17

Reading the comments and discussing with other users helped me get a much better idea of the possible causes why we hear of so many hard (sometimes free) ascents on El Capitan and almost none on Half Dome. 1. The approach Fig. 1 - The two possible approaches to HD and the Regular NW Face route [From summitpost.org] According to mountainproject.com, there ...


15

Liam's answer is spot-on, but I would like to add some details. "Dawn wall" is actually not the name of a route, but of a portion of the south-east face of El Capitan, which you can see in the figure below: Figure: the south-east face of El Cap. From www.xRez.com The first ascension of El Cap passing through the Dawn Wall was realized in 1970 by Warren ...


12

Assuming a vertical, as opposed to traversing, route that is not overhanging, you unclip the rope from the piece and then pull yourself up just like the leader did. Once you are high enough above the piece to account for rope stretch you have the leader take in the slack. The key is that after weighting the rope you want your hands to be at the same height ...


11

I wouldn't count ascenders as common climbing gear, so I'm answering for gear that almost every climber has available: An ATC Guide (or Reverso, or similar device with a guide mode) and some cord or webbing. You fix the ATC guide to your harness in guide mode, so that you can easily pull in the rope, but it blocks when you load it (i.e. sit in your harness ...


10

I wont cover what is aid climbing here. Original Aid Rating System: A0: Occasional aid moves often done without aiders (etriers) or climbed on fixed gear; sometimes called “French free”. A1: All placements are solid and easy. A2: Good placements, but sometimes tricky. A3: Many difficult, insecure placements, but with little risk. ...


10

It's simply for organization sake. Aid climbing on big-walls involves lots of gear, and you'll very quickly realize how much of a mess your perfectly racked gear will become. With two belay loops you can separate your aid ladders and daisy chains a little, which helps to keep them from wrapping around each other (and keep things a little bit cleaner too). ...


10

I do not know a definitive answer to this question, but as there is no other reply so far I will share what I know: When aiding in Yosemite a fellow climber used nuts for this purpose. You pull back the actual nut so that a wire loop extends behind it. This loop is places around the bolt shaft and can even be tightened. According to him this works fairly ...


9

Before I started to trad climb, I was using mobile protection in an alpine environment. As a consequence, I never fell into a piece of gear and belays (that were not bolted) were save by location, often by slinging some big rock. This is the extreme case, but also when starting to trad climb the same happened: I didn't have much experience so I wasn't sure ...


8

Learning how to place gear is a lot different than actually using it. Trad climbers place their pro, but hope they never have to fall on it. They give it a few tugs, maybe weight it to make sure it'll hold, but for the most part it's there just in case of a fall. Aid climbers on the other hand, they use every piece of gear that they place, they get real ...


8

Mountaineers doing technical alpine routes certainly use rock pro under wet or icy conditions. However, the kind of routes they're climbing are typically not the kind of high-angle stuff that you have in mind when you go out for a day of rock climbing. There are people who do things like mixed rock/ice climbing, but you really have to know what you're doing. ...


7

The short answer to that is yes - but the real answer is it depends. If you are climbing on sandstone, this could actually be very dangerous & unethical. The issue with sandstone is that it tends to be a fairly porous rock. After heavy rains, it is likely to have absorbed some quantity of water in those pores. This weakens the rock, compared to the very ...


7

No, if you use an adjustable daisy chain you do not need a fifi hook. Then it is as easy as attaching the extended chain to your placement and adjusting it to the desired length. As adjustable daysies are made from one tape, there is anyway no attachement point to place a fifi hook. One sidenote: Extending the chain with one hand after attaching it is ...


6

Now after I got some answers I'd like to post my own observations: The most 'efficient' method I found so far with out using foot ascenders is using two conventional ascenders/(or prussiks/tibloc etc) with each a footloop. (And both obviously also connected to your harness for safety.) That way you can use your leggs to push yourself up. But it still can ...


6

I don't have a reference handy but in conversations I've had in the past (several years ago) with people who compete/vie for speed records ascending ropes they exclusively use prusiks. If memory serves they preferred the Texas Prusik system. Here is another resource on the technique. The key benefits of using this system is it is efficient, light weight, ...


5

While most people think that the YDS system is easy compared to the British rating system, I am not sure that is the case. In the YDS system, there is a rating, a grade, and a class. The grade indicates the length of time the route typically requires ranging from I (the route takes a few hours) to VII (route takes a week or longer). The rating refers to ...


5

And how is the need for it replaced with a daisy chain? Here you are confusing something: With an adjustable daisy chain you do not need a fifi anymore. Using a standard daisy chain you need a fifi when aiding. How is the fifi hook used in aid climbing? First let me describe what a daisy chain and a fifi are: Daisy chain: This is a webbing sling that is ...


5

In aid climbing the frequency of difficult placements and the length of potential falls essentially determines the grade. Basically anything A2/C2 and up is going to require you to use some combination of hooks, cam hooks, bashies, and pins. These skills generally do not translate to trad climbing. If you are planning on climbing in a remote area or doing a ...


4

This may not be the most efficient, but is something I have done with the gear I am always carrying - which to me is more important. On any route where I will be abseiling (or may need to ascend) I always carry my Reverso, as well as a Shunt (or smaller / lighter equivalent device). I use the shunt while abseiling in place of a prusik. I generally have a ...


3

Aiders are the key differentiator between aid climbing and free climbing. When free climbing, the gear is just for protection. In aid climbing, you place protection, clip an aider to it, walk up the aider, reach up and place another piece of protection, repeat. Key points are length and number of steps, types, comfort and easy to use for the type of climb ...


3

Finding quality 1/4" hangers has been problematic for a long time. There was a thread on the topic on Super Topo back in 2009. The best solution back then were the Moses hangers (Moses actually posted in the linked Super Topo thread). I cannot find the Moses Enterprises web page so they might be out of business, but it appears you can still get the hangers ...


3

Lanyard + 2 ascenders + cordelette. So you have lanyard attached to your harness, and ascenders attached to both arms of the lanyard. You fix ascenders on the rope - one will be above the other. Then you attach cordelette to lower ascender and make a loop on its end. So what do we have - you can put all your weight on a lower ascender, then you stand down (...


2

"Jumars" are the quickest method to ascend a fixed rope. They are mechanical devices that lock and each attach to your harness and to leg straps of specified lengths so you can step on one then the other like a ladder and rest on your waist rather than your hands. Climbing with these devices is referred to as "Jugging" and is commonly done by speed climbers....


2

Well, this article in National Geographic provides a clue - a number of key areas on the face have become unstable, and a large rockfall has destroyed a section of the Normal Northwest Face. Doesn't sound like fun. Here's some of the rubble at the base of the cliff:


2

One issue with Method 1 is that after C3 finishes jugging on R2, C2 needs to be able to pull R2 back to the anchor and attach the pig. If the lower end of R2 is attached to the anchor, then it may become difficult for C3 to tie in short as they are jugging since the rope could become taught. A way around this is to either attach the pendulum rope R3 to R2 to ...


1

I think there's simply more to climb on El Cap. A quick look at the list of established climbs in Yosemite (http://www.yosemitebigwall.com/routes-by-difficulty) reveals that there are way more routes on El Cap than there are on Half Dome. Interestingly enough, despite the fact the cliff is significantly taller, many of Half Dome's popular routes are quite a ...


1

If you're using snap link instead of a figure 8 or other such device and can rig a Bachmann/carabiner, just detach and climb as if you were just free climbing the rope with the foot scissor/stand technique, using one hand to slide a Bachmann/carabiner each time you stand/slide up. Useful if you don't have far to go, you can do more than a few pullups and you'...


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