|By johnnyrig |
Dec 12, 2011
I'm new to climbing. Got started because I have to work on trucks that inspect bridges, and we're supposed to be able to rappel out of the bucket if things go bad. Nobody showed me. So I thought I'd learn on my own, which I have, but it got me started climbing as well.
And so, in the natural progression of things, I've got my wonderful (and brave) girlfriend to do this with me. We're 40ish, so it's a late start for us, and frustrated that none of our friends climb or are willing to try. Don't have any other partners/mentors so far.
Been at it six months, convinced it's a good thing, and have been collecting gear toward a purpose. We'd like to rappel into a canyon, explore/fish/gold pan, stay the night, and climb out the next day.
Are we crazy? And what kind of techniques should we be working on? I'm guessing it's going to be something like a mix of alpine/mountaineering/canyoneering. And perfectly willing to aid my way out if that's what it takes. Just don't want to get in so far over our heads that we need a SAR team.
Anybody else do this kinda thing?
Probably gonna die.
|By Austin Baird |
From SLC, Utah
Dec 12, 2011
Your best bet sounds like it would be to rappel in, leave the ropes, and ascent out when you're done. Learn to set good anchors and to ascent and that should cover it. Go ahead and buy Freedom of the Hills now because thirteen other people will tell you to get it.
|By Skyeler Congdon |
From his van
Dec 12, 2011
Johnny, you brought up "mentor," and in my opinion thats a pretty critical part of the progression. Finding someone in your local area that can answer your questions and give "beta" (relevant info) will save you a lot of trouble. Is there a climbing gym in your town? Thats the classic way to befriend potential mentors. You can do partner searches for your zip code on this site and try to bribe experienced climbers to show you some techniques. Just be discerning and know that not every climber knows what they are talking about, so make sure you learn from someone with a LOT of experience.
If that doesn't work, enroll in a climbing course with the local gym, or an outfitter like AMGA etc. Climbing is pretty damn safe, but only when you REALLY know what you're doing. Otherwise things can go south in a hurry.
When you asked "Are we crazy?" my first reaction was "well, yeah." What you're describing sounds like an epic (semi-disastrous outing) just waiting to happen. But what do I know?? Not knowing all the details of your described overnight trip, I can't really say whether its a good idea or not. But if you plan to rappel in with overnight gear (which gets heavy real quick), getting all that gear back out, as well as either climbing out or ascending the rope, will take a lot more techniques than you may realize. But again, I don't really know, cause I don't know the specifics around this canyon of yours.
Obviously, its possible. The question is whether you have the skill set now, or if it would be better to wait for that skill set to develop before a trip as committing as what you describe.
I'll second Austin's advice for reading "Freedom of the Hills." Its an excellent resource. But do not think that reading that alone will provide you with the skills you need. Solid mentorship or professional instruction is critical to keeping you from getting yourself, and your girlfriend, in trouble.
Kinda lame advice, but I hope it helps.
|By camhead |
From The Old Northwest
Dec 12, 2011
We'd like to rappel into a canyon, explore/fish/gold pan, stay the night, and climb out the next day.
If this is really your objective, you'd be better served on a Canyoneering forum (sorry, don't know the best ones, but they're out there), rather than climbing. Buy some books, practice rapping, ascending, and hauling in your tree, and you're good to go.
|By Jake Jones |
From The Eastern Flatlands
Dec 13, 2011
You're crazy if it's more than a couple pitches. If it's just one or two pitches, you can fix the ropes then ascend back up them when you're done. But honestly, for a novice, even this can be a daunting task.
There are logistics to think about when you're formulating a plan for something like this. If you're just rappelling and ascending and not planning on climbing, static rope is best. If there's a chance you think you'll want to climb the route back out, then you'll need a dynamic rope. But if things go south as they can sometimes, jugging a dynamic line is a hell of a lot more work that on a static line.
Descending is gonna be a hell of a lot easier than getting back out; especially with enough gear for an overnight stay. For this you have three options that I can think of: Lead the route back out (which represents quite a challenge, not to mention more gear), jug the fixed lines with your gear on, or jug the fixed lines then haul your stuff up. For that you'll need to develop some skills too. Learning to employ mechanical advantage systems with minimal gear can have great benefits in more than one type of scenario. I'd suggest that anyone that climbs or caves or canyon...eers(?) learn this.
So, to answer your question: you'll need to know how to:
-build solid and redundant anchors
-lead climb on gear
-fix lines to anchors
-rappel with a backup
-ascend a rope with a backup
-pass a knot while rappelling
-escape a belay
-rig a hauling/mechanical advantage system
-employ self rescue options if the fit hits the shan
You probably don't need all of these skills to do what you want to do. My point is that if you're not pretty solid in all of them, you're probably not ready to embark on an adventure like the one you describe.
You should always go through every step in your head and try to conceive of all the things that could potentially go wrong and have a feasible solution for all of them. You won't always be able to find a solution, or a perfect one.
I would think more about embarking on this adventure. Get some good instruction and start out smaller. When you have a firm grasp on things, then you can take off on an epic. That's my two cents.
|By johnnyrig |
Dec 13, 2011
Thanks for the honest replies. Already have Freedom of the Hills, Climbing Anchors, Self Rescue, and the most recent Accidents in North American Mountaineering. Yes I've read them. Also been collecting gear and have enough to get us in serious trouble. What's lacking is more experience, though we've led a few routes and top-rope frequently at the gym (as well as outside when we get the chance).
We haven't been outside enough to rate our capability there with any real meaning. Seems one person's 5.7 is another's 5.9, and vis a versa.
So in any case, I'm more comfortable with rigging than with climbing. Still don't know how much I trust the gear, so when outside tend not to climb harder routes like I will in the gym. No desire to play cheese grater.
Also haven't found anyone to climb with outside. That would be nice, especially someone with more experience. Then again, I've watched people's belay technique... So maybe it's going to take a while to find someone. Who knows.
We'll probably work on getting more experience before we tackle this kind of trip, and wait for warmer weather. The place we're thinking of drops a couple thousand feet in about a mile onto a larger river. Mostly it would be steep slab, with some true vertical stuff mixed in. There's probably a lot of class 4 terrain, but depending on where you end up it could definitely require technical climbing. I think fixing ropes to rap down and prusik out would apply mostly to individual pools/potholes along the watercourse.
Some of the other skills in the list we've been working on. Just need a bit more practice outside. Especially evaluating a crag from the ground, as even though we've been practicing setup/rescue/rope skills, I doubt they mean a lot if we got stuck due to not being able to find a route up.
Again, thanks for the advice. I might still be a little crazy, but I'll buy pizza. Maybe even beer.
|By Peter Pitocchi |
Dec 14, 2011
Linville Gorge, NC is a great place to get some adventure as you describe. Can toprope, scramble, trad lead, rap stuff usually also with walkouts or walkoffs. Plenty of multipitch easier stuff with an out there feel, but still can escape to the rim in 2-3 hours from most places. Checkout Shortoff if you're intent on rapping into the gorge, though I have never done this. Can practice rapping at "the Chimneys" When rapping your biggest danger is going to be loose rock and sharp edges. Be prepared to leave gear. I was going to rap Razor's Edge into the gorge, but abandoned the idea when I saw lots of unavoidable horizontal knife edges. Scrambled gully with short raps instead. Miserable but character building.