Trad climbing could be quite challenging, confronting, frightening, and even hard, but also incredible! It can lead you to breathtaking heights and bring you a sense of accomplishment, unlike any other. If you opt for this type of climbing, you can expand your sports horizon and explore the world’s most significant routes. Whether you desire to fine-tune your uphill skills, create a better anchor point, or hit your first multi-pitch climbing, this exclusive trad climbing guide contains everything you need.
What is trad climbing?
Trad climbing, also known as traditional rock climbing, refers to a form of rock climbing in which the equipment and protection that the climber needs while embarking on the climb are installed by himself when climbing. The art of traditional rock climbing requires that the climbers plan their routes safely and carefully climb a rock face.
In the 1980s, trad climbing was known merely as climbing. Once sport climbing became popular, a name had to be created to distinguish the original style of rock climbing. In other words, trad climbing could be said to be a style of rock climbing by placing positioned protections on the natural structures of the rock by the climber.
What is trad climbing protection?
Protection is the mainstay of traditional climbing. The term “protection” refers to the leading equipment that trad climbing is about. Also known as a simple “pro,” this type of material includes a few essential forms:
Recesses, stoppers, nuts, or eccentrics are common names for passive protection. It also entails trad climbing gear without moving parts, usually designed with tapered metal ends that can be caught in cracks in the rock face. Passive clamping devices are rounder but serve a similar purpose.
The existing equipment is made up of more moving parts, and its clamps are often curved devices that can be inserted into a crack in the rock, and the “trigger” is actuated to cause the clamp to expand and wedge in a crack. It provides a more substantial base, which is often more resilient than simple screws or passive brackets. The classic Friends are some of the most common active devices available.
They are an essential part of any climbing equipment. For a basic set, 20 to 30 non-locking carabiners and four locking carabiners are a good start. There are four different “forms” of carabiners, and knowing which ones are best for you is an essential first step in choosing your equipment:
Asymmetrical D shape – This is the most common sort of carabiner. As it has a big opening, it is generally stable and quite light as well. One disadvantage is that the asymmetrical D-shaped carabiner is often more expensive, and its shape loses some space inside.
Pear Shape – This shape is similar to the asymmetrical D shape, but is much smaller. Pear-shaped carabiners are primarily used for belaying and abseiling.
D-shape – These snap hooks are very sturdy and perhaps the strongest of the snap hooks. It makes the D-shaped carabiner quite costlier.
Non-locking carabiners– These are split between straight openings, curved opening, and wire mesh and are typically used for most basic applications for your climbing set. These openings or closures are spring-loaded so that you can easily attach them to loops in your harness and to looped ropes.
Locking carabiners are the most stable carabiners which aid climbing and have either a manual, screw able, or automatic opening (depending on the type of locking carabiner you buy). These carabiners are much heavier than the non-locking version and can be annoying with specific devices or techniques (e.g., they are not suitable for expresses), but they are the best choice for belaying or abseiling to increase your general safety.
As with most types of climbing, the harness is a crucial trad climbing gear that helps distribute the weight of your equipment and help you stay balanced. A high-quality climbing harness contains:
- Padded, adjustable leg straps with diverse buckles.
- Several gear loops. (At least4 on average).
- Waist belt with optimal padding. (For comfort and safety).
- Extra lumbar padding to stabilize the lower back when climbing.
- A drag loop so you can carry a second rope.
Compared to sport climbing, which is one of the most popular types of climbing. Trad climbing includes a piece of more significant equipment. So your harness must be able to keep up with this demand. It means that your Trad harness should have a little more space for your equipment and should be more comfortable and balanced overall.
Types of trad climbing
The art of climbing trad comes in different types. Some of these include:
Simul climbing is a form of trad style, specially designed to tackle a route in a group as quickly as possible. Here, two climbers hang in a so-called lifeline on the same rope. With the front one attaching the belay and the rear one removing it afterward.
Free Solo is the most extreme form of climbing trad without any technical aids or safety devices. For some, it is the purest form of climbing. For others, it is absolute madness, given the number of free solo climbers who have lost their lives.
Most free solo climbers say that it is not because of the thrill, but because of the unique feeling of freedom.
These are the different variants of the Free Solo style:
- Urban Solo: Here, people in urban areas climb buildings or towers. One of the first was the Frenchman Alain Robert, also known as “Spiderman.” Today, thanks to the popularity of the selfie stick, more and more people are doing it.
- Deep Water Solo: Basically, it’s about climbing onto cliffs. At low altitudes, the water underneath is the safeguard in the event of a fall. However, the higher the routes, the higher the risk.
- Base Solo: Climbers have a parachute on their back, which they can open in the event of a fall. Some believe it gives them more security and confidence to try even harder routes.
Related Article: Types of Climbing.
How do you get down?
Depending on your climbing style and preferences, you can either use the rope rappel style or walk down. To go down, you should follow the path you made on your way up and carefully go your way down. A firm pair of shoes with a good profile is recommended to ensure that your feet have a good grip as you move down. A perfect climbing shoe can give you more comfort while hiking or climbing. if you needed perfect climbing shoes for your own then don’t be late click here to read our best buyer’s guide on best climbing shoes and pick the perfect one.
Rappelling can be far more complicated, but it is a common way for climbers to get back to the ground faster. Rappelling requires moving from anchor to anchor, so it’s a multi-step process that involves a lot of concentration. There are also two subcategories of rappelling that can be used:
- Single Rope Rappel – You use a rope attached to an anchor.
- Double Rope Rappel – You use two ropes attached to the anchor.
Useful tips and tricks on Trad climbing
Upon having a good idea of what trad climbing entails. It’s also best to be intimated on some of the most important tips to always keep in mind when preparing to climb. Some of these include:
- Always pay attention to your climbing ability, as its best not to attempt climbs or heights that go far beyond your skills. Work your way up slowly, starting with easier climbs.
- Go out and look at the place where you want to climb before you start climbing. This way, you not only have a good idea of what to expect, but you can also plan a good climbing route. Invest in a climbing guide that will give you more practical information about the climbing route and the entire area.
- Make sure you know the type and amount of equipment you need to bring. If you are not sure, you should bring additional equipment just in case.
- If you’re not sure how to place your trad climbing gear, you may want to.
- Contact an experienced climber to guide you up.
- Make sure that your climbing rope doesn’t get tangled or knotted, and never start climbing if your rope is wrong or knotted.
- You must take your time to place good anchors, but do not take so much time so that your ascent may not overwhelm you.
- Be confident and careful.
In conclusion, trad climbing is a complex activity that requires a lot of practice and self-confidence. However, once you’ve developed the skills you need to climb successfully, there isn’t much to compare it with. Make sure you have enough equipment with you. Because it is one of the highest quality so that you can be safe and prepared. Remember, trad climbing is an inherently dangerous sport. But it can be very rewarding if tackled with the right level of respect, passion, and trad climbing gear, as highlighted above.