Shout Box

Who's Online
0 registered (), 11 Guests and 2 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Page 4 of 4 < 1 2 3 4
Topic Options
#43120 - 02/17/09 11:38 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: Bill]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Do you believe the experience gained in piece placement from aid climbing is transferable to free climbing?

Yes.

Will it make you a safer trad climber?

Maybe.

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?

Sometimes it really is black and white. The right piece will stick, period. And the wrong one will blow from even a small force.

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?

Well, to start with, aiding makes you use what's left on the rack. It forces you to hone your eye and see what you might have overlooked.

Second, it makes you think about the forces on your gear from different angles. When you top-step, will that nut get pulled out? (RG knows what I'm talking about!) Can that tricam take a force from the side?

Third, it makes you see what bad rock does. Not so much an issue in the Gunks, but plenty of places where a cam in a slightly flaring placement is bomber where the rock is good, but if it's at all crumbly, a bounce test will rip it right out.

Fourth, it forces you to place far more gear per foot than you would when free climbing,

Fifth, it gives you the time to really examine it close-up.

Sixth, the motivation to get it right, with all that air blowing up your ass, and nothing but the piece holding you up!

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.

Certainly a valuable exercise. Especially for the sake of learning to construct multi-piece anchors.

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

For the new leader, I'd say absolutely, yes.

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.

No way. On muddy, icy, snowy, or wet rock, you're waaaay safer aiding than free climbing. Especially on good rock like at the Gunks. Especially if you're not very good at aiding, and your placements are all no more than 2 feet from each other. Aside from the usual risks of not tying your knots right and such, your only major risks are either screwing up the belay systems, or falling out of your aiders and taking a daisy fall.

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?

Intertwine is certainly a good practice aid climb, but the slabby nature of it makes it too easy except for a first run (IMO). But I put a friend on it for her first aid climb (in the rain) and it worked out well:



I still think Jane is better, though. I think the overhanging nature of the climb is a plus, not a minus.

Thanks to all who might humor me with responses.

You bet!

GO

Top
#43316 - 02/25/09 09:18 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: GOclimb]
Bill Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 85
Loc: Mass Land
RG and GO -- Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

There was one clear advantage or aspect of aiding over "ground school", I hadn't really thought about and was most struck by , that you both touched upon.

 Quote:
Well, to start with, aiding makes you use what's left on the rack. It forces you to hone your eye and see what you might have overlooked. GO


 Quote:
But aiding a crack is more concentrated and may force you to adapt to situations you'd just walk past on the ground. RG
I suppose one could discipline one's self and be very methodical in your "ground school" approach but it certainly would be hard to simulate being 2/3rds of the way up a pitch, low on gear, and faced with placement opportunities that may not be the most straightforward. Good points guys!

 Quote:
Second, it makes you think about the forces on your gear from different angles. When you top-step, will that nut get pulled out? (RG knows what I'm talking about!) Can that tricam take a force from the side? GO
I believe you can achieve similar results in sling testing in "ground school".

 Quote:
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; RG
This is the main reason I perserve with my aiding.

 Quote:
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. RG
I was thinking primarily from the point of view of the opportunity for greater "pieces placed & tested per hour" when I was referring to "productive".

 Quote:
Sixth, the motivation to get it right, with all that air blowing up your ass, and nothing but the piece holding you up! GO
Motivation is right. Having a small cam in a flare pop during sling testing in "ground school" makes much less of an impression than having it pop on lead aiding. Definitely sharpens the focus!

 Quote:
No way. On muddy, icy, snowy, or wet rock, you're waaaay safer aiding than free climbing. GO
GO what I meant was to compare clean, dry, warm free climbing with cold, wet, dirty aid climbing (which is usually the conditions I aid in, otherwise I am free climbing).

 Quote:
Placing gear and having an experienced person visually "evaluate" it is a very distant second.
I agree.

Once again a bit off the original thread, and with the disclaimer that I am a self-taught and not terribly skillful aider, do you guys place gear differently aiding then free climbing? I find myself often reaching high and making placements that are difficult to adequately, or impossible to, visually inspect. Sometimes doing it by entirely by feel. I rely on bounce testing to ensure the "goodness" of the placement before fully committing to the aider attached to the piece. My motivation is, I guess in hind sight, is to maximize my progress up the pitch. This is very different from when I free climb. Then I very consciously attempt to place gear at chest or waist level to ensure a very good look at the placement. For point of reference, since both of you lead at significantly higher level than me, I am currently leading 5.8's at the Gunks and looking to start rountinely doing 5.9's this season.

Top
#43320 - 02/25/09 11:13 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: Bill]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
 Originally Posted By: Bill

 Quote:
Second, it makes you think about the forces on your gear from different angles. When you top-step, will that nut get pulled out? (RG knows what I'm talking about!) Can that tricam take a force from the side? GO
I believe you can achieve similar results in sling testing in "ground school".


Hmm, I suppose you could, if you rigged up an aider and climbed up on the piece. But then you're risking a more nasty groundfall. All my groundschool consisted of simply bouncing straight down on a piece. When you top-step, you're putting a lot of outward force on the piece. Something that certainly can also happen in real lead falls (causing gear to zipper).

 Quote:
Once again a bit off the original thread, and with the disclaimer that I am a self-taught and not terribly skillful aider, do you guys place gear differently aiding then free climbing? I find myself often reaching high and making placements that are difficult to adequately, or impossible to, visually inspect. Sometimes doing it by entirely by feel. I rely on bounce testing to ensure the "goodness" of the placement before fully committing to the aider attached to the piece. My motivation is, I guess in hind sight, is to maximize my progress up the pitch. This is very different from when I free climb. Then I very consciously attempt to place gear at chest or waist level to ensure a very good look at the placement. For point of reference, since both of you lead at significantly higher level than me, I am currently leading 5.8's at the Gunks and looking to start rountinely doing 5.9's this season.


Personally, I don't place gear very differently. I sometimes place gear super-high when aiding, but only when it's the only option. Whether I'm aid or free climbing, I like to be able to see what the placement looks like. When aiding, and will often top-step (or at least one from the top) even when it's very strenous, to get at least one really good look at the piece, before climbing back down the aiders and bouncing it. Adjustable daisies would probably make this much easier, but I still just use a fifi and a standard daisy.

Also, when free climbing, I usually place the piece above my head, because A - I'm a wimp, and like having a TR whenever possible, and B - it means I can go further before feeling like I need to place the next piece.

Honestly, if you're just placing gear by feel when aiding, I don't think this has as much application to your ability to place while free climbing (except when you're forced to place blind while free climbing).

GO

Top
#43322 - 02/26/09 12:17 AM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: GOclimb]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
If one of your primary concerns is to improve your judgement of your gear, then you have to have a good view of the placement in order to make a good judgement. So I'd forgo the high but out-of-sight placements for ones you can see and evaluate before you apply the bounce test, even if you don't make quite as much vertical progress.

The main thing that slows (easy) aid-climbing down isn't a few inches of reach, it's not getting into the top steps immediately.

Top
#47874 - 09/14/09 08:01 AM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: rg@ofmc]
jstan Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/17/06
Posts: 22
I saw some real aid done in the gunks at the Double Clutch roof area once. Guy walks up, clipped a pin at the back of the roof, and gently placed a 3/4' long roofing nail halfway out the OH and slung it with small parachute cord. It pulled when he stood on it so he put it in again. This time it held. He reached out to the lip and hand placed a horizontal at the lip, unclipped from the parachute cord and lowered himself to the ground. Got the first biner at the back of the roof, flipped the rope so the pin at the lip fell out. Rolled up his rope and left. Nail and the cord stayed there for probably seven years. Then it fell out. Smooth.

I tried to do aid in the Gunks. Always wound up standing on the buckets. Aid there is not like aid in most other places. Actually aiding up a tree may be better instruction. The sling you wrap around the branch or the trunk is not going to pull so you can just learn how to handle all the junk smoothly. For harder aid such as expanding flakes, you will need expanding flakes. In other areas offset Aliens, even though they have serious problems, are apparently popular because people are climbing on pin scars. Would not know. Never liked aid.

Expanding flakes can be fun though. You get a chance to think about how things work.

But Rich is right. You need to see the placement. Zippers are something to avoid. Particularly when there are a lot of horizontal holds around just waiting to take out an ankle.




Edited by jstan (09/14/09 08:04 AM)

Top
#47886 - 09/14/09 09:30 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: jstan]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
We know you didn't like aid John. That's why we have all these wonderful free routes around here! I wonder how many of the aid routes are left to free? There's the variation of Twilight Zone (The Best Things in Life Aren't Free). I don't think that is going to go free anytime soon. There's also Spinal Traction which is being worked on. Isn't there a big roof out at the Sunbowl which hasn't been freed yet?

RR

Top
#47893 - 09/15/09 01:17 AM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: mr.tastycakes]
Dana Offline
addict

Registered: 07/13/00
Posts: 619
Poops at Skytop hasn't been freed.

Top
#47902 - 09/15/09 03:45 AM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: Dana]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
Technically, the original line of Crack of Bizarre Delights hasn't been freed.

The A3 (old-school original grade) variant on Thin Slabs Direct hasn't gone free.
_________________________
- Marc

Top
#47951 - 09/16/09 11:57 PM Re: Easy aid climbing in the gunks? [Re: MarcC]
RangerRob Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 3765
Loc: Ulster County, NY
This is a good list. Ya'll know what a list fanatic I am

Top
Page 4 of 4 < 1 2 3 4


Moderator:  Mike Rawdon, Steven Cherry 
Sponsored