Alright, I like some of the posts that are on here, but let's try to get back to some more lessons that you guys have learned by failing. This could include: tricks for pulling ropes in nasty cracks, tips on hauling, getting ropes unstuck, savvy anchor methods, or anything else that you guys were forced to learn from experience.
tricks for pulling ropes in nasty cracks...be careful, do shorter raps....Extra tip...wear a helmet if pulling through cracks or chimneys with loose rock. Sucks no matter what. And your rope gets dirty....and no one likes that. Now that I think about it...Stick to granite domes.
tips on hauling...ask Mark Hudon or PTPPete.
getting ropes unstuck...shorter raps can help. Once stuck, the ol' slingshot method is about as good as it gets IME. Keep a knife in your pocket or be ready to finagle a way to the stuck spot with your dynamic tag line or second half rope.
savvy anchor methods...bunny ears or some clove hitches, anchor with the rope then possible, simpler is better. A cordolette is the next step. ACR, quad, etc. seem cumbersome at best.
anything else that you guys were forced to learn from experience...
1. when it's time to get down, as in the case of severe precipitation and lightning, leave the whole rack if you have to. 2. regarding the 'working through the grades' conversation above...it is true that you will progress slower as a dedicated "trad" climber....but it has it's own rewards. 3. There will come a point, for us all, that if you want to progress beyond, some physical training will be necessary....no matter how lazy you are. 4. Try to avoid specialization...getting dialed in one aspect of your preferred style is good, but a wider array of experiences will have you more knowledgeable for a variety of challenges. I.E. if you excel at face or slab but don't climb much steep cracks or roofs, there might come a time where unfamiliarity with these techniques might impede your fun and/or progress. 5. Light is Right.
I would argue that someone who has mastered 5.13+ level footwork can easily adapt these skills to offwidths and finger cracks, which are mostly a matter of footwork. True, few people will attain those grades, so say your goal is to be solid on 5.10 trad...you'll get there a lot faster by first climbing 5.12 sport, IMO. I could be wrong.
Hey, theoretically you could do Equinox your first week trad climbing "I think..."
Don't do a party of three on popular multi-pitch trad routes, unless your system is efficient, concise, and all three are at similar abilities (learned from having to wait for other parties in Eldo)
Also, and probably more importantly, make a concerted effort to make your communication with your partners as efficient as your rope management.
A few years back, I was leading two friends down/up Good Evans. The first friend was my climbing partner, and we understood each other/had a good system down. The third had only climbed with us a minimal amount, though we were all friends. Unbeknown to me, he (the third) was expecting me to lead him in all areas of this day trip, without taking much responsibility for himself. He had known what we were going to do in advance, so I assumed he had researched what the route required in terms of ability/gear. He confessed after we had rapped in and done the first pitch (him aiding it) that he had no crack ability/experience (a surprise to me based on how he had portrayed his climbing experience in the past). He also brought no lunch or food, save one nalgene, quickly gone after an hour. Storms began conglomerating, and he still couldn't make it up the 2nd pitch, w/ myself and my partner stuck at the start of the 3rd, trying to figure out what to do. I could've set up a sketchy 4-1 anchor and hauled his ass up (though this didn't occur to me at the time, and I'm not entirely sure it would've worked). We could've waited an hour to see if he'd be any more "up to it." Feeling the crunch of time w/ the storms we decided to leave him there, finish the route, rap back in to "save" him, rap to the base, and hike out from the bottom of the valley. I'll save you the details, and just say I donated 3 pieces of gear, got home at 7am the next morning, and never climbed with him again. Communication is king.
-sp has some of the best advice ever! Know how to get down before going up, and the rope management tips. On long crack pitches, I'll even look outside the crack to find any gear to help keep the rope out of that crack. I've seen ropes get stuck in wide cracks even when there wasn't much of a bulge,overhang or lip.
Rope management at a belay and on a pitch is also very important to efficiency as someone else pointed out.
Improvisation is also a very important skill to learn. When you start running out of gear or get stuck somewhere you don't want to be sometimes you have to come up with things that aren't typically taught in the traditional mentorship or may be glossed over in the books.
Amen to that. My two-cents... - Rope management: because someday, on some pitch, that cluster-fuck will cost you time you absolutely don't have. - As you climb past a ledge/bulge/roof split by a rope-eating crack, drop a nut in at the top to keep the rope from getting swallowed. - Do NOT drop a rope over a cactus when setting up to rap. Because when your brake hand hits the spines you WILL let go. - Know how to get down before you go up.
to add to this, just this weekend I was scoping out a crag to check out the rock quality. I ended up nearly landing my hanging rappel into a giant cat claw tree (with shorts on). Ouch.
"There are bold climbers, and there are old climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers."
Bull shit. Lots of old bold climbers. That's just another BS catch phrase that weak thrutchers and punters (such as myself) say to cover up the fact that they either lack the skills or are just plain scared or both.
Best advice regarding climbing...
Don't take it so seriously. It's supposed to be fun.
Have to agree that working lots of safe sport routes will teach you good climbing skills and make learning other skills easier. One thing that I see is that sport climbers seem to give up sooner and fall, downclimb or take. I think my ability to hang on for a long time in the most efficient manner comes from all those routes I did where I had to hang on and get sufficient pro to ease my fear.
I also know that some folks are just naturally talented and these folks will learn things faster than others.
Back to the post: If the extra weight is holding you back bring less but the extra weight means you will have good pro when you need it then carry it. Bring only the gear you need.
Love to watch the trad folks at the sport crags, cordelettes, two belay devices,4 lockers daisies, knife. Good for training weight but not that helpful on sport climbs.
When I was 8 in Glacier National Park I watched two kids get head butted off the board walk at the top of going to the sun, from then on I never trusted goats! I don't even turn my back while eating lunch, haha