Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Trad Climbing:
what would you have done ? Epic 1
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trad Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 


papounet


May 26, 2005, 3:51 PM
Post #1 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2003
Posts: 471

what would you have done ? Epic 1
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I have been mulling for several months about wether to share this "event" which occured last november .
We were 15 climbers and hikers doing a 2 weeks trip in remote parts of Algeria.
One day we would be driving in 4x4, then we would spend 1 day or 2 climbing.
We were with a group of native Touaregs who were the kindest people I have met.
As they refuse to climb mountains which host bad spirits, we had to rely on our collective wisdom and scarce written info to identify our climbs.

We were supposed to climb protected routes, but in fact we did only 2 routes which were fully bolted. The rest was aventure or extreme run-out (like 17 point in 7 pitches). it was really for me big climbing, overall I lead 50 or so pitches.



Ok, the event, on which I want your input:

on the last day, Claude and I decide to pair together for the first time to do Tissalatine. ( http://www.petzl.com/petzl/frontoffice/Sport/static/explorations/tissalatine/index_EN.htm) 6b (about 5.10c), 4 pitches, heavily bolted. Claude is considered a solid climber with a level head and quiet.
I did try the first pitch, but was spooked by the aerial move out of the chimney at 2/3 of the pitch. Claude took up the rest of the pitch and did the second pitch.
By the time we were in the 3rd pitch (probably a tad easier), I was back in the lead, in time to appreciate the "safety" of closely spaced bolts as the rock was not of the the best quality (flaking/crumbling).
the 4 pitch got us stomped for a while as you have to find your way to the final "Thumb" 12meter high block which sits over the route.

Time for the rap from the top of the finger, with a nice chain and 2 shiny bolts. With a double rope of 50m, you can link the last 2 pitches and get barely at the 2nd belay with the rope elasticity.
There is a lot of wind, I try to throw several time the rappel, but it is a mess. I go down first, get to the belay station, and take a shot or 2 of Claude rappeling. Claude gets to the station and starts retrieving the rope.
A few seconds after we let go of the up-moving segment, the rope get stuck and really stuck. We cant' pull it down and we can't prussik over the 2 ropes as the shorter segment has been taken over by the wind and is 15m up and left of us.
I try to convince Claude that I am willing to lead again the 3rd pitch on ONE of the ropes. Claude won't budge and I ain't too hot to say the truth.
So with the amount of rope we have, we proceed as this:
Claude is anchored at the bleay station with the longest sling he has. the rope coming from up goes to him then to me and thern to him again (so I am on double rope). I climb 2 bolts, (just just). I anchor me there on one bolt, get Claude up and CLaude leapfrog me 2 more bolts. I get to Claude, we anchor both on teh same bolt (horror), I untie the knots, I get some more of the rope, Claude belays me again and this time I move 3 bolts. I anchored again, Claude joins me and anchors, I lead again to the 3rd belay station,
We repeat the stop and go mouvement till I have lead the final block.

The rappel was stuck because the belay chain did not extend over the lip, the rope getting twisted around itself was totally jammed. Ok I free the rope and get ready to get down . This time I have to half-downclimb/half-be-descended the big block. There I donate a sling to set up a rappel station behind a boulder. and down we go.
We end up 1h30 late, but safe.
(We had not taken our 2 way-radios, and we knew that most of the other climbers had choosen easier stuff and were more likely to depart toward Tamanrasset early as agreed rather than coming over and seing what we were doing).
As I write this, I realize that neither Claude nor I though of simul-climbing: 1/ we are not stong enough,2/ with the amount of rope between us, we would have had difficulties having 2 bolts etween us at all time 3/ the first moves out of the belay are the sketchiest (5.9-5.10a ??), we would have like doing them one above the other with 6m of rope between us


NOW the question:
would you have proceeded in the same fashion ?

At the time I was very unhappy about being both on the same bolt, or having a belay done with just one bolt. But I was even more unhappy about leading on a single. I intellectually knew a single could take 1 ff2 leader fall, but I was not that confident. Claude was not budging.

I have spouted from the top of my gumbyness in a earlier thread that doubles are safer. Others have expanded on the idea that if the rappel is stuck you can still climb (which you can't do with a static trail line).
Well I know now that this advantage is theoritical if you do not have the wilingness to lead on only one of the double.
Is it time for me to invest in triple-certified ropes ???

(Edit: although, this happened on a bolted routes, the spirit and the autonomy required are more trad than sports, hence my posting here)


slablizard


May 26, 2005, 4:04 PM
Post #2 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 13, 2003
Posts: 5558

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I have to re-read it, but it looks like you did the right thig, since you didn't get hurt. One question wich side of the rope you pulled down after the rappel? The one closer to the rock or the other?


maculated


May 26, 2005, 4:07 PM
Post #3 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 22, 2001
Posts: 6179

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Okay, I am confused.

Are these DOUBLE ropes (IE 8-9 mm) or TWIN ropes (7-8 mm)?

This leap-frogging of bolts - you said you did two and then pulled Claude up and both anchored to the single bolt and repeated? How far were the bolts apart?

I'm having a hard time understanding why you didn't just lead on the single line. That rope is a lot nicer, even thin, than ropes years ago, and you had at least a decent anchor for Claude. The single-bolt anchoring business all the way up a pitch would bother me a LOT more than climbing on a thin line. Especially if my chance of whipping was minimal. (You'd already done it clean, right?)


papounet


May 26, 2005, 4:15 PM
Post #4 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2003
Posts: 471

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

To slablizard,
I remember we discussed at length the color of the ropes to pull, and we set it up carefully. I would like to think we pulled the one closest to the rock, can't be sure.

To maculated,
the ropes are doubles (which were used as twins, both clipped together ;-) ) and yes, it is the mental game for me or the lack of information for Claude that made us uneasy. I led the pitch clean both times, but broke a hold on the second time.
I am posting this because after reflecting on it, I beleive we did not choose the optimal way
the bolts at the bottom of the pitch are approx 2.5/3 m apart. If I had been standing on one, I would not have reached the other with my extended arm (2.3 m). the further you go from the belay , the further apart the bolts are.
(This route appeared to us a bit overbolted, but the trip od the route setter was sponsored by Petzl ;-)


lovesclimbing


May 26, 2005, 4:48 PM
Post #5 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 28, 2003
Posts: 551

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I may not have read this properly but if you still had both rope ends at the station could you have not anchored the one end of the rope and than half climb half jug the other rope to the top and than deal with it than, you would not be looking at any higher forces than a top rope and if the rope were to get out of its bind than the other end anchored would pevent any type of fall. I hav had to use the system that I said a couple of times and I find it much faster safer and more efficent than what I belive that you have mentioned.


Partner wormly81


May 26, 2005, 6:29 PM
Post #6 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 9, 2004
Posts: 280

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I'm not going to get into what I would have done because I wasn' t put in your situation. I congratulate you on stepping up to the plate and dealing with a bad situation such as you described.

What I would like to talk about is your distrust of a single double rope (haha single double!) While traditional climbing on doubles you will come across situations where you will use one rope to reach a traverse and another after the traverse (with the intention of reducing rope drag and protecting your second better on the traverse) In that type of situation you will be relying on only one rope during the most serious part of the climb (moving off the ground or off the belay). Although this is not the optimal situation (meaning I would pay special attention to rope unfriendly features and think the consequences of falling were more serious) I would think that if your epicing, leading on a thin rope would be par for the course, especially if it allowed you to have more protection between you and your partner and less belays on a single bolt.


Jeff


melekzek


May 26, 2005, 7:04 PM
Post #7 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 16, 2002
Posts: 1456

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

if you are willing to climb using single strand, than you could have done this:
You attach yourself to the toprope (lets call it toprope) with a sliding/locking knot, such as tandem prussik (or autolocking gear suitable for soloing if you have any). As you climb up, you slide your knot, and place gear BELOW the sliding knot. Your belayer belays using the end of the rope or you could also fix the end of the rope to the belay since he does not need to take any rope. It is similar to solo lead climbing actually, where the leader uses a sliding/self locking knot. This way, you could climb all the way up to the top in one single climb. This, of course, requires climbing using one of the ropes.
Check self-rescue by david fasulo.


vegastradguy


May 26, 2005, 7:46 PM
Post #8 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 5919

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

with a double rope, as long as you dont risk a factor 2, you can climb on a single line (of course, catching a fall on a 8ish millimeter line may be difficult to do....)

so, the only caveat to leading on the single line is to not fall before clipping the first bolt off belay.

however, it sounds like you made it through safely, doing what you believed to be the best/safest option you had. good job.


dingus


May 26, 2005, 8:02 PM
Post #9 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 16, 2002
Posts: 17398

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I would have whined like a dog and torn great handfuls of my graybeard out and wept bitter tears of lamentation.

And then cobbled together a solution somehow, like you did.

AS a side note and I don't recommend it, but me and my mates have led many easy alpine routes on single half ropes. The cut factor has made me reconsider this practice, but one of the primary purposes of using half ropes to begin with is this redundancy.

Sounds like you had a KILLER trip! Are you going to write a story about it?

DMT


slackwareuser


May 27, 2005, 7:31 AM
Post #10 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 29, 2005
Posts: 11

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

wormly81

In reply to:
What I would like to talk about is your distrust of a single double rope (haha single double!)

half rope


papounet
In reply to:
Is it time for me to invest in triple-certified ropes ???

Two single ropes can be used with double rope technique, just make sure you never clip them to the same point.


In reply to:
what would you have done ?

I wouldn't have rapped a full ropelength in high wind. But that's just what I say from my armchair. You did a good job handling this scary situation out there on the rock!


graniteboy


May 27, 2005, 9:27 AM
Post #11 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 1, 2001
Posts: 1092

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Sounds like you worked something out, which is good. Kudos

Although the entire picture is not totally clear in my mind from your description....One thought that comes to mind is this....Why leapfrog up the whole pitch when you can (maybe...I wasn't there) just climb up a few bolts (on a clove hitch self belay) and Lassoo or otherwise grab the other rope end?? This method is the standard one I use in the situation you describe, and I think it's much safer than single bolt belaying and repeated exposure to force factor 2 falls while belaying from a single bolt.... Other people are basically saying the same thing in here.

That way, you'd probably have a half assed toprope for the 20 feet or so that you needed to get up to the level of the second (stuck) rope, and you could be backed up by a belay from below if the stuck rope suddenly popped loose while you fell.....??? Then when you lasooed, grabbed, (hornswaggled, or whatever) the other rope, you could just prussik up the two ropes and fix the messy rappel setup. If you can't grab the second rope, you just continue self belaying, clipping pro as you go, etc....this eliminates the ever so sketchy option of belaying from a single bolt, which, although I've been there, I try to avoid like the plague and reality TV....


Again, I wasn't there, so talk is cheap. so good for you for figuring out the way out of there. I've been in those shoes, and you do what you need to to get out.


hex


May 27, 2005, 10:06 AM
Post #12 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 7, 2003
Posts: 110

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

When using double ropes in a normal double rope situation (i.e. alternating clipping gear) and you fall then usually only one rope will catch you unless the two bits of gear are beside each other. So I'd be happy enough leading on a single half rope if I had to...

Question: If the ropes were stuck, how did you intend to lead on one rope (you did a full length abseil right?)? or had you pulled a sufficient amount already?


Partner rgold


May 27, 2005, 11:16 AM
Post #13 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 3, 2002
Posts: 1804

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I agree with everyone who said you dealt with it, which is what counts.

If using your method, I think I would have run a prussik up the jammed rope for whatever help it might give in a fall. I would also have tied the jammed rope off to the single-bolt belay stations, again for whatever help it would give in backing up the bolt.

I wouldn't be concerned about leading on a single half-rope unless there is a very real and obvious danger of cutting it on a feature.

I might have used Meleksek's method, but this pretty much forces you to prussik the stuck rope. if you aren't prussiking it and if the end is anchored at the bottom, then you will still have to continually move the prussik knot up, which may not be practical while free climbing unless the climbing is pretty easy.

Free climbing is usually faster than prussiking with improvised gear. Here is a technique I think of as "inchworming" my way up. It is neither hard nor complicated, but I can't describe it in just a few words. It involves leading on a single rope, with the jammed rope as a backup. In your system, you only get to use half the accumulated slack (of course, you get the advantage of double strands) and then have to move up the belayer. In the inchworm system, you get to use all the accumulated slack (however, leading on a single strand) and the belayer stays put.

The catch is that you have to be sure you can find anchors to hang on for the transitions I'm about to describe, and the spacing between these anchors must be no greater than the accumulated slack you have to work with. It sounds like your climb had these features.

The belayer ties in to the free end of the rappel line. If every inch counts, the belayer can anchor with a sling. In this case, there must be a stopper knot at the free end of the rappel line, because that end will sometimes be near the belay.

With all the accumulated slack on the ledge, the leader makes a figure-eight or butterfly loop in the hanging rappel line and attaches that to the harness, preferably with double lockers with gates on opposite sides. A second set of biners, double lockers if possible, also with gates on opposite side, should also be on the harness attachment point for the transitions.

The leader leads, belayed by the second, who pays out the accumulated slack. If the leader falls, there is the belay from the second and also a backup from the stuck line. The leader can improve the backup by running a prussik up the stuck line ahead and moving the prussik whenever possible.

As the leader climbs, using the slack from below, slack accumulates in the rope from above. Whenever convenient (e.g. at each bolt), the leader anchors, ties a loop in the rope from above, clips it into the second set of biners on the harness, unclips the previously used loop, and drops the slack back to the belayer, who takes it in. This is the "inchworming" process: slack that accumulates from above is transmitted down to the belayer for reuse in moving up.

That's it. Complicated to describe, but easy to do. The climber is always belayed from below and anchored to the stuck rope above. The transitions are quick and safe, as long as they can be made at a good anchor. The process will be much faster, than the one you described, because the belayer does not have to be continually moved up. If darkness or a storm is in the offing, speed might be a significant consideration, and would normally outweigh whatever concerns there are about leading on one strand.


papounet


May 27, 2005, 6:00 PM
Post #14 of 14 (3228 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 28, 2003
Posts: 471

Re: what would you have done ? Epic 1 [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks everyone. I have a sort of warm feeling from the care your posts show.

I have managed to put up a picture a picture of the route named "Le poids et la mesure" (Tissalatine is the area's name)
http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos.php?Action=Show&PhotoID=54895
I have added 2 mores pics which should be approved anytime soon.
The name of the route attempts to convey the wonder of this huge block which sits on the top ridge and creates a big overhang. from the "rappel" picture, you can see that it is almost a free hanging rappel straight down form top to 2 belay from where the pic was taken.
If you are intereste in higher res, I will post them on geocities (unless there is a free site that hosts large pics and allow direct access)

to lovesclimbing and graniteboy, we had only one end of the rope beause we had managed to pull 12m before getting stuck. (else I would have prussiked up both ropes). It was not until we reached the 3rd belay that I was able to do a tension traverse to the side 8-10 m to the side to get the other end back (at this point the route wanders to the right while the wind whips the rope to the left.)

Indeed, we were twice anchored only on one bolt, but the descending strand was still attached to Claude (the second). I am almost certain that when he set up that one bolt belay, he had also grabbed the rope from above and attached it to him.

I had thought of using a prussik on the hanging strand and being belayed from below, but I had not thought of combining both as in Meleksek's method. I had planned on using a regular knot on my harness for belaying.

I had not foreseen the issue of transfering easily the slack from above.

The method from rgold seems so far the best alternative.
A upper prussik for easy backup on stuck strand
A knot easily connected/unconnected to the harness to pass the slack and have a secure (no-risk of slipping) belay from below as I keep on clipping the rope below me as in a normal lead.

The one issue you were tactful enough not to hit was:
you should not attempt to climb with someone who does not share your views on safe manoeuvres (let alone not agree on standard messages : "on belay", etc..)

Encouraged by your feedback, I will post soon quasi-epic 2 and 3 which took place earlier during the same trip. ( and perhaps a RT ;-)


The route
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...n=Show&PhotoID=54895

the summit block
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...n=Show&PhotoID=54893


The rappel
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...n=Show&PhotoID=54892
edited to have picture


Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Trad Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook