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Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3
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IsayAutumn


Mar 11, 2010, 6:47 AM
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Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3
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Does anyone have any experience simul-climbing with parties of 3?

We are going to be on moderately technical terrain (WI 1-3). We would likely be confident soloing this terrain, thus obviating the need for a simul-climbing system, but we have heard that objective hazards like falling ice debris will be high. We think that simul-climbing will afford us some small amount of protection should someone get beaned, but also allow us to move quickly.

If anyone has any experience doing this, please chime in and let me know your preferred system. Did you climb on doubles? Did you all tie into one rope? Did you use some kind of auto-locking device, like a tibloc or a mini traxion to keep the leader from being pulled off in the event of one of the seconds falling?

At this point I am leaning towards just pitching it out or running the risk of soloing, but I would be curious to hear of any situations where a party might have tried this. Thanks!


clews


Mar 11, 2010, 11:05 AM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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I've done it on doubles and it works pretty good. I've never tried it with 3 on one rope but i'm sure it's not as effecient as with the doubles.


csproul


Mar 11, 2010, 11:51 AM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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Done it with 3 on one rope, as well as with doubles. No devices/tibloc/traxion...just with the understanding that nobody can fall. If using one rope, I found it useful to tie a big "tail" for the person in the middle to tie in to (essentially a big loop of rope). This allows them to have more freedom to move side-to-side and not pull on the 1st or last person, and also makes it easier for the middle to not climb directly under the leader and directly over the last person.


builttospill


Mar 13, 2010, 7:55 PM
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Re: [csproul] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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I've done it with two separate 30m half ropes (8mm Beal rando ropes). Leader ties into one end, second ties into other. The second is in the middle and connects to the third climber with the second rando rope. Kept it fairly tight between all of us.

No devices. Same deal. Don't fall. We used 8mm because it was almost entirely soloable, but a fall would be bad.

I wouldn't want to use two full-length doubles between a leader and two followers moving together....it just seems like a lot of rope weight for the leader to be dragging around. And on terrain easy enough for me to comfortably simul, there will be lots of rope drag and shit to catch on.

the idea of a big loop of rope in the middle is a good one I wish we had used.


shanes


Mar 13, 2010, 9:05 PM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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I've done it with 3 people on a mountain that had a long section of low angle ice. I would have each climber stay within 30m or less of each other for communication reasons. You will be constantly stopping the whole climb - everytime the leader places, the middle clips through, or the follower cleans. Don't have the middle clip through while the second cleans and vice versa because then you'll be removing 2 pieces of pro from the system at once. One way to speed things up is for the 2nd or 3rd to climb a bit faster right before getting to the screw, creating a loop of slack. Try to clean the piece before the slack is all taken up. This creates a larger fall of course, but you're already looking at a huge one anyway with almost 30m inbetween pieces. And of course the golden rule is to always have at least 2 pieces in at all times - and don't fall.


blubeard


Mar 14, 2010, 8:41 PM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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I did it while in a group of 4. We were at the top of a multi-pitch route and speed was of the essence for a couple hundred feet. If you can believe it we had 4 of us on two ropes. The leader put down the pro ~2 or ~3 pieces at any one time (alternating ropes) and we cleaned it or blew past it as fast as we could. In reality it wasn't fun, and it wasn't fast. Hind sight would say that it would have been better to split the group up.

I had fun finding this picture though. Check out the four dots and you can see why we were in a hurry.



fresh


Mar 15, 2010, 7:29 AM
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Re: [IsayAutumn] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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I've only done it on two climbs, and I really don't have it dialed enough to prefer it over simul-soloing. it's just really slow. you have to stop when the leader places gear, you have to stop when the middle person switches the clip on the gear, and you have to stop when the last person removes the gear. ideally, everyone stops at the same time and takes care of their part, but it's not always so easy. to illustrate, it took us an hour and 26 minutes to do a climb that can be solo'd in under 25 minutes. I would say get it super-dialed before you decide whether it's worth it.


builttospill


Mar 15, 2010, 2:15 PM
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Re: [shanes] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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shanes wrote:
I've done it with 3 people on a mountain that had a long section of low angle ice. I would have each climber stay within 30m or less of each other for communication reasons. You will be constantly stopping the whole climb - everytime the leader places, the middle clips through, or the follower cleans. Don't have the middle clip through while the second cleans and vice versa because then you'll be removing 2 pieces of pro from the system at once. One way to speed things up is for the 2nd or 3rd to climb a bit faster right before getting to the screw, creating a loop of slack. Try to clean the piece before the slack is all taken up. This creates a larger fall of course, but you're already looking at a huge one anyway with almost 30m inbetween pieces. And of course the golden rule is to always have at least 2 pieces in at all times - and don't fall.

There's no reason there has to be nearly 30 meters in between pieces. As long as the seconds don't mind stopping occasionally, I've placed several pieces in quick succession as the "leader."

With 3 people on a rope (which I usually don't do, since I usually climb as a team of 2), I try to have more than 2 pieces in total....60m is a lot of rope, usually I can find more than 2 pieces in that span.


shanes


Mar 15, 2010, 7:27 PM
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Re: [builttospill] Simul-climbing in alpine/ice terrain with parties of 3 [In reply to]
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The main reason to run it out inbetween pieces is to make a smallish alpine rack last as long as possible. The fewer times we need to stop and re-rack the better. Course it all depends on the steepness of the climb and how much gear you might have with you. In our case we were climbing a low-angle 2000 foot snow/ice face that everybody felt comfortable on, and there were only 8 or so ice screws. We placed them pretty far apart, trying to maintain the 2 piece rule only.


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