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Messages - 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 Forum / Re: Totem Cams
« on: August 01, 2014, 10:49:05 am »
The OGL reviews are pretty ridiculous. They've reviewed some of the products I rep and certainly some competitor's items as well. The product is usually so out of the intended context and/or compared to completely unrelated styles.

We've seen this with other "review" sites that basically take whatever product they can get from vendors, pass it along to their bros and then expect a quality product on the back-end.

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 / Re: Kong block roll or 2:1 ratchet or both or what?
« on: April 17, 2014, 11:53:20 am »
I have a KBR and have used the 2:1. The simplicity of the KBR is nice but like a lot of things, if you learn the better technique you can get away with a better tool.

Cons for both-
The KBR is heavy, not cheap and bulky.
The 2:1 isn't really cheap either when you account for all the components, it requires more practice and correct technique than the KBR. There's more to go wrong in terms of not having it rigged properly.

Pros for both-
They both move a lot of weight well though the 2:1 is better when properly set up and executed.
The Kong is faster, so long as you can move the weight and don't have to stop and rest.
The 2:1 allows for easier knot passing if need be.

Overall I'm a bigger fan on the 2:1 and will use that on future walls. I'd also say that if you're fast and have relatively light loads you're probably better off with a decent pulley and ascender combo.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Yates Slimline Elite BW rope (10.3mm)
« on: October 09, 2013, 02:28:44 pm »
I've had two of the Yates 10.3 BW lines. I'd highly recommend that cord. They also aren't going to make that same one anymore so I'd pick it up for sure.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Haulbag to beg, borrow, steal, rent, or buy
« on: April 12, 2012, 01:46:57 pm »
I have a poorly thought out Mad Rock Haul Bag that's probably 5000 cubic inches or so. Once you're dragging it up the wall you won't notice it's flaws but the straps to carry it are a pain to get the thing on with a big load in it. I've yet to actually use it on a wall and just picked it up at OR one year. I'll sell it for what I have into it, maybe $30 plus shipping.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 04:13:04 pm »
That to me is one of the biggest appeals to a Kong style setup or the old pulley and jug method; the ability to take the teeth out of the equation easily when so desired is nice.

Scary with the Zion thing. It seems even jugging a weighted haul line is somewhat taboo or at least you don't hear a lot of people doing it or admitting to doing it. It would make sense in a team of three scenario where A leads, B lowers C and the bags out, C jugs and then hauls while A shortfixes and B cleans. That requires C having the balls/ovaries to ride the bags out and then jug with them below him/her. Probably no big deal on an overnight but for a longer wall with supplies for three that would be a bit unnerving to say the least. I'd throw a Shunt on there as a moveable back-up since no knots could be tied and no gri-gri added for security.

If you removed the teeth from the system above would you jug on the haul line with the bags hanging below you? I guess essentially you're doing this a bit in Far-End hauling, which prompted the thread but it somehow seems different to do this on every pitch in the scenario above.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 03:49:55 pm »
I've used an ID for commerical rope work and while ideal for a gri-gri and then some application I don't think it's the ticket.

I guess I should back this conversation up and say that I have a Kong with teeth I haul through. I have a Mini-trax I use like Mark does. I jug like the rest of us (without more grunting though) so I'm no stranger to teeth. It's purely a theoretical discussion for me as I think the tools that are out there already do a pretty good job.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 03:09:00 pm »
What was the Zion accident? Guy jugging a haul line with the haul bags weigting it from below?

I guess a Silent Partner would grab when pulled on hard from the "wrong" side.

I can't imagine the pinching action of the gri-gri would be good for a rope longterm but if you were hauling or jugging and it wasn't pinching in the same spot for an extended period of time I would imagine the rope would recover. In practice it wouldn't ever pinch in the same spot for more than a few minutes, if not seconds but I'm sure it would need to pinch without damaging for hours and hours if not days and days to be certifiable. I get that the spring on a toothed device is just to get the teeth to bite and that's where the teeth come in to do the dirty work. I'm just saying there's some level of friction there, however minimal.

I don't see any current device that would do the trick, it would just be interesting to see what the companies could come up with if building a hauler/jugging tool without teeth was the task.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 02:26:54 pm »
That's the trick I guess is getting the grab to grab without causing a massive amount of friction. I would imagine there's a certain amount of friction in toothed devices as well as the teeth are under spring tension, obviously not to the extent that a rope runs through a gri-gri type friction but there is some.

Anybody ever tried hauling with a silent partner? I've never used one personally for anything but theoretically it might work, eliminate teeth from the equation and run with minimal friction.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:55:07 pm »
I'd certainly agree that a gri-gri or cinch would not be an ideal replacement but what it a device was engineered with minimal friction in mind with no teeth but for a hauling or jugging application?

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 12:25:53 pm »
So side discussion here but related- Are camming grabs such as gri-gris and shunts better for a rope than toothed devices? I realize the answer initially seems obvious for a dynamic grab such as a fall but what about long term holding?

The other thread showing haul bag attachment options shows Mark attaching the pig to the line with a Mini-trax which affords many options. What if you replaced that with a gri-gri? Would that bend in the rope constantly pinching do any damage longterm to the rope? Would a Pro-trax or Mini-trax or Kong type device be better if it incorporated a more gentle camming grab rather than a toothed grab? Is that the dream device? Jugs and compound pullies that have no teeth? Hmm... It would eliminate some concerns over short falls onto your jugs, rapping from a toothed device and more I'm sure. Too much friction? How would the rope wear longterm? Hmm...


Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 28, 2012, 11:43:56 am »
Is seems like an appropriate time to include the requisite "yer gunna die" comment.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 22, 2012, 01:36:44 pm »
Pete- I think Mark might be refering to Step 6 in your process where you clip a jug to the haul line to power the Far End setup. Theoretically if that jug was still connected to you via a daisy or anything really and the haul line somehow got the chop from the toothed cam above that the bag would then plummet until your connection to the jug caught it, in which case it would probably hurt and/or break things.

Maybe I'm wrong but that's where I think Mark is going.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Securing the rope while Far End Hauling
« on: March 12, 2012, 01:46:35 pm »
That's part of what I like about the Kong Block-Roll dealio; you can fix the rope above the cam, unweight the cam and its evil teeth are no longer in the system. The trick is getting the weight off the teeth to release it. I'm a big dude and can counter the weight of the bags ok to release so no mini-haul is need for me. Assuming you have some up and down range and that the bags aren't completely stuck I would go through this process:

Clip my gri-gri into the haul line above the Kong- the visual would be the line going up from the stuck bags, through the cam, up and over the pulley and then down to my gri-gri.
I would cinch the gr-gri tight enough to take the weigh of the bags onto me and then release the cam on the Kong.
Then once the bags are weighted by me I would put a kliemheist on the rope below the pulley on the bag side. I'd lower out on the gri-gr until the kliemheist took the load. Ideally this would be a little ways below the cam and pulley on the Kong as its easier to rig it up again later as I may only be far-end hauling for a few feet.
I'd finish the process by putting a back-up knot on the haulline above the kliemheist.
Then I'd be rapping on my lead line with the haul line held by the friction knot with a back-up knot. The toothed cam is out of the picture until I want it to be in again.
After rapping down, doing the far-end hauling and then jugging back up I could slip the haulline rope back into the Kong, close the cam, undo the back-up knot, run the haul line over the pulley again, apply my ascender/ladder to the non-pig side and take up some tension.
That will release the load off the kliemheist and I can remove that from the pig side of the haulline and start hauling again only to have to repeat the whole process again in a few minutes on this pitch or best case scenario on the next pitch.

I think I forgot everything. Oh and next time I'd make sure to solo something steeper where the bags won't get hung up so often.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Three New Route Panos on El Cap Panos!
« on: January 27, 2012, 07:27:41 pm »
I just received my Zodiac pano and is awesome. Looking forward to hanging it up for inspiration.

Good call to have the figurines to help the family follow your progress at home. Maybe I'll glue the poster to metal and make some magnets.

Thanks a ton Mark!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Rapping the base of Leaning Tower
« on: January 08, 2012, 10:44:20 pm »
On a solo mission with the ropes you had it sounded like you could lower the pig via a grigri redirected through the anchor, passing the knot along the way, drop the ropes then redo the traverse in reverse unencumbered by the pig. Then you'd get to do that stretch right below the camping spot without the pig and all the hike down until you pick it up at the base. This tactic probably isn't a good idea if anyone else is above you as despite the steepness things certainly land at the base there but when you have the wall to yourself it seems like a good plan.

Big Wall Forum / Re: High mileage guys on South Seas > PO
« on: December 06, 2011, 11:23:27 am »
I've had good luck with lowerouts using a fifi hook on a long sling. You put a cord through the top hole on the fifi hook and can clip another long sling to that. Say you need 48" of lowerout, plus a little mini-penji. By using two 48" slings and the fifi you can pop the fifi remotely. Theoretically you could do this with any length of lowerout but it does require some piece of fixed gear to lower from but not necassarily a sling. It's also quicker to rig than doing the same thing with the rope and a rap device. I tend to just clean with it hanging from my tie in point. I also keep the nut tool attached to that and can clip a piece to be cleaned to it as well to avoid droppage.

I guess if you wanted to get really creative you could lower out from a horizontally placed hook and do the same trick though I suppose with a hook you could probably just flick it with the lowerout cord to set it free. I used to do variations on both of these tricks in a former life as a rappelling window washer. The lower you got on your drop the easier it was to swing over and get other rows of windows that weren't directly below your anchor. Up high is was tough so a little creativity in hooking and tensioning sideways went a long ways in possibly saving you from having to bump your anchor over just a few feet. That savings in time adds up on a buidling you might be washing for a week.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Aiding in the cold
« on: November 27, 2011, 10:21:16 pm »
They may not be any better in the long run but you might check out Russian aiders for cold weather aiding as you're boot gets strapped in at the bottom and essentially stays in the step until you summit. They would require a little more fiddling with your hands at times to get the hooks in the rings but seem like they'd be ideal for big boot aiding.

Another deal I've had good luck with is wearing hand warmers next to your wrists where all the blood flows through to and from your hands. You'll need something to hold them in place and sometimes your gloves or a wrist warmer works, just make sure you're not cutting off any circulation.

Good luck.


Big Wall Forum / Re: Racking for efficiency
« on: October 11, 2011, 02:55:32 pm »
I know for me I came into the game late enough and with an industry discount so it's all wires for me. On a big wall rack the savings really add up.

Also, from a pure safety standpoint wires have some benefits. Better in ice/snow as well as less likely to get gate lash and be open during loading.

Use that to pitch the 'biner replacement initiative to your CFO/wife. "It's a safety issue dear".

Report back if that actually works. 

Big Wall Forum / Re: Racking for efficiency
« on: October 11, 2011, 11:07:25 am »
HW=Hardware I presume

Big Wall Forum / Re: Wall Tunes- Ipod and ?
« on: October 06, 2011, 12:38:19 pm »
That works too. I just haven't found one that stood up to the task.

Isn't overthinking it kind of part of the bigwall spirit though?

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 / Re: Daisy Chains and Tethers
« on: September 01, 2011, 01:17:45 pm »
Mark I thought the same thing regarding different systems for upper and lower jugs. I treat them as more or less interchangeable. I prefer the left one on top but often find myself in situations that the right one ends up above.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« 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.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Portaledge Design Discussion
« on: July 22, 2011, 11:01:52 am »
Gore-tex would not be an ideal fabric for a ledge fly. Gore needs to be pretty close to the skin to be breathable. Essentially it needs the atmosphere your body generatesd to push the moisture through. No pushing due to distance from skin = no breathing.

Most of the single wall tent out there use some sort of variation. My guess would be that it's less protected on the inside than GoreTex allowing for more breathability but less durabulity. The inside of any tent or ledge fly is going to see significantly less abrasion and friction than the inside of a jacket so less need for durabilty and it would enhance breathability quite a bit. Some speculation there but that would be my somewhat educated guess.

Big Wall Forum / Re: 100m hauline?
« on: July 01, 2011, 02:41:29 pm »
I bought the same 9mmx100m spool and ended up cutting it to 80m. I figured the extra 10m might be helpful when doing full length raps with a pig as the 80m static should get to where the 70m lead cord would. Plus all the other reasons you mentioned.

Big Wall Forum / Re: defeating wall rats on heart ledges
« on: April 18, 2011, 11:21:31 am »
If it was peak wall season you might be able to pay one of the Monkeys at the bridge to sit on Heart with your food and guard it.

As for actual useful advice, I saw Mark and John used some bags made from a wide mesh or maybe netting to secure some of their stuff on one of those ledges. That way there was nothing to chew through and if everything is in hard containers then theoretically you'd be good.

Either that or build a small altar of food off to the side that hopefully they'd get fat on and you'd be back before they were hungry for more.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Thoughts on runners/draws for solo-aid
« on: April 18, 2011, 10:42:03 am »
I considered the sharp edges and most of the other beta but not Mike's point about the ropes dynamics. Makes sense.

I'm a firm believer that falling a little further while rope stretches and screamers deploy is probably better than the top piece blowing and falling considerably farther.

Nice to have an aid relavent topic every once in awhile.

Thanks for the input from everyone.

Oh and I did the regular 2nd pitch that Garbonzo avoided via the Plank's roof. Not sure if Jake is refering to that as a "wet waiting lady" because it's described as wet and dirty in Supertopo or if the wet has other meanings. For what it's worth the only part that appears to be wet and dirty is right past the tree, off the slab for about 20ft. or so. After you pull a little roof onto a hanging slab above there's no more dirt and wetness. It will definitely go at C2, maybe C3, just make sure to bring the #4 or be more aggressive in getting out of the aiders at the crux. It's probably easier to halfway free the move than try and aid it with a #3 as your biggest piece.

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