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Cleaning a route you didn't get up
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By Mark Kauz
From Madison, WI
Mar 20, 2010
Up on Rat Stew.

Okay, super beginner question, but I'm going to the Red for my first real sport climbing trip, and in anticipation of getting shut down pretty hard, I want to know if theres a good way to clean a route you didn't get up. I don't want to lose any draws because I climbed a bit beyond my ability.


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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Mar 20, 2010
Bocan

Bail biner. I think there is something funky called the texas rope trick too..

www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1657055;


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Mar 20, 2010
Stabby

As a beginner, stay away from the texas rope trick. You are increasing risk to save about $2.50.
The bail biner is the standard last resort. But even then you will first need to exhaust all other possibilities, such as:

  • One of your mates might actually pull the move.
  • You might be able to get up by via a brownpoint (grabbing draws).
  • There might be a ropegun nearby who'll finish it for you for a bribe (Mota y cervesa).
  • You could go off in-direct, and place the rope above you at the next bolt with a stick clip.
  • You could stick clip up the entire thing; but... eeewww.
  • You might find that if you work it enough you'll eventually send it, in the meantime getting used to taking sport falls.
  • You could leave all your draws in place, pull the rope and leave for a break. Then when you come back to find all of them gone, post up a whine here and then get 4 days solid of smartassery from the MP community for being so stoopid.

Bail biner: if you don't yet have a couple that you've found, then buy one or two cheapos to add to the kitty. We all circulate the things. They come and go, and if you start out with good karma by donating a few you should be hooked up with continuous supply for a while. Just get a couple nice fat ovals.
If you decide you need to puss out-errr, I mean bail, the best way is to clip off to the bolt indirect, get off belay and rap off. You lessen the load on that bolt by half from being lowered.


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By Mark Kauz
From Madison, WI
Mar 20, 2010
Up on Rat Stew.

Sweet. I was thinking about just having a few biners on hand. Definitely going to stay away from the Texas Rope Trick. And I don't plan on giving up easily, and someone in my group will likely stick a move I can't make, but I don't wanna make them do it over and over to bail me out. Thanks for the help.


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By JonathanC
From CO
Mar 20, 2010

If you've got other folks in your group that will most likely be able to finish the route, you could just offer to go first and put up the draws. No big deal if you don't get the whole route.

Just be sure to balance your karma and offer to clean on easier routes.


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Mar 20, 2010
Me and Spearhead

One cool thing about hitting up super popular sport crags like the Red is that a lot of times the uber classics in the harder grades are being constantly projected and have draws hanging on them.
Just pick out a route you're interested in and if you trust the gear thats in place then have at it and it's no big deal if you can't get to the chains.


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By Dan G0D5H411
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 20, 2010
Dan on Hurricane

Remember that the Red is still sandstone and while most bolts are good, it is not worth your life to risk lowering off one bolt. On any sport climb where I am on softer rock or questionable bolts, I will clip in direct (while still on belay), clip my rope through a bail biner at my current bolt AND through another bail biner on the bolt below. Then your belayer can lower you while you clean your draws. Some may say this is overkill but I think I am worth more than 5 bucks. On the REALLY steep routes, it also makes it easier to clean your route when being lowered vs rapping from your bail biner.


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By Sam Stephens
Mar 21, 2010
Top half of Melifluous

Andrew Haag wrote:
Ive never been to the RED, however you can always downclimb and clean as you go, sounds sketch I know but really not that bad. So long as the routes arent too run out.


On that note, just unclip and take falls all the way til you get to the first bolt and then downclimb after you pull that draw off. I mean, whatever?


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By Derek W
Mar 21, 2010
First summit of First Flatiron

Sam Stephens wrote:
On that note, just unclip and take falls all the way til you get to the first bolt and then downclimb after you pull that draw off. I mean, whatever?


I was going to say the same thing, except I say that tough guys just jump after pulling the bottom draw.

Never said I was tough though...


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By Aleksei Potov
Sep 5, 2013

Mike Lane wrote:
As a beginner, stay away from the texas rope trick. You are increasing risk to save about $2.50. The bail biner is the standard last resort. But even then you will first need to exhaust all other possibilities, such as: * One of your mates might actually pull

I'm just curious, where do you get those 2.50 biners from? Cheapest they sell at my gym are around 7 bucks. Thanks.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Sep 5, 2013

This is all "5.9 trad climber on a sport 11" advice. Only noobs leave bail gear.

1) French, dog and/or stick clip your way to the anchor. Work the route on TR until you can try to RP it. Get good at this. It's called "sport climbing".

2) Choose routes with pre-hung draws.

3) Ask someone already on the route to hang your rope or draws.

4) Have a female in your party find a large celibate male looking for a warm-up/cool-down. They're often really loud and easy to find.


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By D-Storm
Sep 5, 2013
Enjoying a misty day on top of the Bookmark on Lumpy Ridge at age 14 or 15.

JLP wrote:
This is all "5.9 trad climber on a sport 11" advice. Only noobs leave bail gear. 1) French, dog and/or stick clip your way to the anchor. Work the route on TR until you can try to RP it. Get good at this. It's called "sport climbing". 2) Choose routes with pre-hung draws. 3) Ask someone already on the route to hang your rope or draws. 4) Have a female in your party find a large celibate male looking for a warm-up/cool-down. They're often really loud and easy to find.


Spot on! Learn to climb hard sport and you'll consequently learn some good aid climbing tricks as well. More tips: A few quickdraws clip together for a high-step aider in a pinch, or bring an extendable draw (2-foot sling). Sometimes just having your belayer keep tension while you "climb" through a crux move is enough to get you to the next bolt. Welcome to Dog Town.


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By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From Los Alamos, NM
Sep 5, 2013
Climbing at the Belvedere crag near Nago with a great view of the northern end of Lake Garda and the town of Torbole sul Garda below. June 2013.

Aleksei Potov wrote:
I'm just curious, where do you get those 2.50 biners from? Cheapest they sell at my gym are around 7 bucks. Thanks.

Not quite $2.50 but $4.75 new. Factor in "depreciation" (I only leave old, used biners that I want to upgrade anyway or other bail biners I've found over the years) and $2.50 sounds about right. Or a $2.36 quick-link.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 5, 2013
Sure, I can belay

Jason Halladay wrote:
Or a [[$2.36 quick-link.]


No quick links please, makes it hard on the next climber who would like to clip the bolt.


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By Alvaro Arnal
Administrator
From Aspen, CO
Sep 5, 2013
Pup Tent OS

Jason Halladay wrote:


This is one of my climbing pet peeves; leaving a quicklink on a bolt because you had to bail is bad form IMO. It only makes it harder for the next party climbing the route to clip the bolt and climb through, not to mention they can become very difficult to remove if the threads seize over time.

If you're not strong enough to pull the moves and have to bail from a bolt please use a carabiner. As your climbing career becomes longer and you become stronger and more experienced the number of bail biners you leave will be made up for by the amount of bail biners you recover that other folks left.

Be kind to the next climber on the route! No quicklinks!


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By Xam
From Boulder, Co
Sep 5, 2013

@Dan G0D5H411

You don't need two bail biners to lower off...use a prusik to back yourself up. See below section on backing off a single pitch.

www.petzl.com/files/all/en/activities/sport/Solutions-Sport->>>


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Sep 6, 2013
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

Andrew Bisharat's Sport Climbing book has several great techniques explained with diagrams. Stick clipping all the way up may be distasteful to some, but to others it's just sport climbing. (Usually its easier to just French-free, though).


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 6, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!

Dude. It's the Red. You're not going to get to any stopper moves that shut you down. The whole appeal of the RRG is that 5.10 climbers can bolt to bolt and top out 5.12s, and tell themselves, "I can do this route!"


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By Dave Alie
From Golden, CO
Sep 6, 2013
Photo Credit: The talented Pete Garceau

Dan G0D5H411 wrote:
On any sport climb where I am on softer rock or questionable bolts, I will clip in direct (while still on belay), clip my rope through a bail biner at my current bolt AND through another bail biner on the bolt below. Then your belayer can lower you while you clean your draws.


In support of Dan's point, lowering off one bolt and cleaning below isn't ideal as you're looking at a ground fall once you reach half of your high point. Backing up that bolt by leaving a bail biner on the one below also will work, but a cheaper option is to tie yourself via prusik/autoblock into the opposite strand of rope (the one that passes through the quickdraws rather than the one you're tied into), sliding the knot down with you as you lower and clean. This way you are effectively tied in to the other strand so if the top bolt fails, you would take what amounted to a lead fall onto the draw immediately below you.

Yes, this assumes that you brought a prusik to a sport crag, but I think it's a good idea to always have one at least in the pack, and it's not hard to get in the habit of bringing one up with you on routes where you know you're likely in over your head.


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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Sep 6, 2013
Mt. Agassiz

Dave Alie wrote:
In support of Dan's point, lowering off one bolt and cleaning below isn't ideal as you're looking at a ground fall once you reach half of your high point. Backing up that bolt by leaving a bail biner on the one below also will work, but a cheaper option is to tie yourself via prusik/autoblock into the opposite strand of rope (the one that passes through the quickdraws rather than the one you're tied into), sliding the knot down with you as you lower and clean. This way you are effectively tied in to the other strand so if the top bolt fails, you would take what amounted to a lead fall onto the draw immediately below you. Yes, this assumes that you brought a prusik to a sport crag, but I think it's a good idea to always have one at least in the pack, and it's not hard to get in the habit of bringing one up with you on routes where you know you're likely in over your head.


See Xam's post above for a good link to a diagram of this.

Also, this thread is over three years old...but still a good discussion.


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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Sep 6, 2013
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks

Dave Alie wrote:
In support of Dan's point, lowering off one bolt and cleaning below isn't ideal as you're looking at a ground fall once you reach half of your high point. Backing up that bolt by leaving a bail biner on the one below also will work, but a cheaper option is to tie yourself via prusik/autoblock into the opposite strand of rope (the one that passes through the quickdraws rather than the one you're tied into), sliding the knot down with you as you lower and clean. This way you are effectively tied in to the other strand so if the top bolt fails, you would take what amounted to a lead fall onto the draw immediately below you. Yes, this assumes that you brought a prusik to a sport crag, but I think it's a good idea to always have one at least in the pack, and it's not hard to get in the habit of bringing one up with you on routes where you know you're likely in over your head.


forget about the prusik, if you're that paranoid you can just use a grigri threaded backwards, it takes in slack as you lower, but will lock up if the top bolt fails. Now personally, I'd never be paranoid enough to do this myself, I mean if I have to bail I've already fallen multiple times on that single bolt, and the loads of a lead fall are much higher than anything you'll put on the bolt while lowering. If a bolt has just caught a lead fall, there is absolutely no way it will fail while lowering.


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By Ryan Palo
From Bend, oregon
Sep 6, 2013
Me

You can always lower off, then have a buddy free snake the strand you lowered off of. Have him bring a tag line. You can rap off a single piece using that tag line and use the lead/TR line to reverse lead/clean the route. That way if your bolt were to break(highly unlikely) you'd only be risking a moderate lead fall.

I've used this leading on twins, having to bail off of a sketchy placement.

I wouldnt worry about it too much. You're at the Reds. There will be at least 5 alpha types right behind whom you can beg for your equipment.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Sep 6, 2013
...

I recognize Matt Damon on the left. But who is that with the Dog?


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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Sep 6, 2013
Half Dome

seriously all these shenanigans to save a carabiner or two. just post to MP that you want to buy 10 bail biners. spend $10 bucks. always keep two on your harness for when you need to bail. lighter than a gri-gri and no damn prussics to tie. most of the time someone will be climbing after you and will retrieve the two biners. in fact they will be glad to because they get the ego boost of finishing your climb for you. hell I bet most of the time you can just lower off your draws and someone will return them.

its true after you climb for a while you will have an entire collection of bail biners. especially if you climb some trad.

and check the biners and draws that are left in place. biners get worn through and have cut through ropes before. never trust equipment that you find at the cliff without checking it for yourself.


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By Nate Reno
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Sep 6, 2013
Ellingwood Point Summit, Little Bear in the background.

I haven't had to bail off of anything yet, but I like the prussik idea if lowering off a single biner. I often have a small tied loop with me that I'll use as an autoblock when rappelling, and it makes for a great foothold when frenching. It's much thinner than the Petzl pdf 7mm recommendation though, probably 5mm, and on a non locker.
I wasn't particularly thrilled about their recommending leaving a quick link, as I'm sure Alvaro wouldn't be either.


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By Tom-o Sapien
Sep 6, 2013
Conky and I confront Patrick Swayze

Locker wrote:
I recognize Matt Damon on the left. But who is that with the Dog?


I believe that is Alexi Honnold (Alex's conjoined twin that was seperated pre-pubescently).

More importantly, who is the lurker sitting at the table with the spilled piss-jug?


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