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Most Efficient Way to Jumar or Ascend Fixed Lines


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Despite some 5.8 searching (not at my best today), I couldn't find a good thread on this. So I'm going to try to use all of the words I searched for in one thread so that some other fool will have better results:


If you were to start from scratch, what sort of system would you assemble that would be the fastest, most efficient, best way to jug, jumar, ascend fix lines and follow aid pitches?


Setting routes in the gym, I've tried the two ascenders and two aiders system as well as the ascender and gri-gri system. Didn't particularly like either.


Has anybody used the Metolius Easy Aiders? There's a video on their site that makes it look fairly easy,




but it's probably totally propoganda because there's a pro climber jugging the rope like it's nobody's business. And you only see her go like 9 feet. What about the frog system? And Russian aiders?


What sort of systems do speed climbers use in the Valley (or elsewhere)?


I think I covered it all

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not sold on the Metolius Easy Aider. I haven't tried it, but it looks like a clusterfuck waiting to happen.


I prefer the standard 2jumar/2aider method. I believe most speed climbers use this tried and true method. My aiders have elastic to keep my feet in the loop, but I have also had sucess with a big fat rubber band (like the kind that holds broccli together in the grocery store). I typically have my Gri-Gri on the rope as well in lue of tying redundant back-up knots, and I stay tied into the rope.


Sometimes I'll use the 1jumar/1 gri-gri method. mostly on traversing pitches with lower-outs.


I have heard good things about the Frog system if you are Jugging 1 loooong overhanging line. Cavers use it...but in wall climbing it is probably less efficient in most applications. plus it requires extra gear.




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I like the idea of having the gri-gri kept on so you don't have to tie backup nots which are never fun. Does the weight of the rope (once you get above a certain height) then pull the rope through the gri-gri or do you have to pull through yourself? Isn't that a ton of shit around your belay loop?

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Not too much shit on your belay loop. two daisies and a gri-gri...vs two daisies and a biner w/backup knots.


Yes once the loop of rope gets heavy enough it feeds automatically, at first you have to pull it through...


one drawback is that you have to sort of uncam your bottom jug a little to push it up sometimes, which isn't so bad once you get use to it.



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The Easy Aider and Daisy set up is great for jugging. You can adjust the length until it is just right and the damn thing won't fall off your foot, no matter what you do. THe setup is basically what Lambone describes - One aider and one daisy on each Jumar. Make one aider (typically the left) a little shorter than the other (one step).


Everythingg else works just like FOTH.


Russian aiders have no benefit over the metolius stuff for jugging.


The best way to get better at jugging is to get a system you like and to use it a lot.

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If using any kind of simple loop for a stirrup - like maybe a prussik or a couple of shoulder length runners or something - you can make it stay on your foot by girth-hitching it to your foot and slipping one loop of the hitch behind your heel and keeping the other under your instep. It will not fall off your foot.

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The two ascenders and two etriers. Daisy chains going to both ascenders clipped short. All you need is lots of practice shifting your weight to get efficient at it.


The easy aider is a pain in the ass to use. But some people swear by them.


And the last question. Watch two a day with Tommy Caldwell. You'll see Rodden jugging up just like the normal people do. If it ain't broke don't fix it, eh?

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I'm definitely going to be practicing. Sadly, I haven't jugged a fixed line in a couple of years. Any others who have used the easy aiders? What about people who are on the heavy side of things. I'm not huge, but I somehow seem to outweigh every other climber (other than Marcus) by like 40 pounds. So the legs are definitely going to have to do the work. I'm still interested in hearing from those who have used the frog system. And what about this thread from RC.com which talks about a gri-gri/jumar combo as the best for cleaning aid pitches (are those of you who use this using a drilled gri-gri?):


"When it comes to jugging a free hanging rope, if you are using a system other than the Petzl Frog ascending system, then you are abso-frickin'-lutely nuts!


It is just way too strenuous, dude! Do you LIKE to suffer?? All you have to do is invest thirty-some bucks on a Petzl Croll ascender, get yourself a bit of 1/4" bungy cord or some webbing across each shoulder to attach to the back of your harness, and you're in business!


When I am soloing and fixing pitches, I usually jug up to my high point the first couple of days before I blast off. I have ample opportunity to compare my jugging speed to other climbers around me. [We're all jugging first thing in the morning...] Ordinarily, I am able to jug three times as fast as everyone else. I can do two hundred feet in about four and half minutes, assuming I have any reasonable degree of fitness. [This may be a huge assumption with me!] Cut that down by a minute after a week on the wall.


This has nothing to do with me - I have just left the office for cryin' out loud! But it has everything to do with my ascending system.


It is not uncommon for me to jug five times as fast as the guys who are really struggling.


I tell you this to stress the importance of setting yourself up with the Petzl Frog system.


When you are jugging a free hanging rope thusly, then you DO NOT TIE BACKUP KNOTS!


There are two reasons for this:


The first reason is because you do not need to! You are attached by two points of contact to the rope. If you cross a knot, and if you have tied your knot correctly - please click here to see the proper knot to join two ropes together - then you will clip into the knot with your cow's tail [that's a fancy cavers' term for a long draw on your harness]. You should always leave a clip-in point on your rope knots! Duh.


The second reason you don't bother with a backup knot is because you want the weight of the rope beneath you so that the rope slides through the Croll ascender without you having to pull it. On a dynamic rope, you might have to get thirty feet of rope beneath you before it self feeds. A stiffy static rope might work after ten or fifteen feet if you're lucky.







Firstly, you do not clean using two jugs! It is way too difficult.


The better way to clean a pitch on aid is to use one jug, one Grigri, and your adjustable fifi hook. The Grigri replaces the Croll ascender on your waist. Please click here to read how to clean a pitch on aid. You'll find a bit more information on this in the post above that talks about the Petzl Frog ascending system.


Intuitively you would think that replacing your Croll with a Grigri would be stupid because you have to pull the rope through the Grigri, but you will only have to clean about thirty or forty feet before you will be sold for life!


The benefits of being able to back off on the Grigri after you move your jug above the piece you are about to clean, and after you have fifi'd into your jug and put your weight on the jug above the piece, cannot be overstated. Never again will you fight with your lower ascender. Cleaning even the steepest aid is a piece of piss."


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I weigh more than any other climber I know, and I've had no difficulty jugging a pitch.


Keep it simple.


If you will be jugging a few overhanging pitches, figure out the frog. Rock and Ice has a really good article in their tech pages on this system.


If you are only jugging, you could make some non-adjustable foot stirrups like MattP suggests. Use a rubber band to keep them on your feet. Girth hitches and other slipknots will hurt your feet after a short while.


I've cleaned with a Gri Gri on my harness. It was wierd for me, but I'm used to the two jumar system. I've heard that it's great for cleaning traverses, but I've never tried it there.


Underworld - Aren't you a fan of the one Gri Gri, one jumar method?

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The frog system is less strenuous and faster for free hanging ascents. The frog falters on ascents where your feet touch the rock, however. Learn both systems and use each according to the terrain. If there is much of a slope on the face at all, take your feet completely out of the foot loops for the speediest ascent.


The Ravenna ravine foot bridge just N of the UW is a good place to practice 60+ ft free hanging ascents.

Edited by tvashtarkatena
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I've used a little of each setup. I have a set of the Metolius speed aiders and would definately vouch for those as being the fastest jugging setup. I've run a couple big walls with them in a day and thats by far the setup I'd stick with. They are very light and since there isn't much to them it's easy to keep your setup clean from turning into a cluster. They definately get worn out after a hundred or so pitches of jugging but are good especially in the dark or when you're tired since you can strap your feet in.


They absolutely suck for aid though but they've found a permanent space on my rack for big wall pushes with all the short fixing and jugging that goes on. If you break things into blocks then it makes for only a couple change overs with them, but if you do stuff like pre-mark them for "your" length then it's easy to swap between you and a buddy without thinking much.


The 1 jug + grigri works but if all you are doing is jugging and cleaning fast it gets tiring and old really fast. I've practiced on both setups before and can never go as fast with the grigri as I can with just two jugs. You just never spend much time doing completely free hanging jug pitches anyway and you can't really "shuffle" very well with that setup like you can with two ascenders, which is especially helpful if you also have a heavy pack on.


That said, if you are really coordinated a regular set of etriers should do you just as good as the set from Metolius, but then again not all of us can jug like one of the Huber brothers :)



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So it sounds like a good selection for cascade mixed aid/free routes (colchuck balanced rock, liberty crack, etc) when you want stay pretty light is to go with one ascender, one gri-gri, a pair of daisy chains, and a pair of alpine aiders. This would be a light setup that covers all of the bases. I don't have a ton of interest (or availibility) in the big wall department at this point, but for the shorter sections of aid/cleaning/jugging, this would go.

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We did CBR and liberty crack with two ascenders and Metolius speed aiders.


I guess it really depends on the style you plan to climb them and how "light" you want to be. If the second isn't jugging then just a set of alpine aiders is all you need really for the leader and the follow can climb/french free.


If you actually plan to aid and jug most pitches you mine as well give the second a full set of ascenders to work with at which point both of you will need something to aid and jug on.


You are missing one set of etriers though from your list, unless your leader can lead climb everything you get on where the second is the only one who will follow on jugs.


Don't forget fifi hooks either ;) Sometimes I have a hard time making myself take it off for regular routes ;)

Edited by tradclimbguy
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  • 2 weeks later...
no aid shit necesary on CBR, even if you can't free it, you can easily french free whatever you need to. KISS.


It all depends on how you want to do the route. We short fixed the whole thing and were back to the car before dark. All I was saying is that it depends on how you want to do it, we chose to practice our short fixing. If you can work out a way to hit 30 minute pitches without short fixing let me know, but I can't simul 5.12 like Hans and Yuji ;)


Good point though if you are both taking your time and climbing/following everything that a bit of french free will get you through the route.

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All situations I use a single ascender and traxion. The ascender has two aiders cliped and single daisy, the traxion I clip to my waist. Step and pull on the ascender, pull slack through traxion and sit back. Repeat over and over. If I am on the rock, I will use at least one foot on the rock. Through roofs, I go into aid mode, back cleaning as I go.


It is also easy to set the ascender and traxion for hauling after I am at the anchor.

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