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passthepitonspete


Mar 27, 2002, 11:10 AM
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Here in the Aid Climbing Forum, it is my desire to teach you the better way.

And by the better way, I mean the very best possible way to perform a big wall or aid climbing activity, something that I - Dr. Piton - have personally tested and hopefully perfected in the big wall arena.

I do not pretend to know the better way for each and every situation, and I am more than willing to listen to others' suggestions. You can see evidence of my willingness to test new ideas in the post about the 2:1 Hauling Ratchet.

So while I don't have every answer, chances are pretty good I know a helluva lot more than the Big Wall Theory being described in mainstream climbing publications.

Climbing Magazine in particular seems good at "re-inventing the wheel.

I cite two recent examples:

Here you can read where Climbing Mag reinvents the Petzl Duobelt headlamp - you can click here to see Mark Synott's design,

which bears great resemblance to the headlamp I sometimes wear caving, and which has been commercially available for two frickin' years!



Here you can read a letter where our own Addiroids points out that this stupid way of rappelling with a very heavy load is indeed not the Better Way of doing so.



Accordingly, I ask you to click here for Climbing Mag's most recent Big Wall Theory.

While what is described will work, it is NOT the better way! If you want to do things right and save yourself heartache, you may wish to take note.

Do not use the end of the haul line to dock your pig! Use a separate piece of cord called a Docking Tether and tie a Load Release Knot.

A Load Release Knot is hugely easier to untie than a Munter Mule.

The reason you use a separate Docking Tether is so that you can use all of the remaining haul line as lower-out line. This means that if you have a two-hundred-foot rope, and the pitch is only one hundred fifty feet, then you will have fifty feet of lower-out line available. You can see that in this picture.

If you have been following stuff around here, you will know that only a Big Wall Theorist would attach his or her pig to the middle of the haul line using a figure of 8 on a bight. The Better Way, assuming you don't want to have to pull out a marlin spike to untie the bloody thing, is to use an alpine butterfly knot, unless you want to spend the next five minutes trying to undo the figure of 8!

Finally, I would NOT back up the docking tether with anything, especially when soloing. Sure as heck you're going to forget about it, and end up lowering off your pig onto the backup! [Take the word of one who has done this once too often....]


In summary, while Climbing Mag's ideas will work, they are clearly not the better way.



I am Dr. Piton,

and if I know nothing else, I know pigs

[ This Message was edited by: passthepitonspete on 2002-12-16 20:39 ]


Partner rrrADAM


Mar 27, 2002, 11:17 AM
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More "Dr Piton" from passthepitonspete - sheesh.


bigwalling


Mar 27, 2002, 11:17 AM
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Those suckers in the mags are always throwing people off. All they talk about is who climbed some wussy sport climb. I did like the yosemite issue and the issue with dean and tim's record ascend up the nose. But who cares about someone who climbed somke super hard route only 20 feet long and with new bolts. How is that adventure? I have never got a subscription to a climbing mag for that reason.

[ This Message was edited by: bigwalling on 2002-03-27 11:18 ]


cryptoboy


Mar 27, 2002, 11:26 AM
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Hmm. Mark Synott a BWT. I think someone need to take a sedative, or perhaps an anti-psychotic.....


passthepitonspete


Mar 27, 2002, 12:34 PM
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I know Mark, and I have the utmost respect for his climbing abilities.

But I have to wonder how long Climbing Mag held onto his tip about modifying a Petzl Zoom headlamp - the Duobelt has been available for over a year!


cryptoboy


Mar 27, 2002, 1:10 PM
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Yeah. I guess when a deadline is rolling around you do what you can....

Maybe we need to start a new magazine:

"Better Way: A Journal of Bigwalling"
or
"The Better way to shrivel your testicles"

c


wallhammer


Mar 27, 2002, 6:57 PM
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typical mags, uh i mean rags. i have both climbing and rock & ice going back almost eight years. rock & ice used to rule until they changed their format about 2 years ago and became exactly like climbing. i have not bought either for over a year now because they are worthless other than staying current with gear, and some quality photography. so here is what you need to do. go to your local climbing store and ask for last month issue that they ripped the cover off of so they would not have to pay for it. that way you get the issue for free and when you do indeed find out it was wothless, you are out nothing (a better way)


passthepitonspete


May 11, 2002, 6:42 AM
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Here is my most recent letter to Climbing Mag concerning their Tech Tips.


feelio


Jun 5, 2002, 8:54 AM
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If you don't like the mags don't buy and read 'em. I have to defend a little here, as I do the artwork for some of the tech tips, and regardless of the "text" you gotta admitt Clellands drawing are funny as hell. It's all subjective people, and if you knew how hard it was to run, and edit a monthly publication, you'd cut 'em a little slack. I agree, that I really don't care who climbed what boulder problem, and what snot nossed brat climbed what sport route, but really.....look how diverse the climbing community at large is, how could you possibly please everyone? Besides, does enough happen everymonth to fill a rag with info? hell no, they gotta get creative. As far as tech tips, it's one person's view of a trick that worked, love 'em or leave 'em!


feelio


Jun 5, 2002, 9:10 AM
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By the way, I agree that Pete's tactics in general are better and more dialed than some of the "published" ones out there. But just like the Russian Aiders, till you see a better way, you gotta use what you can. So pete, why don't you start sending in your tech tips, garner a little cash for the advice, and I'll illustrate them! Free money never hurt, eh?


climbjs


Jun 5, 2002, 9:40 AM
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It is great to know that by viewing this website, one can gain more knowledge than reading articles from a magazine. There are obviously very intelligent people here that are tremendously experienced. Thanks!


passthepitonspete


Jan 18, 2003, 7:08 PM
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First of all, let's revisit the post above.

Petzl has finally figured out the Better Way of lighting, I believe. Just now available [December] is the Duo LED, which runs on four AA batteries and has a halogen high-beam bulb on one side, and a choice of either three LED's or five LED's on the other side. [If you buy it, for sure buy the five LED model even though it is more expensive]

So now you get the best of both worlds. Firstly, you get the darkness-piercing halogen bulb, very handy when route-finding on the wall, or looking for high-level leads while caving.

More importantly, you get energy-saving and wicked bright LED lighting. Man, I don't know how long five LED's will last with four AA batteries, but it's gotta be a darn long time. My Black Diamond headlamp has four LED's powered by only three AAA's, yet it lasts more than fifty hours!

I do not like my Petzl Duobelt - the cord is a major pain. Now that they have a five LED array available, there is no need for the four C cell model.
The Duo, of course, still suffers from its major defect - the switching mechanism in the light is prone to failure, and is not field-repairable.

[If]cheap bastards spent a bit more money on some decent circuitry, they'd have a real winner. I've sent back two of the damn things on account of that very problem. As far as I am aware, they have not fixed it yet.]





Anyway, let's talk about BIG WALL THEORY from Climbing Magazine No. 121, January 15, 2003.

First of all, check out the knot on page 78 that joins the two rappel ropes.

What is wrong with this picture?!

For cryin' out loud, when you join two ropes together for a double-rope rappel, there is only one knot that you should use!

If you do not know which knot, then you should click here to Ask Dr. Piton ... about the EURO DEATH KNOT. The EDK is the Better Way to join two ropes for rappel, as you will see by clicking the link. It is safe [it]looks scary] and it slides smoothly across edges, thus making it much less likely to hang up when you pull the ropes.

Just be sure you tie it as an overhand and NOT as a figure of 8 - the last dude who tried the latter ended up dead. I think it was in Zion this year. [Reinventing the wheel can be hazardous if not fatal - ask Joe Ivy]





But what really caught my eye was Mark Synott's Tech Tip about weathering the storm in your portaledge, which is found on page 80.

Note: These photos will be available online from Climbing Magazine once this issue is no longer for sale, and this issue's Tech Tips join their already excellent archives. When this happens, I can link the photo here directly.

Mark is no BWT - far from it! I agree with everything he has written [especially the importance of the tent pole which is included in my ultimate big wall checklist. But there is one substantial improve- ment that can be made in his design.

The problem with his design is that there is no redundancy built into the point of attachment!

EVERYTHING - the ledge and its occupants [that's you, eh?] - is attached to the single sling that passes through the portaledge fly.

I don't like that.

When I'm camping, and the fly is not in place, I have a Ledge Power Point Locker into which the ledge is attached, and into which I attach my daisies for my attachment.

But when I have my fly on my ledge in a storm, I don't want everything hanging off of that one little sling through the fly! When it's my ass, mate, I want some redundancy.

What I do is use my lead rope as a separate backup. The main problem with this in a storm is that water will run down the rope and into the ledge.
The Better Way is to put an extra four or five feet of slack into your backup lead rope, and clip some heavy gear [like]Lost Arrows] into it at the halfway point so that the rope goes up into the ledge instead of down. This way, water does not enter the ledge by the rope.

Note: If it's really windy, as in Mark's scenario, then you could clip that lower loop into something to prevent it from blowing around and smashing the pins into the bottom of the ledge.

Did I come up with that weighted backup rope idea? Hell, no - I read it in an old Climbing Magazine.

Now, you may think that my improvement is redundant. It is - it's supposed to be.

You might also think it's unnecessary.

It's not.

You could ask Lucie Poirier and Jacques Veillette from [the] Quebec, but unfortunately they are dead, the result of a tragic portaledge accident this past August at Cap Trinite that cost them their lives due to a single unfortunate mistake.

Now, they did not die as a result of the ledge point of attachment failing, they died because they clipped the wrong point of attachment, and because they did not have a separate backup as I use and as I describe above.

Jacques had twenty-five years of climbing experience, but did not practise setting up his borrowed portaledge ahead of time.

I offer the following excerpt from Gripped Magazine:

Quote:. The fly was hung from the main station and they had opened the two doors and clipped the structure inside. That was when the accident happened. Instead of clipping the ledge into the loop at the converging point of all of the slings, they attached it to a piece of yellow tape which is usually used to help a climber get up on the ledge or to hang the stove for cooking. Thinking the ledge was now secure, they clipped their daisies to the locking biner (now on the yellow tape) and removed themselves from the main station. What they did next next will always remain a mystery. There was a sleeping bag and some food bags inside the ledge. Jacques was probably inside organizing stuff while Lucie was unloading the haul bags. The fly, which was supporting everything eventually broke at the connection with its own stuff bag. Their bodies were found the next day by park rangers who were checking their progress on the wall.

They started to climb late and maybe should have left their bivy gear on the ground and fixed a rope for the next day. They finished climbing in the dark and set up their ledge with only one headlamp. They also should have stayed clipped in to the main anchor as a back up. Finally, they lacked practice in setting up this specialized piece of equipment. They borrowed the ledge from a friend two days before leaving. In any case, this was the most terrible climbing accident in the history of climbing in Québec and it will certainly leave a shadow over subsequent ascents of this fabulous wall.

'nuff said.

If you want to read the full story, you can click here to read the Gripped Magazine News.



Note:

If you wish to comment on the BWT in Climbing Magazine, please respond here. But if you want to comment on the portaledge death report, would you please be so kind as to start a new post?

Be sure to link in the story from Gripped, eh?

Cheers,

Pete

[Post edited to fix link to Euro Death Knot which was moved to Gear Heads Forum]

[ This Message was edited by: passthepitonspete on 2003-01-21 13:11 ]


copperhead


Jan 18, 2003, 9:48 PM
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You scoff at the mistakes of others and use the dead as ‘examples’ yet you favor being tied into static daisies at a bivy and never tie into the end of the lead line while soloing? The only difference between the two is that you know better and possibly they did not.


copperhead


Jan 18, 2003, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Anyway, let's talk about BIG WALL THEORY from Climbing Magazine No. 121, January 15, 2003.

First of all, check out the knot on page 78 that joins the two rappel ropes.

What is wrong with this picture?!

For cryin' out loud, when you join two ropes together for a double-rope rappel, there is only one knot that you should use!


Uhhh. Do you mean No. 218, Feb 1, 2003, p. 78? The lower illustration? Looks good to me; maybe throw an extra double-fisherman in the tails. No need to die on rappel.

-----
added quote...

[ This Message was edited by: copperhead on 2003-01-18 22:26 ]


passthepitonspete


Jan 19, 2003, 10:44 AM
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Three comments.

First of all, will you guys please READ what I have written before you fly off the handle? Most of your objections have already been addressed ahead of time, since I fully expected someone to raise them.

I am purposely being a bit of a smartass in order to get people to pay frickin' attention. [It is part of Dr. Piton's internet persona, you see] Nowhere is this more critical than on the wall. If you do not pay attention to details, then you can end up dead, too.

Not reading what I have written or following the links to provide answers to your objections is indicative of precisely that behaviour.

[This being said, I got the number of the Climbing Mag wrong, it is indeed No. 218, but then again, I dropped my pig. So don't do as I do, do as I say...]

Secondly, I am not scoffing. They blew it, and now they're dead. They blew it because they made a mistake.

I point out mistakes that people make so you don't make them! Hell, I even tell you about my own mistakes!

A very good way to stay alive in the hills is to read and understand how other people blew it. This is why the AAC publishes its accident reports.

I am purposely provocative in order to get you to think! Don't let your emotions get in the way of your brain. If this happens in the wrong place, you could pay the price.

Thirdly, I already anticipated your comment about the EDK.

The knot looks scary but it is SAFE, and it is emphatically the Better Way to rappel for the reasons already explained in my link above.

It is an extremely misunderstood knot, but my linked post does a decent job at trying to explain it. Make sure you tie it correctly, and leave long tails.

I already anticipated someone pointing out that guys died in Zion by tying the EDK the wrong way with a figure of 8 instead of the correct way. [Perhaps you missed that on page 1 of this post?] Someone has already pointed this out in the EDK thread, thus saving me the bother.

Ed, before you diss a good knot, and one that is published in the Petzl catalogue [arguably the best source of technical information around, though even they make mistakes from time to time] please take the time to read what I've written, and also to click the links that I've taken the time to supply!

If in doubt, you could write me privately first, before you post. Maybe we can save some embarrassment. You might even get me to retract something I've written that's wrong, however this is not one of those times as far as I can see, except the bit about the magazine number.

If you want to comment on the Euro Death Knot, please make your comments here in the EDK post.

If you want to comment on how to attach yourself to your portaledge anchors, especially when using a fly, you're on the right page.

If you want to comment further on the tragedy that claimed the lives of two very experienced climbers who made a mistake, please start a new thread.

I make these suggestions in the interest of minimizing the wank factor in the Aid Forum. If we keep related stuff on the same pages, then we will actually be able to find stuff later when we need it. Thanks.

Cheers,

Pete

P.S. Are you reading this?! Sheesh.


johnhenry


Jan 19, 2003, 9:05 PM
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We'll I do believe the dead do indeed have a tale to tell. I always illustrate my climbing instruction with real life examples such as those found in Accidents in North American Mountaineering.

Those that would argue that Pete should refrain from reading Climbing magazine could well do the same with regard to his posts.

The principle of redundancy is essential to staying alive (I could giv a sh*t about some headlamp debate, to be honest, add this to some caving forum).

Also, if you don't know the debate about the EDK then I highly suggest you take 15-20 minutes and figure it out. It is somewhat counter-intuitive in that a figure eight always seems better than a simple overhand(but in this case it isn't!!!).

Copperhead: Your counter-points are greatly appreciated.

Forum: an assembly for the discussions of public interest

But... please explain how you would solo tied into the end of your rope. I don't follow you here. Pete, advocates tying in short which is just fine in my book.
rock on,
john

P.S. I hope to meet you legends in the valley in May-June!!!









[ This Message was edited by: johnhenry on 2003-01-19 21:08 ]


copperhead


Jan 20, 2003, 8:08 AM
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Quote:
But... please explain how you would solo tied into the end of your rope. I don't follow you here. Pete, advocates tying in short which is just fine in my book.


Obviously you can’t tie into the end of the lead line while on lead (when rope soloing), but you can while cleaning and while hanging out at the bivy. Why not tie-in if you have the opportunity?


copperhead


Jan 20, 2003, 8:20 AM
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Quote:
First of all, will you guys please READ what I have written before you fly off the handle?

Not reading what I have written or following the links to provide answers to your objections is indicative of precisely that behaviour.


I have read your posts (in detail) and have followed your links; this is what has led me to question some of your tactics.

What kind of behavior (precisely) are you referring to?


passthepitonspete


Jan 20, 2003, 11:09 AM
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Legends?? Sheesh.

First of all, the precise behaviour I was referring to was Ed's - he appeared not to have read what I wrote on the European Death Knot. He assured me via PM that he had in fact read the post, he simply refuses to use the EDK.

Which is fine by me. I have never purported to teach the Best Way or the Only Way - merely what I believe to be the Better Way.

[However, when Ed's figure of 8 knot that he used to join his two rap ropes together gets stuck in a crack and he can't retrieve his ropes, it is my fervent wish that a thousand Dr. Piton I-told-you-so's echo through his brain as he ponders his dilemma. DDEL!]

When soloing big walls, I am almost always attached to my rope via a knot. This is always in the form of a backup knot, which when cleaning and leading is in addition to my Grigri.

Two exceptions when I am not attached to the rope via a knot would be when jugging a free hanging line, and when crawling around on belay anchors. Both of the above require two points of attachment, be they ascenders or be they daisies.

When I am soloing a big wall, I would never tie directly into the end of the rope as I would when leading with a belay from a partner - it's a waste of time. I would only have to untie the knot later. A backup knot is fine by me.

If you want to know precisely how I advocate attaching yourself to the rope while cleaning, you can click here to read about backup knots while cleaning. You could also click here to read about backup knots while jugging. Finally, you can click here if you want to know how I attach myself to the wall when bivying.

[Obviously you can read above how I advocate attaching yourself to the wall when your portaledge fly is deployed.]

Most everything else you can find in the Index to Dr. Piton Stuff.

John writes,
Quote:"(I could giv a sh*t about some headlamp debate, to be honest, add this to some caving forum)"

I would have to disagree. A headlamp is an essential piece of big wall climbing equipment, though not nearly so much fun as the heavy metal and tinker toys we aid climbers like to bash into cracks! I happen to be a caver, and am hence attuned to the latest developments in lighting. The advent of LED's has revolutionizing headlamp design. Take a look around El Cap some night - there is not an incandescent bulb to be seen!

I wanted to share [what I thought to be] a cool new product - its advantages and its disadvantages.

In some ways a headlamp is relevant in this thread since one of the factors contributing to the deaths of the two Quebecoises in their portaledge was insufficient light.

But as for me and my provocative style of writing, John gets it -

"On a toujours la choix..."


pbjosh


Jan 20, 2003, 11:28 AM
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You can most definitely tie into the end of the lead rope while rope soloing if you like, it just may not be fun to have a rope bag or yet another end of of the rope dangling from you while you lead It's also fairly unnecessary, but hey, there's nothing stopping you.

josh


taxexile


Jan 21, 2003, 1:08 AM
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...well, there's nothing stopping you until the giant loop of rope hanging underneath you gets stuck under a flake!


justsendingits


Jan 21, 2003, 2:56 AM
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not if u climb,hard,steep routes.


copperhead


Jan 21, 2003, 8:45 AM
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Quote:
[However, when Ed's figure of 8 knot that he used to join his two rap ropes together gets stuck in a crack and he can't retrieve his ropes, it is my fervent wish that a thousand Dr. Piton I-told-you-so's echo through his brain as he ponders his dilemma. DDEL!]



Never had a figure-8 get stuck while pulling ropes. Never. I have however, had my rope do a Houdini rope trick and had a kink in the rope get jammed into the rap slings (no knots in rope); I had to re-lead the pitch.


[ This Message was edited by: copperhead on 2003-01-21 14:01 ]


wallrat


Feb 5, 2003, 3:09 PM
Post #24 of 26 (7971 views)
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Registered: Nov 27, 2002
Posts: 155

More "BIG WALL THEORY" from Climbing Magazine - sheesh. [In reply to]
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   Hey, I've got an idea...how about a moratorium on any text over say, 14 point, and any thread that includes the words 'continous loop system', 'big wall theorist', or any other self centered rubbage. C'mon dude, people were soloing hard stuff on the big stone before YOU showed up. Relax.

[ This Message was edited by: wallrat on 2003-02-05 15:10 ]


evoltobmilc


Feb 5, 2003, 7:51 PM
Post #25 of 26 (7971 views)
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Registered: Feb 5, 2003
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More "BIG WALL THEORY" from Climbing Magazine - sheesh. [In reply to]
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Hey Pete,
I like what you're saying except for one thing. Way, way back up high on this topic you said in reference to Climbing Mag's issue #212 tech tip ". . .I would NOT back up the docking tether with anything, especially when soloing. Sure as heck you're going to forget about it, and end up lowering off your pig onto the backup!"
I'm just not sure how you would manage to lower the pig onto the clove hitch backup if your partner above is to be taking the slack out of the haul line. Isn't it obvious that the backup is still tied if the line going away from the pig is not taught, as it should be if your partner is ready for you to lower out the pig? Just seems to me that you'd be forced to untie the backup before lowering out the pig using Climbing's method.

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