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Beginner Trad Advice???


Original Post
Andrew Smith · · Dallas, TX · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 45

Hello all,

I am looking to make the shift from outdoor sport climbing to traditional climbing. I have friends that are into sport but unfortunately do not know anyone that is into trad climbing. I am looking forward to exploring areas that are unbolted. In terms of ability, I can lead successfully up to 5.11a outside. Being a novice, I would appreciate any advice you can give on how to start learning, what a "standard rack" would consist of, resources, etc.? I live in Dallas, TX so I will naturally have to travel to places like Wichita Wildlife Preserve in Oklahoma, Sam's Throne in Arkansas, and Enchanted Rock near Austin on weekends to begin to learn. Thanks everyone for the advice!

Andrew

Paul Hutton · · Dirtbaggin · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 706

Delete this thread and look up existing threads

Seth Jones · · New Lenox, IL · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 25

"Place well thy protection lest the earth rise up and smite thee."

Plenty of MP threads about what gear to include for your first rack, just do some searching. Most people will recommend .5-3 C4 and a set of nuts for a minimal starter rack.

Travis Provin · · Boulder CO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 105

1. Read this then read it again

2. Post in the partners forum for your local area, find a mentor

3. Starter trad rack

Follow, aid, mock lead, place gear, and as others have said, search...

Alex James · · Ballard, WA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 168

Since you sounds like you don't know any competent trad climbers, I would suggest hiring a guide. They would give you a good solid base of knowledge instead of some random person you befriend just so you can learn trad. Once you have some fundamentals down from a professional source you can go out with other people. This way you can at least know when they're fucking up and not being safe instead of being oblivious.

I would also recommend hiring said guide for a weekend before you go invest in gear. That way you get some idea of what you want to buy and if trad climbing is even for you. Everyone's rack is slightly different in terms of what brand cams they carry, whether they carry hexes or tricams etc.

Robert Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 156

Andrew, I am in the Austin area, and there is a very active and friendly climbing community here. If you want to learn some trad at E-Rock, consider joining the Austin Climbing Group on FB, where people frequently post for plans and partners. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a group to join or someone to go out there with you.

If you go with the suggestion to hire a guide, look into Rock About. I do not work for them and have no ownership stake, so I am not self-promoting here. But I have met the owner and have seen him and his staff in action, and they do a solid job, and they do offer trad instruction.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Most of the basics have been covered, but I'll add regional specific beta: I'd focus your attention south (ERock), not north (Wichita). I've heard good things about the climbing there (supposed to be bomber granite), but the ethics are a little severe and there seems to be an unhealthy obsession with R or X-rated routes, meaning the protection is poor and you can kill yourself if you fall. I may be wrong about this and I'd love for an OK native to chime in and tell me I'm wrong, but the impression I get is that it'd be a hard place to learn trad.

Erock, on the other hand, is a fantastic place to learn. Lots of splitters, easy, well protected routes, and blank faces that make for safe falls (most low grade trad climbs tend to be really ledgy). There's also an abundance of sillily short climbs, which make for great first trad leads. It's a lot of crack climbing, but climbs like Cave Crack and Sweat will make you love crack climbing. Join the San Antonio and Austin rock climbing Facebook groups...both go there a lot and there are some great people who would be willing to let you tag along and show you the ropes...literally. ;)

Andrew Smith · · Dallas, TX · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 45

Thanks for all the help!

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

you would be doing the dying

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Ted sort of has it right, we have a lot of X&R in Ok. Most at quartz. If you're a strong 11 climber 5.7 run out slab in Ok should be a breeze. EDIT; (I was tired when I got in last night) Not sure where Ted formed his opinion that there is an "unhealthy obsession" with R and X in OK, or that you'll get hurt or killed here LOL. Probably from my posts as most OK climbers aren't very vocal on here, again LOL,

Not sure what "severe ethics" are either, there aren't any climbing police in the WMWR but you do need a permit to bolt. If not wanting added bolts to existing routes, not wanting modified holds, and not having our slabs turn into the gym is considered "severe" then maybe (I am) we are. Since you are looking to climb "unbolted routes" none of that's a factor in this conversation anyway.

Oklahoma is a great place for trad climbing, you may have to clip a bolt or two on mixed lines but there's enough gear only climbs to keep you occupied without clipping a bolt for the next five years. END EDIT

A standard Wichitas rack is a set of stoppers, doubles on tens and twelves.
Full set of cams, doubles or triples on threes and fours.
Slings and biners, a few draws for the sport or mixed lines.

You can do anything in the refuge with this. JB

Serge Smirnov · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 235

Choose popular routes and read route-specific MountainProject comments. Usually you will find gear beta, sometimes even comments indicating that the route (is or isn't) a good first trad lead.

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

If you like chossy or blank faces with some cracks then the Wichitas and Enchanted Rock are for you. But you have to post about your sick 5.9 R that you sent over the weekend or they won't let you back.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Or PM me, I'll give you a list that will keep you busy (and alive) for a year once you're comfortable with your placements. JB

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
jmmlol wrote:If you like chossy or blank faces with some cracks then the Wichitas and Enchanted Rock are for you. But you have to post about your sick 5.9 R that you sent over the weekend or they won't let you back.
Lol troll........;)
jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0
John Barritt wrote:Lol troll........;)
There's a reason only Oklahoma climbers and bored Dallas climbers with racks go to the Wichitas.
Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

be suyre to study all your leatherbound books smelling of rich mohagony and do many placings in the crack at ground level, bounce testing with zeal of horny teenager, before you venture out to your first 5.6 choss-gulley for first trad climbing rocks vision quest.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
John Barritt wrote:Ted sort of has it right, we have a lot of X&R in Ok. Most at quartz. If you're a strong 11 climber 5.7 run out slab in Ok should be a breeze. EDIT; (I was tired when I got in last night) Not sure where Ted formed his opinion that there is an "unhealthy obsession" with R and X in OK, or that you'll get hurt or killed here LOL. Probably from my posts as most OK climbers aren't very vocal on here, again LOL, Not sure what "severe ethics" are either, there aren't any climbing police in the WMWR but you do need a permit to bolt. If not wanting added bolts to existing routes, not wanting modified holds, and not having our slabs turn into the gym is considered "severe" then maybe (I am) we are.
Mainly from stuff like this:
mountainproject.com/v/quart…

Again, not to say that he shouldn't climb in Ok, but more that ERock will be a more pleasant place to learn. Easy access, occasional bolted anchors, solid gear...and no "XX" routes.
John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053
Ted Pinson wrote: Mainly from stuff like this: mountainproject.com/v/quart… Again, not to say that he shouldn't climb in Ok, but more that ERock will be a more pleasant place to learn. Easy access, occasional bolted anchors, solid gear...and no "XX" routes.
What? No XX?
Just kidding....

I hear you, quartz is a nervy place. The WMWR not so much. It's there too but you have to seek it out. Lots of good trad to be had and some condensed areas offer a lot of choices per stop. The refuge is 2.5hr from Dallas too.

Hooper and I followed Duane around in the early 80s, Russell would have us on anything new before the chalk was gone. No telling how many second party ascents we bagged.

It wasn't really an obsession with run outs as much as if there wasn't a stance or Duane was comfortable he would keep going. Most of the bolting was done with hand drills. It just evolved into a style. I learned a lot from those days. A cool head is worth more than anything in this sport.

It's important to note that in older OK guidebooks R means run out. Not quite the same as it's present meaning on here. JB
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Good to know!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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