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passive pro question
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By Zachary Despain
From Newport News, Virginia
Nov 13, 2011
I thought my passive pro placement was pretty solid, but after climbing at seneca and pulling up the slack for my 2nd to follow me. My nuts have fallen out of thier placements from the rope running through the runners attached to them even on extended runners. Is that bad placement or am I not setting the pieces hard enough. It really freaks me out watching this happen.

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By Jace Mullen
From Oceanside, Ca
Nov 13, 2011
How hard are you setting them? I usually give a nut a big tug while it is still on the carabiner in order to set it. Then I extend with a shoulder length runner.

If that doesn't work it may be the placement.

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By Benjamin F
From Arcata, CA
Nov 13, 2011
Topping out, first time doing Juicifer without any hangs, November 2011
nuts are directional pro...so obviously if your second is climbing fast and you're yanking the rope up fast, it can easily bounce a nut placement. the thing is, it shouldnt happen often. whenever i place a nut i give it 4-5 really strong pulls to make sure its super snug. i figured id rather pay 8.50 for a new nut because my second cant get it out, than have it blow on me and deck

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By andrewc
Nov 14, 2011
If your placements are popping out when you pull the rope up, it should freak you out. In a fall, your top piece will hopefully catch you. It will then straighten out the rope. This will pull pieces sideways. If the pieces aren't placed with this in mind then may pull out.

Potentially you can be hanging from your top piece and all the nuts below you will "zipper" out.

So when you place a nut, make sure it will hold in the direction of anticipated falling and pulls. Stare at the placement a little bit and move the nut around and see what it does.

If its super solid for a downward fall but crap for a sideways pull you can either: find a better placement, add a second nut upside down below it and tie the two nuts together to make a multidirectional placement, or do what most people do which is to place a cam. (although the same rules apply with cams but they are more forgiving for a sideways pull)

Of course properly adding long enough runners will help the situation.

I disagree that you should be trying to weld nuts in the rock with a whole bunch of super hard yanks though. If you have no choice, ok. But just about all the time finesse works better than brute strength on placing a good nut.

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By Zachary Despain
From Newport News, Virginia
Nov 14, 2011
andrewc I was under the impression that it is not good to set a nut so hard it does not come out. If placed properly under a fall it will grab the rock like it is supposed too.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Nov 14, 2011
El Chorro
Climbing is about risk management. There is not a route in the world that can guarantee your safety. There are places on many traditional routes that you just should not fall. Sometimes those places are protected by marginal gear that might hold you... but who really wants to find out, right?

Every once in a while when I, or my second fall, one of my stoppers pops out. Sometimes you just can't get a placement that will hold in every direction. But if it is only bomber for downward pull, then I set it hard, sling it long, and climb knowing that there is a chance I could knock it out if I kick or pull the rope to hard. Hopefully I'm a few feet from a better placement... that is usually the case.

I'd say if you are regularly knocking stoppers out just by pulling the rope up, then you need to at least re-evaluate your skills, and maybe have someone else do so as well. It might be that you are placing the best gear possible, but maybe not.

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By andrewc
Nov 14, 2011
Zachary Despain wrote:
andrewc I was under the impression that it is not good to set a nut so hard it does not come out. If placed properly under a fall it will grab the rock like it is supposed too.


Yes, don't try and weld every placement into the rock out of habit. Try to use your brain to find a better placement before resorting to jumping up and down on your nuts.

When you climb with more experienced people really take a look at their placements before you remove them.

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Nov 14, 2011
Zachary Despain wrote:
andrewc I was under the impression that it is not good to set a nut so hard it does not come out. If placed properly under a fall it will grab the rock like it is supposed too.




Remember that climbing is risky but there is not need to make it more so than nessary, place those pieces solid.
Your second can put on a bit more tape to protech his/her knuckles while removing a stubborn stopper.

Personally I like it when a stopper is a bit difficult to remove, it means that my leader was protecting his ass as best as possible.

Yes Passive por is very solid when placed correctly.

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By Gabe K
Nov 14, 2011
In my experience, this sort of passive pro popping occurs only on the first one or two pieces I play on a pitch and then only if I forget to take into account the need to place these early pieces with multi-directional pull in mind. From my understanding of the zipper effect, placing a multi-directional piece first should reduce/eliminate the need for making every subsequent piece multi-directional. This means either using a cam (or other active piece) or two opposing stoppers. That being said, I only started leading trad this year, so I don't have a ton of experience to draw on.

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By TomCaldwell
From Clemson, S.C.
Nov 14, 2011
Me on One Pitch Wonder at Whitesides.  Photo credits to Kyle Jones and his lucky anti-rain jacket.
Jeff J wrote:
Remember that climbing is risky but there is not need to make it more so than nessary, place those pieces solid. Your second can put on a bit more tape to protech his/her knuckles while removing a stubborn stopper. Personally I like it when a stopper is a bit difficult to remove, it means that my leader was protecting his ass as best as possible. Yes Passive por is very solid when placed correctly.


This is not a good idea when on long multi-pitch climbs. Placing epic-free gear will sometimes mean the difference between finishing the route and retreating. Like Gabe says, the first few pieces can often pull if they are passive, this is because your belayer often stands a little further back and the gear higher up pulls the lower pieces up, especially on slab since the climb leans forwards. There are many routes where the first series of moves can only be protected by nuts, so placing active pro is not always an option in the beginning. Some gear is just dropped into holes with no chance of being set, keyhole. The gear is still bomber for the leader. If there is a chance that the piece can walk or fall out easily, then yes it should be set. It also helps to carry a variety of nuts.

Carrying one brand of nuts doesn't always protect every opening, even when turning them sideways. Some nuts have nice long tapers that set well even without having to yard on them. It is not always the best idea to set nuts or tri-cams hard when at poor stances. The piece could rip during setting and you blow off the climb because of the momentum or smack you in the face. Once you get comfortable with the passive placements, you will know which nuts and tri-cams need to be set before you even place the piece.

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By John Husky
Nov 30, 2011
Set em with a hard pull in the desired direction. Then test em with a pull up or out. If they pop out easily, no good. I do not hesitate to set them HARD. They are there to keep you alive, not make your second's cleaning easy or fast. I have lost almost no gear to this method, nor have I backed off or been benighted because I like a well set nut.

Don't be silly, set em hard. We have nut tools.

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By JasonMills
From Albuquerque, NM
Nov 30, 2011
Generally, when I set passive pro (nuts, hexes, tricams, etc.), I give it enough of a jerk to set it so it doesn't pop out. Usually one or two jerks. But I don't yank on it all day. Just enough to make sure it's not going to sneak out on me. Then if I'm still doubtful, a long sling and find better pro soon.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 30, 2011
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard
The most likely issue is that the rope, when tensioned, is so far away from the face that the nuts lift, even with long runners. A lot of the time, this is because the belayer is standing too far out from the cliff. Some sport-climbing techniques encourage this, so the belayer can step back in to give slack for a clip or provide a dynamic belay. Do this with nuts and they'll zipper from the bottom up. Welding the nuts is often ineffective in this case and is rarely a good idea anyway.

If the belayer can't (or won't) stand up against the face, then a directional piece is needed as the first piece to keep the rope against the face. If the directional piece is a nut, then it has to have a downward anchor or else be keyholed in a horizontal crack. It had better be bombproof for an upward pull.

Even if the belayer position problem is solved, the terrain can still cause nuts to lift. The least obvious situation for this occurs when relatively slabby terrain becomes slightly overhanging. Pieces placed near the transition are likely to lift if they are not anchored down. The steeper the wall above the transition, the further down the slabby part will be subject to lifting.

Nuts placed in the back of v-grooves, if the rope runs across the outer faces, are likely to lift when the rope is tensioned. Ditto for nuts place behind parallel vertical flakes when the rope alternates from one flake to the other.

Perhaps most obvious lifting potential is when the rope goes over a ceiling, but most climbers don't misjudge that situation.

So the answer isn't to try to anchor down every nut, but rather to carefully assess the terrain and anchor down certain key pieces (or place directionally stable ones) that will keep the rope close to the cliff face.

To do this, remember that, under tension, the rope will try to run in a straight line from the belayer to you, and any piece that prevents it from achieving that straight line will be subject to lifting. However, once you have a directional piece that won't lift, then you can switch to considering only what would happen if the rope runs in a straight line from the directional piece to you.

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By Peter Pitocchi
Dec 1, 2011
Pete belays 2nd pitch Little corner
Try DMM aluminum offsets

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By Kent Pease
From Littleton, Colorado
Dec 1, 2011
The keys are where and how the nut is placed. Try to set the nut BEHIND a constriction in addition to above a constriction. Good spots cannot be found everywhere, and it is often necessary to place nuts where there are good pockets, rather than where it is convenient. Developing an “eye” for good spots can take some practice though. It becomes a fun game or puzzle to solve. Also, note that some rock formations and cracks have good nutting qualities and some do not.

As other posters have noted; runners can help and should be used, and seating the nut can help but has some determents too.

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By steitz
From midcoast, maine
Dec 1, 2011
3 easy ways to keep your nuts from falling out -

1) Set a directional at the bottom of your climb

2) Use long runners so the rope makes a straight line and doesn't zig zag between the pieces

3)Set opposed nuts that are clove hitched off so they won't lift out.


More force when setting them won't really help you. The force outwards that the rope puts on the piece when you fall will overcome you trying to crunch a nut in somewhere, and ultimately setting nuts super hard will over time damage the rock. If it's not working, doing it harder won't make it work.

Also, maybe brush up on Climbing Anchors & Freedom of the Hills

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