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looking for beginner trad spots MA/nh

Original Post
duggk · · arlington · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 110

looking to practice placing gear. I'm comfortable with anchor building, rope systems etc. i'm in boston but willing to travel the typical 2-3 hours

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Given that you are in the Boston area I think that Crow Hill would be your best bet. There are a number of routes, including a couple of'2-pitchers' with easy to moderate grades that offer good protection possibilities. Even closer to home, there are a number of very short, easy cracks in the Lakeside area of Hammond Pond that offer good opportunities to practice placing gear. Further west there are some good possibilities at Rose and Farley Ledges, though the 'entrance grades' are a bit steeper--generally 5.7 or 8 and above, with a few easier. Up north, the North End at Cathedral Ledge has several good options, as do some of the smaller crags in Franconia--check out the new The Notches guidebook. This should be enough to get you going.

Jay Morse · · Hooksett, New Hampshire · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 30

Red Rocks in Gloucester has some nice moderate trad lines, worth a visit.

Rumney is underrated for trad: 5.8 Crack by the Road, Beginner's Route, Holderness Corner, Pine Tree Crack, Pee Wee's, and Slack are all great moderates.  Lots of moderate bolted routes that go well on gear too.

Farley Ledges is probably your best bet, the problem being there's no guidebook so you'll have to ask around - and though the locals are friendly, not everyone knows the trad routes there.  There are great moderates though. Lots of mixed routes too - look for routes with a gold-colored first bolt.  

Pawtuckaway has some great moderates too 

Echo crag and Square ledge in the Whites

dragons · · MWV, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 630

I practiced at Crow Hill, Hammond Pond, Red Rocks, and even Quincy when starting. 

If you don't mind the graffiti, there's Black Knight at Quincy.

Hammond Pond certainly has cracks and opportunities for pro. The limitation is that the puddingstone there is so iffy that I wouldn't trust it to hold a fall. I've had pieces of the stuff pop off while testing gear in cracks. So I'm not sure that any experience you get there would help you elsewhere.

At Crow Hill I'd suggest setting up a top rope on Boardwalk, tying into the top rope, and then mock-leading it, and taking short practice falls on your gear after you set each piece (the top-rope is your back up in case the gear does not hold). Your second/belayer will need to be skilled enough to belay you on two ropes - one for the top rope and one for the lead rope. I've done this and it's extremely useful. You might try doing this on Intertwine as well. But please do it at a low-traffic time of the week or other climbers will be giving you the evil eye :)

Nick Grant · · Natick, MA & Tamworth, NH · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 15

How much gear have you taken OUT?  My thinking is that it is best to second a lot of climbs (perhaps you already have), and then the transition to placing gear and setting up anchors happens very naturally.  You can learn pretty much everything you need to know by climbing for a while with an experienced leader. If you are accustomed to cleaning 5.9's, it will be pretty easy to lead a 5.7.  

Also, how much sport climbing have you done?  Climbing 10 feet above a bolt is good "head" training (especially if it's a marginal bolt . . .).  Sport climbing also teaches you how to fall, and, more importantly, how not to be intimidated by falling.

If you've done a lot of seconding on trad routes, and if you've clipped a lot of bolts and taken a lot of falls on sport climbs, learning how to lead trad routes will be a piece of cake. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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