Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Where to go around Boulder to get comfortable falling on trad gear
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By BoulderCharles
May 18, 2012
The time has come for me to just take some falls on trad gear. I'm looking for an area around Boulder where I can do this safely (read: top rope for backup, good gear placements, good position for my belayer, clear fall line, etc.). Any thoughts?

FLAG
By talkinrocks
From Boulder, CO
May 18, 2012
Washburns Thumb.  Denali
Happy Hour Crag

FLAG
By slim
Administrator
May 18, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i wouldn't really recommend happy hour, as a lot of the routes are over-featured (ie not steep, have ledges or corners, etc). what sort of grades are we talking? if less than 5.10, most of the routes in those ranges in the boulder area will require careful consideration of the same problem.

if we are talking the 11 range, probably the single best whip i can think of is off the top headwall crack on countryclub crack - excellent gear, tons of rope out for a soft big whip, plenty steep with a roof below (just be sure to clear the roof so you don't get your teeth knocked out).

FLAG
By rob.calm
From Loveland, Colorado
May 18, 2012
Mother #1 on the Nautilus at Vedauwoo. Rob is calm on this happy offwidth
Here's some good advice to read before deciding to fall on traditional climbs Advice to the beginning trad leader around falling--don't;page=unread#unread

Cheers,
Rob.calm

FLAG
By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
Me, of course
Practice falling on trad gear wont help you. It will mess up your cams and fix your nuts. If you're scared, double up on pieces and back everything up as your leading until you feel confident in your placements. There are some smaller roofs in the SSV (on Observatory Rock, etc.) you could play with if you insist, but don't waste your time in my opinion.

FLAG
By Jeff Chrisler
From Boulder, CO
May 18, 2012
If you aren't comfortable leading trad, and worried about falling, then I'd do a few things-
1. Get someone to look at your placements- ie an experienced friend or ideally a guide to critique and suggest better ideal placements in certain situations
2. Take lots of falls on sport- get used to falling there if you aren't already
3. Don't fall on trad leads - once you're comfortable with your placements there's no reason to start testing them out and f-ing up your gear and potentially yourself. Just climb, and a fall will happen at some point.

FLAG
By Dave Cummings
From Grand Junction, CO
May 18, 2012
me on my redpoint
Castle rock has some good cracks, bell buttress as well!

FLAG
By Brian in SLC
May 18, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
I was going to suggest a good therapist...

FLAG
 
By wankel7
From Indiana
May 18, 2012
Evan S wrote:
Practice falling on trad gear wont help you. It will mess up your cams and fix your nuts. If you're scared, double up on pieces and back everything up as your leading until you feel confident in your placements. There are some smaller roofs in the SSV (on Observatory Rock, etc.) you could play with if you insist, but don't waste your time in my opinion.


It helped me after spending three days taking Arno's falling and commitment class...it was a pretty awesome 3 days!

If you were to avoid a practice fall because it might mess up your gear then you might be afraid of messing up your gear in addition to falling on it. Fun!

FLAG
By kevin murphy
From Lafayette, Colorado
May 18, 2012
road
Agree with this being a bad practice, mileage on easy terrain is the best way to get prepared for gear climbing.Falls will happen.

FLAG
By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
Me, of course
wankel7 wrote:
It helped me after spending three days taking Arno's falling and commitment class...it was a pretty awesome 3 days! If you were to avoid a practice fall because it might mess up your gear then you might be afraid of messing up your gear in addition to falling on it. Fun!


I guess I've taken enough I wasn't planning for, and therefor have a different view. I don't care about my gear, it's cheap enough, I just want it in prime shape in case it actually has to save my life.

FLAG
By Unassigned User
May 18, 2012
I just chant "leader must not fall" as I navigate tricky sections. And when I do fall, well I sure do hope that last piece was not just mental pro.

In all seriousness I am a relatively new trad leader and I would not practice taking whippers on my gear. If it is cheap you should probably invest in better gear. My rack is far from cheap, matter of fact it is the second biggest investment in my life right behind my car and gaining. I treat all of the pieces like babies. I do want them to be in top shape when I do need my life saved so I don't whip on them "just to be sure of my gear"

FLAG
By prod.
From Boulder, Co
May 18, 2012
Diving board.

Prod.

FLAG
By Evan S
From Erie, CO
May 18, 2012
Me, of course
JonathanHillis wrote:
I just chant "leader must not fall" as I navigate tricky sections. And when I do fall, well I sure do hope that last piece was not just mental pro. In all seriousness I am a relatively new trad leader and I would not practice taking whippers on my gear. If it is cheap you should probably invest in better gear. My rack is far from cheap, matter of fact it is the second biggest investment in my life right behind my car and gaining. I treat all of the pieces like babies. I do want them to be in top shape when I do need my life saved so I don't whip on them "just to be sure of my gear"


By cheap, I mean an $80 cam is nothing compared my life or $30,000 in medical bills.

FLAG
By Unassigned User
May 18, 2012
I understand your use of the word cheap... My point is that I pay a lot of money for my gear, I baby it, and because of that I expect it to hold me when I fall. Taking whippers on it is not going to build confidence in it. The only thing that will build confidence in my gear is solid placements. I slap a tri cam in give it a jerk and climb above it knowing that it is bomber. Because really you coulld place a hundred pieces and whip on them and they hold, then whip on one with a bit of a run out and it fail, purely because the placement was a little different.

FLAG
By KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
May 18, 2012
Yes, place anchors from ground level, put a sling on it and bounce test. Wear a helmet and don't look at the piece while testing it. If it pops, it will come out like a sling shot.

FLAG
 
By prod.
From Boulder, Co
May 18, 2012
"If you want to learn to place gear, suggest building anchors near the ground, then move to aiding some pitches.
"

Agree with this completely. Go aid some easy cracks, that is the best way to see if gear is good or not. Fuck falling, that shit is scary.

Prod.

FLAG
By nbrown
From western NC
May 18, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
If you don't trust your gear, go do a few clean aid pitches. You'll have to hang on every piece, quickly building your confidence in what works and what doesn't. A lot of placements look okay when your new and don't think your gonna actually fall (while on lead) - 'til you realize that you actually might, then of course, your perspective changes.

Falling in general is different - to me it's no difference whether on gear or bolts (I'm usually scared either way...).

Edit: someone already beat me to the above suggestion.

FLAG
By Ben Walburn
May 18, 2012
"This definitely beats lying in a pile of saw dust all day"
I heard you ask a question about taking your trad climbing to the next step. I'm rather surprised at some of the responses. It appears that some are assuming you are not ready to start leading harder climbs via the conservative minded question you asked. Assuming that what was written above in feedback by all the other contributors as steps in the progress of learning to climb safely have already been done, and you feel you have sufficient mileage practicing to step it up a notch then do just that, STEP IT UP. Find a climb that test your onsight ability, has good pro, is maybe on the steeper side for safety and just go for it. That is the "LEAP OF FAITH". To reccomend appropriate areas or climbs would require the grade that makes you think you are going to fall. I fall on gear all the time, on small gear and it works, every time. I have never pulled a piece in 18 years, but we all have have different experiences.

Good luck be safe

FLAG
By Keny Glasscock
From Salt Lake City
May 19, 2012
Until you have actually fallen on gear you haven't fallen on gear. Work on placement on the ground: angle of rope travel, scenario's, slinging gear properly, etc. Then clean, clean, clean. I think you get more knowledge cleaning gear than you get from falling on it. Pay your dues on the belay ledge and then get on the sharp end, on a climb that you aren't going to fall or get all jimmy legged on and have at it. OJT is the best teacher.

FLAG
By AnthonyM
May 19, 2012
Maroon Bells-Bell Cord Couloir
I learned to trad climb through a college class that dealt with "Technical Anchor Building." The final involved building a three piece anchor and loading it with 500+Lbs. I placed so much gear and had a ton of evaluations/advice... It was amazing. If you can find something like this-you ought to take advantage of such. As with the posts prior, placing gear from the ground level is great-even do it while camping, find a rock that will take gear and play around-see what happens.

Falling on your own gear is spectacularly frightening... After taking a whipper you get to look up and see your piece bend, adjust/settle, and hope it holds. I would never want to do it intentionally. Beware of the "zipper effect" when one piece rips, the next one, and the next one... Never seen it but have heard horror stories.

When in doubt/prior to the crux place TWO bomber pieces. I cannot stress this enough. If you can spare the piece it will help you climb more safely... it also alerts your belayer that you are entering a hard spot (you could just communicate verbally) and can build confidence for the hard moves-knowing you are secured.

Also consider sport climbing but placing between bolts, place as much as possible, have someone experienced follow you... Get lowered and see what pieces pop.

FLAG
By GregParker
From Denver, CO
May 19, 2012
At the top of Basement
I wouldn't take 100 practice falls onto my gear, but don't see a problem with some practice falls. I don't know your financial situation, but for most, damaging an $80 cam would be a very small price to pay to get rid of a fear a falling.

The best place I can think of to take a practice fall is Headline (.10a) at Little Eiger in Clear Creek Canyon. It has everything you are looking for. It is slightly overhung at the top for super clean falls, takes bomber gear (.5, .75, 1 BD cams if memory serves), and great belayer spot. The best part for you is... it is a sport climb, so you can back all of your gear up.

I agree with a lot of the above comments.

1. Get comfortable taking lead falls on sport routes.
2. Get lots of milage trad climbing. Inspect your own pieces, inspect others, and have others inspect yours.
3. Falls happen. I don't agree with the "leader must not fall" idea for general climbing. If you think this way, just solo. Of course it is different if you run it out or you are on R/X climbs.

FLAG
By Leo Paik
Administrator
From Westminster, Colorado
May 19, 2012
For: Trad: "Leads 5.8 Follows 5.10a"

And: "top rope for backup, good gear placements, good position for my belayer, clear fall line."

You may consider N. Table Mt. You can access lots of the routes from above, there are loads of 5.6-5.9 trad lines between the bolted lines, the routes are short and near vertical. The only thing is being from Boulder, you might object to the minor distance. One challenge with Boulder Canyon is that routes in that difficulty range tend to be harder to set up top ropes, and the angle tends to be slabby in that difficulty range (adding to risk of catching an ankle or hitting something). Eldo is tough to set up TRs to practice leading.

FLAG
By ascender30
May 19, 2012
"Practice falling on trad gear"
?......

FLAG
 
By Darren Mabe
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 20, 2012
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of Twist of Fate, Oak Creek Canyon. <br /> <br />photo: Blake McCord
You will learn a lot catching an experienced climber falling on a harder route. And following their leads. Belaying(catching) experience is just as important as fall technique or and climbing harder. I personally don't feel comfortable climbing with someone that has never caught a fall. I don't want to be their first.

the leader does not fall mantra is a bit over kill though I would say there are plenty of times this is true, there also plenty of times it is safe to fall.

If you're worried about damaging your gear on a fall you may plateau at 5.9. Gear is meant to be used. And replaced when it is worn. Cams can log more falls than you think before they need to be replaced.

If you are hangdogging on gear, perhaps backing off a grade or two until this doesn't happen. Enjoy those routes, there are many of them.

I don't think I started falling on gear until I progressed into 5.10 or so. It is a natural progression. First you learn where it is safe to fall and where it is not. You learn where it is safe to run it out and where you are not comfortable with it. The harder routes are generally safer to fall on. Follow many routes and go back some day and REPEAT them on lead.

Try logging a lot of falls on sport routes. Learn where on sport routes it is safe to fall. Push your limits, and go for it.

In over fifteen years of climbing I don't remember if I ever took a practice fall. But as you continue to climb and progress it will happen.

FLAG
By JPVallone
May 20, 2012
Most of the south facing routes on the Wind Tower in Eldo.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>