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Ural Sport Russian Aider
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artmusicsouth


Aug 28, 2006, 5:45 PM
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Ural Sport Russian Aider
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I found this link to Ural Sport http://www.alvoti.sitext.ru/katalog/ito_big_wall/ for their stirrup for the Russian Aid system

I emailed them via the contact form (in English nonetheless as my Russian is a bit rusty :? ) but have not heard back form them. I am anxious to try this system out but sure as heck don't wanna make my own ala KungFu Climbers articel (cool as it is 8^) )

Mark



Partner alexmac


Aug 28, 2006, 8:33 PM
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Make sure its not radioactive.


moof


Aug 28, 2006, 11:48 PM
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I've been running the ruski system with some kung fu inspired jobs. I'm gradually starting to think they aren't worth the hassles. The hooks catch on everything (including your partner). However it is nice* to be able to be shoved up in an overhung dihedral in the top rings, knowing just how strenuous it would be without the russian system... Shit, now I'm talking myself out of ditching them. Argh.

I've made 3 revisions of mine. The last set have a 3" wide cuff with closed cell foam that really cuts down on the suffering. I use good thread and lots of stitches and sew all but the loop of spectra, avoiding some of the silly knots ont he kung fu's.


* "nice" is a relative term, such as: It is nice to only have one of you eyeballs charred out with a hot poker instead of both.


artmusicsouth


Aug 29, 2006, 5:25 AM
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Could you send me some pic's?


fenderfour


Aug 29, 2006, 8:51 AM
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Alvo Ti and Uralsport do not import the Russian system into the US anymore. I have a friend in Moscow who sent me two sets. In short, they are crap.

The system is neat, but the quality sucks. The "buckles" were two mashed titanium rings. they held for about 1.5 moves before sliding. It was fun having my stirrup come loose as I was loading a cam hook.

The webbing they used is the thinnest scariest stuff I have ever seen. I wouldn't even use it for duffle bag handle. It *migh* last one season of moderate use. I wouldn't even think about using them on a big wall as is, but that's just me.

I ended up salvaging the hooks from the Aid cuffs I bought and sewing up a whole new harness for them out of 1" tubular webbing. Everything is now super-bomber steel double back buckles and beefy webbing. It's much nicer now.

I will take some photos and post.


artmusicsouth


Aug 29, 2006, 9:45 AM
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Thanks! Would by any chance have the orig. Russian model? I'd like to get one so I could also have one in hand to model one off of.


fenderfour


Aug 29, 2006, 9:52 AM
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I tossed those a couple of weeks ago. The construction is actually pretty simple once you understand how/what they are supposed to do.

I will post enough pics that everything is obvious.


moof


Aug 29, 2006, 2:23 PM
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Check my profile, I have one pic of my previous revision. I've since gone to using wired padding and better refined the fit, buckle location (so it doesn't rub the webbing against the rock so bad), etc.


fenderfour


Aug 30, 2006, 9:49 AM
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How to make Russian Aiders [In reply to]
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I tried to upload these pics to the RC.Com gallery, but I kept getting errors. I would like to have them hosted locally so that they will stick around for future use. Can someone help me out with that?


Leg hook side

One wide strap goes around the calf just below the knee. The hook is positioned on the inside of the knee to facilitate hooking the rigs of the aid-tree.

The wide black webbing around the knee is 2" wide seatbelt webbing, about 24" long. The buckle at the end is a nickel plated steel double-back buckle.

The narrow yellow webbing is 1" wide tubular. The buckles are nickel plated steel as well. The main piece of webbing running from the hook around the bottom of the foot is about 50" long.

The black webbing on the footbed is 2" wide tubular webbing. It's about 9" long.

The short strap across the top of the foot is 1" wide tubular. It is about 18" long and has the same nickel plated buckle as the main webbing.


Leg outside


Foot

Here's a close-up of the footbed. The buckles are on the outside of the leg to reduce wear.


Assembled aider


Disassembled aider

The aider is actually two pieces. The long yellow strap goes through the bottom loop of the hook with a half twist and buckles back on itself.


Buckled footbed close-up

The inner (smaller) strap goes around your foot so that it doesn't slip out of the aider. It is sewn continuously along the footbed. I tried using the aiders without this strap and it was a real pain.

The original aiders had a strap that went around your ankle to perform this function. It tended to get in the way, so I copied the straps used on the Metolius Easy Aiders instead. I've used them heavily and they worked well.



Unbuckled footbed close up


Footbed close-up showing pooch

I added some extra material when I sewed in the footbed. This was mentioned in the Kung-Fu aider How to and it seemed like a good idea. The reason you leave the extra material is so that your weight is carried by the wider 2" webbing instead of the main 1" strap. I wanted one continuous strap from the hook all the way around the foot so that I wasn't entirely screwed if the stitching for the footbed failed.


Front side of hook

The hook plate is a piece of Ti bar stock 1" wide x 2 1/2" long x 1/8" thick. The hook has been welded to the base plate. The loops are made from thin wall Ti tubing that has been smashed a bit to elongate the radius.


Side of hook

The hook itself is 1/4" dia Ti bar stock. The hook is about 1 3/8" from the front side of the plate to the tip of the hook as shown in this photo.


Back of hook

You can clearly see that the hook is held on with 3 countersunk screws. The base plate of the hook has three tapped holes to accept the screws. I used a soldering iron to make neat holes in the knee strap. I also used a small piece of webbing as a "pad" for the metal to webbing interface. I think that the metal will wear on these small pieces of webbing instead of the main strap.

Plate Dims: 1" wide x 2" long x 1/8" thick


Notes on Construction:

I bought all the webbing and hardware (except hooks) from Seattle Outdoor Fabrics: http://www.seattlefabrics.com/. The hooks could be easily manufactured by anyone with a welder.

I left about 2" of material to sew buckles on. I used a 10# test nylon upholstery thread. I did not have a bartacker, so I used a straight stitch.

-- edited to show photos instead of links--

(This post was edited by fenderfour on Nov 3, 2007, 11:02 AM)


artmusicsouth


Aug 30, 2006, 10:28 AM
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Re: How to make Russian Aiders [In reply to]
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Fender,
that rocks. I am going to sit down with these and see if I can do this. Gotta figure out where to find someone who sews and get those hooks, too.

A couple of questions though:

1) How would you rate the system as compared to the standard 2 or 4 aider system?

2) How uncomfortable does the car webbing get?


Thanks!!!


fenderfour


Aug 30, 2006, 10:56 AM
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I'm not a bigwall climber (yet). I've only done a few multipitch climbs at Index Town Wall in Washington state, so I am far from being an authority.

The system works much better for me than any other. The advantage comes from the hooks at your knees. They enable you to push off the rock with your toes so you almost never need to worry about your daisy chains. I keep the daisies clipped to the aid trees, but that's only so that I don't drop them. You would need to use daisies for steeper overhangs.

One drawback - You can't get as high in the Russians as you would with a traditional topstep. When I say topstep, I mean the scary strenous top-stepping-daisy-tensioning move. You know, the one you only do as a last resort.

On the other hand, every move you make in the Russians will get you higher than a typical move with a traditional system, especially when you start hooking directly into the gear.

They are the sh_t for jugging. I girth hitch a sling through the big hole in the hook and clip that to my ascender. No more fighting to keep you feet in the ladders.

The seatbelt webbing is surprisingly comfortable. I doubt that padding would help it out much. My bigger concern is rubbing on the edges. Because of this, I always wear pants.

Depending on your kneepads, they can be tricky to get on with the aiders.


dingus


Aug 30, 2006, 11:07 AM
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How do you keep the hook assembly from bruising the shit out of the side of your knee? Seems like you may need some padding there? I got nasty brusies jugging with production model Russian aiders, so bad I wouldn't consider using them again without wrap-wround knee pads, the hardshell kind.

Also, why so long on the hooks?

Cheers and thanks for the pics
DMT


artmusicsouth


Aug 30, 2006, 11:34 AM
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I am looking on the Seattle Fabric website but I am not sure what type of metal buckle to get. None of the ones I see say they are nickel plated steel. Any thoughts?


jackscoldsweat


Aug 30, 2006, 12:26 PM
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I've been using the Ural Sport product for a few years now. yea..the buckles can slip, but nothing a simple overhand knot at the end wouldn't cure. never suffered any bruising either. overall, they're a simple design. combined with Fish's trees, makes aiding easier IMO.

JCS


goodwill


Aug 30, 2006, 1:28 PM
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I have also been using the UralSport cuffs (unmodified) for a couple years. I've done four big walls in them, including El Cap once. First off, I must say that the Russian system is positively the s--- compared to traditional etriers. They make life SO much easier on steep terrain, and I can move faster because I almost never mess with my daisy chains (except when it gets really overhanging.)

I also tend to disagree about not being able to step as high in these as in normal etriers. In many cases, you can hook not only into your lead biner, but directly into the loop on a cam or nut (or even a bolt hanger!) for that extra few inches. And unless it's pretty overhanging, the cuffs make it comfortable enough to stand that way for several minutes if necessary, which is very difficult in the top step of traditional etriers. This helped me, for example, to cruise easily through the crux of Spaceshot last year, by standing for three or four minutes with just one leg hooked into the loop of a gray alien.

Furthermore, a major advantage that's rarely mentioned is how they minimize the clusterf#!% factor. Compare having all this hanging off you all the time:
http://will.is-a-geek.org/...P8300001_cropped.JPG

to having just this:
http://will.is-a-geek.org/...P8300002_cropped.JPG

This also simplifies free climbing, because you can just clip all the loops into the top biner, and it makes a nice compact little bundle. Having said all this, it's really disappointing that no one is manufacturing these things. Fortunately, you can at least get the rings from Fish. Mine have served me quite well.


In reply to:
The system is neat, but the quality sucks. The "buckles" were two mashed titanium rings. they held for about 1.5 moves before sliding. It was fun having my stirrup come loose as I was loading a cam hook.

The webbing they used is the thinnest scariest stuff I have ever seen. I wouldn't even use it for duffle bag handle. It *migh* last one season of moderate use. I wouldn't even think about using them on a big wall as is, but that's just me.

I will half agree with this. The buckles do suck, and they will slip. But as the previous poster said, this can be improved (though not perfected) with an overhand knot or by "doubling back" the webbing through the buckles. And the webbing is lighter stuff than we usually see in climbing gear, but keep in mind that it will never have to hold much more than body weight. As I said, I've used mine for a few years, and there's no noticeable wearing yet.

However, having said that, fender, your redesign of the cuffs looks awesome! Thanks for posting all the pictures and the details. I have seriously thought about doing the same kind of thing myself (using the hooks from my current set, but with all new webbing and buckles) but I haven't done it yet. My lack of sewing skills is the main deterrent, but even with some skill, it seems like it would be tricky. My mother sews well and has a good machine, but a few years ago when I had her sew some stuff with webbing, she had a pretty difficult time with it. Fender, did you use an industrial sewing machine for that?

Also, I agree that I might add some padding on the inside of the leg loops, but the lack of padding has never bruised or bothered me. I also always wear long pants with my ruskies.


fenderfour


Aug 30, 2006, 1:40 PM
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Oops… the hooks are from some Ural Sport aiders that I got from a friend in Moscow. I didn't design them, they came that way.

I did not have any trouble jugging. No bruises, abrasions, etc. It might have something to do with what you are attached to on the aid cuff. If you are hooking into an aid tree connected to your ascender, it would torque the plate into your knee causing discomfort. I girth hitch a sling into the hole beside the hook and jug from that. The sling running up to the jug comes out the backside of the plate, creating some padding andd pulling it away from my knee instead of into it.

I have not yet tried a free-hanging jug with these.


fenderfour


Aug 30, 2006, 1:51 PM
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When I started this project I wasn't very good at sewing. I'm still not. It's like climbing - you will get better after thrutching around for a while.

I used a basic Kenmore belt-driven machine. I went slowly and never sewed more than 2 plys of webbing at a time.

I think the needle you use is pretty important. Most people grab the biggest needle they can find and have at. I think the trick is to get a thinner needle so it will slide through the webbing easier. I bought some of the thinnest needles for sewing jeans. I dont' remember what size they were. The eye had enough space for the thread and it still slid through the webbing easily. Even though the needles were thin, they were sufficient. I think I broke two needles as I sewed up two sets of cuffs.

When you get to sewing you will need to experiment with thread tension. Get some short pieces of webbing and start sewing. Adjust the tension until you can sew without snags or breaking the thread.

--edited to add--
I almost forgot -

As Goodwill implied, I almost never hook both legs in to the tree while climbing. I'm usually chillin with one hooked and the other hanging. It's plenty stable that way, even when I'm monkeying with a placement for a while.


goodwill


Aug 30, 2006, 3:56 PM
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Thanks again for all the info fender. Maybe I'll try sewing up a new set of cuffs some time.

You pointed out something else I hadn't ever thought of. With my UralSport cuffs (same hooks as yours), when jugging, I always clip a carabiner into the hole, and clip that to my aid rings. This doesn't work too well, because the biner always turns and gets caught under the hook, causing it to get sort of weirdly cross-loaded. Next time I'll try your idea of girth hitching a sling through the hole. That sounds much better.

Will


iamcolinslack


Aug 30, 2006, 11:47 PM
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too bad they look fucking stupid.


fenderfour


Aug 31, 2006, 7:33 AM
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That's a good point, Colinslack. My next set will probably be made with some 420 print climb-spec webbing. After all, style is a huge part of climbing. I mean really, who cares if a new tool makes you more efficient when you look stupid using it. :roll:

I am glad that you are being consistent with the quality of your posts. Keep up the good work.


teth


Sep 1, 2006, 1:05 PM
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If you use all black webbing and black thread they come out looking very good even if you sewing is a bit sloppy. My Kung Fu aiders look quite stylish.

I have noticed that the leg cuffs do not actually take much strain. I used cam buckles and velcro as per Kungfuclimber’s instructions, and I find that the cam buckles often pop open, but the velcro backup seems to hold fine. Most of your weight is on the foot stirrup, which (in the kung fu design) has a tied webbing loop at its core tied to the hook with a 6 mm cord, so the sewn sections do not have to withstand much force. I sewed mine by hand with the thickest nylon thread I could find, and then took them in to a cobbler to have some industrial stitching on some key sections. If I had better access to an industrial sewing machine I would use less knots and more straps like fenderfour does.

In the Kung Fu design the 1" tubular webbing which is your continuous loop between your hook and your feet is sandwiched between strips of 2" flat webbing. The strips on top provide the wide stiff foot stirrup, while the strip on the bottom protects the 1" tubular webbing from ware when you have to walk around in your Russian Aiders at the base or when free climbing. I notice that fenderfour did not include the bottom strip, leaving his contentious loop subject to ware. Otherwise his design looks really good to me.

The Ural Sport hooks do look to be superior to the nickel plated steel coat hooks from Home Depot which I had to uses. For instance, my hooks are wide rather than a thin spike, which makes it a little harder to hook into stuff. Still, my setup seems to work fairly well. The loop of cord which I have to use to connect the hook to my stirrup loop is convenient for clipping to a daisy when ascending.

I started with aid trees made by tying loops into 6mm cord, which worked very well. I now have a set I bought from fish, which do feel a little more secure, however I have found that in splitter cracks of a certain width the loops can turn perpendicular to the crack and act like a stopper when you try to pull the aid tree up. This happed to me three times on three different routes last weekend, so I have now designed a long tool for reaching deep into cracks and unsnagging those stubborn loops. This is probably not normally a problem, but it seemed most of the splitter cracks in the area I was climbing seem to be just the right width to snag those loops.

Teth


goodwill


Sep 8, 2006, 2:27 AM
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In reply to:
I now have a set I bought from fish, which do feel a little more secure, however I have found that in splitter cracks of a certain width the loops can turn perpendicular to the crack and act like a stopper when you try to pull the aid tree up.

I have also had this happen a few times. It's really just a minor annoyance to me, as it's only happened about three or four times total (over about seven wall-days.) Unfortunately, it did happen twice within half a pitch (the Changing Corners), because the crack happened to be just the right size. Fortunately it's nothing a nut tool can't fix. Just keep it in mind when you're climbing a 1.25" splitter.

Will


teth


Sep 8, 2006, 9:11 AM
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I agree that this is probably not a common occurrence. The area I was climbing at just seemed to have a lot of 1.25" splitter cracks. They are easy to remove if you can reach the stuck ring with the nut tool, but in one case I had to hold my nut tool with two fingers and reach my arm into a crack up past my elbow to hook the ring. It took several tries and I just barely reached it. I have since made a 20" long tool consisting of two cote-hanger wires clamped together (for rigidity) and formed into a hook on one end and a handle on the other. This should make it easier to reach caught rings from above, or when stuck deep in cracks. The hook is more of an S shape, which provides a pushing surface as well as a pulling hook. I will ware it slung over my back on any route which appears to have a 1.25" crack. I hope to get on some thinner cracks soon where it will not be an issue.

Teth


artmusicsouth


Sep 21, 2006, 6:26 PM
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Alright guys,

I have made my cuffs with webbing and had them sewn by a cobbler. (Thanks fenderfour.) I am waiting on some hooks from a friend who works in a fabricator. I'll post pics soon.

Once I get them in I plan to visit my local gym ( I live by the ocean with the closest rock 4 hours ways with a 1.5 hour hike. Not real doable right now but the gym will suffice.)

Those of you with the Russian set-up, can you walk me though the set-up and process? ( Yes, I am a noob)

This is what I am thinking:

Two daisies are hitched to your harness with an aid tree on each daisy. You also have a Fifi attached to your harness. (You are off course tied into the rope as well.)

1) Place piece
2) clip 1 tree to piece
3) test piece
4) step onto tree with one leg
5) move up higher onto same tree and clip Fifi as you need
6) at your high point clip rope, place next piece, and repeat process with other tree

Is this correct?

Jugging:

Do you just clip a sling adjusted to the height you want from the jumar to the loop (spectra?) on the hook? (You are also daisied to each jumar as well.)

Any thoughts or comments on this would be appreciated guys. I am pumped about trying out my new Russkies. The little aid I have done on regular aiders has been a clusterf#!*. The more I can simplify the better I think.

Mark


teth


Sep 22, 2006, 5:53 AM
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Lead walls in gyms are often overhanging. Another Russian Aid n00b mentioned getting thrashed on his first attempt in a gym. I think you are farther allonge in the theory than he was though. Anyway, it would be better if you could start on a steep slab or vertical wall until you have your system dialled. I would suggest getting some hangers, and get permission from the gym owner to use the bolts they use to put up climbing holds to attache the hangers on aid lead. The gym owner will likely want you to remove them when you are done.

Your process looks good. I will note a couple of things which may be helpful, or which you may already know, but anyway...

5/6) Once you are on your second tree and the first tree is not weighted, remove the first tree and clip it to your harness, and then clip the rope to that piece. You can move higher on the tree first, but make sure you do this step while you can still reach it. I was not clear on where you were clipping your rope, but it is the previous piece you should be clipping your rope to. The theory is that you should only fall if the piece you are on fails, so there is no point in clipping to the piece you are on, plus if you are clipped to the piece you are on and it fails you have the additional slack of the rope going up past your harness to the failed piece and then back down to your harness. Since I used to be a trad climber I have to keep reminding myself of this rule.

The adjustable fifi allows you to sit comfortably in your harness while figuring out the next placement. You may want to use it earlier in the sequence if you run into some CF issues which need to be worked out. Basically, any time you have to stop and do something you might as well sit down and be comfortable. On over hanging terrain you want to hook your fifi into the next piece right away, so that the only time you are not siting is when you are standing up and synching the cord on the fifi to sit at a higher position (which you would do every time you step up on the trees.) Otherwise it is one prolonged chin-up. I just got my adjustable fifi (hope to try it on the 30th) and have been doing it the hard way with quick draws and standard daisies. This was enough for me to clearly understand how much easier an adjustable fifi would make things. I am assuming you have an adjustable fifi?

For ascending I clip a standard daisy to my top Jumar (ok, so I use a prussic, but it will be an ascender as soon as I recover from paying my land tax), then I clip a biner through the loop which attaches my stirrups to the hooks on my Russian aiders, and then clip it to the appropriate loop on the daisy so that when I stand up the top ascender (prussic) is just above the lower one which is attached to my harness. So, stand up, pull the slack through your waist ascender/jumar/gri-gri, then sit down and push the top ascender/jumar/prussic up the rope while pulling your knees up towards your chin, and then stand up and repeat. I use a loop of shock cord (bungy) around my neck which I clip to the biner the waist ascender is clipped to so that it does not flop around, which allows it to work more efficiently (easier to pull the slack through with one hand). This method is no-longer “the better way” as Petzel now sells a little harness which does the same thing as the bungy cord. I use the frog style ascending method as described boasteriously by Dr. Peton.

I should make it clear that I am a n00b too, and only a couple of steps ahead of your in the process, but I have done a lot of research over the last couple of months and have been able to field test much of this stuff, so I am happy to share what I know. And I am sure someone will correct me if I give any completely bogus advice. If you would like to read about how I got started, I have an ongoing TR of my effort to get into Russian Aiding here: http://www.bigwalls.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=114

Teth

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