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Sport to trad

Original Post
Tim Heney · · South lake Tahoe, Ca · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Good day all,

Here is my question,  so I'm working from doing mostly sport ( avg of 5.11b) and getting into Trade climbing.  My main question is,  how do u get over the mental fact of the falls on trad gear.  

I do understand that a well placed cam/s during a fall should be able to hold but I still get this mind set in my head it's going to slip.

Tim Cooney · · Traveling the USA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 111

The best way IMO is to just fall on it. I started leading and I didn't fall for a bit but I finally got tired one day and slipped out- it held. I guess you could practice with a crash pad below you or a top rope backup.

Nick Thomas · · Fargo, ND · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 35

It’s a good idea to learn from experienced climbers how to place gear.  One of the best ways to do this is just by following them up a lot of routes.  You get to see where they decided to put gear, how/what they placed, and lots of other things like if they extended or not.  Plus, since trad climbing involves some different techniques than sport climbing (jamming primarily) you’ll get experience with that so you don’t feel as rushed once you’re placing gear on the sharp end.  

When you are confident in your gear placing abilities jump on lead and give it a shot.  Choose your routes wisely, start below your limit and when you try ones near your limit make sure they are easy to protect.  Then you can feel confident in taking a fall on bomber gear.

David Kutassy · · Charlottesville, VA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 5

I'm learning to place and trust gear too. I've been placing gear at ground level and on boulder problems. On boulders I'll wear my harness and clip directly to the placement with a quickdraw to test it with body weight.

There are two 5.8 sport routes a few hours away that take gear. So I took a few falls on gear backed up by bolts. C4s held perfect in the horizontal cracks.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 135

How did you get over being willing to make a hard move 10' above your last clip?

Place more gear, and have other, more experienced climbers critique it.  I have placed a few bits of marginal gear, and every time, I know that they are marginal.  They are also the only pieces that have ever popped on me.  Eventually as you set more, you will set it and forget it.  In the mean time, place more gear, climb a bit easier, and really think about what you are placing.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 401

In my opinion, aid climbing teaches you the intricacies of gear and what holds much quicker than beginning trad.  Find a straightforward splitter crack and aid it.  If it's a bolted crack or seam, even better; move upward on aid, and clip bolts for pro as others have mentioned here.

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

The funny thing is the biggest fall I ever had on a piece of trad gear held even though I was questioning if it would hold but because I was on an overhang when I tried to pull on the rope to get back on the wall it popped on me. Part of climbing trad is learning how good your placement is, plenty of times you don't have much of a choice but to place a piece of gear that you question about holding a fall and having the nerve to keep climbing.

Ben Nunez · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

My opinion is place two or three bomber peace's fairly close to eachother  and then go for it, try taking a small fall then check the cam that it's still in a good bomber spot (it shouldn't move if placed right) then take a real fall on it, I would also do this on bomber rock, I been on some sketchy sand stone that I would not want to fall on.

Best of luck tim!

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

If you have two buddies who would agree to spend a day practicing with you, you could go to 90 foot wall and set up some topropes, which you could then lead.  I can't remember all those routes precisely but I know a number of them are quite leadable.  One person belays you on a loose toprope and the other belays you on your lead.  You can practice placing your gear (always a different feeling than clipping a bolt, and take practice falls above the gear you have placed.  If the piece pulls, the TR catches you.

But in general, you can tell by the feel of the piece when you place it and yank it a bit whether it's ever going to pull. I subscribe to the "protect really well near the ground or a ledge" mentality - place closely or double up at critical junctures.  And of course there is the old adage, not usually applicable to sport climbing, "the leader must not fall".  I probably lead dozens of things a year that have a section or sections where it would be really, really bad for me to fall.  Climb stuff well below your limit until you get a good feeling about it all.

Benjamin Mitchell · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

Find some routes that are hard for you and which are steep and extremely well protected with no ledges to fall on. Then get on them and climb til you fall. Climbing with a TR backup sounds a bit impractical and won't do much to help you conquer your fears. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Beginning Climbers
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