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Ascender Usage Question
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By agd
Jul 11, 2012
alaska
This may sound like a total newb question, but bear with me. I've done absolutely zero aid climbing, and I've never had to use an ascender otherwise.

I'm taking my wife up a couple routes in yosemite later this month, and I'm afraid she won't be able to pull a few of the cruxes (or maybe even longer portions) as the second. Would there be any reason why she couldn't use an ascender to jug over these sections? I was thinking about the Petzel Ascension for this.


None of it will be overhanging. Could she get away with just one ascender girth hitched to her belay loop, or should you always use two?

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 11, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
You need two to climb. Otherwise you are tying a foot step in the rope each time you want to go higher, which is an emergency technique only.

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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jul 11, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Of course this could be done. I don't think it is a particularly good idea, but it is possible, and it has been done many times, usually as part of a more improvised scenario rather than a pre-planned one. There are definitely some considerations. One thing to remember is that the belayer will be holding the rope while the second is jugging. That means you will be holding the entire weight of the second with a belay device while the second jugs the line. Usually when climbers intend to jug, the line is fixed; ie the rope is tied to the anchor and not being held by a belayer. If not done correctly, it can be quite uncomfortable to have to hold the full weight of the climber for the duration of the jugging. Furthermore, in multi-pitch climbs it is a real possibility that you will not be aware when the switch has occured (free to jugging) due to poor communication.

Also, remember that when the second is jugging, the belayer will not be able to take in slack (unless you are using two ropes). Significant slack will develop in the line while jugging and without back-up knots, a fall while jugging will result in a fall back to point where you started jugging.

It can be done with one ascender if you are still able to use some holds and free climb while moving the ascender, but this is difficult and I'd not recommend it. It is much easier with two, or at least one ascender and a grigri. It can also be done with friction hitches instead of ascenders.

Bottom line, it can be done, and is a useful thing to know how to do in case you NEED to do it. But I'd think carefully about whether it is a good idea to pick a route in which this is likely to happen rather than just choosing route that she can confidently climb.

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By Dustin B
From Steamboat
Jul 11, 2012
It's always a party.
I wouldn't go up on a route that I didn't think my partner could climb, its a bad idea and asking for trouble. If you absoultly have to do these shenannagins, theres lots of ways to do it. I would go with two ascenders or use one ascender with a grigri. She will also need a way to attatch her feet, with either a sling or an aider(edit-or bites in the rope).

Either way, these things should be sussed and practiced well beforehand. You both need to be dialed on how to set this up and execute before you leave the ground, as it will be no fun to figure this out while hanging in the middle of a pitch.

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By ABB
Jul 11, 2012
Better get her a second ascending device of some sort to retain marital bliss. Keep in mind that she'll have to be 'secure' while removing ascenders from the rope and while you pull up the slack. Suggest some practice before going 'live'.

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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jul 11, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
She also needs her ascending system slings worked out and settled and practiced climbing with prior to setting out on the route. It is horrible to be jugging up a rope with a system that is not dialed in for you and will tire her out and suck very quickly. I would recommend you set up a Frog system for her and tell her she always needs two points of attachment to the rope.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 11, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
If you need to get her over some cruxes than you need to rig a haul. With an auto block device this is relatively easy because you have built in progress capture. If you have to do this alot you are going to hate your day. Just don't take it out on your wife.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 11, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
Check out page 17 in this:
petzl.com/files/all/en/activit...
You can do the same thing they show with just the auto-block belay but there is a lot more friction. Both these methods keep your climber on belay. I don't like your jugging idea at all. If your wife will assist the haul by trying to climb it should go relatively well.

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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Jul 11, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches
She could prolly get by with a grigri and a ropeman if it's just a few small sections.

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By agd
Jul 11, 2012
alaska
Yeah, I was thinking of a 3:1 like this:


How much more efficient would a pulley, rather than a biner, attached to the klemheist be? Would it be a noticeable difference?

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By randy88fj62
Jul 11, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
A simple setup would be:

Grigri as lower ascender hooked to harness at belay loop
Handled ascender hooked up to adjustable footloop

Make sure the ascender is hooked up to the harness in some way with a sling. Back up knots should always be used but I have been unsafe from time to time and relied on the grigri as my backup. The amount of time versus risk is something you need to decide for yourself.

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 11, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
alexdavis wrote:
How much more efficient would a pulley, rather than a biner, attached to the klemheist be? Would it be a noticeable difference?

Basically a z pulley system. You 2 need to get out and try this before you have to. You both need to know what to expect. I had one F'ed up day doing this for a friends girlfriend. I will never be pressured in that situation again. She didn't help, I dragged her ass up like 30 Meters, didn't use gloves ( which I had on my harness ). My hands were holding so tight that I didn't feel the blisters developing all over my fingers. That was day 1 of my climbing trip. My setup was an autoblock belay device and then an ascender to pull the load strand. A pully on both points would have definitely helped.

You have got to post back on how this goes for you. If you practice I think it could actually turn out well.

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By Eric Fjellanger
Jul 11, 2012
Me on top of Chianti Spire
Probably better to teach her how to French-free, and leave some nice gear for her at the cruxes.

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By Nick Stayner
From Billings, MT
Jul 11, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.
Just curious what routes you're thinking of... I think that info would add greatly to the discussion!

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By agd
Jul 11, 2012
alaska
The Nose.

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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Jul 11, 2012
alexdavis wrote:
This may sound like a total newb question, but bear with me. I've done absolutely zero aid climbing, and I've never had to use an ascender otherwise.



alexdavis wrote:
The Nose.


Wait you haven't done ANY aid and you want to do The Nose?....

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By agd
Jul 11, 2012
alaska
Yeah I heard its 5.9 and I can lead 10a sport so I figure we'll be fine.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 11, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.


Hey Price - the guy said he was a N00b - doesn't sound to me like anyone is trolling....why be such a jerk? You guys think everyone on here has nothing better to do then Troll all day long?

You're seeting an negative example of climbers ettique....

Remember - we ALL started somewhere....remember the saying "There is now such thing as a stupid question."

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By Kilroywashere!
From Harrisonburg, Virginia
Jul 11, 2012
Kilroy
as far as efficiency goes with a pulley vs carabiner on a z drag, you'll lose around 40% efficiency without a pulley according to jared ogden in his big wall book. it feels it too, amazing what a little micro rescue pulley can do to make things move smoother...

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By agd
Jul 11, 2012
alaska
Michael Urban wrote:
Hey Price - the guy said he was a N00b - doesn't sound to me like anyone is trolling....why be such a jerk? You guys think everyone on here has nothing better to do then Troll all day long? You're seeting an negative example of climbers ettique.... Remember - we ALL started somewhere....remember the saying "There is now such thing as a stupid question."


Yeah, Price. My above comment about the Nose and 10a sport was a troll. See the difference?

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By Nick Stayner
From Billings, MT
Jul 11, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.
You'll be fine! The Euros do it all the time. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a Euro dude up there working on the Freerider with his ladyfriend dutifully jugging her way up behind him....

alexdavis wrote:
the nose


That is pretty funny! I did have a friend who brought his wife to the valley, showed her how to jug off a tree in the Meadow one day and jumped on the Zodiac the next! They sent in fine style, 3 days if I recall...

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By Scott O
From California
Jul 11, 2012
Batman Pinnacle
If it's just a short crux, belay your second off the anchor and be prepared to haul for a few feet if needed. A light pulley at your prusik could make some difference, but you're likely only going to be hauling one or two throws - any more and reconsider your route.

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By Scott O
From California
Jul 11, 2012
Batman Pinnacle
Yeah, I was thinking of a 3:1 like this:
>


I have used this technique a couple of times. It's effective.

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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Jul 11, 2012
alexdavis wrote:
Yeah I heard its 5.9 and I can lead 10a sport so I figure we'll be fine.


5.9 C2 cause I don't think 5.10a will be close enough to the 5.14a free version.

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By Josh.Wood
From New York City
Jul 11, 2012
alexdavis wrote:
The Nose.

You're planning on doing the Nose with no aid experience, and not even knowing how to use an ascender?

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By Rick Blair
From Denver
Jul 11, 2012
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
Did I get trolled? Ouch.

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