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Simul-climbing - I don't get the appeal

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Me and my friend were simul-climbing on the NE Buttress of Goode (2500 feet of mostly class 4, with a mid 5 crux, pitching out would take forever); I was leading and I suddenly heard him yell something like "oh shit, are you ok?" I didn't know what he was taking about at the time, but it turned out that he fell when a foothold broke off, and I didn't even notice because of rope drag.

 

That route is made for simul-climbing IMO. lots and lots of straightforward 5.0 climbing on pretty good rock, with just a couple pitches of mid fifth class thrown in.

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I don't quite get the logic here. If "you must not fall" then why be roped in at all?

I'm no Jim Nelson, but times I've simulclimbed I've found it extremely cumbersome, since you have to keep climbing at very close to the same rate of the other person, who you may well be out of sight of. I can see half a dozen different ways you're more likely to fall or get jerked off your your footing simulclimbing than free climbing. There's no planting an ice axe on a 5.0 rock scramble.

Seems to me the thing to do would be to shorten the rope down to 20-30 feet or so if you're going to do it, mostly for the benefit of saving the hassle of unroping.

You'd certainly have to be much more in sync with your partner than if you're pitch-climbing.

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Yes, shortening the rope is a very good idea.

 

I usually aim for about 20m.

 

Yes, you have to be in tune with your partner and move at roughly the same pace.

 

Simulclimbing IS "free-climbing" (as opposed to "aid climbing").

 

"You must not fall" is the mental mantra to keep you focused on each foothold and handhold and to keep three points of contact at all times. Of course, if you were absolutely sure that you weren't going to fall, you wouldn't need the rope, but even when we think we are absolutely sure about something, we can be wrong.

 

 

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I don't quite get the logic here. If "you must not fall" then why be roped in at all?

I'm no Jim Nelson, but times I've simulclimbed I've found it extremely cumbersome, since you have to keep climbing at very close to the same rate of the other person, who you may well be out of sight of. I can see half a dozen different ways you're more likely to fall or get jerked off your your footing simulclimbing than free climbing. There's no planting an ice axe on a 5.0 rock scramble.

Seems to me the thing to do would be to shorten the rope down to 20-30 feet or so if you're going to do it, mostly for the benefit of saving the hassle of unroping.

You'd certainly have to be much more in sync with your partner than if you're pitch-climbing.

it's like climbing back in the day except were a bunch of pussies with sweet gear and sticky rubber.

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1) you might find climbing easier with rope paid out instead of over shoulder

 

2) saves untying, coiling, uncoiling and retying between harder pitches

 

3) can brag about how you set a new human-dog speed record by simuling Thermogenesis with your mutt

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Quote... "I arrested a 15' leader fall rock climbing on the Chief at Squamish a few years back that broke my leg and ankle from the force (the rope looped around my leg/ankle as my buddy fell towards me and then torqued both after he bounced off my head and went zipping past for another 15'). If I hadn't have been clipped into the belay station (eg. simul-climbing) the incident would have been far uglier."

 

Keep the rope from wrapping around your leg dumbass. Ever heard of rope management? Completely your fault. Your should not simul. Then again it may be safer than having u belay someone.

 

 

 

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3) can brag about how you set a new human-dog speed record by simuling Thermogenesis with your mutt

Arc is half man half amazing.

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Keep the rope from wrapping around your leg dumbass. Ever heard of rope management? Completely your fault. Your should not simul. Then again it may be safer than having u belay someone.

 

Thanks for that sage advice smithisheaven - asshole. I'll try and remember that next time I'm climbing on a double rope set up, my buddy falls, zippers out 3 pieces instantly pooling 30' of rope around my feet and then rockets past me. Then again, I did think about it during my 4 hour rescue, the subsequent surgery, recuperation period...

 

That said, and despite your needless and ill-founded barb, I was pleased that folks jumped in and offered some thought provoking information re: simul-climbing. While I may or may not chose to use the technique in the future I've learned something.

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I don't quite get the logic here. If "you must not fall" then why be roped in at all?

 

For those times when the footholds or handholds break.

 

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The leader must not fall but the second needs a tight rope, PLEASE! TAKE! FUCKFUCKFUCK I SAID TAKE!!!!!11

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Mr. Phil -

 

FYI - in July of 1982, climbing with a partner I'd been introduced to in a pub the evening before the climb, I "pitched out" the complete nort ridge of Stuart in a reasonably casual day from a bivouac in the moraines below ice-cliff glacier. We both climbed in mountain boots, did not even carry rock shoes.

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Why would you carry rock shoes if you did your climbing in boots? :grin:

 

Are you talking "CNR" as in not using the glacier at all; i.e. ~3000 feet of pitched out climbing?

 

How long did that take you (that is, can you be more specific than "casual day", did you bivy at the top)? How many pitches? :shocked:

 

I am obviously having trouble wrapping my brain around pitching out the Complete North Ridge in a casual day. Please elaborate! Thank you.

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I am obviously having trouble wrapping my brain around pitching out the Complete North Ridge in a casual day.

 

Uhh...CNR in a casual day while pitching it out. mmm....

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I think you are right on this one selkirk... I have heard about people using tiblocs to simulclimb, but it doesn't seem very safe to me... Especially with a smaller diameter rope which it may not catch initially. If you read the instructions, you are supposed to engage the teeth using you thumb cause if you dont, chances are that you will just snag a bit of the sheath and rip it. Not to mention that you probably would need to rig some type of multi-directional anchor to keep from any drag through the setup from pulling the gear in a weird way (like maybe sliding a picket out of the slope?). I haven't tried it though, so maybe someone can comment on this. Sure would be kinda neat if it does work well.

 

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Correct me if I'm wrong but don't tiblocs work basically the same way ascenders do? If this is so, using them for simul climbing is a very very bad idea. It doesn't take much of an impact for an ascender to chop a rope. A number of people have died because of this. This is why they are not used for rope soling. I assume it would be to keep the climiber on the bottom from pulling off the guy on top. Maybe in a perfect world this would work but that will never happen. If you have to stop and rig up some kind of drectional your starting to defet the purpose (speed).

 

As for the question of who goes first and who follows, I would argue if you need to ask the question, maybe you should just belay instead. When I have simul climbed, one person leads until the rack is almost gone. The leader sets up an anchor and belays. The second now has the rack. Once the belay is reached there is no reason to re-rack, just keep swapping leads. The other times if have simul climbed is on extra long pitches or when you thought there was enough rope to reach the next anchor. In this case you usually don't know until your almost out of rope. Too late to figure out who should be leading. Then the only option is to down climb to an anchor or simul.

 

I know it is not often done but you can simul climb on aid too. I have done it a few times for short sections to link pitches together. Fortunetly when I have done it, it was planned so the leader left all gear in place for the first 20 feet or so. The other time the pitch started out on a bolt ladder.

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The point of the Tiblocs is that when the second falls off they don't pull the leader off. They do nothing to stop the leader from pulling the second upwards if the leader falls.

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Clipped this quote referencing the use of Tiblocs from http://www.alpine-guides.com/alpine%20efficiency%20article.htm

 

"The ultimate moving together skill, simul-climbing involves moving with most of the rope out on technical ground that would normally be pitched. Prussic devices such as Tiblocs are placed on runners above crux sections to hold the second should they fall - and prevent the leader being yanked off! Other runners are placed as sparingly as you dare to conserve the rack and increase the distance you can travel before regrouping. This technique requires lots of practice to perfect, and careful thought in using the Tiblocs to prevent rope damage. Limitations are: the size of your rack, rope drag and you ability to climb confidently without a belay! This is a great thing to practice on ice couloirs with the occasional bulge, as there are no rope drag issues. Simul-climbing has resulted in some awesome speed climbing achievements well documented in the press and is a great tool to have in your alpine skills box."

 

 

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I've never done the intermediate tibloc while simuling idea and don't think I ever will. In fact, I think it is a pretty dangerous idea.

 

1) I can imagine it very easily cutting or SEVERELY damaging the rope.

 

I've seen a tibloc shread a rope sheath when somebody was trying to jug on it and it didn't engage all the way. Glad it wasn't my rope. Even with a small toproped fall with a bit of slack, that would be a lot of force going onto a tibloc. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

 

 

2) without someone there to mind it, I can easily imagine it somehow getting twisted around and locking up in some wierd way.

 

 

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I'm no Jim Nelson, ...

 

Lucky for him :rolleyes:

 

The CNR (w/gendarme) is a great example of a simulable (new word) route. The first few pitches are a bit much for an average leader to solo, but for the most part after that it's low 5th, if not 4th class climbing. When following, I usually leave my belay device attached to the rope, with a knot tied behind it. If the leader needs a belay, I can plug a few pieces and have him on in a matter of seconds.

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That's Wild Country Ropeman

 

I used to carry one until once we fixed a line over a bergschrund and I had to jug up the icy line. The ropeman sucked... it slipped all over the place and wouldn't hold worth a damn. This was one of the older models... maybe they've gotten better.

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I'd like to hear from someone who took a fall onto a tibloc.

FWIW When I bought my first tibloc I set up 3 different ropes off my house (I have a corner of my house that drops ~28') and I wanted to see how well it would work. 3 ropes: 10mm Mammut, 9.5mm Edelrid and some bulk 7mm line I use for runners. Carabiners were BD OvalWires. I had a 10mm attached as well as back up in the event of failure. Even if I decked, I'd land on a thick ivy slope so the damage to me would be minimal. I allowed ~8'-10' of slack on the Tibloc and essentially stood on the edge of the roof and jumped. BTW it was a Saturday afternoon and the Mirror Pond was tasty and probably had somehting to do with my motivation for even attemting all of this.

 

The Results: the 10mm and the 9.5mm held just fine. But the 7mm ripped the rope hard. It held before I decked, but it really ripped the sheath hard. I was expecting this because I think the limits on the Tibloc are about 8mm??

 

I also did the same "experiment" with my old ascenders and Gibbs ascenders. Not sure if it was because of the surface area involved, but these both worked marginally better than the Tibloc.

 

Anyway, this was far from scientific, and I couldn't give you any measurements (Kg) of force, but at the time I was really curious how this simple device would work.

 

 

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BTW it was a Saturday afternoon and the Mirror Pond was tasty and probably had somehting to do with my motivation for even attemting all of this.
Your neighbors must think you're crazy!

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