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USnavy


Jan 14, 2009, 8:56 PM
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suilenroc


Jan 14, 2009, 9:10 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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Just make sure you protect your second. Sounds like you can protect yourself. On traverses or other similar situations be sure to protect those areas where a second fall will create some swing. Other than that... Double, triple check everything and enjoy. I don't recommend n00bs throwing themselves to the wolves, but someone like you surely can handle the bites of multipitch climbing. Be safe and have a great time.


el_layclimber


Jan 14, 2009, 10:28 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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    Moving fast on multi-pitch often means being able to look at the next 30 feet of climbing and know you aren't going to fall. If you can redpoint 5.12, 5.8 is not a problem. You need to be able to put in a solid piece, look up and see the next rest and solid placement and start moving.
Don't know what kind of routes are available near you, but for me a lot of mileage on ground that I knew I could solo was very useful.
Route-finding is a key skill. Look above yourself, see the next rest, see the line to get there, then commit and only focus on the move you are doing. When I am hanging from a bomber belay, I stop to enjoy the view; if I'm climbing, I don't look below my feet.
This is why a line of bolts ruins a route: whether you skip the bolts or not, connect-the-dots climbing takes away the challenge of finding the line of least resistance and the confidence that you can take care of yourself.


vegastradguy


Jan 14, 2009, 11:51 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
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.


yodadave


Jan 15, 2009, 2:45 AM
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the more gear you place the more comfortable you'll be. pull on everything you place to get it in your head that its good and don't have an epic. go cruise something classic and easy


granite_grrl


Jan 15, 2009, 4:20 AM
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Re: [vegastradguy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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VTG has a lot of good advise. Trad climbing is something to ease into, you don't want to constantly be hanging all over the places and scared to climb above your last gear.

Other important considerations. Often you need at least a little speed for multipitch. This will include placing gear quickly and running it out a little bit over easy sections. If you're constantly placing gear A) you'll need a ginormous rack for a 100'+ pitch, B) you're going to take forever.

Another thing I have found on the easier Red Rock routes is that route finding isn't a gimme. This is a skill that you will have to devellop, but take the time on the ground and figure out as best you can where you're going to go.

I would also stick with routes with bolted belays and routes you rap at first. If you're inexperianced with route finding it helps to look for the bolts to signal the end of the pitch. And if you're just too slow you can bail off before you're done and rap the route.


billl7


Jan 15, 2009, 4:56 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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Lots of good things said above: gear confidence, pitch-rigging confidence, and efficiency (e.g., climbing pitch-after-pitch cleanly). This probably translates into more mileage. Single-pitch mileage is good but to get things dialed it can be just two-pitch, three-pitch, four-pitch mileage.

Keep track of your per-pitch rate at a given grade. When planning, allow for getting tired (i.e., slowing down) later in the day. One doesn't always have to complete that route of, say, 12 pitches. Check the beta. For example, as granite_grrl said, if the descent is rapping the route then maybe only plan to do 3 pitches this time - mindful that other parties may be below. Set a turnaround time and stick to it. Know the bail points for the route. The upper pitches will still be waiting next time.

About getting your head together: After more mileage on the sharp end, you might be surprised to find yourself feeling more confident above the 1st pitch. On harder (i.e., steeper) routes, there's often (not always) not so much to hit during a fall once you are well off the deck.

Bill L


(This post was edited by billl7 on Jan 15, 2009, 5:01 AM)


yodadave


Jan 15, 2009, 5:08 AM
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i thought of some other stuff as well,
re-racking at belay stations, make sure you have some kind of method.
To ensure speed, putting where it needs to go and not dropping half your rack. If your swinging leads you should think that through too.
Also it never hurts to go over how to fix a munter before you head up, just in case you do drop your BD.


altelis


Jan 15, 2009, 6:10 AM
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USnavy wrote:
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..........
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....So all in all what is the best way to go about mentally training to lead multi-pitch routes?

First off, though I object terribly to much of the recent posts you've had (mainly ethical stuff about bolts.....sheesh), this really isn't meant to be a dick post. Rather it is supposed to be an honest one.

When I first started climbing I was enamored with trad but didn't have gear or partners interested, so while I got some trad leads in here and there I was mostly sport climbing. I think I was in a similar place mentally and therefore I have a suggestion: I think if you really want to be able to get your lead head together when trad climbing you first need to be honest with yourself.

Your post is conflicted and contradictory. You claim you have good "lead climbing experience in general" and then you state that your "trad experience is limited". Ergo, your lead lead climbing experience in general is NOT good. It is in fact limited, limited to sport. Your sport head is good and your trad head is not.

You, like I once was, then convince yourself if you are jumping on trad routes 2-4 NUMBER grades beneath your sport onsight limit you'll have no problem. So you are getting into a trad lead fooling yourself in how you will respond and with what you can honestly tackle. Then when your head gets in the way this is compounded by the fact that you are, at least subconcsiouly, confused in some respect as to why you are feeling scared.

I found, more than mileage, what helped me into the transition was being honest. No, I don't have lead climbing experience, I have sport climbing experience, which does NOT automatically transfer. For some it does, but for the majority it does NOT. I have a huntch that if you go into that 5.8 lead knowing that a)its scary to have that much ledge-fall potential, b) it could take you a bit to place gear, c) you will need to commit to a single good cam or nut below a crux (maybe a fair way below a crux), and d) well, it just may be WAY harder and scarier than a 5.11 sport lead and thats ok, you'll find that you progress very quickly.

Embrace reality. If you keep suppressing reality from yourself you'll never flourish. Ever. G'luck. And don't underestimate how HUNGER Red Rock multi-pitch routes are for ropes. TAKE YOUR TIME ON RAPPELLS (and avoid them altogether if you can!!!!!0


Tree_wrangler


Jan 15, 2009, 6:53 AM
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--Manage your ropes well. Careful stacking at the belays (I hang off my daisies, and stack the rope across the taught daisies) will all but eliminate random clusters. Also, if you just let the rope sprawl all over, you'll frequently interfere with your partner's access to the belay.

--Keep gear organized throughout the climb. If you choose to let disorganization occur, make it conscious. I.e., if it's on the last pitch, it really doesn't matter anymore.

--Have the skills and tools to retreat. That doesn't mean that you will, but KNOWING that you have your escape route figured out (even if it's up), should help some of the heebie-jeebies. Make sure that it's just habit to have a pair of prusiks with you.

and other stuff already said by others.


hafilax


Jan 15, 2009, 11:56 AM
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There's an important person involved in this plan that you have barely even mentioned: YOUR PARTNER.

Will you be swapping leads? Are they a beginner or experienced? If you get into trouble will they be useful? Can they take over and lead you out if you succumb to your fears?

Having a good partner can ease a lot of the tension. I approach a climb differently if I'm leading all the pitches than if I'm swapping leads with someone who is an equal or stronger climber. If I know they can take over at any point I'm more willing to take a chance on a tough lead. I've actually pushed my lead grade more on multipitch climbs than cragging.

Sounds like you need to go aid climbing or at least take some falls onto single pieces of gear (not mid pitch anchors although you could build one of those below the single piece to be on the safe side). You will never know that your gear will hold until you prove it to yourself.


brotherbbock


Jan 15, 2009, 12:11 PM
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dude place some pro and take a nice long whipper on purpose to get your head right!


sammmy


Jan 15, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Ah, just go hop on the Challenger. You're crushing 5.12 sportZ klymbZ.


justroberto


Jan 15, 2009, 1:01 PM
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As has been mentioned, what happens at your belay stations is going to be the key - keeping it simple so you can check over everything, keeping your rope(s) organized, and placing gear as quickly as possible once you start leading off the anchor.

My experience has been that once I'm more than a pitch up, everything gets a lot calmer and more relaxed. The first pitch is kind of the warmup where I get the jitters out. After that, I'll get into the rhythm better, and, unless it's unusually ledgy, there's not the worry of decking. You also won't have the distractions you do when cragging, so the focus is typically better.

Be very deliberate at the belays (both on the way up and down) and hopefully it will run pretty smoothly.


shockabuku


Jan 15, 2009, 1:35 PM
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Go read some of the Rock Warrior's Way stuff.


elcapinyoazz


Jan 15, 2009, 2:02 PM
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USnavy wrote:
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.

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?

It's all mileage. But your particular mindset on what climbing should be doesn't help. All I see on these forums is you wanting everything to be sport bolted. So your idea of properly spaced gear just doesn't work outside the comfy environs of the outdoor climbing gym (i.e. the sport crag).

Best advice: Go clean aid some C1-C2 stuff. You'll place way more gear than you would on easy practice trad climbs so you get more gear practice, and you'll get instant feedback on how good the gear is. You can easily go do it alone, and not feel pressured by a partner's agenda. It will improve your ability to eyeball the correct size first time and that in turn will make you more efficient when free climbing. It will also increase your confidence in your gear placements.


Partner rgold


Jan 15, 2009, 2:06 PM
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Here's what I'd say to anyone thinking about the transition in question.

The tricky thing about the transition from sport climbing to trad climbing is that there are a whole collection of trad climbing skills, and really only one of those, technical difficulty ability on steep faces, is trained by sport climbing. The result is that the sport climber starting out on trad is a peculiar beast; an almost total beginner with tremendous physical prowess for steep face climbing. This is a problem, because in order to bring all the other skills up to the level of physical accomplishment, the transitioning sport climber has to spend a significant amount of time on climbs whose technical difficulty is below what they are used to, and it is hard to step back into the beginner role when you don't think of yourself that way any more.

I think the first thing that ought to be said is that, regardless of all the idiotic spray we read on the subject about which form of climbing is "superior," we are speaking of quite different types of endeavors, and there is no reason why one should necessarily ever transition from one to the other. However divorced trad climbing may have become from its roots in mountain travel, it still has at its core an interest in exploration and discovery and a willingness to put up with both the hardships and the dangers of unknown territory. I see very little of this in sport climbing, which essentially banishes the hardships and dangers in the pursuit of exceptional standards of pure difficulty, and I don't see any reason, a priori, why someone who loves one of these genres would necessarily find themselves drawn to the other.

So perhaps the first question to settle is "why are you even interested in trad climbing?" I mention this because part of your answer has to include a willingness to take on more, perhaps significantly more, risk. If the interest in exploration and discovery, in whatever diluted forms they still exist in modern trad, is not enough to make this extra risk acceptable, than trad climbing is probably not for you. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is worth understanding before setting out on a bunch of experiences that seem inexplicably miserable. You don't have to like trad climbing.

Assuming you're still interested, consider the trad climbing skills that aren't part of sport climbing.

1. Route-finding, both for going up and for going down.

2. Ability to move efficiently and safely, both up and down, on relatively easy but unprotected ground. This is often necessary at the top and bottom of trad routes, and most trad pitches will have sections of relatively easy climbing where the leader absolutely must not fall. If you get off-route on a pitch, you may also have to climb down, perhaps down a section that seemed easy on the way up...

3. Ability to climb near one's limit without falling, including the ability and understanding needed to downclimb before getting in over one's head and the discipline to place protection when one is under stress. Perhaps this state things backwards. Your trad difficulty limit, at least for a while, should be the grade at which you can do these things. If you are dogging trad routes, you're starting off at too high a difficulty level and are actually preventing yourself from learning critical techniques.

4. At least rudimentary crack-climbing skills, which are often not a part of sport climbing.

5. Ability to place effective gear in a timely fashion.

6. Rope management skills for leading, belaying, and rappelling. The second, who isn't in a position to make choices for themselves, must always get as much protection as is possible under the conditions, and under no circumstances are you allowed to drop the ropes when setting up rappels! And remember that Red Rocks is rappel hell, so you'll need to have all your rappel techniques, strategies, and alternatives dialed.

7. Efficient gear handling skills at belay change-overs, especially hanging or semi-hanging stances.

8. At least rudimentary aid climbing skills. (These should be acquired as part of a program of practice aid climbing, which is almost essential for learning the basics of gear placement anyway.) The ability to aid through a section can make all the difference between a minor annoyance and a major epic, especially if the weather turns bad, the hour gets late, a partner is incapacitated, or just that there is a hard bit near the top of a climb that is not descended by rappel.

9. Some rudimentary self-rescue skills. The ability to ascend a fixed rope (with improvised gear) is essential. Then there is a list of other things whose importance decreases to almost nothing (e.g. improvised mechanical advantage hauling systems). Some of these things can get you into far worse trouble than you would have been without them, so if you are going to learn them, make sure you can actually use them in the field. Remember that if there are other climbers around, calling for help is usually going to be a much better and safer alternative than some complicated and risky self-rescue scenario out of a book.

10. For all the skills and strategies, a knowledge of alternatives. You need to be able to belay and rappel without a specialized device. You won't be at all efficient if you only know one way to set up a belay anchor or one way to stack the rope.

It should be obvious that these skills have to be acquired over time, and that a lot of the practice needs to be on ground that is not technically difficult for you. Here I think you will get additional evidence about whether trad climbing is or is not for you. If you find you don't enjoy easier climbs, I'd say you probably ought to stick to sport.

It should also be obvious that it helps enormously to do these things with an experienced person. Many of us learned our craft by ourselves, the hard way, but it is hard to recommend this in view of the additional risks, often unrecognized, and the inefficiency of doing things "wrong" repeatedly.

Lacking an experienced person, there is some safety in numbers. I think that when you are starting out, a three-person party is best if everyone is relatively inexperienced. Having three bodies and two ropes gives you a considerable extra edge.

It should be obvious that one ought to progress from short to long. Get some of your protection strategies dialed on single-pitch routes. Get your rope and gear management skills honed on short (3-4 pitch) routes, especially if you are climbing as a party of three, because you will be slow and do not want to get benighted in mid-climb if you can help it. As far as learning to set up belays and manage change-overs, don't go for rope-stretching leads that pass several intermediate belay opportunities (and, at the same time, make belay communication far more difficult).

A final exhortation for anything multipitch: start as early as possible. Everything gets much dicier once it gets dark.


moose_droppings


Jan 15, 2009, 2:23 PM
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Lot of good advice so far.
Mileage is key IMO.

You don't need to get on a 10 pitch route to start. Put some time in with someone experienced at it. Get on some simple 2, 3 and 4 pitch routes that you know you can get thru in a days time. This also helps if your partner is new to mutipitch. Get on these shorter routes and your system will slowly get more efficient. Don't be afraid to sew up the route if that helps your head and climb a 5.whatever it takes for your comfort zone. Plan on extra time to allow faster parties pass if need be.
Be humble, slow and methodical to start with. Confidence comes with time and mileage.


clausti


Jan 15, 2009, 3:59 PM
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you already lead single pitch trad?

Go climb a 2 or 3 pitch trad route, and get the hang of what's gonna cause you to clusterfuck the rope and the gear. hint:if you're a right handed belay, don't stack the rope entirely on your left! Shocked ect.

then do this a few more times when you have lots of light and food and water.

then do something longer!


Partner angry


Jan 15, 2009, 4:04 PM
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I feel obliged to mention that you could just climb some sport routes and not clip the bolts.


durangoclimber


Jan 15, 2009, 4:14 PM
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  Lots of good advise. Just take your time and roll with it. Learn to down climb !!! That is something I'll add. We all say we can do it, but practice. You'd be amazed at how handy this skill is. You could pass a good belay and not be comfortable down climbing...now that sucks. Good luck and keep us posted.


altelis


Jan 15, 2009, 6:02 PM
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angry wrote:
I feel obliged to mention that you could just climb some sport routes and not clip the bolts.

thank you. thank you SOOOOO much for saying that. it was killing me inside not being smarmy, thanks for taking that job on!!!!!!!!!!!

in fact the ironing was so thick i was in fact seriously wondering if this wasn't actually a troll thread....


Partner angry


Jan 15, 2009, 6:06 PM
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altelis wrote:
angry wrote:
I feel obliged to mention that you could just climb some sport routes and not clip the bolts.

thank you. thank you SOOOOO much for saying that. it was killing me inside not being smarmy, thanks for taking that job on!!!!!!!!!!!

in fact the ironing was so thick i was in fact seriously wondering if this wasn't actually a troll thread....

It's not healthy to hold it in.


altelis


Jan 15, 2009, 6:09 PM
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is that why my balls are all swollen?

or is that not what you were referring too?


billl7


Jan 15, 2009, 8:14 PM
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altelis wrote:
is that why my balls are all swollen?

or is that not what you were referring too?

Yep, he was. Vinegar and ... uh ... piss must be let out. Wink


caughtinside


Jan 15, 2009, 8:22 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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dude you lead 5.12 confidently. It's more or less the same thing. Dont' sell yourself short by leading 8 letter grades below what you lead confidently, that would be embarrasing.


USnavy


Jan 15, 2009, 8:24 PM
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Re: [vegastradguy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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vegastradguy wrote:
USnavy wrote:
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.

All in all I am only looking to climb easy, basic, safe multi-pitch routes. I am not looking to push my limit or transfer over to being a trad climber. I just would like to enjoy some nice solid climbing on a multi-pitch route with good placement options. So what route suggestions do you have for a beginner? My partner(s) are / is also inexperienced and so we want to keep things simple and safe. The number one thing I would like to avoid, if possible, is run outs / crappy placements for extended lengths. I know that they are a part of serious multi-pitch climbing and I have to get use to them eventually, but I think it would be a really bad idea to face them at the beginning.

As a reference, I have seconded Crimson Chrysalis and I would not feel comfortable leading that route as my first multi-pitch lead. I remember there were slab sections that offered no placement opportunities and a bolt only every 20 - 30 feet for the first few pitches.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Jan 15, 2009, 8:29 PM)


mar_leclerc


Jan 15, 2009, 8:32 PM
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If you want to avaid run-outs and sketchy situations make sure to go to a well established crag area. Don't head into the alpine or you may get yourself into trouble. My fist bigger routewas sorta mixed crag/alpine (Yak Peak) I had lead lots of trad at the crag and the only 5.10a moves had a couple bolts nearby. The hardest moves I had to do above gear were about 5.9 and the whole thing was a very enjoyable experience. Because I was ready to lead trad at that grade short unprotected sections of granola (decomposing) rock and long runouts here and there did not bother me. If you feel confident leading pure trad at the crag at a certain grade, just go for the not too commiting multipitch route at the same grade.
Good luck and tell us how it goes, unless you get scared, fall, blow all your peices, sever your rope over an edge and fall to your death. In which case you will have nothing to be scared of anymore because you will be dismembered on the ground.


vegastradguy


Jan 16, 2009, 12:51 PM
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USnavy wrote:
vegastradguy wrote:
USnavy wrote:
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.

All in all I am only looking to climb easy, basic, safe multi-pitch routes. I am not looking to push my limit or transfer over to being a trad climber. I just would like to enjoy some nice solid climbing on a multi-pitch route with good placement options. So what route suggestions do you have for a beginner? My partner(s) are / is also inexperienced and so we want to keep things simple and safe. The number one thing I would like to avoid, if possible, is run outs / crappy placements for extended lengths. I know that they are a part of serious multi-pitch climbing and I have to get use to them eventually, but I think it would be a really bad idea to face them at the beginning.

As a reference, I have seconded Crimson Chrysalis and I would not feel comfortable leading that route as my first multi-pitch lead. I remember there were slab sections that offered no placement opportunities and a bolt only every 20 - 30 feet for the first few pitches.

Lets see, if you're going to be here for the rendezvous and want routes that will not be run-out....

Geronimo, 5.6- ignore the guidebook beta on descent and rap the route with two ropes. If you go right, you'll epic.

Cat in the Hat, 5.6- you can rappel this route with a single 60m line, despite guidebook beta. pm me for the details.

Unfortunately, if you thought Crimson was run-out (and its not by any stretch of the imagination), that really limits your options. Here's a list of other classics that plenty of new folks do and are at a moderate grade.

Birdland, 5.7 - not really run-out, but it may feel like it as the 4th pitch requires some creativity to get good gear.

Dark Shadows, 5.8- run-out on the first pitch on 5.4 slab (two bolts and one piece of gear in the first 80' or so).

Johnny Vegas, 5.6+/5.7- kinda run-out on the second pitch if you're not paying attention, and a little run-out on the third where its like 5.3 or something.

Frogland, 5.8- the crux on this one is run-out and you gotta have a lead head screwed on for it. Not hard, just kinda weird.

also note that all of my recommendations are weather dependent. during the rendezvous, i've seen it in the 50s and i've seen it in the 90s, so take that under consideration.


elcapinyoazz


Jan 21, 2009, 2:51 PM
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If you thought the Crysalis was runnout, I don't really know what to tell you...maybe just stick to sport cragging.

You might try Black Orpheus, it had gear anywhere you'd reasonably need to protect including a bolt at your face for the one move crux. But even on that one I remember one easy pitch up top not really having much gear on dead easy low angle face climbing...maybe 5.5 or something.

If I were you, I'd go do Unimpeachable Groping. It's almost a sport route, guide calls for a light rack (I wouldn't take gear on a repeat ascent), with some spaced bolts you could supplement with gear to get that sackless closely spaced pro you so desire. We took a small rack but aside from placing a piece from the tree prior to clipping the first bolt, we didn't place any gear. You, however, wanting pro every 6ft, will place gear on it.

If you do that one, don't stop at the big ledge right below the roof crux, stop a little lower because the bolted belay on the ledge is missing a hangar on one stud(and the stud is super loose/hand removable). Better to build a gear belay below it, or use the prior bolted anchor and link the pitches.


vegastradguy


Jan 22, 2009, 6:17 AM
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elcapinyoazz wrote:
If you do that one, don't stop at the big ledge right below the roof crux, stop a little lower because the bolted belay on the ledge is missing a hangar on one stud(and the stud is super loose/hand removable). Better to build a gear belay below it, or use the prior bolted anchor and link the pitches.

we fixed that anchor last spring, so it should be good to go now. (replaced the hangar, tightened the stud)


elcapinyoazz


Jan 22, 2009, 7:14 AM
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vegastradguy wrote:
we fixed that anchor last spring, so it should be good to go now. (replaced the hangar, tightened the stud)

And I did the route in late Nov. It was phuk'd then, and that was only 2 months ago, so it ain't good to go AFAIK. No nut or hangar on the right hand stud, which had some mank webbing hitched to it. I pulled the stud out with my fingers.


(This post was edited by elcapinyoazz on Jan 22, 2009, 7:16 AM)


dingus


Jan 22, 2009, 8:14 AM
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Some really excellent advice in this thread.

I like the bit about self honesty.

I've seen over the course of 3 decades that many folks are in love with the idea of BEING a climber. A subset of that group actually loves the climbing itself.

Repeatedly, the ones who seem to actually LOVE the climbing? They take the reigns of their own climbing careers and get after it.

While all of this advice seems sound and sensible?

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING replaces the initiative of someone who WANTS to learn. Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

This stuff can be self taught from a 40 year old climbing how to book. If you WANT to lead multipitch - you will.

"Will" is the operative term in this, as it is in all forms of climbing.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

Belay switch overs in under 5 minutes, that's my technical advice. No lolligagging.

DMT


erolls


Jan 22, 2009, 10:13 AM
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All good advice so far.

Dingus' reply is right on and probably the most important.

You are the only one who will make happen... so get after it.

Just be smart and have fun.

-E


AlexCV


Jan 22, 2009, 3:08 PM
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caughtinside wrote:
dude you lead 5.12 confidently. It's more or less the same thing. Dont' sell yourself short by leading 8 letter grades below what you lead confidently, that would be embarrasing.

Unless he has no crack climbing skills, at which point even a 5.6 might terrify him in practice.


clausti


Jan 22, 2009, 6:34 PM
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AlexCV wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
dude you lead 5.12 confidently. It's more or less the same thing. Dont' sell yourself short by leading 8 letter grades below what you lead confidently, that would be embarrasing.

Unless he has no crack climbing skills, at which point even a 5.6 might terrify him in practice.

crack climbing isn't fucking rocket science. if you're strong enough to consistently lead 5.12 sport, you can god damn lay back the 5.9 crack if you've got to.


USnavy


Jan 22, 2009, 8:38 PM
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dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread. I am trying to figure out what I can do in the two months I have left to help prepare for the multi-pitch routes when I get to Red Rocks.

And I have been leading. I have lead 90% of the last 75 sport routes I climbed. I always prefer to lead as so long as the route is not R or X. I have been messing around trying to lead some 10a trad routes lately instead of my normal 11+ / 12- sport regime to train for the multi-pitch routes and thatís helped a lot increasing my confidence climbing on gear. I figure if I can get to the point where I am confident on 5.10- on gear I will be fine on the 6's, 7', and 8' in Red Rocks. Smile


mistajman


Jan 22, 2009, 10:11 PM
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TIE KNOTS IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR ROPE WHEN RAPPELLING!!!!

Dark Shadows would be a good route
or cat in the hat


aerili


Jan 22, 2009, 11:30 PM
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vegastradguy wrote:
Birdland, 5.7 - not really run-out, but it may feel like it as the 4th pitch requires some creativity to get good gear.

Yes, this might be good. For the grade, I thought Birdland had a lot of easy climbing. I just remember needing several very small cams (like small Alien or C3 size), so make sure you have them.

Someone else mentioned Black Orpheus. Even though it has a lot of relatively easy climbing and the crux is a sport move, I think this is a terrible beginner trad leader route. The approach and route is way too long for time management-challenged people, the rap/walk off a nightmare for sport climbers unused to route finding, and weather epics can and do occur on it, regardless of how sunny the day starts out.


Edited to add: otherwise (about the psychological and intellectual training required) I think rgold's post was "gold"!


(This post was edited by aerili on Jan 22, 2009, 11:53 PM)


altelis


Jan 23, 2009, 6:15 AM
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mistajman wrote:
TIE KNOTS IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR ROPE WHEN RAPPELLING!!!!

Dark Shadows would be a good route
or cat in the hat



your dogmatic approach to rappelling may just be enough to earn USNavy that epic he so desires to launch him into the realm of multipitch-god.

knots in the end of your rap line is NOT always the best approach, and honestly, in my experience is RARELY the best approach. Esp somewhere as renowned for eating rap lines as red-rocks is.


dingus


Jan 23, 2009, 7:40 AM
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USnavy wrote:
dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread.

All right - my advice Hawaii-man (I know the limited resources with which you deal):

1. Onsite EVERYTHING. Do NOT dog ANY routes, period. Ratchet DOWN your grade asipraitons to the point you can lead every climb you do without resorting to aid. Now do those routes repeatedly. Try to do (considering route length here) between 10-20 pitches each day you go out. Relead the same routes over and over if you must - but get used to logging mileage, not grades and projects.

Projecting will seriously hold you back in moderate trad.

The biggest psychological issue imo, is this - you have to embrace the inherent risk of moderate trad. You are going to HAVE to accept you will ROUTINELY be facing maiming falls on moderate terrain and you must reconcile yourself to that notion.

It takes audacity to some extent. A lot of us deploy ignorace (as in ignoring the reality of the dangers) as a defensive mechanism.

And trad WILL put you in situations where nothing but your fingers, toes, and the power of your mind (and nothing else) is that will keep you alive. It WILL. If you find that possibility unacceptable then you'll either have to go through a transformation or you are going to be miserable.

Cheers
DMT


(This post was edited by dingus on Jan 23, 2009, 7:42 AM)


wanderlustmd


Jan 23, 2009, 9:44 AM
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USnavy wrote:
So I have a reasonable amount of experience leading in general.
After skimming your ascent log, it looks like you TR more than anything else. Not to be a dick, but don't get in over your head, that's when bad things can occur. At this stage, if you want to climb a multipitch, find someone more experienced who's willing to lead the whole thing and give you some pitches if it's something you can handle. Challenge yourself in the right ways (like what vegastradguy said) but don't rush!


kachoong


Jan 23, 2009, 10:33 AM
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USnavy wrote:
dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread. I am trying to figure out what I can do in the two months I have left to help prepare for the multi-pitch routes when I get to Red Rocks.

And I have been leading. I have lead 90% of the last 75 sport routes I climbed. I always prefer to lead as so long as the route is not R or X. I have been messing around trying to lead some 10a trad routes lately instead of my normal 11+ / 12- sport regime to train for the multi-pitch routes and thatís helped a lot increasing my confidence climbing on gear. I figure if I can get to the point where I am confident on 5.10- on gear I will be fine on the 6's, 7', and 8' in Red Rocks. Smile

If you're going to Red Rocks at the time of the Rendezvous sign up for the Multi-pitch efficiency clinic and refine what you learn from now until then.


USnavy


Jan 23, 2009, 10:41 AM
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wanderlustmd wrote:
USnavy wrote:
So I have a reasonable amount of experience leading in general.
After skimming your ascent log, it looks like you TR more than anything else. Not to be a dick, but don't get in over your head, that's when bad things can occur. At this stage, if you want to climb a multipitch, find someone more experienced who's willing to lead the whole thing and give you some pitches if it's something you can handle. Challenge yourself in the right ways (like what vegastradguy said) but don't rush!

I donít TR more than anything, I lead more than anything. Many of those TR assents are TR only routes; they canít be lead. Many of my redpoints are not logged for the routes are not in the database yet. Others are R rated and thus I donít lead them. Some are 5.11 trad and I canít lead trad that hard so I only TR'ed them. But I do get a lot of mileage on lead. I lead every chance I get. The only time I donít lead is if my partner does not know how to lead belay or if I am trying to work out the moves on a specific climb or if the route is overly dangerous (R / X). I would be absolutely insane to think I could lead any multi-pitch if I backed out on leading safe sport routes.

Also, why are you guys referring to this as moderate trad? I also noticed my guidebook refers to many of the 5.7 and 8 multi-pitch routes as moderate trad. I was more under the assumption that the 5.6ís, 7ís were more like beginner trad then anything. Obviously multi-pitch in general is more moderate then equivalently graded single pitch but none the less I would think a grad that easy would qualify as a beginner route unless its R / X or very hard to stay on route.


USnavy


Jan 23, 2009, 10:44 AM
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Re: [kachoong] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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kachoong wrote:
USnavy wrote:
dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread. I am trying to figure out what I can do in the two months I have left to help prepare for the multi-pitch routes when I get to Red Rocks.

And I have been leading. I have lead 90% of the last 75 sport routes I climbed. I always prefer to lead as so long as the route is not R or X. I have been messing around trying to lead some 10a trad routes lately instead of my normal 11+ / 12- sport regime to train for the multi-pitch routes and thatís helped a lot increasing my confidence climbing on gear. I figure if I can get to the point where I am confident on 5.10- on gear I will be fine on the 6's, 7', and 8' in Red Rocks. Smile

If you're going to Red Rocks at the time of the Rendezvous sign up for the Multi-pitch efficiency clinic and refine what you learn from now until then.

I was considering that. Right now I am signed up for hard sport, soft catch but I was thinking of changing it. Do you know specifically what that class entails? Obviously itís about multi-pitch but is it a ground class or do they actually take you to a multi-pitch route?


Partner angry


Jan 23, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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kachoong


Jan 23, 2009, 10:58 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
kachoong wrote:
USnavy wrote:
dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread. I am trying to figure out what I can do in the two months I have left to help prepare for the multi-pitch routes when I get to Red Rocks.

And I have been leading. I have lead 90% of the last 75 sport routes I climbed. I always prefer to lead as so long as the route is not R or X. I have been messing around trying to lead some 10a trad routes lately instead of my normal 11+ / 12- sport regime to train for the multi-pitch routes and thatís helped a lot increasing my confidence climbing on gear. I figure if I can get to the point where I am confident on 5.10- on gear I will be fine on the 6's, 7', and 8' in Red Rocks. Smile

If you're going to Red Rocks at the time of the Rendezvous sign up for the Multi-pitch efficiency clinic and refine what you learn from now until then.

I was considering that. Right now I am signed up for hard sport, soft catch but I was thinking of changing it. Do you know specifically what that class entails? Obviously itís about multi-pitch but is it a ground class or do they actually take you to a multi-pitch route?

Well, the clinic details haven't been updated at all, but the description so far says:

In reply to:
This is your chance to learn Muti-pitch systems with a focus on options for equipment, route finding, reading topos, belaying, safety, speed and rope management.

I would imagine it's taught on a fairly accessible "moderate" trad route, with some ground schooling taught at the base. I've never attended such a clinic so I don't know for sure.

If I were you, I'd ditch "hard sport" and take up "multi-pitch efficiency" instead, but it depends what you want out of the clinics.


(This post was edited by kachoong on Jan 23, 2009, 11:01 AM)


altelis


Jan 23, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
I donít TR more than anything, I lead more than anything. Many of those TR assents are TR only routes; they canít be lead. Many of my redpoints are not logged for the routes are not in the database yet. Others are R rated and thus I donít lead them. Some are 5.11 trad and I canít lead trad that hard so I only TR'ed them. But I do get a lot of mileage on lead. I lead every chance I get. The only time I donít lead is if my partner does not know how to lead belay or if I am trying to work out the moves on a specific climb or if the route is overly dangerous (R / X). I would be absolutely insane to think I could lead any multi-pitch if I backed out on leading safe sport routes.



listen, i want to preface this by stating this next bit is not meant to be JUDGMENTAL but rather DESCRIPTIVE. if you feel judged by the comment i would suggest looking inwardly and figuring out why.

an approach to climbing or a mindset that top-ropes to work out moves rather than trying to push forward in the face of a fall may be one that does not work well in the face of teaching-one-self how to climb multipitch trad.

not saying your approach is WRONG- but i am suggesting that you may find that, with this mindset, finding a mentor is a better way to go. i actually just started a thread somewhat about this: http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2064811#2064811


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Jan 23, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
dingus wrote:

Get your ass on some routes and lead them. If you want to lead, LEAD. Stop hiding behind a training regime.

Suck it up buttercup - On Belay. Now STUF and start climbing, we have a route to send.

I donít have any multi-pitch where I live to climb. Thatís the point of the thread. I am trying to figure out what I can do in the two months I have left to help prepare for the multi-pitch routes when I get to Red Rocks.

And I have been leading. I have lead 90% of the last 75 sport routes I climbed. I always prefer to lead as so long as the route is not R or X. I have been messing around trying to lead some 10a trad routes lately instead of my normal 11+ / 12- sport regime to train for the multi-pitch routes and thatís helped a lot increasing my confidence climbing on gear. I figure if I can get to the point where I am confident on 5.10- on gear I will be fine on the 6's, 7', and 8' in Red Rocks. Smile
On your beloved sport routes instead of clipping into the anchors and lowering, set an anchor and belay your second up to you. Un-cluster things and lower - or better yet, traverse to another anchor and repeat. Rap off when done.


858jason


Jan 23, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
Obviously itís about multi-pitch but is it a ground class or do they actually take you to a multi-pitch route?

A friend of mine took that clinic last year, with Tommy and Beth. They set up Cat in the Hat and hauled all 8 students up. With 10 people on a team, you really need to learn quickly how to be efficient.


wanderlustmd


Jan 23, 2009, 12:06 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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USnavy wrote:
wanderlustmd wrote:
USnavy wrote:
So I have a reasonable amount of experience leading in general.
After skimming your ascent log, it looks like you TR more than anything else. Not to be a dick, but don't get in over your head, that's when bad things can occur. At this stage, if you want to climb a multipitch, find someone more experienced who's willing to lead the whole thing and give you some pitches if it's something you can handle. Challenge yourself in the right ways (like what vegastradguy said) but don't rush!

I donít TR more than anything, I lead more than anything. Many of those TR assents are TR only routes; they canít be lead. Many of my redpoints are not logged for the routes are not in the database yet. Others are R rated and thus I donít lead them. Some are 5.11 trad and I canít lead trad that hard so I only TR'ed them.

So add it to the database!

USnavy wrote:
[But I do get a lot of mileage on lead. I lead every chance I get.

These do not necessarily go hand in hand.

USnavy wrote:
The only time I donít lead is if my partner does not know how to lead belay or if I am trying to work out the moves on a specific climb or if the route is overly dangerous (R / X). I would be absolutely insane to think I could lead any multi-pitch if I backed out on leading safe sport routes.

You mean single pitch trad, right?

You're just striking me as if you're looking for justification to try multipitch or something, which isn't a good idea to do on your own if you aren't solid in single pitch trad. If you were ready, you'd know it and we wouldn't be having this converstation. Posting for advice on route choice is one thing, posting to get an idea if you are ready is different. Be honest with yourself; you said above that you don't have much experience with trad overall, so jumping on a multipitch with someone who is as or less experienced than yourself probably isn't a great call. Sorry.

Sure, plenty of people puzzle multipitch out without a mentor, guide or someone more experienced than themselves, but they usually have solid lead time on single pitch beforehand. With someone more experienced, you can afford to tackle bigger things since the pressure isn't all on you. Start small and build. And listen to RGold, he posted some good stuff in particular.


(This post was edited by wanderlustmd on Jan 23, 2009, 12:08 PM)


knieveltech


Jan 23, 2009, 12:20 PM
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Re: [rgold] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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rgold wrote:
Here's what I'd say to anyone thinking about the transition in question.

The tricky thing about the transition from sport climbing to trad climbing is that there are a whole collection of trad climbing skills, and really only one of those, technical difficulty ability on steep faces, is trained by sport climbing. The result is that the sport climber starting out on trad is a peculiar beast; an almost total beginner with tremendous physical prowess for steep face climbing. This is a problem, because in order to bring all the other skills up to the level of physical accomplishment, the transitioning sport climber has to spend a significant amount of time on climbs whose technical difficulty is below what they are used to, and it is hard to step back into the beginner role when you don't think of yourself that way any more.

I think the first thing that ought to be said is that, regardless of all the idiotic spray we read on the subject about which form of climbing is "superior," we are speaking of quite different types of endeavors, and there is no reason why one should necessarily ever transition from one to the other. However divorced trad climbing may have become from its roots in mountain travel, it still has at its core an interest in exploration and discovery and a willingness to put up with both the hardships and the dangers of unknown territory. I see very little of this in sport climbing, which essentially banishes the hardships and dangers in the pursuit of exceptional standards of pure difficulty, and I don't see any reason, a priori, why someone who loves one of these genres would necessarily find themselves drawn to the other.

So perhaps the first question to settle is "why are you even interested in trad climbing?" I mention this because part of your answer has to include a willingness to take on more, perhaps significantly more, risk. If the interest in exploration and discovery, in whatever diluted forms they still exist in modern trad, is not enough to make this extra risk acceptable, than trad climbing is probably not for you. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is worth understanding before setting out on a bunch of experiences that seem inexplicably miserable. You don't have to like trad climbing.

Assuming you're still interested, consider the trad climbing skills that aren't part of sport climbing.

1. Route-finding, both for going up and for going down.

2. Ability to move efficiently and safely, both up and down, on relatively easy but unprotected ground. This is often necessary at the top and bottom of trad routes, and most trad pitches will have sections of relatively easy climbing where the leader absolutely must not fall. If you get off-route on a pitch, you may also have to climb down, perhaps down a section that seemed easy on the way up...

3. Ability to climb near one's limit without falling, including the ability and understanding needed to downclimb before getting in over one's head and the discipline to place protection when one is under stress. Perhaps this state things backwards. Your trad difficulty limit, at least for a while, should be the grade at which you can do these things. If you are dogging trad routes, you're starting off at too high a difficulty level and are actually preventing yourself from learning critical techniques.

4. At least rudimentary crack-climbing skills, which are often not a part of sport climbing.

5. Ability to place effective gear in a timely fashion.

6. Rope management skills for leading, belaying, and rappelling. The second, who isn't in a position to make choices for themselves, must always get as much protection as is possible under the conditions, and under no circumstances are you allowed to drop the ropes when setting up rappels! And remember that Red Rocks is rappel hell, so you'll need to have all your rappel techniques, strategies, and alternatives dialed.

7. Efficient gear handling skills at belay change-overs, especially hanging or semi-hanging stances.

8. At least rudimentary aid climbing skills. (These should be acquired as part of a program of practice aid climbing, which is almost essential for learning the basics of gear placement anyway.) The ability to aid through a section can make all the difference between a minor annoyance and a major epic, especially if the weather turns bad, the hour gets late, a partner is incapacitated, or just that there is a hard bit near the top of a climb that is not descended by rappel.

9. Some rudimentary self-rescue skills. The ability to ascend a fixed rope (with improvised gear) is essential. Then there is a list of other things whose importance decreases to almost nothing (e.g. improvised mechanical advantage hauling systems). Some of these things can get you into far worse trouble than you would have been without them, so if you are going to learn them, make sure you can actually use them in the field. Remember that if there are other climbers around, calling for help is usually going to be a much better and safer alternative than some complicated and risky self-rescue scenario out of a book.

10. For all the skills and strategies, a knowledge of alternatives. You need to be able to belay and rappel without a specialized device. You won't be at all efficient if you only know one way to set up a belay anchor or one way to stack the rope.

It should be obvious that these skills have to be acquired over time, and that a lot of the practice needs to be on ground that is not technically difficult for you. Here I think you will get additional evidence about whether trad climbing is or is not for you. If you find you don't enjoy easier climbs, I'd say you probably ought to stick to sport.

It should also be obvious that it helps enormously to do these things with an experienced person. Many of us learned our craft by ourselves, the hard way, but it is hard to recommend this in view of the additional risks, often unrecognized, and the inefficiency of doing things "wrong" repeatedly.

Lacking an experienced person, there is some safety in numbers. I think that when you are starting out, a three-person party is best if everyone is relatively inexperienced. Having three bodies and two ropes gives you a considerable extra edge.

It should be obvious that one ought to progress from short to long. Get some of your protection strategies dialed on single-pitch routes. Get your rope and gear management skills honed on short (3-4 pitch) routes, especially if you are climbing as a party of three, because you will be slow and do not want to get benighted in mid-climb if you can help it. As far as learning to set up belays and manage change-overs, don't go for rope-stretching leads that pass several intermediate belay opportunities (and, at the same time, make belay communication far more difficult).

A final exhortation for anything multipitch: start as early as possible. Everything gets much dicier once it gets dark.

Quality post. Outstanding.


ken21il


Jan 23, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Re: [USnavy] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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Y not follow a few multi's first then go through with it?


dingus


Jan 23, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Re: Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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I'm banging my head o9n my desk right now.

Bang!

Bang bang bang!!!!1

Do whatever you want. Sport dog your sport routes into submission, pretend that is preparing you for ground up climbing.

Take a beginner's course in Red Rocks.

Welcome to Climbing, 101.

You clearly aren't receptive to what people are telling you. This is nothing new. Have a nice class.

DMT

DMT


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