Have you ever looked up a cliff with a climber on it and holding a rope? Ever wondered how a rope got up there? When there is no chance to hike around the top. Then only lead climbing helps you to cross the routs. So, never take lead climbing lightly!
Lead climbing is an extreme and rewarding form of climbing, where you are responsible for your protection. It is one of the nail-biting yet exciting prospects. The possibility increases when you try something beyond your comfort zone.
Lead climbing allows you to go closer to the thrill. Being on the sharp edge means you are on the top of the world. Besides, it could be hazardous if you are not proficient enough.
When planning for lead climbing, you need to be very skilled since your safety is in your hands. So, allow us to provide some basics about lead climbing and the techniques of how to lead climb as well.
Basics about Lead Climbing
Lead climbing is a challenging form of climbing to ascend a route. The climber is tied in one corner of a rope that runs directly from the belayer to the climber. A lead climber used to wear a harness at the end of the rope. The partner act as belay who holds the other end of the rope using a belay device.
The belayer discharges the amount of rope that is needed. When the climber goes up the cliff, he clips the rope into bolts or the removable trad gear. The climber and the belayer move on correspondingly.
Climbers often get confused about the different forms of lead climbing. Therefore, before knowing about how to lead climb, at first, let us briefly show some basic lead climbing types.
Trad climbing: Types of rock climbing where climber places the gear to get protection and remove immediately when the passage is complete.
Sport Climbing: Types of rock climbing which relies on the rock or bolt for protection.
Bouldering: It is limited to a range which is undertaken without a rope. Here falls do not occur serious injury.
Top-rope climbing: Here, a fixed rope is used for climbers safety. The rope runs up and backs down to the climber through the anchor.
Free solo Climbing: It’s a form of free climbing where the climber declines all kinds of protective gear while climbing up and down.
Mountaineering: It’s the oldest and dangerous type of climbing which requires a lot of skills.
Each type of climbing differs from others. So before heading toward lead climbing, make sure to get some knowledge about them.
Learn How to Lead Climb
The first thing you need for lead climbing is to get well prepared. You can get the training at home or at the gym. Also, consul yourself that you are taking a risk since mental readiness is more important. Well, let’s make a list and explain them step by step.
First Step: Get Trained
First, you need to get training from any trustworthy guide company. Or else, you can take the help of your skilled friend. You need to understand the techniques of placing trad gear correctly, belayer a leader, managing the rope, quick-draws clipping, and building anchors.
Second Step: Practice Well
After getting the verbal lesson, you need to practice yourself. You’ll find a lot of gym with lead climb setup. You can practice there. They also offer a different lead test. You can start practicing with a short length rope called ‘monkey-tail’ tied with your harness.
Try to acquire commands, clipping, taking whippers, staying calm, and resting. Then repeatedly climb a route fill with slopers, crimps, side-pulls, and other funky holds. Practice until you are satisfied and take part in the certification test.
Third Step: Evaluate Your Mental Readiness
Though you took the initiative but still ask yourself whether you’re mentally ready for it or not. Since it requires the skill to manage the rope, keep a cool head, clip head, and many more. Indeed, it’s a scary adventure, so get all the mental preparation. It would be best if you kept mental coolness while managing the gears and performing the task.
Before performing lead climbing, perform an artificial lead. You need a rope and two belayers for safety. It allows you to focus on the gear, clipping bolts, and managing the rope.
Fifth Step: Try outdoor lead
Now you are all set to go. Choose a route where climber usually performs. Make sure that you get all the gears like rope, quick draw, trad gear, clips, and all. Examine the route, tell your belayer to get ready, and start gradually. Hold the rope over your harness and clip the rope through the first quick-draw.
Also, take the rope through the carabiner from behind and then toward yourself. Start climbing upward and clip the rope to each point. Also, give a signal to your belayer on each end. Once you arrived at the top, then clip the rope with the upper anchor point.
The final Step: Learning to fall
Finally, you need to know the technique of dropping from any particular point or the top. The understating between climber and belayer needs to be very precise. The belayer should have control over the rope and on the falls. This is the point where you need to be in the moment, control your fear, and tackling any sudden problem.
Tips for Handling the Risk
Though you cannot assume the risk before some precaution can make the differences. Here are some of our expert’s advice:
Assure proper training before climbing. Also, try to get a skilled belayer who plays a vital role in lead climbing.
Be prepared for any consequences at the point of the route.
Make sure that the gear is in place, and they are secured.
Check the harness and waist belt is correctly buckled or not.
Always watch for the rope behind your leg after crossing some point.
Practice can make anyone perfect, so practice more before heading for a lead climb. We can now consider that you are well prepared, and you know how to clip, how to fall. So, it’s time to get on the sharp end and push yourself to the next level.