Author Topic: First bigwall success WFLT  (Read 567 times)

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Offline csproul

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First bigwall success WFLT
« on: June 25, 2015, 10:23:24 pm »
My partner, Felix, and I have been practicing some aid climbing throughout the spring. Prior to this year I had been up just a couple of aid routes on Looking Glass, NC and had climbed the RNWF-HD. Felix was relatively new to trad climbing and to aiding. This spring we did a day run half way up SFWC. A trip up the Tree Route. Aiding and jugging while at Sugarloaf. A night out on Cal Dome. We finally tried putting some of this practice to use and took a shot at the WFLT.  Two conclusions: 1) we're SLOW. 2) I have no idea how some of the clusters and tangles occurred, but I can't count the number of times I said "how the F did THAT happen!?".  Despite almost two decades of trad climbing, little of that prepared me and prevented the constants tangles and knots!

Round one: the last Sunday in May we went up to try the first time. We had to wait for an IAD party to clear out before we started. They were pretty quick, but it still cost us an hour that we really couldn't afford. Despite linking p1&2 and then 3&4, we were just too slow and made it to Ahwahnee late in the afternoon. We really needed to fix the two pitches above in order to have any chance at finishing the next day, and we only had 3 hours of daylight left. Given how long it took us to get there, that wasn't happening. We decided to spend the night, climb the next two pitches in the morning, and head down.

Hanging out that evening:


Looking up at p5:

Looking back to Guano:

By the time we did these two pitches (we did haul them for the practice) and rapped back to the ground, it was already late afternoon and I was convinced we made the right decision to come back later.

Round two: This last weekend we went to try it again. Once again we had some competition trying to get to the route before us. Turns out it was Alex Honnald and Kate Rutheford going to free some of the pitches, so we didn't have anything to worry about and they were quickly out of sight.

We made it up to AL a bit faster this time, despite breaking up p3 and 4 (I needed the mental break from leading and the heat)
Felix jugging the last bit to AL:


We set up a bed sheet for some shade during the worst heat of the day. We ate, drank and relaxed until evening.


Felix led p5 that evening and finished in the dark. I had some difficulty cleaning some gear and it took me a long time to join him on the belay. I left some to retrieve on the way back to AL (still lost a couple micro-nuts). By the time we got p5 and p6 done and back to AL, it was actually much later than we had hoped and we didn't even really enjoy the evening. A quick dinner and to sleep and the night was way too short before we were up and jugging to the top of p6. We had forgotten a pair of ascenders, so we had to lower them back down which, coupled with the usual belay mess, cost us some more time.

I got p7 and p8. I didn't realize that p8 was THAT short and wish I had kept going to link them. Instead we left the bag at the top of p7 while Felix led p9. I would rap back and release the bag for him to haul to the top of p9.

Belay at the bottom of the roof p9


Felix in the roof of p9


The ledge on top of p9/start of p10 is a pretty nice belay


Felix leading that pitch


Due to our (lack of) speed, it was getting late by the time we got to Dano. Instead of rapping and walking off in the dark, we opted to stay another night on Dano. We had enough food and water and it was a pretty nice looking ledge. Besids, we had a flask of Scotch too.



After waking up in the morning

we topped out and looked at the view of El Cap


and started rapping the LT/BOLT gully. I won't lie, it was harder than I thought it should have been and I was really hoping we could get in done in two days. But I'm so psyched we got it done despite our slowness and the heat. I really hope the speed gets better and I can manage to learn to avoid all the snafus/snags/tangles. I really can't wait to try a couple more grade V's and El Cap in the next year, although with the temps, my bigwall season might be over until Fall.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 10:28:17 pm by csproul »

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2015, 11:18:48 pm »
awesome!

good choices make good climbs!

what kind of snags?

What are you doing to manage your cords?

when fixing does the leader pull up the extra cord and stack it? 

Are you using a rope bag or two?

Do you restack the lead line before taking off on the lead?

Is your tag/haul line attached before or after you take off on a lead that starts on the other side of your belayer?

Offline cobbledik

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2015, 11:45:00 am »
Always a good choice to hang on a ledge one more day if you've got the resources.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline csproul

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2015, 12:16:03 pm »
awesome!

good choices make good climbs!

what kind of snags?

What are you doing to manage your cords?

when fixing does the leader pull up the extra cord and stack it? 

Are you using a rope bag or two?

Do you restack the lead line before taking off on the lead?

Is your tag/haul line attached before or after you take off on a lead that starts on the other side of your belayer?

This is what I tried to do. After finishing a pitch and building an anchor, I'd pull up the lead line and flake it over my tie-in. After fixing it, I'd hang it on a sling and place it out to one side. Then, I'd do the same thing with the haul line; pull up the slack and flake it on a sling and prepare to haul. As I hauled, I flake the haul line into a sling that ideally was on the correct side and opposite the lead line.

One issue we had was the rest of the lead line when the follower got up there. The slack end was flaked nicely onto a sling and the follower had all this line with back-up knots to undo. It never seemed to get off the harness smoothly and get flaked with the potion of lead line already stacked nicely on the sling.

Basically, though some part of the lead or haul line always seemed to accidentally get passed through another line; either a tie-in, a daisy, or another rope. One thing we thought that might help was this: When finishing a pitch, I would clip my daises (with aiders attached) to the anchor bolts, call off-belay, and then attach myself with the lead line to the anchor. Having three attachments provided too many places to accidentally tangle something, so I thought it'd be better to completely remove my daisies from the equation after anchoring with the rope and get them out of the way.

We would attach the haul line right before leaving the belay, and we did not have rope bags.

Another problem I had was that when jugging, I somehow always managed to get a daisy wrapped around the rope or the other daisy, effectively shortening my daisy and making jugging less efficient. I think that is just a matter of paying more attention.

Offline cobbledik

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2015, 07:06:18 pm »
"One issue we had was the rest of the lead line when the follower got up there. The slack end was flaked nicely onto a sling and the follower had all this line with back-up knots to undo. It never seemed to get off the harness smoothly and get flaked with the potion of lead line already stacked nicely on the sling."

One on the benefits of a tope bag is the follower can just puddle the rope in the bag as he/she cleans. Then at the anchor it's easy to puddle the rest of the rope into the bag quickly.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2015, 09:38:52 am »
Great job!  that is a nice steep entry into the big walls.

I agree with the rope bag method, get a yates model.

Having a tidy belay is paramount.  I always work at the belay, ensuring there will be no issues with ropes or any other fuss.

Managing 2 ropes is easy.  As you move up the adventure ladder, you may have to deal with lots of ropes, and all the practice will make it much easier.


One question:  Is there still a #7 hex with green cord right at the lip where your partner is on P10?



Offline cobbledik

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2015, 09:49:44 am »
Soloing a shorter three or four pitch route is a great way to become super obsessive about your belay organization.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline csproul

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2015, 10:12:40 am »
Great job!  that is a nice steep entry into the big walls.

I agree with the rope bag method, get a yates model.

Having a tidy belay is paramount.  I always work at the belay, ensuring there will be no issues with ropes or any other fuss.

Managing 2 ropes is easy.  As you move up the adventure ladder, you may have to deal with lots of ropes, and all the practice will make it much easier.


One question:  Is there still a #7 hex with green cord right at the lip where your partner is on P10?
I don't remember seeing a hex, but to be honest, I wasn't paying much attention to what was there while I was cleaning.

Do  you carry a rope bag for the lead and haul line or just one?
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 10:24:28 am by csproul »

Offline csproul

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 10:25:58 am »
Soloing a shorter three or four pitch route is a great way to become super obsessive about your belay organization.

Got any suggestions for routes?

Offline cobbledik

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2015, 12:39:55 pm »
I've said it before but I've done the first few pitches of new dawn many times.
Stigma is good if you continue past the first belay and continue through the next few pitches through heads and such.
It's far away but I've done a loooot of solo aiding at riverside quarry and Joshua tree. If you're down to head that way I've got a list of great aid routes.

Any nice hard vertical crack climb in Yosemite works well too. Create midway anchors on 1 to 2 pitch climbs to increase the amount of practice you get with maintaining anchor organization while climbing over it.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2015, 09:24:46 pm »
Quote
Do  you carry a rope bag for the lead and haul line or just one?

For most walls, one bag for the cleaner, but having another one to stash the haul line in after everything is up keeps a tidy belay.

I stack my haul line by starting with one really long loop, tie a bight, clip it off and repeat with shorter loops till the bag is up.  At most 6-8 loops.  Maintaining the loops in order so the top of the haul line (the end the leader is going to carry) is on the top.

Now as the leader climbs you untie a knot and have another 20-30 feet before you untie the next.

Great for when the trudlefest starts and you *might* want to clip your dynamic haul line in to double up on luck.

Yet another reason to use a dynamic cord to haul with.

The medium is good for a 70M fattie

http://yatesgear.com/cl/standard-bucket-style-rope-bags




Offline cobbledik

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Re: First bigwall success WFLT
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 12:20:36 am »
For soloing, the fish snack charmer is worth its weight in water.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.