I'm a beginning trad leader, having done about five easy fifth class leads. I've had some formal instruction, but don't currently have access to a teacher or mentor. I'm finding that I'm extremely slow as a leader, even when the climbing is easy, and I'm wondering whether this is can be improved by doing something about the way I rack my gear or the the steps I go through with my free hand. I would like to get more efficient so I can be more solid on more difficult climbs, complete more climbs in a day, and maybe start getting ready to do some multipitch.
Let's say I'm going to place a cam in a vertical crack, and I have a solid stance that gives me one free hand. I have a bunch of alpine draws on my left gear loop, and cams on my right, each with a carabiner. Since the draw has two biners and the cam has one, that's a total of three, which is one more than I need. I would probably place the cam with my right hand, then reach over with the same hand to grab a draw to use as an extension in order to reduce rope drag. I clip the draw into the cam's loop of webbing, and then I may need to manipulate the biner on its free end in order to increase the length of the draw (awkward with one hand). Then I probably need to pull up some rope, and I may not be able to do this without letting go of the draw -- ugh, now the draw may have dropped down into the crack where it's hard to get at the biner. I take the rope in my teeth, reach into the crack and pull the biner back out, and clip in. Now I've got pro at this anchor. I still have the extra biner stuck in the cam's loop of webbing, so I take that off and put it on a gear loop.
What could I improve about my procedure? Are there youtube videos showing experienced climbers doing this sort of thing efficiently?
In A, at 0:22, he uses a cam without any extension. He pulls it off his rack, bites it in his teeth, and then turns it around to place it. At 1:11 you can see that some cams are on a doubled short sling, not just on the little loop of webbing a camalot is normally sold with. It's not an alpine draw; there's only one biner. The slings look shorter than a normal 60 cm sling, maybe only 40 cm? At 1:52, he has a nut that already seems to be on a quickdraw. Was it racked this way, or did he clip the quickdraw on during the climb?
In B, at 0:25, he has his cam on its little loop of webbing, which he extends with a quickdraw. Seems pretty efficient. At 1:11, he places a cam, then there's a quick fade and he has a sling with a single biner on it, which he uses for extension. Was there another biner on that sling, which removed during the fade?
In C, he advocates a rack with 6 quickdraws and 2 alpine draws. I'd been using nothing but alpine draws. I had an instructor tell me that basically quickdraws were only for sport climbing, not trad, because (1) you need to have more extension available, and (2) the stiff quickdraw can twist your pieces out of their placements as you climb past them.