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Learning to lead.
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By tk1085
Jun 2, 2012
Flying high at mountain creek <br />

Ok so and a friend have been climbing for about 7/8 months now. And love it. We can onsite most 5.9s, can and have climbed a few 5.10s outdoors. I have just started sport climbing. My question is this. I really want to learn to trad lead. I have read the other posts about follow follow follow. My friends who lead are all in school and rarely get out too much nowadays. and i dont have the money to pay for a guide every weekend. What should i do. As i know just jumping on is kinda sketch with all the newb mistakes i would surely make. Any info welcome tks tony


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By slk
From Reno, NV
Jun 2, 2012
me

tk1085 wrote:
Ok so and a friend have been climbing for about 7/8 months now. And love it. We can onsite most 5.9s, can and have climbed a few 5.10s outdoors. I have just started sport climbing. My question is this. I really want to learn to trad lead. I have read the other posts about follow follow follow. My friends who lead are all in school and rarely get out too much nowadays. and i dont have the money to pay for a guide every weekend. What should i do. As i know just jumping on is kinda sketch with all the newb mistakes i would surely make. Any info welcome tks tony


I learned placements from John Long and other bound resources and practicing on the ground, but I never really trusted my gear until I followed for awhile and realized I WAS doing it right...

edit: find new friends, that's what I did...


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By flynn
Jun 2, 2012

Definitely find folks you can follow and pepper with questions. Either nag your scholastically-diligent buddies - it is summer, after all - or find some more friends who do have time to climb with and teach you.

Even one lesson with a good guide, half day at minimum, would pay huge dividends for you. If Bob Culp's guide service is still in business, I'd recommend them highly.

As 'slk' said, reading about it and practicing on the ground is great; finding out you're doing it right is even better; but ultimately, it's just like learning to play a musical instrument. The only way to learn it is to do it.

Have fun!


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Jun 2, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

If you don't smell bad, aren't annoying, are willing to buy beer, carry the rope and half the rack, I'm sure there are plenty of experienced leaders that wouldn't mind you following. Get out there, make more climbing friends, stay humble, and learn everything you can. When you do start, get on something you know you can do with ease and focus on your placements, efficiency and ropework. Wherever you're at, go to the crag as often as you can and don't be shy about asking questions. People will most likely be willing to help you learn and let you jump in with them. I also will second the advice of getting guided at least once. Have fun and be safe.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 2, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

I say go for the full package. Meet that hot trad chick and have her show you the ropes.


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By Buff Johnson
Jun 2, 2012
smiley face

once I got to 15/16 month, I was in the fire-line full time. Get mentored, or get hurt bad!

Place some crap on the deck, try some mock leads, try some aid. and wear lycra


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Jun 3, 2012
Stabby

Buff Johnson wrote:
once I got to 15/16 month, I was in the fire-line full time. Get mentored, or get hurt bad! Place some crap on the deck, try some mock leads, try some aid. and wear lycra

Now that's the Buff we all know and love. Beat me to the seven-eights of a month blast.


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By Justin Brunson
From Broomfield CO
Jun 3, 2012

Where are you? If you're near Boulder, you can follow me some time.


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 3, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

Just go place gear, no need to waste money on a guide.


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Jun 3, 2012
Mt. Agassiz

Mark Mueller wrote:
Just go place gear, no need to waste money on a guide.


This is coming from someone who posted he was "getting into trad" back in December... A guide or mentor can expedite the learning process, help fill gaps created by learning on your own, and provide insight about small things you may never consider by simply teaching yourself. Not saying it's the only way.

Just sayin'


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 3, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

Yes and I've climbed with many many experienced climbers who have evaluated my skills and therefore I consider myself a competent leader. Sorry you blew money and took longer to learn what only took me 6 months, we can't all be honor roll can we? I've also only been climbing for a little over a year! Oh no! I must have no clue what i'm talking about.


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By slk
From Reno, NV
Jun 3, 2012
me

Just go place gear, no need to waste money on a guide.


This is coming from someone who posted he was "getting into trad" back in December... A guide or mentor can expedite the learning process, help fill gaps created by learning on your own, and provide insight about small things you may never consider by simply teaching yourself. Not saying it's the only way.

Just sayin'

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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
27 mins ago

Yes and I've climbed with many many experienced climbers who have evaluated my skills and therefore I consider myself a competent leader. Sorry you blew money and took longer to learn what only took me 6 months, we can't all be honor roll can we? I've also only been climbing for a little over a year! Oh no! I must have no clue what i'm talking about.


hahah, slap fight... take it out to the playground babies...


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By ChillFancy
From Chattanooga, TN
Jun 3, 2012
Chilling on a hammock anchored with nuts made from tied rope.

Talk to as many experienced trad climbers as possible. Find the older trad climbers and ask them about their experinces. I've quickly learned that knowledge is power in trad climbing. Look at other people's placements and critique them. I've followed more experinced trad climbers and found cams placements that were complete rubbish.


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By GTS
Jun 3, 2012

Mark Mueller wrote:
Yes and I've climbed with many many experienced climbers who have evaluated my skills and therefore I consider myself a competent leader. Sorry you blew money and took longer to learn what only took me 6 months, we can't all be honor roll can we? I've also only been climbing for a little over a year! Oh no! I must have no clue what i'm talking about.

Hopefully five years from now you'll look back on this quote and have a good laugh.


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 3, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

Perhaps


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By tk1085
Jun 4, 2012
Flying high at mountain creek <br />

Tks for the info guys, i will def look into taking at least one day out, with a guide. The commute to the crag in boulder would be a killer, as i live about 20 mins from the gunks. But i do thank you for the offer! You all mentioned reading, this albeit a given, is i believe, very sound advice. And i have been reading everything i can get my hands on. And the final piece of advice. Stop being so anti-social. Haha! i will certainly work on that.


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By AK123
From Chapel Hill, NC
Nov 3, 2012
PMRP in October, RRG

Mark Mueller wrote:
Yes and I've climbed with many many experienced climbers who have evaluated my skills and therefore I consider myself a competent leader. Sorry you blew money and took longer to learn what only took me 6 months, we can't all be honor roll can we? I've also only been climbing for a little over a year! Oh no! I must have no clue what i'm talking about.


Oh Mark! This gave me many MANY laughs! Hey guys, can't we all just be honor roll? Teach us your ways, Master


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By David Houston
From Boulder, Colorado
Nov 3, 2012
J-Tree

Buff mentioned "mock leads" and I use those with new leaders: If you can find a good one pitch crack that you can get a top rope on, tie into two ropes, one through the TR anchor and the other will be your faux lead rope. Have your partner belay on the TR as you climb the route while placing gear and clipping your second rope. Try hanging on your gear and the occasional bounce test to get a sense of what will hold. While it is possible to do this one with one rope by tying into both ends I don't recommend it,it can turn into a bit of a tangle that way.


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By Medic741
From Pittsford, New York
Nov 3, 2012
When I was a bum at Frey

Looks like you're out in ny area? Pm me if you want to learn some trad goodness


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By AnthonyM
Nov 3, 2012
Maroon Bells-Bell Cord Couloir

Mark Mueller wrote:
Yes and I've climbed with many many experienced climbers who have evaluated my skills and therefore I consider myself a competent leader. Sorry you blew money and took longer to learn what only took me 6 months


I am very hesitant to say someone is "competent" leader on trad after six MONTHS. There is NO substitute for experience... The fact is, is that as a "6-month-trad-leader" you are still coming into situations that will take you by surprise. Am I saying that you are not a good climber? NO. I am saying that it takes years of trad climbing to become familiar with a variety of situations, techniques, and problem-solving tools that will enable you to climb as a "Competent-Trad-Leader."

If you are saying you can handle anything and have experience on more than the stone in your area, as well as have climbed in a wide range of conditions (does the 6months include winter climbing? summer climbing? spring and fall?), insert new variable here, etc. Than maybe you are a Stone Master.


OP: Many local colleges have experts teaching climbing classes, as well as clubs (i.e. Colorado Mountain Club,) that can teach you the basics. I took an "Advanced Anchor and Traditional Gear Placement" Class that was offered at the University I went to... It was taught by a guy who had been climbing since the 70's and he taught us a lot of cool stuff for a fraction of the price of a guide.

My personal advice, buy a few pieces of gear (couple cams, set of nuts, etc.) and start placing while you are sport climbing... get familiar with how each piece works and what types of placements are solid, which ones pop, etc. Then take a class/guide-this way you won't wonder what the heck they are talking about and waste time playing with cams or wondering basics... Then climb like crazy with everything you learned with someone more experienced. This is an easy way to get started and become familiar with trad climbing. Above all, have fun and challenge yourself.

Cheers!


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Nov 3, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

1.) Start buying trad gear. Little at a time. Maybe start with a set of stoppers. Take it up with you on every climb, TR, sport, hell, even bouldering, and place gear where ever you can. Even on the ground. Learn how stances, placing and eye-balling sizes works.

2.) keep trying to meet people who are willing to go out with you who have gear. Maybe they'll let you lead a pitch on their gear. They'll let you know if something you placed is sketch-balls and that will make you feel better about what you're doing wrong and what you're doing right.

3.) buy freedom of the hills. read it front to back.

4.) have fun! trad is rad


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By Dylan Dwyer
From Missouri
Nov 4, 2012
after OS soloing the first flat iron, direct route

as someone else said, placing gear while sport climbing is good but i'm surprised no one has said toprope a climb and place gear on the way up (or is this what was referred to as a mock lead). This gets you in the mindset of placing gear/looking for placements while also learning the style, but without all the fear associated with putting in your own protection. also, just climb wicked easy stuff like 5.6 and 5.7. there will be lots of options and good stances as well. but still, you will at some point need to find someone who can critique yoru placements. oh and have fun!


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 6, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

Ive started teaching myself trad this year...though I have also followed many more experienced climbers for some time, and had a wealth of experience from ice/mountaineering. I did not want to waste money on a guide.

If you dont want to spend the money on hiring a guide:

1) climb very well below your level (I started with 5.3/5.4s and have been working myself to 5.8s now (still well below my climbing abilities)

2) Dont be afraid to ask questions from anyone more experienced. Have them critique your palcements, your anchor. Ask them about your rack etc etc. Any questions you may have and them some.

3) See if you can get someone with experienced to second for you then they can give you exact pointers on everything you did on lead

4) Really have your anchor building systems locked down before attempting anything.

5) Dont be afriad to bail on a climb. Stick to single pitch for awhile. If you dont feel comfortable downclimb or get lowered off a peice then collect it from the top.

6) Read, ask, learn. knowledge is power.


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By John Husky
Nov 12, 2012

Me and my friends learned self taught from the books and mags, pre internet. If you are dumb and too bold/rad you are more likely to get hurt. Use common sense and try to figure out what the gear does. Take a lesson from a professional. Be wary of free advice, from anonamous sources.

Learn how to make a safe anchor. Do some (clean) aid climbs on top rope. You will learn what good gear looks like from experience.

Take your time. Be redundant. Double check it, back it up.

Learn and practice self rescue.


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