Managing Expectations, I think…

With some regularity, I will receive an email request like this:

“I was wondering how much does an intro to trad course cost for a day with 2 people? My experience is a course for anchors and my friend has previous trad experience. My partner has led many easy climbs while I have no experience. We’re both confident 5.10 sport climbers and projecting harder 5.11s in the gym.”

First Impressions:

  1. You may have a match, but you may not. Seems to me that there is an experience dispense. Many leads and no leads means a lot of catching up to do.
  2.  5.10 sport climbing has some value to traditional climbing, but your mileage will vary depending on location.
  3.  Projecting 5.11 in the gym?  Yeah, sweet!  Those hand and footholds are pretty good compared to 5.11s outside.  The good news?  You probably pretty strong if you’re only one hanging those routes. Keep it up.
  4. Who taught your anchor course, and how long ago?

Second Impression:

  1.  You didn’t tell me your outdoor climbing experience.

Moving forward:

Can I teach you to be a trad climber? Yes.  But it probably going to take more than 2 days.  Doing a learn to lead program is best suited in a 2:1 grouping.  That way I can coach the leader while the partner belays.  That said, I have done a number of 1 on 1 learn to lead sessions and great success.

Expectation Management:

Please remember this.  When you come to visit me because you’re ready to lead, you make best use of our time together if you are an experienced outdoor climber.  You need to know how to top rope.  Sport climbing experience is a bonus.  Gym experience, while helpful, isn’t as useful because of the medium. After all, the floor is padded.

So, be like Jared.  Jared came with Brenna for a couple of days of training.  We went climbing on day 1.  Day 2, we brushed up on our anchoring skills so we could be at baseline.  Days 3 and 4?  Jared learned how to use the gear, practiced a ton, and by the end of day 4, he got to lead an easy climb. That set him up well for a bunch of his own climbing.  In fact, I have even seen him cruising around the Gunks on his own.  He does climb in the gym, however it doesn’t define him or his experience.

 

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