wait... huh? LS? SPH is quite brisk in early Nov....

DMT


Partner cracklover


Oct 2, 2009, 7:33 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
I took a 2-day class during Sterling Rope Goddess on the Rock weekend.

Cool, which one?

GO


rockandlice


Oct 3, 2009, 8:25 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
I took a 2-day class during Sterling Rope Goddess on the Rock weekend. During that class I got to practicce placement on the ground and did 4 mock leads with an instructor jumaring on a rope next to me and commenting on placements.

My first real lead was more of a frustration-driven than anything else. There was a large group I was with, everyone was climbing slowly, I climbed ever other route and there was nothing else to climb but this short 5.8 crack... One of the guys had gear. I took it and lead the route.

Were you by chance placing gear on top rope at Junkyard one day this summer? I think it was the entertainer? I just remember hearing the name Lena several times and now that I look at your profile pic it seems familiar. Probably someone different, but it is a small world it seems.


OSUbuckeye


Oct 3, 2009, 12:13 PM
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My first trad lead was Montezuma on Garden of the Gods. It isn't a trad route but has a few places you can place gear which gave me the security of a few bolts to mess around with good placements. My first real trad lead was a 5.9 at Enchanted Rock, TX. I just did it even though I did place pro every three feet and ran out right at the top. My suggestion is to find a sport route you can place pro on. If you're a confident climber you should be fine, if you are a shaky climber on all your climbs and bails alot then take more time before you lead trad. In the end it just comes down to having confidence in your placement and repetition. Erock (cave crack, awesome 5.6) has some great cracks and so does RRG (too many to name).


ensonik


Oct 4, 2009, 4:48 PM
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Hey all,

Just wanted to let you know that after lurking on this site for a couple months, but mostly following this thread closely, I finally just went out there and 'did it'.

Nothing complicated (http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/Canada/Quebec/Laurentians/Mont_C_saire__Val_David_/L_Arabesque/), but with a basic set of gear, me and a buddy did a 3 pitch route.

Pretty psyched ... and I guess there's no going back to top rope now :)

Thanks for the kick in the ass I needed.


Tootie


Oct 4, 2009, 4:50 PM
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jst did

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