Rock climbing equipment

20 Oct 2013 10:05 #58832 by ghaznavid
A question I have posted on ClimbZA, but some of the climbing guys here may be able to help:

If the biggest problem with climbing in the Drakensberg is usually big lead-outs on shaky gear and relatively bad rock. I know many of the harder routes will be done with the use of aid, but not usually above A2.

Now assuming I am leading a route and I have a lead-out that exceeds the distance between the last piece and the ground, or perhaps I am traversing on the route and would swing - or any other position where the danger in the event of a fall is rather severe, would a setup where I had 2 aid hooks on a sling/chord looped through my waist and leg loops on my harness, and before making a move I place each of these hooks as high as I can (i.e. so they would catch me when I have just slipped or the rock/vegetation has just broken - I know they are strictly body weight only).

While this wouldn't replace a rope and gear, it could prevent/catch a fall.

The question:
- Has anyone out there tried this?
- Anyone got any reasons why this is a bad idea?
- Any important info I need to know regarding any part of this subject?

Ps. trying to look up the info for this has made me think that aid climbing could actually be quite fun :whistle:

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21 Oct 2013 08:51 #58840 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Re: Rock climbing equipment

ghaznavid wrote: Now assuming I am leading a route and I have a lead-out that exceeds the distance between the last piece and the ground, or perhaps I am traversing on the route and would swing - or any other position where the danger in the event of a fall is rather severe, would a setup where I had 2 aid hooks on a sling/chord looped through my waist and leg loops on my harness, and before making a move I place each of these hooks as high as I can (i.e. so they would catch me when I have just slipped or the rock/vegetation has just broken - I know they are strictly body weight only).


Ghaz - this idea doesn't sound good. Generally those hooks only stay in place when you have some weight on them. Once you move away, they are unlikely to stay where you placed them. Also, once you have a lead rope(s) and other, separate slings/short ropes attached to you and gear then its going to get messy and you will be spending head-time worrying about all the 'strings-attached'. In general, I get that you are trying to find ways to add confidence, esp when run-out. But the way to do that is to climb well and confidently and that means with less stuff to hassle you. Climbing well within grade is the answer.

Another way to put all this is as follows: suppose you were well within your limits climbing a grade 13 (say you could get up a lot of 17s or 18s). Then it would actually be physically easier to climb a 13 with chalk bag and boots only than with lead ropes and rack. The less stuff you have to worry about, the more you can focus on the moves/balance etc. Start counting the number of times you fall off a 13. It won't be many, if any.
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21 Oct 2013 09:23 #58842 by ghaznavid
Thanks for your advice :thumbsup:

The reply I have had on ClimbZA has basically been that those hooks might break bits of rock off and be flung at high speed at my face when falling on them. Seeing as I am anti chipping and other things that break the rock I think I need to drop this idea any way.

I have only ever fallen on real rock once, it was on my first actual climb - seconding Adams Apoplexy. Hardest route I have done on top rope was Sans Gans (13) at Rumdoodle (Kloof Gorge). My hardest lead is Adams Apoplexy (12) but it feels harder than Sans Gans (perhaps just because I was on lead). I really need to get onto rock more :(

Unfortunately I don't have the confidence on rock to push myself to the point of falling, so I end up doing easy routes - and the lack of confidence is demonstrated by how slowly I climb these routes. Its hard to push past 12's when the hardest route I want to do in the Berg is somewhere between a 10 and 11 (Cathkin standard route).

I must just hurry up and do Sentinel standard route and the peaks along the Bell Traverse. Otherwise I'm just going to keep talking about doing it and never actually do it.

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21 Oct 2013 10:31 #58844 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Rock climbing equipment
My experience is that the Berg climbing typically gets very blank, and requires a lot of balancy and friction-based moves on the harder parts. Not a lot to hook onto anyway.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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