Are you looking for the perfect hobby with a great community? Climbing is one of those hobbies that encapsulates both. It’s a great way to get outside, exercise your mind and body, and meet new people.

While browsing for a upcoming post on free camping spots in Southern Utah, I came across a term called “Trad Climbing.” Since I knew nothing about this sport, I did some research on it and decided to publish my findings as a “Curious Dora” blog post.

What Is Trad Climbing?

What Is Trad Climbing
What Is Trad Climbing?

Trad climbing is the more traditional form of rock climbing. The gear used to protect from falls is placed into the wall by the climber when they ascend, and then clipped into carabiners so it will hold if they fall. This means that trad climbing involves removable gear—meaning that once a climb is completed, the climbers can take their gear with them rather than leaving it behind on the wall like sport climbers do. This also means that trad climbs can be done multiple times on different routes, giving you a lot of variety in your climbing experience.

Like all definitions, this one has some leeway. Many climbs are a mixture of the two, (sport climbing and trad climbing), with some sections protected by bolts and others by gear. These routes are sometimes referred to as “mixed” climbs, but they vary widely in adventurousness, difficulty, and quality.

The most important thing to know is that trad climbing involves placing your own protection in the rock. This means you can only climb routes that are protected by removable gear—usually a combination of small nuts, cams, and pitons. The challenges of trad climbing are what draw many people in.

What Are the Benefits of Trad Climbing?

Trad climbing4
Trad climbing

There are many benefits of trad climbing, such as the satisfaction of completing a climb without the help of bolts, and the feeling of accomplishment when you successfully summit a trad route. It can also be a more challenging and rewarding experience than sport climbing.

Additionally, trad climbing offers a unique challenge and sense of adventure that cannot be found in other forms of rock climbing. The unpredictable nature of the weather and terrain make trad climbs an exciting pursuit, and climbers often return to the same locations again and again due to the high quality of the rock.

The quality of the rock is often what attracts climbers to a region. Different environments and rock types bring different challenges and character to a climb. There is an almost endless variety of trad climbing venues, with a huge number of routes documented and graded in guidebooks or on the internet.

Trad climbing2
Trad climbing

Dora’s Conclusion on Trad Climbing

In order for trad climbing to be safe, it requires knowledge, skills and training with a lot of input from others. Learning trad is a lot like an apprenticeship where you need time and expert input from other climbers to go smoothly. It is best to learn from a friend or pay for professional classes.

Bottom Line: I’m going to pass on this adventure. Maybe I’ll try Yoga. 🙂

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