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Messages - Baltoro

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Big Wall Forum / Re: Dealing with sharp edges and soloing
« on: April 12, 2008, 11:26:48 am »
While the thinking in your picture is interesting, it doesn't really account for rope stretch. That section would have to be much longer than two feet unless the belay is just out of the picture below. When the rope stetches it's going to move that "runnered" section upwards, likely hitting whatever the next piece you've placed, possibly dislodging it and or making it irretreivably fixed.

That was always my concern with edge protectors that go on the rope. The potential for the rope to move and come in contact with whatever you're trying to protect it from seems too high. I used edge protectors a bunch when I used to do window washing but then we were dealing with a totally fixed rope that we ddin't have to jug back up.

While there's often no other recourse than "edge modification" that Mike mentioned, it's sad that we have to resort to that. I wonder the effectiveness of uber burly sandpaper on granite? Also, if no pro is available to reroute the rope around the edge than it seems like as an FA'ist, if your ego can handle it and you're not ruining the character of the pitch that it would be prudent to place a bolt or maybe better yet a rivet to help reroute the rope, even if it's not needed for actual progression. Hmm.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Kong Block Roll
« on: April 08, 2008, 06:03:43 pm »
Umm... I'm not sure. I rep for some outdoor companies and I figured Pete would be a good guy to get a product or two into his hands as he's pretty vocal when he likes something so I hooked him up with a Jetboil stove and hanging kit and I ended up getting the Kong at a discount. I think they retail for something like $120.

I've also seen a setup a friend has where he took a big 3" pulley and an ascender and had a metal shop friend combine the two without comprimising the strength which is pretty basic stuff for anyone who knows metal/welding.

Big Wall Forum / Re: My Russian Aiders came yesterday
« on: April 08, 2008, 01:13:16 pm »
I started a new thread for the Kong so folks could find any info when searching. Here's a link:

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 / Re: My Russian Aiders came yesterday
« on: April 07, 2008, 12:46:07 pm »
They do appear to be the Ural Sport version. I'm exploring options for beefing them up a bit.

So far I've used them for jugging and hauling, no leading yet other than a psuedo stick clipping bolt ladder adventure. It was on an overhanging face though.

They are very easy to stand tall in on steep rock. I didn't really bother to get that high in them as I couldn't reach the next bolt even if I top-stepped or top-ringed I guess.

When jugging they were a little wierd but I think once I'm used to them and get a sling length dialed in that works for me they'll be awesome. Nice not having your foot come out at all.

Hauling was where they really shined as there's so much mroe going on for your hands when hauling as compared to just jugging so it was nice to not worry about a foot slipping out of steps. Granted I was practicing my hauling ratchet setup so it was a bit more complicated than your regular pulley/ascender haul but they worked great nonetheless.

Never had my hook come out a ring when I didn't want it to.

One other huge convenience of the Ruskie setup was the lack of clutter when not leading, hauling or jugging. There's just so much less to get in the way.

A couple of things I changed and one alternative idea:

First I took a Petzl String to keep the ring-tree from moving around and this worked really well. Much less cluster in the basket of my lead oval than with my Yates BW ladders and adjustable daisys. Less likely to have the adjustables work their way off the oval and as a result lose the ring-trees.

Secondly I took a big step for me and put the two middle size cam hooks on a short piece of webbing that runs through the top of the ring-tree. I kept the length pretty short and no height is lost with a biner. It also keeps them very convenient and hopefully will force me to make more cam hook moves. We'll see as they may just get in the way but I think the sling is long enough to keep them out of the way until I need them.

The alternative idea I had still requires having the cuffs and eliminates some of the benefits of reduced cluster and what not but if you have the cuffs you can girth hitch a rap ring onto the hero loop of standard ladders. Now you have the top step benefits of traditional ladders but the ring convenience of the Ruskies for steep terrain. Probably a crappy combination of the two systems but might be nice for routes that change from slab to steep and back again.

So far so good.

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.

The weather looks better towards the end of the week so hopefully I'll have some reports on leading with the Ruskies later.

Big Wall Forum / Re: My Russian Aiders came yesterday
« on: March 25, 2008, 10:17:10 pm »
Russ is not currently doing the cuffs nor ir Russ currently doing much of anything as I guess they had two bartack machines go down, thus I'm still waiting for my Big Wall rope bucket and some other trinkets. The cuffs were a pair he had left over that look exactly like the ones Pete has in his Ultimate Blah blah thread on They are original, authentic, actual Russian Aiders, not a Fish makeup version. Why Russ still had them I don't know, but I'm psyched they are now in my possesion. The trick was hooking his wife up with a prodeal on a brand I rep for and in return he was nice enough to sell these cuffs. The trees he does have from the sound of it. Russ is a good guy by all indications I've ever heard and it was a pleasure doing business with him.

I'll keep you all posted on the aiders.

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 / Re: New thread: Zodiac clean
« on: March 22, 2008, 03:30:41 pm »
I'm shooting for Zodiac clean in the fall as well and here's what I'm bringing along (plus the usual stuff)

3x Peckers in each size #1-3, 9 total
1x 1/2" sawed angle and one 1/2" angle
1x 5/8" sawed angle and one 5/8" angle
2x 3/4" sawed angle and one 3/4" angle
2x 1" sawed angle and one 1" angle

The Supertaco arrow and KB assortment.

2 sets of CCH Hybrids from black/blue to yellow/red
2 sets of BD C3s
likely one set of Metolius offset TCU's and/or the new Master Cams
2 sets of Trango Ball-Nuts
2 sets of cam hooks
2 Pika Toucans
4 sets of HB offset nuts from 3-6
2 sets of HB nuts from 0-2
2 sets of DMM offsets from 7-11

I've found with the C3's and the CCH Hybrids that they both sometimes go where the other one won't. I'm hoping that either the Metolius offsets or the Master Cams will provide another option. It seems to me that having as many clean options as possible is the ticket, even if that means dragging along a little more shit.

Also, sometimes you have to take the placement that doesn't really yield you the distance between placements that you might like but it might allow you to skip that placement that might require the hammer.

Figure on going a little slower than you might if you were nailing and like Jake said, be prepared to go for the occasional ride and don't test fixed stuff. Well at least not too much. Just be quick on and off it.

Also for fixed Rurps and/or #1 Peckers, I've had good luck once with beefier key chains. You can thread them into the hole and clip a biner into that. Be quick as they don't inspire much confidence.

Third also, don't be afraid to equalize two or more placements that alone might be crap, but together might get you through without the hammer. That and do some 'fraid climbing. It's not quite free and it's not quite aid and you're definitely afraid! This might mean crimping for all your worth on that Huber's only edge out left while you scum your left shoe on that nubbin and proudly stand tall in your aider with your right foot for a move you'd never be able to make without partially getting out of your aid only mindset. Free shoes are a good thing sometimes, even for just a move or two to avoid the hammer. And chalk!! Chalk: It's not just for free climbing!

I'm psyched and I just climbed this morning!! I need to go clean house or something boring. Good thread!

PS-Notice I said "clean" house and not aid house!! Ha!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Best method for hauling multiple bags
« on: March 20, 2008, 12:45:54 pm »
Thanks Rags for the extra psyche! We're soon to be doing some early season PNW suffering to help build our tolerance for misery. That should help come October. Didn't someone, maybe Bridwell say, "Bigwall climbing is a lot like banging your head against a wall. It feels good when you stop."

Big Wall Forum / Re: Can I flag my BD Cliff Cabana?
« on: March 19, 2008, 10:46:27 am »
I also posted this over on the Taco and Euroford said you can in fact flag a Cliff Cabana. I guess the spreader bar is not structural per se, just helps in supporting when two people are on the bed. It's not exactly something that's easy to practice but I've got a spot in mind to try it out and I'll report back.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Best method for hauling multiple bags
« on: March 18, 2008, 11:06:12 pm »
We're figuring on 4 climbing days and will likely bring supplies for a 5th day just in case the weather doesn't cooperate since we're going in October which could be stellar or could force us to sit out a day or two. Especially on a route like Zodiac with easy hauling I'd rather bring an extra days worth of food/water and not need it than bail/suffer. My partner likely won't be able to pull off another trip to the Valley so I'm somewhat planning conservatively that this is really his only shot and he's really psyched to get up El Cap. I'm also being a little conservative on pitches per day as we've done some smaller stuff but nothing this big so I don't want to overestimate our abilities and wind up over our heads which I'm sure will happen anyways.

Also we've yet to put all the water, food, clothing, fly, etc. in a pig and see what it's like so we could be fine with one bag. We'll see.

I fully agree that it should/could go faster and that may be the case by the time we get down there and we're tuned up. Also I'd rather not have to dig around in a completely stuffed pig either. We may go with the big bag (El Cap) and a smaller bag like the Mescalito or Shield for our supplies for that day to keep from opening the big dog.

I'm also envisioning getting on something big solo eventually and if nothing else, two bags would make splitting the load for carrying easier.

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 / Re: Best method for hauling multiple bags
« on: March 18, 2008, 11:13:56 am »
Thanks for the input. I like the idea of being able to access both bags particularly for walls with a partner as you can each have your own bag.

Part of the problem is that the haul bags are drastically different in size (Metolius El Cap is and a Quarter Dome at I was thinking of packing mostly water in the smaller bag to help even out the weight. It would ride down below with most of the water and the food that we wouldn't need until later on the wall. That way we wouldn't even need to touch that bag until part way up the wall.

We'd also stash some tasty treats to give us something to look forward to so we wouldn't be looking at the same food every day, dreading the day when we'd have to eat the food we'd been putting off. I've had good success with this morale booster on longer backpacking trips.

Having the big monster bag not completely full will also allow for easier sifting through.

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 / Re: ultimate solo rope pack rig?
« on: February 26, 2008, 11:43:16 am »
I've got to admit I've never worn the rope while soloing so my opinion is a bit biased, but I don't get why you'd want to carry all that weight with you all the time. Do a good job stacking (ideally in a rope bucket/bag) and organizing your anchor and you should be good to go. Have your haul line set up in the continuous loop method and you eliminate another rope hanging off your ass.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Racking for efficiency
« on: February 20, 2008, 09:52:29 pm »
Just wait until you see locking wire gates!! They're coming...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Racking for efficiency
« on: February 20, 2008, 11:08:14 am »
Congrats on your new chest rig. I've loved mine. Here's what I've had pretty good luck with with some qualifying statements to think about while reading:

Some of this might be pretty basic for some of you but it might be helpful to someone else.

I like color coding stuff. Some people don't. I'm not organized in any other aspect of life (ask my wife) but i usually stay organized on the wall. One easy way of organizing that I find helps the most in re-racking gear onto the harness is the color coding of the Neutrino rackpacks with BD cams. I've got doubles of C3's and C4' up to 4" and singles to 6". They've all got a color matched Neutrino. The first cam is clipped to the loop and the second cam is clipped to the first cam's biner. This helps to control horizontal spread.

Dyneema is your friend. Slings add up quickly. Treat yourself to some fancy new slings, just replace accordingly. The weight is great but the biggest difference is in the bulk reduction and the ability to easily sort through you rack without wading through nylon.

Don't carry full size lockers on your harness. A couple BD Positrons are lovely. Don't bother carrying your anchor and/or hauling gear. Tag it up later. If soloing, don't carry your haul/tag rope up. Search for a PTPP post on the continuous loop method. Ignore the fifi-hauling one unless really brave (read stupid) but use that technique for your first haul off the ground unless the bags have the potential to roll down the hill on you.

Chest Harness- I added a 6mm tether with a locker that is tied into the point on the top of the right shoulder and is clipped back to that loop. It's long enough that if I need to clip gear for a big or awkward reach or cleaning where I might drop something. I also use this for achoring the harness when I reach the anchor.
Right side
Smaller front loop- Small cams, starting with offsets up to maybe big C3 size or so
Smaller back loop- small C4's, going up to maybe .5 or so
Big long loop- Tripled 24" 8mm Mammut slings with Neutrinos, qty. varies but usually 6 or so

Left Side
Smaller front loop- Cam hooks (often have one on each aider as well, the rest go here so I remember to use them, two or three ovals of nuts, going small to big, front to back. The oval with the big nuts also has a nut tool for gardening or reseting nuts I don't like
Smaller back loop- Bigger cams from .75 and up
Big long loop- Screamers with Neutrinos, usually 5-6

Before I put the harness on I do the around the torso thing with 3-4 48" slings. Clip them together at your chest and you can pull them off from under the chest harness. After I put the harness on and I'm all racked up I'll put 4-6 24" 8mm slings with a single Neutrino over my shoulder.

Waist Harness- (Yates Big Wall)
Right Side
Front loop- Sometimes medium cams if there's lots of big cam required. This tends to be where stuff goes that I don't want to deal with. It's sort of like a junk drawer I guess. I try and keep it empty, or close to it to keep stuff from building up there. A nut tool usually lives here regularly as well.
Back loop- Some free lockers (small ones and usually some big sewn 8mm runners (2-72", 1-96"). This is handy for minimzing rope drag on really wandering stuff or equalizing a bunch of crap together when the opportunity presents itself. Also use this for rigging a quick anchor when shortfixing. Otherwise I use dedicated anchor cordalettes and lockers that I'll tag up shortly before the belay is reached.
Hammer holster- Hammer w/sling girth hitched through the loop. I tend to bring the hammer along on anything I'm aiding as I'm big (250lbs.) and I think I'd leave behind a lot of nuts if I didn't so I use it for cleaning only. The cheesy gun saying applies, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." "Hammers (or pins) don't create scars, people create scars."

Left Side
Front loop- Free biners (I don't bring a ton of these as most of my slings are rigged as quickdraws and all my cams have their own biners. I tend to back clean a fair amount as well and that seems to save biners.
Back loop- Hooks. I usually bring a set of the BD hooks along, almost regardless of what the topo says (same goes for cam hooks) as it may be the quickest easiest placement.
Hammer holster- Water bottle lives here. I got one of those shorty Nalgene bottles with the small mouth. That seems to be just right for a pitch worth of work. You're usually thirsty at the end which is added incentive to finish the hauling ang get more water.

Back of harness
Haul point/chalk bag loop- chalk bag (don't underestimate the importance or usefulness of chalk even on terrain you'd never free. Sometimes that little crimp or gaston is very useful in getting into your upper steps. It's 'Fraid climbing. Part free, part aid. Fraid. Tag line already rigged to Mini-Traxion is clipped in first, then the chalk bag. You never unclip the tag line from your harness, you unclip the Mini-Traxion from the biner on the end of the tag, clip that to a piece above you and do your mini haul for more gear.
Big loop- Personal gear- grigri, ascender, atc w/prusik, oh shit kit (quick link, prusik, knife, whistle, bail webbing)

This setup doesn't even take into account pins or heads and tie off webbing which just adds to the fray (sorry, bad pun). Reduce the rest of the rack accordingy and tag more often. If soloing find out how to tag while solo (it's not that hard,  try it once). Good luck and report back!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Harnesses
« on: February 05, 2008, 12:42:25 pm »
Oh Feral Rat
As any good big wall bitcher should know, there is always a piece of gear to bitch about. That's why we aid climb! So there is lots of stuff around to blame our failures on and to help justify buying new gear later. Next time I'll have a set of my new Sierra Diamond Hybrid Megalots and I'll succeed!

Just think if you were a boulderer or worse yet a free soloist! Only having shoes and a chalk bag to blame things on?! What's the point!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Harnesses
« on: February 05, 2008, 10:51:56 am »
Well BD's new wall harness offering is up on their website. I played with it a little at OR. Seems pretty well put together. As for stiffess we'll see. The logic behind the double belay loop is that if you want two loops you've got them. If you don't want two loops, cut one off. Typically BD stuff is tough to beat, save for the haul bags, so this could be another nice option.

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 / Re: Short Fixing techniques and tips?
« on: January 09, 2008, 01:48:22 pm »
What about going to Lowe's or Home Depot and paying $8 for a pair of 1000lb. rated tie down straps with a buckle? The wear and tear wouldn't be such a concern as they are so cheap relative to Yates daisys and you could customize the length to suit your needs. I think I'm going to Lowe's after work!

Big Wall Forum / Re: 2008 goals
« on: January 06, 2008, 02:12:33 pm »
A solid two weeks in the Valley. This hopefully will include a couple of Grade V's or maybe one V and one VI.

Climb 100 pitches during 2008. The number is kind of arbitrary as I've never really kept track before so that number may be unrealistic or too easy. It sounded good though.

Lose 30-40lbs. I'm a big dude (245-255lbs. depending upon insulation needed) and add an aid rack and a couple ropes and this big walling crap is suddenly a lot of work. Well I guess it's a lot of work anyways, but I might as well not make it any harder than it needs to be.

Redpoint a 5.11

Big Wall Forum / Re: Common understanding for 'being smart with slings'?
« on: January 06, 2008, 02:06:16 pm »
It seems the 9 to 10 link-up would be a wise place to short fix. I'll likely be putting my money where my mouth is as WFLT is in my near future. Report back on what you do Munge.

Big Wall Forum / Re: micro hooking
« on: January 02, 2008, 04:31:53 pm »
I had a friend on top-rope for his first aid experience. The reason I typically do this is I gave him some requirements that people are usually more comfortable with on TR for their first time. I make him top step at least twice, and make one cam hook and one regular hook move. This tends to get the aid ball rolling rather than third stepping everything and only trusting bolts for your first several pitches.

Anyways, there's this nice little flake that makes a great hook placement. You could pick any hook with your eyes closed and it sits on there so well. He's working up in the steps and I let him know about this magic flake. He whips out some of the Leeper hooks and proceeds to place it and stand up on it. He's raving about how amazing these things are and then top steps off this and moves past it. As he's placing the next piece he sees the flake I was talking about 8" above where he hooked. Once I cleaned the pitch I checked out where he hooked as there was still a small scar from the placement and I could tell right where he placed it.

I've seen tick marks of chalk that were more substantial than this crystal he hooked! He missed the flake where you could leave the flake as pro, if you had to (you don't have to) and made the most insane hook placement I've ever seen. It was certainly an eye-opening experience for him as to the potential of hooks. Now I can pass off ay hooking leads to him so it's a win-win.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Common understanding for 'being smart with slings'?
« on: December 31, 2007, 01:02:11 pm »
One thing I've forgotten to factor in the past is if I'm shortfixing when "linking" the pitches. If so, you can go with a little less than you normally might if planning on linking traditionally as much of the second part of the "pitch" you'll be soloing and rope drag won't be an issue. Also, since you'll be getting more rope once your partner arrives at the belay you aren't as concerned about running out of rope and not making it to the next belay and thus keeping the rope running straight for length and/or drag concerns isn't as critical.

Otherwise, I've found when soloing I can obviously get away with far fewer slings, particularly if it doesn't traverse too much.

With a partner I've found a happy medium of 10-12 24" slings, 6-8 screamers, 4-6 48" slings and a couple of 72" slings always seem to come in handy. Keep in mind that longer is likely better for FA's as you may be wandering around a bit more.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Short Fixing Ettiquette Question
« on: November 06, 2007, 02:24:18 pm »
I am used to Lambone's method of three ropes if you're planning on hauling and shortfixing frequently.

Other than that, I was envisioning this method for routes such as Tangerine Trip, or anything with really steep sections where a hanging bag is not going to cause problems.

Obviously this is something that more often than not isn't worth the hassle, but sometimes it is. To me that's the ideal is having a variety of methods and techniques for doing tasks so that when the situation arises, you've got the skills to implement the ideal method and you don't just have to use the "normal" method which might suck in this situation.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Short Fixing Ettiquette Question
« on: November 01, 2007, 08:31:58 pm »
These is mostly theory as I have not done it myself but you can possibly link hauls, particulalry if it's very steep and thus a low risk of the bag hanging up and requiring someone to rap down to free it. The leader would essentially be shortfixing the haulrope, just like they would the lead rope, but in a way that would still allow the second to lower it out as needed from the second anchor. The second would skip hauling at the middle station and wait to haul from the next belay, thus only having to set up the haul once for two pitches. For most mortals this would reduce the number of hauling sessions to only a couple to a few times a day.

We tend to look at Supertopos and see the pitches we can link on lead, particularly if shortfixing or soloing (no rope drag). Why don't we look closer at which hauls can be linked as well as that's not always the same as linkable lead pitches? Maybe a belay has a crappy anchor placement thus requring you to haul over an edge or that pulls the bag into a corner or flake, almost guaranteeing the need to go down to free it.

The alternative beta of don't haul is certainly valid too. There's a lot to be said for a tiny pack for both climbers and at most a mini haul bag that can more or less be hand hauled or at least hauled with minimal effort and time.

Sorry for the ramblings of some stuck in an airport awaiting a flight...

still waiting...

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 / Re: Free A5 Big Wall Hammer contest
« on: July 25, 2007, 09:20:16 pm »
Was there ever any feedback on IceRavines answer? That one looks pretty promising.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Portaledge prep
« on: June 28, 2007, 10:19:10 am »
I like the webbing loops for organization and weighting it down, particularly if solo in high winds. Thus far no routes I have in mind would go well with flagging or would be done in a day or two with a natural ledge (WFLT and such) but I'd heard that tip from Kate as well and it makes great sense. As for setup, I'm good to go on that. Thanks.

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