Author Topic: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?  (Read 1800 times)

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Offline dindolino32

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How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« on: November 11, 2013, 09:03:40 pm »
I calculated the current speed ascent of the Nose and 144 minutes for 31 pitches = 4.65 minutes per pitch.  I can't fathom that since it takes me longer than that to put on my shoes!  BUT my wife and I just finished our first baby wall (S. Face Wash Column) and pitch 7 ended up taking me 1 hr 45 min and 45 min for her to clean and hand off the gear (no hauling). I felt like I spent a lot of time in the top steps.
 I already have a few ideas to get faster:
Buy some ladder aiders and not mess with left or right specific etriers.
Buy more micro cams/offsets to use instead of nuts.

So my questions are,
1. How long would you expect to take on this pitch and what is a reasonable goal for us?
2. Any other ideas on making us move faster would be appreciated.
thanks in advance!

Offline cobbledik

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 12:21:46 pm »
There's a few esoteric points to go over before we can answer your question.
- A1 speed is different (takes longer) than C1 speed due to the time difference between placing and cleaning a pin (longer) and placing a cam/nut.
- Aid ratings are for the security of the placement and the ease to find it and does not take into account the slab/vertical/overhanging nature of the pitch. Slab being much faster than overhanging for both leading and (especially for those just starting out) cleaning.
- How much free climbing  can be accomplished on the pitch.  150' of all points of  C1 aid will be much slower than a pitch that only contains a few points of aid with the rest being freeable.
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In your case, ladders will speed you up if there's wind (Mark will tell you differently but he's an old dad that started aiding back when you had to lug your gear uphill through the snow on both the approach and descent) otherwise ladders shine less for speed and more for comfort on longer leads and being able to retreat down your steps easier if you've spent too long in a stressed  position up high in your steps.

Despite the  constant "people rely on cams too much" argument. I agree  with you on making less nut placements. In general, a nut will take longer to place  than a cam and much longer for the second to clean once it's been bounce-tested and weighted.

Camhooks pretied to your ladders help to speed you up as well. Nothing to clean and you'll know in seconds if the placement is going to work. On splitter cracks you can use camhook/camhook/camhook/drop an unweighted nut/repeat series to go fast and make thing easier for your second to clean since the nut won't be weighted unless you take a fall.

Hooks themselves are good for speed as well since hooking a ledge is usually the faster way around a C2 or C3 placement.

Obviously the better you can move from aid to free, the better your speed will be. The hard part is the moment when you move to free and need to unclip your aiders and get them out if the way before climbing. I tend to flame out during this part. A trick is to use a fifi or a hook to place your aider into the last piece of aid, this way you can climb past it and (most of the time) the aiders will follow you with a couple of flicks of the daisy.


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I would expect a pitch like 7 on South Face would take about 1-1.5 hours for a competent but not overly experienced party to lead and clean.
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 12:40:04 pm »
Something I'm coming to grips with too, is that endurance equals speed over time.

Stay hydrated. If you get dehydrated, you will be slow because you won't be performing as well.
Stay fueled. If you don't have energy, you will be slow.  Brain fade kicks in when blood sugar levels drop. More likely to be less efficient, and thus lose time.


Offline cobbledik

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 01:34:43 pm »
But know your body. Someone like me doesn't eat at all during the day and my performance suffers often if I try to. Water is different for me, I've turned into a freaked out unable to think bailer when I misjudged the amount of water I had for a day of walling.
YMMV
Sometimes the difference between a layman and a journeyman is simply what he is allowed to believe himself to be.

Offline dindolino32

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 04:11:56 pm »
Cobbledik, you are right, I meant C1 not A1. I haven't ever picked up a hammer for climbing.  As for the time, I think cutting 30 minutes  off of my time seems doable for a goal. Especially if I do the other things I previously listed. Now I kind of know where I am  on the spectrum.
I'll try to write my first trip report sometime soon, but I'm not going to lie, we hardly took any pictures since we tried to just finish the climb!

Offline johnmac

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 08:55:01 pm »
Learning I would think the times you posted are fine. Speed will come later.

If I'm climbing with a partner we tend to average about 4 pitches a day. Sometimes we do more sometimes we do less.

A typical pitch usually takes about 1hr to 1hr 15 to lead when I'm going at a comfortable all day speed. I can go faster but I tend to start to drop things and at the end of the day it really isn't worth the extra effort. Cleaning usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Tidy the rack as we go but not too fussy. Where most of the time can be saved isn't so much in the leading or cleaning but the changeover...

Offline mhudon

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2013, 08:47:26 am »
More than which kind of aiders you use, having a large "catalogue" of placements in your head is more important. Back in the piton days, Max and I would be climbing up our steps, looking at the crack above and be grabbing the correct pin the second after we got set up in out high steps. If you have a good idea of how you are going to deal with the next placement, it'll go a long way to making you faster.
Another point would be to develop a system of moving up in your ladders or steps. Figure out an efficient process and stick with it.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 09:38:37 am »
Tagging.

When your partner hits the belay, they immediately start climbing the next pitch, with the gear they cleaned.  You, manage all the ropes, and get the necessary gear your partner will need on the next pitch ready before he hits the belay.

Then you tag him whatever he needs, when he really needs it.

Belays should be fully organized, Bags hauled, ropes stacked, etc all before he gets there.

I always climb with at least 3 ropes, which allows you to tag an entire mega pitch if needed.

Those times you posted are well within the average.

Offline mhudon

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2013, 09:54:56 am »
I think tagging is far beyond the capabilities or even the need of 75% of the "wall climbers" out there. Certainly far beyond the abilities of most climbers on the SW Face of WC.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 11:00:41 am »
Mark-

Tagging gear is the most elementary task one could do at a belay.


Can you explain how it is 'far beyond the capabilities of 75% of wall climbers?

I am speaking of course to a standard 2 man team, swapping leads, which is in fact what the OP is practicing. 

If you were referring to tagging while shortfixing, then yes, I would agree.





Offline Erik Sloan

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 11:05:44 am »
I think your time is very respectable for a beginner. And the most important thing is you didn't give up and finished your lead. Like the others have said speed will come with experience, but for sure I never place nuts unless I have to. Nuts sit in the bottom of placements so you lose an inch or two right there and then that long wire compared with a cam stem makes it maybe 6-10"/piece, adds up fast.

I also agree with Munge about staying fueled. Most people who climb with me are amazed to see me chowing at every belay and making them do the same. The almost always say afterward 'i don't think i was eating enough before'.  Really it's not just climbing try it in anything--work on your backyard hungry or with a some fuel in your belly and see how you charge.

A lot of time thinking about things like 'going faster' takes you away from just having fun and being in rhythm with the mountain.....but I did a lot of that obsessing when I was younger so I can't talk ;)

Keep it up!
erik
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Offline mhudon

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 11:09:10 am »
Oh, right, I mixed it up. Sorry.

Offline hoipolloi

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Re: How many minutes per pitch is a normal for A1 150 ft?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2013, 03:36:27 pm »
10-15minutes.  Short-fix off anchor. tag some gear up partway into next pitch. 

You can't compare to the nose record, too many tricks on that route.  How about to the Zodiac record, 1h45m. 

hehehehehehe.




In all seriousness, I think the biggest thing for speeding up your aid climbing is being able to grab the (right) piece of gear and place it.  That comes with time climbing, both free and aid climbing will improve that.  I get the most frustrated at myself when doing a speedy push when I grab a cam, doesn't fit, grab another, doesn't fit, and have to grab a 3rd.  That is time lost and energy lost, especially if you are straining high in the top steps.

Aid climbing is all about systems, in Yosemite you can almost always have 1 way that you do the anchor-type things, and 90% of the time it will always work.  For example, how you fix the rope.  Keep it simple, do it the same every single time (90% of the time you can).  I recommend 2 lockers and bunny ears to each of those fat 3/8 inch bolts you get in yosemite.  Don't get out a cordalette and tie a huge master point then put the rope on it.  No point, the bunny ears is a master point. 

If you are setting up a haul, I typically use 2 lockers and a sliding X.  I know, we could argue about the safety of that for hours.  But lets be honest, 99.9% of the time, it is going to be fine.  If you really don't like the sliding X, do a quick Master Point (I recommend clipping a biner through the knott so you can get it untied).

Also, aid climbing is about mental control.  You are going to be scared, you must forget about being scared.  Get over it, that is what you came for, existing in a constant state of fear and mental discomfort.  Most of your fear is probably perceived anyways and not actually real (clearly, that is not always the situation, but on those easy trade routes, it probably is!).  So control your mind, jedi mind tricks and shit.  When you place cams, and they look like a cam you would place free climbing, give it a quick bounce, and get on that shit, move to the next piece.  When hooking, pick your fate (your best hooking option) give it a little bounce, get on it.  Very often you see aid climbers stand and stare at a piece of gear (especially hooks and heads), I often wonder if they think looking at it will cause it to become better.  It won't.  Bounce it, if it holds, you can get on it, or not, but if you choose not to get on it, there better be other options, otherwise you are wasting time and you should just be getting on that piece. 


Oh yeah, also, like you said, get some aid ladders, and don't you dare buy 2 sets (as in 4 aiders) buy 2 aiders.  That is all you need.  If you are going up the reticent wall or something really hard, maybe you can think about having some sort of additional aider situation...otherwise, don't even think about it!