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Descent from Betty
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tomcat


Aug 6, 2009, 6:40 AM
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Registered: Sep 15, 2006
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Re: [coolcat83] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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I kind of hate to point this out,but if the guy who attempted to rappel Ken's Crack a couple weeks ago had just walked over and downclimbed the Uberfall descent he wouldn't be in the hospital right now.Don't rap when you don't need to.


Partner rgold


Aug 6, 2009, 7:54 AM
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Registered: Dec 3, 2002
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Re: [tomcat] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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There are now several rap accidents per year, one of which is often pretty serious. Experienced climbers are not immune. No amount of bluster about grumpy old trad climbers is going to change these facts, and the idea that a climber with some experience would think of rapping as safer than an exposed but very easy scramble down is a testimony to a new form of highly specialized incompetence. And this is not to mention the various effects of having ropes thrown down on the heads of parties coming up.

[Grumpy old trad climber rant]
Although the change in parking regulations that eliminated roadside parking years ago made convenience rapping more or less inevitable, the practice has reached genuinely absurd proportions at the major Gunks areas. Whole generations of climbers speak of having done climbs when in fact they've only done the first of two or more equally good pitches. For some stunning examples, look no further than Birdland, MF, Birdie Party, Snooky's Return, etc. etc. etc.
[/Grumpy old trad climber rant]

Getting back to the subject at hand, it occurs to me that belaying down the Uberfall is kinda inconvenient, and in fact forces the climber to take a somewhat harder line, because the easiest way is very diagonal. So if a belay is in the offing, a better approach is to scramble down Radcliffe, which is even closer to Betty anyway and is much more suitable for an upper belay. A preliminary scramble up will familiarize the party with the route as well as help to locate the top of Radcliffe for the descent.


troutboy


Aug 6, 2009, 8:04 AM
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Re: [rgold] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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rgold wrote:

So if a belay is in the offing, a better approach is to scramble down Radcliffe, which is even closer to Betty anyway and is much more suitable for an upper belay. A preliminary scramble up will familiarize the party with the route as well as help to locate the top of Radcliffe for the descent.

Much more fun too, although at one or 2 spots the exposure can be intimidating. In reality, the chances for a severe fall are really minimal. It just looks scary.

To the OP, I can guarantee if your partner does not like unroped scrambles he WILL NOT like Radcliff; you will most certainly want to belay in at least 1 spot, probably more.


Partner rgold


Aug 6, 2009, 8:29 AM
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Re: [troutboy] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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TB, just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting sending the Fearful One down the fourth class Radcliffe unbelayed. I've taken beginners down that way and always belay them. The climbing, though easy, is harder than the third class Uberfall scramble.

My point was just that an upper belay on Radcliffe is perhaps better and easier to arrange than on the Uberfall. Not to mention that if the person in question is going to take up trad in any multipitch area outside the Gunks, they will probably have to learn to safely climb up and down 4th class and the Radcliffe is good practice for that.


bill413


Aug 6, 2009, 11:03 AM
Post #30 of 32 (547 views)
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Re: [rgold] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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Despite the fact that I really dislike Radcliffe, and greatly prefer the Uberfall, this is really good advice on the best route to belay someone down.

And, yes, the Uberfall can be scary the first time or two. Going first & helping your friend locate their feet will help. After a couple of trips, they should be rewarded with confidence on it.


sethg


Aug 6, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Re: [rgold] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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rgold, I would love to hear your insight into how the parking regs encouraged rapping. I wasn't around in the old days-- been climbing in the Gunks for three years. It has seemed to me that the bolted stations with chains-- especially the ones that are just one pitch high-- have led to the frenzy of rapping off after one pitch. But I can't wrap my mind around the proposition that parking had something to do with it! Can you tell us more?


Partner rgold


Aug 7, 2009, 5:16 AM
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Re: [sethg] Descent from Betty [In reply to]
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Seth, here's my take:

When parking on 44-55 was legal, no one carried a pack to the base of a climb. You walked back (which is much quicker than people realize), came down the Uberfall, and then went to your car for snacks, etc. There was no pressing need to return to the base of the climb. Once parking was banned and climbers had to use more remote parking spots, lugging gear plus lunch plus extra clothing in a large pack to the base became the norm, and then getting back to that pack became important and viola, rappelling happened.

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