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fnfolen


Aug 5, 2011, 3:56 PM
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Testing gear placements
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I've been doing trad well below my onsight level for some years now and have only taken lead falls on sport. For some time I've wanted to do some higher grade trad routes where I definitely will fall. However it's one thing to look at a placement, intellectually decide it's bomber, but never fall on it, and completely another to do the same and take a good fall on it.

I did start my trad career via various AMGA trad courses, which included having your gear critiqued. My partners that I climb with have always been happy with my placements as well, overall I am pretty confident about my gear being solid. On the other hand I think it's often a fine line, even more so as the stress goes up and placements get smaller, and without actual experience of trying to make something pull it can be hard to know how close you are to that line.

I've been thinking to help ease myself through the transition a good way would be if I could test a bunch of my gear. While I don't expect to be able to exactly reproduce a lead fall onto them, I'd more or less like to reassure myself that I'm placing decent gear. I've been thinking of setting up a top rope solo line, then placing gear as I go and step onto it, maybe doing some gentle bouncing, seem reasonable or have other suggestions?

If any of you have done aid climbing, did you find that your ability to gauge good/bad gear increased significantly after spending so much time immediately using all your placements? I'm debating taking some type of aid course as well.

TIA


Rudmin


Aug 5, 2011, 7:19 PM
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This is Africa??

On topic, it always sticks in the back of my mind when there is only one piece between me falling and something very bad happening.

That being said, it is sometimes surprising what kind of marginal placements will hold. This link might be helpful to you: http://www.sanguma.org/destructo/


jacques


Aug 6, 2011, 5:50 AM
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fnfolen wrote:
I've been doing trad well below my onsight level for some years now and have only taken lead falls on sport.

a bolt hold 25 Kn a stopper is rate 10 Kn??? in your mind it is more dangerous. and it is true. it is the reason why trad climber don't like bolt and use it in last possibility.

Idon't think that it is the way you place pro who is the problem. But what happen in your mind. At the end of the season, I use to aid climb both in top rope and on lead. with pro at each tree feet in a steep rock, you are not going to hurt yourself.

You never know if a pro is good, you know when it is not good. So, train to place bad pro and fall on it in aid. You are not going to hurt yourself and, if you look at the pro how it move, you will learn what is a bad pro and be able to avoid as much as you can those pro.

there is three principle to respect to place pro: direction of the fall/direction of the force on the wall; Kn per square inches pressure on the rock and the rock most be solid enought to don't broke under the pressure of a fall. Little more work for guide who will have to explain that some day, but more fun for climbers.


Partner j_ung


Aug 6, 2011, 6:01 AM
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fnfolen wrote:
I've been doing trad well below my onsight level for some years now and have only taken lead falls on sport. For some time I've wanted to do some higher grade trad routes where I definitely will fall. However it's one thing to look at a placement, intellectually decide it's bomber, but never fall on it, and completely another to do the same and take a good fall on it.

I did start my trad career via various AMGA trad courses, which included having your gear critiqued. My partners that I climb with have always been happy with my placements as well, overall I am pretty confident about my gear being solid. On the other hand I think it's often a fine line, even more so as the stress goes up and placements get smaller, and without actual experience of trying to make something pull it can be hard to know how close you are to that line.

I've been thinking to help ease myself through the transition a good way would be if I could test a bunch of my gear. While I don't expect to be able to exactly reproduce a lead fall onto them, I'd more or less like to reassure myself that I'm placing decent gear. I've been thinking of setting up a top rope solo line, then placing gear as I go and step onto it, maybe doing some gentle bouncing, seem reasonable or have other suggestions?

If any of you have done aid climbing, did you find that your ability to gauge good/bad gear increased significantly after spending so much time immediately using all your placements? I'm debating taking some type of aid course as well.

TIA

Given that the TR solo system you use is adequate, I think it's an outstanding idea.


dagibbs


Aug 6, 2011, 7:14 PM
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Another way, if you have a belayer, is to have a top-rope set up, but with some slack in it -- then actually take some falls on the gear -- but with the top-rope as a back up in case the gear actually does pull.


minibiter


Aug 6, 2011, 8:11 PM
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What I did was find sport routes that will also take pro and have clean falls. Preferably well within your ability so you're not physically challenged. Place one of each of the types of pro you carry a foot or so above a bolt (one at a time) with a clean fall and fall on it. Not a dinky little fall, give it at least a decent ten footer. No need to go huge, but make it a decent whipper. Make your pieces good so you think they'll hold. If they blow, the bolt's right there to catch you.

When I was starting to lead trad I did this with every type of pro I have (nuts, cams, hexes, tricams) and now I know they all work! In the meantime I've taken at least one lead fall on most every piece of pro I own, down to the micronuts (DMM Peenuts) and little cams (#00 C3). I started carrying some BD micros but I havent fallen on those yet.

I've only blown one piece in a fall. It was a #2 C3, placed quite poorly in a flare from a rather stressful position. It held long enough to stop me, but right at peak force it popped. A bomber .75 C4 was underneath to catch me so all I got was a little rope burn. If I hadn't known the bomber C4 and a long clean fall was under me I wouldn't have gone up on that #2, would have gotten something better.

I test marginal pieces on the ground while I'm waiting around. Find a crack, stick something in and bounce test it to see what happens.

Also, if you haven't fallen much on sport, you might go do that just to get comfortable with falling. It works wonders. I recommend something slightly overhung.

Cheers


ceebo


Aug 7, 2011, 4:40 AM
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minibiter wrote:
What I did was find sport routes that will also take pro and have clean falls. Preferably well within your ability so you're not physically challenged. Place one of each of the types of pro you carry a foot or so above a bolt (one at a time) with a clean fall and fall on it. Not a dinky little fall, give it at least a decent ten footer. No need to go huge, but make it a decent whipper. Make your pieces good so you think they'll hold. If they blow, the bolt's right there to catch you.

When I was starting to lead trad I did this with every type of pro I have (nuts, cams, hexes, tricams) and now I know they all work! In the meantime I've taken at least one lead fall on most every piece of pro I own, down to the micronuts (DMM Peenuts) and little cams (#00 C3). I started carrying some BD micros but I havent fallen on those yet.

I've only blown one piece in a fall. It was a #2 C3, placed quite poorly in a flare from a rather stressful position. It held long enough to stop me, but right at peak force it popped. A bomber .75 C4 was underneath to catch me so all I got was a little rope burn. If I hadn't known the bomber C4 and a long clean fall was under me I wouldn't have gone up on that #2, would have gotten something better.

I test marginal pieces on the ground while I'm waiting around. Find a crack, stick something in and bounce test it to see what happens.

Also, if you haven't fallen much on sport, you might go do that just to get comfortable with falling. It works wonders. I recommend something slightly overhung.

Cheers

On avg what would you say is the maximum size fall a piece of gear can repeatedly handle with ought compromising it for future use?.


mikebee


Aug 7, 2011, 5:34 AM
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In reply to:
On avg what would you say is the maximum size fall a piece of gear can repeatedly handle with ought compromising it for future use?.

There's no fixed answer for this as there are too many variables involved in a fall.

Everything from the rope itself, how much rope drag is in the system, the weight of the climber and belayer, what belay device is used, if the belayer lets some slack slip through or jumps as the fall happens, what angle the rock is, did the top piece have a screamer on it, how far is the climber out from the belay etc etc.

Each piece of gear will have a rating in kN printed on it, this is a gauge of how strong it is. Find a fall force calculator and play with some combinations of the above factors and see what varies.


jacques


Aug 7, 2011, 7:39 AM
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mikebee wrote:
There's no fixed answer for this as there are too many variables involved in a fall.

Everything from the rope itself, how much rope drag is in the system, the weight of the climber and belayer, what belay device is used, if the belayer lets some slack slip through or jumps as the fall happens, what angle the rock is, did the top piece have a screamer on it, how far is the climber out from the belay etc etc.

That is climbing. Many good climber, guide or person who climb every day, have a non-scientifique knowledge of the theory. You most follow those guide.

Mikebee gave us enought information to ask question. but a good guide will not gave you a clear answer. You have to have a deep understanding of it on stressfull situation. when you know that some thing will happen...it is bungee. When you don't know if you are going to fall...it is climbing.


ceebo


Aug 7, 2011, 11:08 AM
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mikebee wrote:
In reply to:
On avg what would you say is the maximum size fall a piece of gear can repeatedly handle with ought compromising it for future use?.

There's no fixed answer for this as there are too many variables involved in a fall.

Everything from the rope itself, how much rope drag is in the system, the weight of the climber and belayer, what belay device is used, if the belayer lets some slack slip through or jumps as the fall happens, what angle the rock is, did the top piece have a screamer on it, how far is the climber out from the belay etc etc.

Each piece of gear will have a rating in kN printed on it, this is a gauge of how strong it is. Find a fall force calculator and play with some combinations of the above factors and see what varies.

Thnx, i just looked into it and have some questions (as always).

Their is a route i want to climb, the first piece is around 12 foot high, and i may fall around 8 foot after that before the next piece.

Going off the calculator it says i would experience 5.25 kn, and if i understood rightly the piece of gear will experience 6.85kn.

I'm a little worried about having only 1 piece and a chunk of rock with unknown kn rating between me and a 20 foot deck out. What belay tactic would you guys personally have your partner use in this scenario?.


sungam


Aug 7, 2011, 11:28 AM
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ceebo wrote:
mikebee wrote:
In reply to:
On avg what would you say is the maximum size fall a piece of gear can repeatedly handle with ought compromising it for future use?.

There's no fixed answer for this as there are too many variables involved in a fall.

Everything from the rope itself, how much rope drag is in the system, the weight of the climber and belayer, what belay device is used, if the belayer lets some slack slip through or jumps as the fall happens, what angle the rock is, did the top piece have a screamer on it, how far is the climber out from the belay etc etc.

Each piece of gear will have a rating in kN printed on it, this is a gauge of how strong it is. Find a fall force calculator and play with some combinations of the above factors and see what varies.

Thnx, i just looked into it and have some questions (as always).

Their is a route i want to climb, the first piece is around 12 foot high, and i may fall around 8 foot after that before the next piece.

Going off the calculator it says i would experience 5.25 kn, and if i understood rightly the piece of gear will experience 6.85kn.

I'm a little worried about having only 1 piece and a chunk of rock with unknown kn rating between me and a 20 foot deck out. What belay tactic would you guys personally have your partner use in this scenario?.
If you are not going to be coming near the ground then I would reccomend a soft catch. In fact I would always reccomend a soft catch unless there is a risk of the climber hitting a ledge, slab or the ground.
Just have your belayer step foreward as the rope comes tight to them, while locking off tightly. Some people give a wee hop, but this runs the risk of being poorly timed, and if you jump too son it can make the catch harder instead of softer.


Partner rgold


Aug 7, 2011, 12:28 PM
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I think that anyone who is learning trad should spend some time doing toprope aid, with vigorous bounce-testing of every piece. In fact, I think there is no substitute for this.

More and more people seem to be learning by placing pieces and getting feedback from "experienced" climbers about their placements. In some cases, the "experienced" climbers learned the same way. Such advice can be very valuable, no doubt, but it is also possible that the learner is part of a chain of people who have never fortified their own "judgement" with some kind of testing.

Even genuinely experienced climbers may be wrong in their estimates 5% of the time. There is no substitute for placing, judging, and then testing yourself.

By the way, i think the idea of placing pieces near bolts on sport climbs is a great idea, if you can find sport climbs that have sufficient placements. Make sure that you aren't putting in gear whose failure might alter or erase holds, however, and practice when you aren't going to be in the way of others,

There are some other advantages to top-rope aiding.

(1) Perhaps the main advantage is that you will learn something about how to aid. This is an essential skill for getting out of jams (route too hard, off route, unexpected wetness, onset of bad weather, approaching darkness, injured partner, etc. etc.).

(BITD when big-wall climbing was the ultimate goal, folks learned free and aid climbing simultaneously. Now there are lots of trad climbers, some who are otherwise quite accomplished, who couldn't aid their way out of a paper bag.)

(2) Aid climbing will inevitably force you to get creative because the next available placement may not be optimal. This will be good practice for analogous trad-climbing situations.

(3) After finishing the pitch, you rap down with an experienced person and clean it. The experienced person should comment, not only on the placement itself, but also on whether there are better options nearby, something that beginners frequently miss, in my experience.

Then you get to clean the pieces you placed and learn whether your placements lend themselves to cleaning, which is also critical for multipitch cimbs in general as well as for your wallet in particular. This provides another opportunity for the experienced person to demonstrate some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to extracting recalcitrant gear.

An important caveat about bounce-testing your placements: Look at the placement carefully before you test it, but make sure to look away while testing it. If the piece blows, you don't want it to hit you in the face.

Ceebo: If you are really 8 feet above a piece that is 12 feet above the ground, it is very likely that you will hit the ground with slack in the system and rope stretch. You really want to get in a higher piece, or else climb as if you are soloing.

Either way, you also want to back up the first piece if at all possible, no matter how good you think it is, and make sure that it can handle an upward load as well as the expected downward one.


jacques


Aug 7, 2011, 3:07 PM
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ceebo wrote:
[Their is a route i want to climb, the first piece is around 12 foot high, and i may fall around 8 foot after that before the next piece.

Going off the calculator it says i would experience 5.25 kn, and if i understood rightly the piece of gear will experience 6.85kn.

If your next pieece is at 8 foot, your harness loop will be around 5 feet from your last protection. You will fall 10 feet on 17 feet of rope. the fall factor most be around 0.6. To have a number in Kn, you have to know how long the rope will slip in the protection and how much friction on the rope. In all way, you are going to be at 7 to 4 feet from the ground. If the belayer move four feet, you are going to deck if they stop the rope to fast, your going to hit the rock badly. Here, there is also the longer of your sling. If you use a sport sling, you can dislodge the orotection If you use a three feet sling, you increase your fall factor and the distance to hit the ground.

I think that it is important to know the fall factor and to be able to know what is the best solution and what you can do. sometimes, it is better to go over your second protection, and risk a gropund fall, than trying to place a pro in a hard situation.

No clear answer, it is trad. you only can know what is best for you...and some guide can help you to know what you can do.


Partner j_ung


Aug 8, 2011, 4:32 AM
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ceebo wrote:
Their is a route i want to climb, the first piece is around 12 foot high, and i may fall around 8 foot after that before the next piece.

That math only works on paper. In reality, rope stretch and slack in the system are all conspiring against you, and the bottom line is that, unless your belayer is extremely good, you're going to deck. (A standard soft catch is almost certainly a bad idea.) I would regard such a position as a "do-not-fall" zone, and make my choices accordingly.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Aug 8, 2011, 4:34 AM)


Jnclk


Aug 8, 2011, 4:44 AM
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j_ung wrote:
ceebo wrote:
Their is a route i want to climb, the first piece is around 12 foot high, and i may fall around 8 foot after that before the next piece.

That math only works on paper. In reality, rope stretch and slack in the system are all conspiring against you, and the bottom line is that, unless your belayer is extremely good, you're going to deck. (A standard soft catch is almost certainly a bad idea.) I would regard such a position as a "do-not-fall" zone, and make my choices accordingly.

Ditto

Even with a tight belay you'll likely hit the ground in this situation. Using a soft catch in this situation would be retarded and would certainly result in a ground fall.


(This post was edited by Jnclk on Aug 8, 2011, 5:37 AM)


markc


Aug 8, 2011, 6:48 AM
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rgold wrote:
An important caveat about bounce-testing your placements: Look at the placement carefully before you test it, but make sure to look away while testing it. If the piece blows, you don't want it to hit you in the face.

Great post. When some suggested bounce testing, this was the first thing I thought of. An old friend lost part of a tooth to a popped stopper. Glad to see it brought up.


losbill


Aug 8, 2011, 10:58 AM
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Somewhere back a few years ago there was a similar thread with some good information in it. You may want to search for it.

The testing suggestions mentioned above are all good. You may want to consider supplementing them with a less involved and pretty time-efficient approach. Hit a local crag and walk along it placing a variety of gear in every likely and less than likely spot you can reach. Clip a doubled or tripled up sling on it and bounce test the hell out of it. Being careful as RG noted to keep your head to the side so you can observe how how it sets and shifts but so when gear comes flying out, and some will, you don't catch it in the eye. The 2 kN of force you can generate sling testing is a third to a half of the typical fall force of the falls I take. Not quite the same but you can learn a lot about gear placement very quickly.


shimanilami


Aug 8, 2011, 12:24 PM
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Nothing will teach you about placement quality like aid climbing. Top rope aid is a good way to get started.


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