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Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques
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gblauer
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May 12, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques
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I am the world's worst route finder. I can get "lost" on a climb that goes straight up.

Other than following the obvious chalk trail...what else can I do?

(I primarily climb at the Gunks, I read the guides, study the topos and I still get lost).

Any suggestings for a hopeless lost climber?
Thanks!


scottquig


May 12, 2005, 10:47 AM
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Re: Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques [In reply to]
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look for holds/cracks on the wall.


ben87


May 12, 2005, 11:11 AM
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my first piece of advice is DONT follow the chalk trail.

1) it's keeping you from learning your own route-finding skills.
2) maybe that guy didn't stay on route either, or maybe that guy was some sick climber - following chalk def. might be hurting you some of the time.

My only other advice is to try to keep track as you go along... its much easier to keep track of where you are then it is to stop paying attention and then try to figure it out...

I imagine maybe you're able to easily keep track of the big landmarks on a climb, but when there's some discretion on exactly what route to take, you're not finding the best way.....experience will help you get better at judging terrain....

also, at a place like the gunks - don't be afraid to ask folks

that's my two cents


csproul


May 12, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Re: Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques [In reply to]
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This is one of my weaknesses as well, especially in alpine climbing. I have learned to not trust chalk and fixed gear (usually fixed for the wrong reason). In alpine climbs, I try to go with the easiest line usually is the right one, where with crag routes I look for the aesthetic line. A real help is to try and identify the route before you get there from a ways off and memorize landmarks that will recognize when you are close up.


bostonclimbah


May 12, 2005, 11:29 AM
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Re: Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I am the world's worst route finder. I can get "lost" on a climb that goes straight up.

Other than following the obvious chalk trail...what else can I do?

(I primarily climb at the Gunks, I read the guides, study the topos and I still get lost).

Any suggestings for a hopeless lost climber?
Thanks!

Well, Not sure about the Gunks specifically. But, just at a high level it sounds like your problem starts with not looking at "the big picture" before you start climbing. That process starts by taking a step back and assessing the whole route (or as much as you can see) from the ground looking for logical signs such as scarring, water streaks etc. Taking what you see, compare it to what you know about the route. For example, if the route is 5.7, it "probably" does not take that 50 foot traverse across the blank face that looks to be under the next belay. Keep looking... there it is, I just need to climb up 6' off the first belay and traverse 10', then up again and so on...

Another thing I recently learned is that, for the most part, the routes in old school established areas like the Gunks and N. Conway tend to follow ledge systems. These ledge systems generally fall toward eachother at opposing angles, often zig zagging there way up (or down according mother nature) the cliff face. This is a tough concept to put in words. Remember, back in the day, it was about finding the path of least resistance.


drubt


May 12, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Re: Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques [In reply to]
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for multi-pitch its always good to copy the page in the guide book that the route is on (picture on one side-description on the other) then laminate it or something like that and stick it in your pocket or poke a hole in it and attatch it to the back end of your rack so you have a reference at each belay.


overlord


May 12, 2005, 12:57 PM
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route finding skills come with experience.

but if you really try to improve in this area try to climb onsight as muc as you can.


charley


May 12, 2005, 2:21 PM
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Re: Help me find my way...Route Finding Techniques [In reply to]
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In reply to:
for multi-pitch its always good to copy the page in the guide book that the route is on (picture on one side-description on the other) then laminate it or something like that and stick it in your pocket or poke a hole in it and attatch it to the back end of your rack so you have a reference at each belay.

I think this is a good idea.


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