Jim Pope's first Trad routes, 2 E6's and he's only 13 years old

by Leah Crane Nov/2012
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+Jim Pope, 13 kb
Jim Pope, aged 13, decided to try some Trad. Not only did Jim cruise up two E6's at Burbage South, they were also his first trad routes. Nosfertu was the first to go down on his list, getting dispatched first headpoint attempt. The second was Life Assurance, also first headpoint attempt which he led on pre-placed gear.

Jim reviews the weekends exploits below.

At the weekend, Leah invited me up to the Peak to do some trad climbing for the first time. I was really excited as I had never done any before and I like the idea of placing your own gear. Before the trip I'd looked at a few videos of Life Assurance and was really excited to try it! The weather wasn't great but we headed out early to Burbage South anyway.

We put a top rope down Nosferatu first so a group of us could try it. When I first saw it, it looked scary! I could see where the first piece of gear was and it looked like balancy moves up to there. I linked all the moves very quickly, not finding the climbing that hard. A few repeats on the top rope later, I knew I was ready for the lead. I started climbing steadily through the lower section and before I knew it I was already at the break placing some gear. I was very calm when I was climbing and everything went perfectly. Landing the top dyno, I topped out! I was really happy that I had done my first trad route and excited to do more. I also felt quite relieved that I hadn't fallen off!

I was really happy that I had done my first trad route and excited to do more. I also felt quite relieved that I hadn't fallen off!
+Jim Pope's first trad route, Nosferatu (E6 6b), 109 kbJim Pope's first trad route, Nosferatu (E6 6b)
© Simon Wadsworth, Nov 2012

Sunday we set off early again, this time for Life Assurance. I really wanted to try this climb, being my goal for the trip. It was a very different style of climbing and I felt a bit apprehensive about the top section. I gave it a several goes on toprope, doing it from bottom to top in one go quite a few times and felt confident enough to try it on lead. This time I climbed the route with pre-placed gear. For me, this felt like the sensible option as I don't have a lot of experience in placing gear. I soon reached the ledge below the slab, took off my coat, chalked up, cleaned my shoes and stepped onto the first footholds of the slab. I can imagine this ledge can psyche you out so I pushed on straight away! A couple of delicate moves later and I was at the top of my second trad route. I climbed over as quickly as I could, I have to admit this one made me nervous!

I really enjoyed the trad climbing and would definitely like to do more in the future. I found the idea of it quite scary but once I started climbing I felt focused. I managed the mental side of things by not hanging around, believing in my ability and just getting up the climbs as quick and efficiently as I could so I didn't get psyched out or scared. The risk of falling and potentially hitting the deck was always in my mind but these routes made me more cautious when climbing and I climbed the moves more fluidly. I feel it really helped my climbing! I will definitely be doing more trad in the future!

I don't know what routes are next on my list but I really like head pointing. It means I can really push myself and practice routes in a safe and controlled environment until I'm ready to tie on the sharp end.

Here's a video of the 2 ascents. Sorry for the video quality, it's from an iPhone and an un-manned camera.

Jim Pope is sponsored by: La Sportiva, Petzl and Beal
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