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#43078 - 02/13/09 06:21 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: rg@ofmc]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2675
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Yikes, rg. Story?

#43079 - 02/13/09 07:19 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: chip]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Pretty much as I said. Climbed up perhaps 12 feet, placed first aid piece, clipped in aiders, moved up, piece blew, and I landed flat on my back between the two sharp boulders. After I recovered my wind, got up and finished the route, but by then everything hurt so much I called it a day. Turned out I had some broken ribs. Either of the boulders would probably have severed my spine.

That was many years ago, and actually was the first time I had used nuts rather than pins on an aid climb. Those were pre-daisy days, and climbers back-stepped and sat on their foot in order to maintain position. When I did this, I applied a substantial outward force on the nut, which rotated and then blew. A lesson learned the hard way.

#43080 - 02/13/09 07:41 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: rg@ofmc]
retr2327 Offline

Registered: 06/14/07
Posts: 108
Don't know anything about aid climbing, but sounds like Snooky's would work well.

#43081 - 02/13/09 08:02 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: mr.tastycakes]
kmc2 Offline

Registered: 10/02/08
Posts: 18
If your looking to go out early in the season, as in soon, you may have to reconsider Ken's Crack. If it is not iced now, it is most likely a waterfall.

Try some of the other mentioned climbs, or Jacky, Frogs Head, or maybe Bunny. Short G rated climbs that end at fixed anchors is what I would look for.

#43085 - 02/14/09 01:26 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: kmc2]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3764
Loc: Ulster County, NY
I don't think Snooky's would be C1. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is some face climbing up higher where one would probably have to pull a couple of free moves or hook it. My limited experience has shown me that switching from free to aid is often the shittiest part of an aid pitch. Again, ease of free rating does not necessarily make it an easy aid route. Ant's Line is perfect. Steep, with placements the entire way.

Rich, once again you provide us with valuable insight. You're like a living, breathing mountaineering textbook.


#43088 - 02/14/09 05:04 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: RangerRob]
socialist1 Offline

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 147
Loc: New Brunswick, NJ
If you are out in the nears, roseland and eastertime, too worked well for me.

#43091 - 02/14/09 08:19 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: socialist1]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I think Roseland would be good and mentioned Eastertime Too myself. A word of caution on Roseland: it is critical to place a fully directional first piece, because the position of the belayer relative to the crack can result in a catastrophic bottom-to-top zipper. This is true for a free or aid ascent.

For some reason, Roseland made me think of the first pitch of Airy Aria. You might need a largish cam for the offwidth near the top though.

#43093 - 02/14/09 11:59 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: rg@ofmc]
Bill Offline

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 85
Loc: Mass Land
Disclaimer: I am bored and nursing a very powerful climbing jones; too lazy to get out and boulder in the cold weather today. Thus I'm cruising climbing websites tonight. The following is prompted more to evoke some discussion to relieve the ennui than to uncover any elemental climbing truths; whatever they may be.

Some questions:

Do you believe the experience gained in piece placement from aid climbing is transferable to free climbing?

Will it make you a safer trad climber?

If you believe it is and will, how do you reconcile the difference in forces between bounce testing aid pieces to even modest falls on gear while free climbing?

If you believe it is worth the effort; given the tedious, and I'm sure I am not the only one who feels this way, nature of the beast; how do you justify doing it as opposed to alternative and perhaps more productive exercises?

The one alternative that I have employed is to walk along the base of the crag and experiment by placing pieces within arm's reach of the ground and bounce testing them with a long sling. (Warning: be sure to keep your face off to one side so you don't get a mouthful of metal if the piece pops while employing this technique.) I have also done this "ground school" with anchors; setting up different configurations and directions of pull with a given situation and bounce testing the set-up with with a long sling.

Is aid climbing in the "off-season" to gain experience with gear placements worth the risk?

RG relates a ground fall incident and GO refers to clusterf--k aspect of aiding. Often in the "off-season" placements are wet and dirty, if not icy, and thus friction is reduced. The systems management aspect of aiding certainly complicates things, especially if you are soloing, and may increase the the risk relative to free climbing for someone relatively new to trad climbing.

Somewhat off-thread and most pertinent to Mass climbers; GO for beginning aid climbers the start, overhanging; and finish, bulge, to P1 Jane can be tough. I think it took me 14 pieces and two damn hours the first time I aided it. I'm now down to 6 to 7 pieces and about 15 minutes. What do you think about Intertwine as an alternative initial experience at Crow Hill for someone new to aid?

Thanks to all who might humor me with responses.


Edited by Bill (02/15/09 12:01 AM)

#43094 - 02/15/09 12:32 AM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: Bill]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2467
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Bill, I'd say ground school is just as good in principle. But aiding a crack is more concentrated and may force you to adapt to situations you'd just walk past on the ground. So ground school might be as productive as aid climbing from the placement perspective, but it certainly isn't more productive and might be less.

I definitiely think placing and bounce-testing gear will make the beginning climber a safer trad climber. In fact, I can't really think of a very good second alternative. Placing gear and having an experienced person visually "evaluate" it is a very distant second.

Aid climbing does have its dangers, especially for someone new to placing gear. So does leading on, essentially, the same placed gear however. Perhaps the best solution is to do the aiding on a toprope.

When I started climbing, it was typical for beginners to learn aid climbing along with free climbing. Now there are fantastic free climbers who would get all tangled up and exhausted if they had to do twenty feet of aid. I don't think this is either good or especially safe. Years ago I did a long climb with a very good British climber who had no aid experience. High up, there was a pitch with 40 feet of aid. He took forever to follow it and arrived way too tired to take the next pitch. We ended up bivouacing in the fading light where we would otherwise have made it down if he had been minimally competent.

A trad climber ought to be able to aid their way up or down out of trouble without taking all day or using up all their energy; this seems to me to be a skill of far more use and application than some of the self-rescue techniques that have become fashionable in the last several years.

So, practicing aid climbing, in addition to helping one learn to judge one's placements, helps develop skills that might be critically useful for the trad free climber when things do not go as planned.

#43119 - 02/17/09 11:30 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: rg@ofmc]
crackers Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 3424
Loc: pdx
An easy short route to aid, as long as the anchor is still there, is criss, the short 11a in the nears.

I'm 6'5", so i thought it was easy and short for aiding...any body going to tell me I'm wrong?

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