Author Topic: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!  (Read 6218 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« on: January 07, 2012, 03:45:45 pm »
I went to a local crag here in the Baltimore area today and set up a fixed rope on an easily protected 5.9 and made my first foray into aid.  I'm terrible at it!  But, I'm also totally hooked so maybe I'll get good at some point.  My wife is my usual climbing partner so I'm learning to do this solo to give me something to do when she works on Saturdays.  I just top-roped using my grigri as a belay and there were some successes and failures.

Let's start with the success (ascending):

-Ascending went alright.  I only own one ascender right now so I rigged up the ascender/grigri system for jugging.  It went alright but it was really punishing on my arms, even though I'm pretty sure I had the length of my daisy correct.  I realized later on that I should probably have been putting both feet in the step on the aider.  Is that correct?  I was just kind of dangling my right foot, which doesn't seem very smart in hindsight.

-When ascending past a roof, is a bit of groveling and scraping normal?  The roof wasn't too big so I was able to kick off the wall a bit to help matters, but I was trying to imagine what it would be like on a larger roof.

-What is the right order for connecting to the ascender with the daisy and aider?  I was connecting the daisy slightly less than arm's length with a locker and clipping the oval that had the aider into the locker, sort of the opposite of the order I used when climbing.  Is that right?

The failure (climbing):

-I made it through only about fifteen feet of actual climbing before I was too tired to continue.  It took nearly an hour to go those 15 feet and involved a lot of thrashing and struggling to stay standing as I climbed the aider.  There were lots of holds but it still wasn't enough.  I think the problem is I'm unclear as to where I should be hooking the fifi.  Do I hook it directly into the piece?  I was trying to hook into the daisy but it was darn near impossible to get it one handed while I was desperately clinging to the rock.  I could get it hooked, but not on a high enough loop that it would help me stay standing.

-I now understand why soloists will rap the haul line down to the bottom.  I hung my fixed rope with two tails and could have rapped the free end with my spare reverso when I gave up mid-climb but I had neglected to connect it to my harness when I started to climb.  As a result, I got a crash course in down-aiding to get down and retrieve my gear.

I might think of more questions or lessons learned later, but maybe some of you could help me with some of those issues?

Thanks!

---Taylor

Offline xtrmecat

  • A3 Fool
  • ****
  • Posts: 105
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 05:28:21 pm »
  Well, well, well. What makes you think that any of the rest of us did any better on our first aid day out? I will bite, and try to answer, but I do not have the mileage of many posters and regulars on this forum, but will try my best to be accurate and clear.

-Ascending went alright.  I only own one ascender right now so I rigged up the ascender/grigri system for jugging.  It went alright but it was really punishing on my arms, even though I'm pretty sure I had the length of my daisy correct.  I realized later on that I should probably have been putting both feet in the step on the aider.  Is that correct?  I was just kind of dangling my right foot, which doesn't seem very smart in hindsight.

  There are a few pages written up by cavers on froggy style ascending, and it does make sense to use both legs, not carry one up as an extra 40 pounds of dead weight. Lesson learned. I have a partner that did a larger route with me last spring, and he used your setup,and although not what I think is the optimum system, he was able to follow the last pitches as fast as anyone I have seen, and some were not straight forward either. Can it be done this way? Yes, but it is my thought that two ascenders is way easier. I will say this due to I found that the ascenders and daisy hookups are not there for me to pull myself up on, or lean back on. They are there as my tool for a lettle semblance of balance, and my arms do no climbing, just keeping the ascenders going up the rope is enough work for them. How long can you walk on your arms? or legs? Which is capable of the most work? Kind of see the point? I try to stay in a very upright position, and get a rythym going, that requires the least amount of arms to stay in balance. If I am traversing or overhanging, then naturally this is a mute point, but I hope you can see where I am headed.

-I now understand why soloists will rap the haul line down to the bottom.  I hung my fixed rope with two tails and could have rapped the free end with my spare reverso when I gave up mid-climb but I had neglected to connect it to my harness when I started to climb.  As a result, I got a crash course in down-aiding to get down and retrieve my gear.


  The roofs only present a problem that I can recall, right at the lip. Prior to this, I am free hanging, and the spinning is the crux for me, read bang my head against the lip when ill timed. Getting the jug over the lip on smaller roofs, or at least one that has something I can push off with a foot is no biggie, but a roof tha bears a lot of weight against the rope may require the top jug taken off the line and moved over the lip and re attached, moved up, and then followed with the lower. Once or twice of this and the kinks will be worked out.

What is the right order for connecting to the ascender with the daisy and aider?  I was connecting the daisy slightly less than arm's length with a locker and clipping the oval that had the aider into the locker, sort of the opposite of the order I used when climbing.  Is that right?

  I am not quite sure what point is being addressed here, but if the order of the biners is the question, does it matter? I uaually have my ladder(adjustable stirrupss for me)attached to the ascender, and the daisy( also adjustable unit) clipped into that biner. Neither of mine are lockers, but I also use a locker to tie in short on my slack end of line so I feel I am sufficiently covered from a safety point of view.


-I made it through only about fifteen feet of actual climbing before I was too tired to continue.  It took nearly an hour to go those 15 feet and involved a lot of thrashing and struggling to stay standing as I climbed the aider.  There were lots of holds but it still wasn't enough.  I think the problem is I'm unclear as to where I should be hooking the fifi.  Do I hook it directly into the piece?  I was trying to hook into the daisy but it was darn near impossible to get it one handed while I was desperately clinging to the rock.  I could get it hooked, but not on a high enough loop that it would help me stay standing.

  I may be wrong here, so feel free to correct me. You are trying to connect the fifi to lean back on, right? I no longer use a fifi, and I think I remember that hooking it to daisy issues sometimes due to rack, fat belly, winter clothing and such in the way. Now my sequence goes something like this. I clip the high piece with a daisy, and a draw or free biner that will later be used to protect when I clip the rope, and then my adjustable ladders
are clipped into the daisy biner, I work as high as I can with my feet, not even worrying about the daisy until I am just past it with my waist, then I kind of seat of the pants guess how mush daisy tension to take to reach my next placement and tensin it then, and continue to move my feet up until I am either 1Where I need to be for placing the next piece, or 2 top stepping and coming tight on the daisy. At the highest point I go with my feet, the daisy just serves as the third leg to hold me in to the wall as I reach up and push with my legs. Not ever to sit against, this is just too low of a position for effecient progress.
 There are other methods, and many do not even use a daisy. One of the best places to view this is Ron and Jeffs video of Touchstone and Lodestone, the video is called Clean Walls. Ron steps high on one foot, uses his hand to balance while he slips his unused foot through between his leg and the wall, then pushes with oposing force to hold him into the wall. He calls it Ting off, and I have used it many times, it works. For the most part though, I use the downward pull of the daisy against the upward push of my legs to hold me in check while I fumble in the next piece. It is just what seems fastest to me.
Also the statement of being worked just to stay clinging to the rock, kind of sound to me that you may be stressing a little. We climb to enjoy what we do, and although we rarely enjoy all the busted knuckles and worn through fingers, and the workload can hardly seem to be fun, it seems to me that a lot of energy can be conserved with a relaxed comfortable posture, kind of a zen like thing. I find myself singing or humming to myself, and even crack a smile when on the sharp  end. Relax a little, and make it fun.

-I now understand why soloists will rap the haul line down to the bottom.  I hung my fixed rope with two tails and could have rapped the free end with my spare reverso when I gave up mid-climb but I had neglected to connect it to my harness when I started to climb.  As a result, I got a crash course in down-aiding to get down and retrieve my gear.


  You already had the gri gri as your belay right? Why not just pull it tight and take, and then rap the strand you were already on and clean the piece as you lower by it? Maybe I am misunderstanding, but you were already there, and if nervous about decking when cleaning, should you need both hands for trickery, just throw a knott in the spare strand hanging down to keep you safe?

  Keep at it, it sounds way easier to a climber than it really is. Lots of things do not sequence in real use as we thought it would in our minds. After a few pitches though you will get the little things worked out and it will all come together. Then the work can begin. I have a very long pitch that goes free at a sandbagged 5.9 that took me most of the day the first few times up. An aweful right leaning corner, less than verticle. I hated it the first few times, but it taught me many lessons in looking ahead, balance, what goes where and when, etc., adnauseum. While it may not seem like it, you are through the worst of it, now just need to fine tune what you already have. Then, and only then can you ruin your life like the rest of us here. It is an illness I tell you, a downright ugly disease. And although I will die with it with a smile on my face, I hope I will not die from it. And even if I do, that isn't such a bad way to go, giving 110% to your passion. Happy motoring.

Burly Bob

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2012, 05:38:50 pm »
I think the problem is I'm unclear as to where I should be hooking the fifi.  Do I hook it directly into the piece?

Best advice: on vertical to less-then-vertical rock, don't use a fifi at all for upwards progress, if you're needing to rest then you can hook it wherever you want.
Mark can talk about rest-stepping with your aiders if you're using two sets. I use one set* so I (sometimes) use a T-step** if I need support for top stepping
Otherwise, if you want to use a fifi, clip it to the biner that is attached to your aiders that you clipped to the piece of protection.

* Can you rest step when using one set of aiders? From what I know about it, it seems like you can't, buuuuuuuuut, i'm always up for more info.

** T-stepping is where you will take your upper foot, fold it in front of your aiders to make a figure 4 shape, then trap it in place with the pressure of the adier being cammed intot he wall by your lower foot. I'm assuming that doesn't help with a visual so I'll try again.
step 1: realize, "crap, I need to top step in my aiders but the angle of the wall is going to make me fall backwards!!!"
step 2: place your lower foot in the highest step of the ladder that you'll need to accomplish said top-step move.
step 3: using that lower foot, pull the aider back from the wall to give yourself space to place your other leg between the aider and the wall.
step 4: take your higher foot and fold it between the wall and the aiders; it will create a figure 4 shape where your toe is pointing down and your heel pointing up.
step 5: allow the aiders to move back to the wall by ceasing to pull the aiders back from the wall.
          - this will have the effect of trapping your higher foot/leg in place between the aider and the wall
step 6. stand up on the lower foot now. You will notice that the camming action of the weight of your body pushing the aider against the wall will work against the higher leg that is trapped.
step 7: you are now T-stepping and achieving the same counter-acting forces that are produced by using a fifi to pull down while you top step.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

skully

  • Guest
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 09:19:58 pm »
Hang in there & work it out, BCorn. Howdy, BTW.
Bob has it right. Cobbledik has some gems there, too. It DOES get quicker & easier with practice. Seriously.
I use daisys & a fifi(of sorts) & I seem to make it work.  I'll hook right into the piece.There are various styles.  You'll find yours if you keep at it.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 11:54:26 am »
Thanks for the tips, everyone.  I went back to the same place on Sunday with my wife.  I free climbed a nearby route and got some more practice jugging while I cleaned my own gear.  The whole process went a lot better (boy it's hard to clean even when there's a slight traverse), however there was no roof so no chance to work on my skills jugging a free hanging rope.  I'll have to wait until next Saturday but I'm excited to try that again plus I now know to clip the fifi into the biner on the aider.  I only use two aiders so I can't do the nifty rest step I've seen Mark Hudon and others talk about but the T-ing off suggestion intrigues me.  I can't wait to try it.

I'm sure I'll be back again soon with more questions.

Thanks!

---Taylor

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 09:15:01 am »
Corn,

I'm not ignoring you here, I have plenty to say on this subject but right now I'm in the middle of putting together a website to sell my El Cap Panos and writing a few other things. I'll post some tips here eventually.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2012, 01:38:08 pm »
Success!  I went to a different area today (still near Baltimore) and tried a 5.8+ that seemed like it might be more straightforward than the one I tried last week.  It's a 35 foot crack mostly in the hand size.  I used a variety of pieces ranging in size from a #4 BD stopper to the largest RE Durango cam which is about fist sized.  Just like last time, I self-belayed with a grigri on a fixed top-rope.

Here's some things I learned (in no particular order):

-Small progress is better than no progress.  Some of my pieces were a foot apart but they allowed me to get into a new position where I could have more options.  Much better than just flailing trying to stand higher on the current piece and getting tired.

-No matter how easy Chris McNamara makes it look, just walking up those ladders is hard.  A lot of the time it went like this: fifi into daisy - rest - move fifi higher into grab loop - rest - move fifi into daisy's locker - rest - move fifi into oval on the piece - rest - look for next gear.  Throw in a lot of shuffling feet in and our of steps and smearing the wall and you can picture how long it sometimes took.  I know it's extremely inefficient but I'm soft.  It did get faster on my second run.

-Most of the action for me happened in the fourth step.  I was really proud when I managed to get into the third step a couple of times.  I think a beefier harness might help me try to get into the second or top steps.  My hips hurt a bit just from trying to get into the third.

-The T-ing off technique worked.  I used it each time I had to pass a very small roof.  I wasn't able to use it to get any higher in the steps but it helped save my arms when trying to get the fifi hooked in.

-I need gloves and knee pads.  Scabs make you look hardcore but still... meh.  The worst damage was when I rapped down after my first climb.  I tripped on my aiders.  What a chump...lol

-My fear of heights is receding the more time I spend hanging on gear.  I also spend so much time thinking about avoiding clusters that I forget look down anyway.  My fear of falling is still there but I'll get to that eventually.

-Bounce testing is great!  It really helps boost my confidence.  When I bounce test I've got my weight on the last piece, I stick my foot in a low step on the new piece, and I slam my leg downward as hard as I can about 10 times.  Is that enough force to count as a good bounce test?  Or is that over-doing it?

-I was really worried about daisy falls after hearing all the usual horror stories, now not so much.  Let's call it vigilant but not worried.  There's only about a 3-5 second window where it could happen, anyway.  It only takes about that long for me to get on the new piece, fifi in low on the daisy, and unclip the lower aider.  Maybe if I ever do hard aid I should worry more but that's a problem for another day.

-I bought hexes years ago because I was a noob who didn't know any better but I'm finding I use them fairly often.  I placed one or two each climb.  We don't really get the splitter cracks much here in Maryland like a lot of you are used to so there are lots of opportunities to use them sideways as very large stoppers.  Cams definitely are the greatest invention ever, though.

As usual, I welcome your comments, tips, and suggestions.

Thanks,
---Taylor

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2012, 02:28:10 pm »
I forgot to mention:

-I also used the thread two nuts through each other for extra reach trick.  Nifty!

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 07:02:45 pm »
Taylor,
Work on "free climbing" in your aiders, you should try to move in balance to a balanced position. If the rock is less that vertical you probably won't need a fifi hook or daisy, sometimes merely putting on foot behind the other will hold you in. Keep at it, when I was first learning to aid climb it was the most pumping experience of my life, now, I climb whole pitches without ever using a daisy or fifi.

Learn how to "rest step".  I climb with four aiders, two on a biner. I reach up, clip an aider into a piece (alway clip as high on the piece as you can. Clip directly into the wire, not the webbing on cams, directly into the wire of a nut, directly into the sling from a rurp, hook, beak or cam hook) I now have two aiders hanging down from one piece. This will vary with your body size but if my right foot is in my second step I can put my left foot into my first step and drop my knee down, tucking my foot behind my butt. I am now wedged comfortable in place, quickly, easily and hands free. I can do this on fairly steep overhangs (on the whole Shield headwall, I never once used a daisy or fifi).

Start with that and get that wired. Once you do, you'll be casually sitting on your foot, arms free and able to calmly look for the next piece.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 07:27:05 pm by mhudon »

skully

  • Guest
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 10:14:15 pm »
It's true...

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2012, 11:58:56 am »
For bounce testing: slamming your foot down while the majority of your weight is still on the previous piece will work much of the time, but to realy test something, you'll want most of your weight over the new piece with a foot in the previous aider as backup. You can produce a looooot more force when you bounce your body than when you slam your foot. This will seem scarier (because it is) at first because you'll feel like you'll fall, but having a foot in the previous aider (and a hand too probably) will allow you to catch yourself without thinking long before the dreaded daisy fall.

Think of moving up as a big pullup. Screw the fifi hook until you're ready to put it into the piece or ladder oval. Instead attempt to move up multiple steps in one fluid upward thrust. (granted, this is a hell of a lot easier in ladders than etreirs (etriers?). Another trick for this is to hold your weight on your hand/arm to put one foot in a higher step, then (before stepping up) place your next foot in the higher step sideways (big toe up) this will allow you to swiftly transition from the lower foot to the higher foot as you're moving up by rolling the foot into place. (helps to do it to see what's going on)

when you find yourself on rivet ladders in the future, remember the two nut trick. You can pull the head of one of the nuts down and use that to lasso a just-out-of-reach-because-everyone-that-drills-rivet-ladders-is-f##king-taller-than-me-god-I-hate-being-short rivet. OR do yourself a favor and get some of Mucci's cheat-hangers-wait-not-cheat-I-meant-to-say-extender-definately-not-cheat-hanger rivet extenders. I have one and love it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BigWall-Aid-climbing-Extender-Rivet-Hangers-LOT-2-/200695749124?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eba661a04#ht_500wt_1166
- - -
a piece of extra advice.
You may have noticed that sometimes it's hard to get your foot into a higher step because the weight of the lower foot is keeping the aiders tight against the wall. And when you do, only the tip of your foot, or just under your toes gets caught on the ladder webbing and DAYUM! that hurts!

To fix this, think of stepping up in your ladder the way you think of matching feet when free climbing.
1. place your higher foot into the space just above the step you want to go into. smear/pressure your foot against the wall to hold it there (you should not be touching the aider step wen doing this.
2. taking your bottom foot, lean out from the wall by pulling that foot backwards (support yourself via your hands on the top of the ladders or against the wall when you do this)
3. This will allow the steps of the ladder to move away from the wall just enough for you to then release the pressure/smear of your higher foot and drop it into the step (just like you would when you do a foot match when free climbing)
4. huzzah!, your foot drops into the higher step with the ladder webbing beneath the arch of your foot instead of barely holding on to the tip of your toes.

Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline johnmac

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 486
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2012, 10:02:36 am »
There are some nice looking Rivet Ladder Reachers... Neat Idea. Solves the issue of using an extension and then not being close to the rivet.

If I ever leave my life sucking job and have time to visit the valley again I might just have a buy a set....

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2012, 11:17:57 am »
Those rigs look like just the thing I'll need for the route I have plans for this fall, I just bought them.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2012, 11:50:59 am »
Mark: When you're placing your next piece are you doing it from that resting position or are you using the T-off technique?  Either way, respect.  You guys make it look so easy but it's really tough.  Unfortunately, I guess I won't be able to use the rest step because I'm using two Yates wall ladders.  Maybe if I make any friends that use etriers I'll get to try it.

Cobbledik: I'll put more weight into the piece I'm testing next time, especially now that I better understand how much they can really handle.  Also, I'll try that sideways foot trick for getting into the higher step that's against the wall.  By the way, I noticed in another thread you are a teacher.  Me too!  I teach band and orchestra for elementary school students.

A general question for everyone: since I'm collecting gear piece by piece (as I'm sure we all do) I'm wondering what the next step is once I master aiding these free climbs.  Most of the climbing in Maryland is top rope and there's not a lot of established aid lines or even trad lines.  The easiest aid-specific lines in the guidebook (I think there are maybe 5 or 6 total for the whole state) are A2.  What differences can I expect between what I'm doing now (C0?  C1?) and A2?

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2012, 01:17:27 pm »
I wouldn't think of it as placing more weight on the piece, instead, think of it as pacing your center of gravity over(under?) the piece. Then you can rely more on the bouncing than muscle.

I teach high school English for now, planning on leaving the profession soon to work for my dimmer camp full time and get more flexible hours for walling and writing. But at least there's plenty of holidays and such to weekend warrior things.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

skully

  • Guest
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2012, 02:13:09 pm »
I've always thought that A2 is just weird or awkward A1.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2012, 03:30:15 pm »
I'm not sure what weird or awkward A1 would be but I guess I'm destined to find out at some point.  You mean weird or awkward placements, right?

I'm assuming that A2 probably would require some hooking?  There's an abandoned quarry not far from here that has some routes that someone apparently bolted and then chiseled a bunch of pockets back in the 90s.  I'm told it's a good place to practice hooking while still being able to clip bolts for protection all the way up.  I haven't checked it out yet but rumor has it there are a couple of bolts at the base of at least one route, making it easy to build an anchor for an upward pull.

When I look at route beta and trip reports on Supertopo and this site it appears to be thus:

C0 - What I'm doing right now and for a while yet until I get better at climbing these damn ladders.
C1 - Add some cam hooking or maybe something like a pendulum to make it spicier.
C2 or A2 - Throw in a couple of hook moves and maybe some nailing if a fixed piece is gone.
Beyond that I won't try to guess.  How far off am I on this?

By the way, I apologize if any of my questions seem silly or redundant.  I hope it shows that I've done my research and I'm keen to learn the finer points.

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2012, 03:44:40 pm »
You're in luck, Maryland has the only C5 route I've ever heard of.
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/spidermans-route/106390706

And I'm not sure about the difference between A2 PG13 and A3. Kinda the same I would think.
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/tunnel-wall/106499655

but seriously:
abandoned quarries with chiseled holds and bolts are like a gym for learning hooking (I've learned a lot at a quarry in LA that is also bolted and chipped into submission.)
If you're planning on doing new wave stuff you'll eventually need to practice your heading technique. and before Mark comes on and kills me,

remember

HEADS ARE THE FIRST CHOICE OF THE LAZY OR INADEQUATE CLIMBER. Don't use 'em.

Buuuuuuut, if you've got a top rope over a broken up chossy crap pile of an abandoned man made quarry... might as well learn the tools of the trade. My goal is ALWAYS to climb clean first, bail second, and nail third. (okay, my intended goal) but if you're going up on a nailing route with the intent to climb it clean, you should possess the skills to get yourself out of trouble should your clean technique or your clean heart fail.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2012, 04:14:15 pm »
Haha I've seen Mark's contempt for bad copperheads in his trip reports.  When he mentioned dropping or breaking his butter knife I thought he literally meant a butter knife until I saw some photos.

I haven't checked out that quarry yet but I think I will pretty soon.  My understanding of the place is that there are a few really nice (and way too hard for me) slab climbs and the rest is just a pile of chossy rock, overgrown in the summer, where you can nail away to your heart's content.  Or not... as I say, I haven't been there.

What would be a starting point for a selection of hooks?  Maybe by the time I can buy them I'll be ready to learn to use them.

---Taylor

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2012, 05:42:27 pm »
I just watched this video again and I'm going to try to imitate his movements a little more closely next time.  It really helps a lot to see video.  Like a lot of people, I'm a very visual learner.

How To Big Wall Climb - Fifi Length and Top-stepping

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2012, 07:24:30 pm »
Well, that vid is cool and good at the most very basic, but beyond that, it ain't that cool and it ain't that good. That technique will get you up the Nose or Salathe but if you really want to aid walls, two sets of aiders, two on a biner is the way to go and bag that primitive daisy system and go with a Kong Adjustable Fifi.

I can't imagine top stepping off one aider for any length of time, and don't forget, it's a little bit awkward to get into a top step and it's a lot more awkward to climb down from one, meaning, you're going to be up there till you find the next placement and get something to stick. Additionally, if the next move is not straight above you, trying to reach to one side while standing in one sling is really hard. Doing something really hard usually takes time, taking time usually means that other things become more difficult (you spend more time on the wall, more food, more water, more time for the weather to go bad, more time for your partner to think of reasons to bail). Everything on a wall has to be almost fast and always efficient.

Now, on to the Kong Adjustable Fifi.



The beauty of this thing is that it's adjustable. You can get into your steps, lengthen it and hook in, take a photo of your partner, scratch your nuts, whatever. When you finally stop dicking around you can climb up your steps to as far as you can go and tighten the fifi to where you need it or even loosen it to where you need it. For example, on Zenyatta Mondatta, I was pretty much living in my top steps, I'm short and it's not even too hard for me to get into the "hero loops" about six inches higher than my top steps. So far, in more that a dozen aid walls, I've never had trouble reaching a rivet or the next placement. ZM requires you to be able to top step off of hooks for more of the  same or crappy heads or even to lean back past an overlap to reach something. Leaning left, right or over a bulge or overlap will require different fifi lengths. If you're stuck with one length then, well, you're STUCK!

So in Chris Mac's vid, with the quickdraw, you finally get something to stick, you're all excited and try to start moving up but NO! you're attached to the bottom piece with a quickdraw! See that little cord on the Fifi? In that same situation, simply reach down, pull on that cord and your fifi will pop off that piece, freeing you to climb up onto your next piece.

When you are in your top steps or your top most steps, the fifi cord is pulling down on your waist, you have both feet in the same level step with your toes apart and your heels together. For me, when I'm in that position, I'm comfy, relaxed and loving life!

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2012, 07:36:46 pm »
A Bdel talon hook will get you through bathook holes and then I like the Bdel grappling hook more than the cliffhanger. I climb with two rap rings with one of each hook slung directly to the ring, and keep these in a small modded chalk bag. This is overkill and a waste of weight, but whatever, it allows me to always have the hook I need close at hand when doing multiple hook moves. But trust me, don't bother doing this, as I said, it's convenient but overkill.



Learn to hook. As much as you should free climb as much as possible, I hate moving from aid to free in a pitch and it's slow moving for me. A well placed hook or four can speed you through a free section or C2-C3 placement. Unless you're good at transitioning from aid to free... in which case, shut up Kevin.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2012, 07:39:25 pm by cobbledik »
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 08:40:25 pm »
I actually like that Hooks on a Ring idea. For the free-climbing-out-of-your-steps thing, the large Pika hook is cool. You can hook to somewhere comfortable, grab the hook and free climb away and then pop the hook back on and hang from it when your desire to free climb goes south.

https://picasaweb.google.com/116577194626817618731/ZenyattaMondattaSoloJune2011#5622295099019740274

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2012, 07:10:20 am »
That adjustable fifi looks neat.  I don't think I can quite justify buying one yet on my budget and while I'm still a greenhorn but I really like the concept.

In another video (or maybe the same one... I forgot) Chris Mac says he will often carry a third aider on his harness for times when he has no choice but to stand for a long time.  Having four ladders total sounds like a huge mess and I can't afford to ditch the two ladders I have in favor of Mark's more streamlined doubled etriers so maybe having a third one on standby might be a good compromise.

I saw that hooks on a ring setup in one of your videos, Kevin, and thought it was clever as well.  I suppose it's more of a problem if you were to drop one but the trade-off you get for ease of use must be worth it.  I stand to get a decent discount from an online retailer for giving them repeat business but the discount doesn't apply to BD items.  I'll get BD Talons regardless since they seem to be indispensable but would the larger two sizes of the CAMP Captain Hook be close approximations of the Grappling Hook and the Cliffhanger?
http://www.camp-usa.com/products/big-wall/captain-hooks-3036.asp

---Taylor

Offline cobbledik

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 690
    • View Profile
    • Fail Falling
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2012, 09:02:57 am »
In another video (or maybe the same one... I forgot) Chris Mac says he will often carry a third aider on his harness for times when he has no choice but to stand for a long time. 

Don't bother with a third. When you're standing for a long time, just use your second ladder on the current piece. Once you've found your new piece, you can move the second ladder then. Think this way and you'll only have a few seconds of discomfort each time instead of a route of discomfort dragging a spare ladder around behind you.

would the larger two sizes of the CAMP Captain Hook be close approximations of the Grappling Hook and the Cliffhanger?

yup
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2012, 09:25:29 am »
Why do you guys like the two ladder thing if it imposes such limitations on you? Don't say weight and don't say speed.

Taylor, I think the Kong Fiffi is only five or so bucks.

http://www.campsaver.com/fiffi-hook

$8.50
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 09:52:49 am by mhudon »

Offline Beautiful_Corn

  • A1 fiend
  • **
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2012, 10:29:24 am »
In my case, it's probably mostly a matter of timing.  I spent a lot of time reading Supertopo and this site before I made the purchase and it seems like it's a trend lately (or maybe just a fad) for people who discuss aid climbing on the net to prefer two ladders.  Ostensibly, the reason is supposed to be two-fold: ease of getting feet in and decreased mess.  The actual reality may be different.  This probably won't surprise you that I found so many people using the two ladders.  Remember that Supertopo thread where so many people were astonished because they had never heard of the rest step and asked you for photos?  Also, a lot of the credit (or blame?) goes to Chris McNamara simply because he took the time to make those instructional videos and shared his preferences.  If I had the nerve to ask you from the start how you do things I would probably be using your method right now.  I may yet change to your ways.  After all, you're sharing personalized help and advice tailored to my situation.  You're not just a guy in a video (although I love your videos).

Offline *Mucci*

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 422
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2012, 11:13:19 am »
Ladders do not pinch your feet.

I carry a BD 5 step aider, with the bottom 2 steps cut off as a sub aider to my two ladders.

If I need it due to steepness, or to be able to test the peice above with my foot, there it is. 

I have been in spots where I could not have moved up without that sub aider.  Maybe allstar IAD aid climbers could have.

No reason to hamper your quest for total wall relaxation with just  2 aiders! 

It takes quite a bit more energy to balance in one ladder and toe off nubs than plop into a couple of aiders....

   

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2012, 11:22:31 am »
Back in my day, climbing was all about being efficient and therefore fast. Speed was safety. These days gear has gotten better so speed is no longer so important, but still, I was taught to aid quickly. I was also taught to stand my slings and not hang in my harness. Given that, you can see why I don't use daisies much and am comfortable standing in my slings.
To me, one follows the other, if I'm comfortable, I'm fast, if I'm fast, I'm safe, if I'm safe, I'm happy.

Offline mhudon

  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
    • View Profile
Re: First aid practice today. Get ready for dumb questions!
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2012, 11:27:22 am »
Don't forget that this is all my opinion and what works best for me and I certainly am not the best aid climber or fastest aid climber out there. There are a lot of guys out there who are a whole hell of a lot better and faster than me.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 11:31:56 am by mhudon »