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Short Fixing on Scorched Earth

Short Fixing on Scorched Earth

This is photo #31 in a series of 32. You can click here to return to Photo #1.

One of the most effective strategies of speed climbing is to "short fix" pitches.

What this means is that when the leader reaches the upper belay station, he pulls up all of the extra lead rope and "short fixes" it to the upper station. He leaves only enough rope beneath to allow his partner [who cleans the pitch] to perform a 4:1 or 2:1 lower-out if necessary. [If the pitch is vertical, then you would be able to leave almost no slack at all.]

At the same time as the lead rope is short fixed, the leader pulls up the haul lines, and puts them through the hauling devices. [If you have only one hauling device, then you fasten the other haul line directly to the anchor. It can be lifted later with the 2:1 Hauling Ratchet.]

As soon as the haul lines are ready, the cleaner attaches the pigs to the haul lines with an alpine butterfly knot, "flags" the ledges, and then lowers the pigs out, using the excess haul line as lower-out line.

Note: Dr. Piton emphatically recommends you attach this knot to the pig, and not to the anchor!

[Don't do as I do, do as I say.]

The pigs then hang in space as the cleaner cleans. Before blasting off, the leader usually hauls one of the pigs up three or four metres to prevent entanglement.

Now that the pigs are free, the leader can continue leading while using a self belay.

In this photo, you can see the thicker turquoise lead rope going down and left to the Power Point, and then directly down to Tom who is jugging on it.

The thin blue rope is the 5 mm Zip Line that allows Tom to "zip" me up the gear that he has cleaned, and to later zip me up the haul lines.

On the right side of the frame you can see the twisted coils of the excess lead rope that I have pulled up, and will be leading with. They are clipped to designated backup knot autolocker than hangs from the short sewn sling girth hitched to my donut. Looks like the rope needs to be unkinked, eh? I'm self belaying with a Grigri.

It's important the cleaner be speedy - he needs to reach the upper anchor before the leader runs out of either lead rope or gear!

[Pete would continually remind me that he could lead all the pitches faster than I could clean and haul them.

[If you look closely at the right side of the photo, you can see at least two bolts that aren't clipped. Pete didn't run out of biners, he just didn't want to use them. That belay is near the very top of the Tangerine Trip and has about ten bolts and rivets. Only the three that Pete clipped are worth a damn. - Tom]

And now the moment you've all been waiting for: the mandatory Summit Photo, with a surprise ending!

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Rock Climbing Photo Location Photo Location: North_America: United_States: California: Yosemite_National_Park: Yosemite_Valley: El_Capitan

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