Ben, Line, Anthony and I went up to Squamish for a day of climbing yesterday. Sadly it was only my 4th or 5th time outdoor climbing this season (and the climbing season is almost over!). While I’m by no mean a hard climber, the recent Vantage climbing trip made me realize how much I missed climbing.
Before I get into what I’m going to say, let me explain climbing a little bit. For those you don’t know much about climbing, there are different climbing methods. The safest and easiest one is called top roping where you set up an anchor at the top of the climb and the rope is always above you as you climb. You usually don’t fall all that far when you top rope. The more dangerous type of climb is called leading where the rope trails behind you and you clip it into protections as you ascend. A fall usually would be around twice the distance from your last protection plus rope stretch. Leading is then broken down into sports and trad (short for traditional). For sports lead protections are already bolted into the rocks, usually placed every 3-5 meters or so. For trad lead you build your own protections as you climb, typically with rock hardware such as cams, nuts, or hexes. Typically protections are placed whenever you can find a rest so they can be placed quite far apart. If you fall on a bad placement the placement would potentially pop out causing you to fall further until your next placement catches you. As you can imagine trad lead is typically more frightening.
I normally sport lead because I don’t have a trad rack with all the necessary rock hardware. Needless to say trad leading is still somewhat of an unexplored territory for me and can be quite frightening to think about it. Yesterday Ben and Line happened to have their racks with them. Since none of us climb hard stuff we ended up sticking to more moderate climbs. At first I was I seconding up the climb after Ben and taking out his gear placement as I ascend the route. I felt pretty good about my climbing and pretty soon I was doing my 1st trad lead of the season. That went without a hitch so I tried another one quickly afterwards. Then a few more quickly followed. It was almost magical, suddenly everything just clicked and I couldn’t wipe the silly smile off my face.
To top off a great day, as we sat in the Squamish 7-11 parking lot we were greeted by a stunning view of Mt. Garibaldi and Mt. Atwell. I can never get tired of staring at those two gorgeous peaks. Still have to climb them one day of course.