Author Topic: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo  (Read 8053 times)

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Offline mhudon

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2011, 02:22:24 pm »
Thanks, Mike.

I think the way I've shown is a good way to go and probably a good point to start at. Once you understand it, you can modify it like Mike suggests.

Offline scotto

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2011, 02:56:39 pm »
I picked up a 50'x8mm cord and a steel biner for the grigri today. I leave tomorrow afternoon to go practice everything.

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2011, 07:57:29 pm »
you can register for any number of days up to the current stay limit.  It's also worth asking about cancellations at the pines campsites - cheaper if you've got a big group (since you pay by the site rather than the body), sites are generally quieter, and the rangers are way more polite.   They're always booked miles in advance, but lots of people back out.

Offline johnmac

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2011, 09:05:52 pm »
I kind of view tagging as a pretty specialized technique that you add to your systems once everything else is figured out. Right now, on your first aid solo I would keep it simple.

Offline Mike.

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2011, 10:01:14 am »
I was thinking the same thing. More things to, potentially, cause a problem--especially for a low mileage guy.


scotto, I would get the rope management down cold, which probably means no more than getting your rope buckets and using them a few times at a belay off the deck. Practice quickly stacking the ropes; you'll spend a lot of time doing it. Consider horiz pitches which make the ropes want to spin out of the bag. I mitigate that by tucking the hauler (and extra gear if needed) between the stacked haul rope and the inside of the bag versus just laying on top of the pile. Simple as that; nothing to rig. Once the lead and tag line spin out of the bag, the unraveling will stop when it gets to the hauler. With nobody down there to fix things, and the wind howling, you need to be wired with the management. (And know when it's too windy to climb.) Rapping down your 8mm off the lead sucks; trying to get a 400' loop off a flake snag somewhere off route would suck worse. The Fish Snake Charmer is the ultimate tool for the job; well worth the investment for soloing.
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline mhudon

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2011, 10:23:05 am »
I'm sort of a "take everything" kind of guy when I lead and, actually, I can't remember the last time I needed to tag for a piece of gear (actually I did once on ZM but I was being scared and lazy). I'm actually pretty excited to try Mike's technique of "tagging" only the hauler and haul line on my next solo (TBA).

Offline lambone

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2011, 02:47:37 pm »
I wish I had known how lonely soloing El Cap could be. Gimme a partner that makes me laugh any day...

Offline scotto

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2011, 11:08:55 am »
Well, my practice trip went less well than expected. I spent two days teaching a friend of mine to aid, which went well. Unfortunately, when I started soloing, I got about 30 feet up Invisible Airways before bailing due to pelting hail and a severe thunderstorm that came out of nowhere. Now I'm sick to boot.

Thanks for all the advice everyone. I'm unfortunately not going to have another chance to practice solo before getting to the valley. I might try to solo Leaning Tower. Alternately, if anyone would like a partner for El Cap, I'm game.

Offline mhudon

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2011, 11:16:18 am »
It's a long road, Scott, check out Lambone's Shield TR and my ZM photos. I'm sure you'll be able to glean some understanding from them. My set has a lot of solo anchor shots.

Offline passthepitonspete

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2011, 10:25:25 pm »
Lots of good advice here from REAL big wall soloists.  Sometimes you have sift through a lot of Big Wall Theory before you can find what you need, but there's lots of good stuff here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What`s the 8mm cord for?

Cheers,
Pete
Dr. Piton says, "There is always a Better Way!"

Offline giegs

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2011, 04:56:07 pm »
How much fun I'd have figuring everything out on my own and sorting out all my mistakes. There's an unexpected pleasure to be had in knowing that it's all your fault. I should have been doing this years ago.


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

Need way more practice.

Offline scottydo

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #41 on: July 27, 2011, 06:12:07 pm »
Biggest thing I learned was how much stinking work it is! (that's why we're all have a screw loose right?) But if you enjoy it, then it totally worth it.

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

For your first solo, I just recommend to start on something low key. Have fun dude (and practice your systems!!)

Offline scotto

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2011, 05:52:06 pm »
Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I'm now back at home after two months of climbing. I ended up finding a partner in the valley, so I didn't solo anything. I'm glad of that, because I'd prefer that my initial solo mileage come on climbs that I'm already familiar with. I'll take a crack at it this fall at Looking Glass.

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

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

I'm going to work on a trip report. I took one nasty fall and would love to get some input about the events leading up to it from some of you guys with way more mileage than me.

skully

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #43 on: August 22, 2011, 08:08:30 pm »
Well, if you spill about it, then I'm sure you know it'll get assessed(whoa, that's a buncha s's), so it's all good, or it ain't.
I imagine it'll be fine. Small fire's pretty consistent. Let's dig yer trip. As always. ;-)

Offline Mike.

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #44 on: August 22, 2011, 09:24:07 pm »


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


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



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

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



Edited to give more space to that quote in the purple box.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 09:35:07 pm by Mike. »
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline Baltoro

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #45 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.
Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I am too lazy to do either.
M. Twight

skully

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #46 on: August 23, 2011, 06:05:00 pm »
Word, you guys. I've learned vast things about myself & what I can do by just gettin' out there.
Of course, none of my solos have been hairball, either. Modern A3 or Old A3+. Just be thorough. Never shortcut yourself.
Know your systems & use them.

Offline scotto

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2011, 10:21:33 am »
Trip report is up.

Offline Mike.

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2011, 01:54:59 pm »
If you were soloing you wouldn't have skimped out on your rack and that fall would have been like many others in that spot: NBD. But you got aggro because you felt like your partner was helping you send, which of course he wasn't because he agreed to eschew the published rack suggestion of 2-3 .5"-1" cams.

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

See what I mean about soloing being an advantage? You would have been more scared, but I'll bet you would never have whipped like that on solo.
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline scotto

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Re: Things you wish you knew before your first aid solo
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2013, 05:14:09 pm »
If you were soloing you wouldn't have skimped out on your rack and that fall would have been like many others in that spot: NBD. But you got aggro because you felt like your partner was helping you send, which of course he wasn't because he agreed to eschew the published rack suggestion of 2-3 .5"-1" cams.

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

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

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

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