Maybe you’re bored with your current routine—the same old sport routes, partners, and crags—or maybe it’s just time to step up your climbing game. You’ve thought about your first time, wondered what it would be like to squeeze the trigger of that camming device or find the perfectly satisfying placement for a #4 nut. Trad climbing sounds new and exciting—exactly what you need to get out of your climbing funk. We’re here to break it down step by step, so you know the ins and outs of trad climbing before you even rack up. The following pages will give you info on everything from anchors to cleaning, plus a beginner-friendly destination guide. Put away those crash pads and excruciatingly tight redpoint shoes, because you’re about to get rad with trad. By Julie Ellison
/ august 2012 /
The main difference between sport climbing and trad climbing is the larger and more complex set of gear used to protect trad routes. Instead of clipping bolts, trad climbers use removable protection (or pro) that you place as you ascend. There are several different types of pro and dozens of ways to place each type. Over time, you’ll want to get familiar with every kind of pro and how each is best used.
Guidebooks will often tell you what kind of gear you should carry on any given climb; this is called the rack. Although the same basic rack can be used on many climbs, some routes require very specific gear for safe protection. Common guidebook phrasing includes: > Gear to 3 inches. You need gear that can fit in cracks and slots that are three inches and narrower; carry pieces of protection that fall in that size range, including at least one 3-inch piece. > Standard rack. This varies from area to area, but it can be assumed to mean a full set of nuts (seven to 13 pieces, fitting cracks up to about 1.5 inches) and a set of about six or more cams, from 3 inches down to 0.5 inches or smaller. > Doubles. Most often written as “doubles of 1 in. and 2 in.,” this means you should bring two cams of that size. Triples means three, and so on. The two basic types of protection are passive or active. Active pro has moving parts that expand and contract to fit a placement. Passive pro has no moving parts and depends totally on the shape of the metal (usually aluminum) to fit the placement.
Each cam has three or four lobes that contract when the trigger is pulled, and then expand to fill the crack when the trigger is released. These lobes are spring-loaded to hold the cam in place when it’s unweighted; the lobes exert powerful outward force against the rock when the cam is weighted, so they can hold a fall even in parallel-sided cracks. Since the contraction amount varies, each cam fits a variety of crack widths.
Big Bros Designed for wide cracks, these have two telescoping tubes that expand (after releasing a trigger) to push against opposite sides of the crack. A ring is then screwed down the correct amount to hold it in place.
brennah rosenthal (marked gear); courtesy tommy caldwell (opposite); courtesy steph davis (top)
My first time The first climb I ever led on gear was a 5.7 at Joshua Tree as a sophomore in college. I thought I did a pretty good job placing gear, but apparently I didn’t! My friend followed the pitch and said that all my cams fell out. My advice for first-timers is to always use a simple, overthe-shoulder gear sling that’s sized correctly for you. Save the harness loops for draws and free biners. —Steph Davis
Nuts (aka wires or Stoppers) These wedges of aluminum, designed for smaller cracks, rely on a constriction in the crack and as much rock contact as possible to stay in place, so the placement must be very precise. They are generally only designed for a downward pull (i.e., a fall), so you need to make sure they won’t get pulled up and out.
Hexes These are larger nuts, generally made of hollow blocks of aluminum, which come in larger and more varied shapes, so they are good for medium to large cracks. Though many climbers prefer cams for such cracks, hexes are lighter, cheaper, and more secure in wet or icy cracks.
Tricams Although these are technically passive pro because they have no moving parts, their cam shape makes them effective in parallel-sided and even flaring cracks and pods. They’re great for horizontal cracks.
Make Your Mark
➺ Just as you would do with your quickdraws or
carabiners, you should mark your trad gear to distinguish whose gear is whose. This is especially important when you start borrowing friends’ racks to get doubles and triples in certain sizes (hello, Indian Creek!). You can use tape (duct tape or electrical tape are best) or nail polish to create a unique pattern or color combination to put on all your gear. Make sure to position either tape or nail polish in an area where there will be less abrasion and wear (e.g., the spine of a carabiner instead of the rope basket) so they last longer, but never put nail polish on the webbing or sling. The chemicals in the polish can wear away at the nylon or Dyneema and compromise its integrity.
The Price of Glory
Trad climbing ain’t cheap. Here’s the monetary breakdown of a standard rack, averaged between three main brands.
My first time I led my first trad climb when I was 6 on one of the variations of After Six on the Manure Pile Buttress in Yosemite. It’s hard to remember how I felt that far back, but I don’t think I was scared because I was placing my trust in my dad—who had me on a toprope backup. —Tommy Caldwell 54 /
#0.5..........$62 #0.75........$62 #1.............$65 #2.............$67 #3.............$68 #4.............$73
#1.............$9 #2.............$9 #3.............$9 #4.............$9 #5.............$9 #6.............$9
#7.............$9 #8.............$9 #9.............$9 #10...........$9 Total:........$90
Total:........$397 / August 2012 /
Tying into the sharp end is what it’s all about. You need to thoroughly understand gear placements, rope systems, and how to keep your second safe, among many other things.
This is the best way to learn how to place gear and understand multi-pitch systems in a safe and protected environment. Plus, you can experience some serious exposure!
The Multi-pitch Process
➺ It’s crucial to discuss the basics of commu-
Tie in (1) and begin to climb as you normally would on a sport climb. As you travel up, place protection into cracks, slots, and fissures in the rock (2). When you get to the top of the pitch (3), build an anchor (4). Tie into the anchor (see page 58), and then yell down to your belayer, “[partner’s name], off belay!” (5) When he responds and takes you off belay, pull up the slack in the rope and coil it at your feet if the belay ledge is big enough, or drape it over the rope/sling connecting you to the anchor (6). When you have pulled up all the slack, the second climber or follower will yell, “That’s me!” Put him on belay on your harness (7) or directly on the anchor. Yell to your partner, “[partner’s name], you’re on belay!” As he climbs, pull up the additional slack and keep coiling or draping the rope as you did before. When he gets to your stance, tie him in to the anchor, make sure he is in a comfortable position (8), and take him off belay. If your partner is leading the next pitch, give him the rest of your gear (9); if you are leading the next pitch, begin gathering the gear. After the leader has the gear, he will stay tied into the anchor until the belayer puts him or her on belay, saying directly to the climber, “You’re on belay.” The climber can then untie from the anchor and begin climbing upward.
nication with your partner before you leave the ground. There’s a good chance you won’t be able to hear your partner when he is 150 feet above you at a belay station, especially when you’ve got blowing winds, a rushing river, or a nearby road adding to the noise pollution. There are several different ways to do this, but what’s most important is to develop a system (even if it’s developed on the spot) and stick with it. A good example would be something like this: When the leader builds an anchor and goes off belay, he pulls sharply on the rope three times. The follower responds with three sharp pulls when he has taken the leader off belay. When the leader puts the follower on belay, he pulls sharply five times, and the climber responds that he is climbing by also pulling five times.
➺ For longer routes (four pitches or more), you will probably want to
carry along food, water, layers, descent shoes (especially for walking off; see page 62), and other sundries. In that case, take a small bullet pack that’s light and just big enough for the essentials for the two of you. Have the follower carry the pack with both climbers’ extras since the leader has the weight of the rack. For shorter routes (two to three pitches), you can either leave water and the rest on the ground, or you can clip essentials to your harness. It adds some bulk, but you might be really thankful you brought those luxuries along.
The Multi-pitch Process
courtesy beth rodden (opposite); courtesy kevin jorgeson (top); andrew burr
My first time I was terrified! I led a 5.6 at Donner Summit when I was 16. I had redpointed my first 5.13 earlier that summer and mentioned to my belayer, “Maybe I should just go do Warp Factor again. It would be easier.” Placing gear was more of a symbolic gesture than an actual safety precaution. None of it popped, but I do remember my partner laughing at almost all of the pieces. Start well below your limit, on toprope. Take out the safety and fear aspect and just learn to place gear. —Beth Rodden
1) Always check and double-check your own harness and knot, and your belayer’s setup, before you begin to climb. 2) Placing gear is a real art form and takes hours of practice. Begin by placing gear on toprope or at the base of a crag. 3) It’s always best to begin leading on climbs that are way below your ability—a route you know you can finish with no struggle and little danger of falling. For example, if you’re a 5.10 sport climber, try leading a 5.7 trad climb first. 4) There are infinite possibilities when it comes to building an anchor. See page 58 for the basics, and get solid instruction from a mentor or climbing guide so you know your anchors are trustworthy. 5) It’s important to use names because when there is distance between you and your partner, and there are multiple parties at a crag, you can end up mistaking someone else’s yell for your partner’s, and bad things can happen. Names alleviate this problem. 6) Coil or drape the rope in big loops at first, and then smaller and smaller loops as the second gets closer. This will help prevent the rope from tangling, saving time on each pitch. 7) Belaying from the anchor is useful when you have two people following the pitch or you expect the second to hang a lot. This should be done only when you have the correct style of auto-blocking belay device, and you have a bomber anchor at around chest height or higher. Otherwise, belay directly from the belay loop on your harness. 8) “Comfortable” is a very relative word in this situation. The crucial thing is that belayer can stand or sit for an extended period in a position where he can maintain a proper belay. 9) To avoid dropping gear during an exchange, hold out one or a few pieces until the other climber puts a hand on them and confirms, “Got it.”
My first time I came to trad climbing late, when I was 22. It was a random 5.9 in Joshua Tree, and I remember having a soloing mentality because I didn’t trust any of the rock or the gear. Get a solid foundation of basic safety under your belt. Begin to understand the systems involved with trad climbing: anchors, belays, rescues, and rappels. Then start leading on climbs way under your limit and have fun. —Kevin Jorgeson
Tie-in with a figure-eight follow-through on opposite end of the rope from the lead climber (1). Clip in to belay (2) as you would on any other roped climb. As you belay (3), the climber will move up and place gear. When he gets to the top of the first pitch, he will build an anchor. After he clips in to the anchor, he will yell, “[your name], off belay!” (4) Respond by yelling back, “[his name], you’re off belay!” He will then begin pulling rope up (5). Put your climbing shoes on and gather whatever pack or extras you’re bringing along. Double-check your knot, and wait for the leader to yell, “You’re on belay!” Before you start climbing, yell back, “[his name], climbing!” He should respond with, “Climb on!” or something similar, and then you can begin climbing. As you move upward, you will clean the route by removing (6) the pieces of pro, sometimes with a nut tool (7). Rack the gear on your harness or gear sling (8) as you clean. When you get to the end of the pitch, you will clip directly into the belay anchor, and the leader will take you off belay. Tips 1) This can be done later, after the climber has finished the first pitch, but doing it now will save some time and help prevent mistakes that might be caused by rushing. Make sure that the rope at your feet is properly flaked, instead of simply dumped on the ground, so it will feed properly to the leader. 2) Don’t forget to double-check your belay setup and the climber’s knot and harness. 3) You can leave your approach shoes on while you belay; there will be time later to change into climbing shoes. 4) Remember to use names to avoid mistakes. 5) Help the leader by making sure the rope
doesn’t get caught on flakes or trees. 6) It is good to remove the pro from the rock before unclipping it from the rope. That way, if the piece slips out of your hand, it’s still hanging from the rope. 7) Try to imagine how the leader put the piece in because, chances are, that’s how it will come out. Sometimes a piece has to be pushed down or sideways before it can be lifted out. But be careful not to shove cams in too deep or they can get stuck. 8) Try to put the gear in order as you clean to save time at each belay. Put cams in order from smallest to largest, and do the same with nuts. / august 2012 /
My first time The first climb I ever led was on trad, on Sickle, a 5.8 in Squamish. I was scared, so I freaked out and then panicked when I took a 30-footer off the crux. But fortunately, none of the gear popped. Placing gear was one part awkward fiddling and two parts wishful thinking. Every chance you get, double up the piece you just placed. I think that saved this knucklehead a bunch of times in my first year. —Peter Croft
The trickiest part of multi-pitch trad climbing is building solid anchors speedily; there’s a nearly infinite number of scenarios for doing it correctly—as well as horribly incorrectly. There are some general rules to follow, outlined below, but the exact placements and structure of your anchor will depend on your specific situation: crack size and orientation, which pieces you have left to place, direction the rope runs on the previous pitch and the next pitch, and the list goes on. This is a primer for you n00bs out there—make sure to get proper tutelage from a mentor or instructor.
Checklist For every anchor you build, mentally run through the EARNEST list to see if your anchor passes the test. The illustration at left is based off an actual anchor we built in nearby Boulder Canyon, Colorado. Each piece was individually solid, and we managed to get it up in about three minutes. How did we do?
The angle of the slings linking pieces to the master point (where the locking carabiner is clipped) needs to be less than 60°.
Redundant Every part of the anchor is backed up, so if any one thing fails, the entire anchor will not fail.
No Extensions To avoid shock loading the anchor if one piece fails.
Solid Each piece should be independently strong.
Timely Build it quickly and efficiently.
Basics of Placement Bad Cam, Good Cam
Left: The lobes are overlapping; “overcammed” pieces are weaker and may get stuck. Middle: The lobes aren’t really cammed at all (“undercammed”), which means it’s not solid. Right: Good placement. Nice rock contact and a medium amount of camming.
Here are some common anchor mistakes corrected.
andrew tower (opposite page, left); brennah rosenthal (gear photos and illustration); courtesy peter croft (this page, top)
My first time I was really scared at 20, leading the Bastille Crack (5.7) in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado. I wasn’t used to multi-pitch routes or trad. Placing gear was the worst. I had zero confidence in every piece. It’s funny because widdling in tricky gear is now my favorite thing to do. —Matt Segal
Bad > Good
Does it look ok?
All pieces share the same amount of the load.
No protection against upward pull. These nuts are only solid for a downward pull, so if the belayer were to get yanked up by a leader fall, this anchor could easily fail.
Add an upward directional piece, like a cam. This cam will protect against forces that pull upward or out. It’s best as the lowest piece in the anchor.
Unequalized anchor. In a fall, most of the force on this anchor would impact the piece in the upper left. If this piece popped, the other pieces would be shock-loaded, and the whole anchor could fail.
Equalize it. Each piece gets roughly the same amount of force when the pull comes straight down. Plus now you’re not relying on one measly sling.
/ august 2012 /
Brittany Griffith gets a mouthful on The Foxx (5.10d) in tradheaven Red Rock, Nevada.
essentials More fundamentals for multi-pitch awesomeness
The clove hitch is frequently the knot of choice for tying into an anchor because you can adjust it for length without unclipping, and it’s relatively easy to untie even after it’s been weighted.
Make a second loop stacked on the first loop.
Move the second loop from the front to the back.
Clip the two loops and pull each strand to tighten.
Figure 8 on a Bight
You can also tie into the anchor with this super-secure knot, although it doesn’t have the same benefits (adjustability, easy untying) that the clove has. Some people prefer to tie a clove hitch in an initial piece and a figure 8 on a bight into a secondary piece.
Form a bight (or loop) in the rope and bend it behind the strands.
Pull the bight over the strands.
Run the bight up through the top loop from underneath.
Protecting the Second
Pull the bight all the way through and tighten.
As you begin leading, it’s important to choose gear placements that not only protect you as you lead, but also protect your following climber, also known as your second. This is especially true on wandering routes and traverses. As you place gear, think about how your second would fall if he or she were to remove that piece of gear. If it involves a huge pendulum swing or a sketchy fall of any other sort, try to add more pro so that swing is minimized. Frequently this means placing a piece just after a crux move.
My first time It was on White of Spring, a 5.9 at Metcalfe Rock in Ontario, during my first outdoor season after a winter of gym climbing. I was around 16. Placing gear was very time-consuming. When I got to the top, I belayed my partner up to meet me, and he congratulated me on “a very fine free solo.” Apparently none of it was even body-weight worthy. I guess I had a lot of learning to do. My advice is to practice on the ground and make sure you’ve got it dialed before heading up into even remotely dangerous territory. After years of sport climbing, I decided to try harder trad routes, and my only real limiting factor was fear. —Sonnie Trotter
brennah rosenthal; andrew burr (opposite page)
Make a loop. This can also be done on your hand.
/ may 2012 /
essentials Extending Gear
Finer Rappel Points ➺ Knotting the ends of the
Notice the Z-formation of the rope. A lot of drag can make pieces pop.
Clip a long sling into one or more pieces so the rope runs straight.
My first time I lost part of a tooth on one of my earliest trad leads. When I was in my early 20s, I hadn’t led much harder than 5.8, and I bit down on a Stopper and broke out part of a molar. —Pamela Pack
There are two ways to get down from multi-pitch climbs: rappelling or walking off. The latter is just what it sounds like; there will usually be a trail that leads off the top all the way to the bottom (you’ll definitely want to carry descent shoes for this!). The former is a bit more complicated as you likely need to do multiple rappels to get to the bottom. The basic idea of multi-pitch rappels is this: You’re at the top anchor of a climb. You rappel down to the next anchor or “rap station” (fixed or permanent gear that has been left at certain spots so you can rappel without leaving your own gear) and clip into it directly. Your partner then rappels down to where you are. You pull the rope and repeat until you’re on the ground. Although this is the basic process, there are finer points to this (see sidebar at right) that you’ll quickly learn once you’ve done it a few times in a real-world setting. The two basic types of rappels are: > Single-rope rappel. This is when you only use one rope. Keep in mind you can only rappel as far as half your rope length. So a 60-meter (197-foot) rope can only go about 100 feet, even with a little rope stretch. > Double-rope rappel. Using two ropes tied together at the anchor (example at right shows overhand knot with at least 12 inches of tail), you can rappel the full length of the shortest rope. With 60-meter ropes, you can rappel a bit less than 200 feet.
rope with a safety knot (double or triple fisherman’s or simple overhand) is a way to absolutely know that you won’t rappel right off the end. But pay attention as you go to pull the rope from the anchor above you, and make sure you’ve untied the knots. Otherwise someone’s gotta go back up there to get it. ➺ Be careful with back-up knots. When tossing the rope down, they can easily snag in cracks and on loose boulders. Look where you’re throwing the rope to avoid these traps. ➺ Climbing mistakes may result in injury; rappel mistakes result in death. When rapping after a long day of climbing, you’ll be fatigued and hungry and ready to get down. Stay sharp and make sure you double-check everything about your rappel setup and your partner’s. ➺ Work together with your partner to keep the rope untangled as you pull it down from above. When the last person rappels down and clips in, immediately untie the safety knots in both ends of the rope and run one end through the rap rings. Have one person coil that end while the other pulls the rope from above. As soon as the rope falls, the puller should begin to coil the end that just fell so you can quickly throw these neat coils for the next rappel. A system like this saves time and will help prevent mistakes. ➺ Rappelling with one or two skinny ropes? To create additional friction and slow down the ride, clip an extra carabiner through your belay loop and the rappel ropes, adjacent to your main rappel biner. Make sure at least one of the carabiners is a locked locker.
brennah rosenthal (2-this page, bottom and top); andrew burr (2)
Even if a route goes mostly straight up, gear placements are often found to the left or right of where you climb. Imagine placing a piece and clipping the rope to the left, then the right, then the left again. Not only does this Z-formation create a lot of rope drag (bad!), it can also tug sideways or even upward on your gear and cause it to lever out (worse!). You want your rope to run as straight as possible—even a slight bend in the rope could put enough pressure on the piece for it to pop out or “walk” in the crack and into a worse placement. The solution is to extend your gear with quickdraws and long slings (aka runners) so the rope runs straight and narrow.
Traddies dream about this: a continuous splitter finger crack. Sonnie Trotter on Stingray (5.14a), Joshua Tree, California.
/ august 2012 /
Cody Roth gets a good stance while protecting Coarse and Buggy (5.11a), Joshua Tree.
9 destinations across the country to hone your mad trad skills By Sean Bacon
Characterized by horizontal cracks running through quartz conglomerate, the “Gunks” can be called the most popular rock climbing area in the Northeast. Most climbs here are one to three pitches with many overhangs and roofs. There might be bolts, but there are definitely no sport climbs. > Rack: Standard rack plus micro-nuts, small cams, Tricams, and extra runners > Season: Fall, spring (be prepared for bugs!) > Guidebook: The Climber’s Guide to Shawangunks: The Trapps, by Dick Williams Beginner’s Delight (5.4, 3 pitches) High Exposure (5.6, 2 pitches) Strictly From Nowhere (5.7, 2 pitches) Son of Easy O (5.8, 2 pitches) Bonnie’s Roof (5.9, 2 pitches)
Smith Rock, Oregon
With new routes going up every year—and also home to the nation’s first 5.14 (To Bolt or Not To Be), in 1986—this Northwestern haven has not waned in popularity. It has a large collection Sarah Hueniken looks for a perfect placement on O’Kelley’s Crack (5.10c), Joshua Tree, California.
of difficult sport climbs, but the volcanic welded tuff provides plenty of easier trad routes as well. > Rack: Gear to four inches > Season: Spring and fall (April, May, and October are best) > Guidebook: Climber’s Guide to Smith Rock, by Alan Watts Super Slab (5.6, 3 pitches) Spiderman (5.7, 3 pitches) Pipsqueak (5.8) Moonshine Dihedral (5.9, 2 pitches) Cruel Sister (5.10a)
Sam’s Throne, Arkansas
Red Rock, Nevada
andrew burr (top); courtesy ethan pringle
Shawangunks, New York
Great weather, beautiful sandstone, and a couple of thousand routes means you can’t go wrong with a visit here. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend a rest day at a resort pool or in the casino? > Rack: Standard rack plus small cams and extra slings > Season: Spring and fall > Guidebook: Rock Climbing Red Rocks, by Todd Swain Solar Slab (5.6, 9 pitches) Going Nuts (5.6, 2 pitches) Cat in the Hat (5.6, 6 pitches) Frogland (5.8-, 6 pitches) This Ain’t No Disco (5.9)
Tennessee Wall, Tennessee
Known affectionately as T-Wall, this area looks out over the Tennessee River Gorge and features stout, well-protected face climbing. Located in the sandstone belt, the holds on T-Wall are kind and won’t shred your hands. > Rack: Gear to four inches, small cams, extra slings > Season: Fall, winter, and spring > Guidebook: The Dixie Cragger’s Atlas, by Chris Watford (includes Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia) Jay Walker (5.7) Golden Locks (5.8) Sanscrit (5.8) In Pursuit of Excellence (5.9) The Sweep (5.10b)
City of Rocks, Idaho
Once a stop for migrants looking for a fresh life in California, City of Rocks features ancient rock that offers always-fun pockets and chickenheads. Keep a lookout for hidden treasure; legend has it that $90,000 in gold was stashed near Treasure Rock in 1878, but was never found. > Rack: Standard rack plus small cams > Season: Spring and summer > Guidebook: City of Rocks, Idaho: A Climber’s Guide, by Dave Bingham Columbian Crack (5.7) Batwings (5.8) Skyline (5.8) Private Idaho (5.9) Animal Cracker (5.10a, 2 pitches)
Hard Atoka Sandstone makes this place great for climbing, and the exposed cliffs of the Throne are littered with pockets, knobs, and cracks reminiscent of the rock found in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, and New River Gorge. > Rack: Standard rack plus nuts and Tricams > Season: Spring and fall > Guidebook: Rock Climbing Arkansas, by Cole Fennel Fat Crack (5.6) Boston Rag (5.7) Slam Dance (5.8) Run Before You Walk (5.9+) Second Hand Hero (5.10b)
Cathedral Ledge, New Hampshire
The granite of North Conway is home to many classic climbs and beautiful scenery. The various styles of climbing, including excellent beginner routes, make this place a good fit for any climber. > Rack: Standard rack plus Tricams > Season: Fall and summer > Guidebook: Rock Climbs of the White Mountains, by Ed Webster Thin Air (5.6, 4 pitches) Fun House (5.7, 2 pitches) Black Lung (5.8) Recompense (5.9, 3 pitches) The Book of Solemnity (5.9+, 2 pitches)
Solid sandstone lines the walls of this gorge and premier
> Rack: Small nuts, micro-nuts, and cams to three inches > Season: Mid-October to early May > Guidebook: Rock Climbing Joshua Tree, by Randy Vogel Right On (5.5, 4 pitches) Hex Marks the Poot (5.7, 2 pitches) Dappled Mare (5.8, 4 pitches) Touch and Go (5.9) Dangling Woo Li Master (5.10a)
New River Gorge, West Virginia
Joshua Tree, California
One of the most popular climbing sites in the U.S. and abroad, J-Tree continues to attract new climbers with its classic climbs. The granite is so climbable that heinous-looking routes tend to be moderate due to the high friction of the rock.
climbing center in the East. The Gorge is home to many styles, including overhangs, cracks, and slabs. > Rack: Standard rack > Season: Spring and fall > Guidebook: New River Gorge Rock Climbs, by Mike Williams Cheat Crack (5.5) Fantasy (5.8, 2 pitches) New Yosemite (5.9) The Entertainer (5.9+) Remission (5.10b)
My first time I tried a 5.10, placing all the gear on lead, and at one point I took a nearly impossible, direct line where you were supposed to traverse, then go up. I took a huge, scary fall. Then, later that summer, I completed my first successful trad lead at the Cookie Cliff in Yosemite on the first pitch of Outer Limits, a classic 5.10a. I probably wasn’t as scared as I should have been. —Ethan Pringle / august 2012 /