Single Pitch Trad Climbing

…Simply Beautiful in its Complexity

The beauty of climbing is that you can experience it in so many forms – sport climbing, trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing.  You can climb on slabs, technical face, as well as overhanging rock.  And don’t forget the nuances of climbing a particular form of rock such as granite, sandstone, cobblestone, limestone, and quartzite.  We have certainly been blessed with endless options and variations as rock climbers.

One of the most gratifying single pitch trad climbing experiences I have ever had was in Arapiles, Australia.  We walked across a dusty expanse to the base of a small quartzite sandstone dome.  The rock was golden and grey streaked, hard, and polished.  This area is world- renowned for its 2000+ sustained and technical faces.  I looked up at the route and could see a few defining holds but some sections seemed devoid of gear placements as well as holds.  As I racked up, I added a set of HB off-set nuts, which were designed in Australia for small flaring cracks.

I decided to focus on breathing and precise footwork.  “Trust and commit”, I told myself repeatedly.  Miraculously, when I reached the blank sections, small cracks appeared in the rock that accepted my HB’s and tiny edges appeared for my feet that I could not see from the ground. Finishing the route, I once again reveled in the accomplishment of a climb that seemed impossible from below.

It seems to me, that rock climbing in its various forms is like an artist, writer, or a cook.  You start with the foundation – the movement skills – like an artist starts with a framework, a writer starts with a theme, and a cook starts with the main ingredient.  Then you add layers, which adds interest and complexity.  A climber would take their movement skills and add complexity by learning to protect not only bolted climbs, but also climbs which only take gear (trad climbs).  And to carry the analogy, the artist would add color, the writer would add character development and the cook would add spices.  When you piece it all together, the achievement is like a masterpiece.

You don’t have to go to Arapiles, Austrailia to experience the thrill of learning to climb single pitch trad climbing routes.  We are psyched to offer clinics this fall in two of the most popular trad climbing areas in North America – Red Rocks,  and Joshua Tree.  Although both have an abundance of bolted sport routes, they also are renowned for a plethora of classic trad routes in the 5.7- 7.9 range.  Whether you are just learning, or wanting to develop your lead skills, we can help you reach your goals. Join us.

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