Author Topic: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad  (Read 3199 times)

Offline lucky luke

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three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« on: September 30, 2013, 10:07:47 PM »
I went to Yosemite and I climbed with boulder climbers. I thought that they are not good trad climber and found three reasons not to boulder before learning trad. I know that I will have stupid answer on that post and I hope that you will answer the question who follow: What can you say to have a better understanding of the idea below? 

a- the rope is very important in trad. not because it is safe, but because it is a link between you and your partner. When you  begin to climb, you are apprehensive about the fall and you learn to trust your partner. As in boulder there is no rope, the importance of the second, of a good belayer, is not so intense. A crash bad is better than a belayer. I was looking at an old, as old as me, trad climber and saw how much he take care of the rope. how he communicate with his second, moving with him in the hard part and congratulation him, in the exact good time. In trad, the climber are more partner and both people most go to the summit. In boulder, the situation is more a competition to do the move first or just to make it to be in a group. In fact I think that it is important to have that confidence with a belayer and be aware that they are good and bad belayer and that nobody like to be belay in a same way.

b- In a trad fall, you are stop by the rope. It is not always a clean fall and beginner always knock there knees or bruises there skin on the rock because the rope drag them. As they are beginner and climb easy stuff, they learned how to protect themselves in a fall. That process can be long and after many fall with the rope, you can evaluate the distance of a fall and the direction and protect yourself adequately. In boulder, you are always at your limit and fall on your leg or on a crash pad. There is no rope and the position of the body is thinking only in the sense of doing the move, not falling as a beginner do in trad.

c- the third reason is a little less evident. As you climb a route, you conquer a wall, you test your limit and you learn to, in the presence of an immediate danger, the fall, you learn how to control your nerve, how to control the stress.. In some case, the stress can be so hight that the person can not do the move. In boulder, in general and for beginner climber, the danger of a fall is not very important and very close to the ground. So one can be completely concentrate on doing the move without fear. As you progress in trad, your partner, as a belayer is a part of your success. You evaluate the risk and consequences of a fall and decide if you can take the risk of doing a move depending where you place your pro. Each climb is a test for you, it could be a run out in 5.7 or an easy 5.11 with a crack and a piece of pro at each five inches. Your goal is to test your limit emotionally and physically. As a boulder climber, you are doing a move to the perfect execution. You are not testing your limit, but you are pushing your limit.

Good or bad? it is not the question. If you think that you can do a route that you never did, know how to fall with a rope and the consequemces of the fall and that you are with a good partner...it is possible that you trad climb.   
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 10:11:46 PM by lucky luke »

Offline Admin Al

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 06:41:47 AM »
So I guess the question is:

Are people who start climbing by bouldering at a disadvantage from those who start by learning trad because the trad climbers understand the consequences of their actions better?
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Offline sneoh

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 08:35:40 AM »
I know a number of people that do all types of climbing who got hurt badly bouldering (mostly lower limbs).
So I guess there could possibly be this mentality "if I survived 5 seasons of high ball bouldering without a scratch, how dangerous can climbing with a rope and gear be?".

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ

Offline ed_esmond

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 08:49:18 AM »
lucky opines: " In boulder, in general and for beginner climber, the danger of a fall is not very important and very close to the ground. "

this statement makes me think he hasn't done much bouldering (or know very much about it...)

it may surprise him that 'highball" bouldering and "VBL" (which doesn't stand for "vapor barrier layer....") is a BIG part of the bouldering tradition.

in general, it's usually dangerous to make sweeping generalities from a limited number of observations, but it's something he's good at...

ed e

ps. lucky, if you find that you are getting a lot of "stupid answer on that post,"  perhaps it's because your  post is "stupid..."

pps. al, do you think someone doing a "full-on dyno" 15ft above a single crash pad won't understand the consequence of their action?
pragmatic: (adj) dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories.

Offline strandman

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 09:33:25 AM »
I thought you went with climbers from BOULDER.. they might have been waterlogged

Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 10:33:53 AM »
Good or bad? it is not the question. If you think that you can do a route that you never did, know how to fall with a rope and the consequemces of the fall and that you are with a good partner...it is possible that you trad climb.

TLDR: After soloing, trad climbing is the hardest, most encumbered, most involved, most dangerous kind of climbing. It's also the easiest kind of climbing to learn improperly. In hindsight, I wish I had started by bouldering, so that I could have broken an ankle and developed a healthy respect for the rock, and potentially have alerted my parents that I needed proper instruction.

The long story:

I started climbing as a teenager 23 years ago by trad climbing. There were not too many other climbers to learn from in suburban Maryland, and bouldering wasn't really a big thing in those days. So my friend Bob and I taught ourselves by reading an outdated, worn copy of FoTH that we got from the library (and we didn't read it closely enough: read on).

On our first climb, I tied in to a static rope with a bowline-on-the-colon and placed (poorly) a few nuts that had been improperly slung by Hudson Trail Outfitters with accessory cord instead of spectra or wire. For our route, we chose and sent a 5.5 at Great Falls, where local knowledge expressly recommends against placing nuts on the lead since the rock doesn't hold pro very well. This, while wearing rigid hiking boots. My partner gave me a sweet hip-belay that may have prevented me from being cut in half by the rope had I taken a fall. He maintained that excellent belay even after I dropped a number 13 stopper directly on to his head while fiddling with it in a flared crack. After reaching the top, I found myself a solid seated belay position and braced myself and hip-belayed my partner to the top, without even slinging the dead tree for an anchor.   

In short, we're lucky we survived our first climbing adventure. By all accounts, we made so many life-threatening mistakes that it is only by pure dumb luck that I tell you this story today.

On our second climbing adventure, we visited Ilchester Crag in MD, where a local who was bouldering took one look at our rack and gear and said, "What the F*CK are you doing? You're going to get yourself killed!" He snipped the accessory cord off my stoppers, relegated my static rope to top-rope anchor use, gave me a tube-style belay device, and taught us a few things that kept us safe for many years that followed.

It doesn't matter whether you start by bouldering, trad climbing, or sport climbing. Education, Qualified Instruction, and Patience are the most important ingredients to building an adequate skill set. To learn trad climbing, you must have all three traits, and few climbers fit the bill when they start out.

EDIT:  This was the route. http://mountainproject.com/v/dark-corner/107508872. Took me all morning to find it.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 12:52:39 PM by Pete Jackson »
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Offline Admin Al

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 10:50:38 AM »
It doesn't matter whether you start by bouldering, trad climbing, or sport climbing. Education, Qualified Instruction, and Patience are the most important ingredients to building an adequate skill set. To learn trad climbing, you must have all three traits, and few climbers fit the bill when they start out.

+++
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Offline pappy

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2013, 11:45:12 AM »
There's nothing wrong with accessory cord on nuts; we did that for a long time with no ill effects. I do like the image of a bowline on a colon though--you can't scare the shit out of yourself.
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Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2013, 11:56:17 AM »
There's nothing wrong with accessory cord on nuts; we did that for a long time with no ill effects.

The stuff I was using was too thin. I didn't make that obvious enough. It was suitable for shoelace material, but not much else!
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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 12:38:05 PM »
...
in general, it's usually dangerous to make sweeping generalities from a limited number of observations, but it's something he's good at...

This. Reading about John Gill might change your opinions some LL.

I think there is no "perfect" way to enter climbing. Whether you start in a gym, bouldering, trad, sport, ice, what ever... but the more varied you enjoy the sport the more well rounded of a climber you'll be. The more you focus on one discipline the more specialized you'll be.

Offline sneoh

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2013, 04:49:57 PM »
...
in general, it's usually dangerous to make sweeping generalities from a limited number of observations, but it's something he's good at...

This. Reading about John Gill might change your opinions some LL.

I think there is no "perfect" way to enter climbing. Whether you start in a gym, bouldering, trad, sport, ice, what ever... but the more varied you enjoy the sport the more well rounded of a climber you'll be.
++++++++.  Nuff said.

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ

Offline lucky luke

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 06:54:58 PM »
So I guess the question is:

Are people who start climbing by bouldering at a disadvantage from those who start by learning trad because the trad climbers understand the consequences of their actions better?

No, it is not the question. You wrote it as if trad climber are better than bouldering. The question is more a do you think at...?

In the story of Pete Jackson, he mentioned the presence of his partner: "He maintained that excellent belay even after I dropped a number 13 stopper directly on to his head while fiddling with it in a flared crack" The behavior to keep belaying your partner even if you are in the drop line is some thing very important in trad. A lot of you, who wrote, will, strangely, suggest to avoid placing an anchor at the bottom of a route to be able to move away, risking to pull your partner out of stance, if your leader drop some think. You save your life, and, after, the life of your partner if you are  not at risk.

Individualist comportment, as thinking that bouldering is not different than trad, is a social part of climbing. Think at yourself first. Climb a boulder. and, if you can't use a crash pad, use a grigri or, if you can't do it differently, climb with a partner. I think that in bouldering, the movement is more important than the social behavior. I don't judge any person, I think that people who work with public can find a way to relax from the crowd by doing bouldering.

In trad, we suggest to anchor your partner on the first pitch. The way you choose the anchor is for the protection of both person, the way the leader climb is to avoid to drop any thing on his belayer as his life depends of a good belay. Except from boulder climber, one of them pull the rope as I was leading, I never think that my partner will do deliberate think to stop my progression on the cliff. I think that beginning with a rope and good instruction is better because the trad climber are immediately in that mood that he most do his job correctly for the team as he will have to climb after and the other will belay him.

For the second statement on why to avoid bouldering if you want to trad, Pete Jackson state that he rather broke his ankle ( I wish I had started by bouldering, so that I could have broken an ankle and developed a healthy respect for the rock) than meet a local who: " taught us a few things that kept us safe for many years that followed."  What I wrote is to learn by top roping to fall few feet, climbing in pendulum and making short fall, hurting your knees, etc. It is some thing that all beginner do...in 5.6, 5.7 move. Before they know how o do hard move on the grounds. In Ed_Esmond, he cited me (In boulder, in general and for beginner climber, the danger of a fall is not very important and very close to the ground). After that he explain that a beginner do " 'highball" bouldering and "VBL" at his first days of climbing and, for that reason...I don't know about bouldering. Just thinking that after 25 years of climbing I don't know the difference between a beginner who learn to climb and highball climber is a good demonstration of how individualism can be a boulder climber.

Finaly the last statement is about how you test your knowledge and ability. In top roping, a beginner will have to use the rope and will find some people around to show the good way to climb safe.

Offline Pete Jackson

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 10:45:49 PM »
I think I understand better now. Are you saying that starting out climbing by focusing heavily on bouldering develops an individualistic attitude that may not serve one well later when the climber learns roped climbing?

I'd buy that argument, maybe.

But I would also say that there is no way to learn all of the right skills in the right order, while maintaining a perfect attitude the whole time. There are merits to each path one might take to becoming a well-rounded climber, and I don't presume to know nearly enough to tell you which sequence is the best. I suspect it varies by climber, availability of rock, partners, education, and dedication.

I also think that no matter which path a climber takes, they'll make mistakes along the way, over-develop some skills at the expense of others, and fail to pick up certain important lessons that others would have learned far earlier.  Experience in varied types of climbing, learned over the course of many years is the only real path to mastery.

I stand by my assertion that l wish I'd started out bouldering: I'd have been a way stronger climber when it became time to focus on placing gear. And I would have avoided undue risk that I wasn't aware of at the time I was taking it.
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Offline sneoh

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 11:31:52 PM »
Oh no, for the most part these days, bouldering is very "social".  Sometimes it is the only way to keep oneself from breaking an ankle.  My guess is Champ has not bouldered much in the past 10 years.

"You have to decide to do a flag, where you can broke your vertebrae or a barn door depending of your pro" - the poster formerly known as Champ

Offline lucky luke

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Re: three reasons to not bouldering before doing trad
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2013, 12:10:58 AM »
[...] Are you saying that starting out climbing by focusing heavily on bouldering develops an individualistic attitude that may not serve one well later when the climber learns roped climbing?

[...] I also think that no matter which path a climber takes, they'll make mistakes along the way, over-develop some skills at the expense of others, and fail to pick up certain important lessons that others would have learned far earlier.  Experience in varied types of climbing, learned over the course of many years is the only real path to mastery. [...]

I buy that two statement above too. My background is in swimming. I was a backstroke swimmer, which explain my strength on the shoulder. I was also a lifeguard. I worked eight years as an aid nurse and saw many accident very grave and death many time. So, I am very concerned about safety. As a backstroke swimmer, I also learned front crawl, breaststroke and butterfly. But I never ever call me a butterfly swimmer because it is all the same. My training and time spend on each technique was oriented to backstroke.

It is also what I am saying when bouldering can develop and individualistic attitude by the ethic and result of the game. You are not summiting the Everest!!! You are doing a problem harder than the other do. What you are looking from the group is not a partnership relation in a team, it is an emulation. Emulation is a kind of competition between the kid to keep control of them. Ordinarly, the humiliation of being not able to do the move, to be a numb (creating that environment of individualistic attitude), is the greatest motivation for many people. 

So, I think that the path for the people to climb trad is not to do boulder the first and second year. They most learn to be partner first and self rescue each other...and enjoy to be together in a great adventure. To do a move by friendship. I most say that we had two cliff, in Quebec, very close together. I go to the easier one, look at the kid climbing, try to imitate them, and go to the other cliff to test my ability... come back to the first cliff and boulder the problem to be able to do the move on the second cliff. Yes I think that this path is more the one of a trad climber, as much as climbing 5.9 as beginner is more a path for bouldering and more individualistic attitude.