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kjohns

getting into passive pro

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Perhaps cams for bigger shiznet is ok for first timers...but for a good read of why one should be really good at dickin' in nutz and small wires as opposed to simply firing in a small cam w/o knowing what the fook they are doing read this:

 

Accident w/ small aliens at Frog Buttress

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Even experienced climbers sometimes make mistakes when placing gear, which is why one might want to put in more gear than needed to protect the route, just in case one placement fails. The climber in question was really running out the pitch. 20 ft between placements. Also she wasn't wearing a helmet. She is lucky to be alive. Sounds an awful lot like what happened to Goran Kropp.

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Several peeople have advocated practicing easy aid or weighting placements so as to see what actually happens when they are loaded. In my experience this is not as pertinent as one would expect. The problem is this: In a lead fall the dynamic forces placed on each placement bear very little resemblance to loading each placement independently with bodyweight.

 

First, only the topmost piece will recieve a downward load.

 

Second, it will be shockloaded; usually with more force than you would generate by bounce testing. (impact force)

 

Third, as the rope tighten on all the zigs and zags created by the placement of anchors not perfectly in line, vector forces create outward and sideways loads on many placements.

 

Fourth, as the falling climber begins to be caught by the belay and the rope elongates, traveling upward under tension through every placement (except the last one), an actual upward loading can often occur on many placements, mimicking the upward yank that is so effective for removing nuts.

 

Fifth, if one placement fails, all the dynamics change and a second and different shockload is applied to the whole system.

 

Don't get me wrong; you will learn from aiding. But what make a good aid placement is a lot different from what makes good free climbing protection.

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Hmm. Was that post 666 Mitch? Bwahahah.

 

Anyways. What makes a good free climbing placement is definitely also a good aid placement, no? Can't think of any case where it wouldn't be.

 

Zippering is scary. Superglue the belayer to the rock, preferably by the nose? Runners...

 

Starting to aid taught me an enormous lot. Particularly relevant to the exact thing Retro is pointing out was seeing which pieces come out with a simple yank (upwards, alright - sideways, kinda discouraging) and which ones required heavy labor with the nut tool before they will even budge.

 

Aiding and cleaning your own pieces can help get a feel for which are the latter pieces. In fact, I'll say this - while aiding is cool for learning, cleaning your aid pieces is a whole lot cooler still.

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This discussion of the zipper effect makes this a good time to discuss omnidirectional anchors. This is something that often gets short shrift when learning to lead. An omnidirectional anchor CAN be a SLCD, but not all SLCD placements are suitable as omnis. Depending on the route, I will often put some combination of two nuts, hexes or cams in opposition so that they can take a load from any direction and not pull out. The omni redirects the pull on the rope from the belayer and decreases the likelihood that the pieces above will zipper out. There still is no guarantee that this will not happen. I was watching a father belay his son at Tieton. They had an omni in as the first piece. The route steepened half-way up. This mean that the rope took an upwards bend. When the son took a leader fall, several of the nuts below zippered out and he was hanging with his life dependent on the last one or two pieces. A cam placement at the deepest part of the pitch, would have been more resistant to zippering out because cams have a greater ability to take loads from various directions.

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One of the best is often a nut in a horizontal crack; often completely stable against an upward or downward pull, and often better than a cam. Also, slinging the multi-directional anchor short will go a long way toward minimizing the possibility of zippering other pieces.

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The best way to learn to lead is not by buying a bunch of unfamiliar active or passive gear and going and trying it. Placing pro is an art and the best way to learn it is by seconding good leaders and cleaning well placed pro of all types. Find someone who has been doing trad leads for awhile and start belaying for them and seconding. Second as many good leaders as you possibly can as there is a lot of style involved and different leaders will approach the same placement quite differently.

 

Do that until you understand what's going on and then go out and get some gear. I would also recommend getting familiar with the passive stuff first. The suggestion of just walking along the cliff putting in pieces and weighting them by clipping on an aider or a couple of long slings put together is a good one. The best leaders I know place pro gently without a bunch of yarding on it to "set" it. Rather they do very little setting, but you can take multiple falls on most of their placements and it will still come right out fairly easy. Skill like that takes a good eye, a creative mind, and just getting in a lot of yardage on interesting routes.

 

Also, the problem of stoppers or other passive pro coming out as the leader passes them is all to common but totally unnecessary with the proper placement, the length of sling on the piece, and/or another piece in opposition if it looks like it won't be able to stay put on its own. But then, that applies equally for cams...

 

Oh, and don't overlook natural pro - choke points in the rock a sling can go around etc...

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Perhaps cams for bigger shiznet is ok for first timers...but for a good read of why one should be really good at dickin' in nutz and small wires as opposed to simply firing in a small cam w/o knowing what the fook they are doing read this:

 

Accident w/ small aliens at Frog Buttress

 

There's nothing saying passive pro wouldn't have pulled out either. Maybe she just didn't pay as much attention to those placements as she should've. Maybe a nut would've stayed. Maybe not. It shows that there could've been a problem with the placement of the green alien, but it's just as possible to screw up placement of passive pro. Nobody saw the placement before it pulled, so don't make any assumtions yet.

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Totally disagree from the pics...a nut would have set pretty well slightly lower...also a bigger cam than the green one is in order...maybe she didn't have anything else that really fit on her rack??

Edited by RuMR

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oh yeah I'm not saying that a nut would have held in that exact spot, but it's possible that she just wasn't watching her placements well enough and anything could've pulled. boxing_smiley.gif

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....but it's possible that she just wasn't watching her placements well enough and anything could've pulled. boxing_smiley.gif

 

duh...really?? you so smart the_finger.gif

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