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plark42

how to learn to lead low grade class 5/4 rock?

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Hello CC'ers-

 

I have experience climbing snow and ice- and placing pro and building anchors- but I have no experience in rock pro/anchors. I want to get into climbing rock (class 4 and low 5)-

 

what's the best way to learn the ropes of rock pro and anchors? Thanks. wave.gif

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well the way i did it was i read john longs rock anchors book and supplemented that with experience. i know that sounds vague but going out and climbing technically easy routes and just leading with a more experienced partner.... and also practice placing different kinds of gear while on the ground.

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Thanks for the help- I will be moving to a new location (northern Cali) in a few weeks.. so I won't know a soul.. I guess I could join a mountaineering club and meet experienced leaders that way..

 

Thanks for the input.. keep 'em comin'

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I started leading this year, my approach was to spend some time paying close attention as a follower, and then lead some easy routes with a more experienced partner following up and critiquing my placements. It's nice to have bolts at the top, obviously. If you need to build some confidence before you do this you can always practice placing pro on the ground, examining it, tugging on it from different angles, and having someone look at it.

 

As in most life-threatening activities I've never done before, I wouldn't have wanted to try it without someone more experienced around.

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I did what Highclimb did (reading Climbing Anchors), but then I went cragging with an equally inexperienced partner. We would geek out on our anchors and protection on 5.0 climbs for a few weekends in Leavenworth. We survived and gradually got better. Probably not recommended. smile.gif

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How far north in CA? I live in Medford and am looking for a partner for easy class 5 climbing. I'm willing to teach a new leader if you know how to belay, etc.

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I once spent a few hours aid climbing a 5.6 crack on a top rope to learn 1- aid techniques and 2- better pro placement. It worked well cuz I got to place a bunch of gear and then stand up on every piece to make sure it held. And there's no risk since you're belayed on a top rope.

 

Just don't do it if there's a chance that someone else might want to get on the route as you'll likely be hogging the route for a couple hours.

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plus by aiding, you can also get the joy of taking gear out that has been weighted. That really teaches what good and bad placements are. Plus it will frustrate the hell out of you, until you figure out the right size nuts to put into the crack. Put the wrong one in, and it can be a real bitch to remove.

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There is only one book I know of dedicated solely to the art of Traditional leading called "Traditional climbing: Surviving the learning years" or something very close to that. And John Long's book. Read up as much as you can and try and find someone to follow and show you the ropes or hire a guide. The best way to learn is to experience it for yourself. If you could borrow a rack or buy some pro start placing gear and practice building anchors with a cordelette. pretty soon you'll have gear size to crack width down and placing gear will come naturally. Aid climbing is another excellent way of learning to place gear and trust your placements.

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Thanks for the input everyone- I will definitely try adding the aid climbing element into it... it seems like good skills to have anyways- make sure the placements are bomber, taking out the pro and also learning how to help myself out if I get in a jam (e.g., step up on a daisy chain).. By the way.. I will be living in Davis, CA (I do not know how far this is from Medford.. but hopefully we can meet up and do some alpine climbing)..

 

Thanks.. keep 'em coming..

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OK, here's a self-serving recommendation: check out The Mountaineering Handbook. Only $13 on Amazon or list price at your REI. Read the reviews at link . The book is focused on 4/5th class climbing, plus it has a lot of up-to-date info you won't find elsewhere. It talks about "Learning to Lead," which is different from "Leading." It also has sections on things like controlling fear and decision making--plus material on climbing forces and building anchors that most climbers will find very different from old school advice.

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