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Your first big wall
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asaph


Oct 10, 2004, 7:51 PM
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Your first big wall
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What was your first big wall? I would love to do one, but I don't know anyone who does them. Nor do I know what I should start on. Any suggestions? I free climb around 10-11, and I've never done any aid climbing. I'd appreciate all your input!


lambone


Oct 10, 2004, 8:14 PM
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Re: Your first big wall [In reply to]
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this same question has been asked many times in the Aid Forum.

Zion and Yosemite have the best walls in the lower 48 pitch for pitch. There are others, but these two areas are the bst places to start.

In Yosemite I would recomend doing some long grade IV free climbs first in a day to get accustomed to the demands of a long route. Then pick a nice grade V. South Face of Washington's Column or West Face of Leaning Tower are the two most common for first timers. Both are good, but crowded. Be nice to your neighbors and don't expect to be alone, plan on waiting to start.

Good luck! Practice first and get motivated because walls talke alot of mental drive and a positive attitude!


lazide


Oct 10, 2004, 8:27 PM
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Re: Your first big wall [In reply to]
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Well, first wall for me was Mescalito on El Cap - most people usually start smaller and work up. (a bit less stress I suspect ;) )

If you have never done any aid climbing, give it a try - hop on some straightforward 5.11 fingercrack or something, and work on movement. Read all PPTP's posts (filtering the posturing, heh), read all the other aid forum posts, read some books, and then try all the different systems. See what you like, see what you don't, etc. There are a LOT of different ways to do things, and having a wide selection of techniques in your head can make the difference between a PITA, and an epic.

One thing to keep in mind - there are no 'easy' walls - just less painful ones. :) 80% of the difficulty is mental; keeping things straight, being able to think on your toes with mind numbing exposure, being able to keep going when you are exhausted, etc.

If you can freeclimb (trad) 5.10-5.11, there are several walls in the valley you should be able to jump on and not get bogged down by the climbing itself - which is essential if you don't have the big wall specific stuff down (hauling, keeping the bivy organized and useable, movement, etc)

At the very least, get the essential skills (jugging, hauling, moving) down pat on short stuff (lots o' laps) before you think about getting on something bigger. Small errors compound themselves, and turn everything into a giant clusterf#%k if you can't get your act together.

Oh yeah, and the single biggest factor to summiting - being determined. If you don't feel the fire to summit, you often don't. Just an observation. ;)

Oh, and huge brass balls can come in handy sometimes too :lol:

(Ask kate, hers have to be like cannon ball size!)


amanda


Oct 13, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Re: Your first big wall [In reply to]
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I'm fairly inexperienced with aiding, but I've done a few walls in Zion and I think one good tip for a beginner is to get a pair of easy daisies. They eliminate using a fifi. You can just focus on the gear and stepping as high as you can.

have fun.


cjcalls


Oct 13, 2004, 12:45 PM
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My first big wall was when I was around 2. The crux was pulling the overhanging countertop and swinging that wicked mantle to get to the cookies in the cabinet.


t-dog
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Oct 13, 2004, 1:20 PM
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My first wall was the WFLT, and in all honesty, I didn't have crap in terms of previous experience and training. The tallest thing I had climbed was by far Epinephrine, most my other trips stayed about 5/6 short pitches to the ground. My aid experience could be summed up by aiding a lot of short (~40 ft) 5.11+/12 cracks and one 150' bolt ladder, most of it self-belaying. I had NO experience hauling, NO experience doing more than one pitch of aid, and yet I managed to get up the WFLT solo in 2.5 days.
So yeah, I'ld have to say that determination and problem solving skills are quite important if you want to do a wall.


epic_ed


Oct 13, 2004, 2:07 PM
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epic_ed moved this thread [In reply to]
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epic_ed moved this thread from General to Aid Climbing.


texplorer


Oct 15, 2004, 3:42 PM
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Most important is not which wall but preparation and a go for it attitude.


ridefor24


Dec 6, 2004, 9:41 AM
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My first wall was on Washington Column and packed plenty of adventure into its easy 5.8 C1 rating. YOur first big wall depends more on where you're from than anything. Yosemite is great, Zion is a unique experience and definitely worth the trip, New Hampshire has some interesting big wallish routes that will allow you to dial in your technique and offer plenty of opportunity to soil yourself, Looking Glass in North Carolina offers great climbing on unique features in a pretty remote location. Practice on a few one pitch C1 and then cast off...the learning curve is steep


peroxide


Dec 6, 2004, 9:55 AM
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Washington Column South FAce.

It is the "gumby" highway for a reason. Also it has two small pendulums that are fun, a roof that is great for photos (very easy for aid), and at least a 2nd step move on pitch 5 (my favorite pitch). The hauling on pitch 1 and 3 blow but 2 is straight forward. Dinner Ledge is spacious with great views of Half Dome and if you are like 90% of the parties and arrive at DInner around 3pm in the afternoon you will go up Kor Roof with the wind howling and your aiders flying all over the place...good aiding fun!


AS FAR AS BEFORE YOUR WALL
1) READ UP ALL YOU CAN ON AID
2) Practice (even if this means in your living room)
3) Find the most patient ropegun or patient partner you can
4) Expect to be slow and to free less than usual (aiders suck you in and don't let you go)
5) Don't get too ambitious...take it a wall at a time (i tried to cram too much in too little time and got totally fried mentally)


bandycoot


Dec 6, 2004, 10:17 AM
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I like back country and I like free climbing so I picked Half Dome as my first wall. The hike in keeps the crowds down and I think that there are 6 pitches of direct aid. It was a great experience. My 2nd wall was West Face of Leaning Tower. My wife lead that one and she thought it was a blast and thought the aiding was pretty easy. Jugging it was stenuous (I'd rather be on the sharp end next time) but fun none the less. The ledge on WFLT was GREAT for sleeping on!

Josh


brutusofwyde


Dec 6, 2004, 5:41 PM
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In reply to:
I like back country and I like free climbing so I picked Half Dome as my first wall.

Hairline on Whitney would be a good choice for a backcountry first big wall.

In reply to:
The ledge on WFLT was GREAT for sleeping on!
Josh

Hairline has 2 real nice bivy ledges... complete with sand... the top of P2 and the top of P9. The hauling is way more difficult than on WFLT on most of the pitches though.

My first big wall was East Buttress of El Cap. Bivied atop P6 and at the summit.

Brutus


estwing


Dec 11, 2004, 12:50 PM
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Hi there,
Check out this post, http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=69582&p=850630#850630 as I was asking the same question a few months ago. My partner and I did the WFLT, and had a good time. I would have been better if we had not been stuck behind a slower party that we were not comfortable, or well enough equipped to pass. (See a post on page two of the link about a lady soloist, she was the slow party)

Anyway, had a good time. The Cruxes were the approach across the scary fourth class, and the descent down the gully.

Bring a hook.
Sam


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