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What way to go?
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slimper


Jun 17, 2006, 4:56 PM
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What way to go?
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I was on a new route the other day. 3/4 of the way up I had plugged all my gear. I was looking at a bizarre OW crack straight above me, or a flaring hand crack 10 ft to the right. My last piece of gear was a bomber nut in the crack 2 feet below my feet. With no idea what to do I started plugging up the OW. 2 moves later I was supper sketched, so I traversed over to the hand crack. Sure enough 3 moves later I was re-sketched, so I ended up bailing. The next day I came back with borrowed gear only to find I was4 hard moves then 30 ft. of easy climbing from the chains. I think what killed my head the worst was not knowing what way to go. I suppose my question is do you run it out when you aren't sure the direction of the route, or how much climbing is above you?

Now of course I wish I would have gone for it, but in the moment I couldn't bring my self to do it.


chossmonkey


Jun 17, 2006, 6:51 PM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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Hindsight is always 20/20.

I was faced with a similar dilemma just the other week. Luckily the we had lots of gear and aiders so when I hit the spot where the gear went to shit and the climbing got hard I had the option of aiding.

I hated to do that but looking back it was the right thing to do. The rock was choss, the gear sucked, and free climbing would have been way hard.

It's always a judgment call if you don't know what is ahead. I prefer walking away from a route to climb another day rather than hurting myself.
The route was still there when you came back so what was the big deal? So what if it wasn't an onsight. There will be other routes. The important thing is that you aren't busted up so you can have another go.


skinner


Jun 17, 2006, 7:48 PM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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Run-out, not knowing which way to go , or both is the story of my life. With an ample supply of virgin rock around here I rarely climb existing routes and prefer to explore possible lines, or lines that at least appear "possible" from a distance or photograph. but more often then not.. connecting the features when you are actually up there is a different story.

In reply to:
I suppose my question is do you run it out when you aren't sure the direction of the route, or how much climbing is above you?

This is not a YES/NO kind of question. It always depends, mostly on you.
I like to think that I am a safe climber. Others may not agree when cleaning my lead only having to retrieve one or two pieces. But I only run it out well within my abilities and feel quite comfortable doing so. It all depends how you are feeling at the time too. There are days where my head is just not there, and I will empty my rack sewing up a pitch so that it look like a zipper. This could be on a pitch that I scampered over days earlier with only a few placements.

As far as not knowing how much rock is above you.. or not knowing what is above you at all, my 1 (probably only) claim to fame is that I can always get myself out of any situation that I have put myself in. I spent a lot of time practicing this when I first began putting up new routes. It's a great skill to have in your back pocket, and gives you that extra bit of confidence that is sometime needed to explore different route options.

When I am having that internal argument, thinking I am being wimpy not just going for it. I always take into consideration the obvious repercussions. If I am going to bounce down a cheese-grater slab before that piece *might stop me.. the hard man in me disappears pretty fast.

And like chossmonkey, sometimes I am determined to get through a section, but not at any cost. Out come the aiders and I make my way up while getting a good look at what I was in for.

Personally I think fear is good, it is what keeps you alive and in one piece to climb another day. With time and experience you slowly move the fear-o-meter along and situations that used to make your knees knock, you move through confidently.

As far as not knowing which way to go, there is definitely a wrong way sometimes, but if you have alternatives, I usually go for what I am better and feel more confident at. Personally I like off-widths. There is just something comforting about cramming a portion of your body inside the rock. Of course once the bleeding begins I always question my decision :D

I don't know if I gave you anything to consider or just babbled, but those are my thoughts on the subject.

Cheers


cjsimpso


Jun 17, 2006, 8:07 PM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
As far as not knowing how much rock is above you.. or not knowing what is above you at all, my 1 (probably only) claim to fame is that I can always get myself out of any situation that I have put myself in. I spent a lot of time practicing this when I first began putting up new routes. It's a great skill to have in your back pocket, and gives you that extra bit of confidence that is sometime needed to explore different route options.

Do you mean being able to downclimb, or do you have some other skill in mind? I don't want to sound like I'm trying to rip you and your claim to fame, I'm just curious as to what you mean.


skinner


Jun 17, 2006, 10:14 PM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Do you mean being able to downclimb, or do you have some other skill in mind? I don't want to sound like I'm trying to rip you and your claim to fame, I'm just curious as to what you mean.

I mean, being able to get myself out of whatever it was I got into, be it by some very creative anchor building in a spot where it appears as though there is no way to get any sort of pro in of any kind, as well.. or sometimes in combination with down climbing.
Knowing that I am able to reverse the moves, is a major factor in whether or not I "go for it" in the first place.

I remember a while back there was a thread where someone was told that "down climbing is stupid". Not only do I think that it is not "stupid" but that it's an essential skill to be practiced and honed like any other technique.

I just think it's all part of being a well rounded climber.. but who knows, I could be alone in my thinking.


rockguide


Jun 17, 2006, 11:12 PM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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Yeah I am with skinner on trickery.

When I blow it routefinding on new routes I can downclimb, lower off, aid through, end run around, tension traverse past, jump off of,

and sometimes

take a deep breath and "climb towards the light."

Brian


slimper


Jun 18, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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Thanks for your insight. It's just been bothering me that I didn't explore higher on the OW crack as the next couple moves up were pretty straight forward. Oh well like Chossmonkey said the route was there the next day so no worries.

Skinner I agree with you, down climbing an essential skill that I've had to learn the hard way.


:lol: On a side note why are there so many books on climbing technique, and so few on plain trickery??? :lol:


arnoilgner


Jun 20, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Re: What way to go? [In reply to]
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Hi Slimper,
I feel it is important to always ground your decisions in learning rather than getting to the top. When you are in the OW and sketched ask yourself what are the consequences of pushing on or bailing. You may find that the consequence is too large for continuing especially since you didn't know ahead of time that only 4 moves separated you from easier climbing. You can really hurt yourself by pushing on when the fall consequence becomes too large. You don't want to learn about how to get over an injury; you want to learn about assessing the consequence and ways to stay with the effort if you can accept the consequence.

You did a great move by going to the hand crack instead of bailing right away. You looked for options. This provided some learning, primarily that you don't have to bail right away when you get sketched.

One thing that has really been helpful for me is to find small ways to continue to engage, such as making just one move up. Many times that will give you a better perspective of what is ahead and how much strength you have left.
arno


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