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haleymay


Jan 12, 2010, 6:59 PM
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Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing?
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I've been climbing for a little while. Done a little bit of sport climbing, crack climbing and ice climbing. I've only done lead climbing at the gym so far. I'm currently living in Utah but originally am from Wisconsin. I was checking out info about Devils Lake (for when I get back to Wis) and seen that its almost entirely Trad routes there. So if I wanna climb when I get back home I'm going to have to learn Trad climbing.

Whats the best way to get started? Any advice for building my rack? I know its expensive so I figured I'd start right away adding bit by bit to it over time. What are the essential pieces I should get right away?

Thanks :)


djlachelt


Jan 12, 2010, 7:19 PM
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You say you've only lead in the gym, but have done sport climbing. I'd say you definitely should start leading some sport... not that you have to do sport before you do trad, but if you have someone to do sport climbing with, then there's no excuse for not leading. You want to be comfortable being above your protection.

As for getting into trad, hopefully you know someone that does trad climbing. The best way to get into it is to have someone that knows what they are doing take you with them. Be willing to listen to what they have to show you. Second a couple of times, and then jump on the sharp end soon. Don't plan on doing anything nearly as hard as you do in the gym or sport. Take it way down, say a 5.6.

After you do some trad climbing with a friend, then you'll find what kind of gear you like to use. But of course a set of nuts is a good starter.

If you don't already have some quick-draws for sport climbing, and you know you'll mostly be doing trad at home, then you might want to start by building up your quiver of trad draws (they can be extended for extra length).

Here's a good book (not the only good one) on building anchors, a key skill. http://www.amazon.com/.../ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2
Just don't expect to pickup everything you need to know from a book.

Good luck


i_h8_choss


Jan 13, 2010, 3:31 AM
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haleymay wrote:
I've been climbing for a little while. Done a little bit of sport climbing, crack climbing and ice climbing. I've only done lead climbing at the gym so far. I'm currently living in Utah but originally am from Wisconsin. I was checking out info about Devils Lake (for when I get back to Wis) and seen that its almost entirely Trad routes there. So if I wanna climb when I get back home I'm going to have to learn Trad climbing.

Whats the best way to get started? Any advice for building my rack? I know its expensive so I figured I'd start right away adding bit by bit to it over time. What are the essential pieces I should get right away?

Thanks :)


mock leads. you're on toprope, but still placing gear and clipping into your pieces.

find out what size cracks you like best, and buy that size.

get a set of nuts


johnwesely


Jan 13, 2010, 5:15 AM
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Re: [haleymay] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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A second day of benevolence in a row. You are truly blessed!!! Anyways, if you want someone to take you out sport or trad climbing, it is best to get, at least, some of your own gear. You do not need a whole rack of quickdraws or a whole rack of cams, but I would get at least 6 quickdraws, some slings, extra biners, and a rope. You will find that once you have a rudimentary set of gear, people will be far more likely to take you under their wing. May the sun shine forever on all of your endevors! May you find a beautiful wife with an equally beautiful mind!


MS1


Jan 13, 2010, 6:16 AM
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Re: [haleymay] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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There are two basic ways you can go about this without dying.

1. You know a trad climber. Get this person to take you along as a second. You might be able to entice them with offers of transportation/food/beer/carrying gear, if they are reluctant. Follow this person's leads and observe their placements carefully. Ask them why they do things the way they do. After a few dozen times following, ask to borrow their gear and lead an easy route. When they tell you all the mistakes you are making, listen respectively and try to learn. Repeat, take it easy, and slowly acquire gear once you know what you like.

2. You don't really know anyone who climbs trad, but you want to get this thing done (this was my situation). First, study John Long's book on anchors very, very carefully. Read everything you can find about placing good pro. Get a set of nuts, a nut-tool, a few medium sized cams (singles of BD .5-3 is a good start), and biners and runners for making trad draws.

Get out there and practice placing them on the ground. When you've got that down, lead some clean aid until you've got your head around trusting these things as pro (this can also help you understand the art of adding runners to avoid rope drag). Don't bother with "mock leading," which won't help you develop your lead-head but will encourage you to move past crappy placements; the last thing you need early on is a false sense of security.

When the placements start to feel automatic, switch to free leading, at a level way below your sport lead ability, on routes that offer numerous stances for placing gear. Take a while at this before you start to push the grades; you need to be confident that you can place safe protection while under stress before you put yourself in a position where you will be falling on gear.

If you stick with this, you'll have a blast, and find a whole new set of (expensive) things to love about climbing. Just be careful, take it slow, and don't die.

Edit to add: Oh, and I agree with whoever said above that it will also help to do some sport leading outside.

(This post was edited by MS1 on Jan 13, 2010, 6:20 AM)


kennoyce


Jan 13, 2010, 7:21 AM
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Re: [haleymay] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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Best way is to find someone who trad climbs and have them take you out and show you the ropes. I see that you are from Ogden. I live in SLC and would be happy to let you come along with me some time to see how to do it. Just shoot me a PM and let me know when you are available.


jtgb1966


Jan 13, 2010, 7:59 AM
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Haley,

Route finding, placement of gear, anchor building, and rope management are what (mostly) separate trad from sport.

These are skills you should certainly read about and practice at home, but I strongly recommend finding a good climbing school ($$$, but less costly than a trip to the ER/morgue) or climb with a skilled mentor willing to teach you by example.

A quick Internet search uncovered one possible climbing community resource you could contact about getting involved in the local climbing scene as well - the Chicago Mountaineering Club, which appears to hold regular outings at Devil's Lake for all skill levels. http://www.cmcwebsite.org/Home.asp

Joe


i_h8_choss


Jan 13, 2010, 8:37 AM
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Re: [MS1] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Don't bother with "mock leading," which won't help you develop your lead-head but will encourage you to move past crappy placements; the last thing you need early on is a false sense of security.

This is false. Some mock leads can really help a n00b learn about placing gear, finding proper rest spots to place gear, looking at different crack sizes, etc etc.

Some people learn better by doing, and not what you said: placing on the ground, reading a book, or following someone.


just sayin


climbingtrash


Jan 13, 2010, 9:03 AM
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Re: [i_h8_choss] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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i_h8_choss wrote:
In reply to:
Don't bother with "mock leading," which won't help you develop your lead-head but will encourage you to move past crappy placements; the last thing you need early on is a false sense of security.

This is false. Some mock leads can really help a n00b learn about placing gear, finding proper rest spots to place gear, looking at different crack sizes, etc etc.

Some people learn better by doing, and not what you said: placing on the ground, reading a book, or following someone.


just sayin

Gotta agree that mock leading is a good way to learn without being committed. You definitely want to have your placements critiqued after the mock lead so you don't risk gaining a false sense of security.


Partner xtrmecat


Jan 13, 2010, 9:37 AM
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Re: [i_h8_choss] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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To the OP. Most of the replies are made with good intentions, and even have some useful information. Please humor me for a moment.

Trad climbing is so much more than placing and climbing on gear. It is a style of climbing, almost an ethic of purity of style. So much more than the forum or most of it's users even know.

Climbing on gear is just that, kind of sport with a little more work, and flair. One poster said it better than the others. Skills such as rope management, gear placement, leading skills way beyond those that can be acquired in a gym, or sport climbing. Assessment of the climb ahead, and ability to judge what is doable by you are just some of the skills one should have before "trad climbing".

Trad does not equal gear. If that is what you seek, then do not bother with the rest of my post, and seek out a good gear leader and learn all you can. If trad is what you truly seek, then finding a trad climber is a little harder, as they are a rare find. They do exist though. I know several, and they are great people and fantastic climbers.

Trad means a ground up ethic. No prior exploration of the route, leave the deck with a good idea of gear and only use the gear to protect you from falls, no hangs or "take" in trad. The climbing can and does include bolts, however they are put there on lead, not rap bolted. One can however, go as far as possible, find out that the route will need a piece of gear or bolt not taken up at first, and be lowered to the start of the pitch or climb, acquire the needed piece/tool, and then pull the rope and relead the pitch by fair means.
This doesn't include working the route prior or topropeing. That is separate style and not trad.

Some even go so far as to say a fall is not trad, and if you do, a clean ascent is not possible by you. The route is tainted. Onsite, first try, yoyo is not doable, unless the bolt kit was unforeseen as needed.

RC.com has a couple "Trad Daddys" and they may even post up, too. but it is such a misunderstood term that most will not bother to try to educate each and every comer to this forum.

You may think it is overkill on my part, and even appear elitist. Kind of the opposite though, when you get around true trad climbers they will laugh amongst themselves at the ignorance of the unknowing, thinking they have "climbed" this or that, when in fact all they did was get up it in a lesser style, and feel good about their accomplishment, when it could have been done much better, and they cheated themselves of the chance to do so. There is only one first ascent, and one redpoint, right? And Trad is the best try, one time, in the best style one can accomplish. Every thing else is a watered down version. Just thought you should know. That is so much different a meaning than climbing on gear.

Bob

This post may offend some. That was not the intention, but could be the result. I am sorry if it does, and if that isn't good enough, too bad you cannot see any educational value through the blinders you currently are wearing. I truly pity you.

edit to add."Trad" is shortened from Traditional. That is all.


(This post was edited by xtrmecat on Jan 13, 2010, 9:39 AM)


swoopee


Jan 13, 2010, 9:43 AM
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MS1 wrote:
There are two basic ways you can go about this without dying.

1. You know a trad climber. Get this person to take you along as a second. You might be able to entice them with offers of transportation/food/beer/carrying gear, if they are reluctant. Follow this person's leads and observe their placements carefully. Ask them why they do things the way they do. After a few dozen times following, ask to borrow their gear and lead an easy route. When they tell you all the mistakes you are making, listen respectively and try to learn. Repeat, take it easy, and slowly acquire gear once you know what you like.

2. You don't really know anyone who climbs trad, but you want to get this thing done (this was my situation). First, study John Long's book on anchors very, very carefully. Read everything you can find about placing good pro. Get a set of nuts, a nut-tool, a few medium sized cams (singles of BD .5-3 is a good start), and biners and runners for making trad draws.

Get out there and practice placing them on the ground. When you've got that down, lead some clean aid until you've got your head around trusting these things as pro (this can also help you understand the art of adding runners to avoid rope drag). Don't bother with "mock leading," which won't help you develop your lead-head but will encourage you to move past crappy placements; the last thing you need early on is a false sense of security.

When the placements start to feel automatic, switch to free leading, at a level way below your sport lead ability, on routes that offer numerous stances for placing gear. Take a while at this before you start to push the grades; you need to be confident that you can place safe protection while under stress before you put yourself in a position where you will be falling on gear.

If you stick with this, you'll have a blast, and find a whole new set of (expensive) things to love about climbing. Just be careful, take it slow, and don't die.

Edit to add: Oh, and I agree with whoever said above that it will also help to do some sport leading outside.

1. You know a trad climber. Get this person to take you along as a second... and study John Long's book on anchors very, very carefully.

2. You don't really know anyone who climbs trad. Get to know someone who climbs trad (Warning, they can be cantankerous, so approach them carefully Smile) and back to step 1.


jt512


Jan 13, 2010, 9:50 AM
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Re: [climbingtrash] Whats the best way to get started Trad climbing? [In reply to]
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climbingtrash wrote:
Gotta agree that mock leading is a good way to learn without being committed.

Which is exactly why mock leading is such a bad idea.

Jay


MS1


Jan 13, 2010, 10:00 AM
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Sure, you can hit up a stranger and try to get them to teach you. But you have to be wary --- there are plenty of disasters waiting to happen who might offer themselves up as a mentor. If you go this route, make sure to find someone you can trust, and don't assume that spray = actual knowledge.

I also think it is worth pointing out that this is hard, dangerous, etc., but it isn't actually rocket science. You can teach yourself, and if you take the time to learn it properly and are patient about pushing your limits, that can be within the limits of acceptable safety. Mentors help in some ways --- they can help you spot errors quickly, before they might put an end to you --- but they also encourage a mental habit of relying on others that can inculcate some bad habits of thought.

Of course, this might be bad advice and it might get you killed. At the end of the day it's your own life, and you have to decide what is an acceptable risk. If you are a reckless fool, you are going to die whether or not you start learning from someone experienced. I learned this way and it worked for me, is all I'm saying.


ensonik


Jan 13, 2010, 10:12 AM
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You'll probably want to read this as well. All of it.
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...rum.cgi?post=2212133


healyje


Jan 13, 2010, 11:24 AM
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jt512 wrote:
climbingtrash wrote:
Gotta agree that mock leading is a good way to learn without being committed.

Which is exactly why mock leading is such a bad idea.

Jay

You know it's true when Jay and I agree on something - definitely skip the mock leading.

As others have said, the best way to learn to trad climb is to second trad climbers. Post up on MountainProject.com for DL parnters once you're back there.


johnwesely


Jan 13, 2010, 11:45 AM
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xtrmecat wrote:
This post may offend some. That was not the intention, but could be the result. I am sorry if it does, and if that isn't good enough, too bad you cannot see any educational value through the blinders you currently are wearing. I truly pity you.

edit to add."Trad" is shortened from Traditional. That is all.

I am offended. I demand a sincere apology.


haleymay


Jan 13, 2010, 12:04 PM
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Thank you all for advice, I've gotten quite a few different opinions and perspectives to think about. I guess I've got some reading to do and some trad climbers to find. Thanks again!


climbingaz


Jan 13, 2010, 12:44 PM
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As has already been said numerous times:

Find a trad leader willing to let you clean his routes as a second.

And don't lull yourself into believing you can simply figure it out on "easy" routes. Falling on "easy" routes usually means hitting stuff on the way down (not good).


shimanilami


Jan 13, 2010, 12:47 PM
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jt512 wrote:
climbingtrash wrote:
Gotta agree that mock leading is a good way to learn without being committed.

Which is exactly why mock leading is such a bad idea.

Jay

Just mock lead with 20' of slack out on the TR.It'll give them a thrill, but at least they won't die.


(This post was edited by shimanilami on Jan 13, 2010, 12:49 PM)


jeepnphreak


Jan 13, 2010, 12:52 PM
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haleymay wrote:
Thank you all for advice, I've gotten quite a few different opinions and perspectives to think about. I guess I've got some reading to do and some trad climbers to find. Thanks again!

You may want to give these guys a call. I have no affilation or anything with them but they do say that they run trips to Moab with is kinda near to you.
You may be able to strike up a deal from a cert guide that can get you the training/info you need and at a levle you can deal with.

http://www.coloradospringsrockratz.com/index.html


fng


Jan 13, 2010, 1:02 PM
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Get a rack with what ever gear you want to use. Find a 5.5-5.6 climb that your guide book says has good places to place pro that is not runout. Lead up and put in pro as often as you can. Sew it up with everything you have to practice placing the gear. Save what you need for the belay station if it is not bolted.

It is a lot more fun than bolted routes. You get to use your mind to 'figure it out'. Take your time and enjoy it. The best way is to just do it on a climb well below your ability.


Partner cracklover


Jan 13, 2010, 1:42 PM
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healyje wrote:
jt512 wrote:
climbingtrash wrote:
Gotta agree that mock leading is a good way to learn without being committed.

Which is exactly why mock leading is such a bad idea.

Jay

You know it's true when Jay and I agree on something - definitely skip the mock leading.

+1 more.

Mock leading = worse than waste of time.

GO


davidnn5


Jan 13, 2010, 1:51 PM
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Very interesting to read (yet another) take on traditional climbing, albeit one that makes a good amount of sense given all the arguments that seem to arise when relating trad to sport to X to Y.

That said, it seems the most sensible way to approach these wording issues with a new partner is to say 'i want to climb' and once you've got that out of the way, talk about how you specifically want to climb (on boulders, on cliffs, on ice, by clipping bolts, by placing protection, up ladders or stairs, out of bed)...


healyje


Jan 13, 2010, 2:10 PM
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Oh, and one aspect of trad climbing that's different is you actually spend time hanging around on the tops of rocks which can be a dangerous deal, especially on rock as slick as DL. Develop some situational awareness and pay attention to the various activities and anchoring that happens on the tops of trad climbs and setting up TR anchors. An amazing number of folks simply fall off the top of things and it's not the sort of [working] exposure you get simply lowering from gym/sport anchors.


malcolm777b


Jan 13, 2010, 4:19 PM
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fng wrote:
Get a rack with what ever gear you want to use. Find a 5.5-5.6 climb that your guide book says has good places to place pro that is not runout. Lead up and put in pro as often as you can. Sew it up with everything you have to practice placing the gear. Save what you need for the belay station if it is not bolted.

This is what I did. I had a rack of nuts and 5 cams, and while at Vantage, WA, I spied a crack near where I was climbing and had a friend belay me. The crack was not in the old or new guidebook, so I have no clue what the rating is....it felt 5.7, but that could have been the adrenaline speaking. I got quite high before getting in a first piece (I wasn't proficient in downclimbing, something else you should practice if you want to be a trad climber). Eventually I had 3 cams in and got to a place where I could traverse to a set of anchors. So my first trad climb was as traditional as you could hope for, in that it was ground up with no practice and no beta on moves or gear other than what I could see from the ground. I had extensive practice placing pieces and building anchors on the ground.

My second trad climb, with a LITTLE more gear, but still no experienced mentor was GNS at Index (5.6). We thought we had plenty of time to do all three pitches, but ended up rapping off pitch 2 in the dark. By the time I started climbing with an experienced (30+ years of trad) climber, he had nothing bad to say about my placements other than "you set your small nuts too hard....I don't like carrying a pick".

So yes, you CAN teach yourself to trad climb, but if you take the quoted advice, be extremely responsible for your own, and your partners safety. And mind the grades as well. Just because it is 5.5 or 5.6 doesn't mean that it is going to feel at all like 5.5 or 5.6 sport...those are typically a joke.

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