Lead Knowledge Base

Isabel Practising twin rope Trad leading at Iota Chessington
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sport Climbing

 

The route is protected by pre-placed clip points permanently bolted to the rock or wall. Sport Climbing is found in all indoor climbing walls and common in most of the major European climbing locations. The difficulty of the route is displayed using the French or F grading system. 

 

 

'Trad' Climbing 

 

The route is protected by placing specialised gear in the various cracks or faults in the rock so that it locks in position when loaded. The two most common types of   device are 'Nuts' which are wedge shaped and designed to jam into a V shaped crack  and Spring Loaded Camming Devices, 'Cams' or ' Friends' which are designed to grip  in parallel sided cracks.

                          

The difficulty of the route is displayed using the English two-part grading system(See Route Grading).

 

 

 Communication between belayer and climber is essential

 

Pre-climb Preparation

  Equipment:          Check that the rope is clearly certified as a single dynamic climbing                                                                rope. Either end of the rope should display.  on  a taped label.

  

                              Ropes:                  Do not use unmarked ropes unless you personally know the history                                                             of the rope. Avoid the use of any rope that is predominantly white                                                             or black, as this colour indicates rope is static or non-stretch. Use of                                                             such a rope for leading could cause injury or death.

                                                            Always run rope through hands to check for knots, tangles or faults                                                             in the rope.

                                                            Ensure that the rope is at least twice as long as the route is high by                                                             checking in the guidebook or asking the climbing centre staff. If the                                                             belayer is not tied in, then it is prudent to tie a knot into the end of                                                             the rope.
                                Quickdraws:  Consist of two snap gate karabiners clipped into a short  sling  stitched sling.

The 'loose' karabiner is clipped into the protection  and the 'tight' karabiner is clipped onto the climbing rope.

 

                                                            In sport climbing indoor or out the number of quick draws you will                                                             require can be seen from the wall itself or from the guidebook. The                                                             majority of indoor climbing walls have quick draws placed in situ.

                                                            In 'Trad' climbing, this is a judgement call by the climber based on                                                             his interpretation of the route in the guidebook and his own                                                                       experience of routes of a similar nature.                

              

No fall is safe – just less dangerous or more dangerous

 

               Daisy Chain:       

 This should be attached by a larks foot knot to your belay loop. It   should then be shortened and clipped into your gear loop. This will   then be  clipped into the lowering off point at the top of a climb. (see                                                       below)

 

 

 

 

b. Belay Technique

                                                            By demonstration

                                                            Warn the climber if he places his foot where the rope might trip him                                                             in a fall.

                                                            Do not belay with the rope at right angles to the wall directly below                                                             the climber such that the climber could fall on to the rope.     

c. Clipping Techniques

                                                            By demonstration            

                                                            the karabiner must be held firm and the rope pressed through the                                                             gate.

                                                            Practise clipping   with   either hand with the gates both left and                                                 right. Z clip.

You must not clip your lead rope into the karabiner at the top of the climb if it has a rope already in place. To do so would cause damage to both ropes as the potentially heavily weighted and fast moving lowering off  rope could cause extreme friction damage  to the static in situ rope.

d. Fall Factors

                                                            See Page 6

e. The Top and The Descent

Sport Climb (indoors)

                                             At the top of the indoor lead route, it is important to clip the top                                                karabiner for the descent, only lower off the top quick draw if you are                                                     unable to reach the top lowering off point.                                         

Sport Climb (outside)       At the top of the sport route, you should expect to find a single or multiple                                              lowering off points. This will require you to thread your climbing rope                                                      through the lowering off point. To avoid putting yourself at risk, or the                                                    possibility of dropping the climbing rope the following procedure should be                                              followed.

 

  1. Clip Daisy chain already attached  to belay loop,  into lowering off point using a screw gate karabiner. Lock karabiner.
  2. Call for 'slack' from belayer.
  3. Pull up approximately 1 m of rope, create a large loop and thread this loop through the lowering off point ring.
  4. Tie a figure of 8 knot into the loop.
  5. Clip as onto your belay loop using a screw gate karabiner. Lock karabiner.
  6. Untie completely the original knot.
  7. CHECK rope is through the lowering off point ring.
  8. CHECK rope is securely fastened to belay loop and the karabiner locked off
  9. TELL belayer to take in.
  10. Unclip Daisy chain from lowering off point and secure on gear loop.
  11. Tell belayer to lower off.

                                             When belaying, you should never consider the climber to be 'safe' even                                                   when clipped in with the Daisy chain.

 

 

Every student must understand in detail  the dynamics of risk prior to the third quick draw being successfully clipped.

It is only at that point, that the belayer can be confident that the fall should not end up with ground contact.

It is important to demonstrate, under controlled conditions, the fall taken when the climber attempts to but fails to secure the third clip.

Points to emphasise:

  1. There should be minimal or no unnecessary slack in the rope.
  2. The belayer should stand against the wall not right angles. This will reduce the chance of the climber falling across the rope .
  3. Until  the new leader has demonstrated proficiency consider pre clipping the first one or two clips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Lead Climbing      Level I Sport

 

Aim:     To teach and practice the procedures involved in lead climbing. Clipping with either hand how to optimise your stance when clipping, went to clip, how to avoid a Z clip, the dangers of back clipping.

Special Equipment

Small diameter 9.4/9.2 mm single lead rope with low impact force.

 

Assessment for Level I

The student will:

  1. Flake out the rope correctly to ensure no not or tangles
  2. Tie into the harness correctly with neat figure of eight and stopper knot
  3. Tie into safety rope
  4. Check all equipment on the safety rope belayer, lead belayer and his own.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to climb smoothly.
  6. Adopt an efficient position when pausing to clip.
  7. Clip efficiently with both left and right hands.
  8. Communicate clearly and effectively with the belayer.
  9. At the top, secure  lead rope through the correct karabiner.
  10. Descend unclipping lead rope.
  11. Recover the rope and coil neatly.

 

 

 

Lead Climbing: Level 2

Aim:     To achieve Level I assessment without the use of the safety rope.

Special Conditions: No one may attempt Level II lead climbing without having completed Level I and been personally signed off by the Senior Instructor. No child under the age of 14 years is allowed to lead belay.

14 years and older
Under normal circumstances this is the youngest aged that children will be permitted to lead in Level 2

12 to 13 years

Children of exceptional ability will, as potential competition climbers and members of the elite squad, be permitted to lead subject to informed consent from their parents*.

Under 12 years old

May only lead climb if one of the parents is a competent lead climber and belayer and is actually adjacent to the instructor who is belaying or is belaying the child themselves.

*The child's parents must be given sufficient information to be able to give their informed consent to permit them to participate in lead belaying and climbing activities. This should include a formal demonstration of lead climbing and belaying including falling and the potential risks involved.

Special Equipment Required: Small diameter 9.4/9.2 MM single lead rope with low impact force.
Assessment for Level 2

The student will:

  1. Flake out the rope correctly to ensure no not or tangles
  2. Tie into the harness correctly with neat figure of eight and stopper knot
  3. Tie into safety rope
  4. Check all equipment on  lead belayer and his own.




Demonstrate the ability to climb smoothly.

  1. Adopt an efficient position when pausing to clip.
  2. Clip efficiently with both left and right hands.
  3. Communicate clearly and effectively with the belayer.
  4. At the top, secure  lead rope through the correct karabiner.
  5. Descend unclipping lead rope.
  6. Recover the rope and coil neatly



Lead Climbing                  level 3

Lead belaying minimum age 14 years

Trad Gear familiarisation

 

Aim:     To achieve  confident and safe level of lead belaying.

               A basic understanding of trad gear placement and its uses

 

 

Assessment for level 3

  • Complete pre-climb preparation accurately
  • Belaying leader correctly
  • Hold a minimum of three leader falls
  • Show a clear understanding of rope dynamics and fall factors
  • Demonstrate the placing of the functions of the components of a standard rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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