1st time trad climbing trip (B ear’s Hump)

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1st time trad climbing trip (B ear’s Hump)

Postby trevbo » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:29 pm

I bought a beginner’s trad climbing rack this past summer.

Off to climb St. Nic!

Ok - not quite! However, I did a few mini rock-climbing adventures recently that I thought I would share.

I went rock climbing on the Bear’s hump a few week’s back. Not ever having placed gear before, my climbing buddy James and I scrambled up above some cliffs at the base of the B ear’s Hump to set up top-ropes to practice ‘fake-leads’. It was a hoot and we got some practice building anchors, rappelling and placing gear while safely roped up from the top. We did several laps on the same pitch and so this week-end, I felt sufficiently secure in my abilities to try leading a pitch in the same area (easy class V… 5.4).

Well, lemme tell ya, lead climbing and in particular, lead-trad climbing is spooky. When your life depends on the gear that you are placing, it is a different ball game than being safely belayed from an anchor point above you like when you are top roping.

Today James and I were accompanied by another friend Jollin. Joll has done lots of trad climbing in the past but not much in recent years. We discussed our goals for the day – doing some practice placing gear, just having a fun day out etc. Joll didn’t feel like doing anything hard and preferred bolted routes if we could find them. We definitely didn’t want to push outside of anyone’s comfort zone.

Well, I got that comfort zone thing out of the way pretty fast. I still wouldn’t have guessed that we would end up climbing a multi-pitch route all the way to the top of the Hump!

Image

__________________
Feeling reasonably good about climbing in the same area where James and I did laps last week, I volunteered to lead the first pitch, which I figured would be the easiest psychologically, if we did decide to continue on up higher… After getting 2 feet off the ground, I realized immediately that freaking out was a distinct possibility. Trad climbing is completely different mentally than top roping, even if on the same route! DUH!

I was ‘all shook up’ like the Elvis song - my hands were shaking and my knees were weak. Took me an hour and a half to go up 75 feet and I ran out of gear cuz I placed so much protection. It was a great learning experience and I felt good about the multi point anchor I built at the top to belay my friends to my ledge.

OK, my anchor might have been a bit embarrassing, I had 6 pieces of protection for my cordalette and I couldn’t use them all cuz my cord was too short, so I ended up using one piece just as a personal back-up anchor. (Usually you only have 2-3 point anchors, so 2-3 pieces of protection).

The rest of the day was a blur, as I had run out of gear (I had no more quick draws), I built my anchor and belayed the boys up and Jollin finished up the route I was on… we arrived at a wide ledge that James and I were familiar with from a couple of weeks back, and we had lunch… then James lead a pitch and Jollin followed with a pretty tough pitch. It became clear at that time that there were no more trees above us, and it was the point of no return (if we continued upward, to rappel down would probably mean sacrificing gear, instead of rappelling off a tree…)

I wasn’t feeling up to leading anything else and in any case I’m pretty sure the others wouldn’t have let me - in the interest of time… but Joll was in the zone and felt comfortable leading, so we just went with it. We did 6-7 pitches in total, mostly half rope lengths… We had two ropes and used a system where the middle guy would clip the second rope and haul it behind him like a long tail, so we would never have to toss a rope down to the third guy. I usually went third and cleaned the routes (removing the protection and clipping them to my harness as I climbed up).

Image

I saw a hawk flying below riding the thermals and just felt so weird climbing up there just the three of us all alone with the townsite below, Mt. Vimy and Cleveland in their glory dominating the views above the lakes.

We topped out on the tourist viewpoint on the B ear’s Hump at about 6 PM after having started about 10:30ish. A fantastic, fun, HUMBLING day in the park.

St. Nic might have to wait a few years :lol:

Image

Edited to add pix
Last edited by trevbo on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby Farmgirl » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:17 am

COOL!!!! 8)
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby Mzambo » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:02 pm

WOW!!! The views from up there are truly breathtaking. That little hike up Bear's Hump seriously kicked my rump!!!!! I laugh saying it was tougher on me than Iceberg Lake, but those views are so worth it!
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby Ear Mountain » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:19 pm

trevbo wrote:Image

hey, what kind of knot is that? Can't quite tell.
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby mikie » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:08 pm

hey, what kind of knot is that? Can't quite tell.


You beat me to it. Was thinking the same thing. But, apparently it worked.
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby trevbo » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:11 pm

It was just a figure 8 tied into the loops of the harness but it looks funny. chances are, I tied a couple of granny knots for the slack at the top!
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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby Pocketlint » Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:58 pm

trevbo wrote:It was just a figure 8 tied into the loops of the harness but it looks funny. chances are, I tied a couple of granny knots for the slack at the top!


I'm no mountaineer by any stretch :) but I once was a "screamin seaman" in Uncle's Navy many years ago.
That knot(s) in the pic looks like a bunch of half hitches to me. The pic isn't clear enough for me to tell definitively.
And Lordy Mae!! A GRANNY KNOT!!!!!!!!!! :shock:
We'd have been flogged if we used a granny knot for anything in the Navy back in my day :wink:
I can't imagine mountaineers ever using a granny knot...for anything...but as I said, what do I know? :mrgreen:

Looked like you had fun though. :mrgreen:

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Re: 1st time trad climbing trip (Bear’s Hump)

Postby Ear Mountain » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:29 pm

All the climbers I know use a retreaded figure eight to connect rope to the harness. I usually tie into a large locking carabiner that also encircles the harness loops. Climbers should always inspect each others knots and connections. In fact it is mandatory and expected with my climbing partners. Having a bunch of "granny" knots hiding the attachment figure eight is definitely not a good idea because it may prevent a partner from seeing an inadequately tied knot. Falling with a poorly tied or incorrect knot is not a good thing! :?
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