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Solo aid climbing

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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby kamil » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:24 am

Dan, you're right.
Gwave considered attaching the rope to the bottom anchor the same way as for abseil/rappel, but for going up and not down. So when you finish the pitch, you retrieve it the same way as after a rappel, but from the top and not from the bottom, and in theory you wouldn't have to get down to release it from the bottom anchor. Then different scenarios were considered in the discussion what would happen if we did that.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby MattGreene » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:59 am

Yeah, Dan, I understand why the conversation confused you, because we're basically just for fun discussing a technique none of us, including Gwave, would ever try. Gwave understands the proper way to rope solo a pitch. He just wondered if there was a safe and practical way to replace the solid bottom anchor with his own body as he climbs. Because if he was his own anchor, then at the top of a pitch he could just untie one end of the rope, pull it up through all his gear, lead the next pitch, and worry about cleaning up all the gear he left behind later when he's rappelling the whole route. As you said, we all came to the conclusion that there just isn't a safe, practical way to do it.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby JD » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:13 pm

Sometimes speed soloists use this technique, but not for an entire pitch! As pointed out you'd have to clip the rope into all the protection and then leave everything behind. Why? If you're going to rappel down after doing just a single pitch you could just as easily do that after rope soloing the normal way. The fact that one end is still tied into the anchor makes no difference.

Image
(From Speed Climbing by Florine and Wright)
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby kamil » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:30 pm

JD, do I get it right that in this method each piece is a 'belay anchor' and you're effectively climbing short 'pitches' between each two pieces you place?
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby gwave47 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:46 pm

Kamil and Matt, you summed up the purpose of the post perfectly.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby JD » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:31 am

Kamil, it's basically a long elastic tether to a single piece. The idea is to save time during a speed climb. The climber sacrifices a carabiner to have the security of a single point of pro below to prevent catastrophe. This could make sense when there is a short section of terrain that is too difficult for free soloing but not so difficult or long that it needs to be pitched out in the standard way.

I'm not sure what the OP is trying to do. Is he speed climbing or just lazy?
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby gwave47 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:16 am

Yep you figured me out JD, just lazy, I mean who wants to have to move or do work when they go climbing? I was thinking about renting an ATV to tear down the trail so I wouldn't have to hike in, know anybody in the Beartooth's renting ATVs? Is there a harness that will hold my cheeseburger and milkshake while I use my two hands to adjust the clove hitch?

I appreciate all the responses up to this point, thanks guys!
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby dan2see » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:53 am

MattGreene wrote:Yeah, Dan, I understand why the conversation confused you, because we're basically just for fun discussing a technique none of us, including Gwave, would ever try...


OK that clears it up, thanks.

But on the other hand, what's wrong with climbing the route twice? I like doing that. I mean, if a route is fun once, it's more fun twice.

Mind you, I don't have experience with lead aid, so maybe I don't appreciate how much work it is.

But often on scrambles, I will free-solo a cliff by climbing as high as I dare, and down-climbing. Then up again, only higher, then down again. This yo-yo routine works because soon I have proven that I can do it, and I've done it. I've spent extra quality time, having fun.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby gwave47 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:22 am

Dan, it's not an effort issue, just more of a time issue.

I'm planning on hiking/climbing Granite next summer. I have no idea what to expect because everybody grades routes so differently, I've heard that it is all class 4, that is mostly class 4 with the occasional low class 5 move, and I've heard that there are numerous 5.3 to 5.7 chimneys. Everybody says something different and I have no personal experience on that part of the mountain.

I do know one thing, everybody agrees that the weather gets nasty quick. From my experiences on other parts of Granite Peak and other mountains in the area, I know this is true. I was simply sitting around thinking of whether there would be a safe and logical way to not have to climb the route twice, in the interest of time, and getting off the mountain well before the weather breaks.

I just thought maybe some other people with more experience could add something to the conversation (in terms of potential problems or ideas of better ways to refrain from double climbing) and maybe I would even come across someone with personal experience who had attempted this and had a first hand experience to tell about. It's just a brainstorming conversation, not something I'm depending on. I would want to test any idea locally in as safe of an environment as possible before trying to take it to solo in such a remote area.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby kamil » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:16 am

First hand experience. If it's a single technical pitch at the bottom of the route - rope-solo it, continue free solo to the top, downclimb and do all you need to retrieve the rope on the descent - rap down cleaning the pitch, untie the rope from bottom anchor, prussik up and rap down again (in one go if you've got a cord, or in 2 if you've only got a single rope).
Did that once on a possible FA of a very remote mountain with long approach, so time was an issue. The technical pitch was up to 5.6, then class 4 to low 5 to the summit.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby MattGreene » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:57 am

Good choice of mountain, Gwave. Granite is an awesome peak. I'd put it in the class 4 category, although it'd be easy to make the mountain more difficult if you went off route. Also, I climbed it in very good conditions, and might've thought different if I had to deal with ice and wet rocks. My best advice would be to search through the pics for Granite on this site, and print up the one that shows you the route through the chimneys. With that in hand, I found route-finding to be pretty straight forward. Also, the "tough moves" on the route are very short. If you regularly climb rock, you'll be up and through the chimneys in minutes. I rappelled back down them after summitting, but only because I'd gone through the pains of lugging a rope across the FTD plateau. I would've felt comfortable downclimbing them. As for the weather, if things look bad before you start the chimneys, I'd just turn around. If things look OK, you should have plenty of time to tag the summit and get down safely. It's not a far distance from the chimneys. I'd say most important is to bring an ice axe, and possibly crampons. At the end of the day, it'll be tempting to descend the snowfield rather than scramble the rocks. I witnessed a guy nearly slide to his death because he underestimated the snowfield and went into it with nothing but boots and his fists to stop him.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby JD » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:39 pm

gwave47 wrote:...it's not an effort issue, just more of a time issue.

I'm planning on hiking/climbing Granite next summer.


Thanks for the response. I wasn't trying elicit a sarcastic comment; it just wasn't clear what your intentions were from your first post in which you wrote that you planned to climb only one or maybe two short pitches. I was trying to be nice (think what the Chief would have posted).

But even in the context of a longer climb it doesn't make a whole lot of sense since it shouldn't take very long to rap and ascend a short pitch. If the technique itself were just as efficient and just as safe then maybe it would be worth carrying extra gear so you can shave some minutes off of your day. But it will very probably be slower and more dangerous.
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby JD » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:14 pm

myfierceblackhound wrote:I guess someone forgot to tell Colin that there is absolutely no way to climb and rappel only once!

Nice find! I've never read of anyone doing a whole pitch this way.


Here are more details from Mr. Hayley:

Colin Hayley wrote:The rope is the "6mm Alpine Personal Escape Rope," by Esprit Ropes in Toronto. It is an excellent rap/tag line I think. No special core - all nylon. It has a burly sheath. It is quite stiff, which is always a plus in super skinny ropes, because the stiff rap lines tangle less.


Colin Hayley wrote:As for the one pitch where I belayed, it is a rudimentary technique, that in Yosemite is often referred to as "back-looping." The idea is to build a multi-directional anchor at the base of the questionable terrain, thread your rope through this anchor, attach yourself to both strands of the rope (whether with knots, hitches, or devices), and climb up, risking a factor 2 fall onto your anchor. The advantage over a traditional self-belay is that you can simply pull your rope up from above afterwards, rather than having to rappel down and prusik back up. If you are descending the same route that you are climbing (such as I was in this video), then you can clip both strands through intermediate pieces of protection (such as the cams I was placing in this video), because you know that you can retrieve them on your descent, to negate the possibility of taking a factor 2 fall. And just to be clear - this is NOT a safe, or accepted technique for self-belaying - it is a technique that I chose to use on a section of climbing that was only just barely hard enough that I wasn't comfortable free-soloing it. It is still "sketchy," and a guaranteed way to fail your UIAGM alpine exam!
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Re: Solo aid climbing

Postby kamil » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:03 am

Thanks folks for digging this up!

That's exactly what Matt was writing about:
MattGreene wrote:If you were clipping both rope sections into each piece of protection, that'd probably give you 6-10 pinch points. I'd expect severe drag, but could be wrong.

Looks like Colin didn't get too much drag.
You can do it when your pitch isn't longer than half of your rope.

Colin Hayley wrote:And just to be clear - this is NOT a safe, or accepted technique for self-belaying - it is a technique that I chose to use on a section of climbing that was only just barely hard enough that I wasn't comfortable free-soloing it. It is still "sketchy," and a guaranteed way to fail your UIAGM alpine exam!

Rope-soloing IS sketchy by principle. It's just a wee bit safer than free soloing.

Bloody hell, I miss Chief here!
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