We had a heck of a day recently.
I’ve been trying to learn how to trad lead. For those who are not climbers, trad climbing is placing your own removable protection in the rock as you climb, thereby protecting yourself from falling too far if you slip. Its a bit more technical and dangerous than sport leading, where you clip into bolts screwed into the wall because if you don’t place your protection correctly, it may pull out if you fall on it.
The issue wasn’t not knowing how to do it; the issue has been finding the time. A couple weeks ago my dad and I managed to get a day off on the same day. My younger sister Mary was able to join us as well.
We left Harrisonburg early; all our adventures seem to start this way. We had our sights on Skyline Traverse, a three pitch 5.3 that would take us to Luncheon Ledge. There, we would climb Old Ladies Route, another three pitch 5.3, that would take us to the summit ridge. 6 pitches and about 600 feet of climbing all told.
I led the first pitch of Skyline Traverse up a corner/gully system. I focused on placing good protection and climbing well. I did my very best not to look at the panorama behind me! When I reached the belay ledge at the top of the first pitch, I built an anchor and brought Mary up. Then we brought Dad up.
Dad led the second pitch, and then I led the third pitch to Luncheon Ledge. I then led the first and second pitches of Old Ladies Route, and let dad take the final pitch up Windy Corner. Getting to the summit felt all the better since I had helped lead.
It was also Mary’s first time on the South Summit. So, all in all, a day of firsts for all of us!
Here are some pictures. They turned out really well for having come from a point and shoot disposable camera.
Now that I know I can lead, I intend to do it as much as possible. Hopefully soon…