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easton


Mar 17, 2004, 9:42 AM
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Big Wall Climbing
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Alright, here is my delima: I live in Indiana. Consequently, my idea of a 'big wall' is the 65' towers at a climbing gym a few hours away. I am interested in eventually moving up to attempt some actual big walls, Yosemite for example. I have been working on my lead climbing, and am going to move into trad in the near future. My question is, will I need to learn aid climbing as well? Almost all routes I see on El Cap are listed as either a 5.8 A3, or a 5.13 something. Is it possible to climb a big wall without aid climbing? Will I need to lead 5.12 or 5.13 on trad to avoid aiding?

I have nothing against aiding, just another set of skills and gear I will need to aquire before I try a big wall, and a lot more time and money. I have time, as I still have a lot of learning and practice before I try it, but I am eager to begin training for it, in a realistic manner.


epic_ed


Mar 17, 2004, 10:02 AM
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In reply to:
Alright, here is my delima: I live in Indiana. Consequently, my idea of a 'big wall' is the 65' towers at a climbing gym a few hours away. I am interested in eventually moving up to attempt some actual big walls, Yosemite for example. I have been working on my lead climbing, and am going to move into trad in the near future. My question is, will I need to learn aid climbing as well?

Not if you're Tommy Caldwell or one of the Huber brothers. The rest of us mortals need to aid to get up a rock like El Cap. The stronger of a free climber you are, the less you'll have to aid, and the faster you'll be able to climb. But as a general rule, if you lead solid 5.10 (trad) you can get up most stuff in good style. Hell, I certainly don't lead 5.10 and there are still several routes in the Valley within my reach.

Get a few years of multi-pitch trad climbing under your belt first before jumping into the aid game. It will serve as a valuable foundation of experience for your wall adventures to come.

Ed


copperhead


Mar 17, 2004, 10:10 AM
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But the rest of us mortals don’t add bolts to routes in order to free them…


Vroom vroom!


junnos


Mar 17, 2004, 10:44 AM
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Neither do the Huber brothers..........


dontfall


Mar 17, 2004, 10:47 AM
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dontfall moved this thread from Beginners to Aid Climbing.


skiclimb


Mar 17, 2004, 11:04 AM
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There are plenty of long trad routes in Yosemite that require little or no aid...however other than the east butress on el-cap your aid skills need to be at a good competance level in order to do any of the ElCap routes. if you can get a good 15-20 pitches (full) of aid climbing to A-2 under your belt and do some 2 pitch practice hauling then el-cap becomes a possible goal for you. However few people succeed on el-cap as a first wall attempt..they either need a couple or more tries at el-cap or experience on smaller walls before they will top out.


atg200


Mar 17, 2004, 11:12 AM
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yes, you need to aid climb.

if the thought of aid climbing is intimidating, you will have no chance at hauling and all the other big wall complexities. here is what you need to do:

1. move away from indiana as soon as possible.
2. lead hundreds of pitches of multipitch trad to make placing gear, building anchors, and all of those other mechanics second nature. concentrate on efficiency and moving quick - building fast and efficient trad anchors is a prerequisite for avoiding clusterf*cks on big walls, and if you can't do it you have no chance at doing a wall in a reasonable amount of time.
3. do a handful of single pitch aid climbs to get the basic moving systems down. practice cleaning climbs and jugging in this environment as well. if you don't have these basic aid systems down, you have no chance at doing it when you have to deal with hauling and other complexities that make belays huge.
4. practice hauling without dealing with leading or having to build an anchor that handles anything aside from hauling. you need to have hauling dialed before you put everything together or you will have a giant mess.
5. do a couple of 2 pitch routes, preferably with a hanging belay. build an anchor that can handle hauling and a bivy. practice deploying the ledge, grabbing dinner and the sleeping bags out of the pig, and crapping. this stuff is harder than you think, and it is much easier to sort out when it is light outside and you are not whipped from a full day of climbing and hauling on a big wall.
6. go do a short wall. then do el cap.

if you follow this plan, you are way more likely to get up your first wall and not bail off a bunch of walls before you do one. lots of people short cut it and succeed, but lots more try to short cut it and fail miserably.


copperhead


Mar 17, 2004, 11:17 AM
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In reply to:
Neither do the Huber brothers..........


Are you sure about that?


junnos


Mar 17, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Hey copperhead. I know what I've read, and what I've been told. Got nothing to prove here, just going by what I know. Maybe you know more. Well good for you.


copperhead


Mar 17, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Vroom vroom! :wink:


hema


Mar 17, 2004, 12:16 PM
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Try asking Ricardo (or read his El Cap -solo thread). But I think that even Über Hubers had to add some bolts to their Free-variation.


chronicle


Mar 17, 2004, 12:22 PM
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If you are "going to move into trad in the near future", but aren't climbing trad now, then you have a lot of stuff to learn before attempting El Cap. At least you have a goal, however I would plan on attempting El Cap after a couple of years of trad experience. That's just my opinion though.

There are however some awesome free routes in the valley.


skiclimb


Mar 17, 2004, 12:28 PM
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Well I don't much care about the Hubers...I find thier climbing truly impressive..but I will never approach that levael of ability. Maybe I'll get to the point of doing HD or the Nose in a day.

However this guy from indiana has my respect and best wishes. I remeber when I was in his shoes and dreaming of bigwalls...my first attempt on el-cap and my three pitches hauling the freeblast with some sport climber guy I met at camp 4..the cockiness..the failure...lol...so slow..my poor technique at aiding..good times though...there is nothing quite like the learning curve from bigwall aspirant to success...it's something you only go through once (although once you have that success there is still much to improve upon) and is full of experiences good, bad, and hilarious (in retrospect)

Good luck indiana guy..and hope you make the opportunity to do bigwalls happen for you.


lambone


Mar 17, 2004, 2:26 PM
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RE: The Huber Brothers

They added bolts on their free ascent of the Zodiac, but not to the actual line. Their new bolts are on variations off of the original route, sometimes only a few feet off the route, but off the standard path nontheless. They also replaced some of Porters old bolts on Pitch 5.

Re: the guy wanting to climb El Cap. Right on! Getting up El Cap is all about drive, if you want it bad enough it'll happen. Skill helps though...so practice alot. Do some easier/shorter walls first.

Find a mentor that can help you get started trad and aid climbing.

My first time up El Cap was ith a good friend who had only been Trad climbing for a few months. We did tons of training before hand, climbed tons of trad pitches, went and fired the Leaning Tower, and the Tripple Direct El Cap the next day. Day after getting down that we did Zodiac. it was a Marathon.

J was slow as hell, but strong and full of fight, that's what it takes to make it up. Experince increases you margin of saftey, so if your a newbie, find a wall rat who's willing to put up with you on the wall and show you the ropes.

Have fun!


easton


Mar 17, 2004, 4:37 PM
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Thanks for all the info and the support. I certainly realize I have a long way to go before an El Cap attempt. I am looking three years out for a goal, so I know I have to hit a lot of different climbs and styles in the mean time. I just want to show all you valley climbers that you can come from flatland and still tackle a big wall.

As for moving out of Indiana, not a likely prospect, but maybe a lot of road trips. I am headed to Yosemite to see what I have to work on in August. Anyone in other areas interested in showing off their areas, let me know. I can make road trips up to about 10 hours for good climbing.


moabbeth


Mar 17, 2004, 5:01 PM
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In reply to:
I just want to show all you valley climbers that you can come from flatland and still tackle a big wall.

Honey, I doubt the valley regulars will be fazed, they've seen it all...including hundreds if not thousands of other flatlanders who've come out there with the same big wall dreams - some succeed, others fail. Do the wall for YOU. Who cares what anyone else thinks.

And YES, you need to learn aid if you want to climb El Capitan and most big walls. Some routes have pitches you could free, but getting up the whole sucka is going to require some aid knowlege. Jesus, the Hubers only freed Zodiac in this past year...that should tell you something about how stout climbing El Cap is. They're immensely talented, burly as hell, spent awhile working the line, been climbing at levels you and I can't dream of for years now and know the rock. They're professional climbers. Us mortals need to break out the aid gear, portaleges and haul bags to accomplish what they did.

And don't look at aiding as a negative "one more thing to learn" aspect. It's something new and different and FUN!! Yeah it's work and there's a TON of sheeit to learn. But if you look at aid climbing with a more positive outlook, it'll get you closer to your EC dreams. :wink:

Read atg200's post. He knows his aid. Good luck with your goal.


diesel___smoke


Mar 17, 2004, 7:53 PM
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FISH has some good, more technical how-to information on his site...

Are You Ready?;
Equipment...;
Moving within the system;
Hauling;
Hooking;
Sneaky Stuff (cleaning roofs, pendulums, hauling tricks, etc.).
Three person technique; and
Copperheading.


What?????

Edited because some co(ksucker modified my post from it's original state.


Partner coylec


Mar 18, 2004, 3:29 PM
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While someone on this site will disagree with both the person and the information, I have found some of this information helpful:

Index to Dr. Piton Stuff

Hit Page Down FIFTEEN times to get to the signature posts.

coylec

yes, you have to wade through irrelevant commentary, but its usually funny. read the rants when you're really bored.


Partner holdplease2


Mar 18, 2004, 4:03 PM
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Rule #1: Don't let us gumbies talk down to you just because you are more gumby than us.
This is key to your success as an aid climber,
as everyone who has ever strapped on an aider will become a god/goddess of aid climbing whether they have made it up a wall or not. Lucky for you, such things would never, ever, happen in the RC.com aid forum.
You must also become rather fiesty to be a good bigwall climber, or so I hear.

Rule #2: As your current aid goddess (having used an aider once) AND because I am also from Indiana,
you must listen to me whilst I talk down to you.
Besides, we are probably cousins, siblings, or both. ;)

Shortly after learning to place gear and trad lead,
you can begin to learn the systems required to climb a route using aid technique.
One pitch routes are great for this. In fact, many advise new trad leaders to aid a pitch or two so that they really learn gear placements well!
Stick to short, one pitch cracks.

I would strongly recommend against using hooks or pitons just yet, especially on established trad routes and especially not on soft sandstone like in RRG,
until you better understand the nuances of these techniques and the ethics/debates within the aid community.

The equipment you will need for starters is a trad rack (couple of sets of nuts, couple of sets of cams. Y
ou could aid up shortish, irregular cracks like Autumn in Red River Gorge. Read Big Walls from the how to climb series and many of the other references provided here and you can get started.

If you are aiding up an established trad route, and you feel that your aid gear may be damaging the rock, just don't do it.

Also, don't go aiding up a popular trad route while tradsters are lined up for it (ie Rock Wars),
as your leads will take farrrr longer. You can aid up a 5.11 crack as easily as a 5.9, but it will probably see less traffic.
I know of a few in RRG, but can't remember the names.

Rule #3: You must relocate.

Enjoy, Indiana Guy!

-Kate.


karlbaba


Mar 18, 2004, 10:32 PM
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It is way, way, way easier to learn aid than it is to learn to climb 5.12 trad 1000 feet off the deck after stacks of hard 11 leading up to it.

Learning adds to you. If you don't feel like learning, then it's a good time to consolidate your skills rather than doing new things

PEace

karl


flashsixteen


Mar 19, 2004, 5:52 AM
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If you can't leave Indiana, don't. Head down to Red River Gorge in Kentucky, it is a few hours from Indianapolis. I know a lot of people from Indiana who do that. I don't know from experience or reading it anywhere, but they all say it is one of the best spots to climb in the East. I'd check it out.


ricardol


Mar 23, 2004, 2:48 AM
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the best advice i think that someone has given already is to find your OWN reason for climbing el cap ...

.. it doesn't take extraordinary skills, to aid climb el cap the first time.. (i'm talking abou the trade routes -- not the horror shows) .. just a sh*tload of tenacity and commitment ..

.. commitment to the route -- to getting to the summit ..

-- ricardo


barefeetnochalk


Mar 23, 2004, 4:23 AM
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Goddam Traddies!


lambone


Mar 23, 2004, 9:21 AM
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In reply to:
.. it doesn't take extraordinary skills, to aid climb el cap the first time..

no...just some pitons...right ricardo? :twisted:


easton


Mar 23, 2004, 9:52 AM
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I offer my sincere thanks for all the support and suggestions, and even to the few who give critical advice. For those of you wanting to flame each other, start your own string 8) .

See you all in Yosemite at some point. If I am ahead of you on a wall and you get bored waiting, too bad, I was here first...... :wink:

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