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TronaldDump

obsessed newbie looking for partner/mentor(seattle

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Hey, just arrived in seattle on a whim from the midwest, really love this town and feel like I'll be staying for a while.

 

I've always been extremely interested in climbing and have really only been on about 3 climbs and really enjoyed it. One was unfortunately in tennis shoes with no chalk on a texas summer day so that wasn't all that much fun but still a good time.

 

I'm completely new to the sport, really want to learn trad but understand I have to start somewhere. I have no gear but am willing to start investing in some of course, just don't know where to start beyond shoes and harnesses. I'm definetly willing to start in a gym to get warmed up but of course want to get out on the real thing.

 

because of work my schedule kind of sucks, I have off on Mondays and thursdays for the time being and I work 2nd shift so I can meet up for the gym early in the day/afternoon. Just beware I am a total newb.... but an eager one.

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Welcome to the PNW.. you mostly interested in rock, or alpine too?

 

If I had it to start over again, I would absolutely forgo top-roping. Convention puts noobs on top-rope so they can focus on developing holdwork... but if you're serious about climbing- REAL climbing- then placing gear is exactly 50% of your necessary skillset. So why skimp on it in the beginning? Develop both skills together.

 

Just my opinion, worth what you paid for it.

 

Good luck

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I should have specified, but I am actually interested in both rock and alpine. I moved out here to get away from flat land and corn fields. Thanks for the tip on avoiding top rope. I'm just trying to figure out where to get started and because I'm interested in trad, I assume the best way is to learn from someone who already knows how to place pro. I'm mostly into it because I've always been big into hiking and backpacking and would love to combine climbing with that package.

 

So please, if anyone is interested let me know, or if anyone can point me in the right direction I will really appreciate any advice, knowledge or wisdom.

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start reading! There are lots of things you can do to get ready; read about lead belaying, basic knots, basic rock craft, etc. You can practice knots in your livingroom while watching T.V., practice belaying your cat, etc. I think I must have read Freedom of the Hills back-to-back several times.

 

There are courses you can sign up for to learn the basic, but these all start in Jaunary-ish. Mountianeers, BOALPS, WAC, etc -- lots of info here already about them.

 

Also, you should go get a membership at a climbing gym. They typically have classes to teach you how to belay and you can start meeting people. I don't know how many of those people actually climb outside, but if you can belay well and tie your own rope you'll have an easier time finding a mid-week partner looking for a belay-slave, I think.

 

P.S. there is nothing wrong with top-roping. Don't get ahead of yourself by trying to learn to place gear before you know what the hell you're doing or you'll just develop bad habits. Crawl - Walk - Run.

 

In the meantime, keep hiking and backpacking. Are you getting out every week? You should be. Get your legs and heart and lungs strong, learn yourself some skills like compass navigation.

 

Are you smart? There are a lot of things you should be spending your time reading about and practicing. Basic knots and rope-craft, safety do's and do-not's, basic climbing techniques, etc. Even all the stuff you want to practice with a partner you should at least still study and read about first so that when you actually have a guy to learn from (or a class) it will be somewhat familiar.

 

Doing all of these things and being super enthusiastic and self-starting will make it easier to convince someone to take you out.

 

When you think you're ready, just post something in the partner forums -- but be more specific. "Belay-slave available Tuesday, May 10th: knows how to belay but not much else. Will buy beer and gas and murder your ex-wife, etc. etc." and I bet somebody will eventually take you up on it. Specific posts in the partner forum work much better than generic ones. Be clear and concise: "I want to go climbing on Tuesday, here is what I know, I'll drive." -- but posting in the partner forum and you don't even have a harness yet is kind of premature :)

 

Instead of waiting for somebody to come and teach you, take matters into your own hands and just start learning and meeting people.

 

$0.02!

 

 

Edited by rob

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If I had it to start over again, I would absolutely forgo top-roping. Convention puts noobs on top-rope so they can focus on developing holdwork... but if you're serious about climbing- REAL climbing- then placing gear is exactly 50% of your necessary skillset. So why skimp on it in the beginning? Develop both skills together.

 

Sorry Ben, but that's just retarded. Any climbing is good climbing, including toproping. As a beginner you should try to get as much mileage in as possible riding the toprope and bouldering to develop some technical skillz. Working on gear placement is a good idea too. Go find a crack and spend some time fiddling in gear. Once you feel pretty comfortable placing gear, lead an easy pitch after you've toproped it to death and have it dialed. If you just start leading trad off the bat you aren't going to develop any basic technical climbing ability and its not very safe. Not to mention the fact that the first rope / gear skills you should be focusing on is setting up an anchor and belaying safely!!

 

 

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Boulder and top rope to develop climbing moves and skills, aid climb to learn gear placement.

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I probably shouldn't have said "absolutely forgo," but I'll maintain that it's my opinion that top-roping is basically wasting time, once the initial procedures are down, if you're really serious about climbing. I don't think I would have been able to lead trad RIGHT off the bat, but I do think I could have started placing gear and climbing above it probably my third trip to the crag. Instead, I bogged down on TR, thinking I needed to be TRing 5.12s before I started leading, and all it netted me was a year and a half of wasted time, since leading in the alpine has been my goal all along. Especially since I'll very likely never climb 5.12.

 

But like I said, just my opinion. The OP, even if he top-ropes, will benefit from reading a wide spectrum of them.

Edited by Ben B.

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Thanks for the input folks, you made a good point about the whole asking for a partner before I even have a harness, so I bit the bullet and committed, should have harness shoes and belay device next week, still gotta wait a bit before I can afford rope/draws/pro. but, if anyones willing to work with me I'm excited and almost ready, will be picking up my own rope asap so we can beat on my gear when I get it if anyone wants to.

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I think you'll find it's difficult to convince an experienced person to be a completely inexperienced person's mentor. They are sacrificing their time, potential safety, money, and other things to climb with you, as they likely would be climbing something else. Saying "I really want to climb" is great, it's cool that you're enthusiastic, but you should show a lot of initiative and have established your basic skills before asking for someone to invest their time in a relationship that may not go anywhere. I don't mean to sound harsh, but realistic -- and I'm currently following my own advice.

 

I joined the Mountaineers and I'm currently in their basic climbing class. I now some people frown on the Mounties, but I'll be damned if I haven't gotten way more than my money's worth in the class, and developed good relationships to boot. You learn how to be a well-rounded basic (safe) climber, and if you're working a job and have a life outside of climbing, the pace of the course is perfect. You also have to test out of skills to continue in the course. And yes, they've failed some people.

 

If you have lots of time on your hands, join BOEALPS because it's basically the Mounties course but compressed into half the timeframe (3 months). Both classes have already started, so my recommendation for you is to buy Freedom of the Hills and read it cover-to-cover. You may also be able to find another inexperienced person who wants to learn with you.

 

One other thing I'll say is that you need to consider why someone would want to climb with you. At the very least they need to feel a margin of safety climbing with you, so you should become proficient in things like knots, rappelling, belaying, and all of the other basic things aside from actually sending a route.

 

My two cents, having been in the same spot as you last year.

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Instead, I bogged down on TR, thinking I needed to be TRing 5.12s before I started leading,

 

No but being pretty solid at 5.8/5.9 on TR before leading is not a bad idea. And like I said before, its important to learn about anchors and belaying before doing any leading.

 

Even if you want to just climb 5.6 in the mountains, you should probably be at least a comfortable 5.8 leader at the crag.

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Yeah, +1. Don't listen to the anti top-roping stuff. Nobody is saying you need to TR 5.12 before leading, wtf. lol

 

Top-roping is awesome, it's a great way to improve your climbing. I can top-rope much harder stuff than I lead, as can most people. You're not going to be able to focus on your crack or O/W technique as much if you're also focusing on trying to figure out a tough lead, and new trad leaders shouldn't push themselves like that on lead, anyway.

 

There is no point trying to practice everything at once, it's OK to sandbox a few skills and work on them independently and this is what TRing is awesome for. Learning to lead trad AND learning to climb at the same sounds like a bad idea. When you start learning to place gear on lead you should be already fairly comfortable with the act of climbing itself, or you'll end up being bad at both, I bet. Or dead.

 

 

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As others have said, take a course or two. You might be able to scrape together the same skills from a variety of partners over several months (or years) but taking a course is a great way to get the basics and start out with good habits.

 

+1 for the AAI course--they are not cheap but they are awesome.

 

My .02

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