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getting into aid
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crackboy


Sep 25, 2003, 10:44 PM
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getting into aid
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For a while now, my one definitive climbing goal is to do at least one big wall in my career. and the way i see accomplishing that is to do it with aid climbing.

trouble is, the only aid i have ever really done is to pull on a quickdraw.

Say you are starting from scratch, besides a trad rack, what gear is essential to learn the techniques/skills to get moving (eg ascenders, etriers...)

i tried to search for all this but came up with nothng.

plus if anyone wants to teach me some stuff, that would be cool too


neph


Sep 25, 2003, 11:28 PM
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I would say, start off by getting the book Big Walls by John Long and John Middendorf. This gives a good overview of how to do everything.

The best way would be to find somebody to take you out and teach you stuff, but barring that, get yourself some aiders (yates big wall ladders) some adjustable daisys, some ascenders, a patient belayer, and then go try to clean aid a short finger crack (on a cold or rainy day so you dont hog the route when other people want to climb it).

After that, read the book again, and then read through the posts in this forum. (The ones by passthepitonspete are wordy, and some have good info in them, but also have some unnecessary stuff in them, and can be confusing.)


phreakdigital


Sep 26, 2003, 12:13 AM
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Learning to aid isn't that difficult..the best thing to do is to find a person to teach you how to aid, but it can be learned from a book if you have basic trad skills. "Freedom of the Hills" is the best for all about climbing...others are good too. There is even a video guide to aid climbing...i dont know the exact name.


kman


Sep 26, 2003, 5:59 AM
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The video guide to aid climbing is called...you'll never guess...The Video Guide to Aid Climbing :)


ep


Sep 26, 2003, 9:27 AM
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The Middendorf and Long book is a good one. It's a little dated now, but fine for learning. After you get going with the basics you might want to check out some of the newer ideas (adjustable daisies, Russian aiders, and some of the PTPP/Chongo techniques) and possibly incorporate some of those.

Get yourself a pair of aiders. Two's okay for starting but four is even better. They're expensive, so you could go cheap and tie a pair for now, but you'll want sewn ones soon enough. Get two daisies. And buy a pair of ascenders.

Find a really easy crack and a very patient partner. The classic starters in Yosemite are Church Bowl Tree (70' C1-) and the Le Conte boulder (C1 overhanging bolts). Go and thrash. Practice jugging and cleaning too.

If you can't always find a partner, take the time to learn how to self-belay. It's a good way to learn the basics of movement with all that junk without inconveniencing your friends for hours at a time. With a well placed anchor and a C1 crack, you're pretty safe by yourself. But be careful just the same.

You may want to beef up your rack a little, depending on its current size. A double rack of cams and nuts (and tiny nuts) plus a lot of carabiners makes a good starter clean rack. A Cliffhanger hook and maybe some cam hooks are nice additions and fun to play with. The Black Diamond Zodiac double gear sling is an inexpensive and more comfortable way to carry this stuff. The more expensive double racks are nicer, but not really necessary for clean or mostly clean routes.

When you get up to speed a bit, send me an email. I'm looking for partners.


maculated


Sep 26, 2003, 9:36 AM
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EP,

I disagree with a pair of ascenders. I think one ascender and a gri gri does JUST fine. I've tried jugging both ways and this one is more efficient.


ep


Sep 26, 2003, 9:41 AM
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Yes, the finer points are debatable. But a second ascender wouldn't be a waste of money either way.

-----------------------------------------------------
"All men are mortal. Socrates was mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates." -- Woody Allen


flamer


Sep 26, 2003, 9:57 AM
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Get 2 ascenders.
josh


diesel___smoke


Sep 28, 2003, 8:56 PM
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I feel I can move a fixed line a lot faster with 2 ascenders than one and a grigri. It's all how you feel about it though. I'd agree with Josh though, get 2.


epic_ed


Sep 28, 2003, 11:01 PM
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I feel I can move a fixed line a lot faster with 2 ascenders than one and a grigri. It's all how you feel about it though...

Pete'll have you thinking twice about that. :wink: Out of all the stuff I've read that he has written about systems and moving, the ascender/gri gri combo is probably the single most important change I've made.

As for how to get into it? You've gotta be a little disturbed. Really. It's an awful lotta work for a little bit of climbing. Mix in a bunch of suffering, kilos worth of gear, a taste for Chef Boy-R-Dee, canned fruit, power bars, pop tarts, and Jolly ranchers, a fondness for sunburn and dehydration, an ability to punch the clown repeatedly while you wait for a storm to blow over (hoping it doesn't kill you in the process), and you have a good idea of what it takes to enjoy big wall climbing.

Start small. Borrow a buddies rack...scratch that, borrow ALL of you buddies rackS, put on a sturdy pair of boots, and don you harness and a chest harness. Fill your gear loops and slings with your gear plus all the "borrowed" stuff, toss in a small pack of food and a water bottle, put on your bucket, and go stand in the shower for 20 minutes. You now have the requisit experience for surviving an aid lead in the rain. OK, that's not very realistic. Start jogging in place, too.

Second phase of your training will involve the use of an old lead line or a static cord. Attach the rope to the bumper of your car, find a tree to anchor yourself to, put your car in neutral and start yarding. If you plan on climbing with Pete, leave the car in park for a more realistic idea of how much you'll be pulling. Be sure to use a load-releasing not to dock you ride. Otherwise you'll be "buggered". Wouldn't want that, now would we?

That oughtta keep you busy for a couple of weeks! :wink: Check back in with us to let us know how you're progressing. If you find yourself suffering a lot and wondering why the F you're doing it, you're probably entirely to smart to be an aid climber. On the other hand, if you find yourself suffering tremendously and can't wait to go back to the shower and the tree to try it again, you're probably hosed and we'll move on to other stages of training. Good luck.

Ed


apollodorus


Sep 28, 2003, 11:42 PM
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EP,

I disagree with a pair of ascenders. I think one ascender and a gri gri does JUST fine. I've tried jugging both ways and this one is more efficient.

Yes, you use the Gri-Gri on the harness and the jug on a sling as you clean or ascend fixed ropes; a croll is better than the gri for fixed ropes, but that's another story.

The reason you want the second jug is for traverse pitches. Having it hanging off your harness, in case you need it, is nice. You can also tie a prusik/klemheist knot with a tied loop of soft 6mm cord, but the extra jug is faster. What happens is that you will want to move the top jug above the piece, but still be able to use a foot sling to maneuver up before lowering out using the gri. You can get up without the second jug, but having it is nice.

Another plus is that when the angle of the wall gets low, you can jug up with one in each hand. Feeding rope through the gri gets tiring.

The best thing is to have one jug, one gri and one croll. That way, you can froggy-style up fixed ropes with the croll and a jug, or clean pitches with the gri and the jug. If you need a second jug, you use the croll.

You can also use a Basic, instead of the croll and clip it to your harness (not the doughnut) and it will have the same flat orientation to your waist.

A shoulder harness, or loop of bungy cord to go around your neck is really nice to keep the croll/basic pulled up tight for the froggy-style ascents of fixed ropes.


crackboy


Sep 29, 2003, 9:55 AM
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so when using the one gri-gri and ascender combo, do you guys run the brake end of the gri gri back up to the acsender through a pully or something along those lines?

i jugged some lines while setting routes in my old gym and i had just let the brake end go straight down out of the grigri. but i can only imagine the weight of that once you get a rope length up, or is it going to feed itslef by that point.

and ed. thanks for your oh so helpful post, you were oh so helpful.


epic_ed


Sep 29, 2003, 10:21 AM
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Hehe. Yeah, the above post came on the heels of a weekend spent hand drilling holes for rivets and bolts on a practice aid line I'm putting up. I've always admired the vision and courage of those who put up FAs, but now I'm starting to really understand how much freakin work it takes. Talk about suffering -- my forearms and hips are wrecked.

Pete has an index for aid climbing systems. It may be a bit overwhelming to delve into the whole index, but one that is well worth reading and will give you a good idea of what equipment you're going to need in addition to what you already have is the one on "moving systems":

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=5012&forum=19&23

Give it a read and you'll have a good starting point for what to do next. A common theme agreed upon by most aid climbers these days is the benefit of using adjustable daisies. There are pro and cons of different types -- I use the Metolius. You'll also want to determine what kind of aider system you're going to use. Many climbers start with a four aider system, and that's what I did (and still do). I can't say enough positive things about Yates products. Their big wall ladders and big wall harnesses absolutely rock. I'm a big guy so a comfortable harness is imperative for me, and I use the Yates Big wall.

I wasn't joking about combining racks with your buddies. When we started aiding we had about three of each size of cam and that didn't get us very far. I'd strongly suggest starting out with clean aid first and hold off on buying a hammer or pins. Many classic aid climbs go clean and a bunch of small cams & stoppers is all you need to get through most of the trade routes.

For practice routes we went to one of the hardest crack climbing areas in the state, picked a thin crack that doesn't see much regular traffic, and started plugging in cams. You'll be amazed at how much you CF even the most simple tasks the first few times. One of my partners established himself as the master of tangling stuff and patented his system now known as the "Fischer Weave." His ability to get tangled and knotted up in gear, aiders, and ropes is legendary and in the early days it often looked like he was up there weaving a basket. For this reason, I'd also recommend carrying a sharp knife. Not for the cluster of gear, but for you. There will be a time or two when you really feel like slitting your wrists and if I had a sharp knife on me at the time I sure could have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering. I sure was looking for it yesterday...

Ed


diesel___smoke


Sep 30, 2003, 8:58 PM
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In reply to:
I feel I can move a fixed line a lot faster with 2 ascenders than one and a grigri. It's all how you feel about it though...

Pete'll have you thinking twice about that. :wink: Out of all the stuff I've read that he has written about systems and moving, the ascender/gri gri combo is probably the single most important change I've made.

Ed,

I was specifically refering to a *Fixed line*, I've tried a fixed line with one ascender and a Grigri and it feels slow to me compared to two ascenders. Now, this might be my imagination, I might be moving faster with the grigri but I get a sense I am 'running' with two ascenders. Cleaning is a different story, but a *fixed* line I'll still be 'running' (I refrain from bouncing on the line) up with two ascenders. I'll give the grigri and ascender on a *fixed* line another try on El Cap as we'll have plenty of fixed line there, we're going to fix to the top of 8. I haven't yet tried the frog system yet, I'll let Pete show me how to set it up and see how that works...

Another possibility is I might have my grigri and ascender system setup wrong and that is why it seems slow on a *fixed* line to me, but I doubt that I have it setup wrong...

(This is just my opinion and it could very well be wrong, but as I stated in earlier post, it's all about how YOU feel about it, do what you are comfortable with.)

John-Paul


geezergecko


Oct 1, 2003, 6:29 AM
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so when using the one gri-gri and ascender combo, do you guys run the brake end of the gri gri back up to the acsender through a pully or something along those lines?
If you run the brake end back up through a pulley (or carabiner) attached to the ascender then you get 2:1 leverage when pulling on the brake end, ie. less work. Just don't run the rope over your ascender daisy (Duh!). Climbing magazine #213 pg 88 describes the technique.

On another topic, anyone try the new Petzl Quickfix adjustable daisy?


ep


Oct 1, 2003, 1:13 PM
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an ability to punch the clown repeatedly

Is this some sort of euphemism for masturbation, Ed?


andypro


Oct 1, 2003, 1:40 PM
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an ability to punch the clown repeatedly

Is this some sort of euphemism for masturbation, Ed?

I woduln't think so. I mean..if you can fit 20 of them in a tiny car, two or three shouldn't be that tough to stuff into a haul bag....


epic_ed


Oct 1, 2003, 2:03 PM
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"Punching the clown." Definitely a euphamism. Credit to Jay Moore.

So is "making a map of Hawaii..."


ep


Oct 1, 2003, 2:16 PM
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That's Mohr. And Euphemism.

But I really didn't expect the answer to my question to be "yes". Presumably you're talking about a lonely solo ascent? And no, I don't want to borrow your portaledge.


epic_ed


Oct 1, 2003, 4:03 PM
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That's Mohr. And Euphemism.

But I really didn't expect the answer to my question to be "yes". Presumably you're talking about a lonely solo ascent? And no, I don't want to borrow your portaledge.

Yeahyeah. Speling natZi. :lol:

The ledge is still in good shape. Watch out for the ropes, though.


iamthewallress


Oct 1, 2003, 4:33 PM
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EP,

I disagree with a pair of ascenders. I think one ascender and a gri gri does JUST fine. I've tried jugging both ways and this one is more efficient.

If it's overhung/freehanging, perhaps. If it's lower angle you'll go much, much faster and use less energy if you get up on your feet and start going stairmaster crazy. This takes two jugs so far as I know.


ep


Oct 1, 2003, 4:49 PM
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The issue of efficiency of one jugging system over another is beside the point. This guy wants to learn how to aid climb. Using two ascenders, although arguably not as easy as other methods in certain cases, will still work fine and will provide a good starting point. If he wants to incorporate a Grigri, two pulleys and an electric motor later on when he gains experience, that's fine.

I think there's value in learning basic techniques, even if you don't normally employ them. The carabiner brake is something that every climber should be able to build. And learning how to build a simple harness from slings, to hip belay or even do a body rappel is worthwhile.


flamer


Oct 1, 2003, 6:57 PM
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The issue of efficiency of one jugging system over another is beside the point. This guy wants to learn how to aid climb. Using two ascenders, although arguably not as easy as other methods in certain cases, will still work fine and will provide a good starting point. If he wants to incorporate a Grigri, two pulleys and an electric motor later on when he gains experience, that's fine.

I think there's value in learning basic techniques, even if you don't normally employ them. The carabiner brake is something that every climber should be able to build. And learning how to build a simple harness from slings, to hip belay or even do a body rappel is worthwhile.
Absolutely!! Listen to what this person has to say!!
josh


ricardol


Oct 2, 2003, 9:04 AM
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and do go ahead and buy 2 ascenders .. there are tons of uses for having 2 with you than just jugging ..

i placed one of mine permanently on the 2:1 ratchet on zodiac .. and the other was to clean with ..

.. you never know when you'll drop one either. .

-- ricardo


ep


Oct 2, 2003, 10:05 AM
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I had an ascender unclip from my harness on my first aid climb. Glad I knew how to use a prussik.

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