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First Solo Aid.
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blueeyedclimber


Nov 23, 2007, 4:09 PM
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First Solo Aid.
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This is also my first post in the Aid forum. I have been wanting to practice some aid techniques for some time. I have done a little aid with a partner, but I figured it would actually be easier to practice and work out kinks w/o one. My wife and main climbing partner has been injured this fall, so I took advantage and went out solo today.

I truly came here to practice, so I wanted to aid, haul, rappel and jug/clean a full pitch.

I set a bottom anchor and racked all my gear. I noticed that the gear was small and very thin in places so I used all big gear for the anchor. As it turned out, I could have used more small cams. I leapfrogged a WC zero 5 times. I made sure I had two pieces in before moving it.

It took a long time to do everything, but with practice and maybe adding a few pieces of gear (i.e. a 2nd ascender, maybe a solo belay device (used a grigri)), I will get more efficient. Up top, I probably could have used a couple hooks, too. THere were no more gear placements, so I had to free the last 5-8 feet. That was a little scary, even though it was probably only 5.4 at that point.

Then I hauled a bag, rappelled, then jugged up on 1 ascender and 1 friction knot.

A couple things that I thought of in my n00biness:

1. I did not have my etriers attached to anything when I was weighting a piece. If one blew, I might have lost it. Do you usually tether it to something?

2. To jug up, i attached a sling via friction knot to my harness, and used the ascender for an etrier. It would have been easier with 2 ascenders, but given what I had, it felt pretty efficient. Should you attach to both jugs to back yourslef up?

Man, Aid takes a long time.

Josh


(This post was edited by blueeyedclimber on Nov 23, 2007, 4:10 PM)


potreroed


Nov 23, 2007, 5:25 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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Yes, your two main aiders should be tethered with daisy chains. Likewise your ascender(s). You should get some hooks and an adjustable fi-fi hook. You'll get faster with practice.


jeremy11


Nov 23, 2007, 5:32 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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your grigri can be used as an ascender too. much better then a prussik, especially seeing you already have one ascender. welcome to soloing fun!


poedoe


Nov 23, 2007, 5:51 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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when jugging you can use ascenders or friction hitches, or a combination of each attach your entriers to your ascenders (one for each foot) and then to attach yourself to the ascenders use a daisy chain for each one, this well let you attach close or far away. You can use the same setup while aiding to keep your aiders tethered.


moose_droppings


Nov 23, 2007, 6:36 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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Daisy's have a half a twist in one end to help in girth hitching to your harness, go thru both of the tie in points on your harness. Clip the far end of the daisy into the biner on the top of your aider. Did you haul 1-1?


Partner soberpete


Nov 23, 2007, 7:43 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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Way to go! Your life will be much better with adjustable daisies. Get the Yates or Fish versions.

Peace,

Pete


joeforte


Nov 23, 2007, 9:42 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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Wear Safety Glasses!!!!

Here's Why (long story, copied and pasted) :


This winter I was seriously lacking partners, and I was really itchin to climb. I've managed to also teach myself trad through the books and balls method, and after 2 years of climbing... I'm leading trad .10s. I really love the physics behind it all, and find a true joy in placing gear.

It was a rainy winters day, so I decided to go try aid. My first pitch I toprope solo'd a 5.8 crack. Man that was boring. Without any real fall potential, and all easy gear placements, I soon got bored, stepped out of the aiders and freed the rest of the pitch.

As I walked back to my truck, I passed a very thin crack called "The green slime " It was an A1 pitch that years later went free at like 5.11c or something. It's 110 degrees overhanging, and just a beautiful crack that goes vertical, diagonal right, then vertical again.

I decided to build a bomber anchor at the bottom and Aid Solo it. I used my cinch to belay myself, backed up with a clove hitch on two opposed lockers, both slung to my harness for some freedom. The pitch was going well, and I was loving it. The placements were creative, and rather scary considering most of them were alongside loose blocks that kinda formed a jenga game up the wall. I was thinking.... why didn't anyone clean this, so I pulled on one, and realized that if I removed the blocks, the crack would grow about 10 inches wider, and only be protectable with big bros and such. So I put the block back in its place, and continued on.

When I came to the diagonal in the crack, the only gear I could see was about 3 feet right of my position. As I leaned up and out, the nut I was standing on blew out and as I whipped past it, it smacked me in the eye. This was a BIG nut, I believe a #9 walnut. It knocked me out cold.

I woke up, by myself, hanging from a wet rainy wall with blood in my hands having no idea what was going on. There was NO WAY I was gonna try to down aid that jenga below me, so I juged back up and thanked the nut that caught me. Then I finished the pitch, scared shitless, and went home a happy man.

Moral of the story..... Wear glasses and a helmet if you're gonna solo aid!!


vegastradguy


Nov 23, 2007, 11:48 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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all good advice- i did my first aid leads solo as well.

couple of thoughts:

dont use adjustable daisies- they lend themselves to encouraging bad habits- most prominently cinching up everytime you weight the piece or take step. this eats up alot of time. better to use regular daisies- which make you more inclined to move quickly up your ladder and fifi directly to the piece.

in line with the last thought- dont dick around getting onto your ladders if its C1- place the piece, get on the ladder, climb up, fifi straight to the piece, unclip from the previous piece.

get UP in your ladders- 2nd stepping minimum, if its less than vertical (or really overhanging, but when you're new vertical is still a challenge) you need to be in your top steps. this minimizes the number of pieces placed, thus saving time. every piece you place eats up loads of time, so if you can place 5 less pieces, that can mean several minutes, depending on how slow or fast your are.

scope out whats ahead- plan your pieces ahead of time. as you're moving up, know what you're going to place next, that way, after you fifi direct, you can grab your next piece, stand up and go.

use a grigri with a backup knot (fig-8) when soloing. when jugging, two ascenders is usually the best method, although there are others depending on angle of ascent, but a grigri and a single ascender will do the job (thread the rope from the grigri up through a carabiner on your ascender to help to pull in the slack from the grigri).

good luck and have fun....


blueeyedclimber


Nov 24, 2007, 7:40 AM
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Re: [moose_droppings] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
Did you haul 1-1?

I hauled using a mini traxion off the anchor, and attaching an ascender to the hauling line and using my body weight. It was pretty easy to haul this way, but then again the bag was not very heavy.

Josh


blueeyedclimber


Nov 24, 2007, 7:50 AM
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Re: [vegastradguy] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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vegastradguy wrote:
in line with the last thought- dont dick around getting onto your ladders if its C1- place the piece, get on the ladder, climb up, fifi straight to the piece, unclip from the previous piece.

get UP in your ladders- 2nd stepping minimum, if its less than vertical (or really overhanging, but when you're new vertical is still a challenge) you need to be in your top steps. this minimizes the number of pieces placed, thus saving time. every piece you place eats up loads of time, so if you can place 5 less pieces, that can mean several minutes, depending on how slow or fast your are.

I was getting better at this as I moved up. But I figured I should place more pieces early on for the same reason as if I was leading, to make me not hit the ground.

In reply to:
use a grigri with a backup knot (fig-8) when soloing. when jugging, two ascenders is usually the best method, although there are others depending on angle of ascent, but a grigri and a single ascender will do the job (thread the rope from the grigri up through a carabiner on your ascender to help to pull in the slack from the grigri).

good luck and have fun....

I did use back knots as I fiddled with pieces, but I had to take them out when I was pulling through slack. As for using a grigri as the second ascender, I feel kind of stupid that I didn't think of that at the time. I have actually done that before.

Josh


caughtinside


Nov 24, 2007, 7:28 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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hey Josh,

Looks like you got some good answers here. One thing I'd add (if it hasn't been said already, I kinda skimmed...) is that Jared Ogden's book is really good and really helped me out.

It's called bigwalls: elite technique and is published by the mountaineers.

I also used the aid section of FOTH, but Jared's book is much more helpful.


vegastradguy


Nov 24, 2007, 8:31 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:

I was getting better at this as I moved up. But I figured I should place more pieces early on for the same reason as if I was leading, to make me not hit the ground.

not really a concern on aid. first, you're getting bomber pro every bodylength (actually, less), and second, its bomber pro you're standing on- its not coming out. but i do feel you on that thought process- the first few pitches i did, i felt the same way.


blueeyedclimber


Nov 25, 2007, 7:51 AM
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Re: [caughtinside] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:
hey Josh,

Looks like you got some good answers here. One thing I'd add (if it hasn't been said already, I kinda skimmed...) is that Jared Ogden's book is really good and really helped me out.

It's called bigwalls: elite technique and is published by the mountaineers.

I also used the aid section of FOTH, but Jared's book is much more helpful.

I have Big Walls by John Long and John Middendorf and it's been helpful.

I do have a question that I couldn't find in the solo section. If I solo a section that traverses or angles slightly, what is the process of getting back and cleaning the gear, because you can't just rappel back to the belay. Do I need to aid back, lower out the haul bag and then aid back cleaning as I go?

Josh


skiclimb


Nov 25, 2007, 9:21 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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blueeyedclimber wrote:
caughtinside wrote:
hey Josh,

Looks like you got some good answers here. One thing I'd add (if it hasn't been said already, I kinda skimmed...) is that Jared Ogden's book is really good and really helped me out.

It's called bigwalls: elite technique and is published by the mountaineers.

I also used the aid section of FOTH, but Jared's book is much more helpful.

I have Big Walls by John Long and John Middendorf and it's been helpful.

I do have a question that I couldn't find in the solo section. If I solo a section that traverses or angles slightly, what is the process of getting back and cleaning the gear, because you can't just rappel back to the belay. Do I need to aid back, lower out the haul bag and then aid back cleaning as I go?

Josh

Yep


vegastradguy


Nov 25, 2007, 9:22 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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it depends. if its only slightly, just rap your lead line, cleaning as you go, then either lower out from the anchors (assuming bolts with a rap ring for conveniences) or take the swing! (if you take the swing, make damn sure your rope isnt going over a sharp edge!)

if its more that slightly, ask someone who does it alot- i.e. holdplease2 or others.


altelis


Nov 25, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] First Solo Aid. [In reply to]
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take this with a grain of salt; my experience is limited to a few dozen pitches, all solo-aid. i will rap my haul line with a gri-gri (which i use as my solo aid belay device anyway). you end up rapping down till the line is taught, slap an ascender on the brake side of the rope and pull yourself in. this only works for moderate traverses or short but horizontal traverses. i don't have a handy trick for LONG traversing pitches while on solo aid, but i'd sure love to learn one!Wink


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