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By jtmann
From O
Jan 27, 2013
Hey all,
I am a beginning trad climber with a sport background. Getting into trad climbing and me and a couple of buddies recently hired a guide (Chris Baumann - he was a great guide) from vertical adventures to help us learn gear placement, anchors, etc. The next day we all led "I Love My Marine" at campfire crag in Indian Cove. Easy climb, but 1st Jtree lead where we chose to place a couple of pieces of gear and sling a chicken head. Quite a rush and I loved it! Now to my question. I have a limited rack (Not in a situation to buy everything at once) at this point (set of BD nuts, hexes, and #.5, #2, and #3 Camalots). Going our with my wife next weekend. Any suggestions for beginning routes with the gear I own? I've read many posts about beginner leads, but I don't know if I have enough gear. Outwardbound slab? I like that area! Mile off the road, less crowds, killer!

Sorry for the long post and thanks for any beta you can offer.

Jason

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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Jan 27, 2013
RJN
Assuming your not a troll:

Not sure what to say. JTree is no place to learn the skills required to TRAD climb, especially with a limited rack. Most climbs require you to lead the route, then build an anchor. There are plenty of 5.6 climbs in the park, but they will throw a competent leader off quite easily. If your going to JTree, top rope a bit and get used to the style/grading out there. If your really wanting to lead, find another climber at Hidden Valley to share racks with. Also, no joke, but try to climb some of the descents. Sometimes the walk off is the crux of the climb. That's my 2 cents...

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By C Miller
Administrator
Jan 27, 2013
Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana), Black Mountain
joshuatreeclimb.com/ClimbsGues...

joshuatreeclimb.com/TopRopes/t...

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By Gregory D
From La Verne
Jan 27, 2013
fun in the (twilight) sun
Pm sent

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By jtmann
From O
Jan 27, 2013
Thanks for the info.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 28, 2013
Ryan N wrote:
JTree is no place to learn the skills required to TRAD climb, especially with a limited rack.

While I'd agree with a lot of what you said in your post, I'd seriously have to disagree with this statement. Josh is a great place to learn trad. Relatively short so you can back off easily, not need a huge rack or have any problems throwing a TR on to retrieve your gear or finish off a route safely if you need to lower off. The crux, as with any kind of trad climbing, is to know what you can climb safely given your skill level.

To the OP, as far as your rack, unless I misread your post, it sounds you have a full rack of passive gear plus a few cams. If so, I think you're OK for shorter climbs. The rock at Josh lends itself well to passive gear. Many of the routes were established before the advent of cams. Bachar, Long, Hill, Lechinksi, Yaniro, Leavitt, etc., etc., established many of their routes on passive gear. I learned to lead there using passive gear. As long as you know how to place it, you'll be fine. If you doubt your skills, find something you can walk to the top of and set up an anchor. Just build in alot of redundancy and you'll have a chance to see what works and what doesn't work while you're not hanging out on lead.

To be frank, the problem I see with many people transitioning to trad is that they lack the crack climbing skills. That involves not just knowing how to jam, but also how to read the crack and see where you're going to place your gear before you get to it. It's hard to set good gear when you have problems hanging out to place it in the first place.

Some good easy routes to cut your teeth on:
The Bong, 5.4
Upper R. Ski Track, 5.2
The Eye, 5.1
Fote Hog, 5.6
Toe Jam, 5.7
Anything at Trash Can Rock
Too many to name at Indian Cove
Double Dip, 5.6 (mostly bolted face)
Rock Garden Valley Wall
Dairy Queen Wall

Also check Tood Gordon's website, which someone may have posted a link to. Have fun and be safe. Josh is a great place, no matter what your skill level.

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By Chris Horton
From Tucson AZ
Jan 28, 2013
Awesomeness!
jtmann wrote:
The next day we all led "I Love My Marine" at campfire crag in Indian Cove. Easy climb, but 1st Jtree lead where we chose to place a couple of pieces of gear and sling a chicken head. Quite a rush and I loved it!


I saw a guy deck on I Love My Marine last year, he was ok, but definitely learned the difference between sport and trad in a hurry.

+1 for Dairy Queen, although you may want more gear. -1 for the descent off of it. Trash Can is easy but really boring.

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By Unassigned User
Jan 28, 2013
ProTip for Dairy Queen, if you want to lead all those amazing easy cracks, set up a anchor(if you have the pro to do this)to rap off of. Saves you from having to do that walk off every time, instead you just pull the rope and clip into your anchor and rap.
But really that downclimb is not that bad.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 28, 2013
Chris Horton wrote:
I saw a guy deck on I Love My Marine last year, he was ok, but definitely learned the difference between sport and trad in a hurry.

I saw a guy deck on Cranny at Trash Can back when I was 15 or so. I was the only guy who ran up to help the fallen climber's partner, got the guy's blood all over me, etc., so I learned early the lessons of how quickly trad could go south. Like I said, the main key is the level of your judgment in how comfortable you are on the particular route and how good your gear is, not leading too far above your gear... Early in the game, it's probably best to stick to 'the leader must not fall' rule.

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By jtmann
From O
Jan 28, 2013
Thanks for all of the excellent info. At this point I am definitely on the leader must not fall plan. I think I will practice placing pro on top tope for a while and then maybe lead one of those climbs when I feel like can put the pieces in correctly. Ideally, I'll hook up with an experienced climber I can follow and remove the gear. The thing we liked about "I Love My Marine" is that there are three bolts, a fixed piton, a big knob to sling and a crack before the last bolt to put a piece in and bolt anchors with rap rings. I think the riskiest part was the potential to deck out on the upper ledge. One more thing - if I get out there early on a Friday afternoon (1sh), are my chances good of snagging a campsite in the park or is it better to just reserve an Indian Cove site coming on a Friday at that time? I would imagine there would be sites at Jumbo Rocks, Belle, or White Tank, right? I would rather stay in the park.

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By Dave Von Behren
Jan 28, 2013
Fote hog has bad pro
the eye is a hard early lead, and not easy to pro
the bong has slippery feet
Double dip is a death fall if you don't put a #4 or so in the flake before you go for it.

Easiest leads are on morbid mound in Indian Cove

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By Choss Chasin'
From Torrance, CA
Jan 28, 2013
Black Mountain
No wait, easy, and do able with your gear, I dunno if you will have enough to set anchors though.

Hartman 5.5 super easy. Bring nuts.
Gargoyle 5.6 little offwidth at the top. Bring cams and hexes.
Wooly spider boulder, easy, short, bit boring. Bring nothing!

Trashcan sucks.
Fotehog is fun but tricky for the first "pitch".
The Bong is overrated but good to run up anyways.
The Eye is very easy just don't fall as you will hit something.

Jtree is fine to learn trad at. Just be careful and make sure your anchor setups are bomber because its not just your life on the line, or rope.

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By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Jan 29, 2013
Courtright Reservoir, September 2013
The Chief, 5.5
White Lightning, 5.7
Toe Jam, 5.7
Sail Away, 5.8
Cake Walk, 5.8/9

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 29, 2013
Dave Von Behren wrote:
Fote hog has bad pro the eye is a hard early lead, and not easy to pro the bong has slippery feet Double dip is a death fall if you don't put a #4 or so in the flake before you go for it. Easiest leads are on morbid mound in Indian Cove

For Fote Hog you should be solid at the grade, though the poorly protected part is on big jugs.
The Eye is dead easy, depsite the pro.
The Bong is a 5.3 straight in crack. How can slippery feet be a problem?
The flake on Double Dip, as you mentioned, protects well. Bring gear and you're fine. Just about any trad route is a death route if you don't bring gear.

Having said that, the OP characterized his lead at Indian Cove as "trad". However, it's a bolted climb where you can get additional pro by slinging a horn. If that got your heart racing as you put it, you may want to proceed slowly since, if a 5.5 bolted face climb felt wild, a burly 5.6 where you have to place all your own gear will seem insane. Be honest with your skills and take it from there.

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By jtmann
From O
Jan 29, 2013
I definitely plan to proceed slowly. The main reason I got a good rush on I Love My Marine is because it was my first climb where there was limited protection (only 3 bolts on an 80ft. climb), but the climbing was easy and I felt confident I wouldn't fall. It also gave me the chance to place a couple of pieces and use natural pro on the route. You're right, I would probably shit my pants on an easy trad route if I got into a sticky situation. Even on the Marine climb it was all about mind over matter for me personally. I can see how with more experience, climbing beasy to moderate cracks could really be fun. Thanks again for the info.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 29, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.
I think it is best to learn how to "TRAD", is to start off using only stoppers, hexes and runners, they do work.

I do warn folks about learning at Josh cause you almost never have room to fall. Pull a piece and it usuly means hitting the deck or at best sliding down very rough stone. I have had road rash from a 20 footer that took about 6 mo to heal. Along with the rough stone, if you fly 20 feet and land on your feet on a slab (not good at all) you risk turning or breaking an ankle. It happens all the time.

With all that said, I think the biggest mistake people make is this.

They don't look at the stone with an eye for protection potential.

Just last weekend I watched a young girl about 25 feet up a crack trying despertly to clip a bolt ( a drilled baby angle really)out right, she almost fell off!!

When Jeff and I did the climb next, Jeff dropped a stopper into the crack at his feet, just to cover his move out to clip bolt then he stepped back and removed the stopper.

Climbing is really about using your head, not what sort of gear you own or use.

So yea, go hit the ezy climbs, place lots of pro. Its also OK to place, down climb and hang on your gear close to the ground and try to pull it out.... this will boost your confidence in your placements.

Just take your time, be carefull and safe.

Happy climbing.


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By jtmann
From O
Jan 29, 2013
Guy,
That is some excellent advice. I really like the idea of weighting pieces I've placed close to the ground. Can you answer a question about slings? I really just want to make slings out of 1" tubular webbing tied with water knots. I know this was pretty much standard in the past, but it seems like there are many sling options today. Using nylon webbing makes sense for me from an economical sense. Do many people still make their slings out of 1" tubular? Is it safe?
Thanks for any input you can give on this.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 30, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.
One inch tube works just fine.

Make sure to tie good tight water knots and check them from time to time. Slings with no knots come in very handy when you need to make "quick extenders" or whatever they call them now. But remember some of the new slings have limitations, you cant tie knots- that will hold anyway- and some will get sliced through if you girth hitch to nylon or to each other.

One last thing about tied slings, you carry them over your shoulder. Do not make an X pattern out of them on your chest. A few fatal accidents have happened. - you can get one hung up and snap your neck.

When you get confident add those cams into the mix. Take the time to really know just what the limitations are with any gear.

Have fun, see you around.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 30, 2013
OTL
jtmann wrote:
I really like the idea of weighting pieces I've placed close to the ground.


My belayer had me do this on my first trad lead. It was my second piece, though. Something I read that I've always liked - two pieces between you and the ground (/ledge).


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