Jim Pope's first Trad routes, 2 E6's and he's only 13 years oldby Leah Crane Nov/2012
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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!
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.