Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Biff

HELP. Please.

Recommended Posts

I love my fiance. Really, I do. But her belaying skills are not inspiring confidence. Frankly, I can trust her to belay me on topropes, and even then, when she lowers me, it's drop, stop, drop, stop-and that's with a Gri-Gri. We're headed to Fresno, CA for a week-and I have to climb. Any moderate (5.6-5.9) sport climbs in the area? Any toperopes that might work for a 60m rope? Anything in Yosemite, Pinnacles that might meet these needs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a gri-gri isn't a panacea for shitty belaying skills ... maybe if you take the time to help her develop better rope control you won't be limited to easy sport climbs and short top ropes? It's not just your safety at stake, it's her's also.

in any case good luck. I have always found that a good place to find info about the climbs available in areas is the guidebook for that area. wink.gif" border="0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that if you have not been able to teach her correct belay technique, you should not try now. Couples climbing always presents difficulties; in this case I would do several things --

1) Does she like to climb or is she just climbing for you? Did she climb before you met her? Converting a girlfriend into a climber is sometimes not a good idea, for lots of reasons, but the reason I ask is because *if* she is actually climbing because she likes it and not just to make you happy, then

2) Talk to her frankly and tell her her belay technique sucks. Now comes the hard part:

3) suggest she learn better belay technique from a class or *someone other than you*. Hire a guide to teach her for a day. It will be worth the money. When she learns from someone other than you, there wont be any of the sublte couples-stuff going on. She will become a better belayer. Both of you will be happier.

I suggest all this because at one time I tried to "convert" a non-climbing girlfriend into a climber. She thought it was all novel, but had no desire to get better since she wasnt really interested in *climbing*.

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Biff, is that the sound you make when your girlfriend drops you? I agree with Alex, wholeheartedly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Pinnacles will be great for you and your chick. Leave the gri-gri and adapt her to a reverso. Ask for Neil at the gate, he has the skinny on the 5.6-5.9 ers... One last note, the cave is choice for a romantic interlude mid-week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buddy... she can't belay you right? That's too bad. I'd break up with her if I were you. After all, if she can't belay, who knows what else she can't do right. Get out of there while you still can! Find some burly climber chick with a beard that leads 5.13 trad, that will be better. Trust me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

never tried it but here's an idea.

Set up a top rope where you can walk around. Get a heavy bag (150 lbs) and attach it to the "climber" end of the top rope with the bag at the top of the climb. Go back down and teach her how to lower the bag slowly. Be positive and don't criticize at all. If the problem is she doesn't know how to lower, then she can learn with good teaching.I heard stories of the old school mountaineers learning how to hold leader fall with hip belays in a similiar manner. Should work for ya but of course skip the hip belay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by Biff:
I love my fiance. Really, I do. But her belaying skills are not inspiring confidence. Frankly, I can trust her to belay me on topropes, and even then, when she lowers me, it's drop, stop, drop, stop-and that's with a Gri-Gri. We're headed to Fresno, CA for a week-and I have to climb. Any moderate (5.6-5.9) sport climbs in the area? Any toperopes that might work for a 60m rope? Anything in Yosemite, Pinnacles that might meet these needs?

I find it harder to lower at a consistant rate with a gri-gri. it's just to hard to control the speed of the descent with the lever, it's too touchy, there is such a fine line betwwen locked and all the way open.

Try an ATC instead, show her how to use it and explain the friction concept carefully. Don't just show her how it works, explain why it works. It's important for belayers to understand why they are doing what they are doing when they belay. Never over-estimate what someone knows when they are just learning. Start from scratch and go over everything slowly. It will save you alot of pain and misery in the long run.

With the gri-gri, try this: Tell her not to try and control how fast you come down with the lever. Instead have her hold the lever all the way down and control the speed of descent with the brake hand. That will make it smoother.

Climbing will be less stressfull for you both when you both fully understand the systems involved. Never count on a gri-gri to keep you safe. I speak from exprience, the only time I've been injured climbing was when a friend dropped me with a gri-gri. It was 100% my fault because I didn't take the time to fully explain what was involved, it was a beginner. My fiance and I have taken a self rescue course together, and it was the single best investment weve ever made, she is way more confident with systems now, and she finds climbing much more enjoyable cause shes less stressed out.

There is a Top Roping guide for Yosemite, you should be able to find it down there. Have fun, good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One way to make lowering on a Gri-Gri smoother is to use the curled metal plate on the back of it as the main braking element by pulling the rope over it and down and have the lever as a back up. If most or all of the braking is done by the lever, jerkiness is unavoidable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although replies aren't necessary, I feel as if I must defend m'lady's honor. She's sweet, young and, although not a climber, she is a willing belayer. I definately agree that someone, other than myself, should do the technical instruction with regards to belaying, especially when I recall how it was that I came to purchase the Gri-Gri in the first place.******Fade to hazy memory***** She was lowering me off of a sport route on the choss-pile we'll call Fossil Rock, 'cuz it was Fossil Rock. Belaying me with a Trango "Jaws". She was locked off, so I could unclip a draw. I turned around to request some slack, when I noted that she was tying her shoes. With both hands. BOTH HANDS. She has two hands. I began screaching. It so happens that Jim Yoder was on the route next to me. He suggests, when the echoes of my cursing faded, that I purchase a Gri-Gri. Thank-Goddess that the trango devise has deep and grabby slots. Can this marraige be saved? Keep in mind-she's beautiful, pliant and kind-plus she lets me take off climbing every weekend, buys me beer and cleans the house. And she has deep and grabby slots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as places to go climbing near Fresno...

Avoid Pinnacles Nat'l Monument. The drive is longer than getting to Yosemite and it pretty much is big pile of choss. You have not experienced rockfall until you've been to Pinnacles. It tends to be the worst this time of year too as the rock is weakened by the wetness. I lived about an hour and a half from there for 6 years and didn't go down that often once I knew the difference. IF you decide to go that route, go to the east side of the monument, and areas such as the upper crust and Discovery Wall are pretty good. If you want a long one you can set up a TR on, Coyote Ugly is fun (and ever changing due to rockfall. *Only* do the 10c variation on TR).

There are a couple of local areas around there in the Sierra foothills. The local guideshops are okay and friendly. Probably the nicest people in Fresno.

"Fresno: the source of all irrational thought." shocked.gif" border="0confused.gif" border="0shocked.gif" border="0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted, almost none of us are answering the questions you asked because we are cacade, not sierra climbers, but just to add to the unsolicited drone . . .

Gloves make a waaayy smother lower on a gri gri. It takes the pain away from lowering someone and using the brake hand instead of the lever to control speed. Also, lowering is easier to control smoothly if the climb is short (less stretch to create the bungee effect) and the rope thick.

matt

Seriously, though, letting go with both hands shows a huge deficiency. If she wasn't told, the deficiency was in the teacher.

[ 02-27-2002: Message edited by: Matt Anderson ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking out that large life insurance policy was not a good idea. It's obvious she's trying to kill you.

My wife tried to kill me once. She had the rope running through the locking biner but not the ATC. She dicovered the mistake when I asked for tension before having her lower me on a TR. I rapped! I share your concern. Now I don't climb with her anymore (very much). It's a lot better that way!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Central Cali Climbing:

I've heard of some "Rock" right off the coast of San Fran. Supposedly it's mostly "permanent locals" that hang out there, but they love visitors!

About the husband/wife thing: no offence to you or your wife, and I don't even know either of you, but I put squabbly husband/wife teams at the crag right up there with people who bring their dogs and/or kids. [hell no]

dave brannon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In general climbers are too emotionally retarded to have girlfriends and wives. If they do have one, temporarly, there certainly isn't going to be any communication and that rules out teaching her how to belay unless you don't mind training her for the next climber which brings me to my point. If you must climb with your sexual partner, find one that has been through a climber or two and at least one belay training session at the gym. Pack extra shit so she doesn't have to go without. And don't sneek up on her when she is going potty. They hate that.

If you think you are going to teach your non-climbing girlfriend how to belay, I have a brand new pair of EB's to sell you. [laf]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

quote:

Originally posted by glen:
As far as places to go climbing near Fresno...

Avoid Pinnacles Nat'l Monument. The drive is longer than getting to Yosemite and it pretty much is big pile of choss. (snip)"Fresno: the source of all irrational thought."
shocked.gif" border="0confused.gif" border="0shocked.gif" border="0

Dude has been to Fossil he aint gonna be turned off by Pinnacles.

i say, either kwit climbing or getcha self a new girlfriend. either way you solve your problem. cause there is nothing worse than a clueless belayer, except a clueless leader trying to teach his belayer how to belay from halfway up the climb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really responsive to the intial question but..the Pinnacles Rock! I first was exposed to rock climbing there in the 60's as a kid with my dad. I would suggest looking up Clint Cummin's site on the Pinnacles routes. Maybe even asking him about good TR spots. Great hiking there too. It isn't all that close to Fresno is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems like everytime I climbed at Pinnacles I came home with pockets full of choss. For an extra hour of driving you could be in the valley.

I guess if you live in the southern end of the Bay Area it would be better. I lived in beautiful downtown San Mateao and really prefferred driving to the paradise of granite. I can't imagine going to Pinnacles over Yosemite if you live anywhere on the east side of the Bay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all, for the input-I'm driving from SF, and will probably do a "Choss Compare and Contrast" with Pinnacles, viv-a-vis Fossil Rock. I have ordered a copy of "Yosemite Toperopes". And I have diligently prepared my Girl for the inevitable fall. And gene pires, you rock, man. grin.gif" border="0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people fall in love with others who don't share the same passions, but want to be supportive. If she is willing to belay you, be happy. Don't listen to some asshole who judges her on her interests. As long as she is interested in you not hitting the ground, help her to know how to prevent it. Practice makes perfect. And, lambone should either kiss or kill Capt. Caveman. There I've said it. cool.gif" border="0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DO NOT teach something you love (unless its sex) to someone you're married or otherwise permanently hitched to. If you teach her to climb, BC ski, etc, YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO TAKE THEM WITH YOU!! This WILL become a hateful idea at some point (even if you are in love).

This is the best peice of advice I have for a climber, mountaineer...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I find it harder to lower at a consistant rate with a gri-gri. It's just to hard to control the speed of the descent with the lever, it's too touchy, there is such a fine line between locked and all the way open."

The instruction pamphlet says the cam can be used to assist in braking when lowering a climber; but as Lambone said, it's too touchy. It's best to open the lever fully and keep it open fully while lowering or rappelling.

But there are many cases where the belayer can't create enough friction with their braking hand to lower a climber smoothly and comfortably with a Gri-Gri - belayer has weak hand strength, climber is super heavy (haul bag is super heavy), belayer is in second week of roadtrip and previous week took it's tool on skin, etc...

I've developed a piggyback friction system that provides smooth, comfortable and confident lowering from even the most tender and weak belayer's hands. This can be used to lower with a Gri-Gri using an 8.8mm line.

Clip a biner on the belay biner on the right side of the Gri-Gri. Now clip the brake rope through the new biner. As you raise the brake rope it lifts the new biner up and into the brake rail of the Gri-Gri pinching the rope. I fashioned this after the Garda Hitch or Alpine Clutch.

The brake biner should be small (Neutrino, Helium, etc) or medium in size (oval, symmetric-D, etc) because a larger biner won't create the pinching effect. Different biners create varying friction and control depending on the length of their major axis and the shape of cross section of the stock. Typically, cold-forged biners are preferable to hot-forged for this purpose (think cheap smile.gif" border="0

And perhaps it's best if the gate faces into the belayer's body and down, keeping it's opening furtherst from the brake rope.

The load the brake biner places on the belay biner is less than 50lbs so there's no worry about improper 3 point loading of the belay biner.

I've witnessed countless males hollering belligerently at a female belayer for lowering them jerky with a Gri-Gri. After I share my piggback friction system with them both, the female delights in the light hand it takes to fully control the brake line while lowering their unpropitious partner smoothly.

...a single leather glove for the brake hand reduces wear and tear on skin, but does not add significant additional friction in many cases... besides... who wants to trot about with a special glove just for belaying.... probably the same sporto that trots about Jacks Canyon with a Gri-Gri wink.gif" border="0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×