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Learning how to use rope

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby DaveSwink » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:37 am

Cody wrote:I always carry a few carabiners and a few lengths of webbing ...(snip)... I also could see it being helpful to get out of a tree well.


Sorry, I know this is seriously intended, but I keep getting hilarious mental pictures of a climbing team stuck 60 feet up a tree. :lol:

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Brian C » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:41 am

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:Hey Brian, Carl's idea was the Camp Alp 95, so I got one and love it...
http://www.backcountry.com/camp-usa-xlh-95-climbing-harness


Great idea!
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby rob runkle » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:00 am

I've got that CAMP harness, and a small Beal Rando rope for those emergency situations. BUT... I've never used it, and if I did, it would (as Brian C already mentioned) be for "bailout" only.

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby rickinco123 » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:47 am

Step 1. Learn how to tie knots. Easiest thing in the world. Buy a couple of 20 foot sections in different colors and keep them by your desk at work. Figure 8, Figure 8 retrace, overhand retrace ( tape knot ), muenter hitch, clove hitch, prussic, third hand rappel backup. Lots of animated web sites out there as well for knot tying.

Step 2. Self rescue. Hang a rope from your deck, tree, balcony etc. Put some padding under it. Prussic up as far as you are willing to fall. Now try to put yourself on rappel without falling.

Now if you go take a class or hire an AMGA guide you will know what questions to ask and you wont waste time learning knots.

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby jomagam » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:07 am

crossfitter wrote: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.


Not sure I agree with this. Climbing improves body awareness, balance, makes you much more efficient and gives you more confidence on class 3/4 scrambles.

Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Steve Climber » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:05 am

jomagam wrote:
crossfitter wrote: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.


Not sure I agree with this. Climbing improves body awareness, balance, makes you much more efficient and gives you more confidence on class 3/4 scrambles.


+1 Do you need to lead 5.12 to climb the 14ers? No, but technical climbing experience (even if just in a gym like most of mine has been) helped me immensely on harder scrambles, as far as knowing what to look for in holds/feet and general body movement (esp for harder downclimbs). As far as climbing tougher projects goes...only way to learn really, is to go do, with folks that know their s**t and are willing to instruct (whether paid pros or just friendly climbers like I've been lucky enough to encounter - notably Brian C)
Dave B wrote:And/or line thy helmet with tin foil and realize this is a freaking mountaineering website.


Steve Climber wrote:So that's your backpack, huh?

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby crossfitter » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:34 am

jomagam wrote:
crossfitter wrote: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.


Not sure I agree with this. Climbing improves body awareness, balance, makes you much more efficient and gives you more confidence on class 3/4 scrambles.


To clarify, climbing certainly won't hurt and it will have some benefits. But if all you are going to do is 3rd and 4th class scrambles, spending that time working on your routefinding and comfort with exposure will give a bigger bang for your buck. The greatest challenge with 3rd and 4th class scrambles is the mental game, not the physical climbing skills.
- A mountain is not a checkbox to be ticked
- Alpinism and mountaineering are not restricted to 14,000 foot mountains
- Judgment and experience are the two most important pieces of gear you own
- Being honest to yourself and others about your abilities is a characteristic of experienced climbers
- Courage cannot be bought at REI or carried with you in your rucksack


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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby jomagam » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:18 am

crossfitter wrote:To clarify, climbing certainly won't hurt and it will have some benefits. But if all you are going to do is 3rd and 4th class scrambles, spending that time working on your routefinding and comfort with exposure will give a bigger bang for your buck. The greatest challenge with 3rd and 4th class scrambles is the mental game, not the physical climbing skills.


Obviously doing 3/4th class scrambles is the best training for doing 3/4th class scrambles, which is the only way that I can imagine working on routefinding and comfort with exposure. Having some climbing skills that can be obtained independently, say comfortably toproping an outdoors 5.7 greatly increases your margin of error. s**t happens outside, sometimes you get off trail and have to improvise, other times the conditions are not ideal and the easiest way up has ice on it, etc... Plus you're at 13k+ feet with a backpack wearing hiking boots and have been going for 8 hours, so a margin of safety is great to have.

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:34 pm

I somewhat disagree with some of the recent statements. Here's my take.

1. The biggest concern on scrambles is injury.
2. A likely cause of potential injury is loose (moving) rock.

The more time one spends with rock climbing (real rock) the more likely one is able to see telltale features which help with safer choices (holds, route choice) on scrambles.
One also gains greater comfort and confidence, allowing these choices to be made in a more sober, relaxed fashion.

So while climbing class 3/4 will allow experience for same, climbing class 5 allows for more extreme experience, but at the same time, in a more controlled and safer environment (roped, more solid rock, one or two pitches, below treeline, etc.) This more extreme experience fast-forwards the experience process for class 3/4, without incurring the opportunity for 3/4 loose-rock hazards.

Steve alluded to this concept of balance between experience and exposure to risk:

sgladbach wrote:Upside:
1. Training highlights preventable mistakes.
2. Mentorship and group participation can teach skills.
3. GOOD books, i.e. Freedom of the Hills, can help.
4. Time in the field teaches valuable, applicable (but not perfect) lessons.

Downside:
1. Climbing is dangerous...
2. Rocks move, feet slip, snow slides.
3. ...Time in the field increases the opportunity for #1 and #2 to catch up with you!
[post abbreviated]


It's this concept that time spent gaining mountaineering experience helps, but time spent gaining mountaineering experience increases opportunity for hazard. Whenever you can gain the experience without incurring the risk, that's nearly "free" experience. In a roped, safe rock climbing environment with skilled partners, you can get this "free" experience. My advice is: take it.


PS... I don't want to get too much into the subject of risk level of rock climbing vs. mountaineering, except to say, rock climbing can be hazardous, though in competent hands, much less so than mountaineering, in my personal experience. After many, many years of rock climbing, I still know old guys climbing 5.11. After just four years of mountaineering, I've said goodbye to some wonderful friends, both young and old. We must realize we serve a powerful mistress. My advice: Do everything you can to mitigate risk. Learning rock climbing in a controlled environment with competent mentors may be one of the ways to mitigate a portion of the risk incurred in mountaineering.

Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby metalmountain » Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:47 pm

What Jim said ^
"The greatest battle is not physical but psychological. The demons telling us to give up when we push ourselves to the limit can never be silenced for good. They must always be answered by the quiet, steady dignity that simply refuses to give in. Courage. We all suffer. Keep going." - Graeme Fife

"I found that nothing truly matters, that you cannot find for free." - The Gaslight Anthem

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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby Winter8000m » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:57 pm

Jim said it well. I think confidence is a big part of the game. With rock climbing, it REALLY helps. Especially how overhanging it is at the gunks :mrgreen:

But then again, I think it's more of being careful on loose rock and being excited to climb choss. 8)

So maybe 5th class it up on shitty rock would be the ultimate training. It takes a certain "skill" (if you want to even call it that) to move safely over loose rock and even then it still has some risk. The trails are usually obvious though and well traveled on the 14'ers.

It just takes being comfortable with exposure. It think that's the biggest part. All mental. Maybe do a little gym climbing to get the movement of climbing and you'll be good to go! I think the rope is kind of over doing it on Class 3/4. I don't say this to be elitist whatsoever. I really think it adds more risk then simply taking it away in most cases (i.e. people roping up from the base of Little Bear to the top simul climbing with not really any gear between them) Besides that, you really don't want to fall on that gear you place on those Class 3/4 sections.

Rock climbing will give you confidence, scrambling will get you comfortable with exposure and maybe loose rock. By that point, you're ready to go for any 14'er!
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Re: Learning how to use rope

Postby bohlsen » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:13 pm

Excellent thread, as a poor grad student who's very comfortable on class 3 and 4 but who's never had the opportunity or the gear to try anything harder I've wondered many of these same things so thanks to everyone who's posted advice. Although I don't expect to use a rope to climb any of the 14ers it seems likely that I'd need some class 5 experience and rope to do the centennials (Jagged, Teakettle, Dallas) right?

Also, not to hijack this thread but on a similar line of thought I'm wondering how you'd go about gaining experience for snow climbs? Would you suggest taking a class somewhere or trying to find more experienced people to hike with or something else? Also, how steep of a learning curve is it? I'd like to someday do Dead Dog or Holy Cross couloir and maybe do some winter assents on some of the class 2+ or 3 14ers, how much experience is necessary to do something like that safely?
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