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'Aid and Big Walls' in the School of Rock

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Using a fifi hook to rest instead of clipping in directly. <br />-by John McMullen
Switching Seamlessly Between Aid and Free Climbing
We are all duly impressed when talented climbers make quick free ascents of long 5.12 and 5.13 routes, but just because you don’t climb at that standard doesn’t mean you can’t do those same climbs. A bit of aid climbing is the key to keeping difficulties within your grade...
Jeff Achey at Climbing Magazine
The looming El Capitan. <br />by Rich Wheater
Your First Big Wall
Solid on 5.9 gear routes? Ready for the greatest adventure of your life? Our step-by-step big wall guide will show you the way. It all started for me back in high school, when I saw a photo of the most awe-inspiring piece of rock I’d ever laid eyes on—the Nameless Tower....
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
The simple life: a portaledge camp on El Cap.  <br />by Kevin Steele/Wonderful Machine
Leading Your First Big Wall
Leading on a big wall is similar to leading on a long day climb, except your rack will be bigger, and you’ll usually be doing a lot more aid climbing. Expect to feel heavy and encumbered—and to use aid on many moves you would usually climb free. Practice basic aid by clea...
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
Figure 1: The second removes all the pro as he moves up an aid pitch. Note the daisy and aider setup and the back-ties. <br />by Mike Clelland
Following Your First Big Wall
In wall climbing, the second climber seldom gets put on belay. Instead, when the leader finishes a pitch, he ties the rope to a power point at the anchor, and the second “jugs” the fixed rope with ascenders and aiders. After the leader has tied off the rope, take him off...
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
A "docked" (anchored) haul bag showing the Munter/mule hitch that allows you to easily lower out the bag on overhanging or traversing pitches. The docking line is approximately a 30-foot length of 7mm cord. <br />by Mike Clelland
Baggage Handling on Your First Big Wall
The worst part of any long trip is dealing with luggage. Now imagine that instead of carrying your gear in a comfortable pack or on a rolling suitcase, you’re dragging it behind you at the end of a rope. Hauling will likely be the crux of your first wall. If you fail, it ...
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
Peanut Ledge of El Cap's Zodiac <br />by Martin Fickweiler
Life on Your First Big Wall
I know some wall climbers—specializing in speed ascents—who brag how they’ve never bivied on a wall. To me, this means missing out on the best part of big-wall climbing. There is nothing like watching the sunset while perched above the world like a kid in a treehouse. But...
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
Typical trad route
Big Wall Kit
Depending on the type of pulling down you’re doing, climbing can vary from minimalist to “everything but the kitchen sink,” and big wall climbing is very much the latter. Doing multi-day routes not only requires aid climbing equipment (protection, aiders, ropes, helmet, e...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Take the whip, take the whip!—ooh, but not like that... See mistake number 6.  by Andy Mann
50 Ways to Flail
I've been climbing for more than 15 years, and the mistakes I've made cover the gamut. My knot came partly untied while I was climbing at Joshua Tree; I've threaded my belay device backward; partway up El Capitan, my partner once completely unclipped me from a belay. Wors...
Laura Snider at Climbing Magazine
Training for the Fifty Classic Climbs
Routes like the North Ridge on the Grand Teton require covering a lot of ground with a heavy pack. These—and many other Classics—are not casual outings. We’ve devised a six-week training program—approach, mountaineering, mixed, aid, and free climbing— that will help add a...
Mercedes Pollmeier and Connie Sciolino at Climbing Magazine