Author Topic: what is the hardest part of A4?  (Read 2849 times)

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Offline mungeclimber

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what is the hardest part of A4?
« on: November 07, 2012, 01:04:21 pm »
aside from even acknowledging that you may have climbed A4, is the hardest part knowing when to back clean and when not to, since you may not be able to tell that the A4 is coming in 3-4 more just so-so pieces?

if you never back clean (I find that hard to believe if your bags are under PTPP weight), what else is the hardest part?  Or if you haven't done A4, what do you think will be the hardest part?

Offline Gagner

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 01:22:33 pm »
A4 is a state of mind - actually it's all A1 until you fall .... and rip.....:)  Hey, you asked.......

I think the hardest part of hard aid climbing is staying focused and in the moment -- and usually that is a lot of moments.  Being calm and not freaking, properly testing your pieces (some pieces you want to bounce the sh$t out of and others not so much so), and not rushing.  Having good judgement and experience in regards to using the right tools.  Frankly, things may not be that bad, but get harder when you don't have the right gear.  However, I rarely back clean unless we are talking about pitches that require lots of wide gear, and those of course are not A4.

Paul

Offline mhudon

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 02:16:06 pm »
On the "A4" that I've done I would only back clean if I can see the piece ahead and know it will be bomber. On A4, the gear is never that heavy so there is no problem with carrying it all. If you don't have enough and have to back clean at a critical spot, you're going to be hating life and SOL.
Like Paul said though, and even after I pitched off of the Coral Sea, A4 is a state of mind. I went back up there and wasn't freaked at all. I was surprised when one flake was so expanding and when a block I was hook damn near fell off but my pulse wasn't racing and I wasn't sweating.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 02:33:21 pm »
roger that guys


can you have a string of #1 Tomahawks be A4?  Say 50' to 100' pitch of nothing but hawks?  Would you bounce the crap out of each one?  (I would)  The only piece I wouldn't really bounce is hooks, or if I was trying to go fast and understood the risks of the fall potential. I should preface that by saying, I have never stood up on a #0 head.


I can't think of any pitch like that that I've seen. But that many Hawks might be heavyish, and man, you'd have to be absolutely right with your mind.


Right gear is so key, on anything. Sooo true! 

Offline mhudon

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 02:44:55 pm »
Paul and I are used to carrying heavy racks from back in the old days. 30-35 pins on a gear sling was nothing! 100 feet worth of Tomahawks or Beaks, on every 3 feet, 33 pieces, would weigh less than the standard pin rack back then.

It depends on the placements really, I've never go that far on total shit gear, but I'm sure there are those pitches out there.

Offline Gagner

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 02:59:12 pm »
What Mark said - depends on the placements and the pieces.  I think that is part of the experience quotient - knowing when to bounce the sh$t out of it, and when to just "ease on to it".  Efficient and safe aid climbing is, I guess like all climbing, based on experience.  Including what gear will work best for a particular placement.

Yea, Mark is right about the old racks BITD.  Lots of iron, and lousy racking slings.  And for some reason - and maybe this is just faded memory - but I seem to be more willing these days to go light and tag gear up, vs in the old days I feel like I carried a lot more and tagged less .....

Offline mhudon

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 03:24:27 pm »
Max and I on LIA and Cheyne and I on NS started up a lot of pitches with a light rack and tagged up frequently. It's nice if you have a light, 70m haul line.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 03:35:28 pm »
not to thread drift my postings, but seems like 70m are fricking so damn useful, but to make the weight savings count, you have to do with a smaller diameter.

Easy to do on a tag line, but I like my cords like I like my women, 10.2 mm thick or better, bicolor, and Supersafe.


ok, maybe the 10.2mm thick is a bit anorexic.

Offline lambone

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2012, 04:11:20 pm »
I have done a handful of A4 pitches as labeled in the Supertopo guidebook. None of them felt any harder then A3 i've done and some even easier then weird C2+ I have done.

In a few cases a fall would be dangerous as you'd probly land on a ledge. In that case, don't back clean, use screamers, even equalize multiple pieces, take it slow and don't fuck up. Some cases there was no danger in a fall on an A4 pitch. For instance my buddy whipped on the A4 pitch of South Seas and was fine. I've done C2 pitches with bad fall potential, that were just as scary...Black Tower, Chicken Head Ledge...etc, even more so because you are dealing witch crappy insecure pin scars. I'd take an A4 beak placement on a nailing route over a janky tipped out c2+ trade route cam move any day.

I would agree with the "state of mind" argument. I dunno, on El Cap..."everything goes," meaning that there is a solution to every problem, every move. It's just a matter of having a clear head and being confident, making good decisions, and seeing it. Then testing your gear and moving up. Sometimes being required to get up high in the aiders on a marginal piece can "feel" hard. I seriously think the perception of difficulty has a lot to do with your psyche or lack-there-of. Being on a picth for 3-4 hours can fry some people mentaly. For me I just get in the zone and time enters this weird vortex where 4 hours can feel like 30 minutes.

Don't get me wrong, there are some requisite skills. Expanding moves take a bit of know how and tact. Knowing how to recognize and avoid bad rock comes with experience. Thin hooks can feel a little spicy. Small reachy head placements can be tricky and feel scary, I have placed less then 5 heads on of El Cap, most of the time they feel unnecessary.

I dunno, I feel I have yet to climb "real" A4.

 
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 07:59:02 pm by lambone »

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 07:15:17 pm »
A4. Concur with Lambone, well, all you guys, actually.
I don't back clean if I can help it these days, though...

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2012, 09:25:07 pm »
Modern or 3 decades ago?

Steve Grossman still claims that A5 is falling around 50 feet, and that Deucey bungled up the rating system when the modern wave hit in the mid to late 80's with the advent of beaks and other small camming devices.

My understanding is that Modern A3+ in yosemite is really hard and gonna send you for 50+ feet and yer probably gonna hit something.

Then again I have no ruler, as I have never climbed an established A4 pitch.


Sometimes you bounce... sometimes you don't dare.


Offline Gagner

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 09:29:48 pm »
Enjoy the discussion - I'm off to the Fishers in the morning to climb some "A1+" ;)  After a sporty free pitch that is.....

Paul

Offline mhudon

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 09:53:54 pm »
If modern A3+ means your going to go 50 feet, then just about every aid pitch rating in the ST book is wrong!

I would call going 50 feet at least A4 but that's sort of beside the point.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 10:05:48 am »
Enjoy the discussion - I'm off to the Fishers in the morning to climb some "A1+" ;)  After a sporty free pitch that is.....

Paul

have fun in the mud!

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 10:08:28 am »
Modern or 3 decades ago?

Steve Grossman still claims that A5 is falling around 50 feet, and that Deucey bungled up the rating system when the modern wave hit in the mid to late 80's with the advent of beaks and other small camming devices.

My understanding is that Modern A3+ in yosemite is really hard and gonna send you for 50+ feet and yer probably gonna hit something.

Then again I have no ruler, as I have never climbed an established A4 pitch.


Sometimes you bounce... sometimes you don't dare.



Josh has been filling my head with this idea, which means I may never get to A5.  I'm ok with that. I'm not in any rush. But it begs the question for having discussions around pitches, about how hard the rating is.  It's similar to telling someone about 5.10 in upper canyon vs. 5.10 in the lower merced canyon, no?

Should there be a drive for consensus?

Offline Skully

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2013, 05:51:15 pm »
There is no A5. Folks climb through that shit, and they don't die.
A4 is plenty, man. It'll fill yer shorts. Lovelace told me all El Cap is A3+, max. Gerberding concurred.
I'm with those guys. Except that I believe in A4.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 05:53:22 pm by Skully »

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2013, 06:47:49 pm »
Does one need faith to believe in A4?


I believe. I just want the wrath of the aid gods to smite me while I'm on a hard aid pitch.




Reminds me of the Masters of Stone or Moving over Stone vid where Lovelace says the mantra

"I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN"


Offline Skully

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2013, 07:31:58 pm »
"Belief" is a situational exercise. Afterwards, that shit wasn't as bad as it looked.
Always.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 08:50:46 pm »
I will say this.

Give me a really hard pitch, NOTHING FIXED, and a bunch of heads and beaks.

Now that is aid climbing.  The rating is all the same at that level.  You will break yourself if you fall.

I promised myself I would learn the trade, and clipping other peoples mank ain't where it's at.








Offline cobbledik

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 09:30:05 pm »
Sounds like someone's still buzzing from Horni-Johnson.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline Skully

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 09:37:11 pm »
Did you jump Horney-Johnson, Mucci? That's a sweet line. Ain't no mank fest neither.
That's the thing with hard pitches, too. If it's all fixed, then it ain't THAT anymore. Now it's something else.
Fixed mank should be A5. A4-, maybe?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 04:45:09 pm by Skully »

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 09:51:09 pm »
Damn right cobble, you got the same disease.

That is the reason were doing it right?

I am on the constant hunt for lines with no trash, chicken rivets, bat hook holes, fatties at every belay.

I got enough "convenience" in regular life.

New lines fit that bill, as do the forgotten.

Skullbro-  Cobble got us the jump-start by soloing the first 4!  And yes, your right, Sweet line.


Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 10:57:25 pm »
this weekend, u going back guys?

Offline cobbledik

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2013, 11:46:31 pm »
Cleaning things up this weekend, then freeclimbing a spire of obscure worth.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline marde

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2013, 02:05:08 pm »
If modern A3+ means your going to go 50 feet, then just about every aid pitch rating in the ST book is wrong!

I would call going 50 feet at least A4 but that's sort of beside the point.

The only A4 route i've climbed is rated right in the ST book then.
At least all these A3 pitches on SoD are roughly that way.
I can even cofirm the 50 foot fall potential on one of the A3 pitches (definitely a type 2 fun experience).
The A4 on the other hand sometimes did not feel any harder or more dangerous, besides the hook or book.
This is, I guess, a real you fall you die pitch, still it's not rated A5;
Maybe because the hook placements are not that bad?



Offline mungeclimber

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2013, 05:31:07 pm »
Cleaning things up this weekend, then freeclimbing a spire of obscure worth.

spire, you don't say?

Kat

KP

Penny

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2013, 05:46:40 pm »
New plans, way more obscure than we have gone in the past :)

You going Mungy?

Offline cobbledik

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2013, 06:13:49 pm »
Come with us!

I claim first pitch!
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline passthepitonspete

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2013, 08:21:21 pm »
Quote
"I dunno, I feel I have yet to climb "real" A4."

Well, there's A4, and then there's Real A4.  The two are entirely different animals. 

I still have a problem with numerical aid climbing ratings, and have always preferred the Casual Rating System:  NBD, NTB, PDH and DFU.  It's too bad that guidebook editors prefer the traditional approach to aid ratings.  When you get on a real DFU pitch, there will be no doubt in your mind.  You will be more or less scared to death, and pondering the frailty of your mortality. 

Plenty of pitches in the McTopo guidebooks rated A4 are no longer that hard.  But of course a few of them still are.  And when you are on such a pitch, you will know it.  But if you really want to find some hard aid pitches, go climb some routes that don't see so many ascents.  If you are interested, I can recommend some routes that will scare you. 

If you're going to climb hard aid, you need to be a craftsman, an engineer, a problem solver.  You need to be smart, too - dumbasses, or the "young, dumb and full of cum" will end up being a flash in the pan.  Whatever happened to people like Jake or Singer?  These young guys climbed some hard routes - for a while. Where are they now?  I have no idea.  I'm twice their age, with half their talent.  Why am I still here, climbing stuff, and they aren't?  I have no idea!  I just know that I enjoy climbing walls, and make it a priority in my life.

Look at Mark Hudon - he's an even older fart than me, and he's sending some hard routes.  How does he do it?  He's a thinking man.  Read his posts, and you'll understand what I mean.  He saves me a lot of bother these days, since he answers the questions I no longer feel I have to.  He makes some good videos, too.  He may need to get a life, too, like me. 

There are a couple modern aid climbing tools that you really shouldn't be without when you are climbing hard aid.  These tools are so effective, that they can actually lower the aid ratings on certain hard pitches.

These tools are Peckers and Yates fall arresters.

Peckers are far and away the best hooking pitons.  They outperform everything - A5 birdbeaks, Tomahawks, Toucans, you name it.  They suffer from one design flaw in that their cable is not strong enough. It's amazing that they would design a pin that would hold five thousand pounds, yet put only a thousand pound wire on it.  I have told them this - one wonders if they will listen?  They should take a lesson from Moses Theron and use burlier cables.  #2 and #3 Peckers have virtually replaced KB's on my aid rack, and I use them preferentially over LA's in a lot of placements.  They are hard to rack and clean, but Mark Hudon can show you have to manage this.  Put slings through the top to aid in cleaning and racking, and back up the cable below with a sling as well.  Or better yet, get them reswaged.  Use one colour of sling for #2's, and a different colour for #3's. 

The other arrow you need to have in your quiver, and have plenty of them, are Yates fall arresters.  Yates Screamers and Yates Scream-Aids can turn a Real A4 pitch into a Reasonable Exercise.  You should always use a Screamer with a Pecker, for instance, because of the weak cable.  If you are heading up onto hard aid, you need a bunch of these things.  Otherwise, you could end up dead.  Give John Yates a phone call, and mention my name. 

Anyway, go try climbing something harder!  Go climb something that is longer and harder than anything you have ever done.  Go out and practise solo aid climbing, and then go solo a wall.  All of these things are achievable if you really want to do it.  Practise practise practise!  Eventually hard aid will seem NTB.

Cheers, eh? 
And like, see you on the bridge this spring.
Dr. Piton says, "There is always a Better Way!"

Offline cobbledik

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Re: what is the hardest part of A4?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2013, 08:29:41 pm »
Peckers are far and away the best hooking pitons.  They outperform ... Tomahawks,

Oh, Them's fighting words!

40 red hawks or stfu!

I'll cut your fucking belay loop!

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