/ Trad climbing ethics
You could join a club, I'd have thought that was the easiest solution.
And yes, you are rather spoiling the experience of onsighting if you top rope stuff you'd like to lead. Unless your memory's as bad as mine, when it doesn't really make any difference ;)
If you top rope something you're not spoling anything, you're simply taking your first step on the road to the "full trad climbing experience" (whatever that is) so chill out, top rope stuff and learn. Joining a club is a good idea as there'll be loads of people who will be able to help you along.
You might want to invest in a set of nuts asap to give yourself more options for anchors though.
Your local club??? Which club was that, they sounds stupid.
Our club (Northumbrian MC so probably no use for you) would welcome you for £25 a year so long as you can belay and tie in. You'd then meet plenty of people who'd help you along the outdoor path. I think our approach is the norm. You don't need any resources to take on adults who can belay and top rope.
Yu start lark that fella Joe Brown shtarted an' his mate Don Whillans. They had less moni than thee lark. Yer muss be jokin'.
Out of interest what is the acceptable number of friends (obviously approximately)? I set up some top ropes (one at a time) today for me and three non-leading but climbing-shoe-wearing friends.
I guess since we didn't really see anyone else it doesn't really matter, but obviously if the crag was a bit more busy?
Nothing wrong with top-roping!
The only reason the professional climbers lead their sport routes is because they can't top rope overhanging rock without a big swing when they fall off ;-)
Have fun climbing and don't worry about the ethics of top roping just yet.
>You don't need any resources to take on adults who can belay and top rope.
you do actually - you need to have some members willing and with enough experience to take time out to take beginners up easy routes on a top rope. if the beginners cant lead belay then they will also need to be taught to do that safely before they can belay anyone leading a route. This sometimes works well, specially where the club has members in the process of taking instructor qualifications, but you cant just say to a novice climber who has only previously top roped indoor routes "I'm off to do Great Western, would you like to belay me and then second me and clean the gear?"
Not contradicting anything you're saying here, its pot luck to how much confidence the person you're teaching has. I've taught kids to second multipitch in a session or two but kids are so much better at picking this stuff up.
> >You don't need any resources to take on adults who can belay and top rope.
> you do actually - you need to have some members willing and with enough experience to take time out to take beginners up easy routes on a top rope. if the beginners cant lead belay then they will also need to be taught to do that safely before they can belay anyone leading a route. This sometimes works well, specially where the club has members in the process of taking instructor qualifications, but you cant just say to a novice climber who has only previously top roped indoor routes "I'm off to do Great Western, would you like to belay me and then second me and clean the gear?"
I said that they had to be able to belay. Our club recommends novices to do course at a wall to learn to belay safely.
And a club with no members willing to take people up routes? Well we don't have a problem in that regard, I thought that's what clubs are about. Maybe the clubs you know are different. Do you know any?
We might get a novice to join in with an experienced pair, it's not much hassle to take someone else up a route, and you soon end up with another experienced club member. If the route's a straightforward thing I don't see what's wrong with them belaying me, so long as I'm confident that they can belay safely - even though they've not been outdoors before. A quick meetup at a wall sorts that out.
Totally agree. Yeah I get confident in their belaying by going through it a few times and treating a few routes as solo's till I know they're alright. It's just what I have done without the luxury of another experienced climber. I'm agreeing with everything you say though clubs can't take that risk.
The key thing to getting started is not which gear or ethic you follow. It's about networking and finding people to climb with. If you can get out climbing regularly with a more experienced leader you're sorted.
Agree, generally. We've introduced loads of newbies to trad climbing on club trips - we can take them out in a three and have someone supervise their belaying to start with, or (since we're quite a long way from any actual rock) do the same thing at a wall before going outside with them. And after that there are generally leaders around (myself included) who are clocking up experience and are happy to have someone come along and second them up loads of stuff at VS and below.
The flipside to this is that it might take a bit more patience on the novice's part than booking onto a Plas Y Brenin course or something would - they might have to wait for a suitable trip rather than eg going on the Gogarth trip because it's the next one on the calendar, they might have to do a couple of indoor sessions before going outside, and they might have to get to know people a bit before they can count on always finding someone to climb with, but that's kind of a case of beggars not being choosers...
So you have slings and carabineers and a rope but can't afford a few nuts, or make yourself any? You can find someone to hold your top rope but he or she can't climb with you on easy routes to get you both started?
Are you sure you're not posting from under a bridge?
Top roping isn't cheating, unless you're claiming to be onsighting E8s. It's basically the same as seconding a pitch
Except it isn't. Removing gear on second is harder and more involving than top roping something.
> >You don't need any resources to take on adults who can belay and top rope.
> you do actually - you need to have some members willing and with enough experience to take time out to take beginners up easy routes on a top rope.
That's self-evidently true, but I've never been in a club where this wasn't the case. Most members of clubs realise the importance of encouraging new members and are willing to put in a bit of time.
In the case of my current club, we make it clear that we don't offer instruction and recommend to novices that they go on a course. These days they've invariably done some climbing indoors so they can already belay. Of course, if your taking someone climbing you need to satisfy yourself that they really know how to do this, but the same applies to new members who claim to be experienced climbers (perhaps more so!).
If the first club you approach isn't willing to do this, then just keep looking.
> Except it isn't. Removing gear on second is harder and more involving than top roping something.
And sometimes even harder (physically) than actually leading the pitch! :)
> And sometimes even harder (physically) than actually leading the pitch! :)
Especially if I was the leader, recklessly and maliciously lodging tri-cams firmly into place :-)
Just about everyone top-ropes before they start to lead - and may well do it to a greater or lesser extent once they can lead - so relax!
> Just about everyone top-ropes before they start to lead - and may well do it to a greater or lesser extent once they can lead - so relax!
Do you reckon? I thought people mostly seconded first then went on to lead? Top roping on anything but single pitch climb doesn't sound too handy to me, certainly never did it myself when learning.
yes, but then again would you take a complete novice up a multipitch without teaching them the basics on single pitch first? (I do realise a couple of dozen hairy arsed climbers in bristly tweeds will now descend to tell me their first ever climb was on Kipling Groove using their mums washing line)
Some do, some don't. Either way, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with top roping as long as you don't hog busy routes at busy times, or climb in mud caked shoes.
Well there is though, it gives the beginner the impression that this is a necessary part of climbing when it clearly isn't. Why not just learn by seconding and then go on to leading through on easy climbs as soon as possible, ie. within a few day's climbing? Otherwise people get all freaked out about how leading is such a big deal... it isn't if you choose something easy enough.
> Well there is though, it gives the beginner the impression that this is a necessary part of climbing when it clearly isn't. Why not just learn by seconding and then go on to leading through on easy climbs as soon as possible, ie. within a few day's climbing? Otherwise people get all freaked out about how leading is such a big deal... it isn't if you choose something easy enough.
Another great post from 'top poster Bruce Hooker'.
How exactly, is getting a top rope on a route, significantly different from seconding?
> How exactly, is getting a top rope on a route, significantly different from seconding?
Because it involves you in the leading process, and helps you move towards doing so yourself.
Thats OK when you are not trying to focus on movement at the same time. I think either you start people off dealing with climbing movement on a tr or you teach them protection principles on a scramble. Dealing with movement on steep rock with the complications of removing gear is inefficient and potentially confusing for a first time-climber.
Exactly? Just consider the difference between watching someone lead the pitch, then following them up, taking out the gear, settling in to the belay, watching them lead off and so on to the top of the cliff compared to top roping. Which do you think gives the beginner a better idea of what is involved in climbing and helps him to overcome any confidence problems, gives him faith in the rope, knowledge of protection and all the rest?
I've never quite I understood these top-roping squabbles as it's not something we did when I was learning but I find it even more curious that anybody can seriously contend that it's the best way to get started, it seems evident to me that it will generally hold you back rather than provide the best progress, just as starting out on climbing walls does. Possibly some people think they have no choice but it can hardly be pedagogically ideal.
When you were learning Bruce I doubt you had cams, dyneema, gear loops etc...do you get eggy when you see people using those too? :)
Nothing wrong with top roping. Can help gain confidence and improve technique both indoors and out. When I am indoors I will always end a session by trying something really hard (for me -7a) on a toprope. And outside we often end day top roping something similarly difficult. No harm in it and those folk who get all spitty about it are just dinosaurs who think we should still be climbing in heavy boots and duffel coats!
Isn't it largely a matter of people not knowing anyone who already leads?
I agree that going out and seconding someone more experienced is a much better option, though. It also means that you'll probably have someone on hand to encourage you when you do get on the sharp end.
I'd also agree that it's a lot easier to find more experienced climbers who are happy to take you out than a lot of people seem to think.
Eggy? What difference do these items make for the second? I'm afraid I don't see what point youn are making, nor where the eggs come in!
Well that's the subject of the thread, isn't it? I'd say that it is not a good way to learn, but then I'd say that about "indoor" climbing too. Both seem to pedagogically dubious, but it depends what your objectives are, to be a mountaineer or a gymnast. Each to his own.
Elsewhere on the site
WINTERFEST 2014 at Outside in Hathersage 6th and 7th December 2014 Outside's ever popular Winterfest event is back... Read more
I am Matthew Phillips, I'm nearly 14 and I was born without my right arm below the elbow. I started climbing at taster... Read more
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
A product review by James Turnbull. James Turnbull at Outside recently took the new Osprey Mutant 38 on a rigorous test in the... Read more
Nick Livesey discovered the mountains of Snowdonia over a decade ago and finally moved there a year and a half ago, quitting a... Read more