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Simulclimbing

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Any good "how to" resources online (or a book) on simulclimbing. I've done a little but planning on a few routes this year that require lots. Need more tips for being more efficent. Thanks.

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If it's a clean, straight line (couloir, clean rock, etc) you can pay out more rope between you to swing leads less often. If it's more zig zag, take coils and pay out less. Put as much or as little pro in as you need to to satisfy you and your partner's confidence level on the terrain. Use long runners to keep the rope drag down. If it's too chossy, you might be better off putting the rope away entirely rather than having it knock a wee giftie down on your second.

 

I can't think of too much more you need to know.

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no climb "requires" simul-climbing, it can always be pitched out. It's something that just happens when the climbing becomes easy enough for you and your partner and pitching it out isn't necessary. Imagine climbing a pitch that gets so easy for you that when you hit the end of the rope instead of building and anchor and belaying your buddy up, they just break down the anchor and start climbing up after you. You just keep simuling until you either run out of gear or get to a tough spot that causes you to stop and build another anchor and let your buddy catch back up again.

 

Tvash has some good tips though for the actual "act" of simuling. My only rule of thumb on simuling is the "no fall" rule. No simuling if you think there is a chance to fall. Outside of that you can simul on a full rope, simul on a short rope. Stop and do partial belays throughout a simuling pitch. Just make sure you've always got a few bomber pieces of gear between you, that is your anchor.

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When leading out along ridges, simulclimbing or otherwise, in addition to placing gear, I like to drape the rope on alternating sides of horns and other features I encounter along the way -- i.e. first the rope passes a horn on the left, then on the right, etc.

 

Ditto on keeping a few pieces of bomber gear in. I would not feel comfortable simulclimbing if the gear was not good, or if there was no pro (i.e. chossy gully). The same goes for steep snow.

 

I always like to keep at least a small coil with me when simulclimbing. I don't like the idea of being at the end of the rope in an emergency.

 

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Eric, has it ever caught a follower for you? If so, how'd the rope sheath fare? We simuled up some 5.8ish last year (strayed). Thoughts of tiblocs ran through my head :) Anyhoo, with some long 5ish sections coming up next year and having experienced one crappy unplanned bivy, I'm revisiting the idea. I've been leaning towards the ropeman though - 3 oz each and spring loaded sounds pretty good. One concern (over the mechanics of how) is how to be quick when placing these and making sure that they're placed so that the rope runs through them smoothly. Any pointers on that (prerigged?)? On another note, do you coil at the leader and the follower equally to make swapping lead easier or do you keep the coiled end with the follower?

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IMO, if you're going to carry coils, both the leader and second should have some "just in case."

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I suppose who carries what would depend alot on the situation too. Having at least some with with the leader makes sense regardless though. Thanks rob

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I've never used coils really. Simul with the better climber on the bottom and just always climb with a bit of slack in the line. It's up to the second to climb at the same rate as the leader and up to the leader to keep a pace that can be matched over all terrain. It's always up to the second to NEVER fall either.

 

As for the tibloc or ropeman I wouldn't trust leaving something rigged up and unmanned like that. Most times Im simuling anyway it's fast enough you don't have time to do that useless stuff. Anyway if you feel like you need a tibloc then you probably shouldn't be simuling the section and should just take the time to break it down and pitch it out a bit.

 

If you hit a tough section, stop and toss in some extra gear then tell your second you need a belay then climb the section. The second can either act as a literal moving belay or gain some distance then toss on a belay device if you don't already have one threaded on the rope.

 

Simuling takes alot of teamwork to do it right. The second has to act as a constantly moving counterweight anchor and be able to match speed and jump into a belay situation at any moment.

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Simuling takes alot of teamwork to do it right. The second has to act as a constantly moving counterweight anchor and be able to match speed and jump into a belay situation at any moment.

 

in a lot of cases the mere presence of the second as a dead weight at the other end of the rope will be fine.

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There are two ways to set up the tibloc, the right way and a couple of wrong ways (like upsidedown). First, use a rounded biner as it will work more smoothly. second, make sure that the rope is running through the caribiner and in the tibloc, not merely though the tibloc. If it is running through the biner it has never shredded the rope on me. Before i learned that trick, I had it shred some rope by running it merely through the tibloc.

 

Fast to set up, works beautifully. If you ever want a demo buddy, just let me know.

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Simuling takes alot of teamwork to do it right. The second has to act as a constantly moving counterweight anchor and be able to match speed and jump into a belay situation at any moment.

 

in a lot of cases the mere presence of the second as a dead weight at the other end of the rope will be fine.

 

Isn't that what I said?

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Weaker climber should lead if they can route find and protect ok.

 

When doing a lot of simulclimbing (N. Ridge on Mt. Stuart for example) it might make things overall faster to bring more runners and chocks than normal, in order to have longer blocks between belays.

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There are two ways to set up the tibloc, the right way and a couple of wrong ways (like upsidedown). First, use a rounded biner as it will work more smoothly. second, make sure that the rope is running through the caribiner and in the tibloc, not merely though the tibloc. If it is running through the biner it has never shredded the rope on me. Before i learned that trick, I had it shred some rope by running it merely through the tibloc.

 

Fast to set up, works beautifully. If you ever want a demo buddy, just let me know.

 

Do you have a pic...i'm having a hard time visualizing this.

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Any good "how to" resources online (or a book) on simulclimbing.

 

ALPINE CLIMBING: TECHNIQUES TO TAKE YOU HIGHER By Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley has some good info.

 

7495.jpg

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I personally think the strong partner should lead. Faster, less pro, better route finding. He should know when the second is getting to a "spot" and pro or dig in.I like to double a skinny rope.

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My two cents...if the weaker climber can't route find or protect adequately, then that rope team should not be simul climbing. If you can't handle the basics than simul climbing may not be the best choice

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I always prefer to have the stronger partner on the bottom of the rope belaying as the second must not fall or your both dead. Climbing and belaying at the same time is not an easy task so the weaker climber should not be trying to both, Basically the person that is belaying needs to comfortable soloing the terrain, if not they should be belaying/climbing as normal. I could see having the stronger climber go first if he/she was faster at route finding and terrain that was easy for the second.

 

Often times on long moderates there will be shot sections that are to difficult to simul through but don't need a full-on belay. For this I like to have the leader stop and clip a bomber pieces and belay the second up. A Grigri is perfect for this as the second can tie in short simply by putting a knot below the device and can than climb through the hard section. Once through the hard section, take the knot out of the Grigri and continue to climb as normal. Yeah Grigri is sort of heavy to carry around the mountains, but for rock simuling it is great.

 

 

 

 

I personally think the strong partner should lead. Faster, less pro, better route finding. He should know when the second is getting to a "spot" and pro or dig in.I like to double a skinny rope.

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I have found one 200 foot rope works well. One of you ties into both ends and the other tie into the middle. Then you are 100 feet apart and will have less rope drag.

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I picked up "Alpine Climbing: Techniques to take you higher." It's got some good stuff in it - thanks for the advice tomtom.

 

I also picked up a Ropeman and played with it a bit on the rock. Setting it up for a running belay is pretty quick and easy but I did find that unless I set it for a multidirectional pull, because it's spring-loaded it rises towards the leader potentially pulling the piece. Plus, even if the piece doesn't pull out, if the 2nd falls the rope will be yanked downward and possibly pull the leader off. Maybe I'm missing some detail in placing it?

 

Then there's the whole "tooth" thing that someone mentioned on another thread. The Ropeman II (for skinnier ropes) has smaller teeth than the Tibloc but it seems there's still some potential for tearing the sheath in a fall. Which brings up another question - being spring-loaded and having teeth, what's been other's experiences with rope wear due to dragging it through the Ropeman time and again?

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See tip number 7; http://www.psychovertical.com/?10speed

 

I picked up a ropeman II for this reason. Except it says it shouldn't be subject to shock loads and is good down to an 8.5 mm rope. It actively cams all the time and cams on an 8mm rope when I tested it at home.

 

I like some of the other techniques previously mentioned (placing bomber pro, using horns) in combination with the ropeman/tibloc add a bit of safety. Obviously the best protection is to follow the first rule.

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Petzl specifically recommends NOT simul-climbing with a ti-bloc for good reason - it was never designed to be dynamically loaded. When they first came out, there were several near misses and the fatality of a French guide and his client. All incidences were caused by the Second falling, creating enough force that the tibloc shredded the sheath and moving far enough down the rope that the Leader was still pulled from his stance. In the case of the French guide, this fall also lead to the rope completely seperating and both climbers falling to their death.*

 

A device like a Pro-Traxion works differently than a Tibloc by being spring loaded (instead of weight-loaded), and in constant direct contact with the rope. At least, that's how it was explained to me. I have a lot of experience solo top-roping with a Pro-Traxion, and that seems to make sense to me for simul-climbing if I wanted to use one that way.

 

Hans Florine does a great job describing a simul-climbing strategy in his book Speed Climbing! How to Climb Faster and Better.

 

The Rule of Thumb is best described as: The Leader Should Not Be Pulled Off by the Second. If the Leader should fall (first), then the Second may get lifted off of their stance, but the team is counter-balanced. If the Second falls (first), and pulls off the Leader, and then continues to Fall - try to imagine what happens to the Leader. If this isn't the case - if I felt like some sort of belay was needed (like a Ropeman, Pro-Traxion, or budha-help me a Tibloc) - I stop simul-climbing and start pitching it out.

 

Apparently this scenario also increases the force transfered to the highest piece of protection - and is the believed cause of a pair of climbers who fell from the Fishhook Arete on Mt Russell a few years ago. They were found at the base of the wall with a string of protection clipped to the rope between them, but no anchors. The stronger climber was following.

 

Also, if the Leader is the less-strong climber and climbing at their soloing limit, then the Second should be climbing well below their limit and able to remove gear, speed up, slow down, etc. without causing the Leader much hassle.

 

Just some random thoughts.

Chris

 

*My source for the French Guide accident was the Technical Director of the AMGA, who was told of it through the IFMGA network.

Edited by chris

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