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How often do you fall?
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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Apr 20, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Total noob question Number 1.... probably more to follow

I'm brand new to aid, having only done it for a couple days now... but I love it. No falls, yet... only pieces I've blown have been when checking them before weighting.. But, probably before I learn to REALLY trust the gear, it seems like aiding frequently involves a lot of very questionable placements.. and if the piece you're on blows, you go down

How common are falls? How often do you fall, and, more importantly, how often are those falls a total SURPRISE to you?

Also... how many of you have been hit in the face with a blown piece? I found myself cringing and wishing I was wearing some kind of eye protection every time I stepped up to face-level with my piece...


Thanks

-Ben


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By Elena Sera Jose
From colorado
Apr 20, 2012
bacon

Never


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By jumping fish
Apr 20, 2012
tree climbing Love it.

I read an article once that suggests you bring
three 48" runners
and ten 24" runners
Often times runners are used as alpine quickdraws sometimes being extended to reduce rope drag.

I prefer carrying more than three 48" slings for the following reason.


You can also use these runners to equalize more than one piece so that way you can distribute your body weight on to 2 or 3 pieces at once. often times making a marginal placement safer/solid (to a certan degree depending on your climb/crux/sketch factor.

Their are also helmets with eye/face protection visers on the avaliable. I like the $4 safty glasses because they are inexpensive.


No lenses double for great shades
No lenses double for great shades


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 20, 2012
don't throw rocks

Falling happens from time to time and it varies as to whether you're expecting the fall or not. The worst is when a piece with almost pop out, only to get caught on an edge or something sometimes it holds long enough for you to back off, place another piece, etc but sometimes it's like mother nature is playing with you in a "I'll let you get completely freaked out and then pop" sort of way.

Ideally, your A1 placements should never fail and most of your A2/C2 placements shouldn't fail. If you start falling a lot in this range then you have to reevaluate and figure out what's going wrong and make corrections.

Strangely enough when you get into A3-4/C3-4 range your placements are less bomber but your fear factor is so much higher that you still don't fall that much because you're taking so much longer to be satisfied with your placements. This is probably the main difference in the amount of time it takes between A1 and A3 pitches: the fear time. Speed climbers just plug and play and so people that speed aid climb bigwalls tend to fall more because that's the nature of the game - trusting pieces = speed.

- - -

as for things hitting you in the eye, you don't need or want extra gear or something as ridiculous as a visor for your helmet. When you step up, your hand will already be near the piece, turn your head away as you step up and hover your hand over the area of the piece. If it pops, it'll hit your gloved hand; no harm no foul. Since your main resting spot is in your third step of the aider the piece is not often at face level for very long.

You've probably noticed this, but when testing a piece before committing to it, once again you shouldn't look directly at it IF it's directly above you, look forward so any failure brings the piece onto your helmet instead of into your face. If the piece is off to the side, it's not a problem.

- - -

For the case of stepping up on pieces, you would almost never combine multiple pieces into a single point as Jumping Fish has said up-thread. It makes complete sense when you think about it off the wall in a big wall theorist sort of way, but in an actually-climb-instead-of-pretend-to-climb-by-stealing-other-people-trip-report-pictures-to-make-our-own-trip-report-of-dubious-veracity sort of reality, clipping and stepping into the point of 2+ equalized pieces will not allow you to reach as high for your next placement. Thus, in a difficult section, doing this would only force you to create more dubious placements to reach the height of the next good placement, not to mention the amount of extra time this would take.

Obviously for things like opposing nuts and specialized placements like that, the above isn't as relevant because you don't have a choice in those specialized situations. In general though, for 95-99% of your placements, equalizing pieces to create a better but lower clip in point is counter-productive at best. Things change again once you hit A4 (and I assume A5) aiding where sometimes equalized pieces are the only thing you'll be able to step into, but that still falls under "specialized" as far as I'm concerned. Most A1-A3 wil not require you to consider that sort of thing.

There WILL be times though where you will want to equalize a few pieces together in order to clip the rope to. These will usually be pieces that were good enough for body weight but wouldn't hold a fall individually. So you'd equalize them all together but clip your aider into the highest piece to reach as high as you can for the next placement. But that's outside of the scope of the initial questions you asked.


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By jumping fish
Apr 20, 2012
tree climbing Love it.

kevin deweese wrote:
equalizing pieces to create a better but lower clip in point is counter-productive at best..


I would have to disagree with that. Because I have fallen and the reason being is : I was on a marginal nut placement and the rock broke. Had I been on two or three equalized pieces the rock would not have broken.

I also disagree with the statement you made about not needing safty glasses. When placing a piece and a partical of rock gets in your eye it sucks even more than you do. Besides who wants to look up or down for that matter if you would happen to be alpine climbing, and be blinded by the sun?


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 20, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

I've taken two 20 footers on aid, both were on the same pitch aiding up a supposedly A1 pitch. They were camhooks but the rock was chossy and therefore liable to blow. both falls the rock broke, not the camhook, and both were unexpected. as for getting hit in the face, don't stare at the piece you're bounce testing! keep your head down and it'll just bounce off your helmet. I think glasses are overkill, unless you look at the piece you're testing (don't do that!). Aid is great fun, but the fun comes from the feeling of relief you get after topping out on a pitch, the time actually climbing is usually sphincter tightening and scary. Still, it allows you to get to parts of cliffs that would otherwise be inaccessible to us punters. Another benefit is you learn to trust nuts way more than cams, cams flex when you wight them, a good nut (even a tiny brassy) doesn't budge.

Get out there and have fun! the falls usually aren't that bad and after taking a few you'll learn how to get past the section giving you trouble.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 20, 2012
don't throw rocks

jumping fish wrote:
I would have to disagree with that. Because I have fallen and the reason being is : I was on a marginal nut placement and the rock broke. Had I been on two or three equalized pieces the rock would not have broken.


You're missing the point. You have to think beyond the single placement. If the person in your story had equalized pieces then likely the nut wouldn't have blown or as you said, the other pieces would have caught the person in your story but none of that really matters considering that for this to work one would be clipping into the equalized point much lower than the original piece. On the type of routes the OP is going to be climbing for the first 1-5 years of bigwalling, doing this will make it difficult to reach the next good placement or more likely, a climber would only have to top step from previous placement to bypass the whole mess and reach a better placement.

- - -
Best part about a forum is that you can search for the posts of a member. Take a trip into the posts and threads that Jumping Fish has created in the past to see for yourself whether he has the experience nor the understanding of aid systems for his advice to be considered worthwhile.


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By jumping fish
Apr 20, 2012
tree climbing Love it.

No I haven't missed the point.

Also what I have posted has no bering on what YOU are saying that I can and or can't do.

If you think it does-then here is a simple solution ask me a question about any climb on my list and I will undoubtly be able to answer faster than I could look up the answer.

Or heres a better solution. It does not matter what you think of me. Done.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 20, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

100 foot long stick clips make bypassing placements easy.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Apr 20, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

Keenan Waeschle wrote:
Aid is great fun, but the fun comes from the feeling of relief you get after topping out on a pitch, the time actually climbing is usually sphincter tightening and scary.


This describes EVERYTHING I climb, though... Guess I'ma gunno fit right in


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By rob bauer
From Golden, CO
Apr 21, 2012

I'm no aid climber, but when I practiced a pitch here and there over the years, the only thing I can add is that if a piece passed the test and later blew, it was the easiest fall I ever took: No adrenalin, no "what ifs," no pump; just now I'm a few feet lower and have to try again. All and all, maybe we should all do an aid pitch now and then just to remind ourselves how the whole system works. (To answer the question, maybe one in a 100 placements didn't work on C1 for me.)


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 21, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

jumping fish wrote:
I read an article once that suggests you bring three 48" runners and ten 24" runners Often times runners are used as alpine quickdraws sometimes being extended to reduce rope drag. I prefer carrying more than three 48" slings for the following reason. You can also use these runners to equalize more than one piece so that way you can distribute your body weight on to 2 or 3 pieces at once. often times making a marginal placement safer/solid (to a certan degree depending on your climb/crux/sketch factor. Their are also helmets with eye/face protection visers on the avaliable. I like the $4 safty glasses because they are inexpensive.


Hey Fish that is some good information. Made total sense when I read it but not something I ever thought of to do. But the last aid I did was the nose in '83. Thanks


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 22, 2012
don't throw rocks

Have fun climbing out there Fishy.


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By cms829
Apr 23, 2012
high e

jumping fish wrote:
No I haven't missed the point. Also what I have posted has no bering on what YOU are saying that I can and or can't do. If you think it does-then here is a simple solution ask me a question about any climb on my list and I will undoubtly be able to answer faster than I could look up the answer. Or heres a better solution. It does not matter what you think of me. Done.

oh my.... Do not start equalizing pieces such as fish suggested. Listen to Kevin. (as if thats not obvious enough)


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By jumping fish
Apr 23, 2012
tree climbing Love it.

It is definitely better to equalize pieces instead of risking injury by climbing on or past a piece which may be unfit for holding your body weight. In "aid climbing" you are not only climbing vertical lines. The route could traverse to the right or left, possibably diagonaly up or down. Many small cams/stoppers/rurp/bashies/hooks can and should be equalized. By doing this you are reducing the chance of falling thus minimizing the risk of injury. The only real reason not to equalize a piece would be when you have equalized your marginal piece above your solid piece. But you wont need to do this unless the bomber piece is inverted and you are attempting to keep the upper piece on the rock by creating an opposing pull directed onto that marginal placement. No matter the orientation of your route. Sometimes it may be wiser to place a single piece and continue climbing; if that piece is bomber.
You can also back clean as Kevin suggested but in doing this you could possibly and probably will make it much more difficult if not impossible for your second to clean the route. Explicitly when traversing or climbing across and past a roof. Where lowering out tatics will need to be deployed. So it is not only the leader who may have a falling situation but also the second if the leaders rigging is not 100%.


If you really want to start equalizing pieces you could bring thirty runners 5-10 48" 10-15 24" 5-10 12"

Also try not to be sandbagged. Don't listen to faulty advive like the cms829 Caricature. Kevin offered some useable advice but it was minimal, and flaming me was also unnecessary.

And to answer your question I don't fall very often, and it's because I'm safe.





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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 23, 2012
don't throw rocks

jumping fish wrote:
You can also back clean as Kevin suggested


Yeeeeeah, not sure where the back-cleaning part came from since I never said anything in this thread about back-cleaning but whatever.

Either way, don't worry about whether to equalize pieces or not right now. You should always have runners with you anyways on the wall so you can attempt to equalize pieces once you're out there. The thing is that once you do that and actually see the difference in reach combined with sparsity of good placements you'll understand immediately. The best part is that you'll see and learn once you're up there.

I'm going to let Fishy's incoherent previous post speak for itself.


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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Apr 23, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination Rock

I'm sure there's some application for equalizing direct pieces, but adding an extra piece is gonna add extra 2x the time, too... With my little bit of experience aiding so far, I think most times I'd really rather just hope the next will be bomber, and get the fudge off the piece that's freaking me out, rather than take time to spend more time on it.


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By jumping fish
Apr 23, 2012
tree climbing Love it.

Oops guess you didn't mention backcleaning.
I did though. Anyway.

Equalizing a piece here and there does not take too much time to do.
With pratice you will become efficient with your work and time ratio.
Soloing takes 2x the time and work.
Equalizing a piece at a crux does not.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 23, 2012
don't throw rocks

jumping fish wrote:
Soloing takes 2x the time and work..


Who was talking about soloing?


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By Leeroy
Apr 23, 2012

Aid falls don't happen very often unless you're not very good at it.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Apr 23, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

I learned to aid soloing, it really doesn't take that much more time as you're going to be incredibly slow anyway, just use a clove to self belay and spend some time figuring out your systems and trying to get faster. it's much more relaxing as you don't have to worry about pissing your partner off for going so slow. If you want more info onto how to self belay I'll tell you, it really isn't hard/dangerous.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 23, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Leeroy Jenkins wrote:
Aid falls don't happen very often unless you're not very good at it.


Or unless you're aiding harder than A2.


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By J mac
Apr 23, 2012
Zermatt

I think jumping fish is a north Korean robot who translates old climbing articles to korean and then back to English to confuse us.


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By Leeroy
Apr 23, 2012

This post violated Rule #1. It has been removed by Mountain Project.


By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 23, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Actually, no. It's just a probability/math thing. If you're aiding harder routes and putting in tenuous body weight only placements, the likelihood of falling increases a great deal. I've climbed routes on aid, but nothing over A1. I'm not an aid climber unless I bite off more than I can chew. You also don't need to be able to do a 20 pitch route to know how to rap with a backup. Get what I'm saying? Holy shit, are you dorseyec's alter ALTER ego? You seem to shit on threads a lot for virtually no reason too. The stalker bit... good one. Way to divert attention. Kinda backfired though dorsey. LMAO. Good heavens man. Do you need a friend? Pen pal? I can bust out a feel-good email pretty easily. Might actually do me some good. Let me know man. I'm here to help.


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By Ed Wright
Apr 23, 2012
Magic Ed

I've only fallen 3 times while aiding. The first two were short but I hit my head so hard that I was seeing stars. The third time I fell 60 feet, broke my collarbone, scapula, 3 ribs, punctured a lung, smashed my thumb flat and pulled every muscle on the right side of my body--no climbing for a year.


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