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AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 7:53 AM
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bad trad advice?
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"never ever ever use something as short as a quickdraw on passive protection, it needs to be longer than a quickdraw or the sideways pull will pull it out and if you fall your going to hit the deck."

this came in an email from my ex climbing partner.

1. in order for this to be true wouldn't the route have to not go straight up? wouldn't it have to go to one side or the other?

2. in order to hit the deck in the event of a fall, wouldn't the rest of the leader's gear have to be insufficiently/poorly placed?

3. he may have been referring to a first piece of gear but when he told me this, it seemed he was referring to all passive gear, every time. anyway so, a multi-directional piece. i was told that a nut is a poor choice for a multi-directional, but if you can make it bomber and multi-directional and its all you've got, then its fair game. while we were climbing together, I witnessed him place a nut in a small block about two feet right of the start of the route. when he fell, the nut blew as did his fourth piece, first two pieces zippered out and his third piece held. <--- if this is what he's talking about, a multi-directional piece to start the route, why would you place your first piece not in line with the rest of the route, meaning somewhere where sideways pull would be a concern? (like on a boulder on the ground two feet right of the route?) in this case of the first piece i can understand not using a quickdraw. i would probably use a cam on a longer sling if at all possible, and place it as in line with the route as possible.

4. in terms of placing pro as normal, wouldn't using a quickdraw vs. a long sling depend on the crack and how much rope drag there would be? see, i've seen people use draws on passive pro, there was almost no rope drag, they've taken a fall on that piece, and it held.

i've been taught that:
-what you clip in with (draw vs. sling) really depends on the situation. sometimes a draw on passive gear will work, sometimes it won't. you have to understand what you're doing well enough to make the right decision.
-your first piece MUST be multidirectional, and its a good idea to use a longer slings rather than a draw.
-if your gear is good (by which i mean rock quality and placements), and you fall, it should hold you.
-trad isn't the climbing discipline to be practicing lead falls or taking whippers for fun. Its more of a "try not to fall because the risk of your gear placements failing is higher than it is in sport climbing" situation.

i guess im just seeing if anyone else can make sense of what he said.


(This post was edited by AltitudeJunkie on May 27, 2009, 8:06 AM)


bill413


May 27, 2009, 8:05 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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Sounds like he might be taking his zippering & extending it to all climbs.

The length of the draw you use to clip in with very much depends on the climb & protection.
Many people clip directly to their cams. (Oops - just saw he was saying passive.)
Usually you want a draw on nuts. I sometimes will clip directly to my tricams, sometimes extend them - it depends on the placement and the expected rope line.

On the first piece, you may want to use a short draw in order to better control rope direction. Or, to lessen the chance of a groundfall.

Yeah - if the rope goes straight, there will be little, if any, sideways pull. Also, it is possible to set a nut that is very good against a sideways pull - in fact, with the right crack geometry it might even be possible to get a very multi-directional placement. Probably be a bear to clean, but that's a detail.


dingus


May 27, 2009, 8:05 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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Sounds like you have the bold strokes as well as a good dose of critical self-examination.

You'll get your systems dialed, fine tuned for your own needs.

But one quick observation - you can't always get a multi-directional first piece.

Yes a draw has a greater chance of unseating a nut, than does a lengthier sling. Its the stiffness of the draw, giving it a levering effect.

That said I've clipped many a nut with a draw anyway. "Never do X' rules are often too rigid for the realities of climbing. Since climbing can never be (or should never be) rendered 'safe' we must all wqork toward our personal 'safe enough.'

If and when to use a draw on a nut os the leader's perogitive. Being well-informed, as you seem to be in the process of doing, is the leader's number one tool in the toolbox (knowledge). The leader must use her own brain to decide how to apply that knowledge.

Cheers
DMT


Partner robdotcalm


May 27, 2009, 8:18 AM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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There is an ambiguity to the term “quick draw” as it’s often used to mean any sling of short length used to fasten gear to the rope. The term includes, inter alia, dog bones, floppy draws, and trad draws. In traditional climbing, it’s generally assumed to be safer to use draws such as floppy or trad that are not stiff and so have less chance of placing torqueing forces on the gear. There was a lot of discussion of this a few years back when a well-known Swedish climber died after his cam pulled when he fell. The pulling out was attributed to the torque placed on the cam by the dog bone. Anyway, that was the supposition.

Cheers,
Rob.calm


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 8:20 AM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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doesn't bd make longer draws with open ended dogbones? (quicksilvers?)

isn't the only direction the rope can go, up, as in the rope follows the leader? i mean i can understand placing something to keep the rope from swinging around and dislodging gear, but wouldn't that only apply to the first piece? i mean after the first piece, the rope has its direction: either to the leaders harness, or up through the next piece. someone explain that one to me. because when my ex climbing partner said something about keeping the rope in the right direction, thats when he placed the nut that blew.

i've "learned" ("learned" meaning i knew they weren't right so i wrote them off and never put them into practice.) a lot of incorrect things about trad climbing from him, and have since learned things correctly. but i'm still afraid to trad climb any more than the one route i did.


hansundfritz


May 27, 2009, 8:35 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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AltitudeJunkie wrote:
i mean i can understand placing something to keep the rope from swinging around and dislodging gear, but wouldn't that only apply to the first piece?

Yes, you want to keep that first piece solid for various reasons. But as you climb past each piece, each one (for a time at least) is your highest piece of gear. Extending with a sling prevents rope movement from dislodging the piece as you move on up. Nothing worse than looking down at your last piece and seeing that it has moved or pulled.


shoo


May 27, 2009, 8:44 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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You can pretty much bet the most advice involving the words "always" or "never" in trad are not accurate. Trad is about situational judgment. Absolutes are extremely rare.

For example, your statement that the first piece "-your first piece MUST be multidirectional, and its a good idea to use a longer slings rather than a draw" is lacking scope. It is a very good idea to make your first piece multi-directional, but it isn't instant-death if it only takes a downward pull. If you come across a placement that will pretty much only be decent in one direction before you come across a placement that can be appropriately multi-directional, there is little purpose in not placing it, no?

Regarding the slinging on the first piece, you have to ask yourself if there is significant decking potential. If you sling your first piece long and you're above a ledge or the ground, are you going to deck? If so, what the hell was the purpose in placing that piece anyway? It's not protecting you much (preventing a factor 2 on the anchor if multi-pitch), and it's marginally increasing rope drag and system complexity.


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 9:00 AM
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Re: [shoo] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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at first i was taught two ways of trad climbing. everything must be textbook perfect, or in the ways of my ex climbing partner, "only posers care about that stuff. anything goes. i just care about climbing." (apparently not about not dying.)

i understand that multi-directional isn't always possible for a first piece, but where its possible i think it should be done. that could just be my personal opinion. having seen the results of a first piece blowing and my partner coming two feet from decking, im gonna stick to it until i get more experience and can make a good call about not doing.

i wouldn't agree with a stiff draw on a first piece that is passive. as for using it on a bomber nut placement (one where it would take a nut tool and human effort to jar the thing out.) where rope drag is not going to be a problem, sure.


shoo


May 27, 2009, 9:10 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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AltitudeJunkie wrote:
i wouldn't agree with a stiff draw on a first piece that is passive. as for using it on a bomber nut placement (one where it would take a nut tool and human effort to jar the thing out.) where rope drag is not going to be a problem, sure.

I never said anything about using stiff draws on the first piece. I personally don't use any stiff draws on trad, and instead use trad draws. I was simply saying that you shouldn't necessarily extend your first piece.


dingus


May 27, 2009, 9:29 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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AltitudeJunkie wrote:
at first i was taught two ways of trad climbing. everything must be textbook perfect, or in the ways of my ex climbing partner, "only posers care about that stuff. anything goes. i just care about climbing." (apparently not about not dying.)

I'm confused .... you speak of an ex-climbing partner apparently doing all these questionable procedures. But you also stated you've done ONE trad route?

I wonder what it was that was so horrible that it rendered a one route partner as EX?

DMT


bill413


May 27, 2009, 9:53 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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AltitudeJunkie wrote:
isn't the only direction the rope can go, up, as in the rope follows the leader? i mean i can understand placing something to keep the rope from swinging around and dislodging gear, but wouldn't that only apply to the first piece? i mean after the first piece, the rope has its direction: either to the leaders harness, or up through the next piece. someone explain that one to me. because when my ex climbing partner said something about keeping the rope in the right direction, thats when he placed the nut that blew..
Not all climbs go straight up. Not all protection opportunities go straight up, even if the climb does.
Also, as you move past a piece, you may be pulling it off to one side or the other, have the rope pull up or sideways on the piece.
So, worrying about dislodging gear or pull from various angles really applies to every piece. (Have to be careful not to use the "always" word there).
Also, funny things can happen when you go up, look at the crux, come down, rest, go up..think better of it...rest, finally pull it - the up & down of the rope can cause things to happen.

There are times for long slings, there are times for short slings - judging all that is part of trad.


healyje


May 27, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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Trad is about the mindful construction of whole rope systems one piece at a time. By 'whole rope systems', I mean the entire enchilada - your belayer's position relative to your first piece, your line of ascent and overall rope path, and every placement and its relationship to the rope path. Every component contributes to the performance (or lack thereof) of the overall lead rope system.

The idea is to construct a robust rope system that eliminates cascading failures from either the bottom up or the top down. The former is usually caused by the combination of bad choice of belayer position and a non-multidirectional first piece; the latter from poor quality placements. Never underestimate the importance of your belayer's position relative to the wall, the intended line, and to the first piece - it is critical and foundational element of the overall system - don't just focus on the first piece; instead, consider your belayer's position, stance, and the first piece all together as a single, functional, first component in the system from which you will be building off of.

Slinging is a craft and should not be taken lightly in the context of constructing rope systems for leading. Given most folks start leading sport, understanding the importance of this craft has been waning for some time. Ditto the art of knowing when, why, and how to place effective opposition pieces (at any placement where the rope system makes a significant change of direction, to either side or in/outward, and a single piece can't constrain the rope under load without pulling - passive or cam). In general, I don't recommend quickdraws of any variety for trad climbing and if used should be of a thin, longer and highly flexible variety; but understand they tend to limit your options.

Overall, constructing a performant rope system while leading is a matter of considering both the construction, quality, and utility of individual placements and evaluating their contributing effect on the system as a whole. As such - and as shoo said - it isn't about rules and absolutes, it's about situational awareness and judgment and the application of experience, knowledge and intuition. It's a practiced art that relies on studied craftmanship.

Or, to quote Devils Lake old schoolers: "Place well thy protection, lest the ground rise up and smite thee"


(This post was edited by healyje on May 27, 2009, 10:17 AM)


dingus


May 27, 2009, 10:17 AM
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Re: [healyje] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
Trad is about the mindful construction of whole rope systems one piece at a time. By 'whole rope systems', I mean the entire enchilada - your belayer's position relative to your first piece, your line of ascent and overall rope path, and every placement and its relationship to the rope path. Every component contributes to the performance (or lack thereof) of the overall lead rope system.

The idea is to construct a robust rope system that eliminates cascading failures from either the bottom up or the top down. The former is usually caused by the combination of bad choice of belayer position and a non-multidirectional first piece; the latter from poor quality placements. Never underestimate the importance of your belayer's position relative to the wall, the intended line, and to the first piece - it is critical and foundational element of the overall system - don't just focus on the first piece; instead, consider your belayer's position, stance, and the first piece all together as a single, functional, first component in the system from which you will be building off of.

Slinging is a craft and should not be taken lightly in the context of constructing rope systems for leading. Given most folks start leading sport, understanding the importance of this craft has been waning for some time. Ditto the art of knowing when, why, and how to place effective opposition pieces (at any placement where the rope system makes a significant change of direction, to either side or in/outward, and a single piece can't constrain the rope under load without pulling - passive or cam). In general, I don't recommend quickdraws of any variety for lead climbing and if used should be of a thin, longer and highly flexible variety; but understand they tend to limit your options.

Overall, constructing a performant rope system while leading is a matter of considering both the construction, quality, and utility of individual placements and evaluating their contributing effect on the system as a whole. As such - and as shoo said - it isn't about rules and absolutes, it's about situational awareness and judgment and the application of experience, knowledge and intuition. It's a practiced art that relies on studied craftmanship.

Or, to quote Devils Lake old schoolers: "Place well thy protection, lest the ground rise up and smite thee"

Excellent post ^^^. That's Instructional Grade info right there.

DMT


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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i climbed with him for six months but because his habits seemed really unsafe, i refused to do any other trad climbing with him. i was willing to follow what he led, but i didn't want to lead anything else with someone whose habits weren't very safe. and now im just kind of waiting on trad climbing until i can feel more comfortable with other things, and become a little bit more solid climber in general. i figured more experience climbing and following people who know what they are doing can't hurt.


dingus


May 27, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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OK, thanks.

Maybe some time with others will cast a different light on your ex-partner, who knows....

In terms of readiness, I'm afraid at the very root of the issue I don't agree.

Climbing does not come to those who wait. Climbing only comes through the doing. You will not lead one trad route by waiting, not a single one.

If you want to climb trad, arm yourself with the best knowledge your wallet and temperment will allow... AND GET AFTER IT.

But you have to want it. And then you have to KEEP wanting it, pitch after pitch, route after route. You're only a trad climber when you're trad climbing, its not a Title.

And leading isn't some Rocket Science endeavor all though it does have its complications.

Yes, you should wait till you're ready. My question is.... why aren't you ready NOW?

What is holding you back? I suspect it has nothing whatsoever to do with your ex-partner?

DMT


(This post was edited by dingus on May 27, 2009, 12:12 PM)


fresh


May 27, 2009, 12:47 PM
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dingus wrote:
Climbing does not come to those who wait. Climbing only comes through the doing. You will not lead one trad route by waiting, not a single one.
yeah. that.

safety does come first, but I doubt there's a single serious climber who didn't get away with some stupid mistakes during their first twenty trad leads. what's important is to remember and learn from the mistakes you make.


reno


May 27, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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dingus wrote:
healyje wrote:
Trad is about the mindful construction of whole rope systems one piece at a time. By 'whole rope systems', I mean the entire enchilada - your belayer's position relative to your first piece, your line of ascent and overall rope path, and every placement and its relationship to the rope path. Every component contributes to the performance (or lack thereof) of the overall lead rope system.

The idea is to construct a robust rope system that eliminates cascading failures from either the bottom up or the top down. The former is usually caused by the combination of bad choice of belayer position and a non-multidirectional first piece; the latter from poor quality placements. Never underestimate the importance of your belayer's position relative to the wall, the intended line, and to the first piece - it is critical and foundational element of the overall system - don't just focus on the first piece; instead, consider your belayer's position, stance, and the first piece all together as a single, functional, first component in the system from which you will be building off of.

Slinging is a craft and should not be taken lightly in the context of constructing rope systems for leading. Given most folks start leading sport, understanding the importance of this craft has been waning for some time. Ditto the art of knowing when, why, and how to place effective opposition pieces (at any placement where the rope system makes a significant change of direction, to either side or in/outward, and a single piece can't constrain the rope under load without pulling - passive or cam). In general, I don't recommend quickdraws of any variety for lead climbing and if used should be of a thin, longer and highly flexible variety; but understand they tend to limit your options.

Overall, constructing a performant rope system while leading is a matter of considering both the construction, quality, and utility of individual placements and evaluating their contributing effect on the system as a whole. As such - and as shoo said - it isn't about rules and absolutes, it's about situational awareness and judgment and the application of experience, knowledge and intuition. It's a practiced art that relies on studied craftmanship.

Or, to quote Devils Lake old schoolers: "Place well thy protection, lest the ground rise up and smite thee"

Excellent post ^^^. That's Instructional Grade info right there.

Agree with Dingus. Well written, healyje.


bill413


May 27, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Re: [fresh] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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fresh wrote:
dingus wrote:
Climbing does not come to those who wait. Climbing only comes through the doing. You will not lead one trad route by waiting, not a single one.
yeah. that.

safety does come first, but I doubt there's a single serious climber who didn't get away with some stupid mistakes during their first twenty trad leads. what's important is to remember and learn from the mistakes you make.
That few??
Constantly evaluating the climb (and pro system)is one of the aspects I enjoy. Most of the time.


fresh


May 27, 2009, 1:15 PM
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sorry, I should've said twenty billion.

all I mean is that many people who are nervous about beginning trad put it off, because they want to have a base of competence before they start. but the only way to build that base is to just go out and do it. and if the thought of screwing up so badly on your first few trad leads is holding you back, just remember everyone else has screwed up too and turned out OK. just stay within your technical limits and you'll be fine.


(This post was edited by fresh on May 27, 2009, 1:15 PM)


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 3:57 PM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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you're right 100%!

after i excitedly told a few climber friends about the one route that i led, they said that i was overconfident and i kinda thought they were saying i have an ego.

the last 5 feet of this route was a 5 foot "chimney" with a ledge at the bottom. im 5'9". in order to actually fall i would have had to turn around and jump off. the route itself was rated 5.1. At that point i was solidly climbing 5.8. I figured pick something way easier than what i was usually used to climbing just so i could focus on correctly placing gear without having to worry about how the climbing goes. anyway, they got on my case for not being experienced enough to run stuff out, which i would agree, im not. but this wasn't a run out. Since when was 5 feet a runout?

anyway, now im just extra cautious about my level of confidence. after that im basically afraid to have confidence because id rather be underconfident than overconfident and dead. I'm moving to Lexinton, KY this summer just for climbing in the Red, so I'm sure I'll run into some nice locals who could help me out.


dingus


May 27, 2009, 4:33 PM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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One last word - as someone who has suffered his own share of self-inflicted lack of confidence....

a lack of self-confidence is CRIPPLING for a leader, outright crippling, in the literal sense.

To paraphrase the late great Todd Skinner:

If you believe you are weak, you ARE weak. If you believe you will fail, you WILL fail. If you don' think you can climb it, you won't.

The gig is to pay the appropriate dues along the way to insure your skills and control are as good as your self-confidence says they are. That's the discipline side of the sport.

Notice I said nothing about others. Its all about you. And your own headspace.

Sure if your good climbing buddies assure you are an accident waiting to happen, its probably best to at least give them a listen.

If they called you cocky for mouthing off about leading with the benefit of one 5.1 under your harness... I could perhaps see their point? Not that I'm sayin you did that...

But if they called you cocky and THEY'RE NOT LEADERS EITHER? I would so totally ignore them. Seriously...

A lot of leaders' best attribute is their self-confidence. Strength, technique, self-control... all play major roles but at the end of the day its the leader that makes the conditions ripe for success. And it all starts with a CAN DO attitude, not a CAN'T DO.

But its also the leader's responsibility to make sure her walk can match her talk, nawmean? For example, a few years ago I fell from a lead I'd done many times prior and broke the hell out of my ankle. My walk did not measure up to my talk that day. So I'm not trying to come off holier than thou - just talking climbing bullshit really, when it comes right down to it.

As my old man used to say to me....

"Can't never did ANYTHING."

(I can't (haha) tell you how many times I heard that, growing up)

Cheers and thanks for answering my questions
DMT


(This post was edited by dingus on May 27, 2009, 4:37 PM)


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 4:59 PM
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Re: [dingus] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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dingus. you're smart.

thats the funny thing about it! i wasn't even bragging about it or being all like, "look at me i lead a 5.1! i rock! I can run things out for 5 feet! yeah, im a badass!" no nothing like that.

i was sharing the excitement about the fact that i had placed gear. on lead. sure it was only a 5.1 which many would say is a joke in itself, but considering i'd never trad climbed anything before, it was exciting for me. i delight in small accomplishments. then i was making a joke, "haha yeah it was a nice oh 5 foot runout or so. it was pretty epic." thats when my friend got mad and said i shouldn't be running anything out.

5ft. is NOT run out. bolts are placed further apart than that most places.
and come on. epic? a 20 ft. 5.1? epic? really?

i knew this guy had a habit of misunderstanding things and taking things out of context and not really listening to the things i would say so i kinda dumbed it down a little. i had no idea that he would take so seriously, a joke that was so dumbed down it wasn't even worth making. i felt kinda stupid after that Unsure

this guy and my other friend are very very competent leaders, but they'd only climbed with me maybe once or twice tops (like 10 months prior to this incident) so they really didn't seem to have much basis for their opinions. the second time he taught me to sport climb. the people who climbed with me more frequently thought he was crazy and said that they see no overconfidence in me, they see a lack of confidence, and one guy even said, "you could trad easy stuff for sure, but I don't see why you'd have to hold off on trad as long as you're climbing with people who know what they're doing."


(This post was edited by AltitudeJunkie on May 27, 2009, 5:00 PM)


bill413


May 27, 2009, 5:36 PM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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First - I think there's tremendous truth in what dingus wrote.

AJ - be proud of your 5.1. Don't let people demean your accomplishment - dammit - you lead the thing!
It really is smart to learn to lead, place gear, evaluate things on routes below your limit. Eventually, when you're really comfortable with the mechanics, you can push the grades up to (or close to) your abilities, but while learning the basics isn't the time.

Oh - 5 feet can be run out (if there is a nasty ledge 9 feet below) or quite inconsequential (open air to fall in). Reasoned confidence is a leaders friend.

Grab every chance to lead easy things when you want.


AltitudeJunkie


May 27, 2009, 8:32 PM
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Re: [bill413] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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thanks!!!
i agree with you! i really want to kind of find my limit on sport first and then maybe try some easy stuff on trad. with trad i want to make sure im learning things correctly the first time. i saw my ex-climbing parnter make some bad placements and he told me how to set up an anchor and if one part of it would have blown theres a chance that we could both be dead right now. (cam place at a 90 degree angle to the direction of pull. if it would have been weighted it would have popped out. slung a boulder sitting in sand. didn't bother to check to see if it was actually good to sling. angle between the two points was 170 degrees. that anchor was begging to fail and he refused to accept that we made a mistake. i hadn't had any instruction on anchors so i didn't know any better. thankfully i have had GOOD instruction since.)

"Oh - 5 feet can be run out (if there is a nasty ledge 9 feet below) or quite inconsequential (open air to fall in). Reasoned confidence is a leaders friend."
^^
thanks for the pointer. Wink


hafilax


May 27, 2009, 8:44 PM
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Re: [AltitudeJunkie] bad trad advice? [In reply to]
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My favourite saying regarding learning to trad climb has always been:

"Placing gear and your ability to climb will each save your life; don't practice both at the same time."- unknown to me

Get on easy, well protected routes and have at it. Place tons of gear just for the hell of it (as long as you don't run out on the pitch). If you have someone that you trust to evaluate your placements then all the better.

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