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Good Beginner Leads in Boulder Canyon with a Starter Rack


Original Post
Drew Megura · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 40

Hi all, I'm a .11 sport climber whose finally making the transition into trad. I'm looking for some good beginner leads to get going but I only have a very entry level rack and don't want to get in over my head. Currently I'm working with a double set of nuts and a single set of C4s from .3-3. I've seen it mentioned a lot here that Cob Rock and The Dome are good starting points but I'm hesitant to get on something only to find out I don't have enough pro. Especially considering NFC on Cob is a multi so I'll need to build an anchor in addition to what I place leading. So bearing my entry-level rack in mind, anyone have any good recommendations?

Mauricio Herrera Cuadra · · Mendoza, Argentina · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 2,946

Check out Nip and Tuck, it has short & easy trad lines. Also, you could look into areas with mixed routes, for which one set of cams and a set of nuts (along with quickdraws) would mostly suffice. Some areas that come to mind: Tonnere Tower (Garden, Creekside), Bihedral, Avalon (Three Dihedrals).

Michael Colby · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 15

Happy Hour Crag.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

You have plenty of pro.

Christopher Gibson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 90

What was said earlier, happy hour is great, easy top access and a plethora of easy to moderate short -80'routes, cascade crag has easy 5.7 mixed lines with sport anchors at the top and castle rock has a nice 5.6 two pitch climb were the first pitch is bolted so you dont need gear and as an 11 climber you can run out some easy sections if needed but could also use those double set of nuts. I agree with parker, you have plenty of pro to start and it will force you to use those nuts instead of instantly reaching for cams.

Drew Megura · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 40

Thanks for the recommendations everyone. I'll have to check out the Tonnere Tower's mixed routes since I'd be able to push harder routes (Fields of Gold in particular looks pretty fun). I should've added that I've been soloing up to 5.6s for awhile now so I think I'd be comfortable trying lines up to 5.9 depending on how long/sustained they are. For instance I soloed The Dome's East Slab this morning and while I love the line and will probably be back to do it again, I feel like it might take the fun out of the route to do it on gear. Should I still practice on the easier routes just to dial in my placements though?

Mauricio Herrera Cuadra · · Mendoza, Argentina · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 2,946
Drew Megura wrote:Should I still practice on the easier routes just to dial in my placements though?
Practice is the only thing that will make you confident your gear will hold in the case of a fall in the upper grades. Lots of mileage while placing gear in different types of rock is the only way to master knowledge and trust in natural protection. Do short aid climbs, bounce test every placement. Make it hold your weight. Take controlled/safe falls. Do not underestimate practice.
Drew Megura · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 40

Mauricio, I like your idea that I should try short aid climbs. The reason I've been hesitant to try the easier stuff was because my thought process was that if it's not hard enough, I'll never fall, and then I'll never actually be testing out my placements. Although now it sounds like if I practice on some aid climbs to learn what holds/what doesn't, I can then apply that to the easier climbs where I can practice placing lots of pro while actually having an idea of whether my placements are shit or not. Thanks!

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

You don't need an aid climb just take one aid ladder with you and clip and bounce. Not nearly the force of a fall but it is something. you can take some whips with a backup top rope or on a route with good bolts as a back up.

There are a lot of fun climbs at the lower grades just because you place some gear and have a rope doesn't have to take away from the climb. Maybe you run it out a lot instead of placing pro (don't forget your second though).

If you don't practice putting in good gear with a good mentor you can get into trouble in the future on hard climbs.

Matt Pierce · · Denver, CO · Joined May 2010 · Points: 276

Happy Hour Crag is good - you can also go up around top and setup a top rope and mock lead - placing gear on top rope - if you want some safer practice...

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

I highly recommend you purchase this excellent book to help you decide what to lead in the front range as you learn. A friend gave it to me and I've passed my copy on to another friend. Steve's illustrations and discussions about the routes are informative and entertaining. Glad I got to meet him once.

amazon.com/Serious-play-ann…

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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