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Redpointing/Working a Trad Route
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bighead


Jun 11, 2004, 2:45 PM
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Redpointing/Working a Trad Route
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I just started leading trad a few months ago and have fallen in love with it. Prior to trad I had climbed sport for six years so a lot of my attitude about climbing comes from this area. My question is this: Have you ever intentionally redpointed/worked a Trad route? The reason I'm asking is that a lot of climbers I know climb Trad at a much lower level then they climb sport even after several years. I completely understand that starting out you should start easy but I feel that if a person's placements are good on 5.7 then the same placements are good on 10c as well. The main reason I'm asking is a good friend and climbing partner thinks I'm crazy because last weekend I saw one of those routes that just call to you. I decided that I had to bag it even though it was at the limits of my climbing ability. I ended up getting it after two falls on a bomber #6 metolious and one fall on a #2 camalot. It wound up0 being one of my favorite climbing experiences ever and I really want to continue pushing my Trad level this way. So basically I'm just curious to see how many of you have or do approach Trad routes this way and how often.


bandycoot


Jun 11, 2004, 2:49 PM
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Re: Redpointing a Trad Route [In reply to]
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I redpoint trad. My onsight level is about 3 letter grades from my TR level I think (I don't TR that much). O'Kelly's Crack was a GREAT redpoint. I've done others as well. I can imagine going back to a crack and working it more than I can a face. Don't let your friend hold you back, work climbs that call to you no matter what they are.


slobmonster


Jun 11, 2004, 2:52 PM
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Re: Redpointing a Trad Route [In reply to]
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If you fall on your onsight attempt, and then go back sometime later and lead it clean, then you've redpointed it. But I gather you're thinking about ~working~ a route. If your gear is good, and the falls are clean, go for it.


climbin_moo


Jun 11, 2004, 2:58 PM
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I've worked a trad route before, it took 5 serious tries before I got a nice clean redpoint. Sometimes you see a trad line that is "sporty" and you just gotta redpoint it.


gds


Jun 11, 2004, 3:57 PM
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If you're confident in your gear and the falls are clean then .. hey!

Just be a bit carefull. Climbing at your limit and discovering you can't get in a good piece and can't downclimb to a good stance and there is a ledge in striking range is not fun.


thegreytradster


Jun 11, 2004, 4:38 PM
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Only on a couple of occasions. As you experienced, "it was a route that needed doin". Even though I wasn't quite ready for it.

I've had far more where a fall or backing of "tainted" the onsight.

You are only as good as what you can onsight cleanly and completely in control. Everything else is only self deception.

That doesn't mean that "roped bouldering" shouldn't be used to improve your skills, when applied safely.


Partner p_grandbois


Jun 11, 2004, 5:37 PM
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It is all in your personal definition, I think we can all agree that you were working the route, we all do that, I do, that is how I get into it. Some people have descriptive guide books, some use topo's I work them out and fal a few times(sometimes). GO for it, I love the feeling you generate in your description cause I get it everytime I top out a route I am working.


jonnyb


Jun 11, 2004, 6:05 PM
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I've just recently started applying this mindset to my trad climbing, and it's been really exciting. I pick climbs that have good pro and clean falls and just go for it. I would recommend you have a lot of experience placing pro before you go taking whippers on it though. But yea, if you're not going to push yourself onto stuff you may fall off of, why'd you buy all that gear?


Partner j_ung


Jun 11, 2004, 6:10 PM
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Re: Redpointing/Working a Trad Route [In reply to]
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I agree. I started approaching harder trad this way a couple of seasons ago and have been having the time of my life ever since. Sure, it's not onsighting, but damn, it's fun fun fun! And, I've been on routes that I would never before have considered trying. That alone also does wonders for my onsight climbing.

I think your attitude is very healthy and a great way to climb trad. Just be ready to fall a lot, which it seems like you already are.


beesty511


Jun 11, 2004, 11:21 PM
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Re: Redpointing/Working a Trad Route [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I just started leading trad a few months ago and have fallen in love with it. Prior to trad I had climbed sport for six years so a lot of my attitude about climbing comes from this area.

Whoa. In my opinion, that could be a recipe for disaster.

In reply to:
I ended up getting it after two falls on a bomber #6 metolious and one fall on a #2 camalot.

It takes awhile to know what really bomber looks like and even then it may not actually be bomber. In any case, bomber gear can rip very easily if a fall impacts it with enough force. You are not climbing on bolts anymore.

I would suggest you back off and adopt a leader doesn't fall philosophy until you've led at least a hundred routes and done extensive reading about fall forces and spacing of pro, as well as a myriad of other issues you should be considering. Then, I think you'll have a better appreciation of the risks invovled, and you can make informed decisions. If you don't know about a risk, you can't make a decision to accept it or not.


kalcario


Jun 11, 2004, 11:35 PM
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Re: Redpointing/Working a Trad Route [In reply to]
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* I would suggest you back off and adopt a leader doesn't fall philosophy until you've led at least a hundred routes and done extensive reading about fall forces and spacing of pro.*

If the leader doesn't fall, then what's the rope and pro for? At some point you've got to trust your own ability...I've been climbing 30 years and I've never read anything about fall forces, and spacing of protection depends on the route, not what you've read...think about what the previous generation used to do, without spring loaded cams and fall rated ropes...that said, be prepared to back off a little more trad climbing than you did sport climbing


anykineclimb


Jun 12, 2004, 3:27 AM
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Re: Redpointing/Working a Trad Route [In reply to]
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Not sure how far your falls were but I'd say those pieces were bomber if they held your falls and who cares if it does blow? Think you're the 1st climber to have a piece pull? Good for you for having the Cojones to climb what YOU want. Screw everone else.

BTW, what route were you on?


bighead


Jun 12, 2004, 4:13 PM
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Beesty511 I appreciate your post, however, I would like to respond because while I did approach this route knowing that I would most likely have to work it I did it with a very careful and methodical attitude. I never put myself in a situation where my life was in the hands of one piece. In fact I probably should have taken a picture to give everyone a laugh because I sewed that thing up so tight it was amazing. It was one pitch and there were anchors at the top so I threw everything into that poor crack and held nothing back. Once I identified what I thought was the crux I down-climbed and set a cam and hex approximately a foot apart at the base or beginning of it. I did identify it correctly because this section is where I took two of my falls. I went through this same process again right before I toped out when I reached a sequence I wasn't sure about and this was actually where my third fall occured. Even if any of these pieces had blown I seriously had so much gear in there that I could have lost several pieces and still been alright.
anykineclimb I'm not sure of the name it was on Cactus Cliff but I couldn't find a name for it in the book. I just have the basic Shelf book and so I need to get the supplement. It was funny because the crack was bolted recently but I really wanted to lead it Trad instead of clipping. I still can't really explain why but I did. Hey do you climb with Larry, Dave, or Robert from the springs? I just met them bouldering a couple of weeks ago and plan on linking up with them again to climb.


anykineclimb


Jun 12, 2004, 6:54 PM
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yeah, I've climbed with Larry and Dave a few times.

I understand you wanting to place gear on the climb. I find it sorta funny that perfectly good crack climbs get bolted. Just nature of Shelf(and MANY others) I guess...


Partner climboard


Jun 13, 2004, 7:58 AM
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Re: Redpointing/Working a Trad Route [In reply to]
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[quote="bighead"] My question is this: Have you ever intentionally redpointed/worked a Trad route?

Intentionally? I've always approached a trad climb with the idea that I am going to onsight it. If that doesn't work out as planned, sure I'll work the moves and pull the rope and gear for another attempt.

If I really wanted to get on a line that was way over my head I'd probably work the moves on toprope and then try to send it.


bighead


Jun 13, 2004, 11:24 AM
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I understand what you mean by saying you always want to onsight a route because I do as well even when it's at the limits of my ability. I am also able to look at a route and it's grade and usually make a pretty objective assessment of whether or not I can onsight it. I know for the most part where my onsight ability ends but even if I don't think I can onsight it I still give everything I have to doing that and sometimes I suprise myself. I feel that a person is really only truly climbing at their limit when they occasionally take falls. Also I have only worked one route on toprope and I won't ever do it again because for me it took all the thrill out of the climb. I like to puzzle out the sequence on the sharp end because I think it forces me to work harder and I find more satisfaction this way. When I finally led the route I had toproped first I had the moves so wired that it took a lot of the joy out of the accomplishment because I felt I hadn't accomplished anything except memorizing the moves. However this is just my opinion and I know it doesn't apply to everyone.


bellatoris


Jun 13, 2004, 12:43 PM
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The first time I ever worked a trad line to get a redpoint was last tuesday in Tuolumne. It was a way cool line with a prize grade that I knew I could do, so after blowing the onsight I worked the gear and moves then sent the route next try. My willingness to fall on gear is equal to that of falling on bolts. I have fallen at least 100 times on gear and only 1 piece ever blew, and that was a questionable piece above a bomber one on Wheat Thin (a flake in Yose.) I have never run across a shite placement that a leader thought was bomber, so if you trust your gear, your partner and your skills, then go for it. And the partners who suggest you back down; maybe leave em at home.


harihari


Jun 13, 2004, 3:49 PM
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go for it! get out there and whip a few times. nothing wrong with clean falls ont he best gear you can find. this will improve your grades, your onsight level and your lead-head. and redpointing routes, or problems, is time-honoured.


feedmerocks


Jun 23, 2004, 2:57 PM
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bighead, the most important thing for you to keep in mind, as you learn to lead trad at or just beyond your onsight ability, is that at this level, placing the gear can be much harder than making the actual moves. If you are working routes that have clean falls, these are usually going to be overhanging routes that are pumpy to protect.

Your sport background will serve you well in judging what falls are safe to take, but make sure you never run it out too far before placing gear, even (and especially) on overhanging ground where you might not want to hang in and place the gear. I have heard about trad accidents in the Gunks where leaders gunned for the next stance above an overhang instead of hanging in to place a cam where it was needed...

Personally I think more than a couple months practice with gear is needed, before getting on routes where you have to place gear under duress. This is my third year leading, and I'm still not super confident in my ability to select the correct piece of gear, the first time, reliably.

That said, I started working and redpointing trad routes my second season, and everybody learns at a different pace... I'd never try to hold you back... get out there, have fun, and be safe! Don't let onsight-itis make you take extra risks with the runouts, there's nothing wrong with backing off and downclimbing to the good gear. So far, I've done all my working and redpointing without risking actual lead falls - I always attempt to downclimb and re-work the sequence, so I've really just hangdogged. Downclimbing is key!


dredsovrn


Jun 23, 2004, 3:47 PM
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I suppose my intention is always to onsight, but certainly end up redpointing when climbing at my limit. I redpointed a .10a when my closest trad lead before was a 5.5. I had done a lot of following in the .10's however. I didn't exactly make it a project, but I had seen the line several times, and feeling strong one day, decided to give it a go. A fall on a 1.5 Clog and one on a #1 TCU. The third time I quit feaking out at the crux and it went down.

If you want to keep pushing your limit, you won't have much choice. Place good pro and rock on.


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