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Intermediate instruction - lead climbing
As scouts continue climbing, we gradually introduce/allow more alternate methods for belay/rappel, including munter hitches, hip belay, and even dulfersitz rappels under carefully controlled circumstances.
Protection Placement 1 (cliff base with variety of cracks of various sizes)
Teach: types of pieces and uses, characteristics, and eccentricities. Principles of placement, direction of pull. Examining pieces for integrity. Practice placement.
Protection & Anchors 1 (top rope area, or perhaps as a flat-land intro)
Re-teach: Piece placement.
Teach: Use of webbing slings, cords, girth hitch, selecting & checking natural anchors and bolts, independence of anchors. Hazard Evaluation. Introduce equitensioning. Practice.
Anchors 2 (top rope area)
Check: Piece placement
Re-Teach: Webbing, natural anchors, anchor rules, hazard eval.
Teach: Equitension, backup, opposing anchors, vector forces. Practice.
Climbing Practice (top rope area)
Test: Piece Placement
Check: Webbing, natural anchors, anchor rules, hazard eval.
Re-Teach: Anchor construction science & art
[Troop 8 scouts will typically have a fair bit of practice at this level, perhaps with Tyrolean or ascender system experience. It takes a fair bit of guided practice to become proficient in the art of piece placement and anchor building, which are necessary before moving on to basic lead climbing]
Lead Climbing Mechanics (flat land)
Review: Anchor rules (use J. Long’s anchor problems from book)
Teach: Mechanics of leading & following, rope management, use of slings, quickdraws, problems of traverses.
Lead tryout 1 (top rope area)
Test: Natural anchors, anchor rules, hazard eval.
Check: Anchor construction
Re-teach: Mechanics of leading.
Teach: Rappels with rope retrieval.
Mock lead climb up good crack while tight top-roped to practice piece placement. (Must be an easy route). Rappels on anchor to bottom.
Following 1 (2-3 pitches)
Supervisor lead, scout(s) follow. Quiz & teach along the way.
[Note: Doing an introductory multi-pitch climb set at this point assumes: 1) the adult leader is using pitches well below his/her ability, and 2) you are operating in a 3-person team, where at least one of the followers has had basic rope rescue training & practice, in case the leader gets into trouble. Otherwise, you’ll need to move rescue items up ahead of this.]
Rescue 1 (flat land/climbing gym)
Teach: Rescue knots, belay escape. Practice.
Following 2 (multi pitch)
Supervisor lead, scout(s) follow. Quiz & teach along the way. Rappel out.
Test: Anchor construction, if possible
Check: mechanics of leading/following.
Lead Tryout 2 (top rope area)
Test: Anchor construction
Check: Mechanics of leading, rappels with retrieval
Mock lead climb & follow with top-rope belay. Mid-station anchor construction by scout.
Rescue 2 (flat land/trees or top-rope area)
Re-teach: Rescue knots, belay escape.
Teach: backing up rappels with locking knots and autoblocks; rescue psychology
Following 3 (multi pitch)
Test: Rappels with retrieval, mechanics of leading/following
Check: Rescue knots, belay escape
Re-teach: backed up rappels, autoblocks
Supervisor lead, scouts follow.
Rescue 3 (flat land/trees or top rope area with short cliffs)
Test: Rescue knots, belay escape
Teach: Prusik ascending system
Following 4 (multi pitch)
Test: Rescue knots, belay escape
Check: Backed-up rappels
Lead Tryout 3 (top rope area)
Test: Backed up rappels
Re-teach/Review: Prusik ascending
Mock lead climb while on top rope belay. Belayer should introduce penalty slack so that top rope is only backup to the primary piece in a lead fall, or to guard against ground/ledge impacts.
If a rope is available that is near age retirement but is in otherwise good condition, it is a worthwhile exercise to rig a good anchor and have climbers do a deliberate low-force lead fall, to practice "safe falling" technique and cut down on unnecessary fear.
Following 5 - First Lead
Two-person team; supervisor leads first pitch. If he/she feels scout is ready, switch leads. (Best on a route the scout has already done).
Alternately, on an easy sport route below the scout's ability level, scout leads short single-pitch to anchor and gets lowered off.
Following 6 - First Lead
Same as above
First Lead - Supervisor follows.
Scout leads from ground. Supervisor follows as 2nd or 3rd on team.