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Partner pharmboy


Jul 5, 2006, 7:56 AM
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First lead... first fall
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So after a few years of top-roping and sport climbing we finally ventured into trad... yea! We had purchased a basic lead rack awhile ago and watched as it collected dust. I wanted to get some instruction prior to jumping on a trad lead and after purchasing a home our funds for this were pretty nonexistant.

However I finally got some time and money and took a class with IMCS in N. Conway. It was a great class on placing pro and building anchors. I'm very happy with the guide Steve and the general service if IME/IMCS overall and would definately recommend to anyone new that is interested in trad.

Two days after the class my wife and I decided to head to Cathedral to do some climbing and I led my first trad route, the 5.7 "Kiddie Crack". So on my first lead I place my first piece, a nut about 10' up and just as I get above the nut I peel off, it was kind of a weird move for me... anyway, I fell onto that lovely nut placement. I can't describe the feeling but I'm sure that all of you who can recall your first trad fall will know what I'm talking about... it was incredible. Not that I want to fall again, but I'm honestly glad I fell where/when I did.

So I know that one class and a couple of easy trad leads doesn't make me an expert... if anything it has made me aware of how much there really is to learn. I am just very excited about finally entering the realm of trad and wanted to share some of that excitement here.

Cheers!

Rich


kobaz


Jul 5, 2006, 9:21 AM
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Congrats on your first lead, and congrats that your pro held. I would like to suggest that you get your feet wet on 5.3 to 5.5.

It's not just about knowing how to place pro, it's also about knowing which piece to put in so you don't hang in one spot pumping out while you go through 5 pieces of pro to figure what fits.

My first lead fall was on a 5.7 even though I've lead harder routes before. A hold broke off and I got some air time, so watch out for those brittle/loose holds too.

I would also recommend putting in a multi-directional piece first like a cam, or opposed nuts, depending on various variables your first piece can get ripped out from below during a fall if it's not set to take an upward pull.


paulraphael


Jul 5, 2006, 10:47 AM
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Kobaz gave you some good advice.

I'd also suggest that you get recommendations on routes that are good for a beginning leader. There are a lot of factors besides the grade. Ideally you want routes where the falls are relatively safe (actually less common on easy routes), where there's lots of good pro, and where there are nice rest stances for placing the pro. You want to be able to take your time to fiddle with the pro, without worrying about the pump clock.

It would also be smart to go out with a more experienced climber than you, not with someone who's just starting out also. It's great to have someone who can evaluate your placements, give you feedback on fall potential, yell at you when you hook the rope behind your leg, etc. etc.

You really want to avoid situations like the one you described ... falling on the one piece of gear between you and the ground, especially when it's one of the only pieces you've ever placed on lead. Those are bad odds to be playing!


glacierboy


Jul 5, 2006, 11:04 AM
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On my first day of leading I took a fall similar to yours, but the nut pulled and I landed on my ass from about twelve feet up. WAKE UP CALL. Probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

Needless to say, for beginning leaders I recommend routes where the crux doesn't come twelve feet off the ground.


jt512


Jul 5, 2006, 11:40 AM
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On my first day of leading I took a fall similar to yours, but the nut pulled and I landed on my ass from about twelve feet up. WAKE UP CALL. Probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

Needless to say, for beginning leaders I recommend routes where the crux doesn't come twelve feet off the ground.

The 5.7 "crux?"

Jay


jt512


Jul 5, 2006, 11:43 AM
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However I finally got some time and money and took a class with IMCS in N. Conway. It was a great class on placing pro and building anchors.

Two days after the class my wife and I decided to head to Cathedral to do some climbing and I led my first trad route, the 5.7 "Kiddie Crack". So on my first lead I place my first piece, a nut about 10' up...

Rich

Did they forget to teach you that your first piece should be multi-directional?

Jay


Partner j_ung


Jul 5, 2006, 11:52 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:

However I finally got some time and money and took a class with IMCS in N. Conway. It was a great class on placing pro and building anchors.

Two days after the class my wife and I decided to head to Cathedral to do some climbing and I led my first trad route, the 5.7 "Kiddie Crack". So on my first lead I place my first piece, a nut about 10' up...

Rich

Did they forget to teach you that your first piece should be multi-directional?

Jay

Though the name of the route and the nature of Cathedral climbing suggest that it may not be the case here, nuts can be multi directional.


jt512


Jul 5, 2006, 12:03 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:

However I finally got some time and money and took a class with IMCS in N. Conway. It was a great class on placing pro and building anchors.

Two days after the class my wife and I decided to head to Cathedral to do some climbing and I led my first trad route, the 5.7 "Kiddie Crack". So on my first lead I place my first piece, a nut about 10' up...

Rich

Did they forget to teach you that your first piece should be multi-directional?

Jay

Though the name of the route and the nature of Cathedral climbing suggest that it may not be the case here, nuts can be multi directional.

In the context of a "first lead" thread, we should probably keep it simple, and restrict attention to standard multi-directional placements: cams and opposed nuts.

Jay


blueeyedclimber


Jul 5, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Good for you, Rich (sort of). Be careful not to go too fast. I think you should have a lot of mileage on easier routes before you get on anything where a fall is possible. Also, a nut for your first piece is usually not a good idea, although I have done it if it is the best piece to protect a move. Just make sure your belayer is close to the wall, so as not to pull it out if you fall, which could lead to zippering the rest of your pieces.

TIff and i have been doing a lot more trad than sport lately. We had a great weekend at the Gunks. I finally got to lead Bonnie's Roof. What a spectacular route. If you and Amy want to ever go out together let me know.

I remember doing that 5.7 at NOrth End Wall (kiddie crack?). It felt like 5.7, except for the V0 boulder move at the start :lol: .

Just remember, falling in trad is ok as long as you have assessed what will happen if you do. Also remember, that it is always a serious thing.

Josh


Partner pharmboy


Jul 5, 2006, 12:25 PM
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I really hope this doesn't turn into a flame thing... and I take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for my own actions. The move that Josh was talking about is where I fell, pretty much near the bottom after the first piece.

To clarify... the major emphasis with the class I took was on anchor building, so the pro placement of that class was in regards to building anchors... not as to what to place for gear on lead.

As for my choice of placing a nut as the first piece, I didn't have a cam that would fit and the nut placement felt very solid. Reading the replies to this post I understand the suggestion on placing an opposing nut if a nut is what I place as a first piece. (Definately should take the "Intro to Lead" course too). I will also stay with easier leads and make sure to progress slowly.

Thanks for the replies... and yes Josh, Amy and I would love to go out anytime. Just let me know when and where.

Rich


Partner cracklover


Jul 5, 2006, 2:12 PM
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When you're starting out, you don't know what you don't know. Your ability to judge your gear is not there, even if you think it is. Chances of something unexpected happening are high. That's why you don't fall.

I don't mean to sound callous, because I'm glad you weren't hurt, but you fucked up, and if your piece had ripped, you would have known that for sure. Just the same, I'm glad it didn't.

Cheers!

GO


Partner epoch
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Jul 5, 2006, 6:18 PM
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..... a nut for your first piece is usually not a good idea, although I have done it if it is the best piece to protect a move.

:shock: :wtf:

Your statement makes no sense... ANY pro that can be placed and is BOMBER is good for ANY piece. I personally try to sink a nut, tricam, and when carrying them, hexes as my first piece. It can save you to have that cam for later. If you lack confidence in a nut placed as your first piece, then you may have confidence placing them at all???



Pharmboy, good job on your first lead. Take the skills learned in the Anchor class and apply them to leading. Remember that you want to orientate ANY gear in the direction of possible loading. Extend it if needed, to minimize possible walking or reorientation. And don't worry about placing a nut as your first piece. If it were an RP that may be another story. Alas, a Screamer or two is also a good investment. Great for that marginal piece. :wink:


jt512


Jul 5, 2006, 7:04 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
..... a nut for your first piece is usually not a good idea, although I have done it if it is the best piece to protect a move.

:shock: :wtf:

Your statement makes no sense... ANY pro that can be placed and is BOMBER is good for ANY piece. I personally try to sink a nut, tricam, and when carrying them, hexes as my first piece. It can save you to have that cam for later. If you lack confidence in a nut placed as your first piece, then you may have confidence placing them at all???



Pharmboy, good job on your first lead. Take the skills learned in the Anchor class and apply them to leading. Remember that you want to orientate ANY gear in the direction of possible loading. Extend it if needed, to minimize possible walking or reorientation. And don't worry about placing a nut as your first piece. If it were an RP that may be another story. Alas, a Screamer or two is also a good investment. Great for that marginal piece. :wink:

You are clueless and dangerous.

Jay


dirtineye


Jul 5, 2006, 7:55 PM
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I can't watch this thread. JT is on the money.

But I do wonder how much gear you (the OP) had placed (in ground school) before you decided to lead a 5.7, and I have to wonder how you could climb for several years and still have so much trouble on 5.7 that you fell off.

There are a number of posts about how to prepare yourself for leading BEFORE you are on the sharp end, I suggest you read them.

And I suggest you find someone who knows what the hell they are doing and learn from them.


wonderwoman


Jul 5, 2006, 8:09 PM
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Holy crap, Rich! You sure picked a tough first lead, and I'm glad you didn't hit the ground! I've seen the best of them peel off the beginning of that climb. I got so frustrated from not even being able to make it off the ground last year that I just walked away from it.

I would suggest starting out at Echo Crag in Franconia, just past Cannon of Route 93. Really nicely protected single pitch stuff and a lot of fun. There are plenty of 5.5 - 6 's that you would enjoy.

Let me and Josh know when you and Amy want to come out. We'd be happy to climb again!

Tiff


saxfiend


Jul 5, 2006, 8:11 PM
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So I know that one class and a couple of easy trad leads doesn't make me an expert... if anything it has made me aware of how much there really is to learn. I am just very excited about finally entering the realm of trad and wanted to share some of that excitement here.
Glad you're enjoying the new experience of trad leading, and congratulations on getting lucky -- because that's what happened, you know. You've gotten some really good advice from jt512 and others (and with minimal flaming!) about your first piece on lead:

In reply to:
In the context of a "first lead" thread, we should probably keep it simple, and restrict attention to standard multi-directional placements: cams and opposed nuts.

Do you know what this means and why it's important?

The first piece is not just subject to downward force if you fall on it; it's likely also subject to outward/lateral force from your belayer on the other end of the rope as they catch your fall. A nut that's bomber for downward force can be jerked right out of the rock by force from any other direction. (Lucky for you, your nut held -- this time!) A well-placed cam, on the other hand, is good for multi-directional forces. It either won't rotate at all, or will rotate in the direction of pull and still stay plugged in. Opposed nuts are good too, but I think you'd do better learning this technique from an experienced partner than on rc.com. (Gotta give credit to Dirtineye for drilling this stuff into me!)

You sound like someone not only eager to lead, but also eager to learn. I hope you keep that attitude!

JL


puerto


Jul 5, 2006, 9:55 PM
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So you fell on the first piece you ever placed on lead, wow that must be some kind of record.. :shock:

I think the first nut I placed wiggled out of its placement and slid down the rope when I was four feet above it :oops: but that was probably cause I got the wrong brand of course :wink:


Partner cindylou


Jul 5, 2006, 10:01 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
..... a nut for your first piece is usually not a good idea, although I have done it if it is the best piece to protect a move.

:shock: :wtf:

Your statement makes no sense... ANY pro that can be placed and is BOMBER is good for ANY piece. I personally try to sink a nut, tricam, and when carrying them, hexes as my first piece. It can save you to have that cam for later. If you lack confidence in a nut placed as your first piece, then you may have confidence placing them at all???



Pharmboy, good job on your first lead. Take the skills learned in the Anchor class and apply them to leading. Remember that you want to orientate ANY gear in the direction of possible loading. Extend it if needed, to minimize possible walking or reorientation. And don't worry about placing a nut as your first piece. If it were an RP that may be another story. Alas, a Screamer or two is also a good investment. Great for that marginal piece. :wink:

You are clueless and dangerous.

Jay

I'm a new climber and a very new leader (less than 12 leads) so I'm interested in the information posted on this thread.

Jay, I'm wondering about your "clueless and dangerous" comment. I just read the article in the April 2006 Climbing magazine by Mark Synnott, page 66, Tech Tips Trad - Rack Managment. He has a paragraph titled Nut first, cam later. He suggests placing a nut as the first peice of protection on climbs where one doesn't know what to expect.

I'm not questioning your knowledge, but I'd like to understand why you consider Epoch's advice as clueless and dangerous when it seems to be similar to the advice given in the Climbing magazine article. If I have misunderstood your post, I apologize.


trevzilla


Jul 6, 2006, 12:03 AM
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Yeah, to me it seems like you should be able to place a nut first. The only thing one must THINK about is what the forces are. You need to be thinking when your on the sharp end, and as a first piece, you should analyze what direction the force is going to be, including where your belayer is standing. If you have a good place for a nut that can be pulled down and out, then by all means place it. There have been plenty of times that I've been happy to have my cam for a place later in the climb. . .

However, if in doubt, then hell yeah, place multi-directional pieces. I don't know this climb that the OP is talking about, but every climb has its own situations and as a leader you should know how to handle the situations. If you don't think you can, lead something easier.

Plus...Congrats on your first lead. A fall always wakes us up, and since your piece didn't rip out, you've probably learned much more from this experience then you'd learn in days of classes. Good job on that placement!


notch


Jul 6, 2006, 3:59 AM
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Alright Rich! I did almost exactly the same thing when I started. My second lead ever was a 5.8, and I fell at about 80' because I was gripped and didn't yet trust my gear. After that I got some good advice and backed down to about .3, and also spent a lot of time placing gear on the ground. I'm just now hitting .7s again, and I'm a lot safer and smarter.

There's nothing wrong with placing a nut as your first piece, but I would strongly recommend making it multi directional. Even a cam should be supported with an oppositional piece if there's a danger of it walking, something I think some folks don't think about. Bill and I will show you this weekend if you like. WG, woohoo!


Partner pharmboy


Jul 6, 2006, 5:41 AM
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Thank you again to all that offered advice, suggestions and comments. I can see that there is some difference in opinion about whether placing a nut as the first piece is ok or not and I'd prefer to let that controversy continue in another thread. Leave it be that I'm NOT going to be leading anything above 5.easy and will make sure that all future trad leads are with an experienced leader until I am ready.

Not to defend myself or continue the debate, but the guide book lists the climb as a 75' 5.7 (20' short crack to ledge then thin crack to slab above). It was obvious that the 'crux' would be at the bottom. I stepped up into the crack and placed the first piece at about 10'. The next move out was where I fell. I want to reiterate that I understand the dangers of climbing and take responsibility for my own actions... a lack of knowledge does not mean a lack of responsibility.

PS... in this 75' climb I placed 4 cams, 7 nuts and 2 tricams... not sure what that equals for pieces per foot, I just kept telling my wife that I wanted to practice all my placements. :D


blueeyedclimber


Jul 6, 2006, 5:43 AM
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In reply to:
I'm a new climber and a very new leader (less than 12 leads) so I'm interested in the information posted on this thread.

Jay, I'm wondering about your "clueless and dangerous" comment. I just read the article in the April 2006 Climbing magazine by Mark Synnott, page 66, Tech Tips Trad - Rack Managment. He has a paragraph titled Nut first, cam later. He suggests placing a nut as the first peice of protection on climbs where one doesn't know what to expect.

I'm not questioning your knowledge, but I'd like to understand why you consider Epoch's advice as clueless and dangerous when it seems to be similar to the advice given in the Climbing magazine article. If I have misunderstood your post, I apologize.

I haven't seen that article, but there are a couple of points here that need addressing. First, placing a nut when possible is good practice, and saves a cam for later when you don't have a good stance and need to plug a piece quick. There is actually a pecking order between nut, cam and tricam, and different suituations call for different pieces, but that is for another thread.

The second issue, and more important one, is what to place for your FIRST piece. THe first piece not only protects the early moves of a climb, it also is responsible for keeping the rope in line so as not to zipper pieces above it, which is an extremely dangerous situation. Where a belayer stands is also important in this regard. If your first piece is not multidirectional, which a nut most of the time is not, an outward or upward pull could pull a nut out, causing a chain reaction from one piece to another. A nut CAN be a good first piece and I have done it on occasion, but you need to know when it is ok, and it is always good to oppose it if possible.

Josh


Partner wormly81


Jul 6, 2006, 7:36 AM
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Towards the end of last year I fell on a pink tricam which was my first piece about 12-15 feet off the ground. I climbed about 4 feet above it before my foot blew out. The way I look at it, this was the worst mistake I have made in my 100+ days on the rock.

I have taken about 10 lead falls onto gear. I don't regret taking any of these falls because they were all clean falls above 2 pieces of gear. Early on some old dirtbag told me to climb like the piece below you is going to blow; I think his words were "always have 2 pieces between you and disaster." I've climbed well above gear and been in places where a mistake would have meant certain injury; but I was aware of those decisions to keep climbing and play that game.

As a begining trad leader you should be focused on climbing with good gear, building simple yet effective anchors, practicing good rope management, and working on your belay changeovers. During these early climbs there is so much you need to learn and so many new experiences that require vigilience and your full attention. You need to prove to yourself that you can follow "the leader does not fall" school of thought. This means dont fall over 2 pieces of gear let alone 1. Over time you will become knowledgeable enough to know when its safe to fall but until then I wouldnt risk it. I believe that knowing your "do not fall" limits is critical in both your saftey and your timely progression as a leader.

I'm not preaching; I believe that most of us climb for the pleasure of spending a day making our own decisions and not following the advice of others. There is something truely free and uplifting about being responsible for your own actions in a game with such harsh penalties. Then again, these ideas have helped keep me safe through the opening moves in a game you start without understanding.


Partner cracklover


Jul 6, 2006, 8:43 AM
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Wormly - I think that was one of the best posts I've read in a long time.

Very well said.

I'd just like to reinforce one point you made - an important part of trad climbing is knowing when you're in a "must not fall" situation, and then making the right choice, and being able to follow through with it.

GO


dirtineye


Jul 6, 2006, 9:29 AM
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Lok, the defining characteristic of that first piece is that it NOT pull, lift, fall out, or fail in any other way, period.

The first piece is also your anti zipper protection, and if you don't know what that means, find out now.

Maybe you need to use opposition, maybe you don't but when in doubt, always go with mroe than you need.


BTW, two pieces is sometimes not enough between you and disaster.

Never pass up a bomber placement, cause you might not get another.

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