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Big Wall Index => Big Wall Forum => Topic started by: scotto on June 21, 2011, 03:56:28 pm

Title: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 21, 2011, 03:56:28 pm
So, I've recently developed a desire to try my hand at soloing a wall and am headed to my local "wall" (N. Face of Looking Glass in North Carolina) to dial in my technique before potentially hopping on something much bigger this summer in Yosemite. I've quite a bit on various systems and have settled on what I think is most likely for me, but I'd still like to hear any "Don't forget to do X," or "have you considered Y" suggestions that folks have before a first aid solo.

As for my system:
I'm going to use the grigri as my belay and will likely get a steel oval to prevent cross-loading. I'm still undecided on modifying versus not. I'll probably make that call after my first couple of days out and before committing to the really big walls.

For hauling, I'm going to stick with rapping the haul line, freeing the bags, and then jugging the lead line. I'd rather stick with the safest method for now and consider incorporating fifi hauls (or other) only after I've got some solo walls under my belt. I do have a static haul line that I plan to use, although I know the arguments for an old lead line are strong. Unfortunately, my only old lead line is a 9.5 that I worry isn't burly enough to be a wall haul line.

I'll either use a piece rigged in opposition (if possible) or a kleimheist on the first bomber piece to keep the anchor oriented for an upward pull.

I plan to use screamers liberally. Same for lockers.

I don't plan to rebelay while leading for now. I'd prefer to keep fall factors as low as possible. I'll just deal with the device locking up.

My one nagging fear is that of jugging on a rope where nobody is up top to check if it shifted over an edge when it was loaded. I recently wore through a good bit of a sheath jugging over a slight edge that went unnoticed when we fixed the line the night before. Any suggestions (or good old threads - I've read a couple) about good ways to pad or avoid ledges? I do plan on rebelaying the lead line around edges as necessary and bringing a roll of duct tape for this purpose.


I really would appreciate any advice
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mungeclimber on June 21, 2011, 04:24:18 pm
always always always use a back up knot/stay tied when doing it up.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 21, 2011, 04:33:58 pm
I definitely plan to use backup knots and keep the system closed when leading.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Chad on June 21, 2011, 05:08:40 pm
I don't understand how re-belaying the lead rope and using the duct tape would happen at the same time. I'm not saying it would be bad to do both, but padding/dulling an edge and re-belaying or "tacking-off" the rope are two different things. In the re-belay, either with a Klemheist, or tying the rope into pieces before and after the edge. The rope wouldn't touch the edge at all. (I suspect you know that already). Also, it would sound better not to call it a FIRST AID solo : )

My advice is stay focused, stay hydrated, K.I.S.S., double-check yourself, take care of anything that could become an issue earlier rather than later. Always do something extra when you can. Any wall climbing is about highs and lows, highs and lows, from one moment to the next. One minute you're like this is harder, slower or scarier than I thought and the next minute your're feeling strong and chill. Andy Kirkpatrick has some excellent advices on solo climbing on his website and Pete Zabrok has been generous with advice for a long time. I've e-mailed people I didn't know with questions and they have been very willing to share. Big wall climbing is a brotherhood and sisterhood, make that a family, that is pretty remarkable.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 21, 2011, 07:14:16 pm
I didn't mean both at the same time. I'll either rebelay or use tape as the situation dictates.

I've been sifting through PTPP's stuff. It's pretty awesome - especially when I find what I'm looking for. Andy's site is new to me, but I'll take a look over there.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 21, 2011, 10:19:34 pm
Email me any question you might have, I'll buff you out.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: YetAnotherDave on June 22, 2011, 07:58:09 am
Or post all your questions here, that way the next guy won't have to ask all the same questions.   :)

I've gotten lots of good advice from lots of people with more experience than me, but one of the key things was from Kate:  budget more water for solo than with a partner, cuz you're working more consistently.  And force yourself to take breaks to stay fed/hydrated both when things are going smoothly and when you feel like you're behind schedule.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: johnmac on June 22, 2011, 09:46:35 am
The big thing I would stay is don't put yourself under time pressure. Give yourself plenty of time to work and develop your systems.

Learning from other people is great and there is a wealth of information out there on the net and plenty of people on this site that are willing to share and help. The important point is that no two soloist do it exactly the same. You're end up developing your own systems that work for you. Have other people critique them to make sure they are safe, etc, but understand that it takes time to get a really smooth dialed in system. Be careful of not making things harder than they need to be.

Each time I solo something I find that there are little tweaks that I try. Sometimes I add things and think, yeah, that works, but I'll never do it again due to the complexity of setting it up. One example is fifi hauling. It works well when everything goes well, but can also turn to a complete CF, so I stay away from it.

Pay anal atention to rope managment. Be very very careful how you stack your ropes in your rope bag and envision where the rope will run.

Post up any questions you have. Don't be shy.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on June 22, 2011, 12:07:46 pm
Sounds like you're pretty dialed.

You could be just as hosed jugging with your partner above you at the belay. He may not be able to see a trouble spot, and may not be able to practically do anything about it anyway. Bring a rope protector if it eases your mind. Mucci makes one out of garden hose; Fish Grain Tamer?, etc. Duct tape usually just makes a big mess and doesn't pad pointy stuff very well.

Docking/releasing techniques/skills.

Realize the disparity in speed from low pitches to upper. Mental and physical momentum count for a lot.

Cache some water at the summit, etc. if you think you're cutting it close or want a buffer. I wouldn't hesitate to rap the last pitch and leave water there to keep safe from pedestrians and bears.

Eat, drink and enjoy the position. Sometimes we forget...


PS: You know a steel oval won't prevent cross-loading, yes?
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 22, 2011, 03:17:31 pm
Whatever you do, my main rule is If you're manhandling something, you're fucking up!
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 22, 2011, 06:14:32 pm
Sounds like you're pretty dialed.

You could be just as hosed jugging with your partner above you at the belay. He may not be able to see a trouble spot, and may not be able to practically do anything about it anyway. Bring a rope protector if it eases your mind. Mucci makes one out of garden hose; Fish Grain Tamer?, etc. Duct tape usually just makes a big mess and doesn't pad pointy stuff very well.

Docking/releasing techniques/skills.

Realize the disparity in speed from low pitches to upper. Mental and physical momentum count for a lot.

Cache some water at the summit, etc. if you think you're cutting it close or want a buffer. I wouldn't hesitate to rap the last pitch and leave water there to keep safe from pedestrians and bears.

Eat, drink and enjoy the position. Sometimes we forget...


PS: You know a steel oval won't prevent cross-loading, yes?

I'm definitely going to cache. I hadn't even considered that, but that would provide nice peace of mind.

For the PS: Haha, yeah. Should've said to prevent the badness associated with cross-loading.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 22, 2011, 06:29:33 pm
I guess one question/concern that I have is with my haul line. I have a 9.5 bluewater haul line. I really like it, and it works great when doing walls with a partner. I am somewhat concerned about rappelling it after a traversing pitch. I feel like it's a little on the small side to be trusting my life to on a wall, but I've read through some old threads on here, and it sounds like it's something folks do.

It has done me fine over the 10 or so pitches I've used it, but it did get abraded almost to the core at one end after jugging on it over a minuscule edge. I can't imagine it's going to take that much abuse just hauling and rapping, but it's a nagging concern of mine.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: skully on June 22, 2011, 10:52:55 pm
When it comes to cords, I err towards fat. Anything can happen up there. Consider it training weight. Or insurance.
I dunno, pick one, all, or make another.
Not so hip with the spider threads.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on June 23, 2011, 01:18:34 am
What skully said.

Don't bring up gear you don't trust 100%. You'll have plenty to think about without also worrying if your rope is thick enough to not be cut while you rap it.


Good one, Mark. I do fuck up at times, but try to keep it from getting out of hand...
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 23, 2011, 09:39:52 am
You only have so much energy stored in your body and you can haul only so many calories. Soloing is terribly hard work and if you run out of energy/calories before you reach the top life is going to suck big time!

When I need to pull up my tag bag, I use a mini-trax and pump it up using my foot. When I need to move the pigs, I rig a quick 2:1 and use my Gri-gri to grab and release the rope. When cleaning, I have my jugs set up perfectly for me and I use both arms together rather than one and one. Recently, on ZM, I was just barely able to haul 1:1 but I went with 2:1 simply because it was less effort. My docking system, since it is utterly foolproof, never requires any strength to release.

It's all about the details.

BTW: if you cache on top, make sure to bring it down. After ZM, I cleaned out the entire area of water bottles left in the bushes, 5 gallons worth. Unless it has a name and date on it, I consider it garbage and will be removing it from the top whenever I can.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: *Mucci* on June 23, 2011, 10:25:38 am
BTW: if you cache on top, make sure to bring it down. After ZM, I cleaned out the entire area of water bottles left in the bushes, 5 gallons worth. Unless it has a name and date on it, I consider it garbage and will be removing it from the top whenever I can.

Thank god for Porters :)

Hauling other peoples crap off the top is a selfless act by a standard team, Solo with porters is just plain smart.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 23, 2011, 08:49:54 pm
I guess another thing I'm going to have to figure out a method for is what to do with the lead rope. Ideally I'd have the Fish snake charmer. I only have one rope bag, though, and I'm going to use it for the haul line. I can't decide if I should rig up a homemade rope bag for the lead line or try to carry it with me in loops on my harness. Harness loops will be annoying for sure, but I also don't want to end up with a tangled cluster at the anchor.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: johnmac on June 23, 2011, 09:52:44 pm
A rope bag will work best. A stuff bag or even one of those reusable shopping bags that you use at safeway, king soopers, etc works at a pinch.

Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 23, 2011, 09:59:45 pm
Use a rope bag, leave them at the anchors or on your tag bag, don't carry it. Also, don't spend any money on it. I use the large Metolius Wall Bags but a Yosemite Village Re-Usable Grocery bag will work just as well.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 23, 2011, 10:30:12 pm
Use a rope bag, leave them at the anchors or on your tag bag, don't carry it. Also, don't spend any money on it. I use the large Metolius Wall Bags but a Yosemite Village Re-Usable Grocery bag will work just as well.

There's another concept I'd like to get worked out before heading up anything big. I've read a lot of PTPP's posts about aid solo methods. Some of them allude to photos of the tag bag setup, but all the links are broken. It sounds as though it's a third rope, but this one attached to a third rope bag with the "tag rack" inside it, fifi'd to the anchor.

I don't want to overcomplicate my system, but I'd also prefer not to carry a 40 pound rack on every pitch if I can avoid it.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 23, 2011, 10:55:20 pm
I've soloed two El Cap routes in the last two years. I use a tag bag system and only two lines, a lead line and a haul line.

The bottom of the lead rope is tied off to the anchor. Your self belay device is clipped into the rope right there. The rope goes from the anchor to you and back to it's rope bag at the anchor and then to the tag bag. As you move up you pull more and rope out of the rope bag as you put more and more distance between you and the anchor. The lead rope is both your lead rope and tag line. If your rope is 60 meters it is roughly 200 feet long. Once you are 100 feet from the anchor, the lead line goes 100 feet up to you and 100 feet back down to the anchor and Tag Bag.

Get it?
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 23, 2011, 10:58:48 pm
I think so. So after you go up 100ft, further progress pulls the contents of the tag bag up with you. Thus, it makes sense to pull up the tag bag before you go 100ft and attach it to a bomber piece higher up so that you're not weighted down by its contents.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 23, 2011, 11:15:15 pm
I just wanted to make sure you have that part solid in your head.

Okay, Part two.

Now, you've been observant, you've noticed a few good cam placements right where 100 feet would be (you could have added 40 feet of 8 mil to the end of your lead line, since you'll never be leading on it but it will give you an effective 240 foot rope allowing you to go 120 feet before tagging). You set up a quick, easy, lite anchor, whip out your Mini-Trax, slap it onto the tag line and a convenient placement and haul your tag line off the anchor and up to you. You restock your rack, drink some water, re-load the rope into your rope bag and take off again. (now though, you have only 100 feet of rope left and have to tag 50 feet further up (50 up and 50 feet down = 100 feet of rope) (another reason for the 8 mil tag line extension).

Get it? See it? this is all very important so it must be crystal clear and logical to you.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 23, 2011, 11:23:10 pm
I love it. Makes total sense. I'm really glad I asked about the tag bag now.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 23, 2011, 11:33:42 pm
Tomorrow we'll do Part 3, The Slippery Knot, the knot that safeties the whole thing.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: skully on June 23, 2011, 11:47:53 pm
The Crochet loop, man. Just another application. I can dig it, though.
Carry on.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 24, 2011, 09:55:45 am
Sort of a better way to understand it is to call it a Crochet loop.

Here is a vid I made that explains it.

The "Slippery Knot" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwWnye2RxbI#ws)
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 24, 2011, 10:44:59 am
Thanks. I'm going to put that to use this weekend when I'm out practicing.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on June 24, 2011, 11:07:21 am
Cool vid, Mark.

I almost always just bring bring what I need on lead and skip the rigging and tagging. If I plan to tag, I just clip that gear to the end of the lead or tag line that gets stacked in the Snake Charmer--no extra rigging or worry about it falling off the anchor. 100' x 8mm tag extension on the lead line works for me. It needs to by big enough to rap single line in an emergency.

Whoever named tying-the-tag-or-haul-line-to-the-lead-line "continuous loop" must have been high. It's not a continuous loop. No wonder nobody knows WTF it is when they hear it. Pointless esotericity.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 24, 2011, 01:14:14 pm
Also, tangentially related...

Is it possible to register for more than one day at a time at camp 4? Say I'd like to stay there five days, but some mornings leave for climbing before the kiosk opens. Can I just register for five days on my first morning?
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 24, 2011, 02:22:24 pm
Thanks, Mike.

I think the way I've shown is a good way to go and probably a good point to start at. Once you understand it, you can modify it like Mike suggests.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 24, 2011, 02:56:39 pm
I picked up a 50'x8mm cord and a steel biner for the grigri today. I leave tomorrow afternoon to go practice everything.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: YetAnotherDave on June 24, 2011, 07:57:29 pm
you can register for any number of days up to the current stay limit.  It's also worth asking about cancellations at the pines campsites - cheaper if you've got a big group (since you pay by the site rather than the body), sites are generally quieter, and the rangers are way more polite.   They're always booked miles in advance, but lots of people back out.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: johnmac on June 24, 2011, 09:05:52 pm
I kind of view tagging as a pretty specialized technique that you add to your systems once everything else is figured out. Right now, on your first aid solo I would keep it simple.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on June 25, 2011, 10:01:14 am
I was thinking the same thing. More things to, potentially, cause a problem--especially for a low mileage guy.


scotto, I would get the rope management down cold, which probably means no more than getting your rope buckets and using them a few times at a belay off the deck. Practice quickly stacking the ropes; you'll spend a lot of time doing it. Consider horiz pitches which make the ropes want to spin out of the bag. I mitigate that by tucking the hauler (and extra gear if needed) between the stacked haul rope and the inside of the bag versus just laying on top of the pile. Simple as that; nothing to rig. Once the lead and tag line spin out of the bag, the unraveling will stop when it gets to the hauler. With nobody down there to fix things, and the wind howling, you need to be wired with the management. (And know when it's too windy to climb.) Rapping down your 8mm off the lead sucks; trying to get a 400' loop off a flake snag somewhere off route would suck worse. The Fish Snake Charmer is the ultimate tool for the job; well worth the investment for soloing.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 25, 2011, 10:23:05 am
I'm sort of a "take everything" kind of guy when I lead and, actually, I can't remember the last time I needed to tag for a piece of gear (actually I did once on ZM but I was being scared and lazy). I'm actually pretty excited to try Mike's technique of "tagging" only the hauler and haul line on my next solo (TBA).
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: lambone on June 25, 2011, 02:47:37 pm
I wish I had known how lonely soloing El Cap could be. Gimme a partner that makes me laugh any day...
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on June 28, 2011, 11:08:55 am
Well, my practice trip went less well than expected. I spent two days teaching a friend of mine to aid, which went well. Unfortunately, when I started soloing, I got about 30 feet up Invisible Airways before bailing due to pelting hail and a severe thunderstorm that came out of nowhere. Now I'm sick to boot.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm unfortunately not going to have another chance to practice solo before getting to the valley. I might try to solo Leaning Tower. Alternately, if anyone would like a partner for El Cap, I'm game.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: mhudon on June 28, 2011, 11:16:18 am
It's a long road, Scott, check out Lambone's Shield TR and my ZM photos. I'm sure you'll be able to glean some understanding from them. My set has a lot of solo anchor shots.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: passthepitonspete on July 13, 2011, 10:25:25 pm
Lots of good advice here from REAL big wall soloists.  Sometimes you have sift through a lot of Big Wall Theory before you can find what you need, but there's lots of good stuff here.

First of all, you really need to practise a hella lot more, dude.  Unless you are some sort of zen-master psycho brainiac hardman, it is unlikely you will be able to solo a big wall first try without a lot of practice first.  [However, please feel free to prove me wrong.] 

Anyway, get out and practise practise practise!  The more you climb solo, the more you get your systems dialled, the easier and more "second nature" it will become.   Practise hauling bags of rocks, so you are confident that you can take enough food, water and beer to "win by attrition".  Also make sure you give yourself enough time, because it WILL take longer than you hope and expect.  [This is not Big Wall Theory, this is Big Wall Fact]

Your old 9.5 lead rope should be fine for solo hauling and rappelling.  Rappelling isn`t what abrades your rope for the most part, it`s jugging.  However a static rope is definitely easier to haul big loads with.  If you`re planning on soloing El Cap, which requires big loads and more time, for sure pick up a static rope in the 10 to 10.5mm diameter range.  Make sure it is E-Z bend stuff, not the stiff stuff used by cavers to fix pitches.  But your thinner dynamic should be ok for a Grade V wall solo.  Oh, I see you are later questioning its integrity.  Then that answers that - get a thicker one. 

There is no need to modify a GriGri for aid climbing - such modifiations are used for rope solo free climbing.  And if you`re planning on that, you should get a Silent Partner. 

It`s cool that the idea of rebelaying your rope using a long Klemheist knot is catching on.  You WILL need to rebelay your lead rope, otherwise its weight will pull slack through your Grigri.  If you use LONG Klemheists, and do it right, you will knott increase your fall factor.  This is both an art and a science and definitely requires practising.  Alternatively you can use rubber bands to hold up your lead rope, which break when you clean, but then you lose the benefit of the rebelays which when done correctly, will effectively eliminate ALL abrasion in your lead rope.  You can start a big wall solo with a brand new lead rope, and finish with a brand new lead rope, too, if you figure this stuff out correctly.  And you don`t need to duct tape any edges when you figure it out correctly.

You *might* choose to duct tape an edge over which your haul line rubs when you rappel, but c`mon - you should be able to rappel gently.

You sure as hell don`t have to waste money on any rope bags!  An old gym bag, backpack or even grocery bag will work great.  You want one rope bag per lead rope, and TWO rope bags per haul line. 

Mark Hudon weighs 123 pounds soaking wet, and couldn`t MANHANDLE anything if his life depended on it!  Instead, he outwits his wall problems with cunning and intellect, and you can too.

I no longer use a third rope to haul up a smaller load ?utomatically` while I rappel.  Just too much cluster.  Although it sounds great in theory. 

Mark explains tagging well, thus sparing me the bother.  You shouldn`t need to tag on easier Grade V walls. Tagging is handy on harder pitches where you`re not sure what you`ll need, but need everything at the ready such as heavy pins and the like.

What`s the 8mm cord for?

Cheers,
Pete
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: giegs on July 16, 2011, 04:56:07 pm
How much fun I'd have figuring everything out on my own and sorting out all my mistakes. There's an unexpected pleasure to be had in knowing that it's all your fault. I should have been doing this years ago.


Also, even though the kitchen sink might make a perfect placement somewhere, there's probably a work around.

Need way more practice.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scottydo on July 27, 2011, 06:12:07 pm
Biggest thing I learned was how much stinking work it is! (that's why we're all have a screw loose right?) But if you enjoy it, then it totally worth it.

I was glad that I started on the smaller walls. (still am for now) Did Touchstone in Zion and then SFWC in the Valley. Those were really great 1st solo big walls because they were pretty mellow and I learned a crap ton just getting up on them. Eventually I'll work my way up to the big stone solo. For now I finally have my first El Cap trip planned for this fall with a partner.

For your first solo, I just recommend to start on something low key. Have fun dude (and practice your systems!!)
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on August 22, 2011, 05:52:06 pm
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I'm now back at home after two months of climbing. I ended up finding a partner in the valley, so I didn't solo anything. I'm glad of that, because I'd prefer that my initial solo mileage come on climbs that I'm already familiar with. I'll take a crack at it this fall at Looking Glass.

Pete - the 8mm cord was for the slippery knot and to extend the tag line, but I'm going to hold off on doing anything but the most basic solo setup for a while.

Anyway, my time in the valley was fantastic. I hope to get back next summer.

I'm going to work on a trip report. I took one nasty fall and would love to get some input about the events leading up to it from some of you guys with way more mileage than me.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: skully on August 22, 2011, 08:08:30 pm
Well, if you spill about it, then I'm sure you know it'll get assessed(whoa, that's a buncha s's), so it's all good, or it ain't.
I imagine it'll be fine. Small fire's pretty consistent. Let's dig yer trip. As always. ;-)
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on August 22, 2011, 09:24:07 pm


   There's an unexpected pleasure to be had in knowing that it's all your fault.


I think this is worth repeating. Good one, giegs. Cuts to the core.



"...I'd prefer that my initial solo mileage come on climbs that I'm already familiar with."

Forget that shit! Dude (scotto), we have not helped you thus far to have you start repeating stuff that's too easy. Soloing on aid is an advantage as much as a handicap. Onsighting is a skill to be honed. Do that. Then get with the Pete Z. creedo...go solo the hardest route you've ever climbed. Then come back here and post about how it wasn't that bad but you got scared shitless and it was the best thing you ever did.



Edited to give more space to that quote in the purple box.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Baltoro on August 23, 2011, 11:49:33 am
I think biting off a bit more than you can chew is one of the huge benefits/rewards to soloing. There's no one ot watch you whimper. No one to share the terror with. You're on your own and when you send you get all the reward. You'll store each one of those experiences for later. Each time you row the boat out a little farther from shore you find something out about yourself. This is all reserve you build up over time to tap into when you need it in the future, whether its on the sharp end, run out on hooks or in the real world when life is crazy.

Be safe but don't be afraid to push the envelope when soloing. That's where growth comes from.

I will say that when I first started soloing it was on a climb that I could set up quickly and get back home in a small window of time. I've probably soloed that same short pitch 20+ times. I know what gear works where so I can distill it down to the movement and sequence of actions. That really helped dial things in. It also made me more confident in cam hooks and regualr hooks. I knew my other gear was good so I could start experimenting to find the limits of hooks in a somewhat controlled environment. That way when I truly need to use them I feel more comfortable.

Screamers are also your friend. I'm a big guy and really big by climbing standards. I tend to use Screamers pretty heavily, especially when soloing as it's that much more margin for error. Sometimes one more piece blowing or not is the difference between just a big fall and a broken ankle. If you're responsible for yourself and no one else is there to help it's nice knowing that you have all these mini-partners ready to sacrifice themselves for your well-being. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: skully on August 23, 2011, 06:05:00 pm
Word, you guys. I've learned vast things about myself & what I can do by just gettin' out there.
Of course, none of my solos have been hairball, either. Modern A3 or Old A3+. Just be thorough. Never shortcut yourself.
Know your systems & use them.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on August 25, 2011, 10:21:33 am
Trip report is up.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: Mike. on August 25, 2011, 01:54:59 pm
If you were soloing you wouldn't have skimped out on your rack and that fall would have been like many others in that spot: NBD. But you got aggro because you felt like your partner was helping you send, which of course he wasn't because he agreed to eschew the published rack suggestion of 2-3 .5"-1" cams.

You can bring your cam and regular hooks and a few leftover pieces back down to help clean a traversing pitch.

See what I mean about soloing being an advantage? You would have been more scared, but I'll bet you would never have whipped like that on solo.
Title: Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
Post by: scotto on August 11, 2013, 05:14:09 pm
If you were soloing you wouldn't have skimped out on your rack and that fall would have been like many others in that spot: NBD. But you got aggro because you felt like your partner was helping you send, which of course he wasn't because he agreed to eschew the published rack suggestion of 2-3 .5"-1" cams.

You can bring your cam and regular hooks and a few leftover pieces back down to help clean a traversing pitch.

See what I mean about soloing being an advantage? You would have been more scared, but I'll bet you would never have whipped like that on solo.

So, I was about to start a thread on aid soloing, then remembered starting this and decided to dig it up. Thanks for all the advice. Long story short, I'm thinking of doing my second aid solo this weekend. I just moved to Fresno from North Carolina, and I really want to finish up Leaning Tower (see earlier comments about my trip report and big fall).

If I got out there Friday night and bivied at the base, how reasonable is it to think that a gumby soloist could finish it up and be down by Monday morning? I have to be back in Fresno for work by 11PM Monday, and I can't risk cutting it too close.