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First Trad Lead (er, Epic)
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Partner oldsalt


Oct 16, 2006, 5:33 PM
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First Trad Lead (er, Epic)  (North_America: United_States: North_Carolina: Western: Table_Rock)
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I went to Table Rock with partner Jimmy this Saturday. I brought my rack, including the new small Tricams that I just bought. We swapped leads on Jim Dandy and then the Cave Route. I placed gear between bolts on my leads, and then it was my turn to lead pitch #2 of Cave.

The people ahead of us pointed out some bees above us, but I didn't see them. I started out and went high to avoid a mess of loose, flaky lichen and missed the bolt. I was run out and had nothing clipped, so I stuck a Flex Cam in a nice horizontal. I didn't think about anything beyond finding the route, looking around for bolts, and placing gear.

Now I know that there is a moment in a trad climb that is NOTHING like anything in sport...

I placed a medium small curved nut in a nice slot with a groove for the wire and slipped a draw on it. When I reached for a sling, I realized that I had left them below - after all I was sport leading when I started. I clipped the draw and moved on up, angling for the trees above.

The musical sound of a medium small bell tinkled in my ears. I looked for the source of the tinkling and saw my draw and curved nut skipping and sliding down the rope until it came to rest on the sturdy cam below. I don't know why I was so calm, but I just said, "Oh, heck" and placed another Flex Cam.

Looking up, I saw the expected trees, but no rap anchors. I went up to a sturdy tree with a double trunk and reached for a sling...

Since I had a decent stance on a 5.1X section at the top of the brow, I worked the belay station sling off my harness loop and clipped it to my Prusik loop, then closed the loop with a locker and clove hitched myself to that. As a backup, I made a chain of draws and clipped them around the smaller trunk with another locker. Finally, I clipped the rope to both lockers and redirected the rope down to the ATC on my harness.

About this time, while I am visualizing myself clinging to the top of the world and totally alone, out of sight, even out of voice contact with Jimmy, two guys walk up to the tree above me, look down, then one says, "Damn, this is Cave Route." They walk back down the path and out of sight. I must not have been crying then or they would have offered to call for an airlift.

I brought Jimmy up, expecting him to freak at the sight of my impromptu anchor, but he was grinning. He had intended to get me on trad lead, and the rat knew it was only partly bolted. So, I got my first trad lead and an onsight to boot. Jimmy's only suggestion was that next time I use the next larger size cam on every placement, since I was leaving the cams too open.

It's funnier to me now.

Underlined text edited for accuracy.


boredwolf


Oct 17, 2006, 5:40 AM
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Re: First Trad Lead (er, Epic) [In reply to]
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Awesome! I did my first trad lead on Sunday at Moore's. It really is a new experience, unlike any previous climbing experience. About the nut... shit happens, but on (my sole) nut placements I give gentle tugs in the downward, out, and upward directions to make sure it isn't gonna wiggle out on me like that. Great stuff though, I'm dying to get over to Table Rock.


ratmnerd


Oct 17, 2006, 5:53 AM
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Re: First Trad Lead (er, Epic) [In reply to]
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Yeah, Give the nut a good firm yank to set it. That way you can be sure it's secure. If it's the right size and not placed in lovely chossy rock (mmm, choss *licks lips*) it should both hold you in a fall, and not come out when you move past it.


timm


Oct 17, 2006, 6:19 AM
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Jim Dandy and Cave Route were some of my first leads ... 20 years ago :D

In reply to:
Jimmy's only suggestion was that next time I use the next smaller size cam on every placement, since I was leaving the cams too open.

If the cams were too open they were too small for the crack you used. You need to use the next size larger to make sure the cam lobes make contact in the middle of the cam's expansion range.

Cheers.


Partner abe_ascends


Oct 17, 2006, 7:21 AM
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In reply to:
Yeah, Give the nut a good firm yank to set it. That way you can be sure it's secure. If it's the right size and not placed in lovely chossy rock (mmm, choss *licks lips*) it should both hold you in a fall, and not come out when you move past it.

And when you yank, make sure you don't throw your body weight into it. That way, if the nut pops while you test it, you won't be knocked off balance and sent reeling into the void. Isolate the arm when you pull.


Partner abe_ascends


Oct 17, 2006, 7:22 AM
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In reply to:
Yeah, Give the nut a good firm yank to set it. That way you can be sure it's secure. If it's the right size and not placed in lovely chossy rock (mmm, choss *licks lips*) it should both hold you in a fall, and not come out when you move past it.

And when you yank, make sure you don't throw your body weight into it. That way, if the nut pops while you test it, you won't be knocked off balance and sent reeling into the void. Isolate the arm when you pull.


Partner abe_ascends


Oct 17, 2006, 7:26 AM
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In reply to:
Yeah, Give the nut a good firm yank to set it. That way you can be sure it's secure. If it's the right size and not placed in lovely chossy rock (mmm, choss *licks lips*) it should both hold you in a fall, and not come out when you move past it.

And when you yank, make sure you don't throw your body weight into it. That way, if the nut pops while you test it, you won't be knocked off balance and sent reeling into the void. Isolate the arm when you pull.


klong


Oct 17, 2006, 7:36 AM
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great story.

Be nice to your second, don't totally set the nut into place. All it takes is a mild pull not a hard yank to get the nut to stay. They tend to stay in place even better when your using 2 foot slings instead of quick draws.
And when you can set them back in a little more into the crack.


csproul


Oct 17, 2006, 7:45 AM
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Good job on the lead. Keep it up! As others have pointed out, setting a nut well can keep it from lifting out, but setting a nut hard is not a substitute for adequate sling length. A short sling can cause the rope to pull the piece out when falling on the piece(s) above the nut too, so that setting it in the anticipated direction of fall will not help. Good sling length is usually more important than really setting a nut in my opinion. And for the anchor, also remember that if you have enough rope, you can always use the rope around the tree and clipped back to yourself as an anchor as well. This is a good alternative to chaining draws together.


saxfiend


Oct 17, 2006, 8:01 AM
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Re: First Trad Lead (er, Epic) [In reply to]
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Nice story, oldsalt! Not quite an epic, but you did get a good lesson on having the right stuff on hand for different anchor contingencies. I'm looking forward to my first trip to Table Rock next month.

In reply to:
Be nice to your second, don't totally set the nut into place. All it takes is a mild pull not a hard yank to get the nut to stay. They tend to stay in place even better when your using 2 foot slings instead of quick draws.
Good point about using slings instead of quickdraws, but I disagree about not setting the nut. It's far more important that a piece of pro be dependable in a fall than for it to be easy to remove. Set your nuts hard and let your second deal with it.

JL


csproul


Oct 17, 2006, 8:18 AM
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In reply to:
Nice story, oldsalt! Not quite an epic, but you did get a good lesson on having the right stuff on hand for different anchor contingencies. I'm looking forward to my first trip to Table Rock next month.

In reply to:
Be nice to your second, don't totally set the nut into place. All it takes is a mild pull not a hard yank to get the nut to stay. They tend to stay in place even better when your using 2 foot slings instead of quick draws.
Good point about using slings instead of quickdraws, but I disagree about not setting the nut. It's far more important that a piece of pro be dependable in a fall than for it to be easy to remove. Set your nuts hard and let your second deal with it.

JL
It is more important that nut be able to hold a fall than easily be cleaned, but it is often the case that you can achieve both. A well placed and well slung nut usually doesn't need to be set super hard to be a good placement, and it will be easier to clean if you don't yank the $h!t out of it. Of course, until you learn how hard is sufficient, err on the side of too much.


krusher4


Oct 17, 2006, 9:04 AM
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Sweet, glad you loved it. It's another world, I love clipping bolts too but it does little to feed the beast compared to trad!!!


Partner oldsalt


Oct 19, 2006, 7:18 PM
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In reply to:
If the cams were too open they were too small for the crack you used. You need to use the next size larger to make sure the cam lobes make contact in the middle of the cam's expansion range.

Thanks, timm - you and Jimmy both pointed this out to me. It was a true mis-type, and not a misperception. I made the edit tonight.

I appreciate all of the responses - traddies are OK, or you guys were going kind to the newest member of the group.


Partner oldsalt


Oct 19, 2006, 7:21 PM
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In reply to:
If the cams were too open they were too small for the crack you used. You need to use the next size larger to make sure the cam lobes make contact in the middle of the cam's expansion range.

Thanks, timm - you and Jimmy both pointed this out to me. It was a true mis-type, and not a misperception. I made the edit tonight.

I appreciate all of the responses - traddies are OK, or you guys were going kind to the newest member of the group.


Partner oldsalt


Oct 19, 2006, 7:22 PM
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In reply to:
If the cams were too open they were too small for the crack you used. You need to use the next size larger to make sure the cam lobes make contact in the middle of the cam's expansion range.

Thanks, timm - you and Jimmy both pointed this out to me. It was a true mis-type, and not a misperception. I made the edit tonight.

I appreciate all of the responses - traddies are OK, or you guys were going kind to the newest member of the group.


bozher


Mar 29, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Re: [ratmnerd] First Trad Lead (er, Epic) [In reply to]
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[quote "ratmnerd"]Yeah, Give the nut a good firm yank to set it. That way you can be sure it's secure. If it's the right size and not placed in lovely chossy rock (mmm, choss *licks lips*) it should both hold you in a fall, and not come out when you move past it.[/quote]My second prefers that I use a runner instead of a quick draw to clip nuts. She has a heck of a time getting them out if I give even a little tug on them. If you move past your runner with out pulling up on it, it should stay put.


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