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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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First trad lead recommendations at Araps?
3:21:49 PM
Wanting input on what ppl recommend as a 'first lead' for an up and coming climber, at Arapiles?

Most recommendations are probably single-pitch, but some multi-pitch assuming alts might also be considered.

Let's assume the person has done lots of seconding and can climb to 18 in the gym (or second).

To start the list, what do ppl think of:
Camelot 10
Piccolo 11
Digeridoo 12
Diapason 8 (?)
3:48:08 PM
Piccolo was my first. Easy & stress free.

4:19:30 PM
My first lead was Exodus though my favorite from your list would be Didgeridoo/Horn piece.
Online Now
4:29:52 PM
First leads are about the process not the grade. There are too many digits in most of those suggestions. You want something where the climbing is almost not climbing, the gear plentiful, they can hang out and place way more of it than they feel they need, purely for the practice and rope management and even better, you can run up to the top and check over their belay before committing anyone's life to it. Sunny side of bushranger's is perfect for these things (trooper any number but the 13, cobb and co, cartridge chimney and arete). You could make do with dec crag (hammer, sunny gully, deck gully), but i reckon the climbs are nicer plus there are more of them at bushrangers's.

After doing that, i'd look at things like diapason, exodus, tip toe, introductory, dmajor.

I would never recommend camalot. It's poorly protected to start, tricky for it's grade and polished like a toilet bowl. Piccolo has a token run out, and not so easy belay set up. And it's too hard. Digeridoo is also too hard, esp just of the deck where any muff ups will be ugly.

The problem i see with most people's choices of first leads is they seem to think if it's not of a half way reasonable grade, it's somehow no good. I repeat, the grade is not the issue! It's about providing the best possible opportunity for learning - a stress free environment with plenty of practice potential for the things you will need to be doing on harder leads. And if you are just running up it with 3 pieces of gear because it's easy, you are also missing the point, which is gear placement and rope management practice. There will be no shortage of opportunities to lead things with 2 digits in them later on, when they have demonstrated several pitches of good choices in gear and belays.

5:30:16 PM
i've herd punks in the gym is overgraded, maybe give that a go

5:41:36 PM
I agree with Wendy's points about first leads. They should be about building confidence with your systems: belay, gear, rope management... My second and third leads were Guiding Light and Sunny Gully. My buddy freaked me out, on the same trip, when he took me on D major and suggested I lead the second pitch...

Guiding light was very fun with gear a plenty.

6:45:37 PM
if you know how to build an anchor, Pedro is a good first lead. loads of gear, good stances, but no fixed anchor at top.

i don't recommend any of the multipitch at araps if you and your partner don't know how to place gear.

there's a half chimney on tiger wall with an anchor, grade 13, loads of gear, easy climbing, but you need two ropes to rap down.
Fish Boy
7:03:21 PM
Witch was mine, I didn't know how to build an anchor when I got to the top...

8:32:38 PM
Pick something with an abundance of pro, easy moves, single pitch with good anchors on top and no communication issues so you and your belayer can discuss what is going on. Take it slowly and work up - Wendy's comments are good.
One Day Hero
9:00:58 PM
I reckon that leading up a descent gully to "learn the process" is a bit shitty. Better to learn gear placement by bounce-testing from the ground, learn the rope process on sport routes, then put it all together on routes which need protecting rather than some poxy ramp which the beginner would willingly solo.

I think this method is more efficient and enjoyable.............of course, if you're charging for your instructifying services, I spose you want to drag it out as much as possible ;)
9:31:18 PM
My mate and I did Syrinx as our first lead at Araps. It was also his first trad outing and probably somewhere around my 6th or 7th.
The plaque at the start, commemorating the death of a climber/copper on the route, didn't particularly fill either of us with confidence.
Probably not the best first lead there....
12:16:56 AM
I don't think how hard someone can climb should have anything to do with the selection of their first trad lead. You want an easy route with lots of bomber placements. Followed by several similar routes to build the trad placement skillset.

Exodus gets my vote.

I reckon Piccolo is a good early lead, provided someone can meet the newbie leader up the top and assist with the anchor. It's a tricky anchor to get right - thus why it features on the instructor course.

Online Now
9:13:57 AM
On 9/04/2011 One Day Hero wrote:
>I reckon that leading up a descent gully to "learn the process" is a bit
>shitty. Better to learn gear placement by bounce-testing from the ground,
>learn the rope process on sport routes, then put it all together on routes
>which need protecting rather than some poxy ramp which the beginner would
>willingly solo.
>I think this method is more efficient and enjoyable.............of course,
>if you're charging for your instructifying services, I spose you want to
>drag it out as much as possible ;)

I do exactly the same thing when teaching friends for free ... a half day at bushranger's, followed by tip toe ridge, and everything should be pottering along nicely.

I'm frequently amazed at what people suggest. Syrinx gets another big no - it's hard low down, multi pitch, and probably more like 13 than 10. Pedro regularly freaks out newish leaders, let alone as a first lead. It has a big dog leg at the start to make rope management a pain, is long, is kind of funky to read for its grade. Next step in big routes from Tip Toe would be Spiral, Siren or Arachnus. D major and Diapason are so much better than piccolo. Exodus could be supplemented with Penny Dreadful, Cloaca, Parson's Nose (don't get confused by the directs on PD or PN, hard to protect and harder climbing) and Serpent (although the belay on Serpent is more difficult). I tend to think guiding light is a bit manky.

I do think bouldering and placing gear is a good way of speeding up the process, as is building belays on the ground. I didn't suggest a single descent route in that list though! I do regularly guide Fang Gully, Ali's and Dreadnought Gully though, all of which are actually descent routes, but i wouldn't put someone on them as a first lead because all the other suggestion i made are much better. And sport routes don't tell you much about directionals, extending runners, following the best line up the route.

9:57:52 AM
.. and practice assembling anchors on the ground. From memory Bushranger's Bluff is a good place to do this as there are loads of gear placements near the ground. So you could mark a point on the ground and say "pretend this is the top of the route.... assemble an anchor equalised in such a manner that you'd be belaying from here"

10:31:45 AM
Another recommendation for bushrangers. One could even run up the decent track and check that the anchors are being set up properly by said beginner.
miss crag
10:33:14 AM
from experience i can recommend a day at bushranger's - plenty of options, eats gear, good anchors and you can practice a rap with a little bit of air for some fun.

conifer crack (although a bit winding) is a good one at the organ pipes and isn't polished.

depends on how much seconding they've done too, to me this makes a big difference in how comfortable people may feel about their first lead/setting up an anchor/etc.

in any case i agree with wendy it's more about the skills involved and getting the approach right before the grades.

have fun!

11:41:28 AM
I say go to bushrangers and do all the easy climbs on the sunny (shorter) side. They are short, in an easy range, usually have heaps of anchor options up top, and a walk-around is easy if someone is to come up and check the anchor or the leader wants out.

The easier "Trooper" routes come to mind. Super easy, good gear, and good anchors. I cant imagine anyone would find it intimidating either.
11:48:25 AM
I agree with Wendy with regard to the focus being about the process not the grade. However if the person has done a lot of seconding, moves well on rock and appears to have some feel for climbing, then there is no reason you can't put them on something slightly harder early on. Leading poxy rambles (such as descent gullies) can sometimes make the process a bit too mickey mouse. Both Exodus (6) and Revolver Crack (7) are quality routes with excellent protection and are excellent leads for someone on their first day, although you might start with something easier depending on their experience.

Make sure you are very familiar with the route and its protection so you can keep tabs on the leader. I was chatting to someone a few months ago who planned on getting a newbie to lead some routes that they themselves weren't familiar with - not a good idea!

Although Wendy bagged Camalot, I think it is pretty good as an early lead. The start is straightfoward and there is gear, the crux is very well protected (take big hexes) and the rest of the route is steep, positive and has excellent protection. I like the fact that the route is short so you can clearly monitor how the leader is faring. However go and do the route yourself so you know what is involved before putting a prospective leader on it.

By the way, I find that I say less and less nowadays when it comes to teaching leading. Don't inundate people with information. It is often better to wait for the person to make a mistake (providing it is not life threatening) and then provide some feedback as to how to rectify the situation.

6:56:10 PM
If you can't handle the thought of a day at Bushrangers or Dec Crag, then Charity Buttress has a few nice and easy climbs, great gear and easy access to the top.

7:17:35 PM
On 10/04/2011 egosan wrote:
>If you can't handle the thought of a day at Bushrangers or Dec Crag, then
>Charity Buttress has a few nice and easy climbs, great gear and easy access
>to the top.

And an epic approach.

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