/ When to start learning to lead.....?
Having never been out on real rock, am I right in assuming that I am extremely limited with regard to options to top rope? That's is kind of a irrelevant question though, as i WANT to learn to lead and then eventually i will make the move onto trad, once funds for a rack/ gear allow.
Is there a grade which you would suggest I should be able to consistantly hit indoors before I start to look at learning to lead?
As long as you have a competent leader explaining what to do and why to do it.
There is definitely no grade you need to be climbing indoors to start leading outdoors! There are plenty of climbs outside easier than f5/5+ inside. I would strongly suggest you find a competent leader to take you outside and show you what to do. Leading outside is mostly about confidence and skills to do with rope management, gear placement, judgement etc rather than technical ability. Find someone who knows what they are doing and take it slow :)
Might just take the plunge and get on with it, I guess I am a little worries about looking a numpty leading a 5/5+ (all the gear, no idea and all that) when most of the lead climbers at my wall are leading 6b and above!
If you want to climb sport outside you'll likely need 6a inside just to find local routes you can actually do. There are hardly any low grade sport routes in many parts of the UK. You probably also want to learn to lead inside first and walls may not teach leading until you can top rope 5+ or 6a.
If you want to climb trad there are plenty of easy low grade routes. The strength and technique for 5/5+ inside are more than enough for Mods/Diffs/V Diffs. So no real reason to push for a higher grade inside before having a go seconding a more experienced person outside and moving on to lead when you feel ready.
> Is there a grade which you would suggest I should be able to consistantly hit indoors before I start to look at learning to lead?
No. Just do it.
Leading is not something that you have to graduate to - anyone can do it. Traditionally protected rock climbs start at Moderate, which is probably equivalent to about F1 (i.e. easy). All you need to do is to learn a little bit about how to place gear and how to manage the rope (neither are very difficult with care and common sense). There are some really good books out there to teach you this (TradClimbing+ is one of the best I have seen).
Yep, it's a totally different skill and feeling climbing. I've been climbing since September 2011 and started leading around July 2012. It's a somewhat different ball game. I'm up to 6Bs top roping and can somewhat comfortably lead a 5+ albeit with a shaky leg sometimes :-)
There's no harm in it, but it isn't compulsory. There are really just a couple of things you need to know.
1. How to clip the rope into quickdraws (rope from the belayer against the wall, with your end of the rope coming out towards you).
2. Don't let the rope get behind your legs as you climb - a fall in this position is likely to flip you upside down.
Obviously, the course will teach you more, give you some experience in a supervised environment and allow you to learn from an expert, so is unlikely to be a waste of money.
If you know someone well that is a competent leader, then I would ask them to teach you how to lead indoors first, and start leading on a 4 or 4+, you may find yourself surprised at how much your head plays a part in leading.
If you don't know anyone that fits the bill, go with the indoor wall's leading course. It's mainly about learning to clip the rope above the clip and I found when I first started leading, I then forgot all about technique required for climbing as I was too worried about being above gear and falling off.
Depending on what your fear level is, will determine how well you take to leading, so really, don't worry about your "starting to lead" grade, everyone has to start somewhere.
I hope this helps.
> There's no harm in it, but it isn't compulsory. There are really just a couple of things you need to know.
> 1. How to clip the rope into quickdraws (rope from the belayer against the wall, with your end of the rope coming out towards you).
> 2. Don't let the rope get behind your legs as you climb - a fall in this position is likely to flip you upside down.
> Obviously, the course will teach you more, give you some experience in a supervised environment and allow you to learn from an expert, so is unlikely to be a waste of money.
I agree, it isn't THAT difficult, just from watching and listening to leaders next to me I think I could do it now, however, as it incorporates a movement and techniques element i think i would benefit.
Also, as i am a regular at the indoor wall i think if I rocked up one Monday evening with a rope ready to lead, I think there would be a lot of worried faces as they have never seen/ taught me how to lead???
I might just have a word with them and see if they can do a "basics" course over a 2 hour peried as I think the 3 x 2 hour sessions would be overkill!
fear isn't really a factor (I don't think) as I actually enjoy falling, as wierd as that sounds. I know that leading is a totally different ball game though as you have the run out x 2 distance of a fall.
My mate is coming over tonight and we shall discuss! :)
Last night I was researching the way of unclipping and lowering after a sport climb and to be honest, it doesnt look that difficult, just got to remember the basics, like not untying until you have retied your fed through rope etc etc.
i admit it.... I'm a geek! haha
Relating indoor sport grades to leading trad routes is not really happening (at least until you have experince of both) or useful.
Also it is so important to get comfortable taking falls onto trad gear early on. Of course only do this once you can place good gear.....
No such thing as overkill when it comes to safety.
The course will cover how to lead as the climber - how to clip and how not to clip, but also remember that the belaying technique is different, so what you'll find is that an instructor will teach you the basics then get you straight onto the wall with them supervising. Its all about mileage, and once they're happy you're doing everything safely, you'll be good to go!
if I have to learn the basics inside, then so be it. I don't really want to be heading out in this weather anyway, so why not learn inside while waiting for the weather to improve?
Oh sorry, I didn't realise your initial post meant you were only toproping f5/5+ indoors. Definitely learn to lead indoors first..
Falling on TopRope is not falling....
Even if you say you enjoy it, there's something rooted in your brain that will get you a bit freaked when you're way above your last draw and going for a sketchy move!
You've got the right idea tho...learn and practise indoors. They wont teach you how to tie into an anchor of an outdoor sport climb, so get that locked down as well before heading out.
I think butterfingerz is talking about purely sport climbing just now...with the aim to move onto trad later (unless ive misunderstood)....so gear placement isn't something they need to learn just now.
I do, wholeheartedly, agree with what you are saying, when I get a bit more experience under my belt i will be making the move into trad, just not yet. i will be looking at getting some sport climbing experience outside first, then look at making the (slow) move onto trad.
I am joining the local climbing club this month too, who do regular outings after April to the peak district etc so will be tapping them up for some trad lessons, but I'd at least like to go along knowing some of the basics..... I have at least a month until then so thought I would get some experience indoors while we wait for some sunshine! :)
Sorry for the confusion!
> Oh sorry, I didn't realise your initial post meant you were only toproping f5/5+ indoors. Definitely learn to lead indoors first..
Disagree, I was leading outdoors before I tried leading indoors. Plenty of people on here were leading outdoors before there WAS leading indoors.
Practising indoors to learn how to belay a leader and to deal with having to clip and so on can be a useful way of saving time if you have limited opportunities to get out on real rock, but it's in no way necessary.
Yeah pretty much!
Good plan! If you can belay safely and are keen on getting outdoors then you should get on fine...
Start this weekend, there is no grade you need to get to you just have to get out there and get started. Join a club or post an honest ad in the lifts and partners forum. I'd suggest the Peak grit unless you hook up with someone heading for a suitable local venue (they look pretty limited).
Personally I'd suggest biting the bullet and heading straight for the trad with a borrowed rack. The low grade Peak sport isn't worth the drive in my opinion.
Some people say the 6s. I disagree, I think leading (indoors) is a separate skill as someone else said upthread.
I started leading about where you are grade-wise, FWIW.
As has been said before you'll be surprised at the difference leading will make to you head (this will also help when you come to climb outside).
Also leading indoors is relatively safe but there is still scope to get yourself into problems if you don't get it right.
As others here have said the best way to start leading outdoors is to second a competent leader. This way you will pick up a great deal of knowledge without realising it.
Only after all of this would I suggest that you start leading really easy stuff and see how you go. What you want to avoid is any epics involving watching runners sliding down the rope as you are about to commit yourself to crux moves.
Also although I've only done a very small amount of sport this could be a good way of moving outside (only once you've sorted leading indoors).
Hope this helps.
Good luck - and don't forget the climber who's having the most fun is the one who gets to walk away from the crag afterwards and have a pint ;-)
> Start this weekend, there is no grade you need to get to you just have to get out there and get started
> Personally I'd suggest biting the bullet and heading straight for the trad with a borrowed rack
I would advise against this - but if you do just be feckin' careful and don't get carried away !
And don't leave too big a crater !
> I would advise against this - but if you do just be feckin' careful and don't get carried away !
> And don't leave too big a crater !
I'm not that silly!!!
Plus its too bloody cold! Ever since moving back from Thailand i just cannot stand the cold :(
I think we will speak to one of the instructors at the wall and see what options are open to us, then look at tagging along with th elocal club as, and when, trips are organised.
Why is that silly? How do you think people got started before climbing walls were invented?
Anyway, the biggest leap you'll have is not from top-roping to leading, but from plastic to rock. So if you're considering a course, I'd go for something rock-related - there are quite a few 'inside to outside' course about.
Do you not know anyone from the wall who leads outside (could be worth checking).
All I was trying to get across is that you need to make your transition to leading as safe as possible and only once you've gained experience start to push it.
Trad is ace but there is a massive potential for getting it very wrong !!!
Have fun and stay safe :-)
> Why is that silly? How do you think people got started before climbing walls were invented?
> Anyway, the biggest leap you'll have is not from top-roping to leading, but from plastic to rock.
Totally disagree - the move from top rope or seconding to lead climbing is far and away harder than indoors to out.
> Personally I'd suggest biting the bullet and heading straight for the trad with a borrowed rack. The low grade Peak sport isn't worth the drive in my opinion.
This is what I did after devouring all the books I could find on climbing in my local library. I started out with a few quickdraws and 10 nuts. I won't lie - it was scary. I seemed to have an amazing ability to choose grit routes with rounded breaks that only took cams - stupid really. It should have been obvious that I needed to select routes with cracks that looked like they would take my nuts. I soon started saving up for a couple of cams and hexes (literally two of each). This rack allowed to me to do loads more, much more comfortably.
To the OP:
I'm not saying that this is the route you should take - I don't doubt that I might have progressed faster with instruction or with an experienced leader to follow (I only seconded harder than I lead relatively recently after climbing for 14 years). I'm simply telling you this story to counter the 'Do a course, or you'll die' orthodoxy that is becoming established. To be honest, from what you've said about being a geek, I think that you ought to be ok learning from a book/videos. Just think twice about everything and understand what you are doing. I think that your aim of joining the club is probably the best way forward, and something I think I should have done sooner.
You wouldn't try to land a jumbo jet after having read all the books in the world - just saying it's good to start off with someone who can look out for you and hold your hand to start with (after that it's up to you - but at least you have an idea of the danger you may be putting yourself in).
> Why is that silly? How do you think people got started before climbing walls were invented?
> Anyway, the biggest leap you'll have is not from top-roping to leading, but from plastic to rock. So if you're considering a course, I'd go for something rock-related - there are quite a few 'inside to outside' course about.
Sorry, thought you meant LITERALLY, go out and do it.... no instruction etc etc
I'm a cowardly punter but my move from top-rope to leading took approximately 1 day. I didn't have a move from indoor to outdoor, as I started outdoors, but it's not unusual for people happily leading 6a indoors to fail miserably on their first experience of a nice VDiff jamming crack :)
Start now! take an indoor leading course to start off with. your local climbing wall may offer something and there should be plenty to lead within your grade there. once you get used to leading find some very easy outdoor stuff and learn the trade and build experience. I wish i didnt wait so long to go outside. i told myself i wanted to be a 7a climber before doing trad climbing. well i would have missed out on some of the greatest times of my life because 3 years on i still havent climbed that grade
Outdoors climbing is so different to indoor. learning to search for holds, placing your own draws, anchors, absailing/low off, bigger falls, climbing further above gear. longer routes, trad adds placing gear, building belays and even more ropework skills as well as general outdoor skills.
I actually prefer Trad as i am finding more interesting climbs throughout the lower grades where i climb. for example this climb is lower than a 5+ sports climb (although there is a lot more to it than just a grade).
the only trouble is climbing indoors exclusively with sports climbers+boulderers for the last 3 years i think most of this is lost on my mates as its not fun or a challenge to them to climb to me what seems like an adventure.
also just to repeat monks recommendation:
TradClimbing+ is a fantastic book
lastly when you get outside you find you can learn new techniques that aren't always replicated or present in the indoor setting. this will make you better all round climber
In croatia last year i noticed the climber next to me had back-clipped all three of his clips. i had to explain through demonstration to his belayer the problem and solution. i wouldnt want you to go outside and make the same mistake
Another vote for learning to lead indoors straight away. I also thought you had to be climbing 6s to learn to lead as that's what the learn to lead courses at the wall I started at said, but then I started climbing with a club and they just showed me how in an evening at the wall. (I was only climbing 5s too)
Same as you rock was my definite aim, but indoor leading is so different to indoor top rope that its very worth doing asap.
Learn to lead indoors properly, join a club, make friends, second stuff with them and you'll be leading stuff outdoors before you know it. Start saving for gear now because you will get addicted, but no need to buy anything at first until you've done a bit with other people. Have fun!
I'll bet than when you started leading it was probably under the watchful eye of a mate who was already leading ?
Also nothing on the wall can equip you for some of the shitty thruchy cracks that you find outside (at all grades).
What about grabbing a borrowed rack and jumping straight in on an onsight of Hell Crack at Stanage !!!!! (after all it's only a very soft VS) - joke
> Might just take the plunge and get on with it, I guess I am a little worries about looking a numpty leading a 5/5+ (all the gear, no idea and all that) when most of the lead climbers at my wall are leading 6b and above!
Sounds like a waste of money to me. All they can teach you is how to lead sport routes and it doesn't take the brains of an archbishop to work out how to clip a rope into a quickdraw.
Just post on this site for a climbing partner near where you live, someone will take you out, you just need to find someone you get on with and can form a working relationship with. That's how climbers traditionally got into things. All this climbing indoors for a year, indoor lead courses, spa's and the rest of it is just a bit crass and dull imo. I was on-sighting VS trad and 6B sport before I even led a route indoors.
I've climbed with dozens upon dozens of people over the last eight years I've met on this site. Experience ranged from people who have never climbed outdoors to people who've led E9. And I can honestly say I've never had a bad experience or climbed with someone I wouldn't climb with again, it's a fantastic resource.
The sooner you start the better IMO. The biggest danger IMO is when your technical ability totally outstrips your leading ability and you start looking at grade "equivalents" in Rockfax - they are only 'equivalent' if you have already developed your leading !
For what its worth, the folk who first look me climbing (in a club)shoved a rack in my hand second or third time out. It was dead safe because I wasn't good enough to get more than 1 metre off the ground :-)
(1) learn to second indoors
(2) learn to lead indoors
You can do both in one session but then practice. Seconding contains much of the awkwardness without the fear (eg how to achieve a good body position to free a hand for dealing this the QDs).
You can improve your skills here (depending on what your wall allows) by taking some quickdraws up with you an going through the motions of attaching stuff to the wall or you belt in awkward situations (as a rule you shouldn't be using these as part of your safety chain - stick with in situ gear just get used to taking gear off the wrong side and placing it).
Then find a competent friend and learn to second outdoors (or at least learn to setup top rope anchors and belays).
Then (with a competent friend) start leading way below your technical ability and choose you routes carefully! if you find you are gripped back off and practise leading on second or top rope until you feel more comfortable.
Definitely aim to play it double safe until you are competent!
There is no minimum indoor grade you need before moving outdoors - once upon a time everyone started outdoors.
> I would advise against this - but if you do just be feckin' careful and don't get carried away !
> And don't leave too big a crater !
Why? Firstly, perhaps I wasn't crystal clear but I was suggesting he should go with a club or someone willing to take him not least because he'll need access to a rack. Secondly, what I'm getting at is I'd skip all the indoor course, indoor lead, sport lead 'progression', just get out there and get stuck in like people used to do.
I'd go for the join a club and get into trad as soon as possible. That will open up far more quality climbing to you than anything else. You don't need to be able to do anything more than put on a harness and tie onto a rope to second trad routes, and you will be gaining valuable experience of how to set up belays and use gear.
All the rest is just a distraction on poor quality routes or plastic which will make trad feel like it is something out of reach, which is simply not true.
I would say get out and do it! I learnt to lead trad before even climbing indoors, I personally don't think there is anything wrong with giving it a go if you want.... I would suggest climbing with a relatively experienced trad climber to learn the ropes, or perhaps going on a 'wall to rock' kind of course to ensure everything is kosher....
2nd March 2013.
You could look on here for someone who is in training for the SPA or the like as they wll quite often want inexperienced climbers to take out and "teach". whilst they are not qualified and should not be thought of as so they generally dont charge and in my opinion would be just as good as a friend who climbs trad.
it all seems very complicated nowadays..so much choice! Seem to remember with me it went: top-roped one day, seconded multi-pitch the next time out, bought some gear with a mate and did first lead on day 3!
maybe it's all for the best!
Is it? Seem to be much the same things about! But yes you're right expectation mnagment is wise
I would say start learning to lead inside asap. Just be aware of 'back-clipping' and keeping your feet free of the rope. Start on something easy and maybe just lead a couple of clips at a time. Get your belayer to practice holding and lowering.
The worst thing I did for my climbing was too much indoor toproping. I was toproping F6cish before I started leading. Gives you a lot of bad habits, which you then have to 'unlearn' later in your climbing career.
> There are some really good books out there to teach you this (TradClimbing+ is one of the best I have seen).
I actually learned how to trad climb from this book. i bought some nuts and quickdraws and read it cover to cover whilst looking forward to a trip and then shat myself leading a diff. it was really fun!
I led VS outdoors, before I ever got close to getting up a 6a indoors. Probably partly down to being short - if you're climbing grit there are 15 million places to put your hands and feet, which is not true indoors.
Elsewhere on the site
2014 has been a bumper year for climbing publications. Here's a few of the ones that we have either read, or ones that we... Read more
WINTERFEST 2014 at Outside in Hathersage 6th and 7th December 2014 Outside's ever popular Winterfest event is back... Read more
Save on your Christmas shopping with great deals at the Epicentre. Spend £50 to get £5 off Spend £100... Read more
If asked to name a British female climber who stood out at a time when British women's climbing wasn't... Read more
We recently reported that Pete Whittaker had flashed the 32-pitch big wall route Freerider 5.12d , during a... Read more