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wallrat


Dec 23, 2002, 2:01 PM
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   I'm having some problems getting through the 'crap my pants' stage on hard leads. After twenty feet of bodyweight mank, how do you get back to testing gear...what's the trick? How much bounce testing to you do on scanky bits, etc?


gawd


Dec 23, 2002, 2:14 PM
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Carry a 6mm cord and clip it into the piece and have your belayer test it.

It is only A4 if you fall.


wallrat


Dec 23, 2002, 3:40 PM
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  Great idea, sort of a simulated leader fall. I like it. But, I mostly solo, and would also like to hear ideas from other soloists. Thanks!


topher


Dec 23, 2002, 4:49 PM
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you can use your hamer atached to a pice of cord to test pecies. but watch out with a static cord and a real good pull you can generate enough force to break like 6mm cord. but this should work for you if you dont go to all out on it.


wallrat


Dec 23, 2002, 5:06 PM
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    Gawd had a really good idea with the 6mm. I think this is the first really good reason I've heard for using a static line for a haul line. I've always used a 10.5mm or better in case my lead line got cut. Perhaps bumping it up to a 9mm static, instead of a 6mm, and then using it for fixing/hauling/testing is the way to go. Have any of you guys out there tried this? Any pros or cons?


bigwalling


Dec 23, 2002, 5:11 PM
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I haven't lead A4 yet. I'm planning on doing an A4 really soon though. So my opinion isn't as useful as some.

I like to bounce test more on harder stuff. It gives me confidence in the gear I'm standing on. I use a funkness device to test hooks sometimes. It generates lots of force, maybe more than your body would generate.

I'm not sure if I totaly get what your saying. Do you not test gear on hard leads? If you don't, no wonder you are scared. I would just stick to testing the piece really good. That way you will have faith in that stuff.



feelio


Dec 23, 2002, 5:23 PM
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Cable Funkness and a Yo hammer can be a great testing tool. Just dropping a hammer a few inches (raise a little and let the head drop) can generate in excess of 500 pounds. Be careful not to wail on the thing though, as the system is totally static, and can quickly blast soild placements. I have never had a piece blow that I tested this way, and I am 6'4 250, not your average aid climber. I haven't lead A4, but have done alot of sketchy desert aiding.

Anyway..just what I use.


brutusofwyde


Dec 24, 2002, 5:29 AM
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Second that.

Funk testing is the way to go when the going gets sick. Bounce testing is for the birds... and they have wings. You don't.

On Twisted Sister I must have had 3 pieces blow for every one that would stick. (I'm not too good at placing them little metal thingies way out at the end of my reach) Funking made the lead sane.

Brutus
Funk 'till yer drunk

[ This Message was edited by: brutusofwyde on 2002-12-24 05:32 ]


doki


Dec 24, 2002, 7:08 AM
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NOW I KNOW!


wallrat


Dec 24, 2002, 12:23 PM
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  OK, Bigwallin, here's an example...some things you just know won't stand up to bounce testing. You just know they're body weight. Like a bunch of hook moves in a row...maybe with a couple of bad heads or rivets along the way. So, at the end of all that, when you move on to a head, or an RP or what have you, you need to reestablish the solidity of the placements. I was looking for other guys thoughts on how to test those pieces without too much exposure. I like the idea of a funkness device...I haven't tried one yet. Frankly, I thought they would't produce enough impact energy. But concensus seems to be that they work, so I guess I'll make one. Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I'm heading down to the Valley this summer for a few walls (Dihedral, maybe HD Direct, Salathe)...and maybe something up here at Squamish. Can't wait!


mrhardgrit


Dec 24, 2002, 2:03 PM
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If I think/know that the pitch is going to have sustained and hard aid, I will bounce test aggressively from the beginning (esp' when soloing).

It is always a tendency (i find anyway...) to not adequately test dicey placements at the start when you know you only have to fall a short way. However, once you progressively add more and more body weight pieces you find yourself chickening out of sufficient testing. So... test you first 1-3 body weight pieces just as you would if you relied upon them to stop you taking a massive fall. It's all in the mind! haha!

[ This Message was edited by: mrhardgrit on 2002-12-24 14:04 ]


bigwalling


Dec 24, 2002, 2:30 PM
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Well I'm going to start using my funkness more. Sounds like it will be really useful.


wallrat


Dec 24, 2002, 2:38 PM
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   Yep, that tendency mrhardgrit mentioned was exactly what caused this thead. I was doing a solo of New Dawn (on El Cap), and on a string of really manky fixed heads I let up on the testing a bit. Then one popped and I ripped the whole string of them. I was totally amazed to find a 40 footer stopped by a really groovy fixed #1 head. Anyway, it was a real wakeup.


mrhardgrit


Dec 26, 2002, 3:35 AM
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Hey,

Sounds similar to one of my experiences when I first got on to using copperheads...! Lucky you were to be caught by a #1 !!!

They really do need adeqate testing as appearances really are no guide to how a copper head will hold (exceptions granted of course). You can take a big fall onto a crappy old #1 and it hold and then pull a #3 when bounce testing. Just goes to show...


passthepitonspete


Dec 28, 2002, 12:26 PM
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First of all, if you have never read Ask Dr. Piton....about how to move up on aid without blowing it, then that is a good place to start. The post gives you step by step instructions.


I'll share a few ideas here:
Make sure you have your systems 100% dialled and that you know what you are doing! This means you have all the STUFF YOU NEED and know HOW TO RIG IT. By "stuff" I mean your Personal Stuff.

The Better Way to figure out how to climb hard aid is to work your way up the grades. If you are solid on A3, then A4 won't seem that much harder. You'll know how to use poor placements, you'll just have to use more of them!

I highly recommend aid soloing! In my opinion it is without doubt the Better Way to learn how to climb hard aid! With solo aiding, you have some huge rope trick advantages - you can rebelay the rope to avoid abrasion, you can prusik down pro like hooks, and most importantly, you clean your own gear and find out how good it is! If you're looking for still more adventure, you might consider choosing to solo something longer and harder than you have ever climbed.

Make sure you have all the climbing stuff you need! Not having the right gear can turn an A3- into an A5 horror show! But having the right gear can make an A4, even a New Wave A4 like Twisted Sister on Tempest, a reasonable proposition. Stuff you might need is some extra hooks to use for pro.

Have plenty of key pieces like Hybrid Aliens and free carabiners. Don't backclean!

In my opinion, you are CRAZY to go onto hard aid without about one dozen Screamers! Yeah, they're expensive, but they give you confidence and they will keep you alive if you blow it. Be careful with the Scream-Aids, though as they break. Rig two in parallel - one short, one long - and put on your better heads.

I am more than a little surprised that nobody above mentioned using Screamers - they are FUNDAMENTAL.



Now, let's talk about bounce testing vs. funk testing.

Make no mistake about it! Testing your pieces - by bounce or by funk - is fundamental to your survival on hard aid! Now if you're on old school A4, which is what the majority of moderately hard to hard El Cap routes are graded, then for the most post I DO NOT FUNK TEST.

This is because it is difficult to gauge the force you apply with your funkness!

There are probably only a couple places I would use or have used a funkness:

Dicey hooks or traversing hooks - superb.

The precise situation that Bruce describes above, and which I have [not] run into

For the most part, here's what I do:
Pitons - bounce test the livin' bejeepers out of 'em!

Big wires - hell, you'll never find 'em on hard aid, but if you did, aggressively bounce test

Cams - just a gentle bounce to put a bit more than body weight onto them - do not bounce test cams!

Hooks - funk test if scared, otherwise just get on 'em gently, keeping my finger on the hook as I do so

Heads - ah, here is where we may disagree - I do not funk test heads! Testing heads is something you will "get" with experience.
I definitely prefer to gently bounce test heads. I like to generate appropriate amounts of force depending on the placement, the size of head, and the condition of the cable.

On small heads or fixed mank I choose to use, I will give a very gentle bounce. Maybe enough to generate 1.5 to 2X body weight. I don't expect it to be able to hold a fall, I just expect it to hold me.

On heads I place myself, especially in the larger #2 to #3 sizes, I will bounce a little harder, but not much

If I'm really scared, then I'll pull out the fixed head and place my own

I very frequently equalize heads by keeping a length of gently-tied webbing on my rack for that specific purpose. Untie your loose knot, thread through both heads, retie securely, and equalize with sliding X.

Equalizing stuff can keep you alive on hard aid! Sometimes I'll equalize two beaks, or a beak and a head, or whatever

Put parallel Scream-Aids or Screamers onto the better heads.

Pray - it never hurts.




If you are stupid enough to want to climb hard aid, then you should also become smart enough so that you can live to tell the tale!

Cheers,

The Doc


krustyklimber


Dec 28, 2002, 1:25 PM
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Speaking of A-4s...

Bigwalling,

Since I have hung up aid climbing you are more than welcome to my project, on the condition the name remain unchanged...

Hopefully you will not experience the same groundfalling THUD! that gave it it's name.

Lemme know when you want to tick it off... I'd be glad to belay you...

Jeff


andyk


Dec 30, 2002, 12:48 AM
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I'm supposed to be working but...

Having dragged my euro ass up severl El Cap fear fests alone, I've spent many hours trying to avoiding dying, which basically translates to learning how to test without killing yourself in the process! So for what it's worth here's what I'd say about how I approach testing.

Personaly I test 90% of hard aid placements via my sewn daisys. I find this means you can pull out junk without leaving the safety of your bottom aiders, and the force applyied is much more controled and measurable. Becouse you can feel the force jolting your hips you feel much more confident about the placement, rather then madly jumping around in your aiders!
The high forces generated mean you need a tough set of low stretch dymeema aiders. I soloed a route a few years ago with a pair of thoes skinny WC daisys and they looked like open 8 foot slings by the time I reached the top! I don't use ajustable daisys on hard aid as they stretch and I found I almost cut through the Yates/Pika ajustables I used (plus they freeze up which can be a problem on cold walls).

The trick to testing is to understand how much force you can apply, and then you know that if you weigh 80kg and are genertaing 200kg then the gear's solid! A good way to get to grips with testing is to get a loop of 2mm perlon and gently hang of it. It should hold your weight (even a beefy yank!!) but if you bounce it it'll break (A good A5+ piece). Next do the same with a piece of 3mm. This is far more solid and will easily take your weight - but it ha the stopping power of...3mm cord (A4+ pro). Bounce this until you ca break it. 4mm is way stronger, and may even stop a fall (about 3/4kn) and may prove hard to break in a bounce (A3). What does this tell you? Well unless your gears of the rare time bomb veriety you know if you can the same amount of force you did when breaking that 3mm cord you know the pro will hold you - or it'll take a fall! When you get this sorted in your head your on your way to soloing A5.

As for the funking, I find it's hard to know how well you're testing the piece. If you break your crab in the process, our your hook snaps then well it must have been bomber, but personaly I'd save this for my last resort.

Any here's may hard earnt testing advice:-

A, Get in the mindset that your job is to pull the stinking piece of gear out! Yank that %@#$er until you're blue in the face. If you can't do it then never mind, step up in confidence and have a go at the next piece. Don't be a wuss - the harder the climbing the bigger the bully you need to be!
This shouldn't be applied to heads (see below)

B, Take it easy. take your time. stay cool. When it all feels like it's getting to hard have a breather.

C, Visualy looking at gear can tell you a lot about whether or not you'll pull it out. This is espiecaly true of heads. Check their swages are intact, and the wire isn't corroded or damaged. Watch out for balance heads!

D, 99% of gear can be tested to near destruction. For the other 1% use your head and move carefully and limit to forces applied.

E, Be PARANOID

If you do some of these things then you'll look down hard aid pitchs and think that every piece is A1.

Cheers

Andy


Partner tim


Dec 30, 2002, 5:28 AM
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Pasted from the now-deleted "Bounce test or funk test?" thread, to which the above was a reply...

OK, so I sent Bryan (copperhead) a PM with this question, knowing that he's a hard-aid climber of the first order. He suggested that I post it in the Aid forum to start a thread on the relative merits of each method. Here goes:

A few years ago, after I had broken my finger and taken a 35' fall as a result of incompetent testing methods, Chris Kalous told me (in the midst of an alpine climbing lesson where he taught me a ton of other stuff) that if I didn't have the rack flying up and down around my ears, I wasn't testing properly on hard aid, and would surely die post-haste. I internalized this as gospel.

More recently I've read a lot from guys like Bruce Bindner (no big slouch either -- two hard winter FA's on Castle Rock spire, a piece of stone I dream of merely climbing via the regular route in the summer!) who say that if one aggressively Bounce tests pieces on hard aid, one is equally sure to die.

Now, I can't figure this out.

A guy who did the 2nd ascent of the Reticent tells me to Bounce test. A guy who does winter first ascents 14 miles from the nearest road tells me I should Funk test. I have a hammer (mostly for heading and/or cleaning naughty pieces) but I've always taken Chris' advice.

What do you esteem, for finding the delicate balance between Thorough Testing and Big Whippers?

I have a pair of Russian Aiders and that perhaps informs my question -- it is tough to bounce test very aggressively in that bottom ring, so an unskilled lout like me ends up having to wail on the extended "other" daisy for good measure. (on the plus side, I climb twice as fast in the Russians as I used to in Wall Ladders, owing to the easy top-stepping) So, what do you think is the Answer?

(edit: yeah, I know I shoulda used the jugging loops on my Russian cuffs for bounce testing... well, I know that *now* at least. Up until yesterday I thought they were just for clipping to the selected ring for jugging where you don't want to bounce out the hook.)


[ This Message was edited by: tim on 2002-12-30 05:32 ]


brutusofwyde


Dec 30, 2002, 6:04 AM
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First, take what I say with a very large grain of salt.

On CR Spire, there was only one winter ascent, and Coomer did the hard aid.

Although I advocate liberal use of the funkness, I generally bounce test. When the consequences of the piece blowing are very serious, (The more scared I am) the more I funk test. Then again, sometimes I just shake and leak bodily fluids down my legs.

Just made a funkness for Nurse Ratchet here in the OCH, but was unsure if the swages (which I had drilled out) would hold... (note to self, need a larger swaging tool)

My feeling is that with a bit of practice and ripping a few scream aids, one can get a pretty good feel for how much force the funk generates... So, in order to know if the Nurse's funk was up to snuff, I ripped a scream aid. Nurse is never likely to put that much force on a piece in a fall...

Except that one near-grounder she took on Banzai on Calaveras Dome. But I digress, as usual.

Brutus

Bounce or funk, my goal is to build a pyramid of solid placements.

As far as the horror, I hear that valium is good for A4 and above...


passthepitonspete


Dec 30, 2002, 10:58 PM
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Valium?

What would the first ascensionists of Mescalito, Tangerine Trip, Magic Mushroom, and Hallucinogen Wall say to THAT?!

VALIUM?!

Sheesh.


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