I prefer ladders. Ladders are a little heavier and seem to get snagged a little more often, but they are so much easier to step in and out of. I find they also help reduce the cluserf*ck. Most straightforward aid can be done with only two ladders (compared to 4 etriers). I will carry a short, light aider to use for large roofs or traverses, but it usually stays in the pig.
Plus, now that FISH is selling ladders for $50/pair, its hard to beat. My DIY ladders might have enough life in them for one more wall, but Ill be calling Russ after that.
I've never used the classic type only ladders . Ladders were my first choice because I felt I would have better balance with my foot directly under the piece . Being from NJ , I didn't know anyone else who aid climbs to borrow ( test ) their gear .
Most straightforward aid can be done with only two ladders (compared to 4 etriers).
Why would you need 4 etriers and only 2 ladders?
I use ladders now....but used etriers plenty in the past. The style of aid stirrup you use has nothing to do with the number you'll need to get the job done. If you're using the right technique 2 shoul be all you need.
i used to use ladders, but they were too bulky and unwieldy for moving quickly (at least for my gumby ass)...i've since changed over to etriers and like them just fine for climbing C1 in a push.
i think, though, if i were going to do a three or four day wall, i'd probably go back to ladders- but at the same time, i'd probably chop the bottom two steps off of them to eliminate the bulk and cluster.
i'll also second what josh said about number of etriers- i only use two and it works just fine for me. i cant actually imagine using 4!
I use the ladders now after starting in regular aiders, but I'm a gumbie at aiding. When spending a lot of time in aiders, the ladders are better for me, and their much easier to step in and out of. I got the yates with the spreader bar at the top.
The style of aid stirrup you use has nothing to do with the number you'll need to get the job done. If you're using the right technique 2 shoul be all you need. josh
I've found only using 2 aiders is a death sentence on hard aid. Two sets of two aiders works best for me.
I will occasionally add a third "floater" for harder stuff and extremely traversing terrain. I used to use 4, then saw Nanook fly by me one time and started trimming down. Once i had the right mind set and technique using 2 was faster and just as comfortable as 2. Granted I'm not leading tons of A4 and 5. But I've defianlty lead some DFU stuff with 2 and been fine.
The statement find what works best for you does apply....unfortunatly too many people don't look hard enough before settling on one way.
Ladder Aiders!!! I bought a pair of Yates 6 step big wall aiders back in about '98 and never looked back. Admittedly I never aided anything harder than about A3, but I found the combination of 2 well designed ladder aiders to be MUCH faster, more comfortable, and more efficient than any other combination I have tried to date.
Jumaring is a little trickier when free hanging, so I rigged up a special sling just for the task.
EDIT: Also, it is far easier to step out of ladder aiders for free moves, than from etriers which can be quite "tangly".
(This post was edited by fatoomchk on Nov 9, 2007, 8:29 AM)
If you're using the right technique 2 shoul be all you need.
Get on something harder than old school A3, you'll be wishing you had two pairs.
I've run with two pairs of etriers, a pair each of etriers + ladders, three ladders (which work fine for easy C2+) and have found that I do prefer the ladders. I need to get another one, so I can run with two pairs of ladders when necessary.
Get on something harder than old school A3, you'll be wishing you had two pairs.
...And in your VAST experience I'm sure you could recommend a good number of routes.
When I've climbed harder stuff I use a 3rd floater. Which is what the majority of FAST and EFFICIENT aid climbers I know do.
But I'm sure that they are wrong 2.
Hey, dude was asking opinions, I offered mine. Perhaps when I'm climbing at Ammon's level my opinion on aider technique will have changed, but for anyone asking in THIS forum, I'd be willing to bet that my recommendation is not far off the mark.
YMMV, your quotes may too.
...and as far as my "To DO" list, Pretty much anything on the SE side of ElCap would make that list. Steep rock makes for clean falls and easy hauling. I'm lazy bastard, don't ya know?
PSD (the tat hanging under The Devil's Brow looked somehow inviting) BUBS maybe some more of those Erik Kohl routes... if I survive those maybe I'll motivate to see some new terrain over around to the west, maybe catch a few sunsets.
The Black Canyon isn't too far from home, in fact a hell of a lot closer. My last climbing visit to Yo left a bad taste in my mouth, so I'll probably really end up hanging out in the Black for awhile before I spend any more time in The Valley... unless a rock falls on someone who dearly deserves it.
Gotta get a fucking monkey off my back before I can think seriously about big-wallin' again.
Guess there is a fundamental difference there....I'd rather raise them up and give them tips and skills to go bigger
That's all I'm sayin... there's a multitude of styles to choose from, 2,3 or 4 aiders. They're each appropriate somewhere, but IMHO, on the harder stuff I've seen so far, 4 aiders is the way to go.
It allows you to stand comfortably with your feet at the same level, toes spread & heels touching.
It allows you to flag one aider while making a long reach-y placement to one side.
No dickin' around with moving one aider you're just moving off of (down there in a tangle of rope, daisies and the aider I'm standing on) to the new placement I just moved to. It's an economy of movement the way I see it.
No worries about dropping that third aider... as the more you clip+unclip a piece, the more opportunities you've got to flub up and drop something. My aiders are secured to the end of my daisies with a locked locker.
On C2/C3 straight-up stuff I probably go with the two aiders, maybe break out a floater aider when/if necessary. Depends on the character of the pitch, as well as the pitch previous, 'cause if I'm already aiding with two pairs, I probably wouldn't change it up for a single pitch.
On an A1 bolt ladder two ladders are all you need.
If you plan on climbing harder than C1, don't cut the steps off of your aiders. To bounce test, you need to get low on the piece that you are on, with your center of gravity below the piece and still be able to step in the ladder on the top piece to test it. If your ladders are too short, you won't be able to do this.
Bounce testing with your bottom piece below your center of gravity isn't too good if the piece isn't too good, and a "Sit Test" is not so good (according to most, not all) for really testing your top piece.
If your top piece blows, and because you cut your laddrs off, you were too high on your bottom piece you may well rip both.
Finally, the reason that you can do with one ladder what you might need to alternate step aiders for is that the ladder steps are wide and you can actually get both feet in one step or switch legs easily. With the typically narrow ader step, you have to take one foot completely out to put the other in.
Recently, I climbed a kind of hard route with a guy who only used one alternate step aider per daisy. He led with this weird foot triangle thing. Only one foot was in the high step, but the other foot was frictioning on that foot and making a triangle for stability. I tried it with a ladder and it worked, but I'm not balanced/skilled enough to do it consistently.
i bumbled around with about every different system until i settled on the 1 ladder per daisy setup. i wanted to go with yates speedwall ladders, but they were out of stock so i went with the bigwall ones. sure are comfy, but i think with proper footwear the speedwalls would be just as comfy.
the yates ladders don't twist around and flusterfrig themselves all of the time, the steps stay open and its easy to climb up just one of them. easy to switch feet and most of the time i can stand tall with one foot in the second step. like ammon says above, if i need the extra support i just clip the other ladder in to use both feet just like a 4 aider setup.
definitly don't cut them short. i use 6-steps and sometimes wish i'd bought the 7 steps.
I too would not recommend cutting the bottom loops off your ladders. I did it once and realized my mistake after getting underneath the nipple pitch (a traversing roof). It was very awkward being all crunched up and took me way longer to lead it.
Oh, I disagree on the bounce testing with your daisy. Im my opinion 90% of the climbing should be tested with a couple of sharp bounces on your daisy. Make sure you're looking down.
I've pulled my leg muscles a few times testing with my foot and finally just quit doing it unless on fragile hooks or other fragile placements.