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Safest way to learn Gear placements
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armsrforclimbing


Aug 6, 2004, 12:49 PM
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Safest way to learn Gear placements
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My partner and I are both new to trad. We taken several guided trips and done some top roped aid climbs. He bit the bullet and bought a basic rack, nuts, cams, tri-cams, and some curved hexes. We want to refine our placement techniques. Whats the safest way to do so?
So far we have been setting with two belayers, one on toprope, one on lead belay. We both understand the inherent risks, as well as the physics involved in falling. So please, no lectures, just want some beta from some more experienced climbers. Also, if you can let me know how you learned that would be helpful too. Thanks.


sarcat


Aug 6, 2004, 12:56 PM
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during lunch today I went to the crag (Rock Canyon, UT) and took my brand new set of nuts with me. I spent an hour on the ground putting them in, then taking them out etc. It helped with several things:

1. how to best rack them efficently
2. patients on taking stuck ones out
3. hand eye coordination
4. crack size/need nut size coordination

I plan on several more sessions just on the ground to get better.

(no rude comments how this post sounds strangely like some other fun activity)


over_the_hill


Aug 6, 2004, 1:09 PM
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Get a Mentor!! Somone with years of experience with gear, and follow/ clean thier climbs. Sometimes there is no better way to learn how to place gear than removing it from somone who is good at placing it. Once you are understanding how gear works, start out with very easy leads that your mentor can follow and critique your placemnets. Plan on doing the climb over and over again, to practice getting placements right. Finally, there is nothing better than just placing gear at ground level. Make M.D.A.'s, equalized horizontal placements, etc and so on.


Partner drector


Aug 6, 2004, 1:13 PM
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If you've done some aid climbs then you should have a good feel for the quality of your placements. Try to have an experienced climber follow and give his opinion while being as critical as possible. Then go for it.

I didn't aid climb. I had a partner who was learning at the same time. We took a class that covered some achoring and gear placements and had excellent results. We then just went for it and led climbs that we had top roped. We were always critical of the others placements to keep ourselves in line. Just don't think that you are ever above making a mistake.

Dave


tradmanclimbs


Aug 6, 2004, 7:33 PM
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Sounds like you are being ultra safe with the top rope whle aiding. Do that a few more times and bounce like heck on your pieces. see how well they work. A mentor is great if you can find one. If you can't find a mentor then start by leading stuff that you have wired on top rope. when you get comfortable with the easy climbs crank it up a notch. keep doing that and one day you will wake up and realize that you are a trad climber. read a LOT about anchors and placements and practice the stuff you read. You can practice right off the deck. bounce like heck on them. if they fail you go 3 ft and land on your butt. You can generate a lot of force with a static daisy. Just Do It 8^) Then do it again and again and, you get the picture. It's all about mileage 8^)


Partner rrrADAM


Aug 6, 2004, 7:53 PM
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Follow and clean an experienced climbers gear, as in a mentor. Cleaning well set pro will allow you to see lots of well set pro.

After that, mock leads or real leads with him cleaning and evaluating you pro... I do this for newer climbers, and if the placement was poor, I leave it in, and place a better piece near it so they can see a better alternative.


tradmanclimbs


Aug 7, 2004, 5:20 AM
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Rrradams method is best. But if you can't find a mentor you should get out there and learn anyways. Even with the mentor you need to practice the stuff on your own. One of the guys i mentored has a lot of potentual but dosen't get out enough. he is only about half the climber that he could be at this point. No one can do it for you. You have to put some effort into the learning process.


Partner coylec


Aug 7, 2004, 3:45 PM
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If you are belaying them on TR, you don't need that second belayer - you can just trail a rope.

Mileage is the most important thing. Evaluate each other's placements. Try to follow an experienced climber once or twice to get a feel for good placements as well.

coylec


xclimber47


Aug 7, 2004, 4:57 PM
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you can do whats called mock-leading. Tie in on toprope on a route where thats possible and belay the climber on top rope. Then if you have a 2nd rope the climber can tie in like he's leading and let that rope hang. If you just leave a little slack while they climb, you get the feeling of leading and you can practice placing gear and clipping in and check out all your placements without having to worry about falling on them cause your on toprope.


kman


Aug 7, 2004, 7:17 PM
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Xclimber said:

In reply to:
you can do whats called mock-leading. Tie in on toprope on a route where thats possible and belay the climber on top rope. Then if you have a 2nd rope the climber can tie in like he's leading and let that rope hang......

:lol: Hey Xclimber, did you not read his post you dumb a$$. You're telling him to do what he already said he is doing.


enjoimx


Aug 7, 2004, 8:09 PM
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Actually i think Xclimber was explaining a better way to do the mock leading. He was simply pointing out the second belayer was not necessary, that trtailing a rope works just as well. I learned from Xclimbers post. Hes no "dumb a$$"


xclimber47


Aug 7, 2004, 8:34 PM
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well i know everyone else is perfect, but thanks for pointing out my mistake so nicely kman... way to be a jerk


kman


Aug 7, 2004, 9:40 PM
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In reply to:
Actually i think Xclimber was explaining a better way to do the mock leading.

He is saying to do what the original poster said he does.

In reply to:
well i know everyone else is perfect, but thanks for pointing out my mistake so nicely kman... way to be a jerk

Ah c'mon now. I was calling you a dumb as$ in a freindly kinda way.


samuel


Aug 8, 2004, 3:15 PM
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Except from what's already mentioned, I sometimes clog (sp?) alongside new leaders on easy trad climbs to give them helpful hints (if they need it) and evaluate pro as they go.
With a good mentor, that can really boost progress.

To get confidence in your protection you may have to fall on it sooner or later.
If you choose to do so, or push your limit trad climbing, do it where a failure won't mean decking.
Mixed climbs with both bolts and trad pro can sometimes be a good place to build confidence in your placements. Use your head.

Climb safe


dgkula


Aug 9, 2004, 1:39 PM
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Mock leading (i.e. leading on TR) is a great way to learn to sort out the sequence of events, learn your gear and rack, etc.

Aid climbing on TR (for me) was absolutely indespensable for learning how to correctly place pro.

Building belay anchors just a few feet of the ground and having a mentor check them out is helpful as well.


dgkula


Aug 9, 2004, 2:06 PM
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BTW, I mean clean easy aid. Like aiding a 5.7/8 crack climb on TR. that will definitely help you set those cams, hexes, tricams and nuts. Fun to do when it's raining on overhangs and you can stay dry :)


walt511


Aug 9, 2004, 7:50 PM
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In addition to the above suggestions, learn all you can about the mechanics of how each piece of your gear works and the pros and cons of each. Just mock leading might not teach you, for example, that if you place a series of stoppers, they could all fail if you didn't protect the bottom from an upward pull. Also don't fall into the trap of overestimating the security of cams. They are complex devices that can respond in unexpected ways if you don't understand their proper usage.

Although the mock leading is cool I'm not sure how much value it adds over just practicing placing the gear at the base of the crag. I guess it gets you the experience of placing it while you are hanging out in a strenuous or awkward position. On the other hand, you can probably inspect and critique your practice placements better if your standing on the ground.


vanclimber


Aug 9, 2004, 8:48 PM
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I second the idea of finding a good spot at the base of the crag and just trying to place the entire rack. You can add slings afterward and bounce test them or even practice setting anchors with a cordelette. If you are fortunate to have a great place to learn (like the Smoke Bluffs in Squamish) you can go to different areas and keep practicing all day long.

Don


armsrforclimbing


Aug 9, 2004, 9:19 PM
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Thanks for the great tips. We went out today and set on TR. Its a little tedious, but it does help with the mechanics of leading. A friend with years of experience is going to look at our placements next time we head out the crag. Its tough to believe that its possible to place pro on anything rated higher than a 5.7. :P


musicman


Aug 9, 2004, 9:25 PM
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i have just begun what is hopefully a lifetime endeavor into Trad climbing. I've been up climbing with mrtristan lately up RockCanyon and we do mostly sport but every now and then he'll lead something pretty easy on trad and i'll follow/clean it. it seems like one of the best ways to learn is to just follow tons of climbs and clean the gear, after doing that you will have seen so many gear placements. i know there are other better ways but this is a way to learn some basic placements. hopefully i'll lead my first trad sometime in 2005.


tradmanclimbs


Aug 9, 2004, 10:23 PM
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There is no better way. If you are lucky enough to have a solid trad leader then you just need to pay attention to what he/she is doing. After following a bunch of pitches just go out and lead somthing easy. Contrary to what a lot of posters will try to make you belive, It ain't rocket science. When I was learning the guys that got me started mostly top roped. I was stoked to lead so I went out by myself and placed a bunch of stoppers in cracks close to the ground. I bounced on them, landed on my butt a few times and then proclaimed my self ready to lead. I started out on a sustained 70 ft 5.7 and i shook like a dog crapping razorblades but i got up it and moved on to many more climbs. I didn't break into the 9s and 10s though until I started climbing with a mentor. The biggest breakthrough with the mentor was haveing someone whome I respected telling me that I could do it. Also didn't hurt that he was dragging me up a bunch of climbs.


swede


Aug 9, 2004, 11:27 PM
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You get a lot of good advice, but I think only one post tells you what to do when you have been playing around at ground level, mock leading, aided and followed a mentor for quite some time.

You need to fall on them and learn which one holds and which one does not - and why.

You are lucky to have two belayers so you can do it safe (as you have already figured out) - one top rope with a little bit of slack plus a lead rope.


angelaa


Aug 10, 2004, 9:12 AM
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Do some Top Rope leading - great way to teach youself. Just be HONEST about your placements and test them all out.
Make sure you also have a 'lead' rope and clean your own route so you know how the tension on the lead rope effects your placements durring belaying and falling.


dalguard


Aug 10, 2004, 12:28 PM
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What is it with you people on rc.com and mock leading? I'm surprised anyone actually leads anything anymore there are so many of you jumping to tell new leaders to phony it up. I'd like to hear from one person who spent more than let's say their first day mock leading and who has actually gone on to become a realio-trulio onsight trad leader.

Forget the mock leading. Forget falling on your gear. Find something you aren't going to fall on and go out and lead it. The basics of placing gear aren't rocket science and the subtleties can't be learned in a day. Mentors are great but a lot of people have learned to lead without them so don't hang around waiting for one.

If you want to practice placing gear, do it on the ground. Placing gear is only one of the skills you need to be a good leader and the others can't be learned on top rope (or here, apparently).


angelaa


Aug 10, 2004, 1:27 PM
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TROLL ALERT! :P

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