Guide A Triple-Braided Cord (Freedoms Common Ground)

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The Mountaineers teaches skills and leads outdoor activities for all ages and levels in the Pacific Northwest. The excerpt is a small piece taken from the "Lead Climbing" chapter and was further edited down for space. As November begins, climbing gyms will fill up with both beginning and experienced climbers looking for indoor challenges. This excerpt is for those who have learned to top-rope and feel ready to start gaining lead-climbing skills.


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Although top-rope climbing has many advantages—it is the easiest introduction to roped climbing, skill requirements are basic, falls are generally short and gentle, and you do not have to worry about dealing with your safety system as you climb—it also has limitations. For example, top-roping extreme overhanging or wandering routes can be unsafe, since falling can result in big swings that can endanger you or others in your path.

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Another limiting factor is that many climbing gyms dedicate only a portion of their total wall surface to top-rope climbing. Knowing the skills necessary only for top-roping limits your route choices if you should choose to start climbing outdoors, as the sole routes available to you will be those that can be accessed from above to set anchors. Overcome these constraints by broadening your skill set to include lead climbing.

Rather than climb on a rope already anchored at the top of the climb, lead climbers take the rope up as they climb and affix it to progressively higher anchor points along the way. In a gym environment, these anchor points generally consist of a quickdraw two carabiners connected by a piece of nylon webbing, also known as a draw attached to a fixed bolt. Outdoor leaders protect their climbs by placing protective gear in the rock or by clipping draws to fixed bolts. Lead climbing allows for a freedom that top-rope climbing cannot provide.

A Triple-Braided Cord

Once you are a proficient leader, your choice of gym routes will be limited only by your skill. You will be able to explore new terrain, such as meandering routes or those that go through large overhangs. Because lead climbing involves setting anchor points in addition to moving up the wall, it is more mentally engaging than top-rope climbing. Lead climbing has its own constraints and considerations, however. For example, instead of worrying about big top-rope swings, you must be prepared for longer falls than in top-roping—a leader who falls from a point above the last clipped bolt travels the distance to that bolt and then that distance again.

These longer falls end with a sudden jerk as the rope pulls taut. Leading also requires greater endurance, poise, and efficiency than top-roping the same grade, since you must stop several times during a lead route to pull up slack with one hand and clip the rope into the quickdraw. Because the commitment level of lead climbing is greater than top-roping, it is not something beginners should jump right into. Those attempting to learn how to lead climb should feel confident climbing a grade of at least 5. While this is not a magic grade, gyms seldom set lead routes easier than 5.

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And even more important than the ability to ascend a certain grade is a solid foundation in movement and kinesthetic awareness. If your climbing is not yet smooth and graceful, consider putting in more time on your technique before embarking on lead climbing. Remember, as a lead climber, you contend with not only the actual act of climbing but also managing and clipping the rope to ensure your safety. Keep in mind, though, that a fall before making the first clip will result in hitting the ground. There are a couple of precautions you and your belayer may want to take to prepare.

If the opening moves of the climb are difficult, preclipping the first bolt is not a bad idea—staying safe should be your first priority. If possible, climb up an easier neighboring route, properly clip the rope into the first quickdraw, and climb back down to the ground. Make sure to confirm the role of the belayer before you attempt this maneuver because you may choose to down-climb or be lowered from the first bolt. Another option for protecting a fall prior to the first bolt is to have the belayer spot the climber during the opening moves of the route. With this approach, your belayer will first pay out enough slack for you to clip the first draw and then assume a spotting position as in bouldering see Chapter 4, Bouldering.

As soon as you have clipped the first bolt, the belayer takes in the appropriate amount of slack, and you will be on belay. And under this head all millers, maltsters, bakers, harness-makers for ploughs and carts, rope-makers, spinners and weavers of linen and such like, are all but good husbandry. The second branch of husbandry is gardening, how to plant, graft and set all sort of fruit trees, and how to order the ground for flowers, herbs and roots for pleasure, food or medicinal. And here all physicians, chirurgeons, [11] distillers of all sorts of waters, gatherers of drugs, makers of wines and oil, and preservers of fruits and such like, may learn by observation what is good for all bodies, both man and beasts.

The second fountain is mineral employment, and that is to search into the earth to find out mines of gold and silver, brass, iron, tin, lead, cannel [12] coal and stone of all sorts, saltpetre, salt and alum-springs and such like.

On Purpose - (in)courage

And here all chemists, gunpowder-makers, masons, smiths and such like, as would find out the strength and power of the earth, may learn how to order these for the use and profit of mankind. The third fountain is the right ordering of cattle, whether by shepherds or herdsmen; and such may learn here how to breed and train up cows for the dairies, bulls and horses for the saddle or yoke. And here all tanners, hatters, shoemakers, glovers, spinners of wool, clothiers, tailors, dyers and such like, may learn how to order and look to these. The fourth fountain is the right ordering of woods and timber trees, for planting, dressing, felling, framing of timber for all uses, for building houses or ships.

And here all carpenters, joiners, throsters, [13] plough-makers, instrument-makers for music, and all who work in wood and timber, may find out the secret[s] of nature, to make trees more Plentiful and thriving in their growth and profitable for use. The fifth fountain, from whence reason is exercised to find out the secrets of nature, is [to] observe the rising and setting of the sun, moon and the powers of the heavens above; and the motion of the tides and seas, and their several effects, powers and operations upon the bodies of man and beast.

And here may be learned astrology, astronomy and navigation, and the motions of the winds and the causes of several appearances of the face of heaven, either in storms or in fairness. But there is traditional knowledge, which is attained by reading or by the instruction of others, and not practical but leads to an idle life; and this is not good. The first is a laborious knowledge, and a preserver of common peace, which we find God himself acting; for he put forth his own wisdom in practice when he set his strength to work to make the creation: for God is an active power, not an imaginary fancy.

The latter is an idle, lazy contemplation the scholars would call knowledge; but it is no knowledge but a show of knowledge, like a parrot who speaks words but he knows not what he saith. This same show of knowledge rests in reading or contemplating or hearing others speak, and speaks so too, but will not set his hand to work. And from this traditional knowledge and learning rise up both clergy and lawyer, who by their cunning insinuations live merely upon the labour of other men, and teach laws which they themselves will not do, and lays burdens upon others which they themselves will not touch with the least of their fingers.

And from hence arises all oppressions, wars and troubles in the world; the one is the son of contention, the other the son of darkness, but both the supporters of bondage, which the creation groans under. Therefore to prevent idleness and the danger of Machiavellian cheats, it is profitable for the commonwealth that children be trained lip in trades and some bodily employment,-as well as in learning languages or the histories of former ages.

And as boys are trained up in learning and in trades, so all maids shall be trained up in reading, sewing, knitting, spinning of linen and woollen, music, and all other easy neat works, either far to furnish store-houses with linen and woollen cloth, or for the ornament of particular houses with needle-work. And if this course were taken, there would be no idle person nor beggars in the land, and much work would be done by that now lazy generation for the enlarging of the common treasuries. And in the managing of any trade, let no young wit be crushed in his invention; for if any man desire to make a new trial of his skill in any trade or science, the overseers shall not hinder him, but encourage him therein: that so the spirit of knowledge may have his full growth in man, to find out the secret in every art.

And let everyone who finds out a new invention have a deserved honour given him; and certainly, when men are sure of food and raiment, their reason will be ripe and ready to dive into the secrets of the creation, that they may learn to see and know God the spirit of the whole creation in all his works; for fear of want, and care to pay rent to taskmasters, hath hindered many rare inventions. So that kingly power hath crushed the spirit of knowledge, and would not suffer it to rise up in its beauty and fulness, but by his club law hath preferred the spirit of imagination, which is a deceiver, before it.

And whereas the wise should help the foolish, and the strong help the weak, the wise and the strong destroys the weak and the simple. And are not all children generally simple and weak, and know not the things that belong to their peace till they come to ripe age? But before they come to that understanding, the cunning ones who have more strength and policy have by this hypocritical, lying, unrighteous and cheating art of buying and selling wrung the freedoms of the earth out of their hands, and cozened them of their birthrights.

And why?


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  • Because this buying and selling is the nursery of cheaters, it is the law of the conqueror and the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, which both killed Christ and hindered his resurrection, as much as darkness can to put out light. And these cunning cheaters commonly become the rulers of the earth, and then the city mankind mourns, for not the wise poor man, but the cunning rich man, was always made an officer and ruler, such a one as by his stolen interest in the earth would be sure to hold others in bondage of poverty and servitude to him and his party.

    Therefore there shall be no buying and selling in a free commonwealth, neither shall any one hire his brother to work for him. If the commonwealth might be governed without buying and selling, here is a platform of government for it, which is the ancientest law of righteousness to mankind in the use of the earth, and which is the very height of earthly freedoms.

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    The earth is to be planted, and the fruits reaped and carried into barns and store-houses, by the assistance of every family. And if any man or family want corn or-other provision they may go to the store-houses and fetch without money. If they want a horse to ride, go into the fields in summer, or to the common stables in winter, and receive one from the keepers; and when your journey is performed, bring him where you had him, without money.

    And the reason why all the riches of the earth are a common stock is this, because the earth, and the labours thereupon, are managed by common assistance of every family, without buying and selling; as is shewn how more largely in the office of overseers for trades and the law for store-houses. The laws for the right ordering thereof, and the officers to see the laws executed to preserve the peace of every family and the peace of every man, and to improve and promote every trade, is shewed in the work of officers and by the laws following.

    None will be an enemy to this freedom, which indeed is to do to another as a man would have another do to him, but covetousness and pride, the spirit of the old grudging snapping Pharisees, who gives God abundance of good words in their sermons, in their prayers, in their fasts and in their thanksgivings, as though none should be more faithful servants to him than they: nay, they will shun the company, imprison and kill everyone that will not worship Go l, they are so zealous. Well now, God and Christ hath enacted an everlasting law, which is love; not only one another of your own mind, but love your enemies too, such as are not of your mind: and, having food and raiment, therewith be content.

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    Now here is a trial for you, whether you will be faithful to God and Christ in obeying his laws; or whether you will destroy the man-child of true freedom, righteousness and peace in his resurrection. There shall be store-houses in all places, both in the country and in cities, to which all the fruits of the earth, and other works made by tradesmen, shall be brought, and from thence delivered out again to particular families, and to everyone as they want for their use; or else to be transported by ship to other lands, to exchange for those things which our land will not or does not afford.

    For all the labours of husbandmen and tradesmen within the land, or by navigation to or from other lands, shall be all upon the common stock.