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So how many climbers actually trad?
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sesh


Sep 14, 2005, 12:50 AM
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So how many climbers actually trad?
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OK, I'm asking this question because it suddenly occurred to me that maybe not too many people do.

I live in an area where all rocks in a 100 mile radius are strictly NO BOLTS, so either you trad lead or you top rope (you could solo, I guess, but that's not for me). So poor little me with a pitiful rack and no trad experience - well, you can see why I'm mostly on TR. But I'm keen to learn and whenever I get the chance to climb with a more experienced guy than myself, I jump at the opportunity (I've also lead some routes on my own, but it's just a little bit freaky).

The problem is, none of these hot-shot climbers ever seems to trad. A few weeks ago I went out with this French guy who's got a big rack and lots of Alpine experience and I was all keen to try some routes, but he said he'd prefer to TR! Several other climbers around here too seem to want to TR. So I was wondering - is this a general phenomenon? Do people like to talk big about trad and then TR when no-one is looking? Or do most guys you know actually do what they say? (Not that I'm judging them, just curiosity.)


pecall


Sep 14, 2005, 1:37 AM
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:shock: R U serious? I mean, don't people trad climb?

Personally, all I ever do is trad - almost. Because I'm pretty much out of shape right now, sport climbing holds no interest for me. I used to sport climb a lot more 10-15 years ago when I was in shape. Then it was fun. But trad climbing adds another dimension: protection problem solving, which means that I can climb 5.7 and 5.8 and still find it a challenge.

But I also find that a lot of people stick with top roping, probably a tradition from their schooling on indoor walls. They also seem to think that placing a top rope gives them the right to occupy a route for a whole day. I miss the days of "lead, follow, or get out of the way".

In Sweden, there is also currently a great debate on whether to retro-bolt old, poorly protected trad routes. But who's to judge what's poor protection, those who trad climb those routes, or those who only sport climb? It's easy to get the impression that those who grew up in the post war era were taught to assess risks, and accept or reject them, that is, doing or not doing a climb. Now, here, we have a generation of climbers who have grown up with fasten seat belt-signs in cars, bicycle helmets, safe playgrounds, etc. and an on-going debate i society concering risk reduction in all aspects of life. It can seem that these climbers want to climb, but are not willing to accept any level of risk whatsoever, preferring to install bolts and other safety measures to adjust nature to their own level rather than striving to improve that level.
But then again, who's to say who's right and who's wrong?


Partner devkrev


Sep 14, 2005, 4:39 AM
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I haven't been climbing for very long, so take this with that in mind. But I live in CT, and if anyone knows CT we pretty much are a bolt free zone. My first time on ANY lead was on gear, and I have been sport climbing once, it was fun. I guess trad is what I do.
I can see where you are coming from though, lots of folks these days top-rope, which is good for them. I guess its all personal choices.
I WISH more people didn't bother leading trad, the gunks on the weekends would be a whole lot quieter
later
dev


king_rat


Sep 14, 2005, 4:56 AM
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I think you mistake was going climbing with a french guy and expecting in ethics. :lol:


ajkclay


Sep 14, 2005, 5:51 AM
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yup, most of my climbing is Trad... I sport, boulder, solo, DWS, and TR, but the bulk is Trad.

When I was starting I top roped for the first two years because I had no gear and the only person that did have gear had a bad shoulder and so wasn't climbing, but I knew that this was where it was at, and where I wanted to go.

One day I borrowed the rack and took another climber out and ran laps on a grade 11 with good pro, placing and removing, then placing and removing. I read books on systems and talked to everyone I could, especially experienced climbers at the gym.

I think if you don't Trad, you don't know what you're missing.

Buy a piece of gear each pay-day, soon you'll have a rack, and while you're building, practice placements on low cracks and read, read, read. And talk talk talk, talk the ears off of anyone who will listen. Use this site, some doofuses will bite your head off for asking (as if you should know already) or tell you to go do a course, but others will help you; If I can, I will :) PM me

Cheers,

Adam


andrewph


Sep 14, 2005, 6:15 AM
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In reply to:
I live in an area where all rocks in a 100 mile radius are strictly NO BOLTS

Well in Ireland the whole country is 'NO BOLTS' so all we do around here is Trad. In my experience very few people around here top rope. its all lead and followed.
I started a couple of years ago seconding my brother and other friends learning how to place gear and I very quickly got into leading (I think like my 4-5th outdoor route).
Anyway I (like ajkclay Suggested) slowly bought gear until now when I pretty much have a full rack (for where I climb at least) minus a few bits and bobs.

SO I say get gear when you can practice placing as often as you can until you know you can trust your gear. and then start leading easy routes that you can sew up with gear.
I read somewhere possibly on this sight, that the longer you top rope the harder the transition to leading will be. I don't know if that's true but I made the transition early and it was real easy. and I'm surprised how much I read about others who find it difficult!!

Just my 2 cents..
Andy


climbingaggie03


Sep 14, 2005, 6:27 AM
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I do both, I like to lead trad, and even a 5.5 is interesting when your last piece is 10 feet below you, but I can sport climb 10d-11a however, I dont' really feel comfortable pushing that hard on trad, so if I want to climb a trad route that is that hard, I usually set up a tr. Maybe this isn't the best ethical/style decision, but I've got to find a way to climb harder stuff without decking all the time.


vegastradguy


Sep 14, 2005, 6:27 AM
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<----- see name for answer.


far_east_climber


Sep 14, 2005, 6:46 AM
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Hmm, from reading some of these replies, I get the feeling that people think or think others feel that top roping is bad style/unethical... If that's the case, what are your reasons?


skateman


Sep 14, 2005, 6:53 AM
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Hey Pecall, You are fueling the trad stereotype! :-)

"Personally, all I ever do is trad - almost. Because I'm pretty much out of shape right now, sport climbing holds no interest for me. I used to sport climb a lot more 10-15 years ago when I was in shape."

However, you are dead on about the problem solving aspect of it! To answer the OP, I think a smaller portion of the climbing community are actually traddies. I would guess about 25% (I could be way off). However, in New England, if you want to get more than 200 feet off the ground, you need to go trad!

Dan


reg


Sep 14, 2005, 7:06 AM
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trad 50%, TR 40%, gym & sport 10%


phugganut


Sep 14, 2005, 7:15 AM
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Mostly trad for me.


olderic


Sep 14, 2005, 7:17 AM
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In reply to:
:shock: R U serious? I mean, don't people trad climb?

Personally, all I ever do is trad - almost. Because I'm pretty much out of shape right now, sport climbing holds no interest for me. I used to sport climb a lot more 10-15 years ago when I was in shape. Then it was fun. But trad climbing adds another dimension: protection problem solving, which means that I can climb 5.7 and 5.8 and still find it a challenge.

But I also find that a lot of people stick with top roping, probably a tradition from their schooling on indoor walls. They also seem to think that placing a top rope gives them the right to occupy a route for a whole day. I miss the days of "lead, follow, or get out of the way".

In Sweden, there is also currently a great debate on whether to retro-bolt old, poorly protected trad routes. But who's to judge what's poor protection, those who trad climb those routes, or those who only sport climb? It's easy to get the impression that those who grew up in the post war era were taught to assess risks, and accept or reject them, that is, doing or not doing a climb. Now, here, we have a generation of climbers who have grown up with fasten seat belt-signs in cars, bicycle helmets, safe playgrounds, etc. and an on-going debate i society concering risk reduction in all aspects of life. It can seem that these climbers want to climb, but are not willing to accept any level of risk whatsoever, preferring to install bolts and other safety measures to adjust nature to their own level rather than striving to improve that level.
But then again, who's to say who's right and who's wrong?

Very well said - makes me proud of the of my Swedish ancestry


hangerlessbolt


Sep 14, 2005, 7:18 AM
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Only fat guys who can no longer clip bolts at the .12+ level trad climb.

Phuck dat

Trad climbing’s like fishing…
You just sit there trolling along until you feel a tug at the end of the line. No excitement.
You’d think with the long approaches, those fat bastards would be in better shape.

How many trad climbers have you seen without their shirts on…you know why? Cuz they’re FAT!!

No amount of gear is going to help you climb harder.

Lose the cams…lose the ankle socks…hang on to whatever nuts you have…and climb sport!

Get back in the gym…you fat nasties!


landgolier


Sep 14, 2005, 7:41 AM
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I don't know how high the routes are where the OP is, but I know that lots of weekender types consider climbing trad on short, single-pitch crag routes (up to 50', which seems to be where most people's little local crags fall) to be more like training for longer stuff or trips to bigger places than the thing itself. If I'm at a local crag and I'm climbing trad, I kind of think of it as training/practice for gear and systems, while if I'm on TR or sport I'm practicing movement. Which I do depends on what I want to train that day and if the rock provides good gear practice. I know there are plenty of legit, fun, and hard as hell 50' or less trad routes out there, but most of the time pulling the rack out for 40' of 5.7 at the local short-approach, partner-had-to-mow-the-lawn-that-morning chosspile feels more like a dress rehearsal than the thing itself. Of course this doesn't apply at all if red rocks or the gunks is in your back yard, but I think there are a lot of us who live less than an hour from some decent stuff and 3-5 hours from really good stuff who have this mentality.


dingus


Sep 14, 2005, 7:43 AM
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678,143.

DMT


bobruef


Sep 14, 2005, 7:50 AM
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I got more excited two weeks ago about my first two trad leads (though very mediocre ones) than I got about setting a new personal best (grade-wise) on toprope last weekend.


hangerlessbolt


Sep 14, 2005, 7:57 AM
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In reply to:
678,143.

DMT

You forgot to carry the one

8^)


cchildre


Sep 14, 2005, 8:40 AM
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Trad climb...yes. You just met some TR guys that probably got the racks to look cool and setup TR anchors, but I could be wrong. I have met a few guys that show up to a trip with a fully loaded sweet shiny new rack that makes me drool, and then discover they don't lead, just TR most times, but they want to lead just haven't learned from anyone. I am still learning and consider it to be unethical to try to school anyone on the subject. I love to trad climb...but I prefer to work with my partner or within our tight knit group, as for others those equal to or ahead of me experience wise I can be comfortable with as well, but not noobs. The blind leading the blind...yes?


pettsnjam


Sep 14, 2005, 8:49 AM
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Just a trad climber, but I love lead ice too.


speedywon


Sep 14, 2005, 9:02 AM
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Several thoughts:

1) When I climb for the first time in a new area, I'm sometimes hesitant to jump on the sharp end until I get a feel for the rock quality. This might mean TR a route or two to analyze the rock a bit.

2) Most, sane, people don't climb the same level on trad lead as they TR. If you want to improve, I feel you need to push your physical limits (on TR or bouldering) as well as your mental limits while trading.

3) One would think that if you spend all that money on gear you should use it. However, some days you just don't feel like going through the hassle of sorting gear and racking up. Instead you TR a few problems to get in your quick rock fix and call it a day.


dingus


Sep 14, 2005, 9:12 AM
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In reply to:
2) Most, sane, people don't climb the same level on trad lead as they TR. If you want to improve, I feel you need to push your physical limits (on TR or bouldering) as well as your mental limits while trading.

The best trad climbers I've known climb on the lead within a letter grade or two what they can do on TR, danger ratings notwithstanding.

I used to climb this dude and I could occasionally out-TR him. Then he'd turn around and lead the scariest shit, like a letter easier than what he just fell from on TR... twas mind blowing to see it and to feel it in the stomach, to see that kind of mind control displayed.

Leading near your limit in trad is an expression of mastery, make no mistake. It isn't a place for beginners to be exploring their craft.

I guess what I'm saying though, it this; just like with free soloing, leading near or at one's limits may be an act of suicide or it may be an expresson of mastery.

Cheers
DMT


kyote321


Sep 14, 2005, 9:13 AM
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the rock quality around here (albuquerque) is marginal at best for trad., so i mostly sport climb/boulder. used to do more trad when i lived in wyoming.


mrtristan


Sep 14, 2005, 9:28 AM
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My time is probably spent 60% sport, 40% trad. I enjoy trad much more but the local crag has more and better sport. I rarely toprope.

-Tristan


areuinclimber


Sep 14, 2005, 9:52 AM
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ive top roped a total of 3 climbs in my climbing career. the rest i was forced to learn trad. all it takes is a little research, a little gear, a little smarts, and some balls. i saw the greatest thing the other day. some dude was leading the first pitch of jam crack (5.7, sunnyside bench, yosemite, ca) with 2 hexes (sizes useless on the crack) a couple nuts and a cam equivalent to a #4 c4. it was fuckin brilliant that the guy had so much gumption to learn even though he was basically freesoloing the pitch. i set him straight but heavily congratulated him for the size of his sack (no one taught him shit, he was just doing it). i say screw depending on others and just lead trad. the only thing you really need is an experienced belayer because a trad fall can be alot different than a sport fall.

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