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Portaledge Questions
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RangerJ


Sep 30, 2008, 2:25 PM
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Portaledge Questions
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Another round of questions for RC's finest... or at least experienced. These revolve around portaledges that came up after an epic trip of mine:

1) How the heck do you get the whole thing level against the wall? It's kind of like hanging up a really large picture in your house and trying to see if it's straight while your face is plastered against the wall. The only trick I could find is to push against the rock wall while sitting in the middle of the thing, but this didn't get it quite perfect... or, at least, I couldn't tell if it did...

2) If you only have one place to rig an anchor, and therefore ONLY one powerpoint off of that anchor, where do you hang your haul bag? I found if it's under the ledge the straps securing the bag pushed my ledge away from the wall, and as well I couldn't conveniently access the contents inside. I tried hanging it up (even sideways to protect against rock fall while I slept) but unless you have only a light bag this wouldn't work so well...

3) Can you stand straight up on these things, or do you have to treat them like snowbanks and distribute weight evenly across the thing? There were lots of times while rigging the anchors and moving stuff around that I wish I could just stand on my two feet instead of trying to kneel around everywhere.

4) Does anybody rappel with the ledge while it's open? I got caught on a windy storm for a couple of pitches and the whole thing started acting like it was possessed. At one point it started flipping around and rotating against the quickdraw I had secured it with to my harness beating the s@#^ out of me and trying to remove my eyes. What's your secret for rapping (and let's make it interesting by saying the route is not necessarily steep and overhanging)

5) Lastly, I thought I was going to die when a lightning storm rolled in on me one night. It quickly became apparent that the only thing on the mountain that contained metal was me. I could have rapped, but I would still have been in the storm dressed neatly in metal, so I stayed on the ledge and filled my drawers a bit. Albeit there is one rubber stopper at each corner, the metal sidewall pole may not necessarily have been touching the wall, and the anchor was separated by 8 mm accessory cord (which I assume doesn't conduct electricity), but it was still enough to get the fear sweat rolling. Is it possible to get hit, or are there other circumstances which rule this unfortunate event void? Any other stories surrounding ledges and lightning would be interesting to read...

Thx in advance for your help, I'm expecting more replies than my last post... ;)


moof


Oct 1, 2008, 2:43 PM
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Re: [RangerJ] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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1. You get it level by lengthening or shortening the straps, preferably with you in it. Duh. If it ain't level, try again. It does help to setup things against a flat section of rock with nothing jutting out.

2. Usually you hang the haulbag off to one side. On a 3 bolt anchor I haul off the right two most bolts (usually) with a sliding X. I anchor the haulbag off that so it is off to one side. So far I have lucked out with bivy locations that had extra bolts around, and hang the ledge off ONE of these, backed up to the power point. My harness is also tied in with a chunk of the rope to the power point. You can also hang the ledge below the mess in a pinch, but getting back to the anchor becomes a hassle, and wind gusts get more exciting.

3. If you have a decent ledge (both mine are Fish, but BD and Metolious are also fine), then yes, just stand up and tromp around.

4. Nobody I know raps with an open ledge. That's dumb.

5. Lighting is more likely to hit you standing on the top than while dangling on the side, even if you are wrapped in foil. Lightning takes the shortest path, so if it is shorter to ground (in the electrical sense) though your ledge than by say hitting the top of the formation you are on, then yes, you are toast. Even if you were in a plastic ledge, a hit close enough for the metal frame to make a difference would likely still result in death.

Just go climb. Modern ledges are pretty damn snazzy. And for god's sake, don't try rapping in the wind with a metal tipped kite on your waist. Dumb.


shimanilami


Oct 1, 2008, 3:23 PM
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1. A lot of this has to do with where you choose to hang the ledge. I've found that the steeper it is, the better. And obviously, it's easier if the wall itself is flat. If it's angled, you're going to have a hard time.

2. If you're in a vertical crack, then this is not an uncommon scenario. I've always just extended off the master point with some long runners, or perhaps an extra cordalette, and hung the ledge under the haul bag. Climbing back up to the bag/anchors can be made easier by intelligent use of your aiders.

3. Of course you can stand on a ledge. But don't make any radical weight shifts, or you might end up capsizing.

4. No.

5. No.


RangerJ


Oct 1, 2008, 3:30 PM
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Re: [moof] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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moof wrote:
1. You get it level by lengthening or shortening the straps, preferably with you in it. Duh.

Again: it's like hanging a picture frame whilst your face is plastered against the wall of your house - it can get done, but usually not well - so i was looking for tricks to make it *better*, not just put up with what i got. And thx for the tip on the straps - i had NO clue what those were for, not even in the slightest....

moof wrote:
2. Usually you hang the haulbag off to one side. On a 3 bolt anchor ...

Sorry, I thought I was clear before - it's a two bolt anchor, one powerpoint, and no other places to set any kind of trad anchors or other types of pro

moof wrote:
4. Nobody I know raps with an open ledge. That's dumb.

And yet people flag an open ledge while hauling...

moof wrote:
Just go climb. And for god's sake, don't try rapping in the wind with a metal tipped kite on your waist. Dumb.

Fair enough...


tomtom


Oct 2, 2008, 9:35 AM
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Re: [RangerJ] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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To add to the chorus of replies:

1. Practice. The fun part is when you wake up in the middle of the night and your ledge is now in a random orientation that it didn't start off in.

2. With a small haul bag, I've hung it from the anchor, then extended the anchor to hang my ledge below. This was good weather, though.

3. You should be able to stand straight up on the bed. Sometimes I'll stand on the frame (one foot wall side, one foot air side) instead.

4. I haven't heard of anyone rapping with an open ledge. I'd pack it away and avoid the problems that you mention.

5. Wall camping in a lightning storm doesn't sound like fun. The only thing I can think to do would be to fix ropes and rap down a pitch or two (leaving your camping gear) and wait it out.


Partner holdplease2


Oct 5, 2008, 8:47 AM
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Re: [tomtom] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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When the ledge is flagged for hauling it is quite different from rapping with the ledge.

1) Three attachment points along one side of the ledge are clipped around the rope and the end of the rope is weighted. The ledge is in no other way connected to the pig. This means that the ledge can rotate freely around one axis, the rope, which is a fairly controlled situation. Ledges flagged on pigs in other ways have resulted in dangerous situations and lost ledges.

2) The pig is not a person (does not have eyes), a little banging around won't hurt it much.

I had a partner have to have his teeth replaced after breaking them and part of his upper jaw when he clipped in a portaledge using a double length sling and it rotated 360 degrees and hit him in the face.

Hope this helps,

-Kate.


superevolved


Oct 19, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Re: [RangerJ] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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Can I add some questions to this thread. Just spent my first night out on the portaledge. It was a tad cold. Do you take roll mats up for insulation when it's cold? Is there a way to pee of the ledge or does everyone pee into a bottle? I tried to, but it was a little comical.
Thanks,


pmyche


Oct 19, 2008, 11:00 PM
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RangerJ


Oct 20, 2008, 2:40 PM
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Re: [pmyche] Portaledge Questions [In reply to]
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pmyche wrote:
...it can delaminate a coated portaledge bed.

and also give your second all the justification in the world to legally throw you overboard...


strider


Oct 23, 2008, 11:28 AM
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superevolved


Oct 23, 2008, 10:07 PM
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Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure not to do the misty piss thing.
Ali


altelis


Oct 24, 2008, 5:55 AM
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this wasn't on a portaledge; hell it wasn't even on a big wall- this story happened on pitch 2 of a fun 4 pitch 5.8 up in LCC in salt lake

i lead "pitch 1", really an approach pitch clocking in at like 5.1/5.2. my partner (and ex girlfriend of a couple years) was leading pitch 2. its a left leaning ramp/crack that reaches a bulge, pull the bulge walk back on a long sloping ledge to the anchor.

well about 5-10 ft from the bulge she's like "i need to pee", so i tell her that if she pulls the bulge shes done and on a big convoluted slopey ledge with plenty of places to pee comfortably and not get pee all over the route.

she responds with "i need to pee NOW", i'm like 10 to 15 ft to her right and like 40 feet below her so i tell her to slot a piece, hang off it and she can undo her leg loops and go seeing as there wasn't any route that went straight up to her spot.

so she did, and of course the slight cross breeze blew a fine pee mist onto meUnsure

then i asked her why she never told me she was into that when we were dating Blush


ricardol


Dec 19, 2008, 1:26 PM
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1 - What i do is adjust the straps to the best of my ability while NOT weighing the ledge .. then weigh the ledge and push away from the wall .. then re-adjust... finally laydown flat and see how it feels.. if it feels fine, then its good enough.

2 - in teh case you described you would need to extend the PP to hang the ledge below the bag, or the bag below the ledge.

-- something people haven't really said (i think 1 person mentioned it) is that you can hang your ledge off of one bolt, or hang the bag off of 2 out of 3 bolts. (or even 1 bolt in some cases).

.. just back them up to the PP .. on el cap i have often hauled off a single bolt .. if the bolt is bomber you can back it up to the other bolts, and have a high point to haul to -- then when you dock the pig its as high as you can get it.

3 - yes you can stand

4 - no, don't do that

5 - sounds dicey

---

about peeing .. i usually have to pee in the middle of the night, and just kneel on the edge of the ledge, and pee into the night air.. -- its usually fairly scary since you're half asleep, no light, etc ...


(This post was edited by ricardol on Dec 19, 2008, 1:29 PM)


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