Easy trad is dangerous

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Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:08 pm
Real Name: Bruce Tomalin
Location: Durban

Easy trad is dangerous

Post by BruceT » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:57 pm

SNORT proposes (in Sport climbing is not Dead and some other threads) that easy (< grade 20) trad climbing is dangerous. Several agree, Marshall and some others disagree.

I agree for the following logical reasons (not statistics): (I am summarising, hopefully accurately, SNORTS and others arguments).
1. Angle of rock. Take a 23m climb with say 6 possible protection points. If the angle is off vertical (e.g. Adam at Monteseel, grade10) and you fall a few ms above last pro, you will get hurt. If you take the exact same climb and rotate the rock to over vertical (increasing Adam to say grade 22), with the SAME protection points and you fall a few ms above your last protection point, you will NOT get hurt because you fall into space. Therefore, one needs to protect an easy angled climb MUCH more frequently than a steep climb to make it as safe as the steeper climb. This may or may not be possible.
2. Awareness. No 1 is obvious when stated, but not intuitive. Beginners want to climb, not place pro, therefore they probably wont have the patience to place enough pro. Even experienced climbers may not be aware of the extra risk and so might not bother spending so much time placing extra pro on an easy climb because they feel at ease.
3. Social factors: You know you should, but don’t. Experienced climbers may think they can’t fall on the grade, therefore won’t make the effort to place extra pro. Less experienced climbers might be aware of the problem but be too embarrassed to sew up a grade 13 or not have the ability to find the fiddly placements required (e.g. No Hands grade 13 at Monteseel).

1. SNORT says suck it up and climb 20+. Fair enough, but beginners have to start somewhere, do we have to warm up on 20’s too?
2. Be aware of the problem and take the time to place enough pro on easy routes. See placing pro as a craft integral to trad climbing, do it properly. (Most people could solo No Hands in 2 minutes, placing sufficient gear to be safe takes about ½ hour of concentration).
3. If there is little pro on an easy route, SAY so in the route guide (GBM proposes the British system).

What say you?

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Posts: 396
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:21 am
Real Name: Henk Grobler

Re: Easy trad is dangerous

Post by henkg » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:29 pm

It sound logical.

Yet, if you allow a lack of concentration of pride (awareness and social factors) to affect your trad climbing, you deserve what's coming your way. I find myself 100% more aware and thinking when I trad. It took a near miss to realize the importance of zipping up easy routes.

I will not likely climb 20+ trad in my lifetime. However, I am certainly not going to be scared away from easy trad routes. There is too much to enjoy in terms of adventure, remoteness and in the mental chalenge of route finding, thinking about gear and the miriad other factors which one has to think of when trad climbing.

I'd recommend "Surviving The Learning Years" by Heidi Pesterfield.

And I bloody well hope they'd warn me in the guide book if the route is poorly protected!
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

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Real Name: Willem Boshoff
Location: Cape Town

Re: Easy trad is dangerous

Post by mokganjetsi » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:45 pm

BruceT wrote:Beginners want to climb, not place pro, therefore they probably wont have the patience to place enough pro.
depends on the climber - starting on trad left me mortified enough to want to have pro in place every meter of the way. that was while i was seconding......
BruceT wrote:3. If there is little pro on an easy route, SAY so in the route guide (GBM proposes the British system).
right on! make it for all routes. shorti flew 15+m through the air in his onsight attempt of solitaire (grade 19 @ tafelberg) after managing to place only 2 dodgy cams and popping his rest-piece in 8m of climbing. hitting his belayer on the way down and smashing both arms on a ledge (fracturing at least one) was the end result. thank God for that nut that held! guess it would have been avoided if the RD said that there is little gear on the route.

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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:59 pm

Re: Easy trad is dangerous

Post by pierre.joubert » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:32 pm

Yeah, easy trad will frikken kill you. This whole trad revival is going to make the S&R guys have to run that Oryx like a teksi. Keep to Bronkies :thumright

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Real Name: Derek Marshall
Location: Port Elizabeth

Re: Easy trad is dangerous

Post by Marshall1 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:04 am

Too much fuss is made about trad.

Easy trad should be taken seriously.

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Real Name: Grant Marinus
Location: Cape Town

Re: Easy trad is dangerous

Post by GBM » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:15 am

Marshall1, before it starts another heated debate ... All climbing should be taken seriously.

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