Sunday, February 10

Trad leading 101. Part 1.

Last weekend was the weekend that will probably change my life forever. It started with Josh and Nat deciding to go on a one-year (more or less!) bouldering trip covering the whole wide universe. And yes, before you ask, I am terribly envious and yes I wish I would do that (soon though!). And yes, I am sad to see them go, but also extremely happy, as Josh decided to lend me his rack*! Woo hoo!

Excitement aside, last weekend we went to Morialta for my first ever trad lead. I do not count the other trad lead in New Zealand as my first, because then I had Lydia Bradey watch over me like a hawk. This one was the first lead ever in which the chances of me hitting the hard hard ground should I fall on my lead were probably very close to 50%, sadly. And yes, I aim to bring that to as low as possible in the future. 

I only lead routes in the 11s which are way way below what I (think) I can normally lead. This is me before my first route.

The first thing one notices while trad leading is that one needs to wear very comfortable shoes. Either that, or one needs to get very quick and very precise at placing gear, lest one's eyes start to pop out because one's shoes are too tight. So yes, wear comfortable climbing shoes. 

It took me about an hour to do the first 11, which is not very high as you can see. I struggled and I fumbled with the gear,  I re-placed wires because they came out while I was trying to clip them. Other wires came out while I was clipping some 5 meters above. The important thing here is that I did not die*, but it was not because my gear placements superiorly solid.

Wires got stuck in the cracks and I had a very hard time to get them out, as I didn't have a nut tool (I do now!!!)

Another thing one notices is just how heavy this whole rack thingy is.  That is what I had on my right hip, and I had an equally bulgy one on my left hip.

 Lastly, I found this cam to be the most useful, and as such bought it for my birthday:

It is all a mental game I guess, what with keeping your calm and trying to shut out the voice inside you that does not stop saying "ImgonnadieImgonnadieImgonnadie!!!" while at the same time trying to figure out which protection goes where. I am getting very very excited about this and can't wait to go out again (next week!) Woo hoo!

*Hopefully, my tombstone won't read "Josh gave me his rack" :)


ionuca said...

Be careful, please please please!

(I wanna be like you when I grow up ^_^)

claudia said...

what, old and fatt? :)) That being said, it took me seven years whee!!

Natalie Potter said...

Yay for year long trips, for not dying and for not having any references to Josh's rack (or anyone else's for that matter) on your tombstone haha!