First trad lead. HELP PLEASE!!

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Jared Benik

Sport climber
Reno
Topic Author's Original Post - May 14, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
so i've finally started to pick up trad climbing and i have a trip out to Lovers leap but i'm not so confident in my anchor building so i'm sticking to bolted anchors for right now. anyone know of any good multi pitch routes that have bolted anchors at the leap???
ClimbingOn

Trad climber
NY
May 14, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
A single pitch route would be a much better idea for your first trad lead. Less to go wrong, fewer systems to work with. With single pitch, a tree is just as good as a bolted anchor.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
May 14, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
knapsack crack isnt a bad one. there is a tree at the top of the 1st pitch, and 1 fixed piton at the top of 2nd pitch belay. admittedly, you should at least work on the anchor building down low for the 2nd belay first, , and have gear beyond just the piton, but, knapsack is a good one to start on.
Baggins

Boulder climber
May 14, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
yer.. yer .. yer... gunna...

no I just can't do it.

The groove has a bolted anchor at the top of pitch 1 and should be at your level. Sling a tree for an anchor on the top. Surrealistic pillar has chains at the top of pitch 1, but at 10a you probably wont want to be leading that.
Prod

Trad climber
May 14, 2013 - 03:25pm PT
What have you studied about anchors? Longs book is great, study the hell out of that and practice. There are a ton of threads here about ancors too...

Cheers and good luck.

Prod.
Gene

climber
May 14, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
Here's a thought. Before you take off on a route, spend half a day walking around and rig anchors from the ground in a bunch of different crack systems. If you build one at head heigth, you can clip a couple of runners into your power point and bounce test it from a foot off the deck. Practice before you launch.

Looking forward to your trip report.

g
mountainlion

Trad climber
California
May 14, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
Get John Long's book "climbing anchors", you can check the local library for other rock climbing books--I have had good luck reading a variety of different "technical" climbing books that way.

You can also practice at home with your gear using chair legs or doors or something similar to practice equalizing your anchor.

you can also go to a local boulder pile or crag to build anchors on the ground...essential for putting into practice what the book shows in the pics and drawings.

On this forum I bet you can find pics of sketchy belay anchors to illustrate what NOT to do.

I think it would be beneficial if you cant get the books to post a thread asking for pics of solid trad anchors and study what they did and why--which is what John Long's book does.

Good luck!!
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
May 14, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
YGD if you start on The Groove... 5.8 move off the ground and the gear has to hold or you become a ping pong ball in the halfpipe...

Knapsack is the ticket after lots of anchor practice....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
May 14, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
EXACTLY what Gene just said...;-)

Did you see the rescue thread at the leap last weekend? I wouldnt want to rely on a quick one of i were you.


last time oiy did the groove or surrealistic there were NO bolts on either.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
May 14, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
You are comfortable having single pieces of gear keep you off the deck (leading) but aren't comfortable weighting 3 pieces with bodyweight?


Do NOT lead on gear if you are not confident placing gear.
pell

Trad climber
Sunnyvale
May 14, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
Prob it is better to start with some trad crag with shorter route? E.g. Ant Crack and Ko-Ki Box + Over Easy @ Phantom Spires or Table Manners + Banditto @ The Grotto.
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
May 14, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
You are comfortable having single pieces of gear keep you off the deck (leading) but aren't comfortable weighting 3 pieces with bodyweight?

I can't believe we went through 10+ posts before that was said.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 14, 2013 - 04:06pm PT
Dave, you n00b, didn't you get the memo about a 10 post minimum for flaming?
Chim-Chim

climber
May 14, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
Kenny's new routes on the lower tier at Cloudburst Canyon at the fords are nice. Easy protection, no one hurrying you with rolled up eyes, no dikes to hit. Bomber two-bolt anchors, closer to Reno. Kenny?
RyanD

climber
Squamish
May 14, 2013 - 05:29pm PT
Knapsack crack
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
May 14, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
Hire a guide for a half day. Petch at Lovers Leap Guides is a gem of a guide and will get you on top of your game. Give him a call. http://www.loversleap.net/
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
May 14, 2013 - 06:18pm PT
I built my first anchors for setting top-ropes. Lots of time to sit and analyze and test, then commit the body to it by rapping off before top-roping it.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
May 14, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
Knapsack
Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
May 14, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
East corner
Jared Benik

Sport climber
Reno
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
i will totally have to read Longs book, thanks for all the tips guys. they help alot!
jstan

climber
May 16, 2013 - 12:03am PT
I built my first anchors for setting top-ropes. Lots of time to sit and analyze and test, then commit the body to it by rapping off before top-roping it.

I don't know about that. I would say rappels are the last way to test one's anchors. It may even be the last test.

No one has mentioned redundancy. Even after getting knowledgeable first hand instruction, have two or more good anchors. First hand instruction shows one how to deal with a specific crack. No two cracks are the same.
rSin

Trad climber
calif
May 16, 2013 - 12:07am PT
neither are many cracks the same twice...
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
May 16, 2013 - 09:12am PT
I did my first Trad leads at the Leap...

I got up early and went to the Bouldering area and practiced building anchors in a few different spots.
Once I was feeling good about it, I woke up my girlfriend and we did Knapsack Crack and The Farce.

You can traverse at the top of the first pitch of the Farce and use the bolts of The Groove... Then rappel down and TR The Groove... or rappel down and lead The Groove. :-)
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
May 16, 2013 - 09:20am PT
My first trad lead was basically a free solo with a rope and some Sh**T gear. Choose a route well within your ability.

Good luck!!!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 16, 2013 - 09:27am PT
I'm going to second the idea that it is a dangerous fantasy to think one's protecting abilities are good enough for lead protection but not good enough for belay anchors. Practice your skills until you feel reasonably confident in protecting and anchoring, and then throw in a bit of extra redundancy to buttress against inexperience.

If you are searching out leads with bolted belay stances because you lack confidence in your anchor-building skills, you just aren't yet ready to be leading.
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
May 16, 2013 - 10:13am PT
I'm going to second the idea that it is a dangerous fantasy to think one's protecting abilities are good enough for lead protection but not good enough for belay anchors.

That was my initial impression as well. Leading on gear is anchor building.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
May 16, 2013 - 10:25am PT
It used to be that you had to make this complicated spiderweb with all the pieces equalized, rgold correct me if I'm wrong but I think equalizing doesn't really work, so you can just clove hitch them, left to right or vice versa. Belay the follower off one piece, and you are on the other (they are clove hitched together anyway). If you know how to put pieces in on lead then just do this about 4 times and you should have yourself an anchor.

Just do some easy routes until you're comfortable with the gear. I was always from the old school where you never were supposed to fall. The few times I did, pieces pulled out and that's something not to forget. No shame at all in sewing up a pitch since half of them would probably come out.
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
May 16, 2013 - 10:59am PT
If you are searching out leads with bolted belay stances because you lack confidence in your anchor-building skills, you just aren't yet ready to be leading.

Yep. The steps between building a bomber bolt anchor and a bomber natural anchor is minimal enough to think you shouldn't feel great about your bolt anchor building skills as well...
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 16, 2013 - 11:27am PT
correct me if I'm wrong but I think equalizing doesn't really work, so you can just clove hitch them, left to right or vice versa.

Well...not really. It is true that equalization is unattainable, but that doesn't mean that one should entirely give up on trying to distribute the load. Clove-hitching pieces in sequence typically applies all the load to one piece with the others as backups. This isn't too bad a set-up when the pieces are vertically aligned; I do it frequently when the individual pieces are good.

When the gear is horizontally aligned, clove-hitching in sequence means that there will be a small drop each time a piece fails, and it makes no sense to employ such a system when it is relatively easy to distribute the load in other ways.

Whatever one ultimately chooses as an anchoring method, a cordelette is a good set of "training wheels" for the novice anchor-builder, which is surely one of the reasons cordelettes became so popular. No, you won't get equalization with a cordelette, and you won't get it with the various sliding options either, but you get a load distribution that in almost all cases will be better than sequential clove hitching.

Although this is a fine point, I might add that I try for a little load distribution with sequentially clove-hitched pieces in vertical alignment. To do this, I (quickly) adjust the clove hitches so that the anchor biners are parallel to the ground rather than hanging vertically. Loading this system produces a little stretch in the connecting links as the biners are forced down, and so transfers some load to the upper pieces.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
May 16, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
Haven't heard from the OP in awhile...... Hopefully he's alive
Getch

Mountain climber
Flagstaff, AZ
May 16, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
+1 for anchor building before leading. Honing your anchor building skills is a great way to get to know what a good placement is and what a crappy one is. It's also good to get through the process of building an equalizing etc, get a system dialed in on the ground. So when the palms are all sweaty yer not thinkn too hard.

Longs book is great. I seem to remember a VHS series from back when too...

The "equalization is impossible" garbage is causing harm...

Aside from saving a small amount of time and not having to carry a cord, there is almost no sensible reason to not build a system that does not extend when one piece fails. Even if you share the load between two pieces, you greatly reduce the initial forces on each as well as the forces when one fails.
Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
May 16, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
I'm continually surprised how many noobs seek anchor building advice from a community online forum, given the wealth of information out there on anchor design (or bolt locations on climbs for that matter).

I should really invent an app that noobs can take and upload pictures of their anchors and it will tell them if they are gonna die.

TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
May 16, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
"Success can definitely be achieved via sound and continuous practice over an extended period of time, carried out in a serious and thoughtful manner. "

Yoga Sutras of Patajali, Chapter 1, sentence 14.

You can also review the "case studies" of Supertopeans responding to the query: "What was your first lead? Please describe." www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1652765

Finally, make first trad lead efforts well BELOW your top roping comfort level.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 16, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
Go do God of Thunder. You'll never get high enough to need anchors.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 16, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
The "equalization is impossible" garbage is causing harm...

Garbage? You would prefer to replace the "garbage," which is true, with a less "harmful" fantasy, which is false? Isn't it just as harmful for someone to "equalize" three rather manky pieces and assume, since their rope has, say, a UIAA rating of 9 kN, that each piece need hold no more than 3 kN?

Still, I'd agree that there is a problem if the reaction to the impossibility of achieving equalization is that one shouldn't try to equalize. But that problem is solved by explaining that you do your best to distribute the load, not by pretending, in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary, that equalization is achievable.
Getch

Mountain climber
Flagstaff, AZ
May 17, 2013 - 01:40pm PT
Ok, I agree that it is a misnomer. You can't perfectly distribute the load across 2 or more points when you add the overhand knot. Along the same line of ridiculousness: Nobody in the history of the entire universe has ever taken an exact UIAA fall, so why do we bother rating ropes that way? For that matter who here can even comprehend the force generated by a kilo falling at 1m/sec? We could get into the silliness of placing bolts at an anchor horizontally instead of in line vertically.... But what is the utility of that? Hands only CPR is not best practice, do you go out telling everyone the new CPR is hands only?

Putting cloves on a line of pieces is bad advice for a new leader. Learn to equalize (I use it again here because lets just say it has a different meaning in the climbing community) 3 pieces on the ground before you try to learn on top of a pitch.
Degaine

climber
May 21, 2013 - 12:23am PT
Getch wrote:
Learn to equalize (I use it again here because lets just say it has a different meaning in the climbing community)...

Not sure why you insist on using the word equalize. Distribute is much more accurate and informative. Equalize means shared equally among each piece, which we know is far from being the case.

Distribute means that each piece bears part of the load, but not necessarily (or ever) the same amount.

Cheers.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 21, 2013 - 08:31am PT
Go do the Crack of Doom and you won't have to worry about gear.

You're welcome.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 21, 2013 - 10:26am PT
equalize has been so ingrained into the climber's vocabulary it's going to be hard to remove. SERENE anchors, etc.

You can't perfectly equalize but a sliding x with no limiting knots using an dyneema sling is going to come close. Personally I use a nylon sling (dyneema gets brittle) pretied as a sliding X with limiting knots on my two main anchor placements. It's useful for 90%+ of anchors. Equalizing/distributing and low extension if a piece blows. But not really necessary, a cordellette with a knot or the rope works fine because most anchors (probably every anchor I've ever built) have two solid pieces and lots of rigging options will work. I like the X because it's fast, allows you to move around without messing up the distribution, and is easy to escape in a self rescue.

Back to the OP: repeating some good advice above:

Build anchors on the ground. And have someone experienced check them. (guide, friend, etc.)

Aid climb a few single pitch climbs on top rope (you can use slings for aiders). You'll practice lots of placements and see what works and what doesn't. One of the most important things is to make placements that are solid (another important thing is while leading to think what happens if I fall here, at any point while climbing, and you'll be able to visualize where you'll need to place protection, e.g. when you pass a ledge mid-pitch) aid climbing will show you how to place solid pieces, what the direction of force in a fall will be, how to make tricky placements, etc.

Knapsack as mentioned. It was Alex Honnold's first free solo and many people's first multi-pitch lead.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
May 21, 2013 - 10:29am PT
my first trad lead was with three pins, five of those newfangled "chocks" -stoppers and a hex, twisted 1/2" nylon rope and the seat of a skydiving harness for a "climbing" harness. Balpeen hammer and K-marche boots.
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