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By bmacd
Feb 2, 2010
Pete,

You are to be commended for your generous nature regarding wall climbing information and advice. So in that spirit I do have a few questions for you as I re-equip myself for few adventures this spring in Squamish and then Yosemite later on. Having been out of the loop for so long it is logistically preferable for me to get going as a soloist on this iteration.

20+ years ago I did do a few walls on the Chief and one in Yosemite some of which was hard aid so I am not a noob. It's been a long time and things have changed since then. I am gearing up from scratch again.



Questions:

1. I am looking at the Yates site and they have an 11 mm BIG WALL ROPE/ENDURO. The stock length is 65 meters but I seem to recall you reccommending 70 meters. Is this true and if so why ? Will I have problems feeding this 11 mm thru a gri gri being used as a soloist device ?


2. haul lines - I am into a nice thick haul line, since I am a total weenie when it comes to rapping it back down to clean the pitch, 10 mm is the minimum I will get. Which rope manufacturer do you recommend for static ? My haul line will be at a minimum the same length as my lead line, but it is common to see static sold on 100 meter spools. I can see myself taking advantage of fixing rope on sections of some of the routes I have my sights on. Should I choose a haul line equal to the length of my lead line or just get the whole roll at 100 mters ? Or get two separate lines equal to the length of my lead line ?


Thats it for now but I will have more questions in the near future if you care to oblige me

Thanks in advance
Bruce

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Feb 3, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
Glad to hear you're getting back into the game! There is a lot of merit in going solo, too, if for no other reason than you don't have a partner to have to worry about. [However solo climbing may be one of those few instances where having one fool on the wall is more dangerous than having two, so choose your partner carefully]

Wow, "logistically preferable iteration" - impressive. I can use big words too, like "asbestos" and "marmalade". ;)

You'll find a few new cool tools that you didn't have back in the day, the best of which would have to be things like Hybrid Aliens with their offset lobes and flexible stems, superb for aid. They may not be available any more, but I've heard good things about the Offset Master cams from Metolius, though I have yet to see one.

Far and away the best "new invention", which is new to the marketplace but the idea is old, are the big peckers made by BD. They have had the small size for years, along with A5 Birdbeaks, but the medium and large peckers are INCREDIBLE. They are so good, they can bring down the aid rating on thin nailing pitches. They have virtually replaced KB's on my aid rack.

The Yates Big Wall Rope is abso-tively posi-lutely the bitchin'est big wall rope out there! It is so burly, it will easily outlast any other wall rope - I get probably double the number of walls out of my rope. It's big, it's fat, and you feel a lot happier when you're leading and jugging. I believe it's manufactured by Bluewater, and is one of the very few ropes to pass a UIAA Edge Test.

I haven't actually soloed a big wall using the thing, but when I climb with partners we often lead in blocks, whereby the leader takes off soloing while the cleaner cleans and hauls. So we have probably put the Grigri on the Yates Big Wall Rope for soloing a few times, and since I have no recollection of it KNOTT working, I have to conclude it has been fine. Grigris are designed for 10 to 11mm ropes, so it fits perfectly within the design parameters. Note that Grigris have been many wall soloists' solo belay device of choice for fifteen or more years, but Petzl has yet to endorse the thing for such a purpose in its catalogue.

Incidentally, EVERYONE on this forum should have in his hands a copy of the newest Petzl catalogue, which they publish every year. It has fantastic tips on rigging, and ideas on how to use their gear. And warnings on what NOT to do with their gear, you know, rope-cutters like Tiblocs?

The Yates rope isn't overly stiff, just burly. I would think you'll be just fine. Now if you were free climbing soloing with a [modified] Grigri I couldn't say that without first trying it, but when you're aid soloing with an unmodified Grigri [there is NO NEED to modify it for aid soloing] you will be going slowly enough that it is a non-issue. So I can recommend the rope for the application, for sure.

Actually, I usually ask John to cut me a 72m-hunk right off the spool, but he might have 70m ropes pre-cut. The benefit of the longer rope is mainly for linking and fixing pitches, and various rope tricks. I'm not exactly a "lightweight solo climber" and I really really prefer having LONG ASS ropes. They have helped me out of sticky or inconvenient situations too many times, I will NEVER go back to 60 or 65m ropes, no way. And that's also true for when climbing with a partner. Long ropes are the way to go.

Concur with 10mm being the preferred diameter for static haul line. I soloed Native Son with only an 8mm haul line - what was I thinking?! I'll tell you what I was thinking - I was thinking I was frickin' TERRIFIED every time I rappelled that little spider's web, and when it got the tiniest nick I was really sweating. Never again. I tossed it after that one wall.

Make sure that you get a FLEXIBLE haul line, something like an E-Zed Bend. Note that they make static jugging lines for cavers which are quite stiff - superb as fixed jugging lines, but hard to haul with. So you want to check with your supplier that your haul line is nice and flexible.

If you're cheap, stupid, or like doing extra work you don't have to, you can haul with an old dynamic climbing rope. But it's more work, for sure, and a 2:1 does not work very well at all using dynamic rope.

I did use a nice flexible 11mm static haul line once, and it really lasted well. I didn't regret the extra weight, because of how long it lasted for me. But perhaps 10.5mm is more ideal?

Now, I just bought a new haul line, through a supplier that gave me a bit of a deal on price, and while the rope is nice, the longest I could get it in was only 200'. I really hemmed and hawed over getting such a short rope, and wondered if I would regret it. Well, one wall later, I came close to regretting it - because I will ALWAYS link two pitches - or even three pitches - for hauling whenever possible and practicable - but somehow we got away with such a short rope. I know we did a couple linked hauls, and it just barely made it. It would have sucked to have been short... So if I were you, I would try to source out a 70m haul line somewhere. 100m ain't much good, as you'll end up with two 50m or one 70m and then you have an extra 30m for what? Caving maybe?

You might want to check with caving suppliers for a custom-length hunk of FLEXIBLE static rope for your haul line.

Incidentally, I usually use Highline Rope manufactured up here in Alliston, Ontario - I call Andy and pick it up at his factory. Really nice flexible rope for hauling that lasts very well and is very abrasion-resistant! I know he sells to cavers and to firemen, not sure what his marketing strategy is in the US? I've told him he really ought to get into the big wall haul line marketplace. Check his website if he has one, or just go to www.canada411.ca/ and look up his phone number as per above. Mention my name, eh? ;) Andy makes me nice ropes - we talk about strands and flexibility and colour and he makes me up something good that always does the job.

Oh yeah, the other reason for LONG ropes is that the end is what usually gets damaged, and although I rarely cut it off because half of something is better than all of nothing, it doesn't mean I have to use the abraded ends as much.

Pretty loquacious, eh? [that's a big word]

But haul line buying criteria [dang, another big word] - flexible, right diameter, right length, best price.

So good luck! If you find a viable and cost-effective source for 70m haul lines, be sure to let us all know, eh?

Cheers until next time,
Pete aka the Diabolical Dr. Piton
Big Wall Pontificator and Parvenu

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Feb 3, 2010
Artist Tears P3
I'm not sure if this applies to me:

"If you're cheap, stupid, or like doing extra work you don't have to, you can haul with an old dynamic climbing rope. But it's more work, for sure, and a 2:1 does not work very well at all using dynamic rope."

I seem to be able to haul fine with a dynamic 10.5 or 11mm rope. I have a static line but never use it because the dynamic seems to work almost as well and provides other options as well. I've had to cut my lead rope and use my haul line for leading on one occasion in the last three years and I was pleased to have it.

I think its best to keep an open mind on some of these things especially if you are getting back into the game and have a few spare ropes lying around.

I also think 60m ropes work fine as well as long as you aren't doing lots of block leading. The extra 10m or so of rope can get pretty tiring pulling it up and restacking all the time.

Anyhow, I'm not trying to discredit Pete's viewpoints which are very relevant, but rather showing that there are other points of view out there.

Have fun.

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Feb 3, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
I guess it really depends on how much stuff you're hauling. If it's just a Grade V wall, and you're hauling 1:1, most any old lead rope will do.

But buddy said he wanted to get into some soloing, which means you're going slower and need to haul more stuff, and may well have to set up a 2:1. I think he also suggested he wanted to try harder routes, which also take more time.

So I did make two assumptions that may or may knott be true:

1. Buddy is planning on taking his time and soloing a Grade VI rather than a shorter Grade V [heavier loads]

2. He is as lazy as me, and is unwilling to expend even the slightest bit of extra effort stretching a dynamic rope!

I hate hate HATE hauling with dynamic ropes! You would be surprised how much extra work you will waste when hauling a heavy load. And it's NO FUN at all when working a 2:1.

But for lighter loads, shorter walls, Grade V routes, by all means an old dynamic lead rope might be almost as good as a static, and accordingly would not make the outlay of the extra $ for the static rope economically viable.

Thanks for catchin' me on that, I shoulda mentioned it, eh?

P.S. I am a consummate cheapskate [I learned well from my dad, at whose house you can frequently find used paper towels drying] but my laziness outweighs my cheapness, and I wouldn't dream of doing a wall - any wall, short or long - with a dynamic haul line.

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By bmacd
Feb 4, 2010
Pete thanks for your insights ! It's rapping the haul line which is the most critical issue as you pointed out.

I am a big fan of Petzl gear and always have been. Their website is great and surfing the commercial grade stuff is interesting as well. I will look into Highline. Would not the new Tomahawks be better than A5 bird beaks ? I saw how the taper on the end of the Peckers match the corresponding knife blades perfectly. Offset and regular Master cams look great too.


Blue water has an interesting piece of 10 mm cordage rated at 2.2% elongation. The attractive properties of this rope is a sheath which is highly resistant to cutting. Whether or not the flexibility of the rope is adequate or not is unknown, or how slippery it runs thru a rap device. Have you heard of it ? I am not sure it is classified as a static line though.

bluewaterropes.com/home/produc...
The BlueWater E-Safe technology represents a new milestone in rope designs! This rope features a highly cut resistant Technora sheath with a single black polyester marker stripe to allow users to better judge movement speed of rope and rope systems. The proprietary BlueWater hybrid core is designed to minimize low end elongation reducing time and fatigue of pulling slack from rope systems. If loaded above 7 kN the rope core will elongate to reduce the shock load to the overall system.

This rope can be used on a regular basis and for emergency bail out. It is NOT a one time use dedicated rope for escape. The 7619 lbf. tensile reported is a 3 sigma strength rating. Elongation: 2.2% @ 300 lbf, 3.4% @ 600 lbf., 4.4 % @ 1000.




edited: feb 7th 8pm

A couple more dumb ass questions

What are your preferences for locking biners ? An assortment of petzls looks smart to me. I have one DMM that is factory rigged against cross loading for the gri gri.

Next question would be your preferences for runners and slings in terms of materials. I don't have a problem with good old fashioned nylon.

As far as porta ledges go, the $80 difference between a Fish Products single and double ledge is a minor piece of the overall cost I am looking at for re-equiping myself. How does one camp out on a single ledge and be comfortable ? I think I've talked myself into a double before I could phrase it as a question. Does the fish double have a spreader bar ? The website doesn't mention it.

Lastly is about the prussik material and lengths one would carry for soloist lead line management. I realize this is based on lead rope elongation percentages under force. Short prussik on a long sling. All prussiks same size so there is no confusion ?

Wild country zeroes ? They look useful but are they ???

Since I am gearing up from essentially scratch except for pins, I may as well get the optimal stuff for walls right off the bat. These are really shopping decisions, not technical questions.

Too bad Yates doesn't make a 10.5 mm static with their durable sheath design ? that would be nice ...


PS. - I have read probably most of your technical posts on wall climbing on the internet, thanks for putting it all out there ! Great stuff, I learned a lot ....

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 5, 2010
I wont stick my nose in here too much, but it is worth noting that the UIAA edge test no longer applies to any ropes out there- the two year certification period has expired since the test was pulled.

This is not to say that the rope is any weaker across an edge than before (in fact, im sure its as good as you can ask for- scott @ bluewater really knows his ropes), but more that the UIAA does not recognize any ropes as being edge resistant.

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By bmacd
Feb 5, 2010
John, good to know. If one rope can offer more protection than another, then thats a bonus. Obviously some situations are beyond any ropes capabilities of course

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Feb 5, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
Just a quick reply, I'll answer the other questions when I have more time.

I made a comment somewhere on McTopo I think about the UIAA edge test, and some guys who worked for rope manufacturers, and who are hence far more in the know about such things, sort of poo-poo'd the whole edge test rating as not being all that representative to real life.

Be that as it may, Yates' big wall rope is fabulous stuff and outlasts regular free climbing ropes by a factor of two or more.

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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 6, 2010
Andrew Gram
A few things. The Yates ropes are great. Also the Mammut supersafe and whatever they renamed the old Edelweiss Stratos, which is my gold standard. I'm very hard on ropes since I climb in the desert, and me not knowing what they renamed the stratos is a good indicator of how burly they are. What do you need a super durable sheath design on a static for? Statics don't saw over edges the way dynamic lines do, and in any case padding edges is easier for static line usage scenarios than it is for lead lines. I like fat lines for statics mostly because they look stronger when i jug them.

I love my petzl keylock locking oval carabiners. If cost isn't a big object, keylock are great because when you inevitably fuck up and have to lift a loaded line off the biner, they slide over the open gate much easier than on a regular biner.

wild country zeros are garbage novelty pieces. failiens, tcu's, offset nuts, and slider nuts get you by just fine.

i use nothing but nylon slings on walls. i have no real for spectra since weight and bulk aren't really an issue. it is nice to be able to use any sling for an emergency prussik, and stuff gets trashed on a wall so it is nice not to worry about killing an $8 sling.

and just for style points, it is kind of a 1990s rockclimbing.com dick move to ask for beta specifically from pete. he is a good resource, and he is definitely the final authority on the easiest, slowest, and most high impact way to climb a wall, but he is certainly not the only source for good wall beta. his email address isn't hard to find if you want to email him a question directly.

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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Feb 6, 2010
Artist Tears P3
The 10.5 Mammut Supersafe 60m is on sale right now at Climb High Outlet for 194.93. That's 25 percent off. Copy the add from the internet and ask Bentgate to match the price for you and you will have a screaming deal on a new wall rope.

The Supersafe is a great handling, hard wearing wall rope.

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By bmacd
Feb 6, 2010
Andrew,

nylon slings - check
petzl oval lockers - check

wild country zeros - uncheck

10.5 static any brand + use padding if needed - check


being a dick - Fuck you buddy


John thanks for the Maamut supersafe notice

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Feb 7, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
Oh geez, I laughed out loud at the post above! Snorted beer all over the place! Cheers!

I really really like the big BD peckers ["medium" and "big", the two new sizes]. I have tried the Tomahawks a bit, but when I had them I was not aware that there was a "right" and "left" orientation. So I didn't really use them to their best. But you would be amazed at how often you can place a medium or big BD pecker, when all you think you could get was a small one.

I don't know anything about the Bluewater rope, that is interesting. Those guys made excellent [static] caving [jugging] rope long before they got smart, and started making dynamic rope which is a much bigger market.

I have one of those DMM lockers that has the anti-cross-rig thing for the Grigri, but I don't use it as I have this old Bluewater autolocker - no longer made - that has really smooth curves and works sweetly with my Grigri. Really nicely machined screwgate on that DMM.

I have big-ass DMM screwgate lockers that I use as my power point lockers with my cordelettes. I like the big wide-gate autolockers that DMM makes.

I would suggest you grab a selection of lockers, and dedicate each to a specific purpose on the wall. Different shapes, different applications. Different colours, too! Makes things a bit easier sometimes. I'm not a big fan of screw gates, although I like my DMM for power points. I'm not a big fan of those little Petzl ball-lock things, either, they are sometimes a bit awkward to operate.

Fish ledges suck. Mine only lasted 391 nights on El Cap, plus a bunch of other walls. So if you want a ledge that will only last you 400 nights, then maybe you might want a Fish. {wink}

I'm a big fan of double ledges. I don't see any real merit in having a single ledge. You don't save much money, although you save some weight. I love camping in my Fish double, it's the bomb. Just the right size for one comfortably, or two in a pinch. It gives you the option of sharing it with a partner if you have a partner with no ledge, or luxury when you're on your own. I just replaced my Fish ledge, and Russ did me well for sure, with yet another double. I can't say enough great things about Fish ledges!

No spreader bar on the Fish. The spreader bar on Metolius can be uncomfortable, sometimes you can feel it under the ledge. Yes, it makes it easier to set up than the Fish, but it's not that much harder to set up a Fish. Plus, I almost always "flag" my ledge.

There is only one "s" in prusik!!! Make your prusiks out of 5mm cord, the overall length of the doubled thing being about four feet or so. This means you need eight feet of 5mm plus the knot. Tie an asymmetrical Klemheist, not a prusik, and consider lengthening the prusik with a sling the higher you get. You want the thing to hold the weight of the lead rope so it doesn't pull slack through your Grigri, and you want it to rebelay your lead rope just below edges.

All prusiks the same DIAMETER, but different lengths. You can use shorter ones down low, but you need longer ones up higher as you introduce more lead rope [and stretch] into the system. Get it?? The important thing is to make sure your prusik rebelays don't act as an anchor in the event of a lead fall, and increase your fall factor by reducing the amount of lead rope used to catch you. Get it?

Use short prusik loops down low, longer ones up higher. One about every thirty feet or so. Half-dozen should do you.

Don't really like Wild Country Zeros. They tend to fix. Although they look nice in the display case.

I still like the fat 11mm rope. I'm not exactly a "fast and light" climber, so I would rather have a fatter rope that weighs a bit more.

Thanks for my best "laugh of the day". I owe you a beer for that one! Too funny!

Cheers, mate.

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By bmacd
Feb 7, 2010
Pete, Andrew, John

Thanks for everyone's input. Andrew no hard feelings, Pete a beer sounds good ! ...

To recap;

11mm everything for static and haul, for the soloist hell why not - check !
Wide gate DMM lockers, multiple locker types - check !
5mm prusiks in variable lengths instead of a sling to lengthen reach - Check ! (I didnt make myself clear on this one as I do "get it")
BD Peckers, yup they sure look like the cats ass - double check !!!
Prusik spelled with one "S" - check !

Fish Ledges and other gear by them. I worry that the orders are filled on a who's who basis if they are swamped. Their mandatory drop dead date on the order form is disturbing. Anyway I put an order in and will be a very happy wall camper if it gets filled.

Thanks everyone !

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By CO_Michael
Feb 8, 2010
Mexico roadside rocks
I use a 600' 7/16" static. Long hauls or 2.1s are easy. Just don't want that bag to get stuck all the way down there.

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By YetAnotherDave
Feb 11, 2010
since you're gearing up again, you'll probably be happy to hear that climb-on in squamish reliably has a good stock of aliens, even when everyone else is out. Also the hooks and other ironmongery that MEC never keeps in stock.

Matt Maddaloni's squamish walls guide is probably unavailable in print now (he did a very small print run a few years ago) but you can get it from his website: mattmaddaloni.com/Guide%20Book...

If you have any questions about the state of squamish walls drop me a line.

welcome back!

dave

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By bmacd
Feb 11, 2010
Dave,

Thanks for the reply. I was aware of Matt Maddaloni's Squamish walls guide, and will check it out. Sounds like a trip to Climb-on in Squish is a good idea too.

As far as the state of Squamish walls it would be interesting to see what new lines have, and have not been done in the last 15 years

When did Maddolini publish his guide ?

Bruce

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By YetAnotherDave
Feb 11, 2010
I think the guide was originally published in 06 or 07, and then updated a bit in 08. Still lots of stuff not covered - it's more a guide to the major rotes on the chief. 21 routes, grade III to grade VI (mostly grade IV or V).

There hasn't been a ton of new development, squamish really doesn't see much aid climbing activity. Even the 'trade' routes like uncle ben's probably get less than 5 ascents per year.

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By Nate Brown
From Wilson, Wy
Feb 12, 2010
mug shot
Questions for Pete Zabrok:

Pete, did you drill chicken bolts on the free pitch of Lost in America?

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Feb 12, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
Nate:

No, I didn't drill any bolts or rivets on Lost in America. There were two rivets in the pitch when I got there, but I was unsure if they were supposed to be there or not, so I didn't chop 'em. I think they have since been chopped.

I answered this question in tremendous detail here on McTopo, so you can look it up there for more info.

supertopo.com/climbing/thread....

Cheers,
Pete

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By Nate Brown
From Wilson, Wy
Feb 12, 2010
mug shot
Cool Pete.

I heard from a friend that you had when we were planning to do the route. Whilst approaching, I met a few keeners who told me that they were in fact the ones who had done the chopping. I thanked them with mixed emotions knowing all along that that would indeed be my lead.

After leading the pitch I was eternally grateful that they had done the chopping. I must say that it was one of the most memorable pitches I have done. Too cool.

Nate

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