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passthepitonspete


Jun 26, 2002, 10:04 PM
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Your Worth as a Wall Climber
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Part of your worth as a wall climber is to end up on the summit with more gear than when you started, not less.

There is never ever a legitimate excuse for either dropping gear, or not being able to retrieve it when you clean.

If you believe the above paragraph to be true, then it is people like you who were put on this world to benefit people like me.

Why did you drop that piece of gear? Did you get scared? Did you get lazy? Haven't you ever heard of a tether, for cryin' out loud?

If you are something of a butterfingers, then maybe you ought to consider taking zero shortcuts, and keeping your gear connected to yourself at all times so you never drop it.

There is a system for this, and it will be the subject of an upcoming Dr. Piton post which will describe in great detail how to properly clean on aid. [I made the notes on the wall last week]

ClimbChick had never climbed a big wall before. She cleaned almost every pitch of the Leaning Tower, and she didn't drop a thing. This is because she had a system.

She also has wonderful hands.

When I was soloing Zed-Em last fall, I watched a Japanese soloist over on Sea of Dreams. Everything seemed to be going fine until one morning when I looked over, and saw him bailing from well above the crux Hook or Book Pitch.

I met him later (at the base of Zed-Em) with a partner. He told me that the reason he bailed was because he dropped some key hooks! Good grief! An obviously talented climber who totally blew it! Didn't he have enough spares? [I carry three sets on solos in case I drop one, and I rack them for redundancy with different coloured slings so I never have two of the same kind of hook on a single carabiner]

I met some other Japanese chaps at the base of Zodiac a couple weeks ago, and asked if they knew this guy. They told me - get this! - that Buddy Butterfingers subsequently bailed from Zed-Em for the very same reason - he dropped his hooks!

Get it together, buddy! This ain't no weinie roast!

Now, before you think I'm some kind of holier-than-thou dude with perfect hands, let me tell you I have dropped more than my fair share of stuff off of walls. [I consider dropping anything to be more than my fair share...]

This would include two helmets with two headlamps attached [Zodiac], a sleeping bag and a bivi sack on the same wall along with my favourite sweater too (got back the sleeping bag and the sweater, though)[Aurora], all of our medium wired stoppers(!) [Vest], an ascender [Excalibur - yeah, I know....], one of my shoes [Salathe, top pitch], my little $400 sport camera and a whole damn box of Oreo cookies [Mescalito], my entire f*cking pin rack [Sea of Dreams - tied back onto the ropes I lowered by Ammon who happened to be walking by the base, thus saving me a five-hundred-foot jug!], my Swiss Army knife (got it back, sans red plastic) [Jolly], plus cams and carabiners and slings here and there, and more pins and wired stoppers than I care to admit.

Note: While pins and wired stoppers are the items you are most likely to drop, they are also the most easily replaced, as you will read below.

After having spent over a hundred-and-fifty nights on the Big Stone, not counting days of fixing and bivis on the summit, bringing the total climbing days to well over two hundred, I have come to realize that dropping some gear is an occupational hazard of big wall climbing, and is to be both expected and indemnified.

"Indemnified" is insurance man talk - it means you set aside some money ahead of time to replace the gear you may drop.

The question is, "how much gear is a reasonable amount to drop?"

The difference between "nothing" and "too much" is a measurable criterion to separate Big Wall Pros from Big Wall Gumbies. [BWT's factor in, but usually bail before getting too high...]

The correct answer would be, "very little if any, and hopefully none if you're both careful and lucky."

And there is no such thing as luck.

So learn how to clean, quit dropping stuff, and you've solved the first half of the equation, which is to eliminate your losses.


passthepitonspete


Jun 26, 2002, 10:06 PM
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But there is the other half of the equation, hopefully the bigger half, which is to maximize your gains by getting other people's stuff. This is the fun part!

Doing so begins with nothing more than keeping your eyes peeled as you are walking along the base of the crag and picked up someone else's dropped gear, but more usually it means that you are better at cleaning than the party ahead of you.

I can clean. I mean, I can really clean. I've got
cleaning dialled like nobody on the face of the planet! I don't leave anything behind - ever.

Well, OK. Except once - er, twice. Same damn place, too - pitch four of the Trip, same damn piece in two consecutive years - a sawed-off 5/8 angle. Why? Too lazy to clean it. [On a toujours la choix...] Yet despite taking some shortcuts when I'm cleaning, I rarely drop stuff then,`either.

When I say I can clean, I mean I can get out stuff that much less competent and experienced climbers can't. This could mean fiddling with the triggers of a cam (you need to know how to push the lobes away from the rock with your nut tool - practise on a BIG cam so you can understand how, it's opposite to what you might think], but more especially how to clean wired stoppers which are "stuck" [they are rarely really stuck, believe me].

But the great bonanza in wall booty is on traversing pitches, stuff left behind by incompetent and/or inexperienced cleaners. This includes sharply overhanging pitches, anything that is tricky to clean.

The Leaning Tower is a perfect example. Not only is it extremely steep, but it contains a bunch of traversing pitches, too. But what makes the Tower a veritable booty bonanza is that it is climbed by so many novices! What an opportunity for a shameless booty hound like me! Man, did I clean up!

So, wall rats, here is the count for Dr. Piton on his last trip to Yosemite.

LOST:

A jug and designated sling, two crabs, one or two wires, and two pins (which I dropped from the same placement to which I was overreaching, and not bothering to clip in a tether! Sheesh.)

BOOTY:

From the Leaning Tower, two really nice sweaters, a half dozen sewn slings, one locking carabiner (gee, that was tricky to unscrew without pliers - duh) four non-locking crabs, two brand-new pitons which had been placed in perfect Alien cracks, and twelve - count 'em - TWELVE wired stoppers. Only a few of the stoppers were tough to get out - a bunch I just pulled out by hand! The Tower was in continuous use both above and beneath us.

Yvette says I should climb the Tower before every trip to El Cap, just to replenish my rack - heh, heh...

From El Cap, a really swell polypro top, numerous carabiners, a couple wires, plus two pitons and (yeah, bay-bee!) a dozen quick draws I found at the base.

You don't get anywhere near the booty off of a hard route as you do an easy one, because the skill level required to lead it usually means there is a more skilled cleaner available. Though there are exceptions.

Note: I left a posting on the bulletin board at the Camp 4 kiosk about the sweaters and draws, but nobody replied.

So it was nice to come out ahead for a change, eh?



OK, wall rats, 'fess up!

What have you dropped, and what have you found? I'm talkin' big walls here, where you're so high up you can't recover your own stuff you drop. Dropping stuff to the ground from one to say three or four pitch routes doesn't count.

Most expensive thing you've dropped, and the best thing you've found.

I am Dr. Piton,

and I can clean like there's no tomorrow.

I also walk with my eyes on the ground - my mom taught me this, she's always finding money on the street.

Carpe booti-em!


bigwalling


Jun 26, 2002, 10:13 PM
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Though I have never climbed a wall. I have dropped a few copperheads. I have found a few biners and a hook. Plus tons of nylon. Some of the nylon was still useable but alot of it was trash people leave at the base. I choose to carry it out and chuck it in the trash later. Oh yeah I also found a wire brush. I also tried to solo a 5.11 to get someones backoff biner but I bailed about fifteen feet up and down climbed, as I am not a .11 climber and didn't want to fall off and nail the ground. People who leave bail biners are so stupid. But it's free gear for the rest of us.

Lets see how much gear I drop on the Squamish Chief this summer. Then we'll see how organized I am.


addiroids


Jun 26, 2002, 10:28 PM
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As far as wall climbing goes (3 walls, 1 summit) here's the count:

Dropped:

1 ATC (recovered a different one)
2 Yates Aiders (I am a dumbass for that one)

Fixed (a.k.a. I was too lazy to spend time cleaning)

2-3 small Stoppers

Bootied:

1 #2 Camalot (that I need to fix the trigger wire on)

Now let's talk about free climbing and/or gear on the ground:

Dropped:

Nothing...however, 4 biners, 3 slings, 1 hex, and 1 yellow Metolius (to be replaced with Yellow Alien by the one who lost it) have been dropped or lost.

Fixed:

Nothing

Bootied:

1 Red Metolius TCU (Tahquitz)
1 Yellow Metolius TCU (Tahquitz)
1 Purple Metolius TCU (Tahquitz this weekend)
1 Quickdraw (Royal Arches)
2 Cordelettes (Tahquitz, and Red Rocks)
10-12 Nuts (everywhere)
1 small red hex (traded to owner for 1 Harp Lager)
2-3 Slings
5-8 biners (1/2 are red taped)

So I guess I have made up for my stupidity in dropping my aiders. You would be suprised how easy it is to clean stuff if you just take your time, and relax, and know that if it is loose (Purple Metolius!!) it is already 1/2 way out!! I just can't believe they gave up on that piece!!

TRADitionally yours,

Cali Dirtbag


justsendingits


Jun 26, 2002, 10:38 PM
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Make sure an inspect ALL PIECE'S found!!--(ones found at the base for sure) RICH


apollodorus


Jun 26, 2002, 10:40 PM
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On just one wall: I dropped a #4 Camalot when I clipped it through my shirt to a harness loop; when I raised my arm, it popped and dropped. I dropped a #3 Friend because it was getting dark and I got spooked. I dropped a wired stopper. I dropped a rope bag and the end of a haul rope because I thought it was a backpack and tried to put it on; the straps had been unbuckled for some reason. I lost a pile hat while fumbling around in my Pretzel portaledge in a rainstorm. I dropped 30 feet of 7mm rope, coiled, when I forgot it was in my lap and stood up. I dropped my headlamp and extra batteries when I left it clipped outside the haul bag and it tore loose at a small roof. I dropped a wrench when I decided it would be faster to unclip the tether. One of my antique gray jumars mysteriously vanished as I was getting ready to jug to the summit after cutting the pigs loose.

I did manage to booty a really old and crappy Omega locker by bouncing on it as I turned the lock. The blue alien I found on lead wasn't clipped because I didn't want to fall on it, and PTPP didn't see it. I also failed to pull out a lot of fixed pins (this was not a trade route wall) because I was too lazy. I got about five, or six really beat up ones, though.


psirro


Jun 27, 2002, 1:45 AM
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i will never use any kind of gear that i ll find somewhere for lead climbing...dangerous


Partner tim


Jun 27, 2002, 6:22 AM
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yep, those fixed nuts, oo oo bad, better pay for more. are you nuts?

I seem to be about even in the booty department except when climbing with (non-climber) friends and family. I have left a couple cams over the years on rappels due to that. (However, I've also bootied a couple)

So far this season I am ahead by a nut or two. (fixed one way behind a flake, found one that weekend at Seneca and one the next at Old Rag) If a piece is *really* janky I won't use it, (eg. someone's #2 Camalot I found after a couple freeze-thaw cycles under the Black Dike) but otherwise anything goes.

I find it hard to believe that someone out there wouldn't use booty gear. You must be trolling.


passthepitonspete


Jun 27, 2002, 6:48 AM
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Please mail the booty #2 Camalot straight to Dr. Piton.

He would be delighted to pay the postage, and use it for aid!

My current #2 Camalot was found as the base of Half Dome, so goodness only knows how far that one fell!



melonhead


Jun 27, 2002, 7:22 AM
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Last trip to Zion I scored:

A full rack of tri-cams!!

A couple quick draws

A butt bag

Sweet water bottles

Some binners (now only used for racking gear!!)

A couple wires

I think that's about it. Not to bad though.

Melon


punk


Jun 27, 2002, 7:50 AM
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Ok booty
Maybe 14 slings
7 locking binners
2 pink tricams
6 various biners
Full double set of coconuts
2 of each HB #00 #01 brassies
6 stoppers
Ice axe
1 #7 Metolius
2 Cordelettes with biners
1 Petzl Reverso
2 Lowe balls

some more stuff but I don’t remember now

in all of my career climbing
I have left 2 in different incidents tied webbing inserted as a nuts as a bailing slings for rap
One sawn 24" nylon sling that just fell off my pack
I drop biner that I couldn't retrieve (Trango lightweight II… I love those …but what a butterfingers)
I left a biner (it was a booty old, old Attache at the rap anchor…yeah what a duffes am I)
Left a biner (again a booty BD light D) on a pendulum

And once I couldn't clean a #5 BD stopper B/C I was soooo spent
(That’s was before D.P. show as the
way…. )
AND #1 Rock (BTW I love those) that I placed apparently too well... (since it still there and protecting the crux for the past 2 years courtesy of PUNK)




[ This Message was edited by: punk on 2002-06-27 22:00 ]


atg200


Jun 27, 2002, 7:58 AM
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I love gumbies coming out of the woodwork going on about stress fractures and not using found gear on threads like this.

I love the base of El Cap. Fully a third of my pin rack was found in the talus between PO Wall and Zodiac.

I've never left anything on a wall, or dropped anything. I've harvested a few stoppers, but nothing significant.

Not a wall route, but I left a bunch of RPs on an aid route on Devils Tower. I took a big whipper while rope soloing, which spooked me badly enough to bail. Couldn't get anything in at the bail point aside from #2 HB bronze offsets, so I left about 4 equalized to get down. Wonder if they are still there - I don't see people on the aid routes there very often.


rocknpowda


Jun 27, 2002, 8:22 AM
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My problem isn't so much dropping gear (I've maybe dropped a few wired when the gate on the biner stuck on a wayward nut and popped open later), it is gear that gets lost in transit. We do an idiot check every time we're done climbing and never seem to have left anything but every season the rack gets mysteriously smaller. I think elvis is somewhere climbing with my #4 camelot, and a few finger-sized HB quadcams. I hope he's sending!

Fortunately, I have bootied a few things to cover my losses: a handful of nuts and a few cams and lots of cool old school webbing for tieing up my sleeping pad and making odd belts.


full-time-climb
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Jun 27, 2002, 9:23 AM
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My partner dropped my digital camera from the fourth pitch up an aid line at Squamish. It tumbled until it hit the base and then launched into the trees and scree. We found it, flatened out the expansion chip, put the batteries back in and we were good to go.
He was a new partner living on a dirtbags budget, but he offered to pay for the camera before it even stopped bouncing. It would have cut his road trip very short. I love it when people suprise me with their need to do the right thing.
L8r

[ This Message was edited by: full-time-climb on 2002-06-27 09:24 ]


newtocalgary


Jun 27, 2002, 9:38 AM
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I have one question you guys keep talking about booty CAMS NUTS ETC Why the hell would you want to keep this stuff without knowing the history of it I would never ever place a piece of gear I found there could be cracks there could be anything wrong with it Maybe the guy only used it to hang his pack because he's taken too many whippers off it dropped it or whatever. The only thing found gear is good for is either trying to find who left it or for a paperweight


wigglestick


Jun 27, 2002, 10:02 AM
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newtocalgary- Would you ever buy a used car or how about ride somebodies old bike around the block? All that stuff about microscopic cracks forming and old gear being dangerous is largely urban legend. Some of the booty gear I have found is in better condition than what I have on my rack. If you do the research you will find that equipment failure is extremely rare even when you are using old gear that you found at the base of a climb. I personally have bootied a bunch of nuts, one purple alien, a whole bunch of biners and some slings. I have left a few biners, slings and I left 4 hexes on hallets peak when I bailed (we were wwaayyy off route) And I lost one WC friend at the base of a climb once and it was gone when I returned. Most of the booty that I have recovered was left by the party ahead of me so I have returned it to them to build up some good karma. On the first pitch of prodigal son I was able to booty 2 nuts from the party above me. When we caught up with them I told them that I cleaned them with a slight tap of the hammer. They said that a hammer was too much weight to carry and was unneccesary for a clean aid route. I hope I enlightened them that a hammer is required for clean routes to get booty gear and clean efficiently.


hollyclimber


Jun 27, 2002, 11:34 AM
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Fun topic for sure Pete.

The first thing I dropped of a big wall was my Swiss Army Knife. My buddy Chris was on the ground watching me haul my big pig up four pitches that night. The knife opened and stabbed into the ground inches from his head! But, when I came down to bivy on the ground, I got it back (minus the blue plastic on one side).

On that climb, the nose, my partner dropped his headlamp. I wasn't too bummed out because I hadn't aided in the dark yet, so we were off the hook for any proposals of that sort.

On the first pitch of Tricks of the Tramp, a legitimate Big Wall that goes mostly free, I dropped a .75 BD Cam. But, I was close enough to the ground to down jug to get it.

Finally, somehow I dropped my only #4 nut on Prodigal Son. I have no idea where it went.

I can't remember everything I have found, but its mostly nuts, slings and biners. No cams for me yet. But, when I was fixing some pitches on Prodigal, my friend Joe came by the base to do some heckling. He found a brand new 3.5 BD cam. He was asking me if I lost anything, which I hadn't, but I was bummed he got the booty. Now I know to search the base carefully before and after the climb!


Partner tim


Jun 27, 2002, 1:47 PM
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Pete, you don't understand, that #2 camalot was rusted shut (solid) and the (already once replaced) trigger bar was broken. It might have worked as a nut, but that size Hex is a lot lighter.

I think I gave it to a friend to use as a paperweight (probably in exchange for a sheet of acid or some such; this *was* back in college).



passthepitonspete


Jun 27, 2002, 9:41 PM
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I'm hoping Gale (newtocalgary) will send me all the stuff he finds.

I need more, uh, paperweights......


full-time-climb
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Jun 27, 2002, 10:14 PM
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Hollyclimber,
Did the #4 nut you lost on PS. have a painted biner?
John


krustyklimber


Jul 10, 2002, 6:54 PM
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O.K.

I had to think on this for a while;

Dropped:
Nothing (now I'm doomed).

Fixed or left behind:
One #4 Stopper
Two Spectra over the shoulder runners (part of a rappelling snafu)

Found: Just wall climbing.
one med cam hook (gave it to smithclimber)
one micro cam hook (returned to dropper)
one fifi hook (gave it to smithclimber)
4 Metolius nuts (returned to the fixers)
One each BD Stoppers 6,8,9,10
Locking 'biner (gave it to smithclimber)

That's all I can think of now, but this is just a small part of my booty, I am a finder.

Jeff


apollodorus


Jul 10, 2002, 8:21 PM
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Any dropped gear you find should go through a Twelve Step Program to make sure it's safe:

1. See if it is actual climbing gear, and not some sort of strange Russian toothbrush made of titanium.

2. See if the sling or the cable is broken; if it is, find a guy in Camp 4 to fix it in exchange for some OE800.

3. See if you have room on your rack for it.

4. See if you have a booty biner to go with the booty piece (skip this one if the booty came to you ready to clip.)

5. Scrutinize the piece conservatively to decide whether it is a body-weight only or bomber piece. A tweaked Alien found on the ground is better than nothing when you run out of "good" pieces to stick and move up on.

6 - 11 (do whatever you feel like here)

12. Place it and whip onto it.


It's a good idea to NOT use the found gear as your only piece on a very run-out lead. And it's an even better idea to NOT trust only one piece - even brand new gear - with your life.

I'll take three mangled and ugly pieces over one shiny new one anyday. After all, most of the strength comes from the placement itself, and not the piece you use.


noal


Jul 10, 2002, 8:24 PM
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K, so how many of you would use two awesome biners that you'd used to tow (drag forward three feet) a 2000lb. car out of the snow last winter? the weight was equilized between the two! Safe or Unsafe? General concensus please...

[ This Message was edited by: noal on 2002-07-10 21:33 ]


bigwallgumbie


Jul 11, 2002, 11:32 PM
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At the base of zodiac found a set of fish aiders, a belay seat and a couple water bottles. After 20 minutes of dicking around a loud swoosh noise announced the arrival of a 3.5 BD, 4 friend, and biner from about 10 pitches up. Even better the gear landed about 20 feet away from us. The party above seemed to be having fun. Unfortunetly I missed seeing their ledge get blown around pinwheel style. Also managed to snag a handful of fixed nuts, a new beak and some mystery biners: "dude, here's your biner. Naw man, that's not mine, i thought it was yours. Where'd it come from??? Weird." Fortunetly we managed to keep the droppage to a nut, a few biners and a piss bottle (whoops!).



wildtrail


Jul 12, 2002, 12:06 AM
Post #25 of 40 (6783 views)
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Registered: Jul 6, 2002
Posts: 11063

Your Worth as a Wall Climber [In reply to]
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You'll like this one.

Dropped and Lost:

1 ATC (I carry two now, always)

That is it.

Found:

Gearsling with ten nuts, three tri-cams, and believe it or not, a FULL set of NEW Aliens. Now I have doubles.

I check everywhere when I made that recovery. No one could put a claim to them. I even left a notice with the park rangers of what I recovered with my name and address in case the concerned parties came looking for it. One year later...

Statute of limitations has run up as far as I am concerned and I got 400+ bucks of stuff for free!!!!!!

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