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Guidebook: Leading on Gear
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By B.S. Luther
From Walnut, CA
Mar 1, 2012
What book do you think gives the best and/or most in-depth account of the trad leading process?

I have Freedom of the Hills and John Long's anchor books. Both great books that offer a lot of invaluable information. I want to pick up something that deals a bit more specifically with leading on gear. FOTH has a good section on it and Climbing Anchors is obviously very applicable, but I'm sure there are some books out there that either deal exclusively with trad leading or have sections that do, and I was hoping some people might have some recommendations.

I was planning on buying How To Climb! by John Long and then saw some praise for Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills by Craig Luebben. Both books have sections on trad and leading, anyone favor one or the other when it comes to that type of instruction?

P.S. I read Extreme Alpinism by Mark Twight too. Great book, with lots of good info, which I'd recommend to anyone looking to get some booksmarts, but a bit above and beyond the basic rock type of thing I'm looking for.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Mar 1, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
Beyond FOTH and anchor books by Luebben and Long, there's not a whole lot else out there, other than non-fiction accounts of leading on gear. What exactly is it that you're looking for as far as written instruction beyond what those books have to offer?

If you're new and scared, you'll take too much gear, and place too much- half of which will be shitty placements. You'll be gripped on a 5.4. (this is an assumption, not based on you specifically, it's just common among new gear leaders, I'm no exception).

My point is, those books are great for little tips and tricks like finding a flare behind a constriction to turn your nut 90 degrees and get a better fit, or turning a bad placement into a good one with an opposing piece (nut) etc. They also go over in pretty good detail the cordelette, equalette, sliding X, anchoring with the rope, and so on.

Other than that, you have to just get out there and do it on your own. Take your rack out to a crag one day and practice placing stuff on the ground. Try to memorize what color fits what size crack and so forth and so on. Maybe do a few of those exercises found in those books and grade yourself. A few leads well under your limit and you'll work the kinks out and figure out the intricacies that can't be explained in books because they're different for all of us. My $.02

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By Kilroywashere!
From Harrisonburg, Virginia
Mar 1, 2012
Kilroy
john longs newest how to rock climb is actually a great one to check out, he updated all the pics to modern gear and equipment, as well as still having a lot of great information.

if you really wanna learn a lot though, pick them both up, they each have different things in them that you should learn.

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By Peter Pitocchi
Mar 1, 2012
Pete belays 2nd pitch Little corner
Heidi Pesterfield "Traditional Lead Climbing" is pretty straightforward and concise.

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By B.S. Luther
From Walnut, CA
Mar 1, 2012
Thanks Muttonface. I am indeed new and scared, usually take too much gear, and while haven't been gripped on 5.4, definitely have been on 5.7... I think what I'm looking for isn't technical instruction so much as an overview of the process and mentality. For example, choosing when to place gear (before cruxes vs. at good stances). My hope was that someone (maybe Long or Luebben) goes through the technical stuff with a holistic view on top of it. Maybe what I really need to do is just go back and re-read FOTH and Long's anchor book now that I have some experience. Basically, after getting out on a handful of 5.7 and 5.8s, I got a desire to go back to the book and apply my experience to someone's instruction, or vica versa. But maybe it'd be best just to re-read what I've read.

Thanks for your help!

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By Wyatt H
From Casper, Wy
Mar 1, 2012
Not everything can be learned from a book. You obviously know the basics, so from here on out you learn the little details by following tons and tons of trad routes. You can also practice placing gear from the ground, and doing some toprope aid soloing.
Leubben's anchor book has a bunch of exercises to practice for different types of gear.

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By steverett
From West Hartford, CT
Mar 1, 2012
Peter Pitocchi wrote:
Heidi Pesterfield "Traditional Lead Climbing" is pretty straightforward and concise.


I was going to suggest this as well. It doesn't have much on gear placement and anchor building, since those are well covered in both Long's and Luebbens' books. Instead it focuses on other aspects, like other equipment, rope management, etc.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Mar 1, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
B.S. Luther wrote:
Thanks Muttonface. I am indeed new and scared, usually take too much gear, and while haven't been gripped on 5.4, definitely have been on 5.7... I think what I'm looking for isn't technical instruction so much as an overview of the process and mentality.


If it's the mental game you're looking to master, try Arno Ilgner's books, The Rock Warrior's Way and Espresso Lessons. IMHO there's no better analysis of fear and management of it. And you're welcome. BTW, I recently almost shit myself on a .7 screaming at my belayer to stop short-roping me, like a spoiled child. So don't be too hard on yourself. Shit happens.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Mar 1, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Dont overlook classic information from RR in Basic and Advanced RockCraft editions. They may be old, but cover some basic nut use that many in the 'all cams' era seem to overlook for its simplicity.

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By nathan mowery
Mar 1, 2012
Me and Pierce
Check out How to Climb 5.12 by Eric Horst. It's not a trad book but does great for the mental game at any level as well as some training guides.

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By wankel7
From Indiana
Mar 2, 2012
steverett wrote:
I was going to suggest this as well. It doesn't have much on gear placement and anchor building, since those are well covered in both Long's and Luebbens' books. Instead it focuses on other aspects, like other equipment, rope management, etc.


Heidi's book is a great read as is Arno's The Rock Warriors Way.

My girlfriend and I took Arnos three day trad mental camp and it was worth every penny!

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