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Messages - johnmac

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Big Wall Forum / Iron for sale
« on: March 24, 2008, 09:45:40 am »
For sale over on

It's not mine, I'm just one of the admins on the site...

Big aid climbing rack. These are mostly Chouinard hardware that have been used-- they are not cracked and do not have broken eyes. This is over 100 pitons = $4.50 @ plus extra aid gear!

Prefer to sell as a lot - make an offer!

4 baby angles (1/2")
5 baby angles (5/8")
2 angles (3/4")
4 angles (1")
8 angles (1.5")
1 angles (2")
1 angle(2.5")

12 assorted Lost Arrows
18 assorted Knifeblades
25 Leeper Z-tons
7 sawed-off angles (assorted)
3 Bong-Bongs

plus, 15 chouinard biners, many small wires (#1 stoppers -for rivets), few assorted copperheads, Big wall hammer + holster

Big Wall Forum / Re: New thread: Zodiac clean
« on: March 23, 2008, 07:28:40 am »
This is a great thread ...

Zodiac clean solo is on my hit list to do but I'm a few years away. In the meantime there is plenty to keep me busy in Zion.

Looking forward to the TR later in the year also feedback on the rack. Looks like I've got some serious scavenging to do!


Big Wall Forum / Re: BD nforce units
« on: March 23, 2008, 07:23:33 am »
I've jugged a couple of hundred feet with them and I thought that they worked well, but they're heavy and the release, thumb catch was pretty awkward. The motion is quite different.

Also, the NForce ascenders are large and if you don't have large mitts you're probably find that you have to continually move your hands up to reach the release point.

We had a discussion over on about them and one person mentioned that he found he would pinch his small finger in the hinged part of the cam and felt that it was possible to cut it badly. Anyhow, based on my limited tryout I decided to stick with my Petzl's which are still working. If I drop one of them and have to buy a new set, I'll try to get a demo pair again before deciding what to buy.

There is a review over on by Kate about them:

Big Wall Forum / Re: New choice in small cams?
« on: March 20, 2008, 08:58:48 am »
I need to spend this weekend cleaning out my garage and putting things up on Ebay so I can buy a set! They look sweet!

I too have plenty of aliens but I've lost my confidence in them now and only take them out when aid climbing.

Big Wall Forum / Silent Parner and A5 DB ledge for sale
« on: March 20, 2008, 08:54:52 am »
Just in case anyone is looking for one, there is a A5 Double Ledge and fly as well as a Silent Partner over at for sale.

These are not mine. I wouldn't sell my A5 ledge and SP.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Best method for hauling multiple bags
« on: March 18, 2008, 11:58:52 am »
Maybe it would be eaiser to haul vertical in this case as the two bags are so different in size. I've never hauled two bags side by side but my understanding (whcih could be totally wrong) is that it works best if the two bags are the same approximately size.

I've hauled an Met El Cap with a Met Sentinal below with no problems.

Great to see this site coming to life!

Just to clarify things, that's not my setup. this is what it looks prior to setting up the anchor.  The rope and slings are for people rapping..., you see this set up all over zion these days.

Resetting is the term I use when I reset the anchor from downward pull for jugging to upward pull for leading. The last thing I'm going to do is hit an angle with a hammer!

My main question was just how good are drilled angles in sandstone when set up for an upward pull compared to bolts.

Thanks for the feedback.


John M.

Big Wall Forum / Resetting drilled angles in sandstone for upward pull
« on: March 08, 2008, 09:01:46 pm »
I'm curious to know what people think regarding resetting anchors on sandstone routes such as in zion for an upward pull.

For example, the first real pitch on spaceshot, you have two drilled angles. What I've done here is to set the rope for an upward pull using a screamer and then tied the rope also off to the first couple of bolts as well, since the start is a bolt ladder. I know that many people believe that drilled angles, if placed correctly, are stronger than bolts in sandstone.

If I have a heavy bag I could incorporate it into the anchor but on routes like that I find it better to go lighter.

Anyhow, I'd appreciate to find out what others do in similar situations or am I just being paranoid!

Here's a pic as an example:

Big Wall Forum / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: March 06, 2008, 08:19:04 pm »
I borrowed one before I brought one. If that's an option I'd go for it.  THey're expensive and it isn't the sort of thing I would buy off Ebay. The SP has a lot of knockers from people who haven't ever used it. It takes time to learn how to use it, give yourself at least a couple of days.

I also use a grigri for rapping as the sp sucks in this area, but for solo aid, solo free or a bit of both I really like it. It lots bulky but when you'll actually using it the size doesn't matter, and it doesn't get in the way.

Big Wall Forum / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: March 04, 2008, 04:15:25 pm »
I see now. Ultrabiker setup uses three ropes from what I can tell.

Big Wall Forum / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: March 04, 2008, 12:28:16 pm »
No, the rope is not tied to the clmber at all.

Text states: clmber with self belay, sp, grigri, clove hitch.  Climber is not tied to any end of the rope.

Backup loops with f8 20 - 40 feet rope retired as required to reduce rope drag and for backup.

So, how it works.

1. Tie one end of rope to anchor. I then take a bite of rope and tie a butterfly knot and then I connect a screamer to it and the anchor, so if I come off the screamer takes some of the impact before the rope.

If this is unclear I could draw it.

2. The lead line is tied to the haul line, usually a 10.5 or 11mm dynamic, (I generally would rather have two lines I can lead rather than having a static and a dynamic) and then tied off to my haul bag. I also incorporate the haul bag into the belay to give it some dynamicism. I use the fish double rope bag to keeps really simple.

3. I thread the lead line through my sp or whatever and start climbing. After about 20 or 30 feet I stop, pull up another 20 or 30 feet of rope and tie this off with a F8 onto one of my belay loops. The rope goes from the anchor to belay device and then to loop and then to the backup knot.

The loop does two things: 1. it reduces any rope drag. 2. provides a backup to the Sp. It works so well that I often forget and run out of rope.  There is no hand feeding etc.

4. i use rubber bands on the main lead line to reduce any slippage. ie the rope dropping back to the anchor. If there is a bad edge or something, I'll use a klemheist knot and a piece of light cord. This is really important if I've had to reset the anchor for an upward only pull.

5. When I get the anchors I tie off the lead line, set the SP up for the next pitch and clip it off to the leading edge of the anchor. I pull up the rest of the rope and set my haul device (petzl protraxion), set it and use a prussik to back it up so that I'm rapping off the prussik rather than cam. I also tie off the rope.

6. I rap down my haul line, pull myself into the anchors. Undock the haul bag, lower it out, then clean via the lead line.

7. When I get back to the anchor, I set up my fish rope bag. I stack the lead rope first, and and start hauling and stop to set every 5 minutes or so. Reset the anchor and I'm off again...

Because you aren't tied into the end of the ropes there are several advantages:

1. You don't spend time tieing and then untieing knots
2. You have more freedom to move around, get out of the system, etc
3. You don't have to haul the weight of the haul line up

The disadvantages are:
1. Little bit more complex to set up, set up the ropes etc.
2. If you did something really stupid you aren't tied to the end of a rope
3. There are probably more.

Personally, having used the traditional way to rope solo and then using the continuous loop (poor name for it), I won't be gong back. Give it a try and I"m sure after half a dozen pitches or so you'll like it to.

It is make easier to do than to explain!


Big Wall Forum / Re: Need a new Portaledge Bed....
« on: March 03, 2008, 03:04:37 pm »
Maybe drop a line to Russ at @ fish to see if he could make one for you...

Big Wall Forum / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: March 03, 2008, 12:29:46 pm »
Yes, thats right. Just tie one end to the anchor, join the ropes and tie the other end the the haul bag. Pete's diagram has a lot of stuff going on. I try to keep things really simple.

This is how I set it up.


Big Wall Forum / Re: New choice in small cams?
« on: March 02, 2008, 10:59:24 am »
anyone brought any metolius master cams yet or seen them in the shops? Thanks.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Racking for efficiency
« on: March 02, 2008, 10:52:44 am »
This is a great thread!

I tend to climb only clean aid routes so I'm using the Metolius Big Wall Sling. I brought one cheap on sale and have been pretty pleased with it. It's also good for long multi pitch trad climbing. I wish the back compartment was larger though.

I rarely see people using them other than myself so I'm thinking I'm in the minority here.

I rack wires on the left and cams on the right. Biners etiher side. Hooks, pulley, etc on back of the harness.

I've played with tagging gear, but so far haven't done it in real life. I'm thinking I would do this if I was climbing route with a lot of iron however. It's pretty simple and saves wear and tear on the body from having to carry the whole rack all the time.

Big Wall Forum / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: March 02, 2008, 10:40:36 am »
I use the continuous rope method with silent partner for both aid and free climbing and it works superb. No problems at all. I wouldn't ever go back to having separate lines anymore. I tend to climb clean routes so I don't have to deal with a lot of iron. I use rubber bands to stop the rope from slipping back.

With the sp, I find I need to lead with a rope in the 10 to 10.2mm diameter, anymore than that and it won't run free.  I use a backup knot.

I use the Fish Double Whammy bag to stack the ropes. I used to aid solo with the grigri but I rarely do that now, other than for traversing type pitches or when I need to rapp.

The sp is expensive and there is a lot of misinformation out on the net about it. It takes quite a few pitches before you start to understand the nuances about it. I would say at least 10. When it really comes into its own is when you have to bust out 20 feet of free moves from your last aid piece to the anchors (quite common in Zion), on sandy 5.7, etc.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Harnesses
« on: February 06, 2008, 07:58:56 am »
I've read somewhere in the pass that yates used to have double belay loops abut removed them due to wear and tear against each other... I'll try to find out where this came from.

I'm looking for a new harness and I'll probably get this one. I've been very pleased with my other BD harnesses in the past.


Big Wall Forum / Re: Fish Double Whammy for Sale (450)
« on: January 29, 2008, 09:11:11 am »

Big Wall Forum / Fish Double Whammy for Sale (450)
« on: January 29, 2008, 07:39:13 am »
There is a fish double whammy for sale over on mountain project. Its not mine. The person selling it has spent one night on it.

Just thought someone over here might be interested.

Big Wall Forum / Re: New Route in Patagonia (cross post from Supertopo)
« on: January 28, 2008, 03:13:06 pm »
Yes he was soloing. 34 days to get up and several to get down, plus a week or two of humping lods. Very impressive to say the least.

Big Wall Forum / Re: New choice in small cams?
« on: December 09, 2007, 09:36:24 am »

Big Wall Forum / Gear Review on Fish Smart Aiders and Pulleys
« on: November 22, 2007, 10:40:45 am »
I've posted up a couple of reviews over on that I thought someone over here might like to check out.

They are written for someone that is new to aiding and hauling so there is quite a bit of background information, (aka fluff).

Fish Smart Aiders

Pulleys and Hauling

I proof read my own stuff so if you find anything out of whack please let me know.

Happy Turkey day.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Metolius Offset TCU's
« on: November 05, 2007, 01:56:45 pm »

Big Wall Forum / Re: Aspiring aid climber greets you all
« on: October 26, 2007, 07:42:11 pm »
Sydney is a nice place, I"ve visited it a lots and climbed in the bluey's.

Have you been to Buffalo at all. The walls there look very promising.



Big Wall Forum / Re: FIsh Snake Charmer Grear Review
« on: October 26, 2007, 07:40:48 pm »
I used to use two rope bags, but this thing makes life so much easier. It has lots of extra loops and as mentioned above you can clip stuff below as well. For 50 bucks you can't go wrong.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Aspiring aid climber greets you all
« on: October 22, 2007, 11:16:30 am »
Welcome aboard...

Where about's in Aussie do you live? I use to live in Perth.

Big Wall Forum / FIsh Snake Charmer Grear Review
« on: October 22, 2007, 11:15:46 am »
I did a gear review on Fish's Snake Charmer Rope Bag, over on where I'm an administrator and I thought some folks over here might like to view it.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Metolius Offset TCU's
« on: August 23, 2007, 12:09:33 pm »
I use brought a set of these after what Pete said above. Thanks for the feedback. Right now they are on sale at Backcountrygear for 185.00. Due to arrive tomoorw in time for the weekend! I'll post up a review here and at mountainproject in a couple of months once i've got them well used.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Recommendations for a second set of camming units
« on: August 17, 2007, 12:19:56 pm »
I'm very happy with the ultralight tcu's and right now the Ultralite hybrid's are on sale at A set is 185.00. That's about 37 each. bang for the buck its hard to beat...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Haul Bag Prep
« on: July 09, 2007, 12:40:51 pm »
Thanks for the tips.

One thing that I've just tried is using a layer of thin cardboard on the side as well. Seems to work well and makes getting stuff in and out of the bag easy.

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