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trad leading

Posted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:45 am
by valconcorner
I need various ideas on how to protect someone who wants to start trad leading
Warnings and bad ideas will be appreciated

Re: trad leading

Posted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:01 am
by deSouzaFrank
Two ropes on a sports route. One rope clipping to the bolts and the other on trad. Can take wipers and not stress too much.

This is how I got to learn what kak placements look like and what bomber ones look like. Oh, and don't forget a nut picking tool.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:00 am
by Nic Le Maitre
The usual method is to find someone else who trads, and climb with them until you have learnt how to place gear, then start leading. Alternatively do a course with a registered guide.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:21 am
by tygereye
Make him lead a route well within his ability and clean it himself on the way down, so he can see what happens to the gear after he placed it and moved past it.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:24 am
by Damage
Hi
on the subject of courses/ registered guides for trad
Is there a list ?
how do you get info
tx
/d

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:42 am
by Nic Le Maitre
Depends where you are.

In the Cape, I'd recommend Ross Suter. Highadventure

In KZN, I'd recommend Gavin Raubenheimer: peakhigh.co.za

In Gauteng, I'm sure someone will know, otherwise contact your local branch of the MCSA.

Or you know, Google it...

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:48 am
by ant
There are lists held by THETA, but they get out of date quite quickly.

In the Cape, start with Venture Forth, Ross Suter, myself, Tristan Firman and Justin Lawson
In JHB start with Rob Thomas, or Gustav Janse Van Rensberg
In KZN, start with Gavin Raubenbeimer, or Colin McCoy.

There are a good collection of others - but there is a good place to start.
Please ensure they show you their
- badge (SA flag with a name and reg number)
- Guide card, which shows which activities they are qualified for, and the date their first-aid registration expires.

Ant

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:05 pm
by SNORT
There were no commercial guides when most traditional climbers learned to climb until fairly recently. That includes most if not all the climbers mentioned in Ant'so list. Climbing clubs aND buddies are the best way. Traditional climbing is a very human experience and the enjoyment is directly related to climbing with mates.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:06 pm
by Nic Le Maitre
Couldn't agree more Snort, but he did ask for guides/courses

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:25 pm
by jacosmuts
Roc Rope at Boven used to also hold courses. Friends of mine who attended where very impressed.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:05 pm
by Old Smelly
Agree with the above.

If you have a friend who does trad they could take you to a climb that has top anchors and can be tradded - some sport climbs like this exist. You then set up the top anchor and they belay you on this while you place gear for another rope. You can then lower off and they can go inspect your gear on top rope and give their opinion about your placements.

Frankly this is good practice for anyone who does trad.

Very interesting article below:
http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-acci ... ular-route
Take away points for me;

[*]Experienced climbers are as likely to get injured as inexperienced
[*]running it out is a leading cause of injury (boy do I know a lot of people who like to run it out (EGO?)
[*]Zipper effect - most people's pro is so crap that it all zippers out when it ultimately takes a fall. Now I am not saying everyone's pro is crap - just that most of those climbers probably thought their pro was "good enough" - and most of them must have been experienced!

I think you should try and be best at what you can control (other issues in the article were things like weather and rock quality) - so in my books that means placing as often as one can put in good placements - you never know what is coming...and one should practice placing instead of just shoving gear in (as some are comfortable to do). Now before this degrades into a minimalism vs "the school of best practice" discussion let me say that - as in most things climbing - learn to do things well and then you can decide if that 20m run out is really such a great idea...

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:15 pm
by SNORT
There are several caveats about trad climbing I can state with certainty.

1. There are very few if any climbers that will climb more than 10 metres above a piece of pro knowing they are going to fall off. In fact there are very few people that I know that will climb even 3m above their pro KNOWING they are likely to fall off.
2. On balance easy climbing is much more dangerous than steep climbing of, say grade 20 or harder. There are several reasons for this.

Steep exposed climbing is "scary" and results in more care in placing pro.
When climbing harder stuff it is usually (not always) steeper and less likely to cause contact with the rock when falling.
Easy routes that are not steep are difficult if not impossible to adequately protect because falling at all will result in contact with the rock and
even a metre or two fall can result in injury.
Easy routes that are not steep are more likely to accumulate rocks and debris that can be dislodged and fall on a person below.
Easier routes are more popular and more traffic means more problems
Easier routes attract inexperienced people with greater risk of accidents

If you going to climb trad then get yourself competent to climb grade 20 or harder ASAP....

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:59 pm
by Johanm
This is my experience over the last few years;

I'll climb with the MCSA or do a course as suggested above.

I own the mother of all racks because I started out by myself. Did a climb, shat myself,
bought more gear and repeat. I did the sensible thing and after a while started climbing with experienced
leaders. For me there's no substitute. I climb now with half the rack in my garage.

The more inexperience, the more gear you'll need. You'll want to protect everything you see.
End up with huge run outs and\or crap gear for the belay.

Trad routes wonder. A lot of the time it's not straight up like sport.
Anybody can plug gear in a straight line up.

There's really a lot to learn.

You'll need to know how to build decent belay anchors.
Know how to protect traverses.
Worry about direction of fall.
How to reduce drag in the system (Double ropes).
Know the basics of self rescue.
Know how to prussic up a rope.
When to extend gear and how to do it.
What's shit rock. What isn't.
How to be efficient.
How not to loose gear (Stuck cams)
How to deal with exposure.
How to deal with run outs. It will happen.
How to abseil and pass knots when abseiling.

There's a lot other climbers can teach you.
All this comes with practice.

And then there's the guide.

You're gonna look for a two stem tree for 2 hours. Get to the top.
Reread the Topo and see it was written in 1930. That tree's gone
for years. The old guard had balls of steel. A 10 in Trad is not 10 in sport.

You're gonna bullshit yourself that your on the right route only to find out that
a grade 10 in Upper Tonquani does not have a roof in it, and you we're on a 19, 2 months later.
As a friend put it when I showed him the line I climbed, "that one really makes you work".

I think VERY important for me;

For the first few months only climb routes that you've climbed with experienced climbers and know you can
escape from when the shit hits the fan. If not you're gonna get lost and epic with little experience to get out of
trouble.Don't link pitches even if it's very short in the beginning. There's probably a good reason for the short pitch.

The fun starts after that. 1 out of every 2 new route's I get wrong from the guide and it's adventure time.

Placing gear's the least of your problem.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:23 pm
by Rastaman
Top priority is to get a tan.
I've never seen a real trad climber without a decent tan.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:26 pm
by henkg
You will be ruined financially if you hope to reach proficiency by climbing with guides. Only way to do the 10000 h is with friends. So find willing experienced leaders.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:27 pm
by Damage
Thanks nic snort ant and henk
Rastaman im working on the tan but the cpt sun isn't playing ball
on the getting proficient im sure having mates that trad is the best way
but a guide or an instructor can spend hours on the rock with you for instance reviewing anchors where a mate wants to climb :0)
tx
/d

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:35 pm
by PeterHS
There's nothing above I would not agree with (Nic, Ant and others) so I'll add just a few R1 worth.....

It looks like your in Cape Town. I did a 4-day course with Ross Suter as I transitioned from the indoor gym (City Rock) to outdoors. He is very thorough and, importantly, he taught the emergency drills - you don't want to fall over an overhang and be suspended in mid-air out of sight and hearing of your belayer and THEN find you don't know how to ascend a rope ... The course was as follows:

Day 1 - bouldering, setting up stances, safety, abseiling, seconding on sport routes
Day 2 - more advanced safety techniques, sport leading
Day 3 - escaping the belay etc, protection placement, seconding on trad
Day 4 - more trad seconding and trad leading

It was well worth it (there were 5 of us so costs were reasonable). I know many friends who progress from the gym indoors to sport, let alone trad, who have no emergency training.....

Last, trad routes are often REALLY hard to find, even the start! Trad climbing takes much more time than sport climbing. One route a day is a good maxim to start. It really helps to climb with leaders who know the route.

Oh, and trad is much more fun than sport and indoors put together!

Enjoy,

Peter

Re: trad leading

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:46 pm
by Tristan
Not that long ago, if you had a sore back, you'd seek the help of a Maester -a 'peer?'; someone who had been 'practising' for some time, skills handed down etc.
Now-days, chances are, you'll end up at an chiro, physio or other specialists offices sooner than later for a 'consult'. Things have changed, climbing too.

I learned to climb the way Snort suggests - as did Ant, Ross, Colin et al. I agree, it works. It is an option.

The modern world, however, is one where the likes of City Rock (et al) are producing (types of) climbers at a rate faster than the (old) norm. Likewise, by and large, peoples time constraints are different to, even, 10 years ago, As such, mentorship is less and less practical.

Similarly, stuff that took me 5+ years to appreciate/learn is covered in what Ant refers to as instructional courses - (kinda like a belay test at your local gym - (i know a few 'seasoned climbers' who have failed it )

There are a few roads to get to leading trad. For the most part they all end there, but some have advantages over other's. There is no 'best' way -tho i'd argue that paid instruction followed by mentorship is hard to beat. (just on this forum there is a post titled "Paarl Rescue" - there is strong arguments for formal instruction versus mentorship just in that post?

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:27 am
by SNORT
Just a few days ago I was involved with Tony Dick and Butch De Bruyn in a NDE experience when an established belay point (with lots of old tat and a mailon) collapsed and resulted in both Tony and Butch avalanching with a massive coffee table sized block of granite for 100m or so. I was front pointing solo about 15m below them and managed just in time to avoid being crushed by the block or impaled by their crampons by moving left a couple of metres. It is the hard way but the best way to learn. Between us we have almost 200 years and probably close to 100,000 hours of climbing experience. There is no substitute for that at all. And yet I/we are not too old too epic or learn. Funnily enough, as I was approaching the start of the route (Forbes arete on the Chardonnet in Chamonix ) at 5am I was kinda hoping a significant learning "event" would occur but with no serious consequences. And indeed it did.

Every year the BMC has international climbing meets and I intend honing my skills with this one: But this is climbing with a skilled peer, not a paid guide. It costs the princely sum of 100 pounds or around R2000.00 for the week.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/love-winter-cl ... -meet-2016

And there is also this:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-international-meets

And I have invited an American contingent to exchange with us this coming year. Which is also a peer to peer system by which we learn.

And then there are the tradathons, the varsity clubs and the MCSA and even CityROCK that charges nominal fees for basic and even advanced training.

There is nothing wrong paying a professional guide to learn the basics but I find climbing with professional guides problematic as they have far too much redundancy in their systems as they have to do it "by the book". It is a bit like taking a dog for a walk and never allowing it off the leash. The guide is always the "professional" and you are the "amateur" and you are yet
to make the grade

So you end up as "the dog on a leash" unless you climbed as friends in the past before he/she became a guide. The relationship is not equal and the "human" experience is skewed and the fun is taken out of climbing.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:27 am
by SNORT
Just a few days ago I was involved with Tony Dick and Butch De Bruyn in a NDE experience when an established belay point (with lots of old tat and a mailon) collapsed and resulted in both Tony and Butch avalanching with a massive coffee table sized block of granite for 100m or so. I was front pointing solo about 15m below them and managed just in time to avoid being crushed by the block or impaled by their crampons by moving left a couple of metres. It is the hard way but the best way to learn. Between us we have almost 200 years and probably close to 100,000 hours of climbing experience. There is no substitute for that at all. And yet I/we are not too old too epic or learn. Funnily enough, as I was approaching the start of the route (Forbes arete on the Chardonnet in Chamonix ) at 5am I was kinda hoping a significant learning "event" would occur but with no serious consequences. And indeed it did.

Every year the BMC has international climbing meets and I intend honing my skills with this one: But this is climbing with a skilled peer, not a paid guide. It costs the princely sum of 100 pounds or around R2000.00 for the week.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/love-winter-cl ... -meet-2016

And there is also this:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-international-meets

And I have invited an American contingent to exchange with us this coming year. Which is also a peer to peer system by which we learn.

And then there are the tradathons, the varsity clubs and the MCSA and even CityROCK that charges nominal fees for basic and even advanced training.

There is nothing wrong paying a professional guide to learn the basics but I find climbing with professional guides problematic as they have far too much redundancy in their systems as they have to do it "by the book". It is a bit like taking a dog for a walk and never allowing it off the leash. The guide is always the "professional" and you are the "amateur" and you are yet
to make the grade

So you end up as "the dog on a leash" unless you climbed as friends in the past before he/she became a guide. The relationship is not equal and the "human" experience is skewed and the fun is taken out of climbing.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:56 am
by ant
To clear up some confusion:

If one choses the route of taking instruction with a guide, the course/guide will take you through a syllabus.
It does not make you 'competant', but it gives you, comprehensively, the skills to be able to go out on your own and practice, with the confidence that you are not making stuff up, and knowing that you at least know whether you are being safe or not.

So, when you tag along with your mate Snort, Bob, or whatsisface, you have an idea to what degree their techniques are leaving your safety to chance, and can make an educated decision.

Ant

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:04 pm
by Bonehead
For years I wanted to do rock climbing but had no idea where to start. Finally I googled Peakhigh and did two courses with Gavin Raubenheimer. This gave me the basic skills and confidence to join the mountain club where I found my passion. I have learned a lot since then by going to mountain club meets and climbing and making great friend, but point is, if I never did the courses, I might still be wondering where to start.

My advice, do a course!!

Bennie

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:59 pm
by PeterHS
Of course, on never stops learning, however experienced .... Peter

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:20 pm
by Viking
SNORT wrote:Just a few days ago I was involved with Tony Dick and Butch De Bruyn in a NDE experience .
Is that the Tony Dick from Tony Dick and Roger Fuggle fame in Drakensberg climbing? Those guys are at the top of my list of 'berg heros!

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:15 pm
by Gadget
Good general advice here. My suggested approach is to take an apprenticeship with an experienced trad leader and to start switching leads on the easier pitches when you are "ready" (works very well on varied routes where the mentor leads a grade or three above you). But do take care: sometimes the experienced guys take shortcuts on stances, still place dodgy gear, lead things out when it may not be such a good idea, have developed some bad habits or make things "more efficient" - copying them blindly may get inexperienced leaders into trouble. Rather learn from someone that do things (mostly) by the book and helps you develop good and safe practices (or at least acknowledges when and why they take a shortcut) and offers you comments / critique of what you did. In my opinion only once you know the rules and have acquired some good judgment you may start thinking about "breaking" them for the sake of efficiency and that is where a formalised, systematic step though a syllabus is very sound advice (vs. the approach of just lets go and climb and see what happens).

I cannot agree more with SNORT on experience - there is very little that can replace it in order to help keep you from epics (or heaven forbid NDEs). It makes sense to get as much and as varied trad experience ASAP when starting out. For me this meant setting a range of leading grades and doing as many routes (short, long, traverses, cracks, faces, chimneys, abbing down them) within that range on as many types of rock and locations as possible (and not just aiming to be able to lead 20).
SNORT wrote:If you going to climb trad then get yourself competent to climb grade 20 or harder ASAP....
Whilst I agree with SNORT's general guideline that the safest thing is to learn to climb 20 and above and avoid the on-angle terrain, here is the pinch of salt I, as a cheese-and-wine social climbers do not and may probably will never climb that grade on trad, take with his advice:
  • There is a big difference between being able to lead 20+ trad and climbing ONLY 20+ when tradding. The guys down south are blessed with stunning routes and beautiful rock but even in the Cape you will struggle to find a climber (at least one that I share cheese and wine with) that does not regularly climbs a trad route or pitch below 20 or have access to arms full of routes that clinically stays at 20 or above without a ledge to fall on or every so often includes a pitch below that grade. There are just too many classics, both trade routes and those that have a bit more adventure on offer (e.g. Exposure, Mponjwane, Spitskop, Mt. Kenya and many more), that will lure you to the "dark side". But the grade 20+ ability will definitely some times get you out of jail free when going off-route on a grade 15
  • There is no doubt that a hold coming loose or making a mistake on a low angle terrain is bad news and will injure the grade 20+ climber the same as a social climber. However, I might be wrong and the statisticians can help me here but the Search and Rescue guys are not scraping low grade tradders off cliff faces by the pitchfork loads compared to climbers that are leading 20+ on trad - in fact there are many competent trad leaders that have come to grief because as SNORT would I'm sure acknowledge (please comment), his advice is general in nature. Out on the real rock the "mechanism of injury" that lead to trad incidents are more complex and proficient climbers still get caught on the "dark side"
  • Whilst the level of risk appetite differs between climbers it is my experience that low grade tradders have a healthy respect for the risk profile of trad climbing relative to their abilities and take several additional precautions to mitigate some (not all) of the risk: they climb well below their "sport" grade, will happily back off a route, are very cautious to try routes that are not well protected before and when pushing a grade they have often climbed the route with a more experienced climber before and is. It is very limiting to climb only where you are prepared to fall and it is not to say that we'll not find ourselves on the dark side of Snort's good advice - calculated risks are part of mountaineering
Bottom line: many still accept the risk when knowing they might fall in less than overhanging terrain and have found life is possible below 20. There are many, many tradders that are well aware and do agree with Snort's general advice and yet still find some of the answers to "life the universe and everything" on easier angled terrain and heaven forbid have even taken a couple of falls on easy angled terrain and lived to tell. If you can't do 20s on trad it does not mean trad is out of your league, I argue that your "career" and fun out in the hills as a more rounded mountaineer will be very limited if you stay away from trad leading just because you cannot or will not develop your ability to lead 20+ on trad. To me the risk is worth taking but that is something every climber need to evaluate on his own as the effect of gravity remains in effect regardless of whether you take heed of Snort’s advice - the investment in learning and experience will be very good.

As to advice on developing your skills: John Long's book: "Climbing anchors" is excellent and I cannot recommend it highly enough (in fact any book by John Long or an alpine / mountaineering book illustrated by Mike Clelland comes highly recommended if you can get hold of it). There are a plethora of short YouTube "lessons" both good and bad out there and if you spend a bit of time on the 'tube will learn many of the basement level skills for free (but of coarse there is good and bad out there). The finer points about rope management, efficient climbing, selecting your rack etc. generally is not learnt behind a screen and requires time on the sharp end of the rope but if time is limited get the most by learning the Trad101 lessons at home and start working on the Trad102 lessons in the field.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:08 pm
by SNORT
Yes it is the Tony Dick. Still climbing big alpine routes at age 69...

Re: trad leading

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:15 am
by Old Smelly
I couldn't agree more with Gadget! I know it may mar your reputation but you have my vote as President!

Trad is about the experience as much as it is about the grade.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:50 pm
by Nic Le Maitre
So from the rescue database (http://alewis.its.uct.ac.za/sama)
Capture.JPG
Capture.JPG (26.37 KiB) Viewed 5000 times
Stats from 1994 (first sport climbing incident) until now, for the relevant activities, where some kind of fall happened resulting in a call to rescue.

There are very different totals involved here, 428 were walking, 118 scrambling and 31 rock climbing (everything except sport) with 18 sport climbing. Assuming that the climbing stats are not skewed by the low numbers and are actually representative it is clear that there is little difference between the consequences of a fall when climbing or walking. Falling while scrambling has much more severe consequences with significantly more deaths. So the message here is ropes save lives and that people are probably acting more safely due to the perceived risks inherent in climbing.

The lack of difference between sport climbing and rock climbing is interesting, especially since a reasonable assumption is that the climbing skill distribution amongst sport climbers and rock climbers is the same, i.e. the majority of people climbing under 20. So the assumption that trad is more dangerous than sport is possibly not true, but that may be due to trad climbers climbing more within their comfort zone while sport climbers tend to try stuff that's maybe too hard for them.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:06 pm
by SNORT
Nic your graph cannot show what is safer or not because it does not account for the number of people participating in each.

It is like comparing sharks to snakes to toaster deaths. Millions of people are exposed to toasters, millions have snakes withing 100m but only a few thousand have sharks near them. Sharks are highly dangerous on a per capita to exposure basis.

Millions walk thousands sport climb and ??? trad climb.

Re: trad leading

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:56 pm
by mokganjetsi
SNORT wrote:Nic your graph cannot show what is safer
it does show that, provided an accident happens, the death risk is similar i.e. severity seems to be similar. it does not however show the probability of an event occurring in the first place, as per your remark.

but assuming there are far more sport climbers than trad climbers, getting 18 vs 31 events implies a much higher incidence on the trad side (unless "rock" also includes bouldering, which will skew the participation numbers the other way?)

a wild guess - and assuming the stats is for the Western Cape only:
23-years of data; 1201 weekends; assuming 200 climbers sport climbing per weekend on average (wild assumption because numbers would have been much lower in '94 than 2016) gives 18 events out of 240350 climbing days - i.e. a probability of an event of 0,0075% every time you go climbing; and then death 1/9th of that.

Anybody that can improve on my assumptions here?