Well in about 60 days I will be attempting to lead my first multi-pitch climb in Red Rocks. Obviously it will be something easy at or under a 5.8 with heavy preference on a climb that has no run outs or shitty pro options. I can redpoint sport up to 5.12a confidently. I have a fairly good lead head on sport and I donít have a problem taking sport falls. So I have a reasonable amount of experience leading in general.
However, I am finding that although I am physically able to onsight the 5.10a and under trad climbs I have been trying out lately, I am having trouble getting my head together
well leading them on trad. I find myself resting on gear when I donít actually need to and sitting below the crux for a long period of time wondering if I should go for it or not. Basically the same things a new sport leader would encounter well training to lead sport. All in all my trad experience is limited.
I have a reasonable understanding of how to place pro and the correct usage of slings and such, I just donít have a ton of experience actually doing it.
I have seconded multi-pitch climbs before and I have a good understanding of the technical aspect of multi-pitch climbing. The only thing I think that I really need to work on to get through the easier climbs is getting a good lead head on trad and correct spacing of gear. I am finding myself using 7 Ė 10 cams on a 45 foot route and equalizing 3 cams below the crux which is way too excessive for longer pitches. So all in all what is the best way to go about mentally training to lead multi-pitch routes?
Obviously leading single pitch trad is a good start but is that it? Is just leading single pitch trad routes all one really needs to get mentally ready for a multi-pitch route or is there more to it? I have a feeling that just being solid on single pitch 40 foot trad lines wonít fully prepare you for being 130 feet above your belayer, 750 feet off the ground.
sounds like you have two different fear sets.
1st- is the whole leading above gear thing. this one just takes time and rate- and i would advise two things- if you're resting on gear, then you're climbing a route that's too hard for you- your first leads shouldnt involve resting on gear, this isnt sport climbing. second, if you cant have your feet above your last piece before you're placing gear again, then the route is too tough. you can push your limit physically or mentally, but not both. keep cranking it down until you can climb the route by scoping a stance, getting to it, placing gear, climbing until your feet are at or above the gear and repeating.
second- fear of heights/exposure. this is completely different from lead head- although it can affect your lead head, it may or may not, and really, there's no way to know whether it will until you're up there. the best advice on this one is 1) dont look past your feet until you're at an anchor and 2) dont climb a super-exposed route. not many routes in RR are that exposed at the 5.8 and below level- i'd say Birdland and the last pitch of Cat in the Hat are the only ones that have any sort of real exposure (the feeling of being WAY up there). oh, and dont worry about the heights thing at all- that shit will either fuck up your head or it wont and there's no point in working yourself up over it- most likely, you'll be fine. very few people really shut down at 500' off the deck.
the single most important issue with multipitch is time management. do not underestimate this. lets put it this way- in 7 years of climbing in red rocks, i've walked by the base of Solar Slab at dusk probably 50-60 times, and only ONE TIME in all those years have i been by and seen no one high on the route about to either spend the night or have one cold ass night trying to get down. and, seeing as you can retreat at any point on that route, i can account for all of those (or damn near) as bad time management.