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minx

is it easier for you

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to lead bolts or on gear

 

as i try and get my head back into leading, i've had a lot of patient partners and others offer up useful advice.

 

one of the most common has been to climb lots of bolted stuff.

logically this makes sense. in that situation i don't have to worry if there is good pro, bolts are usually pretty bomber, won't be as pumped etc etc.

 

BUT mentally, i'm more comfortable leading on gear. particularly moderate routes. i can put in a piece whenever i want (mostly) it may not be a good piece but it's something. i can sew that baby up if i'm sketchy (damn it, one of those pieces will hold)

 

i know this isn't logical, but am i the only one out there more comfortable leading with gear than bolts?

 

*** please do not start a bolt/don't bolt thing here***

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No, I feel the same way. I like placing pro where I want it. It might be a height thing. Whenever I led sport, it seemed like the bolts weren't at all conveniently located.

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I love bolts. No worries about if there's gear, if I've got the right sizes, if I'll have a good stance, if I'll pump out right as I place a bomber nut, etc, etc. If the route is moderate I don't care if it's bolted or not. Either way I won't fall.

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I think because I have led sport more, I am more comfortable leading on bolts... it's weird becuase I climb cracks better. I think it is a confidence thing

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Bolts. The only thing you need to think about is the climbing. Plus you can climb faster so you can get up harder routes without getting pumped. Regardless, I enjoy trad climbing more.

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Bolts.

Typically you'd climb easier routes on trad, right? Maybe your subconcsiously over compensationg for the fact that your not just clipping, and climbing down too many grades. confused.gif

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rock-ice said:

Bolts.

Typically you'd climb easier routes on trad, right? Maybe your subconcsiously over compensationg for the fact that your not just clipping, and climbing down too many grades. confused.gif

 

i'm leading similar grades for bolts and cracks and actually slightly harder grades for cracks. i just seem to relax and feel more confident with cracks than i do bolts.

 

yeah, my technique in general sucks...don't think it matters if we're talking about cracks or not.

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for me cracks just feel way more secure, so I prefer those. I get sketched climbing bolted routes on top rope sometimes. Kinda dumb, but I hate how insecure those little crimpers and nubbins feel under hands and feet.

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dryad said:

No, I feel the same way. I like placing pro where I want it.

 

Dryad and Minx, I agree with you both on this, and I as well feel more comfortable leading trad.

However, there are times where I get really frustrated trying to place a piece (it is like my third one and it still wouldn't fit). I still have ways to go to learn how to better eye the placement and judge the right gear size for it. Those are the moments where I long for a bolt and wish I was on a nice bolted slab route. I really enjoy bolted slabs.

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minx said:

to lead bolts or on gear. as i try and get my head back into leading, i've had a lot of patient partners and others offer up useful advice. one of the most common has been to climb lots of bolted stuff.

 

Just some observations on my own experiences trying to push...

 

For me, it depends on the type of route. But I also think it depends on what you want to get out of climbing/leading. Are you trying to push your trad leading grade? Are you trying to get stronger faster? They might be mutually exclusive.

 

I've noticed that if I let myself toprope at all, I do not gain the mental focus to lead at all. I become mentally lazy. So I typically don't TR unless the day/week/season is already shot.

 

When I lead primarily bolts, I get strong fairly quickly, but still do not have the confidence to push my trad grade. This is because I climb more routes in a climbing day, but the climbing is artificially secure. So while I might take some falls and get stronger, I am probably not willing to do the same when I am placing pro.

 

When I lead primarily trad, I get more comfortable and much faster at moderate grades, but do not get stronger and am not able to push my numerical upper bound. This is because I am getting better and faster placing gear, but not typically getting stronger because I do less climbing overall, and am not willing to push myself to a fall as easily as on bolts.

 

Of course, one thing most people can't really get past is falling. You should get used to falling on both bolts and gear if you want to advance. Whenever you fall, stay on the horse. Do not dirt and untie...you've got to stick with it mentally and not give in to the fear.

 

The best way I've seen some of my friends push themselves up is by climbing in the gym/garage for strength (which you will loose in a matter of days or weeks if you stop training), seconding routes that are beyond their leading abilities but just barely within their physical abilities to second (this teaches new leading skills), leading a 50/50 mix of bolts and trad, and finding trad climbing goals/projects that are at the very upper bound where you can reherse, then pre place gear and clip, and finally lead from the ground up.

 

So for example, you want to get into leading trad Leavenworth 10s confidently? Set up a TR on MF Overhang. Flail. Wire some moves. Go to gym for 2 weeks. Come back, set up TR on MF Overhang, get through crux ok. Come back after 2 more weeks. Rap and pre-place gear. Send. Come back the next week and lead it from the ground. The same day, head over to Bo Derek and lead it from the ground onsight. You can always back off it and retrieve your gear from above....

 

Alex

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The answer depends on what you mean by bolted. Leading a “bolted” route at 38 is different than leading a “bolted’ route at the Meadows. In general I find sport type bolt jobs easier to lead than gear routes.

 

The other day I was thinking about how to get better at leading and I decided that what I needed to do was do a wide variety of easier gear routes. The key I theorize is picking a series of routes with different climbing styles and protection requirements. Leading a harder crack climb with trivial protection requirements will do nothing to improve my leading head and may be counter productive because I get too use to bomber pro whenever I want it. Just need to get out and do those routes now.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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I feel the same way alex, I get stronger on bolts, but I get better with trad. They both make me a better climber. But I have to stay with it, if I take too much time off I lose it fast. But than I'm a old dude so nothing comes easy anymore.

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The hardest leads I did this year were on gear. I felt much more comfortable on those pitches than I did following similarly graded face climbs. It comes down to comfort level; I climb mostly cracks, so that is where I am comfortable and I know my gear is good.

 

Don't think about falling, think about climbing.

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thanks for the thoughtful replies. interesting to see other perspectives.

 

alex thumbs_up.gif for the detailed, thoughtful response.

 

i think for me, being a control freak, it's the fact that when climbing bolted routes i'm confined to having pro where somebody else wanted it. i hate to whip out the height card but i think part of it is related to being shorter than the people who placed the bolts. i often find myself in a great stance to clip and find that i'm 6" too short to reach the bolt and up clipping from a less secure position. such is life, no big thing but i do think that contributes to it.

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I feel more comfortable on gear but climb better on bolted routes. It might be that I'm not carrying as much weight on bolted leads. (I know I need to get my weak ass to the gym). Also I'm discovering a lot of moderate bolted lines have first clips pretty high off the deck (20-30 feet above broken boulders). Once you get the experience and know when your trad pieces are bomber, that fear of falling on them disappears somewhat.

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minx said:

i know this isn't logical, but am i the only one out there more comfortable leading with gear than bolts?

 

no, you're not. in general i prefer to lead on gear. you "know" how good your gear is, and you can put gear in wherever you "want".

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thelawgoddess said:

minx said:

i know this isn't logical, but am i the only one out there more comfortable leading with gear than bolts?

 

no, you're not. in general i prefer to lead on gear. you "know" how good your gear is, and you can put gear in wherever you "want".

 

Didn't you used to be the other way at one time, though? If so, why the change? (just looking for insight).

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It would be interesting if people note how hard they climb, too. I haven't lead anything harder than 10c trad, but I've done a few 12s sport. I am physically capable to climbing harder trad, but I am scared to fall on gear that I placed (yeah, it's irrational).

 

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cracked said:

It would be interesting if people note how hard they climb, too.

i sense a silly debate on sportclimb versus trad-climb ratings coming on.

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I was thinking the same thing Cracked.

 

In rereading this thread I would offer one suggestion with regard to Alex's post. Many times it is appropriate to "dirt and untie" don't confuse determination and "go for it" with skill and appropriate behavior.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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lummox said:

cracked said:

It would be interesting if people note how hard they climb, too.

i sense a silly debate on sportclimb versus trad-climb ratings coming on.

I hope not. I find that most trad routes are similar in difficulty to sport routes of the same grade, only I'm pretty inefficient placing gear, so I waste energy.

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