Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lead climbing

Goal 88: To lead climb outdoors

With a lot of encouragement, I've made some progress towards this goal over the past two months. Two indoor lead climbs tonight and I belayed four. A recent visit to the quarry at Auchenstarry was encouraging. Even our four year old enjoyed bouldering there! Some great routes there. A year ago, it seemed like a distant idea, and one I wasn't in a hurry to pursue... Now though, I'm quite keen to take the next step.


  1. What grade is the climb you're aiming for?
    What grade are you leading at now?
    Have you tried top-roping or seconding an overhang yet?

  2. Over the last year I've been aiming for 6a grade while bottom roping (Glasgow Climbing Centre grading). I'm now regularly climbing 6a's comfortably (mostly:) and this week managed a 5+ lead climb with a constant incline. I haven't set any grade goals and doubt I will for a while. I just want to build up my confidence lead climbing. I struggle to pull the ropes up to click into the carabiners and this week was working on technique to make that easier.

    This is one of my 'fun' goals and I would rather keep climbing regularly with an ultimate goal to climb outdoors. The guys I go with keep pushing me on anyway...:)

    Different people mean different things by top roping. If you mean have I lead climbed an overhang... No. Not yet. I've decided I need to cut back on climbing until I get a new contract so unsure when I'll next have a chance. But, rest assured, soon as I can, I'll get back!

  3. When I say "top roping" I mean the rope is secured at the top before you start, so what I meant was, have you climbed an overhang without leading it?

    6a is a reasonable grade and 5+ is a good starting grade for leading. Clipping into the carabiners is awkward until you get used to it, but once you do its just a matter of confidence - leading is more scary because you feel more exposed.

    Overhang climbing is a slightly different technique from climbing straight up - you have to get your balance in the right place, try and keep your legs close to horizontal so you can still transfer some of your weight onto them, and try and hang off straight arms as much as possible so you don't wear them out too quickly.

    Once you get used to it, it's a lot of fun! :-)