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maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 11:19 AM
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Maculated's Foray into Aid Climbing, also known as . . .
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Maculated's Foray into Aid Climbing, also known as . . .
KMac's KlusterEff


I feel like a putz. "What a gumby!" I repeatedly shout, trying to make levity of my complete inability to avoid aid climbing clustereffing. Pull out the aiders away from the rope, keep the adjustable daisy on the left . . . is that tiny offset alien looking good? On the off chance that I fall on this easy A1, is the slack in my solo system any good?

Why do I feel like such a gaper?

Must be that Maculated's up on Church Bowl Tree with a kind, infinitely patient joebuzz on the ground enjoying the "Dude, the daisy's not on the left, is that cool?" brand of insecurity coming out of my mouth.

So after a night of forcing down Grape martinis for my friend's upcoming bachelorette party (which, ideally, should be purple and also taste good, both of which do not I got through a pitcher of what amounts to 2/3rds vodka and 1/3 sludge only by creating a drinking game), I get up at 6:00 and head out on the road to the Valley. Conceivably, leaving from Livermore (I was spending the night at a friend's) I could have made it to the Valley in two hours. If not for the gaper drivers!!!!! If the speed limit is 45, you CAN go 45 safely. I swear! Oh well . . . I developed a small case of gaper rage from spending a year in Yosemite and Mammoth and dealing with tourons daily.

Precisely at 10:00 I drive up to the Church Bowl parking lot and greet joebuzz in his shiny new Honda Element, which is pretty neat, but he is so X-Treme with his cool factory-supplied not-for-climbing caribiners holding up the seats in back. I can't make fun of Joe, though. Not too many people would volunteer their day to stand around shouting instructions at someone they'd never met before. Good thing I am so damn cute in my bulky blue helmet and ghetto cut-off Gap khakis. I'd show you, but my obligatory photographs didn't get taken somehow. I'll only have memories (sniff, sniff).

I always kind of have a tinge of fear when starting any route, top rope, sport lead, trad lead, etc . . . but usually I can stem the tide and get down to business. But in an instructional setting, this all just goes to hell. I'm the kind of no-nonsense, take-charge person that is somewhat of a know-it-all if I know I do. But Aid? I probably should have read up a bit before starting in order to have psuedo confidence, but it is so hard being me. So hard.

Anyway, so we spend about five minutes on the belay versus solo thing . . . I decide soloing is right for me. Anyone can belay aid, but a truly badass chick should be able to solo aid. Having never set up a solo anchor, I let him do his magic and learned that the credo of aid is redundancy. Guess that's why you gotta have eight hundred oval biners.

He offers me the loan of his wall harness, but I decide that I'd like to stick to my lovely trad one that is so tested and true. Lesson number one: don't do that again. There was barely any room left for my rap device for the descent of the pitch. Learning new things already!! I've got my aiders/daisys hanging off, my fifi hook, the rope, my back up knot in the rope (Figure 8!! Figure 8!!) and my adjustable daisy all attatched one way or another.

So, we're off! I'm happily placing gear, clipping right aider, then adjustable daisy, then left aider, then rope . . . oh wait, rope? With all that other stuff going on? It only occurred to me by my third or fourth placement that we might want rope going through these placements. Right!! Rope!! Adjust the clovehitch, retie the backup knot ("FIGURE 8!" Joe shouts from below as I attempt to do it in an overhand manner).

Periodically I shout down about whatever I'm doing being proper. "Is it okay if I use the rock feature to hold on? Is that allowed?" I mean, really. If using gear when free climbing is frowned upon, it would make sense that using rock when aid climbing would be, too. Right? Right? Anyone? Buhler? Buhler?

But, okay, now that I remember that I'm not freesoloing aid here, we're looking good. Placements are solid and then I get a little more comfortable, not asking dummy questions and not doing dummy things that only a newbie would do (like put my adjustable daisy biner on the aid biner's gate side and watching it unclip as I weight it).

All the while, people are stopping by to stare at me as I carefully rearrange my aiders and make sure I'm clipping into the anchored rope, etc . . . at one point, I hear, "Kristin?" I look down, and -what are the odds?? - a guy that I knew in college is standing at the bottom of the pitch. I start bugging because I had only just mentioned him to joebuzz having been someone I'd cragged with a couple years ago, I know I'd never thought about him until maybe a half hour before and now here he is. Strange, freaky connections, man.

I'm all startled by this and try to get back to business. I'm feeling pretty confident at this point and start high-stepping in my aiders . . . but place pieces too high up and now I'm basically french-freeing the climb. I'm not supposed to do that! De-railed! It is at this point that appreciate what appeared to be the stupid redundancy on the ground of having an adjustable daisy AND the fifi hook. I get it now. Oh ho!

Now some guy comes by and asks how long it's going to be on that route. Joe goes, "Oh, another hour?" Another hour?? For half a pitch??? Come ON. Maculated is a queen in two departments: slab climbing and expedient/efficient leading. Two hours? (He ends up being about right on this.)

Suddenly I get to the pin scars in the top of the route and wonder how I'm ever going to protect this. Then I discover the magic of the off-set aliens. I've never seen nor placed them and now I am positively in love. Enamored. Passionate. Consumed by the almighty off-set alien. Wish I had an almighty high-paying job to go with my new-found love.


I also got scared at that point for whatever reason. ANd now that i had this new security in off-sets, I didn't want to run out. Try attempting to clean an off-set alien with its shaft stuck in a bottleneck placment while bending down. I was very frustrated with my inability to free it in my current position, given that I am a self-styled fixed-gear emancipation expert. I did, however, finally get my little friend back and proceeded upward with a healthy fear of what a putz of an aid climber I clearly am.

My sloth and anxiety terminated my dreams of going on the A2-A3 copperhead route to the right of me. I could definitely do it, but no sense in making Joe stand around and listen to the verbal diarrhea of, "Oh, now I'm kinda scared, what a gaper! I'm such a gaper! Did I tell you I'm a newbie? What have I been doing all this time?"

Then there was 'fixing the pitch.' For whatever reason, I couldn't really grasp the whole concept of this. I knew about it, but it's not like I knew that all you did was tie a not and hook it to the anchor. Remember I told you about going all stupid when being educated? I'm kind of like clay: all dried out, but when instructional water comes along I lose my form and become a malleable puddle of ignorance.

But, all is well now and I have now the magic of learning how to jumar. Very exciting. I am sure I looked like a frog in a bucket getting up that climb. My placements were all extremely secure. Very nice way to get back to placing gear after an enforced time off to learn safety and be sure I actually still knew what I was doing.

For all my hemming and hawwing, aid rocks!!! People always say stuff like, "Aid's not real climbing." I think, after doing it, it definitely is. I am totally sold on aid climbing. I might even (after proper instruction and practice) consider big walling. That's something I would NEVER have dreamed of doing. Who the heck wants to poop in a tube?

Now, who wants to give me free gear?


epic_ed


Aug 11, 2003, 11:46 AM
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Welcome to the sick-and-twisted club of eternal suffering. :P

Nice report, lady! Just curious, what was the reason Joe was insisting you use a fig-8 instead of an overhand knot? I can't think of one at all.

Ed


ricardol


Aug 11, 2003, 12:05 PM
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kristin ..

great report ..

.. on pete's posts he recommends an overhand for the backup .. (which is what i've been using) .. wish i'd stopped by church bowl on saturday ... i was over on the salathe practicing solo aiding also .. met some guy who was starting up on mediterranean ..

-- ricardo


maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 12:08 PM
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Figure 8 comes out easier if you weight it.

Ricardo, well, I didn't mention you, so that's why you didn't go by.


keinangst


Aug 11, 2003, 12:15 PM
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Cool report, well written.

One question. What is a gaper? :D

In reply to:
Why do I feel like such a gaper?

If not for the gaper drivers!!!!!

...gaper rage...


epic_ed


Aug 11, 2003, 12:20 PM
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In reply to:
Figure 8 comes out easier if you weight it.

Hmmm. That hasn't been my experience. Both can be equally cinched down. But, whatever feels comfortable. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some sort of safety reason he was indicating.


maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 12:27 PM
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Not that I know of in terms of safety.

Gapers: You know people that stand on the side of the road with their jaws dropped? That's a gaper.

If you slam on your brakes at the sight of a deer, you might be a gaper.
If you go 25 on a mountain road that has a speed limit of 45, you might be a gaper.
If you ask for top roping routes during your stay in Yosemite, you might be a gaper.
If you get mad because you are in Tuolumne and your campsite in the Valley is an hour and a half away, you might be a gaper.
If you are in Tuolumne and you use the courtesy phone to call the Ahwahnee and set up a dinner appointment for a half hour from now, you might be a gaper.

I have so many more.


timstich


Aug 11, 2003, 1:28 PM
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Pretty interesting first day out. Sounds like you got quite a work out. Thanks for the write up.


Partner sauron


Aug 11, 2003, 1:46 PM
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In reply to:
If you are in Tuolumne and you use the courtesy phone to call the Ahwahnee and set up a dinner appointment for a half hour from now, you might be a gaper.

No dinner date for you at the Ahwanee.

:p

- d.


iamthewallress


Aug 11, 2003, 2:25 PM
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Woohoo!!! Welcome to aid land. 8) Thanks for the TR. 2h for your first aid pitch is a proud time.


maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 3:14 PM
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I kind of got a sense that that was kind of slow. Good to know.


iamthewallress


Aug 11, 2003, 3:22 PM
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One of my favorite TR lines ever was from a TR by a partner of mine. "Marathons have been run in less time than it took Melissa to lead the next pitch." I'm always humbled when I hear about speed ascents where the entire route was sent in less time than my slowest pitch on it. But I also see a lot of TRs that tell me that my times are pretty typical for people with my experience. I always give myself at least 3 hours per pitch. If I go faster, great. If I plan on faster, I'll almost certainly be bailing for lack of time.


atg200


Aug 11, 2003, 3:41 PM
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sounds like a good first time - and your speed sounds fine. i was slow as molasses until i practiced getting efficient on a bolt ladder, and now i am merely sorta slow(1 hour per full pitch if C1-C2).

1. why are you fumbling with a fifi on C1-C2? you are using two adjustable daisy chains, right?

2. if you are placing your pieces way too high - GOOD! there is no such thing as placing your pieces too high while aid climbing. maybe just a matter of technique - i don't see how it would be possible to place a piece too high while using 5 step aiders and adjustable daisys to use effectively. if you were getting into your top steps on your first pitch, i am impressed and think you will do quite well as an aid climber when you get dialed in.

3. overhands are just fine for backup knots, though double figure eights are better. it is a fact double figure eights are easier to untie, but the chances of weighting one are phenomenally slim. it is best to have a way of undoing welded knots in any event - clove hitches are damn near impossible to untie after you fall on them without some sort of tool. i've found long thin lost arrows to work well.

good job, and come on out to moab and we'll do a tower.


maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 4:04 PM
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>1. why are you fumbling with a fifi on C1-C2? you are using two >adjustable daisy chains, right?

No, one adjustable. And in that case, it was way below me and I used the fifi to hold myself on while I went to get the adjustable

>2. if you are placing your pieces way too high - GOOD! there is no such >thing as placing your pieces too high while aid climbing. maybe just a >matter of technique - i don't see how it would be possible to place a >piece too high while using 5 step aiders and adjustable daisys to use >effectively.

Because then I got stuck, being unable to reach down and get my stuff at that point.

In reply to:
good job, and come on out to moab and we'll do a tower.

Watch it. I want to get up to Moab pretty soon (Winter break?) here and you'll have to follow up.


ricardol


Aug 11, 2003, 4:11 PM
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in this last practice session i just did last weekend i learned a few new things ..

1 - to get your aiders off the last piece (or to backclean a piece) its not neccesary to bend down.. (or reach down) .. in my case i was using a kong-bonnati-fifi... just put that fifi through the above piece, hang on it .. with my knees against the wall, and reach over, while sitting on my harness. -- i foudn this be very comfortable and efficient.

.. also if the piece above pops .. you'r already in a good position for the fall.. (hehe -- found that out too)

2 - using 2 aiders on C1 is way easier/cleaner than 2 sets of 2 aiders.

-- ricardo


atg200


Aug 11, 2003, 4:31 PM
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maculated - go get another adjustable daisy chain. you are insane to only use one, and you will speed up considerably with no change in technique when you get a second one. your problem with the pieces being too far to unclip will also go away. if you have really short arms and for some reason can't unclip your last from being fully extended on your top daisy, order some daisys with longer slings from yates. i have friends who do that and it is no problem, though i have never felt the need personally.

be wary taking advice from someone like ricardol who has only done a few aid pitches and it sounds like most of them have been clusterf*cks. using 2 aiders instead of 4 on easy aid has speed advantages, but it is a much tougher system to dial in, takes more strength, is more risky because dropping aiders is a very real possibility, and is far less comfortable. it is a better idea to dial yourself in on the standard 2 daisy with 2 pair of aiders system and then try other systems when you are solid with that. no matter how badass you are, you will almost certainly use 4 aiders when you get in to hard aid.

i'll look forward to a tower with you then. always looking for more partners for the desert.


tradmanclimbs


Aug 11, 2003, 5:08 PM
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Interesting. I thought that the new trend was to go with 2 adjustable daises and one set of aiders with maby a single alpine aider as a back up? I have done quite a bit of hooking, nailing and beaking (suck at copperheading :roll: ) and feel that a single set of aiders works pretty well. I have seen some realy slow gumbies with the 2 set system but I am from the east so maby I am missing somthing? I do feel that the adjustable daisys pretty much cancle out the need for 2 sets of aiders. 8)


atg200


Aug 11, 2003, 5:30 PM
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i think everyone does different things, but i still think two sets of aiders is the easiest way to go and a good way to learn. i like two full sets because i like to bounce test by jumping up and down on my aiders, and this is easier and faster to do with two sets in my opinion. i've seen very good climbers use almost every system imaginable, so i'm not convinced any one system is right.


tradmanclimbs


Aug 11, 2003, 5:43 PM
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You right about that. Whatever works for you is the right system. For me I very rarely bounce test. Often when I am aiding I know the placements suck (that's the reason I am aiding in the first place) I tend to tip toe up them and pray they hold out untill I can get somthing decent in or get a bolt drilled 8) Bounce testing can ruin a perfectly good crappy hook :D


atg200


Aug 11, 2003, 6:13 PM
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whoa, your balls are bigger than mine. when the placements get crappy, i bounce test like my life depends on it...


Partner philbox
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Aug 11, 2003, 6:20 PM
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In reply to:
Bounce testing can ruin a perfectly good crappy hook

Luv it, this quote could be good for a sig. Classic. :lol:


timstich


Aug 11, 2003, 6:47 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Bounce testing can ruin a perfectly good crappy hook

Luv it, this quote could be good for a sig. Classic. :lol:

I like the quote, too. I hate bounce testing myself -- so far. My feelings might change about it later, but right now I would rather not bounce the crap out of placements.


ricardol


Aug 11, 2003, 6:51 PM
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In reply to:

be wary taking advice from someone like ricardol .

eek -- sorry my comment was taken as advice -- i never meant it to be .. maculated knows better than to think what i post is advice ..

.. i was just throwing in what i've learned ..

-- ricardo


maculated


Aug 11, 2003, 6:56 PM
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I'll get more into this when I return to work tomorrow, but I used the single set of aiders-two daisy system, I believe. Whatever Joe had me going at certainly made a lot of sense . . . Had an adjustable daisy in addition to the two normal looped daisies. Just for your insatiable curiousity.

And don't go hijacking my thread on me! Pshaw!


tradmanclimbs


Aug 11, 2003, 7:38 PM
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My feeling is that if you have enough experience you know what a good placement is so why waste time and energy messing with it? When the gear turns to bunk you are either going to climb on bunk gear or bail off. If you get the best available placement and you know it sucks, bouncing on it will only make it worse and possibly screw it up to the point that you cant move up on it. Don't listen to me though as I screw up as much as the next guy. I remember one time when I was getting ready to stand on a tied off blade and Wild Woman said "that won't hold" It didn't and the resulting zipper left me bloody and crapping my pants :roll: I ended up haveing to free climb that section ( with another wild fall) up to a decent hook placement 8)

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