Redpoint Cragging


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

Hey everyone,

So as the spring season starts up and I'm starting to plan trips, I've also started reflecting on the time I spend on these trips and routes I select. I've realized that I don't tend to push my grade often while outdoors, mainly sticking to ultra classic climbs that are well within my ability. The reasons I think I do this are:
1) I live with a kid in Chicago so I can't get out every weekend and want to climb as many routes as possible when I am there
2) Worry of leaving/losing gear
3) Fear of falling/injury

1&2 are IMO somewhat legitimate, 3 is for the most part irrational but I'd be lying if I said it didn't play a role at all. My goal is to get on some harder stuff (for me) this season, which got me curious:

How many of you redpoint while cragging? What I mean is let's say you ";;go climbing";; and you head up a route that's somewhat in your ability level but maybe a bit of a stretch. You dog your way up it or fall a few times and clip the chains, then do you...
a) move on to another route
b) work it again on toprope
c) pull the rope and try again
d) move on but then try it again the next time you're there

I usually do a or maybe d, but I'm thinking maybe I should try b or c the next trip. I'm not talking about multi-day focused projecting like the pros do, but simply hopping back on routes that you failed to onsight but can reasonably expect to climb cleanly with the right beta...OR routes that are a stretch but you're confident you can at least get to the permadraws/have a rope gun. How many of you repeat routes while cragging, and/or what's your strategy for pushing your limits while still maximizing your climbing time? How many goes do you give it before moving on?

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10

very interesting question...

Jon W · · Longmont Colorado · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 95

c.)

That is how you get stronger. In time you will onsite grades that take you a few tries right now.

In order to push your limits, you'll need to try things that are a little to hard and make yourself rise to the occasion.

ie., you won't climb 12s by working 10s and 11s (unless you are already strong enough and have a mental block...which is very common).

I have a bunch of projects between 12d and 13d. Some will go go quick and some will take all year. In between, I'll do a lot of .11s and low .12s that are in the area of the which ever project I'm on that day.

Aaron Mc. · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 45
Jon W wrote:c.) That is how you get stronger. In time you will onsite grades that take you a few tries right now. In order to push your limits, you'll need to try things that are a little to hard and make yourself rise to the occasion. ie., you won't climb 12s by working 10s and 11s (unless you are already strong enough and have a mental block...which is very common). I have a bunch of projects between 12d and 13d. Some will go go quick and some will take all year. In between, I'll do a lot of .11s and low .12s that are in the area of the which ever project I'm on that day.
+1

It also helps if people in your group working a harder route will let u jump on it to try it for a few times.
John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

I just want to know where you redeem all the red points when you get them.....;)

You sort of answered your own question in the preface. You got up it, in my book it's ticked, but if you want the clean lead you rehearse it on top rope while you're there. Once you have it figured out eat a PB&J and lead it again.

Makes the most of your time, gets you home to your kid without a side stop at the hospital.

See aerial anticipation, narrows, WMWR

JB

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

I couldn't tell you the amount of times, I have fallen on a route, proceeded to take at every bolt all the way up, and then send it 20 minutes later on a second go.

kevin neville · · Somerville, MA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 15

It kind of depends on how much I like the route and why I failed the initial attempt.
Suppose I failed the onsight because I didn't read the sequence right, find the balance, hit the hold with the right grip, etc. but now that I know what I'm doing I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be too challenging. Then either (a) move on if it's not a particularly interesting or fun route, or (c) re-climb it for the send if it's nice.
If I failed because I pumped out, I probably spent even more energy dogging it. I'm unlikely to get the send today, or unwilling to pay the price of complete forearm burn-out. Either (b) top-rope practice to try to get smoother and faster through crux sequences, with the option to rest and shake out at any point, or (d) leave it for now; routes that I've attempted but not yet sent do move up on the priorities list for a future date.

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

Usually B but I need to nut up and start going for C instead.

Edit: I was thinking trad. Now that I know we're talking sport, option C for sure.

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

If I'm on a trip to a new area, I tend to try routes, but not project them. I'll often give a harder route a second burn if I think I can send it. This is mostly because I'd rather sample alot of climbs than bang my head against one for my entire trip.

If I'm at my home crag or someplace I've been to a bunch, I'm much more likely to pick a project for the trip and try to send it.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

If you like the route, & think that there is a chance of sending, you can have both (a project & mileage).

Example: pick a project, do a few warmups, hang draws/sus out gear, red point attempt (or two), then move on to some cool down routes. This gives you at least a 5 distinct route day.

Next day, do the same thing, but now you don't have to waste time figuring gear/beta or hanging draws. When fatigue sets in, move on to easier but enjoyable alternatives.

C Ross · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 105

Maybe it takes a change of how you look at your climbing trips. Sounds like you approach your trips like a checklist with the goal of checking off as many routes as possible. Instead put your focus to time on the wall. This way you will not look at the trip as wasted if you maybe do a warm up route or two then spend your time projecting routes at your limit. You might actually find you spend more time actually climbing vs moving around to the next route.

To me if I show up at the crag red point or take just a handful of falls on everything that day I walk away disappointed. I climb to push myself not put a checkmark next to every route in the guide book. It is a good day when I project something and make progress whether or not I make the anchor.

Mark Paulson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 80

As someone who primarily enjoys onsight sport climbing. . .

My typical strategy with my partner on routes <12c or so:

1st person on the route goes for an earnest onsight attempt. If there's a fall, then it's bolt to bolt to suss beta and conserve energy.

Second person gets the level of beta spray they wish and goes for a flash.

If we both get it, we move on. If the OS goes but the flash fails, the OS'er, displaying gracious magnanimity, belays for at least another burn or two. If the OS fails but the flash goes, the first climber, aided now by further beta refinement from the flasher, gives it another burn or two. If neither goes, we discuss route quality, RP feasibility, and proceed accordingly. Only in the case of extreme difficulty or extreme suckage will we not give a route a second burn. Usually toproping is reserved for either very hard routes where a flash is deemed extremely unlikely, general laziness, or cleaning.

Recently, we've adopted a couple of tacit, "character-building" policies for our trips, the first being to always try to get on at least one very hard (for us) climb that we know will not go that day, usually in the 12d and up range. It's a good way to keep your "try-hard" honed, stay motivated, and not pigeon-hole your notions of what grades you can climb. There's nothing like getting on a line you feel is way out of your league and actually making it to the chains, no matter how many times you hang. Also, it's only by actually getting a climb you can't do that you learn _why_ you can't do it, and can then train accordingly.

The second (which is not particularly germane to this thread) is to always do at least one trad line, which I liken to the proverbial eating of one's vegetables. I usually hate it at the time, but waste no time in telling people how cool the line/experience was immediately afterwards (having not died).

Nick Thomas · · Fargo, ND · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 30

For me it depends if it's in area I'll get to climb a lot or not. For example, I went to HCR for a couple days with some buddies this spring. I don't think I'll get to be back down there again for quite a while, so I enjoyed onsighting the easier classics and taking/falling my way up some of the harder ones. If it took me more than 20 minutes I'd call it good and not worry about the red point. We just didn't have that much time in the area and I didn't want to be taking away my friends' climbing time by starting a project. Now if it was in an area I'd be able to climb more often, then I'd work it until sent.

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

Haha...I'm the opposite, because then I get an excuse not to have to try as hard ;). Plus, those jams...nothing more panick- reducing than a bomber hand crack.

Anyways, thanks a lot! There've been some really cool and helpful replies. I should probably clarify that this is for sport climbing, mostly in the Red. For trad climbing, I shamelessly TR rehearse or climb moderates unless the pro is super solid because again: family. So assume stick clipping, competent belays, and no real concern for #3. I have been inching my trad grade up and do have a few projects picked out, but these are still a full number grade or two below my max/RP grade.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,005
Eric Carlos wrote:I couldn't tell you the amount of times, I have fallen on a route, proceeded to take at every bolt all the way up, and then send it 20 minutes later on a second go.
completely agree. one of the best bits of advice i ever received from mark anderson was to basically strike while the iron is hot. if you don't get the route try it again while it is still fresh in your mind.

if you do this, you will learn a lot about how much easier a route is if you are mentally relaxed, etc. if you don't do this, i think you miss out on a huge learning experience.
reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
Ted Pinson wrote:I'm starting to plan trips...Worry of leaving/losing gear
You are talking about sport routes right? Just much $ worth of gear will you be losing vs the overall cost of the trip? You'll find it's mostly emotional lose from the bruised ego.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Hmm...true, as long as you're not using Spirits or Alphas, haha.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125

^^^
1) You don't need to leave a whole draw (but pls don't leave quick links).
2) If you got $ for fancy draws, I've got no sympathies for you.

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

If you get so shut down that you absolutely cannot make it to the next bolt, why not just haul up a stick clip? There is really no reason to leave bail gear on a sport route.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290

Yeah #2 is BS. I usually have an alpine draw with two fairly cheap biners on me in case I need to extend a bolt. If I can’t dog my way to the top of something, I just leave the two biners from my alpine draw and lower off the top two bolts. $10 worth of gear tops? I can even save $5 more by leaving only one biner, but I have kids too and the extra $5 is worth it to me. I’ve also picked up plenty of bail gear over the years that I’m actually netting positive (I'm also surprised that some people actually leave a full quickdraw to bail).

One consideration that hasn’t been mentioned is how many days in a row will you be climbing, and which day are you on. I guess it also depends on how fast you recover, but for me If I give three solid RP burns on a project at my limit, I will not climb well for at least a day, possibly two. So if I’m on day one of a three-day climbing trip, it’s not worth it to burn myself out by working some mega proj.. But if I’m on the last day of a trip, then yeah, I will throw myself at a proj until I can’t close my hands, then ask someone else to drive me home. So c) or d) for me.

Try to avoid b) if you can. 1. TR messes your lead head. 2. It can also mess up your sequence because you don’t usually consider clipping stances when you TR. 3. On a pumpy overhanging route (at the Red), TR’ing is just as exhausting as leading, except maybe you get a mental break from leading… which leads back to point #1.

Hillbill · · Indianapolis · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 360

I made the switch from doing mileage to redpointing a few years ago and I've found redpointing routes much more rewarding/enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, doing as many classic easy routes as you can is fun at times but there's nothing like sending a project after working on it for a couple trips. I can only get outside every other month or so unfortunately, but I am able to climb at a local gym. It's much easier to train in the gym when you're obsessing over a project than just getting in shape to "climb a bunch of easies". If you are really intimidated by a route then just go bolt to bolt and try better your next attempt. Try the route as many times as you can while you're there and start figuring out the beta (toprope or lead). Routes feel soooo much easier on the second and third attempts. I've never been more motivated to climb harder once I started focusing on redpointing.

Also, like the guy said before me, if you have a stickclip you shouldn't have to leave a bail biner regardless of where you are on the route. There's instructions on how to do it in most climbing books.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply