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TwoFortyJeff

Recommendations for beginner trad routes at Smith?

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I'll be down at Smith for a long weekend and I'd like to try some easy routes (single or multi) for a beginning trad leader. Any suggestions?

 

By easy I mean preferable 5.6 or below so I can focus more on leading than climbing technique.

 

Edited by TwoFortyJeff

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bookworm 5.7 wide crack

 

as said above, superslab and moscow.

 

spiderman buttress is really nice and fun and worthy of going back again and again.

 

the older guidebooks used to have a list of climbs according to the grade. sadly the new guide no longer has this information. Try to find the late 90's version of the guidebook to help find 5.6's without tedious searching. ANy 5.6 is going to be trad.

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Round River on Koala Rock is fun and so easy that even I could lead it. It has some bolts, but 'requires' a couple gear placements. It's 4 or 5 pitches, so definitely fun for practice, plus you get to the top of a really big rock. Long hike over there, though. I think it might be 5.6 but could be as low as 5.4? That seems pretty damn low though... It does have a bolted option for the last pitch that is 5.8 and pretty fun.

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Round River is a fun climb, but it's a long way to hike to place a couple of stoppers (it's actually three pitches). Thin Air is 5.8...protects really well.

 

There are a few options up on Staender Ridge. Instant Replay (5.6) on Adit Rock is pretty good. I think Parking Lot Crack (5.7?)is a good one too. One could hit these routes up on there way to Koala

 

There are a couple of slabs at the base of Spiderman that could be good options.

 

My first trad lead ever was Lion's Jaw (5.8)

 

 

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I think smith is, in general, a horrible place to learn to trad climb. I think it would be preferable to build your technique/muscles in the gym or sport climbing, then head to trout or the lower gorge to learn to place gear.

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I think smith is, in general, a horrible place to learn to trad climb. I think it would be preferable to build your technique/muscles in the gym or sport climbing, then head to trout or the lower gorge to learn to place gear.

 

I couldn't disagree with you more. Smith is an excellent place to learn to trad climb. Since it's not splitter cracks unless you're in the lower gorge you really have to learn how to place gear instead of just plugging cams. If you can confidently lead trad routes on the tuft you can lead just about anywhere at that grade.

 

Good suggestions so far. You might also want to check out Sky Chimney 5.7 and perhaps one of my personal favorites Havana 5.7 (on the Red Wall). Havana is a little dirty but an excellent if not mostly ignored option right around the corner from Moscow.

 

If you're new to the tuft just be sure to bring extra gear and sew it up.

 

FWIW I'd recommend bringing a few hexes as they are often easier to get a solid placement with than cams in the knob filled cracks that you'll find all over the tuft.

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I second Moscow. It is an excellent beginner climb. I would say one of the best for a beginner. It has easy route finding, a fun crack at the top and the hardest part is the first 10 feet off the deck. It takes gear just about anywhere and it’s a walk off. There is also no exposure so one can work on gear placement, building anchors and climbing rather than feeling desperate to find a placement.

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Tuff Trad is fun; just dont fall on your gear. You can tell when some pieces are bomber (nuts are easier to ascertain bomberosity) but in general, expect the rock around a cam to crumble a bit if you sit/fall on it. Smith tuff is SOFT ROCK.

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When I first went to Smith in 1978, it was all trad, bolted lines were rare. You climbed trad, or you quickly ran out. The easiest trad line there is probably the Beard, left side at 5.6, right side 5.7.

 

Old Testament, to the left of Barbecue the Pope is a nice seven-ish crack, though it crosses a couple sport routes, so watch out for conficts. Gets big (fists) at the top, but it leans over there.

 

Lycopodophyta is a great 5.8, and do both pitches, or combine them into one long one, with a big rack. The upper pitch can be dirty as it only gets climbed once every 5 years, and usually by me. But I just did it this spring and brushed most of the pigeon droppings out. It's really quite good rock up there, lots of rests, and takes medium gear, not the big stuff you would think. The exit move is stellar, with pro above you.

 

Another favorite not mentioned is Pack Animal, 5.8, second pitch. There is no easy, way to get to get to it. The normal left start is ballsy, and the direct is 10+ thin fingers, but the second pitch is awesome finger jamming ringlocks in an exciting 5.8 corner. Take a lot of finger to hand sized gear.

 

Fridays Jinx is awesome 5.8 climbing. The second pitch is amazing! Beautiful corner laybacking and jamming.

 

The lower gorge has a 6, 7 and 8 over by the catwalk (past Cruel Sister). Great climbing down there!

 

Toys in the Attic is a ton of fun, and dry in a downpour, though it's 5.9, and big at the top, up to a 4/5 camalot. It's scarier to follow than lead.

 

As to the strength of the pro in tuff, I've hung on hexes, stoppers and cams at smith, and I've seen people fall on them. It's not granite, but neither is it death rock. Use common sense, back up your gear at the cruxes, and be cautious with cams which are more likely to rotate badly in the knobby tuff, as opposed to smooth granite. Use long slings, etc.

 

Smith is a great trad destination. And the best part is: if it's really crowed with the bolt climbers, you can walk right up to a group of 15 sport climbers hogging a bolted climb and jump on the empty trad line. They can't lead trad, so you never wait.

 

As an old climber I met once told me: "Sport climbing is neither!"

 

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Trolling around Staender ridge is a great way to spend the day and knock off a bunch of summits with tons of cool 5.7 and under trad routes. Some good stuff up there with even better views and all aspects so its easy to chase the sun/shade. Another plus you won't be in any ones way while you take your time to figure your shit out!

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Trolling around Staender ridge is a great way to spend the day and knock off a bunch of summits with tons of cool 5.7 and under trad routes. Some good stuff up there with even better views and all aspects so its easy to chase the sun/shade. Another plus you won't be in any ones way while you take your time to figure your shit out!

 

Hey all you guys responding to the OP. 5.6 or under was the request. There is a big difference between 5.6 and under and 5.7-5.8 when you are a new trad leader. Listen to Corvallis, Staender is a great place to get on a bunch of 5.6. Look at Watt's guide and get on every thing with two or more stars. And you won't be anyones way, but more importantly won't have anyone around making you nervious.

 

 

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Just climbed Rattlesnake Chimney this last weekend. Watt's only gives it one star in the new guide but I'd beg to differ. I thought it was a blast. You can link both pitches with a 60 (barely) although the rope drag gets to be a bit of a pain. It's a little dirty but your belayer will have a nice big overhang to hide under and you'll feel heroic clanging your hexes around in the Dihedrals while you are surrounded by noobers trying to thrutch their way up Bunny Face! Go do it. It's easier than a prom queen and takes bombzer gear all the way.

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I wouldn't bet on Koala Rock being empty anymore, I think that's old beta. On Saturday there were 20 people and six dogs there when my party of 3 arrived. :noway:

 

Round River was empty and casual, and the rock was good all the way up, though we did the direct finish rather than the wandering possibly runout 5.4 original end. Of the two slabby sport routes left of Thin Air (which was a constant incredible cluster) I thought the 5.7 was easier than the one rated 5.6, though the crux comes before the first bolt.

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