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easy trad climbs
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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Feb 13, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Placing gear is not rocket science. It is easily learned. Climbing with other people who know what they're doing can greatly speed up the learning process and provide feedback. Following a knowledgeable trad-climber and also having them evaluate your gear is a plus. But it can be done without. Learn to place gear on the ground. Bounce test the hell out of gear at ground level and you'll learn what hold and what won't. Start by climbing things that take lots of gear and are easy enough that there is virtually no way you will fall off (sounds like exactly what the OP is trying to do). Never push your ability to climb and your ability to protect at the same time. Lots of trad climbers like to make it sounds more complicated than it really is.


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By Jon Powell
From LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA
Feb 13, 2013
stone depot

Thanks for all the comments. Safety is number one for me and I would never do anything that was not safe for me or the people climbing with me. Basically my goal is to just practice placing pro. Just a step in learning and feeling more comfortable with trad. All the other parts I will learn well before I get out on my own. Thanks guys stay safe


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Feb 13, 2013

I pored over Freedom of the Hills, and all the other info I could get brain on. Set some anchors on the deck and for TP. Then got a climb I felt comfortable free soloing. Then you don't have to worry about falling and you can practice placing gear.

Or if you want to really be dorky like me :P, I would occasionally have a cam or nut in my backpack during the day and try to find spots that it would fit in. Kinda like how people will practice clipping in front of the TV.

Forget which magazine it was but they did an article about learning trad, and reading about people like Trotter, Caldwell, and Roden getting on nothing hard than a 5.9 trad climb and getting sketched out. Was quite a funny and insightful read.


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By Ian Stewart
Feb 13, 2013

You don't actually have to climb to practice placing gear. Just find some rock anywhere and start plugging away. When I first got my trad gear I went out to a bouldering area and placed a bunch of pro while still on the ground, then used slings to stand/bounce on the pro to see how it behaves. Try pulling the gear in all directions, too, not just down. If you find a good practice spot you can practice a ton of placements in a short time while not having to worry about climbing. You should also definitely pick up a book if you don't already have one. I have Craig Leubben's and really like it, though John Long's probably isn't much different.

Jon Powell wrote:
Like I said in my earlier post I'm no beginner. Strong sport leader on most 5.9 and a few 5.10.


I think many people on this site would still consider breaking into sport 10s to be "beginner"...


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By todd w
Feb 13, 2013

Ian Stewart wrote:
Try pulling the gear in all directions, too, not just down.


+1

see: zipper effect


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By Davis13au
Feb 13, 2013
Only a few moves with an awkward top out.

csproul wrote:
Lots of trad climbers like to make it sounds more complicated than it really is.


I'm no trad elitist (I like just about any type of climbing I can actually get out and go do) but I would suggest trad "can" be more complicated (sometimes) especially when you are just starting out. The actual climbing is not necessarily more complicated but I think what you have to manage as a leader on trad can be more complicated than say sport or top roping. That's just my experience though.

I think that's the gist of most of the comments here to the OP. For me there is absolutely something different (maybe just phsycologically) with being above your last piece of pro on trad versus being above the last bolt (and below the next) on sport. There is a lot to think about and manage when you really get into managing the risk (which is what I feel your doing as a leader).

Anyway, great comments and I highly encourage the OP to continue looking for training and practice opportunities. Trad is a wonderful way to ascend a rock and it adds another level of adventure for me (especially multi-pitch). I'm sure tons of excellent trad climbers were self taught through practice and reading. Finding a mentor or taking a class is a great way to learn too. The road I went was to climb with some strong leaders, I took a class to get into a lot of the real technical stuff (and self rescue) and then started leading (and practicing) on my own.

I mentioned Seneca before because it has some great routes with big ledges that makes placing pro easier and you can pull and test it without getting pumped. Yonah is ok for something local in GA. I've been teaching someone to lead there lately on some of the Balance Climbs. The placements aren't that great (mostly nuts) but it will do. Lizards Tail down on White Wall (at Yonah) has worked before too but it's short, the crack flares, and you need to be on Top Rope so you don't deck.


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By Jon Powell
From LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA
Feb 13, 2013
stone depot

Ian Stewart wrote:
I think many people on this site would still consider breaking into sport 10s to be "beginner"...


I agree Ian just did not want people to think I went to the local climbing gym one weekend and decided to jump right into trad climbing. And trust me this is not the only way I'm learning. I have a few mentors that are helping me learn as well. You get some good advice and you get some bad advice on here. But like my dad always said they guy who never ask questions and acts like he knows everything is always the dumbest guy in town


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By johnthethird
Feb 17, 2013

Jon Powell wrote:
Any suggestions on some easy trad climbs (5.6 to 5.8) that could be top roped? What I am wanting to do is set up a top rope and be able to practice placing pro.


Dont forget about ground school. Just cruise the base of any cliff placing gear and bounce testing it. You might learn more this way than you would on a toprope. You can also practice buiding gear anchors, from the ground.


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