Hello all, myself and 2 friends are aiming to climb El Cap later this year but would like to try something smaller first. we have a porta ledge and have been on a big wall course and have practiced a small amount of aid climbing.
Does anyone know the best place to practice in Europe where we could free climb trad routes upto around 12ish pitches with free up to E1/E2 and some easy aid pitches? wanting to spend just one night on the route ideally as we have lots of other things to practice in the week.
Aiming for April/May time. have looked at verdon and croatia but its always hard to go on personal research so if anyone has experience in this please reply.
If you are limited by time/money, don't leave the county, give yourself 3 days at the Dewerstone in Devon. Granite cracks. 140ft tall. Aid as many routes as you can with a half height belay. Haul to the belay each time and set the ledge up on a few of them. You will then be faster at aiding, and know who many metres per hour you can achieve. Then do them all again.
If you are not limited by time and money, fly to Yosemite for a week and do the Prow or leaning tower. This will cost, but increase your chances on El Cap.
If it was me, I'd follow David Coley's advice, get down to the Dewerstone or somewhere like that and make a complete balls of everything. Then I'd repeat the process a few times. Only when things were starting to get slick would I go somewhere 'proper'.
> planning to do UK practice first anyway! But there's only so much you can do before getting on a real little big wall!
Jon, in part what I was suggesting was that you didn't set the location for your Euro trip until you had a lot of UK stuff under your belt. This would allow a more logical choice as you would know your weaknesses and know what you need more experience with.
For example. The aid thing and the wall thing I would suggest are separate things. If you get fast at aid on two pitch routes you then might free climb a long bolted route in the alps hauling and camping on the face. You could pick a face for this with road-side access, or you could make it more realistic, with the whole pain and suffering thing with a face like this (2hr walk in): http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=3983. Descent from this face is either by walking off the top, or by rapping with all your shit.
> I don't know route details but the Qualido wall in Mello looks enormous and it's granite.
The OP wants to practice before getting to Yosemite. I'm no expert, but the issue is that Yosemite probably has the easiest, safest, quickest to access, best rescue serviced big aid walls on the planet. Hence finding a practice big aid wall before going there is difficult. People go to Yosemite to practice before they head elsewhere.
Hence my suggestion of aiding short routes and then free climbing something over a few days somewhere warm and sunny.
Yosemite is a great place to learn. And learn quickly! I did as many uk granite routes as I could mainly focused on free stuff and learnt heaps of aid by reading up and the odd practice on trad routes (clean aid of course). Of the techniques anted about short fixing would be my favourite for moving quickly as a pair (or 3, one leads then pulls up all slack, ties off and begins self belaying, 2nd hauls after jugging haul line if possible, 3rd cleans).
Motörhead in Eldorado, Grimsel, 500m being one of the the best big routes to practice on without full on commitment. Top notch granite, have a look.