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The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope?
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singin_rocker


May 9, 2005, 10:47 AM
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The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope?
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I have been climbing for less than a year, but for some reason I am interested in learning to ascend a rope. I've learned to use the Bachmann knot and a few other versions of the Prusik, as well as something called the "Alpine Clutch".

I've put them into practice in our spare room where we have some climbing hardware mounted on the ceiling. The ceiling is fairly low, so there's not much practice going on as far as that goes.

I was pretty pretty proud of my progress so I wanted to show my wife/climbing partner what I'd come up with. She's more of the "shut up and climb" persuasion. She's not interested in these kind of things. Right away she said, Great hon, but why would you need to ascend a rope? She had me. I have no clue. The best thing I can think of for my purpose is to take pictures of people while they are climbing.

Seriously though, why would you need to ascend a rope in a place where someone else had already climbed? Just because you can? I would like to know some instances where it comes in useful, or at least fun OTHER THAN ice climbing. I am not by any means interested in ice climbing. Being from Texas, the only ice I want to see is in my tea or on a cone doused with brightly colored sugar water.

So fire 'em at me.


unrooted


May 9, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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if your seconding an aid route.


Partner wormly81


May 9, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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1) If you fall off an overhang while toproping (following) and cannot get back on the rock. Either you need to be lowered down to a place you can get back on rock (that would require good communication with your belayer) or you need to ascend the rope.

2) You fall in a crevase

3) Your drunk as shit and you want to wow everyone at the party by ascending a rope anchored off of the chimney. (the only one of these 3 scenerios I have personally encountered)

Jeff


misfit4lf


May 9, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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If your seconding and fall under a roof or on a overhanging wall you might swing far enough out that you can't get back to the wall or roof and would need to jug back up.
The other is if your following someone and can't climb the route.

It also has plenty of use in rescue situations.


brianthew


May 9, 2005, 10:56 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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If you're just doing single-pitch top-roping/sport climbing and such, you'll probably never have to ascend a rope. Even in multipitch stuff, it's not all that common (unless you aren't seconding the leader via free climbing) though there certainly are a few times you'll want to do it. Here are some examples:

You're top-roping off of a few quickdraws on cold shuts or something for an anchor. It's time to pack up, but everybody's too tired to actually send the route to clean the anchor. Ascend, clean, rap. Done.

Any situation where you have to ascend a pitch multiple times but don't want to have to actually climb the pitch over and over. You'll see this when people climb long multi-pitch routes over several pushes where they lower to the ground to resupply/regroup/retreat but don't want to have to free/aid every pitch they've done so far. So, they'll fix ropes, and just ascend them to get to their highpoint at a later date.

Generally, any situation where you don't want to/can't free/aid your way up a pitch.


dingus


May 9, 2005, 11:10 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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If you and your wife are content to climb 80' sport routes that others have set for your benefit, for the rest of your lives, probably not much of a reason to master rope climbing skills.

But if you envision expanding your horizons to longer routes, multipitch trad, aid, big walls, perhaps opening routes yourselves, of ascending routes longer than a half length of a lead rope, knowing how to ascend a rope should be considered a critical skill.

I would recommend picking up a book on self rescue techniques... you will quickly see the utility of this skill and more importanly, so will your wife.

Besides, you may end up like James Bond someday, hanging from the end of a frayed rope, with nothing but your shoelaces to see you through. As you prussik up the rope to grappel with the dude who is beating on your anchors with the butt of a 9mm, you can thank your lucky stars you practiced that shit in the comfort of your own home!

IMO, any one serious about even a moderately rounded set of climbing skills should know how to ascend a rope in at least a couple of different ways. The self rescue thing is perhaps the most important.

Cheers
DMT


skymeat


May 9, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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Well, I can think of a couple. If you can ascend a rope you can get places you couldn't otherwise, like that sweet pool between two waterfalls, or down in a canyon....


mandrake


May 9, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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Prussic-ing is not fundamental to climbing (aid climbers will have jumars) but I group it with other "insurance techniques," like the munter hitch or the carabiner brake rappel. It's pretty rare you'll need it, but if you find yourself in the situation where you do, they're reeaally nice to have!


markc


May 9, 2005, 11:22 AM
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As I understand it, you'd jug each pitch soloing multipitch routes. You lead the pitch, rappel, then jug and clean. While the idea intrigues me, I've not practiced it yet. I welcome correction from the more experienced.

If you stick your ropes on rappel, you may have to ascend to free them. If you find you've missed the next station, you'll want to ascend and find it. A good bit of self-rescue involves ascending to your injured partner for treatment, etc.


carbo


May 9, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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to get out of this one?
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=33529


bandycoot


May 9, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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When on the 3rd pillar of Mt Dana (high sierra climb) the rope became completely stuck in some crack. I was at the belay and couldn't do anything about it since it was such a long pitch and the jam was down low. My wife busted out the prussiks and ascended the rope until she could free it. I pulled up all the slack and we were outta there! This was a good thing because storm clouds looked like they were coming. If she didn't have the skill to ascend the rope, we would have been more screwed than we were and it would have taken a lot longer to get the rope free. This is just ONE example of why you should know this stuff.


ben87


May 9, 2005, 11:40 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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yup - there's a whole bunch of things in the more advanced or specialized areas of the sport that you may never have any interest in doing. But whoever said that this belongs in your bag of tricks as an "insurance technique" had it right.

Ever rappell? It's nice to know that whenever you start down your rope, you can get back up if you have to.... I'd say that as soon as you step away from the simplest and most controlled settings for climbing, it's very common to choose or be forced to rappell in a "blind" situation where you can't see where the bottom of your rope has ended up.

As an insurance technique ascending with prussiks should come with this caveat: it's slow and its hard work. If you ever find yourself needing to do it, it's nice to have practiced it before and have some idea of what you're getting into.


wjca


May 9, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
to get out of this one?
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=33529


I don't think that guy is going to be ascending anything anytime soon.

That said, I was recently seconding a four-pitch route when I slipped on the second pitch, which was a nasty traverse (at least the first three moves were), just after cleaning the first piece of gear. When I stopped about 20 feet below the next piece of pro, I was looking at smooth, featureless rock, that I had no chance of climbing (too bad I stopped carrying suction cups with me or it would have been no problem). We were about 120 feet off the ground, and I was about 100 feet from my belayer, so there was no way to lower me to the ground with our 60m rope (not that I would wanted to do that anyway, because that would have been it for the day). Out came the prussiks and up I went to get back on route. Had I not known how to ascend a rope, I would have surely been F----d.


dingus


May 9, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
to get out of this one?
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=33529

Into The Void with him then... cut the rope! Its quicker than any of that rescue bullshit. If he's tough, he'll bloody well crawl out.

DMT


greenketch


May 9, 2005, 2:03 PM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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Here are your examples with a few more of mine thrown in. If your never going to see Ice you can skip all the crevasse scenarios, but
1) If you fall while toproping overhanging stuff
2) Again on overhanging a lead fall and you can't reach the rock
3) If your following and fall such that you can't get back to the rock
4) Your following a leader above your ability and you cant make the crux.
5) Your toproping a new route that is beyond what you can realistically do but only because of a few crux moves, and you don't want to back off.
6) Some of the places I go are rap in, climb out. Once in a while I climb until I am too tired to pull the moves on the way out. In this case it's way easier to prussick than to batman.


benpullin


May 9, 2005, 5:22 PM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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Picture this:

You have just finished the five-pitch Lord of the Thais, one of "the best routes in Asia," and are preparing to double-rope rappel from the top of the famous Thaiwand wall. Equipped with an ATC, a dozen quickdraws, and a shoulder-length sling, you cast off.

In your zeal to get back to the deck and suck down a Beer Chang, you decide to "skip" one of the set rappel stations and make it to the next, saving precious minutes.

When you realize that you aren't going to reach the next station, you become a bit nervous.

Because you're hanging at the end of two 60-meter ropes several hundred feet from the ground.

And you're 30 feet out from the wall.

And the wind and longtail boats below make it impossible to communicate with your partner, who, even if he could hear you, wouldn't be able to help because he's been swimming in beer since he got off the plane and is suffering the effects of the local cuisine.



This is why you would ascend a rope.


Not that I'd know, or anything...


jerrygarcia


May 9, 2005, 6:08 PM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
stuff.

1:Rescues
2:Caving
3:Aid
4:Drunk(as previously stated)
5:Not able to climb a certain section but you want to summit a mountain


catbiter


May 9, 2005, 6:50 PM
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Re: The obligatory WHY. Why ascend a rope? [In reply to]
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Wait everyone...I got this one. To go up?


singin_rocker


May 10, 2005, 1:13 AM
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Guess I got my answer didn't I?

Thanks all. I'm definitely going to practice this some more and learn other techniques. I do plan on climbing multi-pitch, if I have my terminology right. As of yet, we have only climbed up to half the length of a 100ft rope. We plan on this summer climbing in areas higher than that. I figured we would run into the need for some of these skills.

I'm not always the fastest at deciding exactly how I want to anchor and belay, but I definitely make dang sure it's safe. (as safe as can reasonably be expected) I figure with the nature of the whole thing, accidents can happen and it's best to have a backup plan and skills to carry it out. AND MORE HARDWARE. Biners , webbing, and such.

Thanks again


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