On the first day we spent a minimal amount of time in ground school where I observed their anchor placements before we got right to the business of leading – where the real learning happens. I would lead the climb first and rig a fixed rope, then ascend alongside the new leader as she climbed. We did a couple of single pitch climbs, rappels, and a simulated lead for the least experienced of the two.
My priority was to give them real-time climbing instruction based upon my nearly 40 years of climbing experience, but with a camera on hand and many years experience as a professional climbing photographer, I also took photos of the climbers for their memories, which I delivered to them in high resolution after the course.
On the second day we got an early start to avoid the incessant afternoon rains we’ve been getting this summer, and the two women swapped leads on a multi-pitch route in Eldorado Canyon, complete with route-finding, crack climbing, face climbing, overhangs, a tricky 4th class descent, and a rappel. I looked over their shoulders and advised throughout the entire experience, but they executed every step along the way with zero hands-on assistance from me, increasing their confidence, understanding and experience by leaps and bounds.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what they had to say afterwards:
“This experience was absolutely incredible. It was exactly what I needed at this point in my climbing and I feel like I made significant progress from where I was before Saturday. You are truly a wonderful teacher. Thank you so much for your never-ending patience, and for sharing your knowledge, tricks of the trade, thought-processes, wisdom, and guidance with us.” -K.L.
“Trad With Topher exceeded my expectations. The weekend was educational, challenging, and fun. My partner and I could not have asked for a better guide---Topher is an incredibly gifted and generous teacher. His expertise and experience is vast, and he communicates his guidance with clarity, enthusiasm, and limitless patience. In particular, the real-time feedback on the rock is invaluable. And I even have some awesome photos to inspire me in those less confident moments! The weekend was worth every penny.” -L.W.
Stay tuned for an advanced trad leader's perspective on this new trad climbing program...