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/ Testing Trad Placements on Sport Routes

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timparkin - on 01 Sep 2018

I was thinking about how to gain confidence in placing protection and test falling on it recently. Without a top rope (which needs a third person or a very talented belayer) I was wondering whether testing placements while on a sport route is considered 1) ethical 2) useful 3) weird. 

For a bit of background, I can onsight most 6b's indoors (Ice Factor) but have only just started trad climbing outdoors (with a competent coach/guide). So far we've been doing a couple of vdiffs which don't look the cleanest to fall from anyway but we're in a three with our guide first and myself and my wife swaping 2nd/3rd. 

It's probably early to wonder about these things but you know how your brain goes at 3am.

Thoughts?

Tim

p.s. I don't plan on doing this for a while yet

Post edited at 12:22
mountain.martin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

I'm sure it's possible on some sport routes, and as long as you don't use placements that might be damaged by the impact I don't see why it should be a problem. 

But you could just get in a well protected trade route and place several pieces of obviously good gear, just in case one unexpectedly fails.

timparkin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

I have a feeling that most sport climbs are probably unprotectable anyway? If you put a sling on a placement at chest level and then jump your weight on it, is that comparable with a short roped fall? I was recommended to go somewhere and just try placements like this (whilst averting eyes or wearing glasses). 

routrax - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> I have a feeling that most sport climbs are probably unprotectable anyway? If you put a sling on a placement at chest level and then jump your weight on it, is that comparable with a short roped fall? I was recommended to go somewhere and just try placements like this (whilst averting eyes or wearing glasses). 

Just do it at ground level, if you walk along most crags you'll find a variety of placements. And yes, sticking a sling on there and bounce testing is good, bounce hard enough and you can practice taking out stuck gear!

mountain.martin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

A slump into a sling should be ok, but don't take and sort of fall onto a sling clipped directly to some gear. Without and stretch in the system really high impact forces can be generated. 

Dynamic climbing rope reduces this considerably.

dunnyg - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Do not clip a sling into your harness from bolt and fall on it. This could seriously hurt or kill you.

Misha - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

Best way to learn is to place a load of gear at the bottom of a crag and get someone experienced to assess it. Why not ask your guide to do that at the start or end of the day?

Someone with a better understanding of physics might know better but I suspect you would struggle to generate enough force to compare with a typical lead fall (unless you properly jump off onto the sling, which would be a very bad idea as you could damage yourself and/or the sling if the gear holds and you would definitely hurt yourself if the gear doesn’t hold!).

Bear in mind that slings are static and so aren’t designed to take a direct load from a fall (i.e. without the force first going through a rope). Again, I imagine you’d struggle to generate enough force to damage the sling by simply slumping against it but even so I wouldn’t recommend doing that with a sling - use a rope instead. 

timparkin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to dunnyg:

I should have clarified I mean at crag bottom and putting your foot in the sling like aid climbing

 

Post edited at 15:26
mountain.martin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> I have a feeling that most sport climbs are probably unprotectable anyway? 

Might be the case at some sport crags, I haven't been to that many. But of the ones I've been to there were often quite a few natural placements available.

full stottie on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Best advice from the thread above is to try lots of different placements within reach of the ground, then get someone experienced to talk you through them. If you weight them enough it will give you a good idea of their worth, but funny things happen on routes when you climb above or sideways from your last piece of gear. If you fall and a piece fails, its still a surprise and not a good feeling, so I understand why you might want to be more confident that they'll hold a fall.

I've never considered the idea of taking test falls to see if my placements are sound. Times have changed though, and everyone's encouraged to get used to falling indoors, but I wouldn't like to practice falling outside on trad routes to see if my gear is good. If you really want to practice, you could get an extra body to belay you from above while you lead on a second rope and place your gear, then tell them you're going to jump off to test a piece you've put in. That will help them build a bombproof belay too.

I'm not sure that testing gear out on sport routes is that good an idea. You'll be stressing the bolts by falling on them anyway, and bolts are not infallible. I know redpointing and projecting assume repeated falls on bolts are OK, luckily I doubt if anyone redpoints any sport route that I'm likely to climb.

Dave

timparkin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to full stottie:

Sounds good, thanks for the reply.

We'll probably spend a while at the bottom of a crag testing placements, photographing them and then after we've played for a while, I'm sure it's worth a day of our coaches time to learn a lot more about what makes a good placement and then top rope us on a few. 

GridNorth - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

All of this is making it seem far more complex than it actually is

Al

timparkin - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

OK - what's the simple way

oldie - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

If someone really wanted to test out trad runners on a sport or trad route perhaps they could hang a dynamic rope from bomber anchors at the top and as "backup runners" also clip fig eights on bight on this rope just below their trial placements. Should be OK providing there's plenty of rope before the top anchors to absorb any shock load. Never heard of anyone doing this.
Your original question was would testing placements on a route be considered ethical, useful or weird but as long as you didn't damage the route or prevent anyone else from climbing it then it would probably be acceptable.
However as pointed out in earlier replies there are certainly far easier and safer ways to learn.

john arran - on 01 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Another option would be to hang a fixed rope down the line of a route you want to practice leading on, with overhand knots pre-tied at intervals - maybe 3m, 5m, 8m, etc - just enough to stop you from decking if all the gear you place fails. Then clip these knots as you climb, as well as placing plenty of your own gear. If you fall it will probably be onto your own gear, but if all fails you have a fallback.

edit: typo

Post edited at 22:07
oldie - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to oldie:

> Should be OK providing there's plenty of rope before the top anchors to absorb any shock load. <

This was a stupid comment on my part as there should be plenty of dynamic rope involved from the actual lead climbing rope, especially nearer the top of the climb, to take the shock of a lead fall (that's why static/semi static material for runners works!).

In fact clipping loops on a backup rope hanging from the top might  be less useful nearer the bottom of a climb as there could be lots of stretch meaning a falling climber might reach the ground .......frequent early clips to the backup rope would help (more frequent runner placements should of course be made earlier on a lead). The backup rope would be best not too stretchy eg single not half rope. One could always clip two backup ropes early on for less stretch but then this is all getting a bit silly. Other replies give better options.

benlatham07 - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Just go  climbing, 

> OK - what's the simple way

 Just go trad climbing is the easy way. 

Second lots of routes, get the leader to lace the routes and  properly look and pay attention to the placements.rather than just ripping it out as you get to it.

Climb  with  someone with lots of experience.

When they second your routes, ask them to be critical of your placements. 

Most gear placement are obvious whether good or not. 

On easy routes your going to have that many different options where to put gear, if you place a piece and think it looks a bit dodgy put another in that is obviously bomber. 

You shouldn't have to place marginal/questionable placements.  This is only necessary when it is the only option.

It's easy to overthink it and make it seem more complicated than it actually is.   

Andy Gamisou - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to full stottie:

>> I've never considered the idea of taking test falls to see if my placements are sound. Times have changed though, and everyone's encouraged to get used to falling indoors, but I wouldn't like to practice falling outside on trad routes to see if my gear is good.

Some years ago I witnessed an instructor outside demonstrating how good gear is by climbing 15 feet up a route, sticking a cam behind a flake, then leaning back in it.  Took me ages to find a signal to get mountain rescue out.  Judging by your name at a crag you will be familiar with.

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to benlatham07:

> Just go  climbing ... Most gear placement are obvious whether good or not. 

Is most 9/10 or 99/100?

> On easy routes your going to have that many different options where to put gear, if you place a piece and think it looks a bit dodgy put another in that is obviously bomber. 

If there was a bomber placement, why would I put something dodgy? And is this dodgy one of the obvious dodgy ones or the non-obvious dodgy ones. Or are you suggesting I put something dodgy in to test it? But do I intentionally fall on it or wait until I accidentally fall on it and if I'm waiting do I have to put a dodgy placement next to every bomber one?

> You shouldn't have to place marginal/questionable placements.  This is only necessary when it is the only option.

So you shouldn't have to unless you have to?

> It's easy to overthink it and make it seem more complicated than it actually is.   

so placements are obvious unless they're not and marginal placements are only necessary when they're necessary. 

It may not be complicated but it's certainly confusing...

I can see where you're coming from but being told something will hold in some of those 'marginal' placements that are occasionally necessary and not obvious (to me at least) is different from testing them and going "bloody hell, that does hold after all!". I know most people will have learnt without much testing but I'm an engineer by trade and historically spent a fair amount of time working in lethal situations and I was taught not to take what people told me for granted and test if possible.

Tim

 

Post edited at 10:32
timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

> >> I've never considered the idea of taking test falls to see if my placements are sound. Times have changed though, and everyone's encouraged to get used to falling indoors, but I wouldn't like to practice falling outside on trad routes to see if my gear is good.

> Some years ago I witnessed an instructor outside demonstrating how good gear is by climbing 15 feet up a route, sticking a cam behind a flake, then leaning back in it.  Took me ages to find a signal to get mountain rescue out.  Judging by your name at a crag you will be familiar with.

That's the type of learning I'm trying to avoid ;-)

JackM92 - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to full stottie:

Personally I found taking practice falls on trad gear boosted my confidence massively and subsequently my onsight leading grade.

In my opinion the biggest thing holding many people back with trad climbing is a paranoia of falling off in positions where it’s completely safe and often the run out is less than on a typical sport route.

Again and again I hear people talk about getting stronger or fitter, but never discussing the mental and tactical improvements that are much easier to acquire.

TonyB - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

It's really hard to answer that kind of question here. I remember being at El Chorro, and watching a climber on a sport route, placing all manner of microcams and marginal protection between bolts. I didn't say anything, but I remember thinking this was ridiculous. Of course people can climb how they like, but I genuinely thought that if he fell on some of his placements he would have a chance of ripping off the tiny flakes. They looked like lousy protection, but very useful holds. I guess the point is that if you were to rip off a crucial hold on a classic sport climb by placing protection behind it, people may get annoyed.

Andy Gamisou - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> That's the type of learning I'm trying to avoid ;-)

Oh I don't know - I learnt that cams and not very substantial sandstone flakes do not good bed fellows make (admittedly I kind of suspected as much when the guy started to lean back to demonstrate the "bomb proof" nature of his placement).

Post edited at 11:36
benlatham07 - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Maybe trad climbing isn't for you if your this over analytical about everything. 

 

The point i was making about not having to use marginal/questionable gear.  I meant on easy/ low grade  routes 

 

If your climbing higher grades then will come a time where you have to rely on marginal gear as it will be the only option.  By this point you should of been climbing long enough to be able to judge for yourself. 

 

You just massively over complicated my trying to be helpful post.  

Post edited at 11:57
GridNorth - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> OK - what's the simple way

I don't believe there is a "simple" way, it's down to experience.  You can gain some of that experience as others have suggested by practising placements at the foot of the crag and loading those placements in all directions to see how they respond.  Unfortunately simulating lab conditions or even engineering workshops is of some but limited value.  There are no 100% guarantees EVER.

Al

Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

A better way of thinking about quality of gear placement is to rate it, and I don't mean numerically! Basically gear can be bomber, good, OK, or marginal. 

Bomber - there's no way that could ever come out.

Good - almost bomber, though not infallible e.g. if not extended enough

OK - between good and marginal

Marginal - falling not an option

It's the 'OK' pieces which are a concern as you simply don't know quite how good they are. When leading you'd want to place quite a few of these before being happy as to your chances of being held in a fall. While understanding comes through experience, if you can't tell the difference between good and marginal at this stage you really should try and go out with someone more experienced.

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to TonyB:

> It's really hard to answer that kind of question here. I remember being at El Chorro, and watching a climber on a sport route, placing all manner of microcams and marginal protection between bolts. I didn't say anything, but I remember thinking this was ridiculous. Of course people can climb how they like, but I genuinely thought that if he fell on some of his placements he would have a chance of ripping off the tiny flakes. They looked like lousy protection, but very useful holds. I guess the point is that if you were to rip off a crucial hold on a classic sport climb by placing protection behind it, people may get annoyed.

Yep that does sound a little over the top. And the whole ethical side of it was what I was wondering. It does sound like there's a chance to ruining a hold if you're placing protection which rules it out even if it makes more sense to test at ground level anyway. Thanks

 

Michael Gordon - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to benlatham07:

> The point i was making about not having to use marginal/questionable gear.  I meant on easy/ low grade  routes 

>

Yes, and on obviously well protected stuff (in case the OP is unsure)

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to benlatham07:

> Maybe trad climbing isn't for you if your this over analytical about everything. 

I thought trad climbing involved thinking a little more than sport climbing and being analytical would be useful?

I don't mean to be over complicating things but I was wondering if there was an alternative to the 'trickle down' school of learning. 

I do appreciate the reply though - it all adds to the mix

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> Unfortunately simulating lab conditions or even engineering workshops is of some but limited value.  There are no 100% guarantees EVER.

Engineering is about 80% planning and modelling and 20% fudging. I'm used to chance but like to stack the odds.

 

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> A better way of thinking about quality of gear placement is to rate it, and I don't mean numerically! Basically gear can be bomber, good, OK, or marginal. 

> Bomber - there's no way that could ever come out.

> Good - almost bomber, though not infallible e.g. if not extended enough

> OK - between good and marginal

> Marginal - falling not an option

> It's the 'OK' pieces which are a concern as you simply don't know quite how good they are. When leading you'd want to place quite a few of these before being happy as to your chances of being held in a fall. While understanding comes through experience, if you can't tell the difference between good and marginal at this stage you really should try and go out with someone more experienced.

We're going out with someone at the moment who is a lot more experienced and plan to do so for quite a few more times yet. 

And I would hope I could tell the difference between good and marginal but there's enough variables with rock structure which adds the biggest variability. Will it hold? How strong is that foliated rock at that angle? What hollows or quartzites sit behind that crack etc? I know these things are something that only experience can reveal but it's where the majority of people's experience comes from. Given that you can't gain information about these concerns through observation I wondered if people just learn through falling?

 
Thanks for the reply!

 

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Thanks for all of the replies. I hope that asking lots of questions isn't considered bad form. We've got a very competent guide who is helping loads but I thought it useful to ask about how other people have gained confidence in the quality of the protection they are placing. 

We'll be getting out and trying a few placements at ground level and working with our guide for a while yet

GridNorth - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Gaining experience IS stacking the odds.  Even marginal or badly placed gear is, in the vast majority of cases, better than no gear.  As an engineer I find it surprising that you are, apparently, having issues visualising and judging your placements. I would expect an engineer to have some advantages in this regard

Al

timparkin - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> Gaining experience IS stacking the odds.  Even marginal or badly placed gear is, in the vast majority of cases, better than no gear.  As an engineer I find it surprising that you are, apparently, having issues visualising and judging your placements. I would expect an engineer to have some advantages in this regard

I can judge the geometry of the placements pretty well (my job used to include three dimensional modelling and some mechanical analysis) but unless I was a geologist I wouldn't know how the rock would hold up. And I presume, in many cases, the protection is stronger than the surrounding rock. Looking at some stories about protection failures in aid climbing it seems that the rock is a significant factor and is quite often not obvious on placement.

full stottie on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> Given that you can't gain information about these concerns through observation I wondered if people just learn through falling?

 

Well, they learn by surviving the fall. 

We're all aiming for conscious competence, as opposed to the other 3 combinations of those words, (esp unconscious incompetence), so good for you in trying to learn stuff in advance, and thinking about how things work.  Climbing is supposed to be fun, but we need to recognise that there is a significant risk element to be managed.

Dave

 

Rick Graham on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

I am with Grid on this one, experience and practice is key.

There are unknowns about how good the rock will be around any placement, thats why you always try to have a back up.

A miriad of other factors can come into play with gear failures, these include

Belayer standing too far out

Nuts pulling out by badly aligned rope or quickdrawer extension

Wires and slings cut by slicing action on rock edges

Ropes cut by snagging on flakes or slicing action over edges

Karabiners opening over edges.

There is also the fall factor.  Gear that will hold near the top of a pitch may be useless at the start.

Having climbed (almost) as long as Grid we have seen it all and had to deal with the consequences. Still learning after 50 years.

full stottie on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

 

> Some years ago I witnessed an instructor outside demonstrating how good gear is by climbing 15 feet up a route, sticking a cam behind a flake, then leaning back in it.  Took me ages to find a signal to get mountain rescue out.  Judging by your name at a crag you will be familiar with.

I really miss that flake. 

Dave

TonyB - on 02 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Yes, this can be a problem on small limestone features. A lot of sport lines are on limestone and follow small features.  I'm sure what you suggest in your opening post would be fine at the right venue, Lorry Park Quarry springs to mind, as the routes are bolted yet many would be easy and safe to protect - although the grades may not be what you had in mind.

alanblyth - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

My experience:

I gained confidence by pushing my climbing ability on safe routes, with backup pieces, and backups of backup pieces before trying hard moves, eventually you fall hard on a cam or nut and realise it does work, and doesn't need 3 backups to stop you decking out if placed correctly.

But it's life long apprenticeship, harder routes, different rock types etc. I don't think you can ever test every possible gear placement, so when your leg starts shaking at the crux and your mind is wondering "did i knock that cam when i stepped through?", "Will that nut hold if i fall violently sideways?", "Will my belayer jump backwards and zipper out all my gear?", all you have is experience, placing the best possible gear with the skills you have learned, and pushing the move because you want to and enjoy it, not because of any guarantee's.

 

That's my two pennies worth,

Post edited at 16:07
GrahamD - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to alanblyth:

I'd agree with that.  For me, confidence in gear placements is not always totally logical, and tends to be related to how well I'm climbing to a large extent.  If I'm shaking like a constipated dog, even the most solid placements feel iffy.

jkarran - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

There's not much wrong with the traditional approach: learning from others by seconding, practising with gear at the crag base between climbs and placing lots of kit in easy routes then having it critiqued, building experience gradually. Indeed it has much merit since you can take your time placing good protection rather than fiddling with difficult or poor runners in stress positions as will be the case on most sport routes.

By the time you've assembled a few dozen belays you'll have a good feel for what is and isn't sound and you'll have gained trust in your gear keeping you off the deck.

edit: bounce testing with a sling is a good way to get a chipped tooth and a broken coccyx, don't use body weight, use your eyes and brain to assess the placement then give it a few sharp tugs in different directions with a quick-draw, see if it behaves as expected, if not, ask why not? Preventing the rope moving or lifting gear as you climb then fall is the skill you really need to master, making a cam or nut reliably resist a pull in one direction can be learned in 5 minutes, making sure it's where you left it and still clipped to the rope after an hour of grunting and shaking is what keeps you alive.

jk

Post edited at 16:40
Rob Exile Ward on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

There's no substitute for experience and you can only get that one way.

It's not just pro that you need to practice, there's a whole range of skills - it's a whole different mindset from sport climbing, where basically you can lurch from one bolt to the next (well I can't very well, but I've seen lots of people who can.) With trad you have to plan more, be more aware, assess the next stopping place, and what to do if THAT hold doesn't turn out as good as expected or THAT crack is in fact shallow and flared...

Why not start on easy climbs, if you climb 6b indoors you'd have to be prised off  most outdoor VDiffs or Severes  … you might be surprised how quickly your experience and confidence grow.  Which isn't to say you won't have the occasional fright … but that's trad for you.

Bulls Crack - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Now, if you were testing sport placements on trad routes there would be a fuss! 

timparkin - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to alanblyth:

Thanks Alan! Eminently sensible.. 

timparkin - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> I'd agree with that.  For me, confidence in gear placements is not always totally logical, and tends to be related to how well I'm climbing to a large extent.  If I'm shaking like a constipated dog, even the most solid placements feel iffy.

That sounds like engineering and software. Always perfect until it gets used.. 

timparkin - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

> There's no substitute for experience and you can only get that one way. It's not just pro that you need to practice, there's a whole range of skills - it's a whole different mindset from sport climbing, where basically you can lurch from one bolt to the next (well I can't very well, but I've seen lots of people who can.) With trad you have to plan more, be more aware, assess the next stopping place, and what to do if THAT hold doesn't turn out as good as expected or THAT crack is in fact shallow and flared...

yep - start of a long journey but that's better than being at the finish!

> Why not start on easy climbs, if you climb 6b indoors you'd have to be prised off  most outdoor VDiffs or Severes  … you might be surprised how quickly your experience and confidence grow.  Which isn't to say you won't have the occasional fright … but that's trad for you.

We're off out in Aviemore with Glenmore on Thursday so more fun to be had! Thanks!

 

timparkin - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> Now, if you were testing sport placements on trad routes there would be a fuss! 

No masonry drills on trad routes?

Misha - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

You're overthinking this but I can see why given what you say about your engineer background. As others have said, stick a load of gear in at the bottom of a crag and get a guide/MIA and/or a suitably experienced friend to rate your gear placements (explaining which ones are marginal and why and how they can be improved).

It's not advisable to take test falls on trad gear. For bomber pieces it isn't necessary anyway. For questionable placements you don't really want to find out the (literally) hard way that the placement will fail! Unless there's a load of bomber gear just below, but even then, you always fall further than you think...

Also as you've noted yourself, easier routes aren't steep enough for falls to be safe in terms of not hitting a ledge or some other feature (of course this could still be an issue on harder routes but generally they are steeper and have fewer ledges). So generally not a good idea to take practice falls on easier trad routes.

But you don't want to be getting onto harder, steeper routes to practice falls either until you've learned how to place gear properly, even if they are well protected. What tends to happen is people get pumped quickly when they're out of their comfort zone and then it's easy to mess up gear placements even on a route which has good gear - with the result that the gear ends up being poor and can fail in a fall. So not a good idea to take practice falls on harder trad routes either, at least not until you're pretty experienced and then you won't need to anway.

A bit of a conundrum? Well, the answer is get some tips at the crag base and also observe how experienced leaders place gear when you're secoding. Then eventually you will fall off (unless you're a very timid climber, and even then it will happen one day!) and you will find out for yourself - hopefully the gear will hold!

If in doubt, err on the side of caution and place more/better gear until you're sufficiently experienced to make judgement calls for yourself. It's rare that it's pumpy to place gear on easier routes where you have only seconds to get something in before your strength fails.

Misha - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to JackM92:

Agree safe falls on trad boost confidence and hence help to improve but I wouldn’t advocate deliberately taking trad falls - especially to someone starting out. I find that as you climb harder you end up taking involuntary falls - that’s sufficient practise usually!

Misha - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Aid gear failing is probably on fairly marginal placements, as in stuff you wouldn’t remotely need to place on an average trad route...

JackM92 - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Misha:

I suppose the issue is that many climbers never get past the level where falling off means hitting numerous ledges, slabs, blocky holds etc.

And the conundrum is that what stops them is a fear of falling on trad, never having done it!

Agree with your longer post, difficult to place bomber kit when really struggling on lead. One thing that I tried was abseiling down a line, placing solid gear then climbing it like a sport route and falling on every piece. Got a few comments from other climbers at the crag but seemed like a productive way to practice!

krikoman - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

>.... and my wife swaping 2nd/3rd. 

are you sure you'e on the right web site?

kathrync - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

I haven't read all of these replies.  The answers about testing placements at ground level are good.

The other thing I found helpful was to lead routes while also on a top/bottom rope.  This meant that I could practice placing gear while actually on lead, and if something did fail the top rope was in place.  Of this requires routes with suitable anchors for a top or bottom rope and two belayers, although it sounds like you are climbing in a 3 anyway.

Andy Gamisou - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to full stottie:

> I really miss that flake. 

> Dave

Don't suppose you were the instructor - that would be a coincidence ;-)

Post edited at 10:07
timparkin - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Misha:

I'm not sure overthinking is an issue when you're just starting unless it's getting in the way of getting out and climbing but I get where you're coming from. 

My comments about taking practice falls is coming from having read Dave Macleods advice. He advocates taking lots of falls indoors but eventually doing so outdoors as well... 

"So just as it takes hundreds of sessions of pulling on small holds to go from novice to strong fingered advanced climber, it takes many hundreds of leader falls to go from falling averse nervous leader to confident relaxed leader. Hundreds of falls, year in year out. Not a couple one night you are feeling brave and then never again.

For trad the technique is exactly the same. No top rope, just proper falls onto trad gear where it's safe to do so. The ultimate confidence booster though is unexpected falls on trad routes."

http://onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2009/07/beating-fear-of-falling-in-5-sessions.html

GrahamD - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

 

 

> For trad the technique is exactly the same. No top rope, just proper falls onto trad gear where it's safe to do so. The ultimate confidence booster though is unexpected falls on trad routes."

I disagree.  The fact its on trad gear which I'm pretty sure is good anyway is irrelevant.  Its the falling bit I hate, be it on trad or on sport or at the wall.

 

Milesy - on 04 Sep 2018

I would not bother going to sport routes, just go to a trad venue and learn.

Top rope a route (or ab it) and practice placing gear. Once you think you are ready, you can top rope it (or ab it) and pre-place the gear, and then lead it with the gear in situ, and once ready and you know the moves and you know the gear, lead it cleanly.

You don't need to go into trad onsighting, that of course is the purest way to climb, but build up some experience first.

Milesy - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkinn

> "So just as it takes hundreds of sessions of pulling on small holds to go from novice to strong fingered advanced climber, it takes many hundreds of leader falls to go from falling averse nervous leader to confident relaxed leader.

Falling in trad is not something that people should be learning to expect and rely on. I don't make any habit of falling, or intending to fall.

full stottie on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

I've never instructed anyone before, but I'll be instructing my legal team tonight. ;)

You'll be hearing from them.

Dave

Post edited at 16:16
Misha - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Yes but you need experience of gear placements before taking practice falls on trad (which not many people practise anyway). I don’t think Dave MacLeod is advocating this for people who are just starting out. 

SenzuBean - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Pretty much everything has been said on the thread. I thought I would add that the other extreme, is that eventually you might get so confident in your gear placements - that you place too few runners. If in doubt - back it up.
Here's a photo of James McHaffie placing what looks to be 9 runners in about 3 body-lengths of roof (runners are to prevent a swing back onto the wall presumably) new route: http://www.jamesmchaffie.com/uploads/1/3/1/7/13174502/received-1691028484322808_orig.jpeg

MischaHY - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Definitely something to work on then. I guarantee you can clear it up and it's probably holding you back by 2 grades. Everybody I've climbed with who has worked through a fear of falling has had a massive grade jump as a result. 

SC - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Just try to find a very experienced trad climbing partner. Learn from his/her gear placements and start leading well within your technical ability and ask for their critique of your gear.

Try starting on routes with good, straightforwad gear so nothing like Avon Gorge where protection requires a certain amount of creativity and can be difficult to spot.


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