Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Solo Aiding Traverses?
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By Marc-Andre
From Squamish, B.C
Nov 14, 2009
I have done many pitches of solo-aid climbing but never any major traverses. I have done pitches with 'some' traversing where I rapped down my haul line, made a little pendulum to my last anchor then either jugged/cleaned with my bag on my back if it isnt too heavy, or lowered the bag out for hauling later then jugged/cleaned/hauled as normal.

But what do you do when the pitch is a major traverse? Down aid, then read aid cleaning??? Seems weird, and do you just use a long lower out line for the haul bag?

Thanks in advance...

Marc

FLAG
By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Nov 14, 2009
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex ...
Traverses and overhangs are pretty common on aid climbs, they're the nature of the beast. Long ropes really help - I use 70m on El Cap because of all the rope tricks you can perform.

When you get to the top of the pitch, you rap your haul line as per normal. The line is usually long enough to hang in an arc back to your lower belay station. You will have tied the bottom end of the haul line into your power point so it can be jugged.

You rap down your haul line - I use my Grigri so I can let go and remain stationary. There are two ways to return to your lower anchor. Either rappel into the slack, and jug back in, or else once you have practised, you can actually pull yourself in horizontally with one hand on your jug and the other pulling on the haul line. Try it, you'll see - you have to lower yourself down about one foot for every four feet you pull yourself in. The trick is to stay horizontal with the station. If you don't make it, just rap down into the slack, and jug back up.

If the pitch is severely traversing and overhanging, and your ropes are short, pull up all the slack in your lead rope, and tie the end of your lead rope to the top of your haul line, and cross the knot on rappel. With long ropes you probably won't need to do this.

As for cleaning a traversing or overhanging pitch, you can't jug it. You basically have to re-lead it using your aiders, and run your Grigri as a backup. Tie your usual backup knots. You've read my post here on how to clean an aid pitch, right? If not, look it up on this forum, and please bump it to the top.

Traverses are a real pain in the ass, but once you get the hang of it, not too bad. My first El Cap solo was Iron Hawk, a route longer and harder than anything else I had ever climbed. It has a LOT of traversing, and I chose it so I could figure out the rope tricks. It took me a while [sixteen days!] but eventually I made it. And traverses have felt easy ever since.

I don't use a separate lower-out line for my pig. Instead, I use a long haul line, and butterfly the pig on at whatever point on the haul line is appropriate. Use the excess haul line as your lower-out line - get it?

Sometimes, if there is nothing to hit, you can just let your pig fly. The disadvantage to using your excess haul line as lower-out line is that the haul line will dangle from the pig while you jug and clean, and then haul. If it's windy, this can be a recipe for disaster. So you might want to carry a separate lower-out line.

Another thing you can do is lower the pig out on a separate retrievable lower-out line. Clip a crab around the rope on top of the pig, and lower it out with a 2:1 mechanical advantage. When the pig is plumb, retrieve your lower-out line, so it's not left dangling in the wind.

FLAG
By Marc-Andre
From Squamish, B.C
Nov 14, 2009
Thank you for your excellent reply! I look forward to trying some stuff out now. I have always just ran back and forth to reach the lower belays again but your idea is so much easier especially if the pitch traverses alot.... I have no problem with overhangs ;) I just hate how they take longer cuz I can't top step on them...

FLAG
By Scott Bennett
Nov 14, 2009
photo by Forest Woodward
Helpful, thanks. What if you don't have a haul line? Rap back down the lead line and back-aid the pitch? Is there an easier way?
Thanks,
Scott

FLAG
By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Nov 15, 2009
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex ...
You guys really have to get out of the "practice mentality", and get your mind steeled into Big Wall Reality. Big walls traverse and overhang all over the bloody place. They do so BECAUSE they are big walls, and you climb them BECAUSE they traverse and overhang, not in SPITE of them doing so.

Accordingly, you need to practise climbing the steepest, most overhanging and traversing routes you can. While you can learn the basics aid climbing plumb 5.10 pitches, what you should instead do is seek out crazier lines. Instead of climbing UP the cliff, you should climb ACROSS the cliff. That's what I did in preparation for my first solo. I set up hauling stations in the middle of pitches, and I chose the zig-zaggiest line all over that I could make work.

Use long ropes, and THINK about what you need to do. You need to be an engineer, and a problem solver. You have to be SMART to solo big walls, because it is a Thinking Man's Game. Go out, devise yourself some difficult aid climbing line, and go climb it. Encounter problems, and solve them.

And practise hauling bags of rocks! Know that you have the ability to use your 2:1 hauling ratchet to bring up enough food, water, storm gear and beer to guarantee your success on the big wall, no matter how long it takes you. When you get to the summit, don't chuck your rocks [it's a bit, um, annoying] but instead practise rapping with your big heavy pig. You're going to have to do it down the East Ledges, so get it sussed now.

It really isn't viable to climb an aid route, or even a practice aid climb, without a second rope to rappel. It's easy to rap down a plumb 5.10 crackline and clean as you rappel, but that is IMPOSSIBLE on traverses and the like. So learn the right way from the start. Rap down, and clean as you jug.

You guys have seen my post here about how to clean, right? If not, find it and bump it.

Cheers!

FLAG
By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Nov 15, 2009
Scott Bennett wrote:
Helpful, thanks. What if you don't have a haul line? Rap back down the lead line and back-aid the pitch? Is there an easier way? Thanks, Scott



Clean the pitch on the way down then lower out from the bottom anchor. Make sure you don't pull the slack up when fixing at your upper anchor so you have rope to lower out with. Sometimes you have to leave some pieces in and down-aid for this to be feasible and you often will be swinging about quite a bit but you are always connected to your lower anchor. Sometimes you want to take a jumar with you on lead so you can tension the rope below you before removing a piece to keep from taking a huge swing. Think of it like cleaning your draws from a sport route with your grigri and jumar opposed to provide your belay.

If the pitch is less than 1/2 a rope length then tie both ends into your lower anchor, fix at the top and rap back down your free side to get back to your lower anchor.

FLAG
By Nate Brown
From Wilson, Wy
Dec 7, 2009
mug shot
"The best way to go soloing is... Get a partner"

--John Varco

hahaha

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.