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bighead


May 11, 2004, 9:19 PM
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Self-Taught Trad Climbing (Lead)
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I recently purchased a beginner rack (BD stoppers, Hex's, and 6 camalots) and then spent a few days practicing putting in the gear on the ground and a couple sport routes. After I felt fairly confident I decided to go ahead and lead some routes. I have lead two multi-pitch routes and a handful of single pitch climbs. I am curious how many people learned to climb trad this way. Also what are some of the mistakes you were making and didn't know it until someone clued you in? Just a little bit of background about myself I did buy and read both anchor books and I have been climbing sport for three years. Also all the trad routes I have lead have been 5.6 through 5.8 while I can onsight 10a/b. Unfortunately I don't know someone that I can follow with a nut tool.


braaaaaaaadley


May 11, 2004, 9:24 PM
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Thats basically how I learned... just don't fall and you'll be aight.


alpnclmbr1


May 11, 2004, 9:37 PM
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That is how I learned back in the day through lack of choice.

It is a lot easier for most people nowadays.

Go someplace with climbers around and find some practice gear placements and get someone that hopefully knows what he is doing to review your gear placements. Beg bribe whatever it takes.

Then when you can, do the same with someone following your lead and checking up on you.


joshklingbeil


May 11, 2004, 10:15 PM
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I tought my self years ago. My first lead was on this 5.5X. I just jumped on it and knew not to fall. One half a decade later I'm starting to feel safe enough to try to onsite a few 5.11 cracks. As long as its good rock and it protects good.


thegodfather


May 11, 2004, 10:19 PM
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well, i guess i taught myself, learned gear placement through setting TRs, and watched videos of climbers placing gear, but never really learned professionally, my first lead was a low-angled 5.8, which was alot of fun. been leading for some time now and regularly onsight 5.11 finger cracks...i love finger cracks....


nealric


May 11, 2004, 10:36 PM
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Yup I taught myself.

Read like crazy and then blow rasberries in the direction of those crusty old farts who think you need some kind of apprenticeship.


wallwombat


May 11, 2004, 10:37 PM
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That is how I learned back in the day through lack of choice.

Me too, but I'd read almost everything I could get my hands on before I tried.


caughtinside


May 11, 2004, 11:04 PM
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Yep, I led probably 12 pitches of 5.6-5.7 before I followed a single pitch. I had read CLimbing anchors and a few other sources.

But, I did have an experienced climber, my roommate evaluate some groundlevel gear, and built several anchors for him to inspect. I'm sure he would have been willing to lead and let me follow, but he had just gotten out of a body cast that was the result of a BASE jumping mishap, and was in no shape to lead (or follow for that matter, but he did anyway. Thanks Tom!)

It was a great way to start. But, I also met up with some other climbers after that, and learned a lot from following them as well.

Good luck!


ricardol


May 11, 2004, 11:28 PM
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i learned this way too ..

here are the things i was doing incorrectly --

placing gear in shit rock ..

placing gear in detached blocks ..

-- ricardo


beesty511


May 11, 2004, 11:38 PM
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Do you know what factor 2 falls are? Do you know any self rescue? If you don't and you're leading multi-pitch climbs, for your safety you should consider doing some research and then some practicing. Take a look at a book like "Traditional Lead Climbing: Surving the Learning Years" or Craig Luebben's soon to be released "Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills", and "Self Rescue"(David J. Fasulo)

Make sure your pro and your anchor is in solid rock. Be safe.


roc-dude
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May 12, 2004, 7:46 AM
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I had climbed a few times in the gym, then I bought a rack and Read Freedom of the Hills and a week later lead a 5.7 Trad route. I have learned so much since then. My biggest weakness was bulding anchors. I never equlized them right until someone show me how. Climbing with experenced climber will teach you so many cool tricks and ways to be a little safer.


dingus


May 12, 2004, 8:01 AM
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I had the added bonus of having to teach all my belayers how to climb too! Yee hah.

I think this approach demonstrates and fosters self-sufficiency, certainly in attitude. Challenges?

* That self-sufficient attitude can become obstinate to the point that no outside input, constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement are even heard, much less acted upon. Remain humble and open (easy for me to say, eh?) and remember, just because you read it in a JL book doesn't mean its the gospel or the only or the best ways things are done.

* While you can learn a lot, (A LOT) from how to books, mastering the efficiencies of lead placed pro takes time. Unless you climb with your betters, you will be forced to learn and invent a lot of those efficiencies on your own. That may be OK with you, but it will certainly hold you back.

Until I started climbing with guys who could (and DID) lead 5.11 trad and up, I had no real idea what those efficiencies might actually be. A whole new world opened up before my eyes... not 5.12 trad leading (I ain't got it in me). But taking advantage of the efficiencies necessary to do 5.12 while on lesser climbs can open up whole new possibilities for speedy placements, efficient rope management and the will and techniques necessary to run it out.

Cheers
DMT


timstich


May 12, 2004, 8:12 AM
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...

* That self-sufficient attitude can become obstinate to the point that no outside input, constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement are even heard, much less acted upon. ...

Which experience has proven can be deadly. So vigorously compare notes with other more experienced climbers, especially if you are self-taught. Get used to having your ideas shot down, too. And remember that it's not always a matter of you being completely wrong and another climber being completely right about how to do things. You'll have to decide for yourself in the end. None of us needs to work in a vacuum anymore.


bighead


May 12, 2004, 8:24 AM
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Do you know what factor 2 falls are? Do you know any self rescue?
Make sure your pro and your anchor is in solid rock. Be safe.
I do know what factor two falls are and while I wouldn't say that I know a ton about self-rescue I have had to get myself out of a few crappy situations. I might be crazy but I have always felt that if you get yourself in to a bad situation on the rock you can usually figure out a way to fix it if you can just stop, calm down, and analyze the situation. I will get both the books you mentioned and read/study them. I really appreciate the posts from DINGUS and TIMSTICH :wink: I definately understand what you are saying and I will make sure I am always open and willing to listen to constuctive criticism. Please keep the info coming.


petro


May 12, 2004, 8:44 AM
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Taught myself, but then found a mentor.

My biggest mistake was thinking that gear was somehow magical. I didn't really understand stopper and hex placements, and took a BIIIIIGGG fall because of it. Then I met my buddy, and followed him around for a couple climbs, and took the sharp end. No "formal" teaching though.

Think about the forces that gear can take when leading past it, and in a fall. Set your gear, and pull in any anticipated direction that pull can occur (not only down).

I like to find "keyhole" placements, that are good for up, out, and downward pulls. The kind of placement, you have to knock back in, up, and around the crystals to get it out. Not too deep, but well surrounded. I place cams like stoppers too.

If I can clean a stopper with a sharp tug up, that freaks me out. Too short of a runner, and zip, splat! Screw up once, and first it goes white, then it goes black. After that, it is up to theologists and philosophers, but there are no guarantees.

Just don't get too cocky, the mountains have a way of punishing arrogance. Climb smart.


Partner p_grandbois


May 12, 2004, 8:56 AM
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Did this too. First I started with some top rope and carried my gear measuring up here and their. I got used to everything pretty quick. I read a bunch of books and gained some much needed confidence by top roping with a lot of slack. Solo stuff with an petzl Basic was the best thing I did, no help, no chance of healp and you see what you can really climb.


Partner taualum23


May 12, 2004, 9:18 AM
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I was lucky enough to have a few more experienced people show me the way (and still am in the learnign curve, and will be for a while). However, the single most influential individual in my climbing was self-taught. He is still one of the hardest mo-fo's I know of, although a big proponent of the "do-as-I say, not as you know I did" school.


sandstone


May 12, 2004, 9:20 AM
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I was self taught also, out of necessity. When I was young and getting started there were no climbers where I lived, and I was dirt poor. I read Royal Robbins little books, then got a rope and a few biners with what little money I had. I made some chocks from machine nuts, and made a few pitons from scrap steel I found around the farm. I could occasionally get one of my crazier high school friends to belay me, but a lot of the time I rope soloed. Things are so much different now, there are climbers everywhere, the gear is so much better, there are so many great books and videos -- it's a great time to be a climber.

It sounds to me like you're doing things right. Keep learning and practicing your gear placements, and always try to visualize your rope/protection system as a whole (what will it all do under tension?). As someone already mentioned you need to learn (and practice) self rescue. Learn how to munter and hip belay in case you drop your gear. Learn how to rappel without a belay/rap device.

Dingus had some great advice there on mental attitude. Always keep your mind open to learn new things, and always be willing to admit/fix your mistakes.


barnes33


May 13, 2004, 6:54 AM
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i learned by following sport for a while before leading it. then when i moved back east i had no choice but to learn trad at the gunks. i followed people for a some time while building my rack. i practiced groung placements then did my first lead on a 5.3 while checking my placements. once i felt confident in them i moved back to more difficult climbs.


Partner wormly81


May 13, 2004, 7:08 AM
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Ive just started experimenting by building anchor after anchor after anchor after.... well you get the drift (just remember not to look up and see the people up on the crags or building those anchors wont seem to be so much fun anymore!)

anyway, Im headed into the woods to, you guessed it, build some more anchors...


Partner j_ung


May 13, 2004, 7:54 AM
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And the truth comes out! :lol: Most of us are, in most respects, self-taught! I'll keep my only advice as general as possible: for the time being, stay on easy routes.


keithlester
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May 13, 2004, 7:57 AM
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Yup I taught myself.

Read like crazy and then blow rasberries in the direction of those crusty old farts who think you need some kind of apprenticeship.

I'm a crusty old fart, and guess what, self-taught, like most of the crusty old farts. It's mostly youngsters that insist on having it all spoon-fed to them, sanitised and pc, how do you think gyms are so popular.

No, I think you got it wrong, you should think before you label us all because some old-fart gave you rules to follow and expected you to "respect his ethics" or some such crap. Trust me, most of us are like you, anarchists. :twisted:


keithlester
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May 13, 2004, 7:58 AM
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Yup I taught myself.

Read like crazy and then blow rasberries in the direction of those crusty old farts who think you need some kind of apprenticeship.

I'm a crusty old fart, and guess what, self-taught, like most of the crusty old farts. It's mostly youngsters that insist on having it all spoon-fed to them, sanitised and pc, how do you think gyms are so popular.

No, I think you got it wrong, you should think before you label us all because some old-fart gave you rules to follow and expected you to "respect his ethics" or some such crap. Trust me, most of us are like you, anarchists. :twisted:


sandstone


May 13, 2004, 8:02 AM
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> "Ive just started experimenting by building anchor after anchor after anchor after...."

It's also good to practice placing gear to protect a lead. Just boulder up a few feet, and practice selecting/placing gear while you're hanging on. Do the same thing with equalized and opposed placements. With a little practice you'll get better at picking the right size/type pieces the first time. You'll also be building some strength & confidence that'll help you when you get on a lead.


chossmonkey


May 13, 2004, 9:12 AM
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I was mostly self taught from books. I also had the joy of teaching all of my early belayers. When I started there it wasn't easy to find someone to learn from. I did a bit of toproping until I had enough gear to lead. There were a few tricks I've learned from others along the way but nothing major. I can't really recomend it ot others. Some people are self teachers, some aren't. It's something you need to figure out yourself.

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