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Learning how to use rope

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Dave B » Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:20 pm

Brian C wrote:
Dave B wrote:...I would recommend learning a bit more about simul-climbing. This is an effective and efficient method for two experienced climbers to cover substantial technical terrain quickly...


Sorry Dave, but I disagree with this. Even in the hands of experienced climbers, simul-climbing puts you at the mercy of the other climber, when if soloing you'd be only at the mercy of yourself. I do agree that it allows you to move between sections of terrain that a belay is needed for the climbers ability level (alot of climbers simul-climb up to 5.6-7) without having to coil the rope, but it does not add safety. If you're using a rope, do not do so without being able to recognize and use SOLID anchors.


No, we agree completely, actually. I just did a poor job of articulating my argument in return for an attempt at brevity.

Simul-climbing on 3rd or 4th class terrain is a bad idea and only offers a (false) "sense" of increased safety. By suggesting you learn more, what I really meant is any real research into simul-climbing should result in a decision to not do it.

If (and only if) a team of climbers have well honed technical skills, simul-climbing can be an effective way to cover expanses of easier technical terrain. And by technical I mean nothing you'd ever find on a 14er standard route.
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:14 pm

The biggest gains to be had from learning technical rock climbing come from the skills, and resulting confidence, to handle 4th class routes.

Do keep in mind that many 4th class routes are loose. Outdoor climbing education, in my personal opinion, is far more helpful, if you can get it. In addition to gaining technique, you'll learn to recognize rock. The more you climb, the better you'll get at spotting good vs. bad rock. This skill alone could be life-saving.

Several posters mentioned the Gunks, near your area. I'm ignorant of the local geography, but if the Gunks are close enough to you, find a partner on Mountain Project and get started. You'll find you're much more comfortable on class 3 and 4 terrain after some outdoor class 5 experience.

And pay attention to pretty much everyone who's posted so far. Some very good points have been made here, by some very experienced folks.

Good luck, and enjoy!

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Brian C » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:55 pm

PS - If you ever end up in Colorado, I'd be very happy to go climbing with you and show the little bit that I know.
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby forbins_mtn » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:04 pm

mountainlover - hit me up when you're out here. 1) I went to school in Philly, lived in S Philly for 8 years and have a spot in my heart for that shithole of a city(Go Phillies!) 2) I came back here about four years ago and really got obsessed with the outdoors. I really have no interest in Class 2 hiking and have gotten into the Class 3-5 climbing and 3) I'm not an expert like some of these guys but I know enough, have taken a ton of CMC classes to help someone out and I'm nowhere near awesome enough to be beyond helping someone else learn.

As soon as I took BRS(Basic Rock School) in the CMC last summer suddenly I felt no awkwardness on Class 3-4 rock. I trust my legs, I know where I'm going, I can see the route and I find enjoyment in it.

But overall - Go Phillies! Hit me up if you're ever in CO for an extra day and wanna go climb in Boulder Canyon, Eldo or Clear Creek or something

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby mountainlover153 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:27 pm

To all who have posted thus far: first of all, thank you. Every single post has been very helpful. I wanted to address several points:

nyker wrote:Hey MT,

The Gunks in New Paltz can be a nice daytrip for you from Philly to get into some solid rock climbing and learn rope use and get used to some techniques, exposure, etc.
There are a few guides that work in the area, a Google search will get you a few.


-The gunks sound like a good idea. The drive is 190 miles, google tells me that's 3.5 hours...but, as I see I'd need to drive directly past Manhattan, that seems rather optimistic. Still, worth a shot. The PRG (Philadelphia Rock Gym) recommended a place near Landsdale which is much closer to Philadelphia, but I have yet to investigate. Unfortunately it sounds a lot more like a place to learn top ropes (etc) than anything else. This brings me to my next point:

Garrett wrote:Dragging a rope up class 3/4 terrain does not necessarily make it safer and in some situations will make it more dangerous, for example rock fall and significantly slower speed. I don't think people typically rope up for any of the routes you are talking about doing and it may be better to focus more on physical training and conditioning rather than technical work. Good luck


This is basically my sentiment. First of all, I don't WANT to use a ROPE on Pyramid or the traverse. I've climbed in the Elks before (to the ridge on Maroon before turning around due to Wx, and Castle peak). The rock is absolutely terrible, and I wouldn't particularly trust my life to any sort of anchor I placed in that rock. Perhaps if I had ten years of technical climbing experience I'd know enough to effectively place protection in a dangerous situation like this, however, at this point, I feel it would be more dangerous than helpful. Plus, it's added weight if I'm not using it. The counter argument to this is, if I don't know how to use it, and it turns out I need it when I'm up on the peak...I would be in trouble rather quickly.

I have heard people roping up for pyramid before, or at least carrying it, so I don't know if its something I should be able to do. By no means is this something like the bells traverse, where I'm fairly sure lack of rope would mean death, however, it sure is a long way down if I were to mis-step! Next:

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:The biggest gains to be had from learning technical rock climbing come from the skills, and resulting confidence, to handle 4th class routes.

Do keep in mind that many 4th class routes are loose. Outdoor climbing education, in my personal opinion, is far more helpful, if you can get it. In addition to gaining technique, you'll learn to recognize rock. The more you climb, the better you'll get at spotting good vs. bad rock. This skill alone could be life-saving.

Several posters mentioned the Gunks, near your area. I'm ignorant of the local geography, but if the Gunks are close enough to you, find a partner on Mountain Project and get started. You'll find you're much more comfortable on class 3 and 4 terrain after some outdoor class 5 experience.


Good luck, and enjoy!


Ah. Probably the single most used quote I've heard, "the best training for climbing, is climbing". Also probably the most true. The first peak I climb every year tends to be very difficult, even though its the easiest by technicality. The third peak I do is easiest, even though it's always the most difficult peak I attempt. Outdoor climbing education is difficult when I'm at school, although I will look into it for this upcoming year. The gunk's are relatively far away, but I will continue to investigate it as it sounds like a good idea. Okay, finally:

crossfitter wrote:Start here:

http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22068#p262517

You can learn climbing quickly, cheaply, and safely but generally only two adjectives at a time. If you are not mechanically inept and are able to teach yourself new things without intense supervision, it need not be expensive to learn. You can get essentially everything you need for around $1K, or a fraction of that if you have equipment you can borrow. If you're willing to shell out a few hundred dollars for a weekend semi-private lesson with a AMGA guide you can learn enough to safely continue learning on your own at whatever pace you want.

That being said, technical climbing may not accomplish what you have in mind. Ropes will not save you from loose class 4 peaks where the greatest danger is rockfall, and in fact can make it substantially worse. Falling is generally a bad idea on anything under 5.7-5.8 due to the high chance to hit something on the way down, so it also won't help you unless you have a stronger climber to belay you from above. There might be a handful of extremely short sections where you could rope up on a standard route, but by the time you have all of the requisite skills to do it safely you won't need to rope anymore.

So, the short answer is that learning to climb isn't really worthwhile for the 14ers, but it's totally worthwhile if you have greater ambitions in mind.


This addresses several points.

(1) That sounds reasonable on cost, and what I was looking for. I called the PRG about a day of private instruction with their lead guide ($125/person). I hoped that 12 hours would sufficiently teach me what I wanted to know and I could learn the rest on my own. But, he responded with quotes on "several classes", with a course on top ropes, various certifications, different belay courses, many weekends of instruction (etc). Okay, so, that's great and all, but I'm not trying to climb Denali, right now. I'm trying to climb Pyramid and do the traverse on El diente. What the guy suggested was (A) REALLY expensive (several grand), (B) VERY time consuming, (C) Overkill. I was willing to buy rope & the gear I needed, but the offer wasn't reasonable.

(2) My main reason for learning to rope climb is as a safety measure. Falling is always a bad idea. In later years I'd like to attempt more technical climbing, but for the purposes of climbing over the next couple years, it's to prevent injury. I'm not sure what you mean by the "requisite skills to do it safely" comment. Do you mean by the time I have enough experience to use rope on that sort of section, I wouldn't need to do so? Or do you mean the sections are so short that you'd eliminate enough distance in setting everything up correctly that by the time you were ready to use it, it wouldn't be necessary?

(3) For the purposes of this discussion, rope is being brought up in relation to its usage for ascent of 14ers standard routes. In the future, I do have high ambitions. However, they will wait until I am at a better state of financial solvency & more experienced. At this point, my goal is the 14ers.

Brian C wrote:
Dave B wrote:...I would recommend learning a bit more about simul-climbing. This is an effective and efficient method for two experienced climbers to cover substantial technical terrain quickly...


Sorry Dave, but I disagree with this. Even in the hands of experienced climbers, simul-climbing puts you at the mercy of the other climber, when if soloing you'd be only at the mercy of yourself. I do agree that it allows you to move between sections of terrain that a belay is needed for the climbers ability level (alot of climbers simul-climb up to 5.6-7) without having to coil the rope, but it does not add safety. If you're using a rope, do not do so without being able to recognize and use SOLID anchors.

Garrett wrote:Dragging a rope up class 3/4 terrain does not necessarily make it safer and in some situations will make it more dangerous, for example rock fall and significantly slower speed...


I completely agree. Several years ago I saw some climbers being "guided" up Pyramid. The amount of rope-caused rock fall was absurd, and the amount of extra danger it put all of the other climbers on the mountain in was ridiculous.

You have been alot of good advise and I think if you work toward a goal in a methodical way, you'll be able to achieve it! I'd say the biggest thing is to not get in a rush and to not push the comfort levels of people you're with. Climb with experienced people (mountainproject is filled with people who will help beginners), take classes, and get out in the hills. The more stuff you do (especially if you work up gradually in difficulty) the more comfy you will be.

Have fun and be safe!

BC


Okay so the reason I wanted to address BC is his specific mention of rope on Pyramid, as that's what I'm trying to figure out. Rope sounds like a bad choice. I will check out mountainproject, in addition to adding a new post to climbing connection sometime in the next couple weeks. My current climbing partner (mom) is adamant that she won't do a class four without rope. I can handle exposure, and I was fine on Crestone Needle & Wetterhorn, they were a lot of fun. However, Pyramid doesn't have a reputation for being easy.

BC--I will be out August 3rd-18th. I climb 14ers every summer & visit my grandmother, who relives her experiences climbing them when we visit. I'll send you a PM. Thanks!

Forbin--I just saw your post, I'll send you a PM too. Very relatable haha.


-MT
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Brian C » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:52 pm

mountainlover153 wrote:BC--I will be out August 3rd-18th. I climb 14ers every summer & visit my grandmother, who relives her experiences climbing them when we visit. I'll send you a PM. Thanks!


Looking forward to it!
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby jchapell » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:05 pm

This topic has been immensely helpful and timely for me too, my wife and I have been having this exact discussion in the last week. Thanks for the input everyone.

While planning to rope up may not be practical/safer for most 14er standard routes, are there rope skills you would recommend as "just in case" scenarios? We climb in an indoor environment for fitness/enjoyment, and are in the same boat, wondering if it's worth paying for lessons focused on outdoor climbing (tough here in Saint Louis) if there we don't *plan* on using those skills...from this thread it sounds like it may be a lot of time/effort/$$ that could be spent enjoying other outdoor endeavors.

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby bob863 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:18 pm

I learned all about how to use ropes in Ranger school....the additional benefit was that I was serving my country....

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Brian C » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:21 pm

jchapell wrote:...are there rope skills you would recommend as "just in case" scenarios? ...


The only time I have something as a "just in case", is sometimes if I'm on harder scrambling routes (class 4+ into low 5th) or routes that have little to zero beta. Then I will sometimes carry a light "bailout kit". It is a 8mm x 30M rope, 15-20 feet of thinner (i.e. 9/16") webbing, a double shoulder-length sling for a swami belt, a locker/ATC and maybe few stoppers or tricams. The idea is I could rig something to rappel off or maybe do a VERY short belay for a partner if I get in over my head. The skills needed would be to be able to rig a SOLID anchor, to know how to rappel, and if needed to place SOLID gear placements. Hope this helps!
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby bob863 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:24 pm

again, Brian C has hit the "nail on the head"....he has VERY good advice!

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:32 pm

Hey Brian, Carl's idea was the Camp Alp 95, so I got one and love it. Packs up to the size of a peach; weighs an honest 4oz. Lighter than a sling harness, and safer. I've actually taken a bit of a whipper (unintended) while playing with it rock climbing, and it worked great. I toss an atc and locker in the little carrying pouch, and it's a complete harness system. Used it on Sunlight Spire and Ellingwood Arete last year. What a joy to have something that weighs 4 oz, and is still a true climbing harness!

http://www.backcountry.com/camp-usa-xlh-95-climbing-harness

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Cody » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:57 pm

I always carry a few carabiners and a few lengths of webbing (6', 15', and 50') even if it is class 1 or class 2. It is virtually weightless. You never know when you will need to perform a self-rescue or be in another hairy situation. A person may freak out and need a handline at exposure or even a swift stream crossing. I also could see it being helpful to get out of a tree well.

You can learn a lot by hanging out with people who are (or were) on the climbing/high-angle rescue squad. They are full of useful and practical knowledge about staying out of trouble and how to save someone in trouble.

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