General => Beginners Area => Topic started by: rockoniceman on April 17, 2007, 09:58:21 PM

Title: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: rockoniceman on April 17, 2007, 09:58:21 PM
I am a new climber that has done several top rop climbs. Someone suggest that sport climbing is a good next step. The few people I climb with are also new so we do not have any leaders yet to follow. Any suggestions on beginners sport routes near Connecticut?
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: bluesnpolitics on April 18, 2007, 01:27:11 AM
Unfortunately I don't know much about sport climbing in the connecticut area, but I do have a comment on sport leading as a next step after top roping. Don't be afraid to get a set of nuts and learn to place pro. I had the same thought to get into sport climbing because I was skeptical of placing my own pro, but was (happily) convinced to buy a set of nuts and start leading very easy trad. I'm not putting down sport climbing as a next step, but if what you really want to do is trad-climb, don't think of sport as an interim step.
Anywho, I know that there is some sport climbing on the crags in central MA, but I have no personal experience with it. Check out and see what they have to say. My understanding of the ethics history would make me think that you are going to find very little sport in CT with more bolts the closer you get to Rumney, but I may be way off. Gym leading is another possibility if you don't want to go the trad route.
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: rockoniceman on April 18, 2007, 07:52:51 AM
Thanks Drew. I would like to try some Trad with placing my own protection but have been told that should be left to the "experienced" climbing. I was thinking about buying some nuts or cams and your response now convinced me to "just do it". Thanks again for your reply - Rock On!
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: tradmanclimbz on April 18, 2007, 09:45:39 AM
Hogwash! the common theory these days is that if you don't pay a guide big bucks to learn how to trad climb you will most certainly die and get bashed silly on the internet. Yes you can die, yes you may be called a n00b on line, yes it would be wonderfull to be able to afford a guide but yes you can also teach yourself if you read good books, practice and have a good sense of self preservation. The key is practice. The more you do it the  better you get. If you constantly go out to the crag and fiddle with your toys, set up anchors, bounce test them, try to make them fail, boulder a bunch and generaly put in a lot of time at the crag you will start to get the hang of it. Hopfully some crusty old fart who knows a thing or two will find you there solo some day and turn you into a rope slave. Then you may learn all kinds of good stuff and get up a bunch of cool climbs. None of this will happen if you just sit a home wishing you had the $$$ to take a class. Additionaly takeing the class is a waste of money if you don't put the time in to practice. Get comfortable on the rock, get comfortable with the gear, If you can afford a day with a guide great!! but you still have to put your time in. JMOP
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: lefty on April 18, 2007, 10:29:28 AM
when i started we bought a set of stopper, hexes, and first four tricams and went to the gunks.

Started on 5.2 and worked our way up. It was not untill i got to 5.6 that i thought cams were necessary.

there is plenty to do in this range for the entire summer. if you get into trouble, there is usually a way off by rapelling or traversing to another climb

just start easy and work out the techniques on climbs that are well within your climbing ability
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: tradmanclimbz on April 18, 2007, 11:38:01 AM
one thing that can happen with the right mentor is you can advance much faster. You still have to put your time in..
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: benlewis on April 19, 2007, 09:39:17 AM
On the subject of easy trad...what are some good lines in NH that are super easy and have decent pro?  Someone was talking about 5.2, I don't know of any trad that easy in the area.  whitehorse and whatnot are mostly .6ish on their easier I think...
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: slink on April 19, 2007, 10:14:47 AM
 Look at lost horizon in the routes section.There are a couple of trad 5.4s that are well protected and fun.Plus there are a bunch of other fun things to do there.I know it gets sun and usually dries pretty quickly after a rain in the summer.Also some easier 5.5s at Square ledge that are fun trad lines.Have fun.
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: benlewis on April 19, 2007, 10:17:18 AM
Will do Jim, thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: lefty on April 19, 2007, 10:53:02 AM
There are quite a few bolted routes under 5.5 at Rumney now.

Seems to me to be a good first step towards getting a leading head without the worry of the quality of your gear placements.

Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: benlewis on April 19, 2007, 02:31:36 PM
I lead sport .10's but i would be happier climbing trad .6's and .7's somewhere obscure than go to rumney on a busy day...
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: joane on April 20, 2007, 12:02:18 PM
Hmm looks like a wide open field to explore,   Nice question new climber!
So here are some general  ideas based on what you said you were looking for that might help and that you  might  find you like--I offer them  based on my own experiences and share some of what I've learned from others who know a  lot more than I do because they've done more climbing sucessfully, more varied climbing and for far longer than I have and I second some  of what  everyone  here has said on the thread with hoepfully some extra reasons why.   

You mention you've done several top rope climbs which if it is true is not a lot. I would do a lot more to check that my experience covers the scope of different kinds of climbing moves  I  might want to use. For that books are fine to compare technical moves and strategies on moves and practice. And as someone said bouldering for  balance and  moves too.
 Why do people fall in climbing? I guess it's a misstep,  a loss of balance and then  just simply that the climb step or sequence is beyond their technical ability. *** or see tradmanclimbz below for a good reason to fall.  An inexperienced belayer could accidently  pull you off ,  step off balance themselves at the belay, or worse not be there when you need it for some reason  characteristic of human nature, like their mind wanders, they get confused, tired,  make a mistake or become afraid. So  you need to be sure you have good belay experience as a leader and as a second.

Falls  I think happen way more often if you are changing your focus from the climbing itself to doing something else, like placing protection. So since climbing is more than just the  feat of physically accomplishing the moves,  maybe you  could learn some interesting  stuff  by setting up the protection first from a top rope and getting used to  leading your rope through  pre-set protection on a route.   Then using the same route you set up and practised from via top rope,  you could   practice placing the gear leading the route--- now that you  have some knowledge of.  Having some idea in advance   allows you to be free to work on the coordination and balance aspects of the technique of placing   protection securely--and helps get it down to more of a reflex than a slow struggle. Just an idea, which  you may or may not  find helpful. Some people are just naturals at balance.
 Multi pitch climbs are  really different from top roping and  there is so much more to think about. And of course as others have said, you  generally make more of a commitment. Maybe compromise,  I agree with the idea someone mentioned of choosing  established routes  with fixed belays for safety and bailing out. Many  in  the guidebooks describe the kind of gear req'ts you might want to use so that helps--or ask someone in advance.

 Also,   you  could practice  with slings on   less technical routes to develop some  reflex thinking about  how falls might occur,  how might you protect yourself in  a fall, and  work a lot with your  belayer on successful communication when you are out of view or  sound and just plain get more experience  belaying as leader  and as second. I briefly checked out Ross Pond in the northeastern corner of Connecticut one time and there was  some  fun stuff to choose from there like this, Off route 395 I think.
There are generally lesser in nature and fewer in number objective  risks, like falling rock, on estalished top rope routes although you always need to be aware of these possibilities. So making a beeline for rugged and / or remote terrain  to begin playing and testing,  placing your gear,  when it will most certainly take you longer and you will be less efficient ,invites more risk.

A big part of climbing is learning to read the terrain. What you see from the ground looking up or down , what you see when watching other climbers , whether in   leading you or   from the ground on a sport route,  never really,  fully,  reveals  what it's like when you get there   in fact climbing yourself. So again  this takes a lot of experience and there are no short cuts  in my view to doing the climbs first to learn how to do this, then leading someone else. Transitioning by doing both,  with as someone said,  developing your  ability to read terrain by doing  more climbing as a second on more technical climbs with an experienced leader to  experience the variety of climb conditions and variety of terrain, then  doing  also your own climbs on  less technical   easier climbs  leading is a solid  strategy seems to me.

Shorter routes, short approaches can build more confidence for accomplisment in not  getting stuck somewhere.  If you don't have  experience already then  it's kind of hard to  know how long   it will take you to do  the pitches on the climb. For me time flies really fast when climbing.

 So in dealing with  the many unknowns in  climbing,  having a full  repertoire of ways to deal with  a great variety of  possibilities  and  even in good conditions,  makes the best challenges more enjoyable and more successful. As I think everyone has said so far, experience    in applying concepts, that is after you know them by heart, is the key to improving  your climbing  and safety while  doing do.
For me, there is nothing like having someone who knows what they are doing show you.  It's a much smoother process and ismore likely to build confidence which  helps climbing and you progress faster.  A hit and miss experimental strategy can work of course,  it just depends on what you  are looking for and what is possible for you moneywise.  If you  hire a professional or  join with one or more to share the costs to  learn  from someone who is a good teacher and has solid experience,   then even though you can't learn it all in  one go, you will certainly have  some parameters that allow you  to  successfully experiment more effectively on your own. If you have a  lot of time,  have many  years to play around  then it must be  very satisfying to learn step by step on your own. Also why not try the many  rock climb festivals around,  I haven't been to it but somewhere  on NECLimbs someone mentioned  a Climbfest coming up around Boston.  This is a great way  I think to explore  your options and talk to knowledgeable people in person.

People climbing at a cliff or wherever  do  kind of  chat a lot, and people I find are   very quick to offer up opinions on what you should do or not do  just out of enthusiasm for the  activity, HOWEVER,  you have to take  what they say with a grain of salt. That is, whatever they advise is based on their own experience, which can be  very limited or very big.
I think  everyone has a different  comfort level with how they  manage a climb and how they measure risk that they want to take.

In any case,  best wishes for some  great climbing---and lots of it!
(Just like the climbers at any cliff, it was fun sharing my long view with you . Hope  it helps! ;D )
ps modification: I use a similar concept but in a different way like tramanclimbz says below. I agree that  choosing a steeper climb to lead, pushing your limit I guess, and failing thus  finding yourself hanging on a secure  protection will be good experience  because if it is all too easy for you on low end technical stuff, you don't reach the "desperate" move level  where believe me you sure can learn a lot.
I"ve heard a lot about the idea of "pushing your limits" as indicated by a fall to hang sequence I guess, but  it's not my thing.
 I do really enjoy doing climbs which has a least one pitch way beyond my technical level when I second  a perfect leader... the reason I don't  mind falling in that scenario is that it is a controlled fall. I've seen a number of leader falls on  highly technical terrain by other climbing  teams, (not  on my own climbs tho)  and  it is not  I think so easy to control the fall that is accidental in nature.  But  also there are probably a  lot of falls where you know you  are about to  go and just  control the fall safely. So falling to is a  kind of personal preference or choice  often too.
Title: Re: Next Step After Top Roping?
Post by: tradmanclimbz on April 20, 2007, 12:03:43 PM
Ben, if youy lead sport 10 then obviously you can climb a bit and have a decent ammount of strength. Don't be as concerned with the grade of the trad rt you get on. Be more concerned with how good the gear is.  A 5.8 with excelent gear or even a 5.9 with excelent gear may be well within your abilitys to get on safely. Maby you have to hang but you will learn a lot more about placeing and trusting your gear after a few thrashes up a steeper well protected climb than you will in months of easy blocky anklebusters. JMOP