First Outdoor Climb

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First Outdoor Climb

by Berlin » Sun May 26, 2013 5:34 am

I've been going to an indoor gym about 2-3 times a week now for about 5 months, and now my family's made the decision to go on a trip to Jasper national park.
I've done outdoor bouldering, and I'm tempted to try some climbing on this trip in Jasper .. but being new to climbing, and with nobody who actually knows what they're doing (I understand the bare basics, but that's about it) I'm a little hesitant.

What's the best way to start outdoor climbing? Would top roping be the easiest way to start or should I just stick to bouldering? Is it a horrible idea to give it a try? I'd obviously have a belayer and other people with me, but I'd be the one instructing them on what to do. I'm pretty confident that I understand the basics. I also assume I'll run into some other climbers on some of the routes who'd be happy to help me out/give me guidance.

I have plenty of carabiners, a harness, helmet, shoes, etc. from indoor climbing. Would seasoned climbers recommend giving it a try, or should I wait to go with a guide?
Even better, are there any climbers who have been to the Jasper/Banff area who know of any good routes/coordinates for a beginner?

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Re: First Outdoor Climb

by LuminousAphid » Mon May 27, 2013 7:07 pm

I am not the one to be giving advice, but I would never climb with a belayer whom I needed to instruct. Seems dangerous in so many ways.

When you climb rocks, things can happen a lot faster than you can understand what's happening,
If things did happen slow enough that you understood what was happening, there may not be enough time to shout instructions
If there was enough time to shout instructions, you may not know what instructions to give
If you did know what instructions to give, you may not be able to articulate them while you are struggling or falling
If you were able to articulate the instructions, your partner may not hear them
If your partner did hear your instructions, she/he may not hear them correctly
If he did hear them correctly, he may not know what they meant
If he did know what they meant, he may respond improperly due to lack of experience
and it goes on and on, any single one of these scenarios could result in a ground fall or any number of other bad things. Of course these things all apply to most climbing, but not having any experience on the belay end makes things wildly more dangerous IMO

edit: and before anyone jumps on me, I don't mean "instruct" like communicating when slack is needed, on-belay, that sort of thing. It sounds like the OP means to take a belay from someone whom he has to tell how to belay as he's being belayed. So sketchy.

2nd edit: I also just realized that wasn't very constructive, so here is my advice. I first climbed with the climbing club of the college that I attended, and like you started out with a lot of gym climbing and bouldering. Good for building strength and technique, but not really the same as even outdoor sport climbing and especially real mountaineering. It all depends on where you ultimately want to go: if you just want to do occasional climbs on trips like this, I would say stick to things you can top rope (with a trail to the top so you dont have to lead it) but have someone who knows what they are doing belay you haha. If you eventually want to get more serious, join a club or move somewhere with a big climbing community and learn from some of them. I wouldn't suggest doing too much self teaching like the post above, that is how you get things like this:
and these: ... -the-ugly/
My god, that last anchor is just terrifying. It seems like some kind of joke if you know absolutely anything about anchors, and I have never even set one up!

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