First trad lead. HELP PLEASE!!

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Messages 21 - 39 of total 39 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
jstan

climber
May 16, 2013 - 03:03am 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.
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
May 16, 2013 - 12:12pm 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 - 12:20pm 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 - 12:27pm 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 - 01:13pm 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 - 01:25pm 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 - 01:59pm 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 - 02:27pm 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 - 04:19pm PT
Haven't heard from the OP in awhile...... Hopefully he's alive
Getch

Mountain climber
Flagstaff, AZ
May 16, 2013 - 04:58pm 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 - 05:00pm 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 - 05:04pm 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 - 05:10pm PT
Go do God of Thunder. You'll never get high enough to need anchors.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 17, 2013 - 01:51am 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 - 04:40pm 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 - 03:23am 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 - 11:31am 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 - 01:26pm 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 - 01:29pm 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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