Climbing lessons debrief

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This is a debrief from this week’s climbing lessons. I’m taking a course on belaying when lead climbing and a course in climbing technique. This week I took the second lesson in belaying (lead) and the first one in climbing technique.

Course: Belaying - Lead Climbing

Lesson 2

Goal: Start belaying with a Grigri. This time without second belayer with top-rope technique. For now without squeezing the Grigri brake.

Observations: When the climber is low on the wall, it is possible to fall on the ground before the rope starts providing significant braking action. The climber must clip as soon as they can reach the quickdraw from a stable position. Stable position when clipping low on the wall is important as there can be 2-3m of loose rope in the system when clipping to a quickdraw above the climber’s head. When the climber goes higher on the wall, a good clipping position is when the quickdraw is near the climber’s waist.

Belaying with a Grigri slightly increased my workload compared to belaying with a Reverso. Handing out the rope and taking the slack are symmetrical motions when belaying with Reverso. Handing out rope with a Grigri requires a transition into a different hand position. While I was focusing on handing out rope with a Grigri I sometimes forgot to optimally move forward and backward from the wall. After the instructor pointed this out, I was eventually able to do these things in parallel.

A climber should pull the rope from their belt. If they pull the rope from the wrong side of the previous quickdraw, they will make a letter Z. This increases friction in the system. The easiest way to resolve it can be reclipping the previous quickdraw.

When climbing I missed good footholds several times, which made the effort of the upper body unnecessarily larger. Once, at the lowest quickdraw, I almost clipped the rope in the wrong direction.

Course: Climbing Technique

Lesson 1

Goal: Visualize a move and its consequences before executing it. Was prediction wrong - did you make a move that threw you off the wall?

Observations: So far I’ve been climbing instinctively, defaulting to a ladder pattern of movement. Whatever position I found myself in, I was hoping to find a comfortable hold somewhere nearby. Especially when tired, the inclination to execute a move quickly and skip planning becomes stronger. It will take at least a couple more climbing sessions to internalize the planning process more.