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microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 5:08 AM
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Gear Tuggers know nothing???
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I have seen it said numerous times "Tugging on gear doesn't tell you if a piece will hold a fall." In my opinion, it helps ensure the piece won't fail under lower loads, and it can help identify if the piece is likely to walk (more useful to beginning trad leaders).

Here is how I categorize the strength of individual placements:

1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
6) holds any fall

How would you change this list and why? I get the impression that many feel the sharp tug doesn't even belong on the list. Why wouldn't it be on the list?


andypro


Oct 27, 2007, 5:51 AM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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WOOHOO My thousandth post! Only took what? 4 years to get here? Maybe 3?


I'm a firm believer of tugging on gear. even nuts...not just cams. I regularly climb on the Niagara escarpment (where Chossy was in that thread) and I've had pieces slide around or come out completely with a good sharp tug. Had I not tugged, I'd probably have been in the same boat as him.


Maybe people who only climb on good quality granite and have never had to deal with less than spectacular rock would think it's a silly practice, but I propose that anyone who doesn't tug knows nothing! Get yourself on some good low quality limestone, fractured frozen alpine crap, dirty slime filled whats-its and whosawheres... tugging not only makes sense, but can save your life.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

--Andy P


chossmonkey


Oct 27, 2007, 6:03 AM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall



I think giving a sharp tug is useful in some cases, but it really doesn't properly test a piece. I think the best it does is shows that there might be enough friction for the device to do its thing. But it is on no way a substitution for a bounce test.

I always pull on Ballnuts. Half the time they pull out so I'll reset, retest, and then if it sticks I'll hope that it is stuck enough to work. The other time is when cams are sitting funky or there are a lot of crystals to break off and the piece might shift or the cam looks otherwise suspect. Sometimes the tug will seem to settle the cam into the placement.

On some routes body positioning can make it hard to impossible to really give it much of a yank.


microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 6:26 AM
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Re: [chossmonkey] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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chossmonkey wrote:
In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall



I think giving a sharp tug is useful in some cases, but it really doesn't properly test a piece. I think the best it does is shows that there might be enough friction for the device to do its thing. But it is on no way a substitution for a bounce test.

I always pull on Ballnuts. Half the time they pull out so I'll reset, retest, and then if it sticks I'll hope that it is stuck enough to work. The other time is when cams are sitting funky or there are a lot of crystals to break off and the piece might shift or the cam looks otherwise suspect. Sometimes the tug will seem to settle the cam into the placement.

On some routes body positioning can make it hard to impossible to really give it much of a yank.

I can see how you would reposition the tug in the list as you did. It kind of depends on how good of a tug you get. Sometimes I feel a tug is almost as good as a bounce test. It would be up to the climber to determine how much that particular tug reassures them on a climb.


notapplicable


Oct 27, 2007, 7:26 AM
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I don't think it fair or accurate to say that tugging on a piece will or wont provide you with valuable info. 100% of the time. Some placements (especially passive) are so obviously solid that yanking on them is only going to serve the purpose of seating the gear and won't provide you with any new info. On the other hand I have had just about every kind of piece (passive and active) pull with just a swift yank, when I thought they would hold fine. For what its worth, having gear fail while testing it has caused me to nearly fall so there are risks associated with the behavior.

I yank on just about every placement. Some of them hard, to test placement quality and some gently, just to set them.

I have found it to be a useful practice and doing so can provide a climber with valuable information, while not doing so could leave you in the dark.


wanderlustmd


Oct 27, 2007, 7:30 AM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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I tug on placements fairly often, but not in any sense of "testing." Purely for the purpose of making sure that they are set nice and solid and to confirm that the direction of pull makes sense in relation to the piece.


microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 7:36 AM
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notapplicable wrote:
I don't think it fair or accurate to say that tugging on a piece will or wont provide you with valuable info. 100% of the time. Some placements (especially passive) are so obviously solid that yanking on them is only going to serve the purpose of seating the gear and won't provide you with any new info. On the other hand I have had just about every kind of piece (passive and active) pull with just a swift yank, when I thought they would hold fine. For what its worth, having gear fail while testing it has caused me to nearly fall so there are risks associated with the behavior.

I yank on just about every placement. Some of them hard, to test placement quality and some gently, just to set them.

I have found it to be a useful practice and doing so can provide a climber with valuable information, while not doing so could leave you in the dark.

and that is the benefit of tugging in my eyes. You at least rule out that there is something obviously wrong. If you don't tug on those pieces, then you are possibly climbing into dangerous situations thinking you are well protected.


billl7


Oct 27, 2007, 7:54 AM
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Passive gear: I usually give a tug but most of the time I do so to seat it (e.g., a nut). Once in a while I'll tug something passive as a test but more often than not this just confirms that it is a crap placement.

Active gear: I only just started using sliding nuts; seems for them that tugging has a real purpose that is hard to replace with anything else. Cams I have never really tugged on but am reconsidering in light of choss's story! I distinctly recall wathcing a mentor place cams in a slimey wet weakness and yanking them around a lot.

1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
2.X) holds a sharp tug from the climber
2.X) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
4) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
5) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

On the 2.X's, I'm tempted to say resisting a sharp tug has more merit than holding an ooze onto the piece since a sharp tug can impart some semblance of the arbitrary shock of an actual fall (albeit not body weight).

Bill L


notapplicable


Oct 27, 2007, 8:12 AM
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wanderlustmd wrote:
I tug on placements fairly often...to confirm that the direction of pull makes sense in relation to the piece.


Good point, that is valuable information to have.

As a friend from my childhood used to say, "knowing is half the battle".


el_layclimber


Oct 27, 2007, 8:44 AM
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notapplicable wrote:

As a friend from my childhood used to say, "knowing is half the battle".

You were friends with GI Joe?


notapplicable


Oct 27, 2007, 9:19 AM
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el_layclimber wrote:
notapplicable wrote:

As a friend from my childhood used to say, "knowing is half the battle".

You were friends with GI Joe?

Indeed, he kept me company on many a Saturday morning.


moose_droppings


Oct 27, 2007, 11:27 AM
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Many times after giving a cam a tug, they'll move slightly in reaction to the direction of the tug, which is the direction I'm anticipating a fall would go. Then I'll give them a second tug to make sure thats where they'll settle in at and give them a good eyeing over. Just about all my passive placements get a tug or a pull into place to seat them, but I've never got any complaints on setting them to hard. Well, maybe a couple times with the smaller tricams.

Nothing short of falling on a piece will guarantee it will hold. Even a trapped nut has variables beyond your scrutinizing eyes. But I do feel a little warmer knowing the piece is set well.


microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 11:36 AM
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I was thinking about it a bit more. There are many aid climbers that say they thought a piece was too tentative to tug on. So, they eased their weight on it. So, I am not alone in thinking that a tug can impart more force on a placement than slowly transitioning to it.


moose_droppings


Oct 27, 2007, 12:27 PM
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microbarn wrote:
I was thinking about it a bit more. There are many aid climbers that say they thought a piece was too tentative to tug on. So, they eased their weight on it. So, I am not alone in thinking that a tug can impart more force on a placement than slowly transitioning to it.

Definitely, parts of placing in aiding is a different ballgame when your piece only requires body weight or little more.


microbarn


Oct 27, 2007, 1:32 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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moose_droppings wrote:
microbarn wrote:
I was thinking about it a bit more. There are many aid climbers that say they thought a piece was too tentative to tug on. So, they eased their weight on it. So, I am not alone in thinking that a tug can impart more force on a placement than slowly transitioning to it.

Definitely, parts of placing in aiding is a different ballgame when your piece only requires body weight or little more.

We might agree, but your wording makes me think I was unclear.

People in this thread keep saying this is the order for strength of placements:
In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

The list above implies that even a small tug puts less force on a piece then a slow rock onto it. When a person doing aid avoids tugging, but eases their weight onto the piece anyways. They are expressing that the list is AT LEAST this:

In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

To me, this makes sense. Impact forces can be very large. I can easily see someone putting a lot of force onto a placement with a few short jerks on the low elongation sling.

Independent on the exact placement in the above list, I think this is only reaffirming that tugs have some (if limited) use. I was really hoping to have some anti-tuggers responding.


moose_droppings


Oct 27, 2007, 2:55 PM
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1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

Yep, I do agree with this list.


tradrenn


Oct 27, 2007, 3:15 PM
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I like to test all my pieces, mainly cause I started trad in Ontario.

I don't see anything wrong with setting your gear, except the fact that it may take longer to clean it.


stymingersfink


Oct 27, 2007, 9:31 PM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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microbarn wrote:
moose_droppings wrote:
microbarn wrote:
I was thinking about it a bit more. There are many aid climbers that say they thought a piece was too tentative to tug on. So, they eased their weight on it. So, I am not alone in thinking that a tug can impart more force on a placement than slowly transitioning to it.

Definitely, parts of placing in aiding is a different ballgame when your piece only requires body weight or little more.

We might agree, but your wording makes me think I was unclear.

People in this thread keep saying this is the order for strength of placements:
In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

The list above implies that even a small tug puts less force on a piece then a slow rock onto it. When a person doing aid avoids tugging, but eases their weight onto the piece anyways. They are expressing that the list is AT LEAST this:

In reply to:
1) holds its own weight and the weight of the rope.
2) holds body weight and a slow transition onto the piece is required
5) holds a sharp tug from the climber
3) holds a top rope fall (body weight applied quickly)
4) holds a fall with a low fall factor
6) holds any fall

To me, this makes sense. Impact forces can be very large. I can easily see someone putting a lot of force onto a placement with a few short jerks on the low elongation sling.

Independent on the exact placement in the above list, I think this is only reaffirming that tugs have some (if limited) use. I was really hoping to have some anti-tuggers responding.

Strange that some would place "hold's weight of rope" anywhere above "holds a sharp tug". I always give it a tug before i clip it.

Dangerous that one would be placing a piece to hold a TR fall and have anything less than a SERENE anchor.Crazy

Funny that "holds slow transition to body-weight" is even an answer in a "trad" forum. That one belongs in the aider's bag. Even if it's A0.

so, i guess my trad list would read more like:

1. Fits placement and seats well, responds in appropriate manner when given a sharp tug in directions of anticipated loading (down or out)
2. Successfully holds short, low FF falls. Rule: Upon being subjected to such a fall, the piece would be inspected and reset or backed up if necessary.
3. Successfully holds long, moderate FF falls. Same rules apply here as to #2
4. Fails the above requirements, resulting in a possible trip to the ER and a thorough reassessment of protection skills and motivations.

Other than that, what else is there?


Aiding is a whole 'nother story. If you really want to open that subject perhaps you should post your question to the "Big Walls and Aid" forum.


healyje


Oct 27, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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If this thread is about aid climbing then it should be moved; if it's about non-aid trad climbing then that's a very different story.

In most situations I go passive first, cams second. I rarely ever 'set' passive gear, but rather consider working with the geometry a major part of the craft. And I rope-solo about 50% of my multipitch climbing which means I second my own pitches or 'eat my own dogfood' as it were. Decades of seconding myself while trying to move fast has trained me to only rarely set pro. If I have doubts about a piece, I'm generally more likely to whip in an opposition piece than yank on it.

When I run across someone who hard 'sets' every piece and who cleans passive pro by simply yanking on it (especially up), I think the person simply isn't really "getting it". Deft work placing and cleaning pro really requires becoming a quick study of the fine details of a placement. Finesse and subtlety, rather than force or finageling, are what you should be aiming for in my opinion.

Appropriate slinging is also of paramount importance in trad climbing. Good placement and slinging skills work synergistically to insure good placements stay that way and that the system runs as smooth as possible.

As far as ball nuts go, using them is a real art form which plays out with incredibly close inspection almost down to the millimeter of every placement. I spent last Wednesday whipping on a #3 trying to turn a roof with a great deal of choss above it. I took about 5 dives onto it before finding something solid to move up on. When I went to clean it, it came right out as they generally always do if you put the effort in upfront to really study the placement of them.

For more commentary on ball nuts see:

Ballnutz / Careful consideration when putting your balls on the line…


(This post was edited by healyje on Oct 27, 2007, 10:30 PM)


microbarn


Oct 28, 2007, 3:57 AM
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stymingersfink wrote:
Strange that some would place "hold's weight of rope" anywhere above "holds a sharp tug". I always give it a tug before i clip it.

Dangerous that one would be placing a piece to hold a TR fall and have anything less than a SERENE anchor.Crazy

Funny that "holds slow transition to body-weight" is even an answer in a "trad" forum. That one belongs in the aider's bag. Even if it's A0.

so, i guess my trad list would read more like:

1. Fits placement and seats well, responds in appropriate manner when given a sharp tug in directions of anticipated loading (down or out)
2. Successfully holds short, low FF falls. Rule: Upon being subjected to such a fall, the piece would be inspected and reset or backed up if necessary.
3. Successfully holds long, moderate FF falls. Same rules apply here as to #2
4. Fails the above requirements, resulting in a possible trip to the ER and a thorough reassessment of protection skills and motivations.

Other than that, what else is there?


Aiding is a whole 'nother story. If you really want to open that subject perhaps you should post your question to the "Big Walls and Aid" forum.

The question is ascertaining your confidence a placement will hold a fall after a tug. This applies in both trad and aid, but I look to apply the knowledge in trad. You can feel free to answer the question without any list at all. I am curious as to how much you feel a tug can reassure you about the strength of a placement.

Sty,
You seem to be saying that there is some value in the tug.

healyje,
I think the above also answers your questions too, but your post concentrates on setting/cleaning passive placements mostly. What triggered me to first ask this question is a thread where the cams failed:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...post=1708704#1708704

For the purposes of this question, I don't care how difficult it is to clean the gear. I am curious if a tug will give you any reassurance about the piece holding. Directing the conversation away from the above list that seemed to be adding confusion....

If you have a placement that you were able to make a solid tug on, are you more confident that the piece will hold a fall? Do you think the tug was a waste of time (even if you were placing from a ledge)?


stymingersfink


Oct 28, 2007, 10:12 AM
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microbarn wrote:
If you have a placement that you were able to make a solid tug on, are you more confident that the piece will hold a fall? Do you think the tug was a waste of time (even if you were placing from a ledge)?
Well, I guess that's two different things, really.

Generally, when trad climbing, if I've got little or no confidence that I'll be able to make a secure placement, then I'll not waste my time trying to make something work.

If, OTOH, I've cruxed out and experiencing that "oh fuck my last piece is waay down there and there's nothing here" feeling, I'll usually step back down to a good placement.

Continuing along this train of thought (and that piece waay down there is actually the last good piece of gear possible), if I don't feel up to pulling through the crux and getting to a placement, the prudent thing would be to BTFO! Will I always BTFO? Well, now it depends on the objective/subjective dangers of the potential fall I'm looking at.

If I'm not willing to take that fall, then there's no point in marginal gear which takes time+energy to place and may actually warp my perception of my safety margin.

Again, OTOH, if the fall is something I'm willing to take but would rather not if at all necessary, then sure, perhaps I'll place some marginal gear if that's all that presents itself, knowing full well the cost:benefit may be a toss-up.


microbarn


Oct 28, 2007, 5:17 PM
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stymingersfink wrote:
microbarn wrote:
If you have a placement that you were able to make a solid tug on, are you more confident that the piece will hold a fall? Do you think the tug was a waste of time (even if you were placing from a ledge)?
Well, I guess that's two different things, really.

Generally, when trad climbing, if I've got little or no confidence that I'll be able to make a secure placement, then I'll not waste my time trying to make something work.

If, OTOH, I've cruxed out and experiencing that "oh fuck my last piece is waay down there and there's nothing here" feeling, I'll usually step back down to a good placement.

Continuing along this train of thought (and that piece waay down there is actually the last good piece of gear possible), if I don't feel up to pulling through the crux and getting to a placement, the prudent thing would be to BTFO! Will I always BTFO? Well, now it depends on the objective/subjective dangers of the potential fall I'm looking at.

If I'm not willing to take that fall, then there's no point in marginal gear which takes time+energy to place and may actually warp my perception of my safety margin.

Again, OTOH, if the fall is something I'm willing to take but would rather not if at all necessary, then sure, perhaps I'll place some marginal gear if that's all that presents itself, knowing full well the cost:benefit may be a toss-up.

I think I understand everything you have posted, but I am not feeling as though you are addressing my question yet. Maybe I am misreading you. Please reread my posts knowing that I am trying to push for the same idea through the whole thread so far. Perhaps the sum of my posts will make it clearer what I am trying to address.

Let me try to get my question answered in yet another way. Here is a scenario:
A climb is maybe 2-3 grades below your onsight limit, but it is sustained from top to bottom. Since it is sustained at a level just below your onsight limit, you will be placing gear "during the crux", but the alternative is freesoloing. You come up to a stance where it is appropriate to place gear. You could go up two feet up or down and get a placement too, but you choose here. Since it is sustained, you want to place the gear and go as quickly as possible. Do you bother tugging on the gear? Do you pull on the gear less heavily so that you can keep your balance and flow better? Is the tug required at all? What if you are placing from a layback position, and your vision of the placement is not 100% clear?

For the general reader of the thread:
When do you feel a tug is needed, and how much do you feel that tug tells you about the piece holding a fall?

Sty, you seemed to say you tug every piece just after placing it. Is this true even in the above situation? If so, is it a good assumption on my part that you gain some reassurance that the piece will probably hold a fall?


notapplicable


Oct 28, 2007, 5:30 PM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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Rock type plays a huge role in whether or not I feel a need to test every piece but I usualy do anyway. You did hit on a point I hadnt thought about yet, not in this discussion anyway. I think testing a blind or partially blind placement is important and a swift tug can tell you alot about the stability of your handy work. I would definently gain confidence from yanking on a blind cam placement, even if thats only to feel comfortable making another move or two so I can visualy inspect.


stymingersfink


Oct 28, 2007, 8:55 PM
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Re: [microbarn] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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microbarn wrote:
For the general reader of the thread:
When do you feel a tug is needed, and how much do you feel that tug tells you about the piece holding a fall?

Sty, you seemed to say you tug every piece just after placing it. Is this true even in the above situation? If so, is it a good assumption on my part that you gain some reassurance that the piece will probably hold a fall?

Generally I'll tug passive gear (depending on the constriction it's placed in) to set the piece well, ensuring it won't lift out later. This tug should really tell me nothing about the piece's ability to hold a fall, as if I'm placing a piece I fully expect it to hold a fall from the route anywhere up to point X, by which time I'd better place another piece regardless, else (by my calculations) I'm going to risk potential gear/placement failure (these calculations are done on the fly with a basic understanding of gear failure modes, a rough estimate of rock quality, and how gripped I might be at any given time) resulting in striking a feature/ground due to fall length either with or without placement failure. Quite simply it's a feeling I get when I place my gear. If I don't feel it, I try to identify what needs to happen to GET that feeling flowing, then do it.

I don't tug cams as often, but then I don't place cams as often in questionable placements. Tugging cams can help identify weaker placements, especially with micro-cams or chossy rock (not that there's much of that in LCC).

If you think a piece resisting a tug tells you anything about the piece's ability to hold a fall, I would think you're gravely mistaken. What it may tell you, but not guaranteed to tell you, is the gear's inability to hold a fall.

Bounce testing placements while aid climbing is far more severe than any tugging one might do on a piece, probably more closely representative (or even harsher than that) of an actual fall in most situations. Yes, when aiding there are pieces which do not receive bounce tests. In fact some of these pieces require one to exhale fully before easing one's weight to them, while thinking light thoughts and sending prayers to the climbing gods that the piece holds.


vegastradguy


Oct 28, 2007, 9:08 PM
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Re: [stymingersfink] Gear Tuggers know nothing??? [In reply to]
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i only tug passive gear if i'm stressed out and need some psychological reassurance. otherwise, slot and go.

cams...generally will place and clip. i generally tug them if they're in a weird spot, and thats only to see how the lobes behave. if they do weird things (this is especially true with small cams), then i will adjust the placement accordingly. i do this more in jtree than anywhere else- and usually only on .10s and up- something about gear there.

otherwise, placement categories are:

psychological- wont hold crap, but it makes me feel better.

marginal- probably will hold a fall, but then again, maybe not.

good- a good piece- definitely will hold a fall.

bomber- plug and go.

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