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How did you decide to do your first lead?
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ldrmn


Sep 28, 2009, 9:27 AM
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How did you decide to do your first lead?
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I tried doing a forum search on this, but I could not find the specific "first lead" information that I'm curious about.

So, one of my climbing friends has offered to help me get into trad. He suggests that we do a few "mock" leads, on top rope, so that he can check my placements.

I have experience setting anchors and I have read John Longs "Rock Climbing Anchors" numerous times. I have a good idea of what a good placement looks like(cam and nut wise). And I am confident that I could lead a easy route.

My question is how exactly did you tackle your first lead? Was it a TR lead? If you could go back would you do things differently?

I'm really trying to get as much out of climbing as I put in. I'm thinking that I would rather just go for it. One of the main reasons I love climbing is because it allows me to see what I am capable of in a stressful situation. Mind over matter I guess. I don't want to get in the habit of making sure that my ass is fail safe in all that I do. Reward is better with risk. And I know that is the same reason many people climb.


c4c


Sep 28, 2009, 9:45 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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if you have read Largo's book you will be fine. I would choose an easier route that you have climbed previously and lead it on the sharp end. (no toprope)
Have your second critique your placements/anchors.


jeepnphreak


Sep 28, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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Well, for me it was forced on me. I called a few of my friends that were more experienced at trad than I. none were availavle to climb that day.
So my wife and I headed out we found a nice 5.6 witch is well under my abilities and I lead. She is heasitant to lead so it was up to me.
after each placement I tug and reefed on each stopper and cam. Once I was happy with the placement I climbed higher. This climb endes with chain anchors, witch is nice because I have been sport climbing for 10 years and half of the sport anchors in my area are chains. Guide books are nice


yodadave


Sep 28, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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i would get out and second some stuff first before anything else. That gives you a better feel for placements than pictures. Once you can clean pro and you have a feel for different kinds of placement i would practise some placements at the bottom of a cliff, this will get you thinking about reaching for the right piece first time. Then go get on something well within your abilities. Have fun


dan2see


Sep 28, 2009, 10:32 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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When I decided to learn to lead on gear, I planned to start with the easiest climbs, and work my way up. I discussed it with my friends, who all agreed to go along with my plan.

So the first day, I did all the 5.1's I could find. Next, all the 5.2's. etc. etc.
Each time I'd build an anchor (we were good at that) and bring up my belayer, who cleaned the gear.
Nobody would agree as to whether my placements were good, but the scene was relatively low-risk. As I built skill, I also built confidence.

Unfortunately, that summer we all moved away, so my program ended for several years.

I'm climbing again. I'm mixing scrambles, sport, and trad, what-ever comes around. Every chance I get, I lead the easiest thing around. Again, as I build skill, I also build confidence. This is not a program, but it's just as good, because it's all rock-time.

I've got a long way to go. What I need more than anything else is a climbing buddy on the same level -- maybe next summer will be my big-time.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Sep 28, 2009, 10:34 AM)


johnwesely


Sep 28, 2009, 10:34 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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Don't mock lead. It is a waste of time. Just find an easy climb and go for it. You shouldn't be climbing stuff you might fall on at first anyways.


dan2see


Sep 28, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Re: [johnwesely] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
Don't mock lead. It is a waste of time. Just find an easy climb and go for it. You shouldn't be climbing stuff you might fall on at first anyways.

That's right. You've gotta do it for real.
Keep the risk down, and keep the fun-factor up.


kachoong


Sep 28, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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There was a discussion back in March, about knowing when you are ready to lead, in a thread by Cracklover, although I think it's not specifically about trad... but from memory has some interesting stories and points to consider.


dingus


Sep 28, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Re: [kachoong] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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If you have to ask you're not ready.

DMT


shimanilami


Sep 28, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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After our third trip out, I was sick of following my mentor. At the base of Nutcracker, I grabbed the rack and tied in.

"I'm good. You ready?"

"You're on."

No fuss from me. No fuss from him. The way it should be.


Bats


Sep 28, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I was supposed to do my 1st trad lead climb 2 weeks ago, but because the weather was so nasty I haven't. I have done a lot of cleaning on various routes. Also I have placed gear on low levels like on a crack and, work on my anchors with my buddies' gear. So far my placements have been right on. I am a belay slave to those that have gear, until I get more comfortable with leading trad. I am doing the slow building of a rack. I think in the next year or so I should have a full rack and leading.


hafilax


Sep 28, 2009, 11:21 AM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I seconded a lot of routes, decided I wanted to lead and took a 2 day gear course from a guide. The first day we placed gear on the ground and he checked it, on top rope and he checked it, more on the ground, some more placements, placed some more gear all the while the guide told us what was good and what was bad. Then we built a bunch of anchors of various configurations.

Second day we built more anchors and then led an easy climb. The guide felt pretty good about us so he stuck us on a steep, slimy, mossy 10b intending for us to fall. In retrospect I think that was somewhat questionable but it worked out fine.

After that I climbed every well protected 5.7 and 5.8 in my area and pushed to higher grades according to my comfort level.


Partner cracklover


Sep 28, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Re: [johnwesely] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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johnwesely wrote:
Don't mock lead. It is a waste of time. Just find an easy climb and go for it. You shouldn't be climbing stuff you might fall on at first anyways.

Exactly.

My first lead was a lead.

TR is TR, and lead is lead. Confusing the two just confuses your head.

GO


dagibbs


Sep 28, 2009, 1:01 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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My first sort-of trad lead was a mixed lead -- I lead a sport climb, clipping the bolts, but also placing gear in between the bolts. My belayer (much more experienced) then critiqued my placements.

From then on, I just led stuff. The first few I pre-scouted on top-rope, to know how they would go, look for placements and know I would be comfortable with the route.

I move up to on-sighting things that (from their grade or from their look) I figured would be within what I could climb fairly easily and lead reasonably competently.

So far, it has been going pretty well. Still have yet to take my first lead fall, though. (Then again, I've only been doing this since the start of March this year.)

-David


rockandlice


Sep 28, 2009, 1:03 PM
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Re: [cracklover] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I was a reckless kid. The moment I got my paws on a set of nuts I was out winging it. YMMV.


hafilax


Sep 28, 2009, 1:06 PM
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rockandlice wrote:
I was a reckless kid. The moment I got my paws on a set of nuts I was out winging it. YMMV.
I'm not sure that came out the way you intended. 'Twould be a fine out of context signature.


rockandlice


Sep 28, 2009, 1:13 PM
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Re: [hafilax] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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You saw the word "kid" and "nuts" in the same sentence and your dirty pedophile mind got the best of you, eh? Wink


seatbeltpants


Sep 28, 2009, 2:55 PM
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i agree with the others who say to dive in, no pissing around with a mock lead. assuming that you can climb reasonably competently this really defeats the purpose, i think - it's not going to be a hard route you try, so you shouldn't fall, and the whole business end of trad is having to be above gear, spending time at a stance, placing gear, trusting it, stressing, and coping.

the top rope would eliminate all of that. if you're going to do a mock lead why not just top rope the route and place gear on the way up?

i started by reading, seconding, and placing gear on the ground to convince my partner that i had some idea what i was up to. then i tied in and led an easy route, took my time, and placed loads of gear. i didn't hang on any of it, but ymmv.

the route i led wasn't absolute cake, not something i'd solo, but i'd climbed enough sport to be comfortable resting at the stances. i guess it was around 5.8 / 5.9 (was grade 15 on the ewbank scale, for those playing at home).

steve


CrazyPetie


Sep 28, 2009, 4:09 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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Word i agree, get on something low risk and go for the lead. I got my first set of cams when i was still a noob by most standards. My friend and I were at this Lame top-roping area, and we decided to climb any easy looking face that would take a little bit of gear. We ended up doing half a dozen routes, the novelty of it was just too fun to stop. Deffinately some bad placements but we survived.


agdavis


Sep 28, 2009, 4:15 PM
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Re: [ldrmn] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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I just went for it. First lead ever was a trad 5.6. For comparison, I was seconding 5.10a Just be confident -- you can climb a LOT harder than you think you can, when you don't want to experience your first fall on gear.

Be careful.


Couloirman


Sep 28, 2009, 4:30 PM
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one way Ive heard some people really liking, is to aid climb an easy pitch on a loose top rope. The plus side of this is you get to learn to trust gear, even some people who have led a lot still have a crazy fear of falling because their scared to pull on and trust their gear to do what it was designed to do.

Im not talking about aiding an Indian Creek style, all #3 C4 from bottom to top sized crack, but something that might require a little bit of thought in placements with different sized pieces. Try to place both nuts and cams and see what works and what doesn't. Just cause it'll hold body weight for you to aid all the way up doesn't mean it'll hold a fall, but it would do worlds for your confidence.


Either that or do what I did, read a book on the subject, and just do it because you KNOW that you are ready. If you have to ask, you're probably not ready yet.


veilneb


Sep 28, 2009, 4:54 PM
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High Exposure, the Gunks. Last pitch. My partner combined the first two pitches, brings me up and hands me the rack. I had taken a brief class with a guide on how to place gear and build anchors and had followed my buddy for a half dozen pitches. At the ledge, he hands me the rack. I asked, a bit surprised: "really?" "Yup, your turn" he replied. So I took the rack. It was a bit scary, a bit overhanging. Right under the roof I placed the biggest cam I had, deep in the crack...."I'm not sure about this..." "Nahhh..." he replied. "Looks good, keep going." To which I responded "you can't even see it from there!" "Sure I can" he lies, "keep going." So up I went.

At the top he congratulated me on a nice lead. Turns out he thought I had led a bunch of trad climbs in the past, but that was my first one. To this day I don't know where he got that idea from.

That was my first lead.


apeman_e


Sep 28, 2009, 5:10 PM
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First trad lead, or first lead ever?


jsj7051


Sep 28, 2009, 5:26 PM
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Smile
apeman_e wrote:
First trad lead, or first lead ever?

This is a very good question. I first lead a 5.6 bolted sport route about 60' high to get the feel .

My first trad lead was the same route that I climbed on my first time on real rock. Then I climbed it a few more times. I was comfortable with the gear needs and it felt like I was climbing an old friend not a blind date. Feeling that I knew I could climb the route helped me focus on the gear and not fear.
REMEMBER to breathe ............. Smile


dagibbs


Sep 28, 2009, 5:40 PM
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Re: [apeman_e] How did you decide to do your first lead? [In reply to]
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apeman_e wrote:
First trad lead, or first lead ever?

In the "Trad Climbing" forum, I'd assume, from context, first trad lead.

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