Any experienced climbers in Alabama?


Original Post
Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0

Hi folks, I'm from Alabama. Relatively new to climbing, comfortably climbing 5.9s. I've got a few friends around here to climb with but I'd like to climb with someone I can learn from. I aspire to climb half dome next summer (quite a goal I know) If anyone is interested in hanging out, maybe showing me the ropes involving trad climbing and multi-pitching hit me up. I'm a younger guy and generally pretty amiable and quick to shut up and learn.

Jon Powell · · LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 110

Sand Rock is going to be your best place to meet climbers in Alabama. If there are any gyms I would recommend trying to meet climber there as well.  I would never ever knock anyone's goal but don't rush into such big goals right away. Half Dome is a big goal but there are so many other disciplines to learn than just the climbing part. The southeast has some great multi pitch trad routes to fine tune your skills on . Good luck and be safe 

 

Ben Lyon · · Steele, Alabama, USA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Where in Alabama are you located? If you would like to visit Steele, get in a half a day for the basics sometime, let that sink in, then follow up... I might be qualified to assist. 

Further, with a six month old and my last reliable partner having moved to Colorado a few months ago, I am eager to get back out. One can only boulder and rope-solo so much. 

I've been climbing 12 years, have climbed all over the USA, primarily "trad" and multipitch, have never dropped anyone, and (very important) have never been dropped myself.

Let me know. 

Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0
Jon Powell wrote:

Sand Rock is going to be your best place to meet climbers in Alabama. If there are any gyms I would recommend trying to meet climber there as well.  I would never ever knock anyone's goal but don't rush into such big goals right away. Half Dome is a big goal but there are so many other disciplines to learn than just the climbing part. The southeast has some great multi pitch trad routes to fine tune your skills on . Good luck and be safe 

 

Jon, I appreciate the wisdom and advice. I also realize that a big wall climb such as half dome is not to be taken lightly. This is why I have created this post as to maybe find some people to climb with to help me achieve my goal. I think a year of excessive gym climbing and as much training from people more experienced than me as I can get will put me in a pretty good spot to accomplish this.

Ben Lyon · · Steele, Alabama, USA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Where there is a will, there is a way.  

sam england · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 410

Where are you located in Alabama?  Are you looking to do a wall route like the Regular Northwest Face Route or something more like Snake Dike?

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

Sandrock is not the place I would go to meet experienced climbers.  I think most people climbing there are making the gym to crag transition, and its definitely the shit show capital of Alabama (at least as far as climbing). 

Also be aware that big walls are different from typical trad climbing. A multipitch route like Snake Dike is must more realistic than a wall route...

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 305
Brandon.Phillips wrote:

Also be aware that big walls are different from typical trad climbing. A multipitch route like Snake Dike is must more realistic than a wall route...

Yep. You will have to learn how to aid climb as well as learn all the systems associated with multi-pitch climbing (or go with someone who knows exactly what they are doing). Learn how to trad climb over the winter, go climb Snake Dike next Summer, then set your sights for the NW Face and learn how to aid. The mountain isn't going anywhere and you wont be slow and get in others people's way. Keep in mind a standard aid rack for any big wall like the RNWF will run you a few thousand dollars at least.  

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585

Definitely don't mess with that Sam England character. He's not experienced and he's way sketchy.

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17c/newswire-first-ascent-marooned-at-midnight

Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0

Im fully aware of the implications paired with a big wall climb. I also realize that as of now this feat is far beyond my capabilities. I hope that after another year of learning and practicing the necessary skills, and with a few solid multi-pitch climbs under my belt maybe this will be something that is within my grasp. You all have given me a lot to take into consideration, thanks for the input!

Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0
Derek DeBruin wrote:

Definitely don't mess with that Sam England character. He's not experienced and he's way sketchy.

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17c/newswire-first-ascent-marooned-at-midnight

Hahahaha I read that article, wild stuff! I probably wouldn't go climb a previously unclimbed rock face in China with the fella but I'm sure he could teach me a thing or two!

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Parker Fagan wrote:

Hahahaha I read that article, wild stuff! I probably wouldn't go climb a previously unclimbed rock face in China with the fella but I'm sure he could teach me a thing or two!

Just wanna make sure my sarcasm wasn't lost in translation. Sam is a good guy and knows what he's doing. If you get a chance to climb with him, I'd take it.

Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0
Derek DeBruin wrote:

Just wanna make sure my sarcasm wasn't lost in translation. Sam is a good guy and knows what he's doing. If you get a chance to climb with him, I'd take it.

I didn't take it as anything cynical! 

Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0
sam england wrote:

Where are you located in Alabama?  Are you looking to do a wall route like the Regular Northwest Face Route or something more like Snake Dike?

I'm in central AL, currently living in Auburn. My idea is the RNWF but if that time comes around and I don't think I'm ready, might hit something else like snake dike.

Ryan7crew · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 65

As someone who learned to climb in Alabama with similar goals, I'll give you some advice.  For starters, probably don't go to sandrock to learn anything properly.  Second, get you a solid mentor or two to teach you the basics.  Belaying, placing gear, etc.  Hell, I learned to trad climb at Steele, so maybe take Ben up on his offer. There are even some basic multipitch routes there.  But don't get suckered into this old school mentor mentality.  After you know the basics, branch out to anyone and everyone you can meet.  That's really how you are going to learn some new skills.  Sticking with the same mentor forever is how you get ideas like simul rapping is bad, or only use totem cams.  There's more than one way to do everything and the only way you'll see everything is with multiple partners.  Then you can decide the best way for you.  Eventually you'll probably have to teach something to yourself, but by then you'll have enough skills that you can combine all the right ones and figure it out.

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

I agree with everything Ryan said- learn from a mentor, branch out on your own, climb with multiple partners, and don't learn from people at Sandrock. All solid advice. 

Spend some time climbing long free routes as well.  The only way to get used to exposure is to be up there.  Certainly people have done it with less, but if I was going to climb a wall route in Yosemite I would want to be able to free climb 5.10 in the valley on gear, and have my rope systems dialed. I don't know what how much sun the regular northwest face gets, but in general big wall season in Yosemite starts at the end up Sept. Aid pitches go slow, and you have to haul all your water.  Maybe pick up Chris McNamara's How to Big Wall Climb book if you want to get an idea of what the process looks like. 

Take your time and set yourself up for success-  Half Dome isn't going anywhere. Except for the pitch and a half that fell off a couple of years ago.

Ben Lyon · · Steele, Alabama, USA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

10 or so routes on LK up to 5.10/5.8R, and 100 single pitch sandstone routes, and I think Snake Dike should be no issue.  

RNWF.... may wanna spend two seasons, get some aid climbing in, and do at least one trip west beforehand.  Call it a scouting mission.  

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Ben Lyon is a good guy. You'd stand to learn a lot from him.

Ryan7crew · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 65

Oh and go to North Carolina a lot.  That's the only big stuff around really.  You'll get your systems dialed there

Jon Powell · · LAWRENCEVILLE GEORGIA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 110

I agree with everyone's comments about Sand Rock not being the place to learn the skills he is wanting to learn  to climb Half Dome but it is a good starting place to transition from gym to crag since it is basically and outdoor gym.  Definitely not the place to learn trad or multi pitch. Stone Depot or Mt Yonah (neither in Alabama but close) are great paces to learn multi pitch on well bolted routes and both offer some mixed routes with good solid anchors and bolts to supplement the gear placements  


Parker Fagan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 26 days ago · Points: 0
Ryan7crew wrote:

Oh and go to North Carolina a lot.  That's the only big stuff around really.  You'll get your systems dialed there

Even before I climbed I went to NC a lot. Mtb and whitewater are my other loves! Hopefully I'll die in Nantahala (later rather than sooner)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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