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What's the best way to start leading alpine rock?

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Hey CC'ers I have a follow up question.


So I want to get into climbing class 4 and low grade 5 alpine rock. What's the best way to learn all the technique involved with leading trad routes?


Are there any courses out there that are recommended? I am thinking of taking a rock seminar course here in California that teaches everything from anchors and rappelling to placing pro and multi-pitch climbing.


is that the way most people do it? Did anyone out there get formal instruction? is it even worth it?

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I guess I will take a stab at answering your question even though in a way you have kind of answered it for yourself.


Basically, IMHO experience is the best way of learning so you need to get out there and do it as much as you can. Read as much as you can and go out with as many experienced people as you can because you will pick up a tonne of stuff. From my experience the good alpine climbers are the ones that have spent so much time in the mountains that they can move quickly and comfortably on moderate terrain. The less experienced people move slower because they feel less comfortable in the same situations.


If you want to take a course then go for it! It wouldn`t hurt at least and it might give you a starting point for doing your own adventures. Just get out there and climb as much as possible! It`s my experience that some of the best alpine climbers got out there and just started learning on their own or with friends. bigdrink.gif

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Solid rock climbing skills are a must. As ovious or inobvious as it may be, go cragging lots. Learn rock skills in a controlled environment with fewer complications. People who want to skip the cragging apprentieship and jump right into the alpine world as asking for epics or worse. For example, one could learn to tele in the back country but learning is accelerated in a ski area. Same is true for alpine rock.


Second, don't underestimate the back country survival skills. Simple hiking in rough terrain, camping in various enviroments and dealing with a slew of hazards and inconviences are not to be underestimated. So my advice to get out in the hills and move around. Work the legs. Live in the wilds.


Like mentioned above, a key element of good alpine rock climber is the ability to solo 4th class terrain. Speed is safety and belaying easy ground will chew up the day.


A pro course will do you good as long as you take what is taught and do it afterwards. Don't let months go by after the class or you may forget. Also, don't get in over your head assuming you have skills. Start small, make small increments in difficulty and you hopefully will have a long climbing career.


One last bit of advice, keep aware of safety 100% of the time. 99% is not enough as that 1% will catch up to you. Did to me.

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