/ Beginning to trad lead
After years of seconding I've decided to take the next step and start practicing trad leads and gear placement. Can anyone recommend places where there are easy single pitch routes that can be accessed from top and bottom by foot, i.e. like Stanage. I live near London but anywhere in the UK is good.
Secondly, a lead rack - I'm planning on getting a set of DMM wallnuts 1-11, a set of torque nuts, 10 quickdraws of 25cm, nut key, helmet and gear sling. I've already got 3 HMS and 3 locking carabiners, a couple of 60, 120, 240 cm slings, 50m outdoor rope, harness, shoes, belay plate. Is there anything that you think I've missed for a beginners lead rack?
Thank you for your help!
I did my first trad leads at Windgather. It's a lovely crag with a great atmosphere and great looking routes (particularly high buttress arete which is top of my list for next visit). Really beginner friendly with lots of routes in Mod-VDiff range. I'd suggest getting on Staircase or Buttress Two Gully for your first lead. Just be prepared for the fact that you'll need to use gear (or at least some slings and screwgates) to build you anchor as there are no stakes, trees or convenient rocks.
To give you a feel, over the sum of those two routes, the gear I placed was roughly: two slings through threads, five cam placements and one or two nuts, plus three nuts and a few slings for anchors. I could probably have replaced some of the cams with hexes and maybe found nut placements instead but overall I was glad I decided to buy cams.
Read these two for starters, as well as the advice you get in this thread.
I would echo the advice that a variety of quickdraw lengths will be more useful than 10 x 25cm.
Many people say you should serve an apprenticeship on wires before you buy cams. I can see the logic in that, but if you're going to the Peak, cams will be very reassuring. I certainly would have progressed much faster if I hadn't waited so long to buy a full set.
I have DMM Dragons in 2, 3 and 4 but have ended up feeling very run out in certain situations, particularly Stanage. I'm thinking about buying some additional cams in 2 and 3 but would rather not as rack already feels very big and we're in a recession!
It's sometimes to wait that little bit longer and solidify the basics before pushing on.
Yeah. Like I say, I can see the logic - it makes sense to learn the basics. I guess I self-excluded for too long. When I finally got my hands on a full set of cams, it was a bit of a revelation.
Surely wires are suited better to tapering cracks and surely cams are suited better to vertical sided cracks.
I'm a new climber, with wires and cams. The routes I have done mainly do take more wires than cams. But surely by todays climbing standards you do and will need cams on some routes, especially on grit.
If your leading and can't place any sort of protection correctly, then surely you shouldn't be leading!
My advice along with most books I've read, is to get a decent variety of both wires and cam's.
I can't be arsed to get into the debate, eventually as a solid leader a climber should be able to draw upon a wealth of past experience and make a decision based upon a number of fluid factors... How far am I going to fall, How hard is the next move, How good was my last peice of gear, What pieces do I have left, Why the F**k did I leave my wires at home , If that bloke looks at my MRS Arse again I'm going to brain him with my Hex 11.
One thing to consider is the number of people that will be posting on here over the next few months that have lost cams because as new leaders they placed them badly... it happens every yer for a reason ;0)
That's because you are with the majority. Learning to place cams isn't so hard that it can't be done from the start and I fail to see any causal connection with placing nuts badly (this assumes all climbers are lazy and will fail to sort out important gear placement skills leaving themselves at risk).
My tip is if you can climb with some better climbers (if not that, at least a range of climbers). Its important to get proportionate constructive critisism on how you are going and not to be held back with a little too much 'learn your trade at grade' and weighed down with too much pro (too often the case with amateur bumbly teachers).
"I can't be arsed to get into the debate," really? (and remember this is a beginner's forum with it's distinct rules).
Back to the Op... Top tip for not loosing cams...dont place the small ones (especially around friend 1 size) too deep and extend them to stop them walking in.
We are very much pasted the days of tieing ropes around our waists and whereing plimsoles.
Like I said before, if you can't place a wire or cam correctly you shouldn't be using any, nor leading.
In my own opinion, I like to take 1 set of dmm wall nuts and selection of wild country wires as extras. A full set of dragons aswell. Gives me the piece of mind that I've got a piece of protection for most circumstances.
The days of no protection and proper footwear are long gone, learn to evolve with the climbing scene. Or stick to what you prefer, but I'd encourage every trad climber to get wires, hex's and cams. It will open more routes for you if you want to progress.
Learn to place all manors of protection correctly before you start leading and you simply won't have a problem.
I don't grab my cams first time everytime, because the crack won't always except one better than a wire or hex.
I am a new climber, and i must say that choosing the correct piece of protection for the rite crack really isn't rocket science.
Bring on the new shiny kit!!!!
PIMP MY RACK!!!!
I started trad a couple months ago with half a set of nuts and a few rigid stem friends. So far the game is as follows:
- Get above previous gear.
- place cam, draw and clip in rope
- stop panicking and now I'm safe, start looking for a decent nut placement so I can take the cam further up.
- swear lots and promise myself to go and buy a full set of nuts.
Obviously having such a tiny rack means we can only do the smallest routes, which for the moment suits my cowardly self :)
> "I can't be arsed to get into the debate," really? (and remember this is a beginner's forum with it's distinct rules).
I have placed a valid point of view if thats ok with you ?
...... and as such I didn't want to draw this thread into one of UKC's usual quagmire of tail chasing threads.
Practice makes perfect and it's good to spend time on the basics like spotting and placing nuts/hexes before you get all giddy about shiny expensive cams.
Also, a cam that may or may not be good is still better than a wire you never spotted till after you fell off ;)
> Also, a cam that may or may not be good is still better than a wire you never spotted till after you fell off ;)
Entirely true, but by having an array of cams at hand you may well be hindering your nut placement spotting though eh?
"Entirely true, but by having an array of cams at hand you may well be hindering your nut placement spotting though eh?"
Surely knowing where wires and cams are placed in the first place would help.
Am I wrong in thinking that wires are more prone to be put into tapered cracks and cams more prone to vertical sided cracks. I know there's some cross over though.
The only adviced you need before buying any equipment for your trad rack is; make sure you have the knowledge of what it does and how you use it.
Does anyone have any advice on nice locations to start out? Windgather was mentioned earlier which sounds great. Any other similar places to recommend?
With regards to quickdraws do you find it better to get a range of presewn ones or carabiners and slings that you can obviously adjust?
Before my first lead climb, I posted on UKC asking for good beginner's routes rather than specific crags. I got plenty of replies and suggestions. I ended leading broken buttress climb on stanage, HVD 4a. It was a cracking first lead. Highly recomend it.
Very true, hex's are the dogs bollocks.
If you need a belay just ask!
A trek from London, but maybe :
Cadshaw Castle Rocks, Lancashire. Natural coarse grit, with loads of varied placements. About 30 routes, mostly VD-ish, some harder. Gets used for spa courses. Safe belays. About 30mins north of Manchester, 15min nice walk from the road.
It might well be cheaper buying two packs of 5 quickdraws but then stripping down some of them to give you seperate wiregates to rack torque nuts and short slings on and ideally to have 2-3 spare.
Copied from another thread today http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=502370&v=1#x6839671:
As a starter rack, especially for gritstone, in addition to a belay plate and a nut key, I think the following is easily sufficient:
- set of nuts on wire on a racking krab
- 2-4 hexes racked separately
- 6 extenders
- 2 60cm slings racked on snap/wiregates
- 1 120cm sling racked on a snap/wiregate
- 1 120cm (or 180/240cm) sling racked on a screwgate
- 2-3 spare snap/wiregates
- 1 spare screwgate
Finally it is well worth considering buying a cheap 30m or 35m rope rather than a 50m. 30m is more than adequate for most single pitch venues, including all those discussed here. On most crags with pitches long than 25m you will want a pair of double ropes and if you ever want to go sport climbing abroad you would probably want to buy a 60m/70m single rope. Basically a 50m single rope is a pretty poor compromise - it is far too long for most trad routes where you would want to use it but still too short for longer sport routes.
> It might well be cheaper buying two packs of 5 quickdraws but then stripping down some of them to give you seperate wiregates to rack torque nuts and short slings on and ideally to have 2-3 spare.
I'm finding this thread very useful as it's confirming that I've made decent choices with my own rack, even if I did take the soft option placeing cams instead of hexes. I'm definitely going to practice some hex placements when I next get on grit.
I echo the shout for a short rope. I had a 40m rope for my almost entirely gritstone cragging for about 5 years. Easy peasy.
With regards to wherefo the OP: I think I started out mainly at Froggat, Stanage and Burbage North. Burbage North does have a very short feel about it. When your confidence is up go to longer parts of Stanage, Roaches for a bit more adventure and see if you can keep it together.
"Finally it is well worth considering buying a cheap 30m or 35m rope rather than a 50m." Completely disagree: these non-standard sizes don't come at good value and a single 50m or 60m half rope or thin single rope (9.8 or 10mm) folded over and used as two ends is by far the best compromise for grit, especially those crags where the belays are well back.
My 35m rope and 25m occasional ropes I use came from an old 60m that I cut after retirement from lead use.
If you have a decathlon near you, there doing 70 metre 10mm rope for £70, cut in half then u have two 35 metre ropes to use as double ropes if on wondering routes.
Was in the same position as you very recently so take my inexperienced comments with a grain of salt...Which are:
- A short and a long prussik is good (nylon slings may suit in a pinch?)
- I went with the cordellette style of rigging anchors
- I really like DMM brass offsets, and normal offsets too
- I have almost a full set of cams (00 mastercam to 4 camalot), if I were doing things again with less money I'd skip the cams. But...Sometimes nothing else works.
planning to do 1st trad lead on Alison Rib at Bosigran this weekend
Second the comment about windgather, its about as beginner-friendly a crag as you'll find. Just don't do "Struggle".
glorious sunshine all day at Bosigran, not many there, did 2 leads, went okay
Other places that have been good are Stanage, Birchen and Alderman Rocks - Alderman is only a small outcrop, but no-one around when we went, so we got a choice of all routes!! At Alderman there are a few short two-pitch routes too, which is good if you fancy practising your rope work. It might be a bit far from London, but there's plenty around Dovestones too if you want to make a weekend of it I think. Have fun.
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