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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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    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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Re: [altelis] Training to lead multi-pitch? [In reply to]
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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

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