Short rope on Pyramid?

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Rock-a-Fella
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:05 am

SkaredShtles wrote:
Kevin Baker wrote:<snip> My take is if you need to be on a rope on a CO 14er in summerlike conditions, then you shouldn't be on the mountain.

And this is *precisely* why guides exist.

Guides don't exist to take competent people up mountains.


Ok I'll just in again.

Professional Guides don't drag "incompetents" into technical terrain!

That is how guides and clients get killed. A professional guide is going to establish a proper fitness level, climbing movements, and exposure tolerance prior to taking a client into "Technical Terrain". If the client can not satisfy the guide with prior experience then a "qualifying day" is not out of the ordinary. It may require a few "other peaks" before the guide will take the job of technical terrain with that client.

Hiring a Professional Guide does not make you "incompetent" so let's take the "Curse" off here.

There are many in this community who use Professional Guides in their peak quests. A guide is another "tool". I see "competent people" off route all the time.

There were several people in the Elks on Saturday without axes or spikes / crampons while other elected to increase their protection level by carrying one or both
given the cover. Wearing a helmet doesn't make you a "clumsy incompetent" who falls and hits there head or can't move out of the way of falling rock.

In the loose rock that is the Elks, being off route is one of the majors dangers. The routes are littered with "Rouge Cairns" leading to loose terrain that is difficult to read and follow. The guide sets the pace on what the client can do. The summit is only half way. Guides are not for everyone and not everyone needs or wants a guide. That said you should not be made to feel like you are "less of a mountaineer" because you hired a guide to keep you on route, read the weather and keep things safe.

I could go on but I hope I have made my point.

Yes, I am a Professional Guide in the Elks for full disclosure.
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby pseudoghost » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:10 am

Shawnee Bob wrote:That's a great question. I can see it on glaciated peaks, but not on bare rock where you have no chance of arrest.


Short roping is an extremely dangerous practice for both parties involved under almost all conditions. It's really a question of physics, not of competence on the part of the guide. This article makes it very clear: short roping is not capable of stopping a significant slip or fall, period, and these tests were conducted under conditions amenable to short roping; on a simulated glacier, with various slope angles and various snow conditions, but in all cases the guide is close to the "client" and is in the best location to counter the fall.

http://amga.com/images/misc_PDFs/news/short_roping_3_09.pdf

Now imagine being on Pyramid, where the guide may not be in a good location to counterbalance a fall, and may not be as close to you as was indicated in the article, and you can see why short roping is a confidence booster at best, and a suicide pact at worst. I'd go even farther than Brian C: do NOT rope up without putting in some kind of protection!
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby SkaredShtles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:27 am

Rock-a-Fella wrote:<snip>

I could go on but I hope I have made my point.

Yes, I am a Professional Guide in the Elks for full disclosure.

I know that "incompetent" is almost always viewed as a negative... that's not how I meant it. People hire guides for a variety of reasons, I suppose - but generally speaking don't you find that they do so because they are not confident in some aspect of their competency? It usually takes a pretty secure person to admit they are incompetent one way or another. But we all are.

I know... more English-language disconnection going on. DAMN YOU ENGLISH LANGUAGE! :mrgreen:
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby Pops921 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:51 am

I hire guides on more technical routes and /or dangerous routes for a variety reasons:

1) My friends and family will not go with me on these routes and a climbing partner makes things safer.
2) Guides are almost always fun and friendly, in addition to being knowledgeable.
3) Although in most cases, I could easily do the route myself, I usually learn something new.
4) Be hiring a guide I am supporting people who love the mountains so much they want to make their living in them

I have not done anything in Colorado yet, where I felt like I need a guide, but probably will when I get around to the Elks.
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby rickinco123 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:54 am

Kevin Baker wrote:Saturday was a busy day on Pyramid as there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people. I think it was by far the most people I have encountered on a class 4 14er. On the way down, I came across a guide who had his client on a short rope. It appeared that he was not using an anchor system, although maybe he set one up at the cruxes. I find it hard to believe that this is a safe method to belay someone. The force of a fall, even minor, could easily pull the guide off the mountain. Rockfall could easily take both parties off the mountain. I know this is a common practice in Europe with guides, but how is this safe?


All depends on whether you are talking short roping or short pitching. Short pitching is a technique were a guide will go through higher risk areas and have his client stay put. Once he finds a good bracing position to belay they guide will do a hip belay and repeat until on safer ground. I had this demonstrated to me by a climbing partner who is now an AMGA guide and was studying for their test. It is solid and can be quite fast.

Attaching yourself to someone else on a rope without a belay or anchor obviously has severe limitations. For simul-climbing as and example, the second climber is always supposed to be the stronger climber.

Though people argue some of the finer points of AMGA dogma, every person I have met who has AMGA single pitch or better cert knows their s**t. I even had a friend who wanted to break into leading so she hired one for a day and from what I could tell, learned more in that day than she would have in a muti week class.
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby rickinco123 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:10 am

Last edited by rickinco123 on Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby MountainHiker » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:17 am

I have bumped into the same professional guide on a couple occasions. On one occasion it was near and on the summit of Pyramid. The guide was great at communication when our parties passed each other. On the summit I learned his client had already climbed most of the fourteeners, but choose to be guided on Pyramid. Did that client less deserve to be there than a less experienced climber with a more experienced friend?
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby Monster5 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:21 am

Oh god. Before this turns into yet another unguided vs guided debate:

The article discusses feature-less snow/ice slopes, which, as I said above, I think is a bad place to short rope. It's harder to get a quick, solid stance or terrain belay and you don't want to be that close to your partner in the event of a fall requiring an axe arrest, else you both will likely end up in a crevasse.

Rock, however, has far more opportunities to plug a piece in, sling a horn, terrain belay, waist belay from a solid stance, and so forth. From personal experience, short-roping (which I always felt goes hand-in-hand with the "short-pitching" mentioned above) with proper care is capable of stopping slips. If a significant fall is possible, plug a piece in or wrap the rope around a horn, etc, taking all slack out of the rope. Or just pitch it out or switch to simul (difficulty/skill dependent). A competent party/lead/guide should be able to switch between all three techniques (short-roping/short-pitching, simul, pitched climbing) easily and efficiently and as the route/experience demands.

Really, on <5.4 terrain with a familiar partner, I'd rather take risks associated with short roping over risks of getting caught in an afternoon storm, bivying on a ledge, or a hairy descent in the dark.

Again, the caution noted by Brian should be stressed - instruction/practice needed for anything involving a rope.


pseudoghost wrote:...This article makes it very clear: short roping is not capable of stopping a significant slip or fall, period, and these tests were conducted under conditions amenable to short roping; on a simulated glacier, with various slope angles and various snow conditions, but in all cases the guide is close to the "client" and is in the best location to counter the fall.

http://amga.com/images/misc_PDFs/news/short_roping_3_09.pdf

Now imagine being on Pyramid...!
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby highpilgrim » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:21 am

Pops921 wrote:I hire guides on more technical routes and /or dangerous routes for a variety reasons:

1) My friends and family will not go with me on these routes and a climbing partner makes things safer.
2) Guides are almost always fun and friendly, in addition to being knowledgeable.
3) Although in most cases, I could easily do the route myself, I usually learn something new.
4) Be hiring a guide I am supporting people who love the mountains so much they want to make their living in them



I completely agree.

But not with this:
SkaredShtles wrote:Guides don't exist to take competent people up mountains.


I am two away from completing the 14ers. This is something I've been working at for about ten years and it's important to me. I have not focused exclusively on them, but have climbed a good number of 13ers including many of the cents and many other peaks around the southwestern U.S.

This year was intended to be my finisher year and I worked hard to put myself in postition to get them done. I've been blessed by finding a number of good friends from this site to climb but with me coming from Missouri coordinating our schedules is not always easy and doesn't always work out no matter how hard we try. And that doesn't even begin to account for bad weather. Add to this the discomfort my family expresses about what I do in the mountains and you have a situation where you're looking for a way to make it happen and to placate family members including a 13 year old son who worries about his dad regardless of how many peaks he's already climbed. I consider myself a competent fair weather mountaineer; I carry the appropriate gear for me and those around me and can take care of myself just fine. While I have climbed many peaks by myself, solo on a more difficult mountain is just not an option for me.

So, this time around I realized that friends were committed and likely to climb with me on South Maroon and Pyramid, but the timing to make Capitol work for me as well was difficult. I had "met" Rockafella through this site after exchanging a few pms about a fall last year on North Maroon and knowing he worked in the Aspen area, I worked it out with him to climb Capitol together.

It was a great decision. The guides (Rockafella brought a friend along) were great guys, full to the brim with knowledge and stories of the things they've encountered in the mountains both as guides and as members of MRA. I thoroughly enjoyed the outing and will likely do it again at some point, maybe on one of the harder centennials where rope skills may come in handy for an old farht like me.

Both of those guys were ambassadors to the sport of mountaineering. The exhibited a great deal of care and consideration for me and for every other climber they encountered on the mountain, including a distraught woman left behind by her hiking partners once they got past the knife edge and she chose not to go on. They were professional at all times and I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you want to learn more mountaineering skills or just have a great partner on a climb you're having a hard time finding one for, don't be afraid to hire a guide. You won't regret it.
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SkaredShtles
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby SkaredShtles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:27 am

highpilgrim wrote:
Pops921 wrote:I hire guides on more technical routes and /or dangerous routes for a variety reasons:

1) My friends and family will not go with me on these routes and a climbing partner makes things safer.
2) Guides are almost always fun and friendly, in addition to being knowledgeable.
3) Although in most cases, I could easily do the route myself, I usually learn something new.
4) Be hiring a guide I am supporting people who love the mountains so much they want to make their living in them



I completely agree.

But not with this:
SkaredShtles wrote:Guides don't exist to take competent people up mountains.


I am two away from completing the 14ers. This is something I've been working at for about ten years and it's important to me. I have not focused exclusively on them, but have climbed a good number of 13ers including many of the cents and many other peaks around the southwestern U.S.

This year was intended to be my finisher year and I worked hard to put myself in postition to get them done. I've been blessed by finding a number of good friends from this site to climb but with me coming from Missouri coordinating our schedules is not always easy and doesn't always work out no matter how hard we try. And that doesn't even begin to account for bad weather. Add to this the discomfort my family expresses about what I do in the mountains and you have a situation where you're looking for a way to make it happen and to placate family members including a 13 year old son who worries about his dad regardless of how many peaks he's already climbed. I consider myself a competent fair weather mountaineer; I carry the appropriate gear for me and those around me and can take care of myself just fine. While I have climbed many peaks by myself, solo on a more difficult mountain is just not an option for me.

I don't actually think we disagree on any of it. You are aware of your limitations and made the decision to hire a guide to mitigate personal risk.

Like I said - I didn't mean "incompetence" negatively...
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby Rock-a-Fella » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:31 am

For those less familiar I didn't want to confuse with multiple terms but now that they are out there as a general practice the three above mentioned techniques are used as the terrain and client dictate. e.g. Short Pitch the class 4 above the notch on North and put gear in above the chimney.

In closing, people climbing the mountains should take whatever "tools" they think they might need and not worry about someone being critical. The OP asked a question but some of the replies suggested otherwise. Want to take an Ice axe on LaPlata or hire a guide for Pyramid or any other place go for it!


Where is that popcorn eating clip when I need it !!
Last edited by Rock-a-Fella on Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Short rope on Pyramid?

Postby TomPierce » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:34 am

I've seen guides short rope clients frequently when I've been climbing in Europe. Agree it's not designed for a full-on fall, it keeps a slip from turning into a fall when the client is always under near constant tension; significant slack building up in the line defeats the purpose of short roping. I've also noticed on the few trade routes I've done that there frequently is fixed pro (pins/bolts/"ram's horns") near the harder sections which a guide can quickly clip into.

Odd though, the comment on page 1 that the client was in front of the guide on a short rope? I've not seen that done, not sure what purpose the rope would serve then (although maybe it was super easy terrain and the guide wanted to give the client a chance to take the lead for a short bit). Just a guess.

-Tom

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