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Looking for a trad mentor
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TFirzli


Apr 28, 2010, 4:27 PM
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Looking for a trad mentor
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I am looking to get into trad climbing from the gym and from some outdoor sport leading I have done. I am extremely interested in the idea of trad climbing as opposed to sport but cant find a mentor.

I am 19, only been climbing for about three months. I have taken a lead course and have led outside (only 2 times outside, 4-5 in the gym) and cleaned anchors. I know this isn't much experience but I think its better to be honest thank to try to sugar coat it. I can lead 5.8s and 5.9s. I can toprope 10+s and 11-s in the gym and have sent 10s on toprope outside.

Recently got a rope so my partner and i have a few trips planned outside already. Also have draws a personal anchor and 3 biners.

I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

Im perfectly fine being a belay slave for a while and following routes, I just want to learn anything. I am also fine attempting to lead. I don't have trad gear but am planning to put together a rack as soon as I find a possible mentor.

Shoot me an email if interested in showing a beginner the ropes of trad (or need a belay slave)!

Tarek Firzli
trfirzli@gmail.com


kennoyce


Apr 28, 2010, 4:34 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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You might try posting this in the Regional Discussions Forum since a trad mentor will probably need to live somewhere near you.


TFirzli


Apr 28, 2010, 4:48 PM
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Re: [kennoyce] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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Done, posted in west coast forum. Thanks for the advice, wasn't sure initially which area would be better to post it in.


irregularpanda


Apr 28, 2010, 5:55 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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TFirzli wrote:
Im perfectly fine being a belay slave for a while and following routes, I just want to learn anything. I am also fine attempting to lead. I don't have trad gear but am planning to put together a rack as soon as I find a possible mentor.

Some advice. Go to your crags, and or the gym. BRING BEER and LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

What's that you say? You're only 19.
If you're 19 and you don't know how to get beer, then you have no hope anyway.

Seriously, if you lower your standards for a "mentor" down to just a normal, unreliable, rope-monkey, who happens to fiddle with nuts, then you should be alright. And any trad climber worth their salt will be eager to drink someone else's beer.

Asshole out.


onarunning


Apr 28, 2010, 6:18 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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Hey, I'm 19 too, and I agree with the other poster who said you should lower your expectations. I started climbing when I was 16, climbed sport for a year, and then started climbing trad. Having only climbed trad for two years or so, I can't really say that I have a lot of experience at it.

What I do have experience at though is being young and inexperienced and finding people to teach you things. I think the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. Read a ton of books. Read the important parts of Freedom of the Hills. Read Climbing Anchors by John Long, Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills, and anything else you can find that seems pertinent.

The second thing is to lower your standards from a full on mentor to someone who can teach you something. I wonder how common it actually is these days for a crusty old veteran to take a teen out multiple times over a period of time and teach them the ins and outs of climbing. I doubt it happens very often. The other problem is that your crusty old veteran mentor might be doing things incorrectly and you will have no idea.

Instead, find a variety of people that will take you out. Talk to people in your gym about it. Go to the local trad crag and walk around and ask questions. Learn what you can from everyone you can, and then compare it to what everyone else told you and what you read.

Build a rack as you go, and start using it on climbs you know you won't fall on. Top rope them first if you can, and then lead them. It would be great to have an expert look at your every placement, but if you've found different people to teach you different things and you've read a lot, you'll probably have enough skills to not kill yourself.

I think this is a much more realistic and possibly effective way to build skills outside. I started out as a bumbling idiot, and now I feel very safe on leads within my ability.


TFirzli


Apr 28, 2010, 6:33 PM
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Re: [onarunning] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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I totally understand what you guys are saying. However, I never said I haven't been networking around my gym :)

I have been covering as many bases as I can, this is just one of them. While I will admit it would be very cool to have the crusty old veteran taking me under their wing... You are definitely right that it probably does not happen that way. Fortunately enough, I do know some people who have racks and have led trad, most have been climbing only a year though.

I am planning to take an anchors class with the Arizona Mountaineering Club and the Lead Class and may very well meet some trad climbers there. Unfortunately that is in november.

Again, all I haven't done networking wise is going to local trad crags, which is a great idea. I am reading "Traditional Lead Climbing" by Hiedi Pesterfield. I will definitely check out the book on anchors that you suggested if its at my library.

I am climbing with two guys who do trad (one has only been climbing a year) and will see if they want to climb in a trad area instead of jacks canyon sometime.

Thanks guys for the advice


onarunning


Apr 28, 2010, 6:38 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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Sounds like you've got it under control, haha. I really wanted a crusty old veteran when I started climbing, too. I wish things were still done that way.


anthonymason


Apr 28, 2010, 8:31 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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Kuhl, if you want too learn the rock, Look me up. I like to climb 5.1 and lower trad preferbly class 1 sometimes class 3 just depends on how much I have drunk the night before.
Although a true 5.1 might mean no pro for a 150' so if you ready for a true adventure drop me a line
Anthony


sed


Apr 28, 2010, 8:45 PM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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I'm a little crusty, been doing trad a while now but the whole mentor thing isn't really practical. It's good advice to read up and try to get experience with many people. Get outside of your box, even just go and watch people climb routes you can't yet. Most of those crusty old climbers are kind of focused on their own projects and goals and while they don't mind climbing with newbies on occasion, the idea of "mentoring" as in a karate kid/Miagi, just wouldn't work. Don't be in a hurry, just be humble and keep your eyes open.


Partner xtrmecat


Apr 29, 2010, 7:03 AM
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Re: [TFirzli] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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TFirzli, wow, you seem to have stirred up the muck on the bottom of the barrel.

I see no reason to buy anyone beer, or even just watch people climb routes you cannot yet climb. or even adventure out of any comfort zone. I do however see some value in the reading suggestions given above.

Trad daddies are just normal foks. Not the crusty stereotypical desert bums looking for free sherpa/slave services. We just love to climb, and not die by the hands of gym noobs and internet know it alls. Keep yer eyes peeled, and keep looking, we are out there, and probably not at the gym.

Post a small note on the board at the local gear store, probably not an REI and screen them yourself. Hang out at mostly trad type of climbing, and boulder some on the bottoms of climbs. Watch the folks gearing up and climbing around you and ask questions. You may get an invite to join in, or not. But you will eventually meet someone willing to share their knowledge with you.

Bouldering around the bases in these types of areas will do more than just expoose you to a chance meeting of a trad daddy. It can give you valueable footwork skills the gym cannot. It will expose you to pro possibilities that spurto types and gyms cannot. You may even wish to purchase a set of nuts, small investment that will never go to waste, and try to protect the bottoms of some of the stuff you are bouldering on.

This will give you a slight insight to what works and what may not work well. How easy or difficult placements can be. Now try it with a couple of feet of air under you, hanging by a crimp, or fingerlock. It gives you an idea of what the world is about to become, and also will let anyone within visibilty range see the noob trying to learn new things, and this is good.

When I go out, solo a lot, I pretty much keep to myself, still staying cordial and all, but I don't stop at every climbs base and critique their actions. But I see every party doing their thing and when they are Scary Harriet and Scary Harry doing their darndest to give the local SAR a run for their money, I sometimes engage in convesation to shortcut unpleasnat events. I have meet the nicest people bumbling around this way, often very receptive of a friendly suggestion as to how not to die.

The point is experienced climbers are everywhere, and if you cannot find em via an ad, or at the gym, they are still out there and can easily spot you. Give them the opportunity to find you too, and maybe even hint as to what may save you effort or give you grief when slotting a nut, or cleaning, or hanging form a bent arm while slotting said nut. Ask questions and the next thing you know it, you will be able to tell the know it all(know nothings) from the guy who really wants to help out.

The reading suggested above will only enlighten you to potential pitfalls, and give you insight to what you should be doing, the skills will come with practice. It does one other very important thing also. What it did for me was I was able to spot potential dangers with the first climbing partners I met, and gave me some base line rules that I could judge their safety levels on. I went through a few before I trusted anyone a lot. Now the circle of trusted and worthy partners is huge.

Good luck on your quest, and exercise caution. We may be out to help you, or kill you. Finding out which is which is your most difficult task.

Bob


blueeyedclimber


Apr 30, 2010, 7:17 AM
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Re: [onarunning] Looking for a trad mentor [In reply to]
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onarunning wrote:
Hey, I'm 19 too, and I agree with the other poster who said you should lower your expectations. I started climbing when I was 16, climbed sport for a year, and then started climbing trad. Having only climbed trad for two years or so, I can't really say that I have a lot of experience at it.

What I do have experience at though is being young and inexperienced and finding people to teach you things. I think the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. Read a ton of books. Read the important parts of Freedom of the Hills. Read Climbing Anchors by John Long, Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills, and anything else you can find that seems pertinent.

The second thing is to lower your standards from a full on mentor to someone who can teach you something. I wonder how common it actually is these days for a crusty old veteran to take a teen out multiple times over a period of time and teach them the ins and outs of climbing. I doubt it happens very often. The other problem is that your crusty old veteran mentor might be doing things incorrectly and you will have no idea.

Instead, find a variety of people that will take you out. Talk to people in your gym about it. Go to the local trad crag and walk around and ask questions. Learn what you can from everyone you can, and then compare it to what everyone else told you and what you read.

Build a rack as you go, and start using it on climbs you know you won't fall on. Top rope them first if you can, and then lead them. It would be great to have an expert look at your every placement, but if you've found different people to teach you different things and you've read a lot, you'll probably have enough skills to not kill yourself.

I think this is a much more realistic and possibly effective way to build skills outside. I started out as a bumbling idiot, and now I feel very safe on leads within my ability.

This is, perhaps, the best post I've seen from a 19 year-old. Nice job.

Carry on!

Josh


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