this is an essay i wrote on leading sport climbs
|Climbing is an inherently dangerous sport, one can fall, break bones, get rope burns, possibly killed ect. There are many types of climbing there being alpine, big wall, traditional A.K.A. trad., sport, and bouldering. Aside from climbing in a gym sport climbing is the most popular style of climbing. |
Sport climbing is climbing on routes that are protected by bolted anchors, instead of traditionally placing gear. The gear that is required is rather minimal. A pair of shoes, a harness for both the climber and the belayer, at least 3 locking carabineers, a 60 meter static rope, an ATC (belay devise) 2 helmets (optional but preferred), chalk bag (optional but helpful), a short sling (about 2ft), and on average about 15 quick-draws.
When you reach the bottom of the route the first thing that you and your partner are going to do is put on your harnesses, making sure that they are snug. When they are comfortable you should then decide who is going to lead and who is going to follow. The leader is going to then start scouting out the route while the second is unrolling the rope and making sure that there are no tangles. When scouting out routes the leader should consult a guide book if available, it will tell how many bolts and what the difficulty grade is. Lets say that this route is a difficulty grade of 5.9+ with 13 bolts. When leading a sport route as a rule you would climb no higher than two points below what you are capable of on a top rope, example if you can climb a 5.10b on top rope then 5.9+ is the highest you would want to go for sport routes. When leading you are going to need the climbing shoes, quick-draws, chalk bag, harness, helmet, the sling, and a locking carabineer. If this route calls for 13 bolts and you are not sure what kind of anchor system it has at the top, you should take 17 draws with you. If you know for a fact that you have quick clips at the top then you only need 15 draws. Quick clips are permanently attached carabineers at the tops of routs used for lowering off. The remaining draws are for if you accidentally dropped one. When all of the gear is sorted out the person leading is going to take the top end of the rope and tie a figure 8 about three feet from the end of the rope. When that is done you are going to feed the end through the anchor loops in your harness, and follow the figure 8 backwards A.K.A. figure 8 on a bite, keeping everything uniform lest it bind up. When that is tight take the remaining tail and tie a stopper knot. The belayer is then going to take the peace of the rope about 10 feet behind the leader and feed it through his ATC and then putting both the ATC and the rope through the locking carabineer on the front of his harness, then making sure it is locked. Now you are ready to climb. The climber is going to ask the belayer “is the belay is on?” the belayer replies “belay is on”, then the climber says “climbing?” and belayer replies “climb away”. on his way up the route the leader is going to come across the bolts. When he does he wants to come about head level with them and find a firm position, un-clip a quick draw and clip it into the bolt away from the direction he is climbing. He then going to yell to the belayer “clipping” and proceed to pull up slack to then clip into the opposite end of the quick-draw. He is going to continue this till he gets to the anchor at the top of the route. When he reaches the anchor if it is quick clips then he just clips the rope into it so that the rope wont twist and then descend. However if there are just a pair of rings then he is going to have to clip a quick draw into both and then clip the rope into those. Pulling himself as close to the anchor he is then going to yell down to the belayer “take!” and the belayer will remove all slack in the rope. The leader is then going to take the sling that is attached to his harness in the same place as the rope is and clip it into one of the anchor rings with a locking carabineer. When that is complete he is going to yell down to the belayer “off belay”, which means that all of the leaders weight is now supported by the anchor. Now the leader is going to pull up about 10 feet of slack and tie a knot into the rope and attach the not to his harness so he doesn’t drop the rope. That done he is then going to untie his original knot connecting his harness to the rope and feed the end through the anchor rings, and then tying it back into his harness just like a the beginning of the climb. When that is completed the leader I going to yell down to the belayer “on belay” and the belayer is then going to take up the slack in the rope. When the slack is gone the leader is going to remove his anchor sling from the anchor as well as the two quick-draws. He is now ready to descend. On the way down he should “clean” the route, which is remove all of the gear from the wall. Once on the ground the belayer now has the option of top roping the route or leading the route. If he is going to lead then the two people swap places. One person pulls the rope, when it starts coming down really fast he is to yell “rope!” to let others know of the danger. Once the you have put the rope and gear away the climb is finished.