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sarge

Recommendations for my first trad lead

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I'm looking to take the sharp end of the rope for the first time this Saturday (really excited and anxious at the same time)! Can anyone offer a recommended route that would be good (straightforward gear placements and climbing that isn't strenuous)? I've been looking at Mountaineer's Buttress (some people call it Icicle Buttress) in Leavenworth but was thinking that it would be good to start with a one pitch lead and I'm not sure it's good etiquite to set up a top rope on the first pitch of a multipitch climb. Anyway, any recommendations are welcome. Thanks!

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Midway at Castle Rock!
That is a really bad choice in my opinion. None of the routes at Castle Rock are good for first leads.

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If you would be willing to go to Vantage.....

 

My first trad lead was Chapstick (5.5-ish, but felt easier). Another pretty easy trad lead is (I think this is the correct name) Little Black Rooster (I did it the same day as Chapstick)- another 5.5-ish that felt easier than its grade.

 

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I've been looking at Mountaineer's Buttress (some people call it Icicle Buttress) in Leavenworth

 

Icicle buttrest is a different thing than Mountainear's Dome.

 

Mtnr's dome has 2 or 3 easy cracks that are good first leads. There is also Gibson's crack (not Givler's crack) that is another good option. I think it is 5.5. Buy or borrow the Leavenworth Rock guidebook for more info.

 

The Great Northern Slab at Index is another good first trad lead.

 

There is a route at Nason Ridge called "Fred Said 'No'" that would be a good first trad lead, it's 5.5ish, but there are access issues there.

 

There are some good options at the left side of The Royal Columns at Tieton, but that area is closed right now due to raptor nesting.

 

I agree with the CatBird's statement above that Castle Rock routes (like midway, saber) would not be good choices for a first lead as they probably fail your requirement for "straightforward gear placements". I haven't climbed Givler's Crack recently enough to remember it well enough to recommend it, but gut feeling says it isn't a great choice for a first lead.

 

Lots of people climb the South Face of The Tooth as their first alpine, trad climb.

 

 

You are correct: it is not good etiquette to do top rope laps on p1 of a multipitch climb. It is also not good etiquette to take forever to do a climb (even a one pitch climb) if there are other climbers waiting in line to do it. It's quite common for lines to develop for popular, easy routes. Find some cracks on the ground and practice building anchors, taking down anchors, managing ropes, belaying from above, etc so that when you do it for realz, you will be relatively quick and efficient.

 

As for climbing THIS WEEKEND, I dunno, it's gonna be pretty chilly across the state. Best bet is prob the desert (Tieton/Vantage).

 

You might consider buying this guidebook:

Weekend Rock It focuses on rock climbs under 5.10 in WA state.

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Head to Squamish - you'll have lead a dozen by the time the weekend's through

 

But not this weekend, cause it's going to snow.

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leavenworth: left or right crack on Mountaineer's Dome, Givler's Crack (2nd pitch), Gibson's Crack, rotowall cracks, or some of the easy trad lines up at clamshell.

Index: crack pitch on GNS. Also, ultrabrutal and senior citizens in outer space might be good, and are single pitch. or the 5.8 variation start to toxic shock (note: there is a 5.7 or something crack across from toxic shock called corner flash or something -- i would NOT recommend that as a first trad lead.)

 

Edited by rob

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leavenworth: left or right crack on Mountaineer's Dome, Givler's Crack (2nd pitch), Gibson's Crack, rotowall cracks, or some of the easy trad lines up at clamshell.

Index: crack pitch on GNS. Also, ultrabrutal and senior citizens in outer space might be good, and are single pitch. or the 5.8 variation start to toxic shock (note: there is a 5.7 or something crack across from toxic shock called corner flash or something -- i would NOT recommend that as a first trad lead.)

 

If you are doing something a little harder, try top-roping it first, then pull the rope and lead it.

 

 

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My first lead was Clamshell Crack at Clamshell Cave in Icicle Creek. It's a hand crack. I think 5.7.

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Kind of a moot question for me, aside from the crappy weather this weekend. It's not like the first time you have sex, it's just leading rock. My first lead was so unmemorable I actually can't even remember where it was, let alone what route (either Two Sisters, a tiny crag near Walla Walla, or Spring Mtn). That's because I picked something that was so easy I didn't have to think about climbing it so I could really focus on placing gear, and it was something I had climbed before. There isn't any reason to make it momentous, you're just trying to get a new skill down. You shouldn't have to focus on the actual climb that much, you should focus on the gear and have an experienced partner clean it for you and criteque.

 

If you're really looking to go seeking out a route then there have already been some good suggestions. I've had partners do their first trad leads on that 5.2 easy route at Tieton (good choice) and the 5.6 right of Moscow at Smith (chossy choice).

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47 and Sunny in Leavenworth on Saturday is crappy weather ?

 

Where'd you get this forecast from? :crazy:

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Zig Zag at Mt. Erie is pretty good. It sports easy climbing, perfect and easy to place pro where you need it (there is maybe 25 feet of easy climbing on the 2nd pitch that is not well protected but about maybe 5.4 at most) and bolted belays. However, it is a genuine multipitch route that you will NOT be able to toprope and toward the end of the first pitch you have to make a move where you will hit a ledge if you fall but it turns out to be surprisingly easy (in my book, the makings of a PERFECT first lead because you will succeed but it contains a little excitement that will allow you to actually feel successful). Climb the second pitch as what I think Dallas Kloke calls "Overexposure," though. This is a classic route!

 

Disclaimer: I think Midway is a fantastic climb and very easy to manage as well - if you climb it the "right" way see my topo and take the middle option. By modern standards and with the holds on the first pitch in particular being polished, Midway is harder than rated. I think it is probably 5.6 or 5.7 but I think it is rated 5.5 in the books; maybe this is why it is said above to be a bad choice. It is, however, an exciting climb and very well-protected and I think it would be a fine choice.

 

Admittedly, you should take my advice with a grain of salt because I don't understand the idea of top-roping your first lead. I'm not trying to be snide or condescending; I'm serious. If you believe you are ready to lead something, just do it. Leading is much more about "leading" than it is about any mechanics of learning to pull the rope up and clip into pro. Ask around and pick a climb that your more experienced friends tell you is well-protected and you will do fine. We read a very poignant essay on this website about somebody scaring themself on their first lead maybe 5 or 6 years ago, and I once helped rescue someone who fell a LONG way on their first lead, but really: it is not something you need to "set up" and "manage" to the point of making "leading" simply a mechanical exercise with a top rope and I think the modern approach to the whole enterprise is just plain wrong. Ask around and pick a climb that is, as you say, "not strenuous" and has "sraightforward gear placements" and go for it.

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Put in lots of pro.

One of them is bound to hold a fall.

Put quick draws or runners on each peice so they don't yank out in a fall or when you climb past them. Tale lots of qd's or rabbit runners or both.

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Bug offers good advice here.

 

Also, to my above-commentary I should add that I assume that when you say you are ready to try your first trad lead you actually do know how to place pro and have done enough climbing that you will be able to get yourself out of a jam should find yourself in one. This might come from structured training or simply from experience. If you are comfortable on vertical rock and have followed a lot of trad pitches and cleaned the gear (pick a random number - 50 maybe?) and if you have been there to observe what they did when a leader got scared and needed to back down or when they z-clipped or whatever, I'd bet you are sufficiently prepared. Take it slow and climb with the supervision of someone who could rescue you if need be and you'll be OK.

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When I started climbing my friends and I just bought the gear and started doing it. I had never followed anyones lead, let alone 50 leads...

 

I haven't heard of anyone saying this place yet, but inbetween rain showers there is a very nice beginner spot at Little Si. Its called Repo Wall. Its where I did my first gear leads. They are all low 5th class climbs and very short. You can climb them multiple times and sew them up to practice placing. There is a nice chain anchor at the top to get back down easily too.

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Just wanted to chime in and say Castle Rock is your zone...I did my first leads there and I think it is a perfectly appropriate spot to throw yourself in the game. Have fun!

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A little late for your saturday outing, but don't forget that you don't need to practice leading on an established climb. Anyway, it is usually much more convenient to practice on a smaller crag if you want a top belay. For example, they are several low class 5 steep short pitches (~40') just downhill from Icicle/mountaineers buttress.

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