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dingus


Mar 31, 2009, 8:57 AM
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I never considered myself ready. I never knew I was ready. I still don't consider myself ready.

For me leading has always been a struggle with internal demons - fear, fear of failure, fear of fear, lack of self confidence.

I have never believed I was strong therefore I never led that way.

Something as simple (!) as attitude has a profound impact on how we address a difficult task.

But luckily for me I also possess a streak of recklessness. This has allowed me to throw my carcass at certain leads or projects damn the consequences.

By necessity however, I was ready to (and did) lead at age 14, self-taught.

Like I said - reckless.

DMT


kachoong


Mar 31, 2009, 9:18 AM
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Re: [dingus] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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I'm also in the boat of not knowing I was ready to lead... and really wasn't but somehow maintained composure on that, my first, and many subsequent leads following.

The third time seconding a short but exposed granite crack, my buddy (much more experienced than I) said that he was sick of dragging me up that climb and that I should know what I needed to take the lead. He handed me the rack and I placed the same four pieces I had removed the last two times I had climbed it. I'd been climbing about three months. The next day I lead my first bolted climb... it was a slab and so I shat myself more on that than the crack I'd lead the day before.

A bit of being thrown in the deep end is usually quite a bonus to the confidence, but mainly once you've lived through it and talk about it over a beer.


hansundfritz


Mar 31, 2009, 9:29 AM
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Re: [curt] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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curt wrote:
About 30 years ago, I was standing at the bottom of a multi-pitch climb in the Gunks--and I wanted to get to the top.

Curt

Ditto (except it was 25 years ago and it was Seneca)


jolery


Mar 31, 2009, 9:46 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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I knew by the glint in my climbing partnerís eyes when he jingled his brand new half set of BD hexentrics at me that he was ready to lead. There was no climbing instruction available within a thousand miles, so we had to learn the hard way. I had learned TR climbing from John Longís book, looking at my knots and comparing them to pictures of the knots. I read up on leading, we drove to the biggest, scariest crag we could find in our area, and started leading. My friend started first even though I had more experience than him, sparsely placing the few hexes he had, no runners which of course led to gear popping and pants-shitting. Also my friend thought aid hooks were for leading, luckily he found out they werenít when the first flick of the rope sent the hook sliding down to the ground. I started leading the next trip out Ė my friend hadnít killed himself, and I knew this was REAL climbing, so it was a natural progression. I knew if I ever wanted to climb some multi-pitch routes, I had better start leading. Leading was where the adventure was, and is. For me, it was about making my own way, climbing my own routes, from the ground up Ė strictly trad at the time. I knew there was a bunch of rock that you couldnít just walk up to the top to TR.
Luckily the many stupid mistakes didnít kill us, although my partner broke his ankle a year later from a popped Lowe-Ball in a wet crack, clipped a ledge, ended up a few feet from the ground. He hopped the two miles out to my car and never climbed again. I bought his rack, rope and shoes for a pittance, and kept leading.


dingus


Mar 31, 2009, 9:53 AM
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Re: [jolery] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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jolery wrote:
I knew by the glint in my climbing partnerís eyes when he jingled his brand new half set of BD hexentrics at me that he was ready to lead.

Before gyms, before instruction courses, before Climbing Professionals... yours was the tried and true method of 'partner detection.'

You know the noob has crossed the Rubicon when she just up and buys her own rack and then starts calling YOU, pestering YOU to go climbing and what's more the upstart has her own ideas about where and what you shall climb.

Glint in the eye - exactly.

I lost interest in every noob partner, very quickly, if they exhibited no desire to do this. Throw em back, find a keeper.

DMT


IsayAutumn


Mar 31, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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My grappling hook broke.


andrewG


Mar 31, 2009, 10:03 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Since you could follow this cleanly, it's not really 5.10

Thats funny. I feel that way when I onsight at my limit, but I've never heard anyone say that before. What a dick.

I was leading sport, but saw so many awesome lines that went on gear. I had followed some trad, and knew I wanted to do it more, but the gear was too expensive. A friend decided to get C4s and sell his old tech friends, which I scooped up for cheap. I then rounded out the rack with passive gear while reading FOH, anchors, etc... Started leading well below my limit, became addicted, and now I don't mind stretching the budget to buy gear I need. Top roping and being a belay bitch just isn't that exciting, and I agree that I don't feel like I'm contributing to the team much if I'm just belaying. Plus you get to use your brain while pushing yourself physically.


lena_chita
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Mar 31, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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It just happened...

My first several climbing trips outside were all on toprope, and I thought it was great and exciting, and that climbing was climbing, whether on lead or toprope. That was all in local areas where there was no option to lead, you just had to walk around to the top and build an anchor using BFTs.

Then we went to the new for the first time, and a guy who took us there lead all the routes for us to toprope. And I thought-- hey, I would much rather climb what *I* want instead of waiting for someone else to put a rope up for me!

I got a basic instruction along the lines of "this is what backclipiing is, this is what Z-clipping is, don't do those" and learned how to do toprope transfer and lead belay from the same guy who took us on the first trip to the New. I did one mock lead in the gym.

Then I went on my second-ever trip to the New with a whole bunch of people, we went to Orange Oswald wall at Summersville. I was planning to start with one of the 5.7s there, but all the 5.7s were busy, and looked like they would be for the rest of the day.

I looked at the two lines line that were open. It was the Orange Dihedral, 5.9 -- bolted all the way up to the top at that time, and Chunko goes Bowling, also a 5.9, right next to it. They both looked awesome, and seemed doable.

"How about this one?" I said to the person who was going to belay me (clee03), thinking that maybe she wanted to climb them first. She said that she would rather warm up before doing those lines. So I said I'd just do it-- and I did. In retrospect, I probably should have listened to her opinion b/c those were hard 5.9s to do as your first leads and I felt very sketchy. On the other hand, if I had started on 5.7s, I probably would have felt just as sketchy and would have scared myself away from trying the harder lines for a while.

For a while after that, i felt really good about climbing something on lead, even if I bolt-to-bolted it. Just clipping the chains seemed like an accomplishment. Hey, I did al lthe moves on 5.10a, I'm bad-ass! And then the redpoint bug had bit me...


swoopee


Mar 31, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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We got tired of single pitch top-rope climbs, and since we didn't know any other climbers in the area (mid 1970's), someone had to do it. Neither of us really had a clue but we just jumped on and took turns leading. I am sure that being 16 helped a lot. Smile


Partner cracklover


Mar 31, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Re: [curt] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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andrewG wrote:
I saw so many awesome lines that went on gear.

curt wrote:
About 30 years ago, I was standing at the bottom of a multi-pitch climb in the Gunks--and I wanted to get to the top.

Curt

I shouldn't try to read too much into Curt's comments, but it sure sounds like the same thing that hit me - a desire to test myself against lines that inspired me in a way I'd never felt before.

After coming home from Yosemite Valley, it wasn't long before I got to Cathedral in NH and then The Gunks in NY. And boy oh boy was I inspired/thrilled/scared by what I saw!

Before that, on my local 50 foot cliffs, on which TRing was the standard method of ascent, I just had no reason to lead. But how can you stand at the bottom of a granite cliff in Yosemite and not "get it".

GO


taydude


Mar 31, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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I asked my bro about leading so he showed me how to tie in, but me on belay and said go at it. Needless to say, my clips took forever. This might not be advisable to some. The route was very easy for me.


curt


Mar 31, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
andrewG wrote:
I saw so many awesome lines that went on gear.

curt wrote:
About 30 years ago, I was standing at the bottom of a multi-pitch climb in the Gunks--and I wanted to get to the top.

Curt

I shouldn't try to read too much into Curt's comments, but it sure sounds like the same thing that hit me - a desire to test myself against lines that inspired me in a way I'd never felt before...

It was my first year of climbing and my first trip to the Gunks. The guy who taught me how to climb had led me up 3 Pines, RMC and Disneyland the day before--and we decided to go to Skytop on Sunday. We went to a route called Gray Face and I led P1 and set up the belay. My partner led P2.

They were all really easy climbs, but it sure was fun.

Curt


clausti


Apr 1, 2009, 12:18 PM
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it was my first trip outside to climb, after climbing in the gym a bit for almost three years. as i was with much stronger climbers, and likely to be following for most of the rest of the day, they had me/let me put up 'flight of the gumby' for everybody to warm up on. i was part of the team.


ladyscarlett


Apr 1, 2009, 3:38 PM
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Re: [dingus] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:

You know the noob has crossed the Rubicon when she just up and buys her own rack and then starts calling YOU, pestering YOU to go climbing and what's more the upstart has her own ideas about where and what you shall climb.

Glint in the eye - exactly.

I lost interest in every noob partner, very quickly, if they exhibited no desire to do this. Throw em back, find a keeper.

DMT

I must be the most annoying newbie ever. I didn't really wait to buy the rack before bugging my buddies to take me out. But the rack fund is growing, slowly, slowly...

For me, I will admit to being a wimp and riding the confidence of my climbing buddies. After months and months of peer pressure to lead after I expressed interest, they put me in front of a climb, gave me a chance to look at it, gave me the gear, checked my placement on low stuff, looked me in the eye and said "you can do this, it's just a matter of having the balls to do it. Do you have the balls?" It was exactly what I needed and found that I did that day! I admit, that having my more experienced buddies have confidence in me definitely played a part in my own confidence to lead.

I'm still at the learning stage where I still enjoy following and cleaning a good route, especially since I can still get freaked out following. But what little I have started to lead - I can see why sometimes we have to ro sham bo for it!

ls


caliclimbergrl


Apr 1, 2009, 3:47 PM
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I'd been climbing for about a year.

For my first sport lead, I'd just climbed a short 5.7 very easily. When I came down, my friend said I looked really good on it and asked me if I wanted to try leading it. I agreed. He gave me a little lesson in back clipping (or rather, not backclipping) at the bottom and had me clip a bolt that you could reach from the bottom a couple times to be sure I knew what I was doing. And then I went up it. I still only led really easy stuff once in a while for about a year.

My first trad lead -- I'd been following and cleaning gear for about 2 years. I'd also been playing around with my (then) boyfriend's rack in cracks at the bottom of climbs and having my climbing partners look at my placements and give me feedback. We were cragging at Squamish at an area that has several easy-moderate short cracks. I did a couple of them and then my friends encouraged me to lead one. I hung on several pieces of gear -- it turns out the route my friends encouraged me to lead was a 5.8 that actually had some tricky moves at the top. But I made it up without falling and when my friend cleaned it, she said all my gear was good (I was pretty careful to make sure it was since I hung on several pieces). Again, I still followed for most of the rest of that summer putting up only a climb or two each time I went out, but it was a good start.


Partner angry


Apr 1, 2009, 4:20 PM
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I was leading by my second day. I was leading trad by my third.

I wasn't ready.

I guess I was ready once I finally progressed to the point that I felt like there just might be life after this lead. So many of my first climbs were filled with impending doom, wondering if I'd ever see my family again, what's the afterlife like, and what's my funeral going to look like.

I was definitely not ready.

I can't remember when I knew I was going to survive what I was climbing. Truth is, I still don't but it's a lot less reckless than it used to be.

I think for me the question is, when did leading start becoming fun. It certainly wasn't for a long time.


TJGoSurf


Apr 2, 2009, 7:46 AM
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I did it for the chicks, its too bad all the ones at the crag are taken or lesbians. Why didn't someone tell me this in the beginning?


Rudmin


Apr 2, 2009, 8:01 AM
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Re: [TJGoSurf] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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Hot girls start climbing because their bf needs a belayer, so they are already taken to begin with.


TJGoSurf


Apr 2, 2009, 8:06 AM
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Thanks Cpt Obvious for saying what I just did.


kennoyce


Apr 2, 2009, 8:29 AM
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So here goes my story. The first time I ever climbed was when I was like 7 years old at a wall in REI. I loved it but had a hard time finding partners or rides to the crag given my young age, so I settled on climbing at the wall at REI once or twice a year.

I first climbed in a real gym when I was like 12 and began to go there every chance I got (Birthday parties and scouting events) once again like once or twice a year. Finally when I was 15, one of my best friends who also loved climbing in the gym once or twice a year turned 16 and could drive.

Since we could finally go wherever we wanted we decided that we needed to start climbing as often as possible. In order to do this we went in together and bought a rope, some draws, and a pair of shoes (we had the same shoe size), we all ready had harnesses from our extensive gym experience.

Since we lived 5 minutes from american fork canyon we drove up the canyon looking for routes. We found a route at the back of a pullout right off the road so we decided to give it a go. The climb ended up being a 5.11 but we knew nothing of ratings at the time so my friend and I just took turns leading up as high as we could get (we couldn't get past the crux obviously). When we determined that there was no way to get past where we were we hiked around to the top of the cliff and set up a rappel off of a BFT, rapped off and retrieved our draws.

Soon after we started learning about ratings, we got a guide book and found easier routes and started doing routes that were within our ability levels. I have never returned to that first route we tried, but I still look forward to the day that I go back and fly up it.


dingus


Apr 2, 2009, 8:47 AM
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That was beautiful man.

DMT


clausti


Apr 2, 2009, 9:00 AM
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Re: [Rudmin] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Hot girls start climbing because their bf needs a belayer, so they are already taken to begin with.

just because no hot girls will look at you doesn't mean they don't have brains. in fact, in your case, i think i'd take it as an indication that those girls DO have brains.


sknowlton


Apr 2, 2009, 9:32 AM
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Re: [dingus] How did you know you were ready? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
I never considered myself ready. I never knew I was ready. I still don't consider myself ready.

For me leading has always been a struggle with internal demons - fear, fear of failure, fear of fear, lack of self confidence.

I have never believed I was strong therefore I never led that way.

Something as simple (!) as attitude has a profound impact on how we address a difficult task.

DMT

Bull's eye. Thanks Dingus. You said it better than I ever could have.


havard


Apr 2, 2009, 3:32 PM
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thx clausti, you painted a grin on my face Sly

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