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Making the jump - multi pitch routes
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lmnox


Aug 21, 2006, 5:34 PM
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Making the jump - multi pitch routes
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My partner and I are both solid 5.9 sport leaders, and we get outside about twice a month, otherwise we're in the gym.

We are both capable sport leaders, but so far, we've primarily done only single pitch routes, and one or two two pitch. We want to try and tackle a few longer ones next time we're outside, 5 - 6 pitches, and we've picked out a few choice routes from some beta our other friends gave us.

Is there anything I should be specifically training, or stuff I should know? Obviously longer pitches means higher endurance, but what other factors do I need to take into account? Does it scare you silly when you look down, 200m of the ground? Do I need to switch my mentality? Tips to conserve energy?

Multi pitch routes are pretty much new territory to me, so any help at all is appreciated.


Partner epoch
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Aug 21, 2006, 6:02 PM
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Work on anchors. Be sure to check, check, double check, and triple check everything. Being 400 feet up is no worry. Treat the head game as if you were working a 30m route... It's one move at a time.


Partner ctardi


Aug 21, 2006, 6:54 PM
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I find that if you hike up and look down 2000 feet, it is scary. But if you climb up, it's not as bad. Perhaps you could start off with some shorter, exposed cilmbs?

Stay safe, have fun(but still stay safe), and take lots of photos(of you being safe)!


stevematthys


Aug 21, 2006, 7:10 PM
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yea work on anchors, keep your anchors organized and neat. theres nothing worse then being way off the deck with a jumble of gear for an anchor. just keep a organized (and bomber) anchor and try to keep the rope neat while your belaying so you dont have to stop the leader so you can work knots out of the rope and besides that just treat it like any other climb and you be good to go


schnoz


Aug 21, 2006, 7:28 PM
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Does it scare you silly when you look down, 200m off the ground?

Quite the opposite. I find it calming. I'm like ctardi though in that if I'm at the edge of a cliff after hiking up to it, I'm a bit freaked out. On a rope though? Nowhere I'd rather be.

Enjoy the experience and climb safe.


saxfiend


Aug 21, 2006, 7:40 PM
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We are both capable sport leaders, but so far, we've primarily done only single pitch routes, and one or two two pitch. We want to try and tackle a few longer ones next time we're outside, 5 - 6 pitches, and we've picked out a few choice routes from some beta our other friends gave us.
Are these 5-6 pitch sport routes (and if so, where, I'm genuinely curious)? Or do you know how to place gear and build anchors?

JL


fmd


Aug 22, 2006, 4:02 AM
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I also am a noob at multi pitches and I am finding you need excellent rope management, gear management and fluid anchor building skills......I had really thought it would be more freighting, but it really isn't.


dutyje


Aug 22, 2006, 4:50 AM
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Does it scare you silly when you look down, 200m off the ground?

Quite the opposite. I find it calming. I'm like ctardi though in that if I'm at the edge of a cliff after hiking up to it, I'm a bit freaked out. On a rope though? Nowhere I'd rather be.

Enjoy the experience and climb safe.

Hmm.. I thought I was unique in this. I've always been afraid of heights. Before I started climbing, I sometimes found it difficult to look out the window of a tall building without getting freaked out. Now, as long as I'm climbing and I can feel the harness on me, I'm perfectly at ease. In fact, I enjoy seeking out exposure because, as you mentioned, I find it rather calming. Weird.


rockguide


Aug 22, 2006, 5:24 AM
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I would recommend doing your first multi pitch climb with someone who has done a lot of them. You can cobble some ideas from books and the internet and figure things out as you go, but the nuances are best picked up from another sense.

Challenges present themselves on multi pitch climbs (especially at transitions) and the obvious solution may not be the best solution. Or even a good solution.


Partner epoch
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Aug 22, 2006, 5:41 AM
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Challenges present themselves on multi pitch climbs (especially at transitions) and the obvious solution may not be the best solution. Or even a good solution.
:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :wtf: :wtf:

Could you elaborate more on this??? I'm confused by your babble on this. (No troll, no speaking for what I assume would be the best for the OP.) I'm curious as to where this statement comes from...


cruxy


Aug 22, 2006, 6:33 AM
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Saxfiend makes a good point. Are these trad routes? If so, I guess I sound like an echo but ANCHORS, ANCHORS, ANCHORS. Solid anchors will take the fear right out of it.

If you are a solid 5.9 sport climber, I would not suggest you climb a five pitch trad route harder than 5.7 for starters. You will spend more energy placing gear, not to mention your rack is going to be much heavier.


Partner ctardi


Aug 22, 2006, 9:09 AM
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In reply to:
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Challenges present themselves on multi pitch climbs (especially at transitions) and the obvious solution may not be the best solution. Or even a good solution.
:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :wtf: :wtf:

Could you elaborate more on this??? I'm confused by your babble on this. (No troll, no speaking for what I assume would be the best for the OP.) I'm curious as to where this statement comes from...

I think he's talking about stuff like "Oh, i'll just stack the rope right here", only to have it end up as a clusterfuck.


pro_alien


Aug 22, 2006, 9:23 AM
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Assuming you want to do a moderate sport multipitch, just do it !
If it is trad, get some "adult supervision"...

Get an early start, bring plenty of slings, and headlamps in case it gets late... If you have to rap down, be extra careful - that's when the real clusterf* happens...


Partner cracklover


Aug 22, 2006, 9:50 AM
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Does it scare you silly when you look down, 200m off the ground?

Quite the opposite. I find it calming. I'm like ctardi though in that if I'm at the edge of a cliff after hiking up to it, I'm a bit freaked out. On a rope though? Nowhere I'd rather be.

Enjoy the experience and climb safe.

Hmm.. I thought I was unique in this. I've always been afraid of heights. Before I started climbing, I sometimes found it difficult to look out the window of a tall building without getting freaked out. Now, as long as I'm climbing and I can feel the harness on me, I'm perfectly at ease. In fact, I enjoy seeking out exposure because, as you mentioned, I find it rather calming. Weird.

I think most folks are the same. I certainly am. But there's another factor that comes into play. I've found that after around six to eight pitches on a climb, depending on the exposure and difficulty of the climbing, it starts to take a mental/emotional toll. There is definitely an endurance issue to exposure for me. I think that in this, too, most folks are the same. John Long has touched on the subject in his books, and I think it's part of why there aren't so many big wall climbers. That and the amount of hauling/suffering you have to deal with!

Anyway, I suspect that with time and practice, this endurance builds up, just as the physical endurance to climb hard near your limit builds up with practice. Living out east, though, I'm not there yet, so I cannot comment on how long it takes to build up that endurance.

GO


schnoz


Aug 22, 2006, 10:04 AM
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I think most folks are the same. I certainly am. But there's another factor that comes into play. I've found that after around six to eight pitches on a climb, depending on the exposure and difficulty of the climbing, it starts to take a mental/emotional toll. There is definitely an endurance issue to exposure for me. I think that in this, too, most folks are the same. John Long has touched on the subject in his books, and I think it's part of why there aren't so many big wall climbers. That and the amount of hauling/suffering you have to deal with!

Anyway, I suspect that with time and practice, this endurance builds up, just as the physical endurance to climb hard near your limit builds up with practice. Living out east, though, I'm not there yet, so I cannot comment on how long it takes to build up that endurance.

GO

I find that there's definately mental fatigue to fight. Due to where I live, I can't do any real multipitch unless I go on a roadtrip. By the end of the day I'm totally wiped mentally from constantly looking for gear, looking for the end of the pitch, building anchors and doing it all safely.

With practise it's getting less draining and swapping leads with my partner is quite helpful (but not everyone I climb with is a trad leader).


Partner cracklover


Aug 22, 2006, 12:00 PM
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With practise it's getting less draining and swapping leads with my partner is quite helpful (but not everyone I climb with is a trad leader).

Good point! Doing all the leading is radically different than swapping leads.

GO


Partner ctardi


Aug 22, 2006, 12:50 PM
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Let's take a minute to talk about two things. First commands. Be sure you set them with your partner. Here's what I use:

• Belay on – When belayer is set up and ready
• Climbing – Climber is about to start, or about to continue after a rest, or long time fiddling with a placement.
• Climb – Belayer letting climber know it is safe to continue climbing.
• Slack – Looser Belay
• Up Rope – Tighter Belay
• Secure – Climber is ready to go off belay (Triple check before saying this!)
• Take – Has something to do with sport climbing… Hold climber by taking all slack out of the rope.
• Got – Take has been accomplished, and the belayer is ready for the climbers weight.
• Belay Off – Lets climber know they are on their own. Wait to see if the climber objects this before you actually do it.

The other thing is the order that you want to do things in.

This could be dangerous information if you do knot know it exactly. Practice it on the ground with someone more experienced before you ever do any of it on a real multi pitch. I am not liable for any of this! These are very basic instructions just meant to give you a taste of what you will be doing, not a comprehensive guide to multi pitch climbing. This is just my opinion on how do it which may or may not differ from other people opinions.


1. At end of first pitch, don’t say anything. It is easy to cause a communication error here. Build your anchor, and clip into the shelf with a clove hitch on the lead rope. Use a large locker to make this easier.
2. Yell Secure.
3. Second OFF BELAY, then waits a few seconds to make sure the leader doesn’t object. Takes the belay off.
4. Leader pulls up rope until tight, stacking it either on a ledge, or if it is a hanging belay, over the tether or foot.
5. Leader yells “Is That You?”
6. Second “That’s Me”
7. If the climb was straight up (relatively), then use a locker on the focal point with a munter hitch. If the climb wondered, clip the rope to the focal point with a biner, then belay off harness with atc/reverso/whatever. Could also use an auto blocker on the focus instead of a munter.
8. The leader now yells “Belay On”
9. Second yells “Climbing”
10. “Climb”
11. Stack the rope as you belay up the second.
12. Second clips into shelf the same was as the leader, with a locker, and clove hitch on the lead rope.
13. If it is the same leader, flip rope over to second so that the leaders end is on top.
14. Re rack gear (It is a good idea if the second can organize as they clean, but this isn’t always possible)
15. When leader is ready and on belay, re-direct the rope either through the focal point, or a bomber piece (IE. Bolt) to prevent a factor 2 fall.
16. Repeat to top.

Practice this with someone more expereienced in multi pitch climbs, and think about all the pontential and for error. Not everything you will need to do is listed.


krusher4


Aug 22, 2006, 12:51 PM
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Even as a newbie I never thought anything of multi-pitch. If you can place gear on lead there is no reason to fear building an anchor. I can see if you only sport climb there being a problem. But, if you are doing a multi-pitch sport route you don't need the same skills as on a trad climb. It could be you are one of those climbers who are afriad of heights?


cchildre


Aug 22, 2006, 1:04 PM
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Falling from 120 feet and from say 800 feet isn't really that different, other than the time spent. Your actual impact speed will be pretty much just as deadly from either height. I really get a lot more comfortable once we are a good pitch or two off the deck, giving me less to hit in the event of a fall.

For what you should work on for multipitch. The ususal is anchors, belay changes, bringing up a 2nd, ROPE SIGNALS (Wind and line of sight can be problems), communication in general. Well, IMO, you really need to learn some rescue stuff. Escaping the belay, how to retrieve an injured leader that cannot be lowered, raising your 2nd if a fall results in the inability to climb or get back in contact with the wall, releasing an autoblock (if you use one), how to rap with an injured climber, what to do if the rope gets stuck during a rap (someone had a great article on that subject awhile back).

The great thing about single pitch stuff is that the ground is right there if problems happen. Up 7 pitches, it is far more complicated.


lmnox


Aug 22, 2006, 5:46 PM
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We are both capable sport leaders, but so far, we've primarily done only single pitch routes, and one or two two pitch. We want to try and tackle a few longer ones next time we're outside, 5 - 6 pitches, and we've picked out a few choice routes from some beta our other friends gave us.
Are these 5-6 pitch sport routes (and if so, where, I'm genuinely curious)? Or do you know how to place gear and build anchors?

JL

There's some nice sport routes at Eleven Mile Canyon and Estes Park in Colorado. We're probably going to head to one of those two. I, myself, am still waiting a bit before I work on building my trad rack, but my partner has a small rack, mostly used to make anchors, though the routes we're looking at all have bolt anchors.


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This could be dangerous information if you do knot know it exactly. Practice it on the ground with someone more experienced before you ever do any of it on a real multi pitch. I am not liable for any of this! These are very basic instructions just meant to give you a taste of what you will be doing, not a comprehensive guide to multi pitch climbing. This is just my opinion on how do it which may or may not differ from other people opinions.

Damn! Now I can't sue you when I break my leg due to you not preparing me enough for my climb! :roll:

The day before we head out, we're heading to the gym and practicing commands and anchors. We're not going to kill ourselves now... that would mean I'd never be able to break lead plateau!

Thanks everyone for the help - seems like top things practice are communication and anchors.


renohandjams


Aug 22, 2006, 6:16 PM
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Does it scare you silly when you look down, 200m of the ground? Do I need to switch my mentality?

Personally I think the first couple pitches might seem scary, but once you get up above that the ground doesn't seem to move away as much. I love the view, and I figure if I fall above the second pitch I'm going to die anyway, so what is the difference if I'm at the 5th or 6th.

HELMET! I think when someone starts thinking about multi pitch climbs a helmet is a must. It should be a must anyway.

Plan for water, I like those nalgene bottles that clip to your harness.

I think a good practice is to practice belaying your partner from above on your single pitch climbs. Belay him up to you, and repel him back down, take turns. if you can rig and belay from above you will be all the more ready to belay on the long multi pitch.


golsen


Aug 22, 2006, 7:07 PM
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and repel him back down, take turns.

repeling your parter must be a new technique that in 30 years I have never learned. Although, there were some partners I thought about throwing off a ledge....


bootlegger


Aug 22, 2006, 7:08 PM
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Since you're doing multi-pitch sport routes, you don't have to worry too much about two of the more complicated items: anchor building and route finding. I'd ditto most of the comments from other posters, and would just suggest you brush up on your rescue/self-rescue skills. Unlike single pitch stuff where you can usually just lower an injured climber back to the ground, things can get real complicated real fast if you have a problem several pitches up.

Also be prepared for a cluster^%$& on rope management for the first few pitches until you get your system dialed. Just be methodical, neat and patient with it.

Just curious about the other tradsters on here.....for me the routefinding was the most challenging aspect of moving from single pitch to multi-pitch trad. I was generally more worried about getting off-route (and then getting in over my head with no easy retreat) than I was about falling. Of course, the guidebook I was using wasn't real great either..... Anybody else have that experience?


z_rock90


Aug 22, 2006, 7:26 PM
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One thing I found useful when cimbing multi p is that you should be specific when yelling commands. Instead of "off belay" you should say Off belay josh" or whoever your with, This was very helpful when I was on devil's tower with 3 other parties.


rockguide


Aug 22, 2006, 7:28 PM
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Challenges present themselves on multi pitch climbs (especially at transitions) and the obvious solution may not be the best solution. Or even a good solution.
:?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :wtf: :wtf:

Could you elaborate more on this??? I'm confused by your babble on this. (No troll, no speaking for what I assume would be the best for the OP.) I'm curious as to where this statement comes from...

Sorry it came across as babble - I will explain. I meant that figuring things out on the fly can be tough and it is easy to get into situations that don't have an easy out.

Sometimes when newbies try to figure things out they miss things. IE Many old school climbers started out with hardware store ropes (climbers use ropes, and here we have a rope!) not realizing the nuances. The OP would not be this extreme case as they are already sport climbers.

I am speaking about things like getting to a small ledge, clipping a daisy into both bolts (like an L shape) turning around and belaying off the harness facing down hill. Or rappelling by running the rope through conventional bolt hangers. Or letting the rope hang down so it gets snagged. Or going off belay before clipping in. Simple mistakes that can cause problems.

Not saying the OP was / is that clueless, but there are a lot of little errors that can cause alot of grief. Many can be avoided by just following an experienced climber on a route or two.

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