Author Topic: Your first trad lead  (Read 8676 times)

sneoh

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Your first trad lead
« on: November 07, 2014, 09:11:28 PM »
Someone had suggested this topic as a new thread.  I liked the idea so here it goes -

Though technically it was my second or third trad lead (after 1 or 2 "practice" ones at Hammond Pond), I have very fond memories of Intertwine at Crow Hill because I regard it as my first "true" trad lead, even though I had been on it on TR twice before.  I made the lead on my 30th birthday (took the afternoon off work to do so). The previous weekend I had gone to buy the "gold" #2 Camalot so that I could better protect moving past the "pod" on the route. I still have this piece.  Battered, bent, and sticky as it is, I do not think I will ever have the heart to part with it.  The lead went smoothly and I was on Cloud 9 for a day or two after that! :)

The onsight trad lead of High E a year or so after Intertwine is a highlight too.  It was my first Gunks route on my first visit there and the first trad onsight lead I remember.  In any case, it started to thundershower as I stepped onto the "point" just off the GT Ledge to lead the money pitch.  By the time I made it to the trees, I was soaked through head to my Sportiva Mythos, the rope was wet and heavy (11 mm BW 50m), and rope drag was horrendous.  My partner made it up, soaked too, and shivering.  We hid under some trees until the showers passed, rapped down, went back to camp to dry off, drove to NP, and downed a few at Bacchus.  What a great day even though High E was the only climb we did that day.  Ah, those were the days!! :):)

Offline lucky luke

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 09:47:34 PM »
Someone had suggested this topic as a new thread.  I liked the idea so here it goes -

Beginner section.

I understand why you are not making distinction between trad and sport

sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 09:54:31 PM »
Truth be known, I had a tough time deciding which Section to post this Topic.  In the end, I decide first lead of any kind belongs in the Beginners Section.
Is it that unreasonable to feel that way?   If Al thinks it should be moved I am fine with that.

Hey, LL, care to elaborate why I am incapable of making the distinction between sport and trad protected routes?

Offline The other tomcat

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2014, 09:40:23 AM »
I'm guessing this was really my second lead. I started at Ralph Stover In Pennsylvania, not the easiest place to climb, polished shale, loose flakes and dirt, we loved it. My buddy George and I pooled our gear, and I led the first pitch of " Route 2 ". I repeated this 5.5 a couple years back with a beginner again and almost fell off the sketchy start.

This day however, just armed with stoppers and hexes, it went OK, toward the end of P1 was a notch that took some good gear, and I pulled onto the ledge known as Wall Street pretty chuffed with myself. George struggled a bit with the start, but soon joined me on the ledge.

Back then there was a skinny little guidebook that was pretty vague about where the 2nd pitch of routes above Wall Street went, but while belaying George up I had been eyeing this staircase of holds that lead to a line of overhangs above me. George and I were wanting the thrill to keep on going, so I suggested I'd just " have a look",  a concept that I utilized all my climbing life.

It was probably only 45-50 to the top of the cliff, and people we knew always said nobody does that stuff, it's dirty, loose, and scary. I led up the staircase to beneath the overhang, placed a hex under the roof and leaned out, voila! a piton! I clipped it and scoped it out. I looked at my protection system, and realized I really had no reason not to go for it, a long reach to some dirty gravel covered flakes. I sucked it up and pulled hard, got the goods and passed the crux. One more move or so and I was able to girth hitch a small cedar with an orange knotted ( they all were back then ), sling. Couple moves and I was on top, flying!

I belayed back a little from the edge, not knowing better. George came up, and I could not see him, but I could hear him well. A " watch me" or something floated up, and then he seemed to me to be through the business. I could tell he was stoked! Oddly another move later he stalled a long, long time and I wondered why?

George finally topped out we shook hands and he was totally ecstatic as was I . When the hooting died down I asked what happened after the crux. George reached inside his shirt and pulled out the slings as one six foot un-knotted piece of webbing and said " I couldn't get the friggin' knot out !"  He just hadn't recognized the girth at the tree as such, so hung there and untied the water knot with one hand!
Tom Stryker

Offline DGoguen

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 11:05:29 AM »
Hey Tom, good one, really enjoyed that.

My first trad lead was at Crow Hill also Sneoh.

It was 1980 and I sent away to REI for a 50 meter rope, a figure 8, 6 or 7 Wild country Rocks, perlon to sling them,webbing for runners, and a dozen ovals.
I had been reading Royal Robbins Rockcraft. My brother in law and I had top roped the far left end two weeks earlier and were ready for the real climbing.
Literally my second day out. We did the Green Route (5.5)  in 3 pitches. Now that's trad. Ha. If you've never been there, the cliff is 80' high.

I led to the first ledge 20' up and rigged a belay.
Next pitch went around the very exposed corner and I easily walked 30' across the big ledge and anchored to the big tree at the end never placing any gear. As my brother in law came around the corner we realized my folly. Certain groundfall.  He reversed the move, basically the crux, and restood on the first ledge. I untied from the belay, walked over, put a piece in, and re anchored to the tree. He came back around and we were pretty pleased we had done it properly. We did the last pitch, another 35' and we stood at the summit and surveyed our kingdom.
You'd think we just climbed the Eiger.
Seems so long ago but like yesterday in other ways.

The first of quite a few times I tried to kill my brother in law when I was starting out.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 11:07:30 AM by DGoguen »
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sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 11:25:46 AM »
My first trad lead was at Crow Hill also Sneoh.

It was 1980 and I sent away to REI for a 50 meter rope, a figure 8, 6 or 7 Wild country Rocks, perlon to sling them,webbing for runners, and a dozen ovals.
I had been reading Royal Robbins Rockcraft. My brother in law and I had top roped the far left end two weeks earlier and were ready for the real climbing.
Literally my second day out. We did the Green Route (5.5)  in 3 pitches. Now that's trad. Ha. If you've never been there, the cliff is 80' high.
My goodness.  I wonder how many first leads have taken place at Crow Hill.  I am willing to bet lots.
Your fine adventure preceeded mine by 11 years.

We did the last pitch, another 35' and we stood at the summit and surveyed our kingdom.
You'd think we just climbed the Eiger.
Seems so long ago but like yesterday in other ways.
I felt the same way.  Intertwine is certainly no more than 50 or 55 feet but taht did not seem to matter an iota. 
And yes, memories of part of that day is still so fresh in my mind.  Just amazing.
Thanks for sharing!

strandman

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 04:17:52 PM »
A 5.5 slab at the Quarries..the one right of Friction Pitch...first real lead was W-G

Hey LL  the Prow on cathedral used to be 99& fixed....sport route eh ?  Or pipe Dreams at Acadia ???

Offline The other tomcat

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 05:01:24 PM »
The Whitney-Gilman John! Trial by fire....lol! I'll be waiting to hear that beat!
Tom Stryker

Offline M_Sprague

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2014, 05:51:12 PM »
My first lead was Animal Crack (I think the real name is Ass Crack but Ken PCed it) a Layton Kor, Sam Streibert route at Ragged Cliff in CT. My partner for the day started up but couldn't finish it. I said to myself "Shit, I can do that" so jumped on it. Previous to that Whitey had dragged me around with me seconding and I had done quite a bit harder top ropes so I was pretty prepared for it so it went fine. Made me feel like I was a real climber though  ;D
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sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2014, 06:32:29 PM »

Made me feel like I was a real climber though  ;D
Isn't it amazing how we felt after that first lead?
I held that feeling for a while until I got to personally know the likes ScottR, Nonis, SteveB, TC, Whitey, Coach, Eric, Team Tough, and many other accomplished climbers.  Then I felt like an underachiever, as I rightfully should! :)

Offline DGoguen

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Re: Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2014, 07:32:38 PM »
My first lead was Animal Crack (I think the real name is Ass Crack
I can see the second line in your future obituary.
" As a young man he conquered Ass Crack and the rest is legend"
Nice;D
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Offline steve weitzler

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2014, 12:44:55 PM »
My first lead was a route in Taylor Canyon outside of Gunnison, CO where I was a student at the time. It was probably 1977 or so. I had done a lot of bouldering and top-roping previously and had followed a few things (blindly) up until then. It was a two pitch route, the first being about 5.6 and second pitch 5.8 give or take. I remember placing a number of hexes, old Forrest Titons (remember those) and a few Chouinard stoppers. When my partner got to the belay ledge he said good thing you didn't fall as the pro was shit and wouldn't have held.( I had no clue what I was doing). I responded to him that good thing he didn't fall as the belay station I set up wouldn't have held either because I had overlooked that aspect of my climbing education. I think I put in 2 pieces and tied off to both having absolutely no clue what I was doing. So I guess my first lead was also my first solo!! Proving the point that good climbing judgement comes from surviving many stupid climbing decisions made when you had little climbing experience.

strandman

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2014, 06:13:36 PM »
I had some Titons..fucking useless..i was going to throw them away and george Hurley was shocked.."these are great"  :D :D :D Of course he was good friends with Bill Forest, the inventor.

Offline old_school

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2014, 09:24:34 AM »
Mine was either kiddy crack or child's play but did both in the same day. 1979-80 maybe??
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Echo

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2014, 11:24:48 AM »
Mine was either kiddy crack or child's play but did both in the same day. 1979-80 maybe??

I'm still trying to figure out those opening moves  :P

I think mine was either The Roof at Pawtuckaway, or this crack out in Red Rocks. My dad recently found these pics from 1995 that show this route. Anyone recognize it? Would like to know what it's called.





We didn't have a harness for my dad to belay me so we tied some webbing around a boulder and I taught him how to belay;