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what do my fellow warriors think of leapfrogging cams
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lemon_boy


Jan 20, 2004, 9:54 AM
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what do my fellow warriors think of leapfrogging cams
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last pitch of a route on sunday. i'm squirming up a chimney, dumping gear left and right. strenuous, but going pretty well. i pull out of the chimney to a stemming stance at the base of about 60 feet of podding, irregular fists to OW. ususally, i would be grinning. but i'm tired, cramping up, and realizing that i have 3 (different sized) pieces left to work with.

so i place one, climb a few moves, place another, retrieve the first one, climb a few moves, place another, retrieve........

every time i place and retrieve, the pieces are trying to get stuck, my strength is waning like like the cash in my wallet. my mouth is starting to sound like eddy murphy. i'm gettting so wasted that i can barely pull the triggers on cams. i have to try about 5 times to pull up rope and get it through the next biner (every 3 feet). about 10 feet from topping out, i am frantically stuck, upper (left) hand in a bone lock hand jam, right hand crossed through underneath in a hand/elbow stack. my chest muscles are cramping and in full spasm mode. i'm wigging. i finally free my right hand, and instead of punching through to the top of the pitch on decent hands and fists......

i reach down and start trying to back clean one of the cams!!!!!! aaahhhhhhggghhh!!! what the ____ am i doing? i know that i am making a big mistake. my left arm is going absolutely numb and i am wasting my last teaspoon of energy trying to back clean this stuck cam. i can't even pull the trigger. "TAKE!!!!!!"

my language is completely out of control at this point. i'm frazzled. i rest, pull the cam, place it above my last one (completely obstructing a crucial jam, as always). finally, i get back on and struggle to the top.

my question, after this long and rambling post, is do warriors leapfrog cams? and, if they do, how does a warrior deal with the transition between leapfrogging and climbing above gear again. it is very similar to being in the middle of an aid pitch and having to step out of the aiders to bust a few free moves. so simple in theory,......


iamthewallress


Jan 20, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Registered: Jan 1, 2003
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Re: what do my fellow warriors think of leapfrogging cams [In reply to]
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my question, after this long and rambling post, is do warriors leapfrog cams? and, if they do, how does a warrior deal with the transition between leapfrogging and climbing above gear again. it is very similar to being in the middle of an aid pitch and having to step out of the aiders to bust a few free moves. so simple in theory,......

I do...Especially in the situation that you are describing: an ow where you tired, not necessarily having a high likelihood of sending, and have limited gear (or where having adequate gear to protect your likelihood of falling would weigh and cost a ton).

In fact, I had a very similar situation occur on Saturday. I had 2 jumbo pieces and one semi jumbo. I placed and left the semi-jumbo at the beginning of the ow because I had to run it out to get there and had no other pro. Then I started squirming into the ow, and found myself rapidly cruxing. I was trying to inch my way upward, to little avail. I thrutched up the first 15 feet leapfrogging as I went (keeping them close together so that I could retreive them) and then eventually hung because I couldn't pull the moves. I kept trying to get by my gear because I could see that it would open up to a squeeze that I would be able to manage if I could go a little higher. But I couldn't get any higher...largely because my cams were blocking my passage. I lowered back to the belay and my partner went up on clean up crew and I seconded. I fell in the same spot on second...a couple of times.

Here's what I learned:

1. I needed to improve my skill more to be able to place less gear or place it less obtrusively on lead. Leapfrogging wasn't hindering me because of the energy required to remove and replace the gear (I was pretty well wedged). It was screwing me because I had to weasel my way around a cam at every single move. (Same scenario applies when I overprotect hand and finger cracks. I have to do harder moves to get around the cams.) The other thing that was happening was that rope was getting in my way of reaching deep into the crack when the piece was above me.

2. If I'm going to go lead stuff that is harder than what I can second, it's sort of foolish to contemplate running it out, especially when two tippy, rocky, walky big cams is all that stands between me and a ledge. Leap frogging works OK, but better to get on stuff that I can manage with a light rack, or if I'm going balls out on the hard stuff, bring a rack that reflects my needs a little bit more realisticly. I start putting a lot of mental energy into worrying about falling when I'm leap frogging, but I'm usually less stressed and more focused on the climbing if I have enough gear, even if it's heavy.

I'm just learning ow's and have only led a few. The one that I'm talking about trying to lead was a 10a, and the hardest that I'd led before that was a 5.8, just for some reference to how much I was taking on. If I was jumping on a 5.8, and the fall was good, I think it might have been wiser to trust myself and to try to run it out. Anyway, I did it the way that I did it because my goal wasn't the onsight so much as learning how it feels to lead something at my limit (or beyond as it turns out). It wasn't bad to leap frog cams in this instance because I learned a thing or two about why it can be better to be bolder on the ow or at least more conservative in my selection of leads until I get my technique more dialed. I think that it might be a cold day in hell before I'd get to the anchors screwing around with the cams and blocking all of my jams the way that I was.

If you were worked like you said you were, maybe leapfrogging was the right answer. Sometimes it's right to commit to boldness, and sometimes you are tired, at higher risk for injury, and better off to leapfrog your cams and risk yelling "take" or taking a shorter fall.

Sorry. This was a pretty rambling answer to make the simple point of...ultimately it's better not to leapfrog, but there's a time and place for the weary and at risk warrior to do so too, IMO.


mrme


Jan 23, 2004, 9:16 PM
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Re: what do my fellow warriors think of leapfrogging cams [In reply to]
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when i learned how to climb i had a partner who always back cleaned when needed, and always said it is alright to bail off a climb "if the top piece is bomber and back it up if you can". I have since learned there is a time and place to back clean and a way to approach it. the journey never ends and failure is part of the journey.

i do not back clean as much as i used to but i am much more comfortable in my abilities and can acess when i need to and need not.

never be scared to admit defeat it is the only way you can learn from it.


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