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Topics - Baltoro

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Big Wall Forum / Soloist or grigri for aid soloing
« on: August 14, 2014, 09:09:32 am »
So I've used an unmodified grigri for years as an aid soloing belay device. With occasional prusiks loops I've had no major issues with it, I've taken big falls on it and overall it's been fine. My one concern is that even a short stretch of mandatory free climbing shuts me down or there's an easy section that could be aided or freed and I end up aiding it due to the grigri and it's inability to feed quickly enough.

So I'm wondering what do the rest of you use and prefer. Anyone have a good number of pitches with both setups and care to compare and contrast for me? Thanks in advance.


Big Wall Trip Reports / Snow White at Index, WA
« on: July 31, 2014, 12:11:33 pm »
Not really a TR per se but might be useful info for others in the future.

The first pitch of Snow White (A3) goes clean. I found no mention of a clean ascent on any forum and since there's only like 7 people who aid climb in Washington it's not like there's too many people to ask in person. I post this not to brag (it actually wasn't that bad at all) but rather to keep someone else from whacking pins. In case that same person is curious the lower thin section was the crux to me with Tomahawks and cam hooks leading the way. The actual A3 is supposed to be up higher and I guess if you closed your eyes and placed cams behind the loose blocks and flakes it might be but with a little looking around it seems to me one can find pretty solid gear.



Big Wall Forum / Craig's List Missed Connections
« on: July 31, 2014, 12:06:18 pm »
We met briefly at Index on a scorching July day. I offered my remaining water to you and the three other guys you were with. You were teaching/tricking them into becoming aid climbers. You somehow tricked one of them to lead City Park and another one of them to belay. This told me you really knew what you were doing.

I attempted to unveil my peacock feathers and strut before you and your subjects by casually mentioning that I had just soloed Snow White (A3) to the shared Princely Ambitions anchor without hammering any pins. I was having a hard time even stumbling over to City Park what with the weight of my giant balls (ego). You mentioned the effectiveness of Ball Nuts on that route, a tool which still terrifies me, and I immediately felt a connection. There weren't just the run of the City Park noobs with useless hexes clanking and tied webbing aiders. These are real live aid climbers!

I admired the home-made Russian Aiders being used by the leader who despite the convenient bolt ladder and superior aiding setup continued to try to free the .10b moves. I said something awkward and dumb like, "Nice Russians. Where'd you get them?" You said one of the most magical thing I've ever heard, "I made them." Now at this point maybe it was the hot July sun filtering through the trees or maybe it was my dehydration but one way or another I swear I heard angels singing, pins being wacked home, shouts of "Off Belay" and friendly dirtbags offering to carry loads for the exercise. Again, maybe none of those things happened but it seemed like it at the time.

I did my best to imply my interest in buying a set (or two). You said you'd be willing but wouldn't likely make them until the fall. I gleefully gave you my info and we parted ways.

Now I'm left wondering if maybe I left a letter out of my email address or miss typed a number for my cell? Truthfully I'm wondering if it happened at all, if it was just a figment of my imagination, a combination of sweat clouding my eyes, my ego clouding my mind after just having lead the hardest thing I'd yet done or just the pure desire for more and cooler gear. I don't know. All I know is that one of my biggest things to do on my "To Do" bigwall planning gear list is to get a set of better Russian Aiders than the POS ones I have. I don't want to let this opportunity slip by so, if you're out there, whoever you are, let me know you're real and that the fall is coming and you are in fact willing to make aiders. I rep for a handful of outdoor brands and will overcompensate beyond your wildest dreams (well maybe not but you get the idea).



Big Wall Forum / Wall Tunes- Ipod and ?
« on: October 06, 2011, 12:14:55 pm »
So I have a life long pursuit of "the peferct belay", be it on the Big Stone lounging on the ledge or finding creative sling usage for proper reclining on multipitch free routes. If you're going to be there awhile you might as well be comfy right? Wall Tunes are in integral part of this. They aren't for everyone but I dig them.

What I don't dig is terrible systems for playing them. Obviously the Ipod in its many variations is the ticket for player and storage but the delivery is my concern. I've yet to find a Ipod doc or speaker setup that was up to the task. That's what has led me to buck up and build it myself. Since i know fairly little about wiring, speakers or otherwise I'm sure I'm in for some work but it's bigwall tinkering so it should be fun.

Here's what I'm envisioning:

Small with durability as the priority. Beefy wiring, beefy connections, beefy, beefy, beefy. I don't really care if it's a brick, just so long as it's bomber and ideally protects the Ipod inside of itself. It seems most commercial version have the Ipod sticking up, poised to fall off with the slightest bump or connected via a cord, ready to get knocked loose.
Reasonable quality speakers- I don't need people three routes over to hear them but partway up a pitch seems reasonable and I want it to actually sound like the music, not some robotic version of the original.
It would act as an additional power source for the Ipod. Essentially the Ipod and speakers would run off the same fuel cell.
I'm thinking it would be cool to do a system for attachment that had two shockcord sections on either side. On the end of these would be a keychain biner. At a typical belay you could stretch the cords from bolt to bolt, thus keeping the tunes above all the other cluster that resuls at most wall belays, nestled happily beteen but not below the bolts.

I'm thinking I'll have to start with a commercial version for the guts of it. Essentially using the internal workings that make the Ipod play. Ideally I'd want it to work with a shuffle but maybe if I used a Nano or something that had it's own buttons or what not I'd make my life easier. Different speakers and beefy internals from there.

So what are your thoughts? I've got a brother in law who does some cool things with carbon fiber. Do I go there for sleek and sexy or just do some milling of alumium?

Big Wall Forum / Thoughts on runners/draws for solo-aid
« on: April 15, 2011, 11:56:32 am »
So I?ve done a fair amount of soloing as practice on single and two pitch climbs and made an ill-fated attempt on Mideast Crisis. During these climbs I?ve tried out prusik re-belays, lots of sceamers, screamers off the anchor and more. What I haven?t tried and I?m curious your thoughts on is basically eliminating anything longer than a screamer or regular loose quickdraw from my rack. Here?s my thinking on this:

If rope drag is not an issue as it?s not in soloing and rope length is not a concern as it?s often not when leading with a 70m then the only reason to use runners is to keep the minimal rope movement from dislodging nuts or making cams walk.

I guess you could have some longer slings around to equalize crappy gear as needed. Also my lightest draw setup is probably the 24?x8-10mm Mammut or BD slings tripled up so maybe it?s a moot point but it was aid related and since Supertopo seems to be an empty vacuum for any climbing related content I wanted something to talk about that wouldn?t immediately be relegated to page 5, buried under such hot topics as ?The Massive Ark on the Moon? (2584 posts and counting) and ?Politics, God and Religion vs. Science? (2949 posts and counting).


Big Wall Forum / A5 Expedition fly on a BD Cliff Cabana Double?
« on: September 13, 2010, 10:56:51 am »
I guess the thread title says it all; Does anyone know if the A5 expedition fly fits on a BD Cliff Cabana Double?

I have the Simple fly but I'd feel warmer and fuzzier if I had a little more protection overhead. I can get the BD Deluxe fly relatively cheap but the A5 expedition even cheaper. Any beta out there?


Ryan :)

Big Wall Forum / Headed to the Ditch!!
« on: September 03, 2010, 01:55:22 pm »
So I'll be arriving in Yosemite the evening of Friday October 8th. So happy to be back! I'm headed up to the Column to take another crack at Mideast Crisis.

The goal for the trip is to climb MC clean which seems like its within the realm of possibility. The route has seen a fair amount of traffic in the last few years and most reports seem to mention a pin here or there but it sounds like with a little creativity and patience it could go. We'll certainly have a few in the bag just in case. I've got to add that some of the other recent activity on the Column has further inspired me to try this clean.

So I know a few people on this site have been on the route and my question for you is if you were going to go back and try to do it clean what would you differently, aside from the obvious part about not hammering?

I'm adding Tomahawks to the rack in the hopes that some of those handplaced would get the job done. Ball-nuts as well.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance and maybe I'll see you down there.


Big Wall Forum / Nanook's Rational for drilling a variation to GSR
« on: August 24, 2010, 02:32:06 pm »
This thread is for Nanoonk (Erik Sloan) to attempt to justify his actions on the Great Slab Route. You can read the TR on this site.

This thread is not about name calling or mud-slinging.
This thread is not about Tom Frost and the Salathe Wall.
This thread is not about bolted belays.
This thread is not about past actions of Nanook or even future actions.
In fact this thread isn't even for anyone to reply to except Nanook. Please leave the first reply for him.

All this thread is about is drilling a variation around the crux(s) of GSR. That's it. Nothing else. We already seem to have a growing collection of threads focusing on the big picture. I just want to look at this one instance.

So Erik, here you go: Your very own thread to explain in detail why you thought it was a good idea to bring the drill along and you use it to place new fixed pro on lead.

Focus on this and nothing else please. We'll work in small steps to resolving some of these issues.

Big Wall Forum / Lots of good info just make sure you listen
« on: March 05, 2009, 01:00:43 pm »
So I'm looking over topos again, trying to get psyched to go back down for Mideast Crisis on the Column. Then the filed hook thread reminded me if my own hooking debacle on that route.

So I take a closer look at my topos of Mideast Crisis. Both are photo-copied from SuperTopo or are atually printed pdfs from Mike's solo trip and have his edits here and there. Then upon closer inspection I realize one is a printed pdf and one is a copy I had made from Super Topo with handwritten edits added.

The only thing I forgot to add from Mike's notes on the whole topo is "#5 cam helpful" on the second pitch. Unfortunately I grabbed that topo when I went up and as such went up pitch 2 armed with lots of gear, but only up to a #4. I'm soloing by the way and wasn't tagging as the pitch goes around a tree and would be a pain to solotag on.

The pitch went relatively smoothly and clean which was my goal, at least until right near the top. The crack goes from very thin to a very wide flake pointing downish. I placed a small C3, maybe a 00 or 000 near the top of the thin crack. The crack seemed a little crumbly at the lip and I've never been super confident of microcams with their limited range in less than stellar rock. I placed my Cliffhanger on a nice edge and get up in the steps, or rings as it were as I'm on Russian Aiders.

So now I'm trying to place my #4 where a #5 should go. The #4 gets better and better the higher I shove it, but it still sucks. Unfortunately this means I have to transition to 'fraid climbing which for me is part free, part aid and all afraid.

Somewhere during all the fun I slip a bit and let go of the #4 which stays put. I take a daisy fall onto the Cliffhanger which bends it to 90 degrees (I'm 275lbs. with an aid rack on easy) which spits it off its bomber placement. I then come to that suspect little C3 which comes out easier than it went in. Unforunately for me I backcleaned the placement or two prior to this. Fortunately for me I had a properly brazed Offset Alien up next which caught my fall, just as my feet touched down onto the slab below. Sigh.

I jugged back up, hammered in a pin above where the C3 was and the confidence of well sunk steel got me freeing up to the #4 and eventually the anchor.

And all of this was because I got great information off the internet from some of the great resources we have here and I didn't implement it.

So the moral of the story is, listen to those who've gone before you and bring the #5!!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Leaning Tower and Mideast Crisis attempts
« on: November 03, 2008, 04:30:59 pm »
"Witness the Fitless- A Yosemite TR"

So here goes my first TR effort. Caution though; It's very long and there's practically no beta in it and lots of grammar errors. If you want beta let me know. If you want good grammar look somewhere else. I'll add some pics when I can dig the camera out from under the pile of gear in the gear room.

A "bigwall adventure" had been planned for Matt and I for quite a awhile. We'd wisely chose to hold off a year last fall and this year we tricked ourselves into percieved readiness. The plan had Matt there for a week and me there for just over two. We'd get on something "easier" together and then Matt would help me stage for something interesting, ideally Mideast Crisis on Washington Column.

We arrived in the Valley late on Saturday the 4th of November. Sunday saw us sorting ang gawking at basically everything. We'd decided on the West Face of Leaning Tower and carried a load up on Monday. The plan was to carry the last load up Tuesday and fix as high as time end energy allowed and bivy at the base and blast on Wednesday morning. All worked well until we actually had to start the climb.

Matt is a little on the slow side which he'd be the first to admit. This whole trip was going to be a stretch for him and a big learning experience. We anticipated some epic moments here and there, just not quite so early. I decided to do a recon on the "4th class" traverse while Matt finished getting prepped. I carried over the rack and a rope. As it turns out, the traverse is scary. It's fixed for basically all you'd want a rope for but you don't ease into the exposure like a traditional wall. You're a few pitches off the ground before you even leave the ledge. It took me a bit to adjust and feel comfortable but I made it in one piece and went back for Matt, coming up with the best adjectives for how to describe the traverse in a favorable light. I also added a few pieces of gear to help protect the traverse and minimize any swinging if one slipped or broke a hold.

Matt did pretty well on the traverse, a little slow in spots but I think he was feeling okay at this point. Now the first pitches.

The plan was for me to lead and Matt to follow as we figured that would be our fastest arrangement. We'd shortfix everything and ideally fix to the top of three or four today with me cleaning some of it on rap as there's no point in everyone coming up then descending for the night.

Things didn't go quite to plan. The first pitch says something regarding gear to bring. My honest assessment is you could get by with a green 0 and red 1 BD C3 and maybe a cam hook as well. Other than that the first two pitches are all bolts and a fixed head or two and two fixed pins. The bolts are mostly big fat ones too so go fast and confident. I clipped very few of the bolts as I was planning on having gear for the ground ahead and I felt pretty sure I wouldn't fall. I maybe clipped ten bolts on the first pitch, shortfixed to a screamer at the top of the first pitch and clipped another five bolts to the top of the second. I was psyched and feeling really fast and efficient. The two pitches took maybe 40 minutes or so at a guess.

The problem was that now I was out of rope and needed Matt to hit the first anchor and give me more rope. I looked down to see him below the first roof which is still a long ways from the first anchor. Here's how the conversation went:

Ryan: How's it going?
Matt: Uhmmm... Not so good.
Ryan: Is it the jugging or your head?
Matt: Ummm... Both.
Ryan: Ok. Keep going and we'll talk when you make it to the anchor.
Matt: Ok.

Time proceeded to stop and Matt slowly inched upwards. I tried to tell myself that hanging in my harness and being uncomfortable was not nearly as bad as spinning in circles trying to clean draws and being terrified at the void below.

As some point a soloist on Jesus Built My Hotrod proceeds to pull off a plate sized flake. He carefully calls out "Rock" before letting it fly. This gives Matt and I the chance to watch it's path, falling and falling and falling until it smashes onto the slab below. Well at least we'll know for sure where we'd hit instead of speculating.

Finally Matt reaches the anchor. He's worked and there's no point in going up as it's not going to get any better. We decide to bail which is great fun on the Tower. I rap and clean the second pitch which is an adventure in and of itself. Then I send Matt down. We clipped the end of our haul line to the anchor knowing we'd need it to get into the ledge. Matt also left some draws clipped in to ease descent. This system worked sort of until Matt had issues with a prusik backup and more waiting followed. Finally Matt was down and I met him on the ledge. He wasn't hugging the tree as the tree looked like it was as likely to pull you off when it falls but he looked happy to be down. We proceeded to narrowly avoid epicing on the reverse traverse as the sun slipped lower and lower. We made it back to our gear, quickly decided to not epic on the descent taril in the dark and proceeded to have a really good time eating as much as we could so we didn't have to carry it down.

We spent the next few days flailing on V0's and styling up Sunnyside Bench (5.4 3 pitches Grade I). We spent lots of time in the meadow watching the Hans and Yugi show which is amazing in person. Soon Matt would have to leave so we hiked a load up to Mideast Crisis and Matt went on his way.

I had no regrets from our time together down there. We came and tried and failed and that's ok. There may or may not be a next time for Matt but I was still excited and motivated which was a good thing since I had lots of gear below MC. The plan was to fix to four before blasting and then launch solo.

Mideast Crisis shares its first pitch with Astroman. Now if you're a solid 11c climber headed up Astroman you probably don't think twice about the sandy 5.7 first pitch. But if you're solo aid climbing on an unmodified grigri and your lead limit is 5.10ish then things get interesting. The first pitch is not super clean, with lots of sand and flexing flakes. The pro is not great by my soloing standards but fortunately it is not sustained. This allowed for lots of tugging to feed rope and thinking about avoiding falls onto questionable gear.

I finished and cleaned the first pitch and prepped for the second. It goes at A1 according to the topo. I was hoping to do it clean but brought some pins along just in case. You free out right on evaporating sand hummocks to a crack splitting a roof. A fixed pin starts things off to good cams (.2 C3-.75 or so) to the lip of the roof. A nice big #1 makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. I was feeling pretty good at this point as things were going just fine so far and the crack ahead didn't look too bad.

The roof is topped by a slab, then things go mostly vertical to another slab at the anchor. Some cam hooks and small cams and nuts brought me to an impasse. There was a nice flake that would take a #4 a couple moves away. Sadly I only brought up to a #3, with the #4 hanging at the anchor below. Normally I'm psyched on tag racks for soloing but this would require tagging through a tree so I didn't set one up. The #3 would have to do. It looked like I might be able to shove it up higher but first I ahd to get there. The crack was fairly thin and kind of crumbly at the edges. I still wanted to keep things clean so I hesitated to sink a pin there. There was also a really nice hook placement a foot or so to the left of the crack but my grappling hook seemed to rock a little there. I decided I'd equalize a 000 C3 in the crack and the hook to the left. This kept the hook oriented in it's best position which was slightly askew. I topstepped up, using the flake that I could no reach for support. This soon turned into one of those fraid moves, where you're partially free and partially aid and fully afraid. I could no shove the #3 up higher where things constricted a bit more. I was playing around to get it just right as I was going to backclean the hook and cam if this worked and wanted good gear. That's when the cam blew and things got interesting.

Here's the more or less what I think happened: The cam blew, thus shockloading the hook and orienting it downwards instead of slightly askew. I felt the cam blow and the drop. This drop was quickly followed by a daisy fall onto the poor hook. Well I guess the hook wasn't so poor as it bent the hook to 90 degrees. I discovered this later as before I knew it I was dangling some 30ish ft. below where I was just moments before. I'd backcleaned before the fall so I fell a bit further and the system had a bit of slack in it but fortunately not any mroe as my feet were just about touching down onto the slab above the roof. Whew! I clearly remember being psyched and not scared, at first at least. It happened so fast that there wasn't time to think and I'm proud to say I didn't make a sound. I would've shit myself but my bowels didn't react that quickly and I was so puckered that nothing could get out anyways. I care fully jugged up to figure out which piece was my new favorite on the rack and discoverd it was a red/yellow offset Alien, fortunately pre-recall. Joy!

This time I busted out the hammer and a tiny sawed angle. With every tap my sphincter relaxed a little more. Sigh... My #3 was still above, just waiting for me to clip into it. Sometimes when I get bomber gear I'll clip into it with the rope before putting the aiders on it as I know it's not going to go. This saves me from having to reach down after and clip in. I'm glad I didn't this time as if I had fallen while clipping I would've hit the steep slab for sure. This is also when I noticed my hook was bent. Part of me was psyched and the other part that puts a great deal of faith in his gear was terrified. What else could bend?! After clipping the #3 I could see I was just a few moves from the anchor so I knew I'd survive the next few minutes. Some trickery was required as I didn't feel up to 2 moves of 5.2 and my fvorite hook was bent. Eventually I made the anchor and rapped off, leaving the gear to be cleaned tomorrow.

Going down, I knew it was going to be a tough night of decision making. I was scared, my back hurt from carrying all sorts of shit up here, my stomach felt like I had a hernia and who knew which gear would betray me next. On top of it all I was going to have to battle the ring tailed cat for base camp supremacy. I set up camp and proceeded to eat and drink as that always helps. Washington Column has better cell service than Camp 4 so I called a friend to vent. The plan was to wait until morning before making any final decision. Things might be better then right? Darkness...

The ring tailed cat is evil. There are at least a thousand of them and they are fearless. They don't even really want your food. They want you. I spent the better part of the night fighting them off and praying for daylight. Thumping my empty haulbag with a trekking pole was good at scaring them off but I quickly determined that I was more afraid of them then they were of me. Bastards!!

I awoke exhausted as I more passed out than fell asleep. I knew I was going down. It would also take me forever to get all my crap down from here, let alone down the North Dome Gully. I wisely chose to bail. Work demands would be calling soon and it was time for this adventure to come to an end. An Angel from Heaven in the form of Ben from the YOSAR site came through and offered to carry a bag down to the bike trail for me. Thank you so much as you basically saved me a day. I already had two bags to shuttle. There was one Metolius Quarter Dome with all the heavy stuff and one Metolius El Cap with the ledge and all the lighter stuff. This produced two obvious names for the pigs: Dense Pig and Tall Pig.

They both had their own personalities and quirks and I would get to know them well before the day was over. I began the descent hating Dense Pig and telling him so every time he threw me off balance. He always replied with something snarky about how he'd much rather be empty and I was the one who put all this shit inside him. Tall Pig on the other hand couldn't have been better behaved. He apologized the few times the top got hung up on branches and seemed to behave himself quite well with none of the backtalk I'd come to expect from Dense Pig.

I'd carry one down aways, set it on a nice rock and go get the other. Soon though things changed as now Tall Pig was getting hung up more often in the trees. Dense Pig kept pointing out how much easier he was to carry and that Tall Pig was intentionally grabbing branches. I told Dense Pig that I couldn't really see what was going on back there and it's not nice to point fingers at others but I think he was right. In Tall Pig's defense, he had the portaledge sticking out the top. The ledge has spent many, many nights in my gear room and none to date on a wall. I don't think it wanted to leave. I can't blame it as neither did I so I promised we'd come back. Eventually all Dense Pig and Tall Pig made it back and I returned to pick up the little pig that didn't get a name as I wasn't hallucinating when I carried it. I was worked and looking at a 15 hour drive to Seattle so I thought it better to crasah one more night in Camp 4 then fall asleep somewhere along the highway.

Again, no regrets on the whole adventure. I had a blast and learned a lot. I feel mentally more prepared and know my way around the Valley a bit. I discovered that I need more of a reserve of strength to solo harder stuff for me and that regardless of how strong or psyched I'm feeling that doesn't make up for a partner who isn't feeling good. It takes two feeling good and all those things are what I came to find, not what the summit of Leaning Tower or Washington Column looks like.

I forget which famous climber said it but it was something along the lines of "After all these years and all these mountains I don't remember the routes or the moves or the summits. I remember the people I did them with and the relationships I built on those climbs." This fit my mindset perfectly. The plan was to come climb with Matt, not come climb something with just anybody. The plan was to try and solo something hard for me, not just get up something. I think we could've done some easier stuff and eased into a bit more. The South Face of WC together or the Prow solo or whatever. We may have succeeded on both routes and ultimately it wouldn't matter. I think I learned and grew as much climbing, flailing and bailing with Matt and by myself as I woud've had I topped out on something else with someone other than Matt. It's not like I'm gonna get a free pair of shoes when I fax my send to the mags anyways.

Since the only climbs we finished were Sunnyside bench and some sick V0 boulder problems I'll refrain from adding a bunch of route beta. I did put together some pretty good beta on both routes prior to leaving so if anyone's interested I'm happy to forward it along or answer questions on the two pitches of both routes I did climb.

The move by move beta TR for Sunnyside Bench will most likey never make it to print as that was just too amazing a climb to try and express into words. It's actually really cool and I highly recommend it regardless of ability. Thanks and I hope you enjoyed my TR.

Big Wall Forum / Fall Wall Plans
« on: August 20, 2008, 04:24:06 pm »
So I guess if I declare to the world what I'm wanting to do for climbing this fall it'll make it that much more likely to happen. I've previously talked about Zodiac but I don't think my partner is ready and I'm not ready to go it alone, so the new target is a nice starter Grade V with him and then to solo something a touch harder but still Grade V.

We'll likely go for WFLT or South Face of Washington Column. The Column would work out nicely as then we could leave some gear at the base and save me the trouble of carrying it up again as I'm leaning heavily toward Mideast Crisis. I was very much into the route before and now there's a bunch of added beta and buzz which is surely I sign that I should get on it.

So that's the plan for me. What is everyone else shooting for? Put it in writing in front of all your bigwall support network friends and it'll happen.

I'll be getting into the Valley on October 4th and leaving on the 21st or so. Let me know if anyone's in the neighborhood to hook up down there. Cheers!

Big Wall Forum / The arrival of non-climbing threads/trolls
« on: May 01, 2008, 04:02:54 pm »
So, due to some recent activity here on, we're confronted with the same thing that seems to plague many other "climbing" websites out there. Non-climbing posts and/or "Trolls" showing up. I know that I for one have enjoyed this site because of its aid/wall focus, the willingness of its participants to share and the encouragement of others, regardless of ability. There's some great info to be found on other sites but you must wade through a fair amount of BS to get to it. If that's what you're into, then fine. Enjoy because there's plenty of it out there. That's part of what makes this site special though is the lack of distracting threads mixed in. The number of climbing related posts outnumber the non-climbing 30 to 1.

It seems once "trolling" and alter-ego/avatar postings begin they can spread like wildfire. Obviously I'm exagerating and it really isn't that big a deal but I think we can protect the climbing content by ignoring the non-climbing content. I guess what I'm proposing is for people to not reply to suspected "trolls" and non-climbing content that is posted in the climbing forum. There is a non-climbing forum within this site as well for folks who want to post there. I'd imagine if "trollers" or alter-avatar posters don't get the attention they're looking for here they will go elsewhere. Maybe not but it seems it would be worth the effort to ignore them.

The other issue, and maybe it's just me, but can we leave the shorthand typing and foul language and insults to If you've got something to say, say it in reasonably understandable language and be polite. God knows there's going to be horrible spelling, typing and grammar but come on. As far as the insults, that's something that has always drove me crazy about the internet is how a little bit of anonymity suddenly gives everyone the right to call one another F'n Noobs.  If you met these people in person through a friend they'd likely be a friend of yours by the end of the day even if they (shudder to think) carry nuts up to a #11!! (F'n Noob!) Let's play nice.

Sorry for the brief preaching, I just think this is something worth protecting and whether or not todays posts were legit it's something we should be aware of so our beloved site doesn't turn into something we'd rather it didn't become.

Just before I hit the "Post" button I realized the irony of me posting this in the "Climbing Thread" section given it's not about climbing but I think that's where it belongs. Thoughts?

Big Wall Forum / Kong Block Roll
« on: April 08, 2008, 01:11:54 pm »
I picked up a Kong Block Roll recently and mentioned it in the Russian Aiders thread but I wanted people to be able to find this info if they're digging for it later.

Here's what you've missed in the other thread and I'll elaborate a little more here:

"The other new gear try out was my new Kong Block Roll or Roll Block I forget which. This is essentially a 3" uber-pulley mated to a camming toothed ascender. The front plate swivels nicely out of the way so you can clip the Kong in before loading the rope to prevent from dropping anything. This worked well as we practiced transitioning from hauling the bags to lowering the bags and passing knots. Dramatic difference between this and a ProCraption and less hassle than a pulley/ascender combo even though I ws only hauling 80-90lbs. or so."

First impressions:
It's heavy and big. Looking on the interweb I see it is 11" long, 3" wide and 1.4" thick which I consider pretty big (that's what she said) and at 18.5oz. it is not light.

It's cumbersome and definitely not something you'd want hanging on your ass while leading.

It's hard to get your hands on one.

It's more expensive than the other options

So I'll address each of the impressions with my thoughts:
As for the weight and bulk, it's lighter and smaller than the equivalent amount of water that you'd have to carry to replace the extra water you've sweat out using another pulley so if your load is big, the size and weight are worth it.

As for being cumbersome, for me I tag up my anchor kit and hauling gear towards the end of the pitch so I don't have to carry it the whole time. This is pretty standard practice I think for anything bigger than a Mini-traxion.

As for getting your hands on one, I went to the source so to speak and talked to PTPP. He raved about them so much and he hauls so much crap that I figured if anyone knows something about hauling efficiently it would be him. I'm not sure if he can still get his hands on them and I know it was a huge hassle to get so don't be surprised if he can't get one for you but I think he could at least point you in the right direction.

The cost is really minimal when you think about how much a compound pulley costs, this really isn't that much more and for me it is well worth it.

I'll post up more info as I get more time using it but so far it's been great.

Big Wall Forum / My Russian Aiders came yesterday
« on: March 25, 2008, 03:32:56 pm »
They just arrived from Russ. My first impression was that he didn't ship me everything I was hoping to get as surely it couldn't fit in that small box? It was in fact everything I was expecting and there was room to spare. These things are very compact compared to traditional ladders, even considering you're replacing one ladder with a ring tree and the cuffs. Here's some of my other thoughts:

These are not super beefy. It seems that everything wall-oriented is overbuillt but these seem underbuilt if anything. I'll probably do a little modification here and there to beef them up, particularly the webbing underfoot and maybe the padding behind the knee area.

I'm going to need a longer fifi, or actually invest in an adjustable fifi as these are so much easier to get up well above your gear that I'll be doing it more often and can't always be frigging something as needed like I've been doing.

The clip in points at the end of the ring trees are too big/long. It seems you're losing some crucial height as well as increasing the chance of something slipping out of the biner. My initial hope is that my adjustable daisy will go on first in the basket of my lead biner and the ring tree will go between the daisy and the gate's hinge using a Petzl string thingy like you have on your sport draws. This should keep things oriented as well as keep from losing the whole works. We'll see if it works.

As for jugging, I like the idea of a deidicated tether that goes from the loop on the shin to your ascender. No more feet slipping out of ladders.

So far so good though they haven't seen any action other than on my hangboard but I gotta say it's way easier getting and staying chin level with these than it is using my arms so I can definitely recommend them for aiding your hangboard testpiece. In fairness to my hangboard testing I should point out that the landing was quite dicey with our home gym and vacuum serving as my spotter and I was technically soloing as there was no rope.

I've got a short wall planned for the weekend after next so I'll have leading, hauling and jugging input after that. I'll try and get some pictures as well.

Big Wall Forum / Can I flag my BD Cliff Cabana?
« on: March 18, 2008, 11:41:19 am »
This ledge does in fact have a spreader bar. I've seen PTPP say before that ledges with spreader bars cannot be flagged. Pete has not used the BD ledge. Has anyone flagged a BD double before? How did it go? Pete aslo seems pretty liberal with how steep a pitch needs to be for flagging whereas my flagging would only be on pretty clean, overhanging lines. Will a spreader bar equipped double hold together for that? Thanks for any insight you can pass along.

Big Wall Forum / Best method for hauling multiple bags
« on: March 17, 2008, 10:45:42 pm »
I'm wonderng what setup everyone likes for multiple bags on one haul line. I'm talking one haul. Not one haul for each bag. I've got the size (250lbs.) and the hauling methods (PTPP/Chongo ratchet and a Kong Roll Block) to get a two bag+ load up. I'm just curious what others have had good or bad luck with in the past. I've seen lots of pics of pigs riding side by side as well as one atop the other. I can rig it either way. I'm just wondering what folks think is preferred or how others have rigged it.

The route of choice (Zodiac) is steep and should offer mostly clean hauling, save for a sharp edge here and there that must be avoided. Here's what I've currently got going:

Haul line comes down from the anchor where an alpine butterfly connects it to two beefy lockers. Tangent-Ideally the leader is shortfixing so I can't fully use the excess for a lower-out line but I cut my static haul specifically with this in mind to 80m. I lead on a 70m so that should give the leader plenty of haul line to work with but still give the belayer a bit of slack to use as the lower out cord.

So the haul line connects to the two beefy lockers which are connected to a BD Rotor. Tangent-I'm wondering if this is really needed on Zodiac as it doesn't appear the bags would likely twist that much but I've also heard horror stories about flagged ledges on free hanging hauls causing all sorts of issues with rope twistage.

On the bottom of the Rotor is a large steel locker rated to infinityKN. This clips into the short strap on my pig. I don't need a munter-mule to lift the strap to get in ala PTPP. The Rotor is semi-permanently attached to the longer strap with two seperate loops of webbing, tied pretty short. This eliminated a biner and kept the length of the straps condusive for easy opening at belays and added some redundancy.

So the current plan is to use a length of super beefy static (11mm) to go from the bottom of the Rotor to the second pig riding below the first. The length may need some adjusting but the whole thing fits together nicely and looks bitching in my dining room (famous last words). There's also some tethers coming off the bttom pig to give some redundancy to the webbing on the bottom of the pig. These connect to the ledge (when not flagged) and the Poo-tube. The tethers are tied to the haul straps with a re-woven figure eight and the strap and tether are duct taped at their nexus for abrasion resistance. This saves a biner or two and eliminates some cluster.There souldn't be undue twisting of these two lines as they'll be clipped below to the bottom anchor of the pig and tied above to the haul straps so there souldn't be any need to disconnect them from the haul straps.

Thoughts besides yer gunna die!!

Big Wall Forum / Big Wall Psych!!
« on: January 15, 2008, 02:10:36 pm »
So in an effort to release some of my pent up big wall excitement and hopefully feed off some of yours, here's what's going on in my bigwall world:

We've had two gorgeous high pressure days, both of which I was busy and couldn't get out. These days were of course seprated by a monsoon and snow that would make the South Col of Everest look benign. I just finshed coaching a middle school basketball team so my free time is drastically increased. Index look out!!

I just ordered one of the Mad Rock "You" haul bags. I wanted a little bag for day stuff or the rack and what not on a big, multi day wall.

I managed to get some actual Russian Aiders! Well they're technically not in my hands yet but Russ says they're coming soon. These were actually used, very briefly, by C-Mac himself, thus guarunteeing my big wall speed and success. You will soon be reading about me in magazines and websites, just hopefully not Accidents in North American Mountaineering.

I'm fine tuning all my toys, grouping things, taping others. Yosemite look out! WFLT or bust!!

Big Wall Forum / "So class, what did you do this summer?"
« on: September 20, 2007, 10:22:07 pm »
Here's a chance to report back about all you did or didn't get done this summer.

Did you climb your "unicorn" (the route that always seems just out of reach for one reason or another)?

Did you epic on the 2nd pitch of Giraffe Lips and spend the night in slings vertically spooning your partner that you haven't heard from since then?

Did you climb something you didn't think you could or get spanked by something you shouldn't have?

I was prepping for a trip to the Valley and didn't get out as much as I should've with my partner. He wasn't ready and I wasn't ready to go it alone. We spent a year watching the calendar go by and have no one to blame but ourselves. Definately motivation for the next go 'round. In the process though I've soloed a lot of pitches and really feel like I broke through some barriers.

Interesting side note: I mostly soloed in prep for this trip but this was always as training for a partnered ascent. When I found out that my partner was not going, I did a couple of climbs solo to see if I was up for it and it was completely different. I just wasn's as motivated, the route was much more intimidating (I'd done it before, solo) and everything seemed so much more daunting. Weird mind tricks. Oh well. Everything is a lesson learned for next time. I still had a great summer and I look forward to bailing in the upward blowing snow and rain (again) while training for next year.

So what did you do?

Big Wall Forum / Portaledge prep
« on: June 28, 2007, 12:31:30 am »
Same question for the ledge that I just asked for the pig. What things have you done to your ledge that made life great or miserable? I'm using a BD Cliff Cabana for sometimes soloing and sometimes with a partner. Here's what I've done so far:

Shoe Gooed all the seams on ledge and haul sack
Seam sealed the crap out of the fly
Added a "Bigwall" sponge for fly condensation
Added a 8' section of 8mm that comes from the ledge powerpoint to my tie in point


Big Wall Forum / Haul Bag Prep
« on: June 28, 2007, 12:24:11 am »
I'm looking for input into what others have done to prep or setup their precious piggies for walls. Here's what I've got set up so far:

Wear prevention:
Shoe Gooed all the seams, inside and out
Shoe Gooed the stitching on the haul straps

Standard closed cell foam lining the walls and cardboard bottom (with hole for some drainage) for added structure
Daisy chain girthed to inside grab loop for keeping items clipped in while shuffling through the bag
Mini LED light on cord near top for shuffling through the bag (this has allowed me to sort through bags inside the bag, thus reducing the chance of me dropping something. You just put the light in your mouth and start digging. I should also mention this is a Metolius El Cap, so it's pretty freaking deep and anything sitting on top of the water bottles is a ways down there and the light has been handy.

Small water knotted sling (1.5") connecting the long strap to a BD Rotor (This just seemed like a good opportunity to eliminate a biner while maintaing some redundancy
Large Pear biner connecting short strap to BD Rotor

8' or so 8mm cord for docking with designated pear biner for Munter Mule

Safety lines:
7mm line going from long strap to bottom haul loop as back up for ledge and poop tube clip in point

The haul line remainder will be the lower out line and there's two lockers that will go on top of the BD Rotor and connect to the haul line once slack is removed

So, what recs do you folks have or what has most definitely not worked well for you in the past?

Big Wall Forum / Alien Offsets and unexpected suprises!
« on: March 15, 2007, 05:44:33 pm »
I would just like to share my excitement with the rest of you in the hopes that we can all live vicariously through one anothers gear purchases. I just received a set of CCH offsets in the mail. To add to my excitement, these came about five months after the order was placed. Granted my wife was a little pissed when the unexpected charge went through but I had long since given up on them and spent those dollars on other toys. It was like finding a $20 bill in the jacket that you're probably borrowing from your partner but won't tell him about as you kindly offer to buy gas.

So, what great gear suprises have you guys scored? Did you have someone who "used to climb" unload cool gear on you for next to nothing? Did some partner put you in their will for all their nice gear (so you did what anyone would do and killed them)? Any other fabulous gear suprises out there?

I need something to get me through the rainy days and this will have to suffice so help me out!!

Big Wall Trip Reports / 3 days of aid in the last week!
« on: February 18, 2007, 06:21:21 pm »
I've managed to get out with some regularity lately and the weather has cooperated. Here's a quick TR of each day.

Day 1 -City Park- C1 35m? Solo

This is the PNW classic. Bolt ladder to thin, steep crack. Could probably be done on nothing but 4,5,6 stoppers. Offsets are nice as are cam hooks. Many climbers first aid experience.

I spent a leisurely hour getting geared up and building my anchor. Took a few minutes over an hour from bottom to top. Used BD C3s quite frequently as they were faster in and out than nuts. Played around some more with cam hooks trying to test their limits a little more.

Day 2 -Return to City Park w/partner

This time around Brian came. This would be his first aid lead. I figured it would take somewhere around forever and sure enough it did. He's pretty new to the whole experience but we were both pleased with his efforts. I got the second pitch. Thin crack that becomes a flake of sorts. Weird placements in the crack within the crack, but it's big cams so you feel good about them. Leave an aider at this bolt before a mantle and be sure you're not daisied to the bolt. Here's where things got more interesting. I always seems to forget about the parts of things that I don't like. The second half of the pitch is partially free, at least for me at about 5.6 or 7. The problem is that since it's February, it is completely wet. Very slimy and mossy arm bars and stemming get me up to a glorious mantle. At least it would be glorious if the big flake that I overcammed a #4 into didn't flex so far when I pulled down on it. In hind sight, I probably should have just not bothered as it would probably just break off the flake if I fell on it, sending the flake down after me, or my belayer. Anyways, after much swearing, the slimy, wet, mossy mantle was over and I was clipping the chains. A couple of rappels and we were back to the ground and the car just as the rain began. Brian was pretty worked and we discussed why aid climbing seems to kick your ass so badly. Trad climbing for me tends to be a notch or two below my limit so the strain is mostly mental with gear and such. Sport climbing or TR'ing seems to be mostly physical as you can push yourself a little harder. Aid climibng seems to drain you mentally with dubious gear and sleeping belayers and physically as well just due to the workload of so many movements and hauling, etc. This was a good wakeup call for future plans for Brian and I think he'll do more to prepare himself for next time.

Day 3- Iron Horse to the "Ringing Flake", a giant pancake thin flake next to the anchor the rings when you tap it. C2

This was another friends first aid adventure but he would be on toprope. I told him he had to do at least one hook move and get into the upper steps on the ladders. He proceeded to make a very nice hook more off a very small edge and to topstep three consecutive times, including off of the hook. Granted this was all  on TR, but he was actually pretty smooth getting into the top steps. He was of course horridly slow, but made a good showing for his first time out.

All in all, a great three days with great to good enough weather. Hopefully I'll be out once or twice between now and next week. I hope others are getting out as well and if not hopefully you can live vicariously through these adventures. Enjoy!

Big Wall Forum / The Big Wall challenge!!
« on: October 15, 2006, 10:06:31 pm »
Here's a challenge for all you guys and gals who are relatively new to aid and walls and are in need of some practice: Reply to this thread by setting a goal in terms of number of pitches, or specific routes or whatever by a certain time. For example:

I will climb 5 pitches of aid per month from November to May.

I will climb 2 Grade V's next year.

This may be crap to some of you but for me with fulltime work and school (inc. summer qtr.) and mostly foul weather in the PNW, this is a lot. Also, almost of my aid is solo, after work in waning light and weather.

So, set a goal for yourself. You're going to do this route, or you're going to do your first penji or aid solo or whatever. The point is to throw it out there so people can flip you $h!t for not doing it later. Peer pressure as motivation! I know the chances of actually getting something done go up dramatically if you write it down and share it with others. Make the goals realistic otherwise motivation will quickly cease. Regardless of your experience (unless you've soloed Reticent and PSD in a day) you can find something that's pushing it for you. If you have no interest in getting better than just give people crap for not getting it done. That works too!
Take it or leave it!

Big Wall Forum / Gear organization on the wall- the real "wall" not
« on: October 12, 2006, 11:14:29 am »
I'm looking for any tips around gear organization for walls. I've gone the way of PTPP somewhat with various colors of gear labels to keep things straight. This may be easier when you are soloing as you don't confuse your parters gear with yours.

Here's what I have so far:

Two seperate belays, 1 red taped and 1 blue. Each belay consists of 2 positron screwgates and a Petzl William locker. At this point, most of the belays at Index are two bolts.

All cam hooks are on blue webbing and on blue oval wires

All other hooks are on red webbing and a red oval wire

Anything that goes with the lead rope is green. This includes:
Rope bag
Rope bag biner
Prerigged screamers and their lockers
Biner for pulling up slack for fixing

Anything haul related is orange. This includes:
Haul rope bag
Haul rope bag biner
Biner for pulling up slack for fixing
Hauling device biner
Any haulbag biners
Any designated docking tether biners

I will eventually get around to creating a "standard" rack that will get a specific color. This will be enough gear to do most things and any real big gear or specialty pieces could be tagged up as needed.

Eventually there will also be a tag line/rack color and this will mark the biners needed for that. Also a color for bivy gear and/or the ledge.

So, I'm curous any tips or advice as to what you all are using. I know this helps me from allowing biners to float from one use to the other. That way. whenever I need something, it's always got a biner and is in the right place.

Big Wall Forum / Variation to the infamous cardalette question
« on: October 09, 2006, 12:48:49 pm »
So, looking for fresh ideas and thoughts here. Not wanting 96 pages of arguing. Here is something that I have been pondering:

For those of you who somehow missed it, the orignial, infamous cordalette discussion brought up some concerns about the overall safety, specifically in regards to equalization and the potential for shockloading due to strand failure, of the ever popular cordalette. This thread made it on to many climbing forums so it was hard to miss.

I originally dismissed some of this concern as the likelyhood a severe fall that directly loaded my cordalette setup was small. A factor 2 right off the belay before gear is placed being the only scenario which would generate enough force to matter (top roping and bringing up a second, though able to generate lots of force, are not going to pull gear from a well built anchor with a belayer who is doing their job correctly).

This thread came back into my head though as I've been spending a fair amount of time aid soloing (hopefully a light bulb is going on in people's heads). My anchors for aid soloing are often incorporating a cordalette and will often be asked to hold falls, sometimes big ones. Granted these are not factor two falls (hopefully) but it's not the same as a cordalette belay in a two person, multi-pitch scenario which is rarely loaded beyond body weight of the belayer hanging on the anchor or the follower falling.

I always incorporate the haulbag (if I brought one) and a screamer in to the anchor setup as well.

Long had a discussion in one of the anchor books about the merits of a 10,000lb. test anchor vs. a 40,000lb test anchor. Obviously if the 10,000lb. anchor was simplified (less gear, less time) it was superior, because realisitic loading would never compromise even the weaker of those two anchors.

So, this is not another "post pics of solo anchors" but by all means post them if you'd like. I would love to hear what some of you think in regards to incorporating the cordalette into a multipiece traditional (not bolts) anchor, within the context of a solo aiding, multipitch route. Include haulbags, screamers, or whatever if you like or don't. Most routes are going to include some bolt(s) at most belays but not all do. Assume that the gear is good.

Big Wall Trip Reports / Solo single pitch aid adventures
« on: September 26, 2006, 12:59:39 pm »
Arachnid Arch- Lower Town Wall- Index, WA

The goal of this adventure was to get some emore experience leading and cleaning traverses of which this route is great for.

This goes free at hard 11 but goes clean at C1/2. My anchor consisted of a few stoppers and a tied off block. This all came together with a screamer for some cush. A little free climbing to get the blood flowing and then a welcomed gold camalot. A few more placements got me to the start of the roof/arch. This basically traverses straight sideways for 20+ feet on small cams. I equalized a big #4 and a #3, threw a long-slung prusik on those guys to take the weight of the rope off the gri-gri, and began the traverse.

I think I placed in order: a .3, a .1, a 0 and another .1 . The route then goes straight up. One solid nut led me to a questionable stretch. I figured I could get a nut or small cam in somewhere but something told me to go for the cam hooks. I found a bomber home for one and was so pleased with that one that I placed another. A shaky free move that would no doubt result in getting something hung up and falling onto the cam hook was enough to inspire me to break out a Cliffhanger. Bomber as well. Built my anchor and came back down.

The cleaning was uneventful, save for the 0 pulling while cleaning/re-leading the beginnig traverse. On the way down though I saw this amazing yellow and black catapillar inching along. He came to a little roof on this totally vertical face and just inched along right up and over it. If that's not a metaphor for aid climbing than I don't know what is.

All in all, a great half day. Lessons learned for the day:

Always rerack your unused daisy/etriers on the side your heading to (left side when traversing left,vice-versa), do similiar on the cleaning sections, hooks are not that scary as the nut or cams would have been a little manky.

Highlight of the day: Tie for three consecutive hook moves and the catapillar. Good times.

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