Author Topic: Back Cleaning question for discussion  (Read 2648 times)

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Offline mungeclimber

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Back Cleaning question for discussion
« on: June 23, 2009, 11:46:21 pm »
I'm not sure I've asked this, but what is folks' style when it comes to back cleaning?  In other words, how much rack do you take for pitches that are 165 or less?  Compounding issues with short fixing?

It really seems essential, especially on continuous cracks. Yet, one principle of climbing is that the gear is a 'system' and not a single point of failure.

thoughts? Experiences with back cleaning good bad or otherwise?

skully

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 06:34:18 am »
Well, backcleaning is a major reason I'm called Skully.....'nuff said?
There are times I'll backclean, still. Pretty careful about it nowadays, though.

Offline Mike.

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 10:15:48 am »
Great topic.

I think backcleaning has its place; I don't do a lot of it. I'll backclean marginal fixed gear that I'm sure won't take a fall and in cases where it makes the cleaning much easier (solo, sometimes traversing pieces can be cleaned on rap). Gear today is light and small, enough that a few extra pieces doesn't amount to much IMO. I don't ruminate much on how a bigger rack will slow me down, iron notwithstanding. Tagging obviously can be key. The ability to move confidently/quickly is the upside of not backcleaning I think.

As I get away from the belay I always relax more knowing the dynamic of the rope will increasingly soften a fall. So it sort of works out. As I run out of stuff, I will make due to finish the pitch, including backcleaning where a longer fall is likely to be inconsequential. Earlier in the lead I'm offloading stuff like mad; I'll place two pieces in one bomber placement without hesitation. I think on jobs where the tools are key (pretty much every aid-intensive wall), I ought to be damn well tooled up.

Cheers, pals.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 02:47:08 pm by Mike. »
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 11:22:46 am »
werd, it seems so critical, especially to moving quickly and efficiently, but the risk of having your partner lower outs and eating more time on left or right trending routes increases the more the angle of traverse increases.

by backcleaning you get to keep pieces you may need higher on the route, so the climber is lighter, and that has to help with efficiency and energy thru the day

Offline hoipolloi

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 05:21:49 pm »
I like back cleaning.

I don't think that it is a Do / Don't do situation.  I back clean a lot, at least I feel like I do, but on the normal C1-C2 stuff I leave more gear than I would if I were free climbing, so that makes me feel safe.  I look at all the variables when I take or leave a piece, more realistically I have all the variables rolling around in the back of my brain, ledges, quality of gear, quality of rock, distance from belay, distance to go, if I feel I may really need that piece up higher, etc.

I try not to back clean for a longer distance than I would if I were free-climbing.  Lately I have been shortfixing a lot so I am inclined to keep gear with me, but at the same time I still find that I often have plenty of gear, as I think I tend to climb with a slightly larger rack, aiding and free climbing.

You definitely have to be careful though.  I have gotten into one or two places where I went "Man, I wish I would have just left that green alien down there, this would feel so much easier."


I heard a friend say once that "aid grades are all relative, nobody actually takes the fall, A3 can be A5 if you are freaking out, and A5 can be A3 if you are calm and relaxed and dialed into what you are doing."  I try to do the latter (although I recognize they are not really all relative^^)

Offline Caz

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 11:27:45 pm »
I usually take too much gear up and the only gear I ever back clean is my link cams and hybrid aliens, but that doesn't happen often. I've never ran out of gear even while short fixing.


ZAc
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Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2009, 12:35:17 am »
interesting you mention hybrid aliens, we only took one set of regular aliens, but had doubles on hybrids.

Like Gomz says, "it's like cheating" they are so good. 

One placement that I'm recalling now that Gomz placed was reversed and placed from the inside of the crack, if that makes sense.


Offline Caz

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 12:37:15 am »
interesting you mention hybrid aliens, we only took one set of regular aliens, but had doubles on hybrids.

Like Gomz says, "it's like cheating" they are so good. 

One placement that I'm recalling now that Gomz placed was reversed and placed from the inside of the crack, if that makes sense.



none whatsoever... You drunk Munge??? ;)
I do this for fun...

Offline johnmac

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2009, 10:39:31 am »
I only climb sandstone these days and with no trips to the vallley planned in the near future, I tend to back clean only specific pieces such as hybrid aliens or pieces that i only have one of.  In Yosemite I used to back clean aggressively to lighten the rack, but in Zion I'm pretty conservative.

If I'm climbing with a partner I'll backclean to make the cleaning easier.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 03:08:22 pm »
none whatsoever... You drunk Munge??? ;)

no, but should be.

picture a crack with an opening big enough to slide that alien in side but pinched down slightly above the opening.  The small lobe side is pointing out. The cam goes up behind the pinched down point and is fully buried by going up into the crack opening but the small side lobe points out where the constriction opens again above the pinched down point. sabes?


Offline Garbonzo

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2009, 05:13:39 pm »
I wish I had a back cleaning style, as I am manic about it.  Invariably I get to the anchor with two of whatever I was most worried about for the pitch (yellow and or green aliens most often it seems), and end up hating life due to something random I didn't pay attention to ("Where are all my #2's ?!?!").

Offline KevinW

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2009, 06:00:19 pm »
I usually only back clean the odd piece here and there when I've got some serious zig-zags going on, to try and keep the rope drag to a minimum as I get higher up.
On a rare occasion, it's when "I need that piece".

Offline lunchbox

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2009, 06:27:59 pm »
I've always thought it was much easier to lower out while cleaning than to clip clean or struggle to jump pieces.  Much faster too. 

I try to back clean as much as I can as long as I feel safe and don't screw the cleaner.   

Offline Baltoro

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2009, 04:59:25 pm »
I seem to backclean quite a bit on C1, a little on C2 and not much on C3. I haven't really done much harder than that. I also tend to use a lot of screamers which can provide some good piece of mind on those pieces left behind.

Obviously being aware of ledges, rope stretch and corners is a good thing.

I guess assuming a given pitch will require a diverse range of gear sizes I'll usually take a double set of everything (C4's, C3's, CCH Hybrids and nuts) and try and leave behind only redundant gear. I carry C4's all the way down to .3 so there is definitely some overlap between the C3's, C4's and Aliens so that's a common size range for me to leave behind as pro.

Often too it seems you may need certain common pieces for upward movement but once you reach the only next availalbe placement you've got another placement option just above it that you could leave pro in and clean the piece you needed for movement. Does that make sense? So you're placing gear closer together than you would for upward movement but it might allow you to take advantage of a nice protection option that you might not otherwise use for upward movement.
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skully

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2009, 07:51:23 pm »
Well, yeah, of course you're hoping to protect, at least some....I leave a lotta gear behind, these days.
I GOT my backcleanin' lesson, no doubt.

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: Back Cleaning question for discussion
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2009, 10:09:58 pm »
I like to rotate 2 or 3 pieces at a time for some redundancy, like a mini anchor all the way.  Leave the bomber stuff and float the rest.  It definately can come back to bite you in the ass.