Author Topic: Your first trad lead  (Read 6622 times)

Offline OldEric

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2014, 12:01:33 PM »
Technically my first lead(s) were something silly - like dragging the rope while scrambling through the cow pasture on Lakeview.  But the first real memorable lead was Hawk at the Gunks.  This was at the dawn of the era when clean hammerless climbing was just becoming the next big thing (1972).  The problem was that the tools to do it with were pretty primitive.  First gen Choiunard stoppers may have existed but mostly we had various odd widgets with water knotted 1 inch webbing threaded through.  Not very confidence inspiring.  Unless we were vying for the coveted "first clean ascent" we secretly hoped for fixed pins to appear which they often did.

Anyway my older more experienced partner sent me off on the 2nd pitch of Hawk.  He had quite an assortment of the previous mentioned widgets - mostly home made - but he also had a good selection of pins.  I had a hammer (we all carried them then) so when he handed me the rack I made sure the pins were easy to get at.  As soon as I got gripped (about 5 feet from the belay) I started to fiddle with the gear.  He advised me to try this widget or that widget.  Nope - I grabbed a nice angle - ping, ping, ping.  Probably clipped 2 biners to it (runners were saved for more extreme situations) and wobbled on to the next pro opportunity - thinking I getting pretty runout - I could barely reach back and touch the first pin I placed.  More ping, ping, ping.  I'm getting pretty gripped - PING, PING.  ahhh.  That got everybody's attention within 1/4 mile.  I continued on through the rest of the pitch that way.  Welding about 5-6 pins semi permanently in-situ (poor partner did get them out but the rock was not appreciative) and fighting tremendous drag before I ultimately flopped on to the GT ledge.  Still alive.  Plus now I was a real climber.

Offline sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2014, 12:40:26 PM »
Only 42 years ago, Eric?  I would have thought it be 50 now since your first 'real' lead.  We need to celebrate that when the time comes!
And I would have thought your first lead be in MA or NH.

"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 OldEric

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2014, 01:18:06 PM »
Only 42 years ago, Eric?  I would have thought it be 50 now since your first 'real' lead.  We need to celebrate that when the time comes!
And I would have thought your first lead be in MA or NH.

The 50th that will matter (to me) comes in 3 years.  1967 was when I first climbed the Grand.  Seems like there is only one "right" way to celebrate that one.

Offline The other tomcat

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2014, 05:49:41 PM »
These are great! Keep 'em coming! Where's Tradman?
Tom Stryker

Offline strandman

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2014, 07:09:47 PM »
i still remember my first sport lead....that was scary !

For me WG wasn't to bad..it gets darl early in november and we didn't start the hike up until around noon

Offline pappy

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2014, 08:08:58 PM »
I think my first lead was a 30' 5.7 crack at Rattlesnake Gutter called Ground Out, which I didn't know at the time. I got the name a year later when I was soloing it for speed and a spider jumped out and I grounded out and broke my wrist, which I later found out made me the third person to bust their arm on that climb, hence the name. What I really remember as my first for real--focus--lead was leading Hissing Crack (9+. It really does hiss) at the Gutter, right above Ground Out actually. That was the climb I really learned to  climb on, as I dragged my significant other up for numerous days to belay my TR (we lived like 5 min. away) until I finally pulled the crux. Then of course I immediately had to lead it. And I pulled the crux, got into the overhanging corner above, totally freaking, plugged in one of those spanking new pink tri-cam things, realized I was flaming and putting in anything else was going to be counter-productive, and ran like hell for the top. Lunged for the pine at the top, snagged it, looked down, and saw that pretty pink tri-cam thing dangling off the rope above the over cammed #1 Friend at the crux way the fuck down there. A little freaky, but I calculated afterwards that as long as the significant other was on the ball I probably wouldn't have hit the ground, so I was happy, which is actually how we thought in those days.
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Offline sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2014, 08:21:34 PM »
Yeah, I agree, all pretty good and funny!!  Got to be able to laugh at yourself and those who had similar experience. 

Hey, John, what was your first sport lead?  Just wondering.

Yes, Eric, the choice to celebrate your 50th is obvious.  I am sure there is a queue of potential partners forming already as we speak.   I am in line for sure!

"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 markvnh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2014, 11:14:39 AM »
My first trad lead was Lakeview - all of it. But it wasn't meant to be that way when the day started.

I had been climbing about a year and was spending allot of time top-roping at Pawtuckaway (Doug Madera and Jerry Handren were my instructors over four days when I took lessons the previous year - somewhere in my collection I have a pic of Doug in a swami on Refuse!).

I'd met a guy locally who had been climbing about five years but who had taken a year off after breaking his ankle in a short fall the previous year. We'd go out to Pawtuckaway and climb and after a bunch of times out decided it was time to head north. We agreed we'd climb Lakeview and swap leads. I'd been practice placing gear either when on a TR or on the ground so I felt comfortable with doing my first lead climb.

It was a beauty day, we hiked up to the base of Lakeview and we got there the other guy got a bit gripped and said he didn't think he was ready to lead. So it was either lead all of it or not climb at all. I led all of it and the only problem I had was that damn "maneater flake" on the last pitch.

Looking back now it was a great starting climb to lead as it had a bit of everything - and it sure ate up gear (except that damn third pitch slab if I remember!). And it was sure a long day!

Offline strandman

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2014, 11:55:49 AM »
My 4oth year will be very close to Eric's 50th..maybe the Nose ? ;D


Offline ralbert20

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2014, 12:22:41 PM »
I feel so... young!

My first trad lead was Physical Graffiti in Red Rock canyon, Vegas - April 2003. It must have taken me close to an hour to make the belay for my second, because there were no ring bolts to anchor into, and I had only really climbed at Rumney to that point. I forgot how to equalize the cordalette, forgot to put in a multi-directional piece, set the pieces too far apart, and then forgot to redirect the belay through the top piece, so I hunched over to bring my second up.

She laughed at my setup, and since then I have become much better at anchor building!

Offline SA

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2014, 03:07:10 PM »
I don't remember my 1st trad lead, but about 1 year later, I put in the Pendulum Route, on Cathedral, with Paul Doyle.  I do remember that it was a long day, arriving at the top in the dark.
 That same year, ( 1967), I free-soloed Yellow Ridge, at the Gunks, which probably was after I had started leading.  I still don't remember my 1st lead, which couldn't have been too traumatic, or I would of remembered it
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 03:39:13 PM by SA »

Offline JBro

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2014, 04:02:12 PM »
My first lead was on ice: Yale Gully. I managed to fall on the approach because I was too dumb to put crampons on. Nearly slid down into the boulder field but luckily managed to grab a bush before hitting warp speed. Put my crampons on and marched back up to the base of the climb where frik handed me the rack and said, "your lead."

I also remember banging in an angle at some point on the climb. Frik came up and asked if I ever placed an angle before. Apparently I put it in sideways with only the 2 sides making contact with the rock, instead of the correct way with the 3 points of contact.
 
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Offline DGoguen

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2014, 04:38:02 PM »
Hey Jacques
Where was your first trad lead and what was it like?

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Offline strandman

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2014, 05:04:43 PM »
I don't remember my 1st trad lead, but about 1 year later, I put in the Pendulum Route, on Cathedral, with Paul Doyle.  I do remember that it was a long day, arriving at the top in the dark.
 That same year, ( 1967), I free-soloed Yellow Ridge, at the Gunks, which probably was after I had started leading.  I still don't remember my 1st lead, which couldn't have been too traumatic, or I would of remembered it
At least ropes were around then Steve >:(

A

Offline sneoh

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Re: Your first trad lead
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2014, 05:42:19 PM »
Predates kernmantle ropes though.  Goldline?

"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