Back in the Trad

Topping out a fun day in the Black.

Topping out a fun day in the Black.

A couple weeks ago, Tracy and I went and did a “short” and “easy” climb in the Black Canyon. It was one we had done before, something we knew would be fun and we could take our time on, enjoying a perfect fall day. After a year of mostly sport climbing, several things really stood out to me about this kind of trad climbing.

This stuff is heavy!

Hangboarding will make you appreciate the difference that 5 pounds can make, something in the past I would have said was no big deal. Find an edge that you can barely hang onto, and add 5 pounds and it’s no way jose. So when you take a rack that weighs 10 pounds and then a backpack filled with water and other things, you are suddenly climbing with 15+ pounds of extra weight. No wonder those moves feel so much more difficult than similarly-graded sport climbs!

This stuff is runout!

When I’m sport climbing, 80-90% of the time I am totally fine falling off the climb, and this allows me to focus solely on the moves, and try things with full confidence that I can fall and all will be well. Many trad climbs require sections of run out climbing on easy terrain where you probably aren’t going to fall, but you better damn well be paying attention because if you do it’s gonna be ugly. And even when you have gear, the falls aren’t always clean, so you spend much of your day in a “no-fall” headspace, which is unsettling when you haven’t been there in awhile.

This stuff is awesome!

Having your systems dialed, flowing up a big cliff, it’s adventurous in a way that makes me feel alive like nothing else. Because of the focus each pitch requires, the rewards are that much greater. And usually the views are pretty rad too!

This stuff is addicting!

I took a friend to the Black for an easy birthday route in July, and that taste made me want to come back. The climb we did recently was another taste, and made me wish there was more time in the season to get back down and step up the game. But I can rest assured knowing we’ll be back, as every time I go I’m reminded what an amazing place it is, and though I love the casual recreation of sport climbing, adventure trad really is pretty freakin’ rad!

3 Responses to Back in the Trad

  1. Well said my friend!

    Cooper Best November 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm
    • Thanks!

      BJ Sbarra November 16, 2015 at 2:16 pm
  2. You should come the NC, where we never left trad climbing behind. All of our best routes are trad and many of them are in a unique headspace 🙂

    Brian Payst November 17, 2015 at 11:55 am
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