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Critique and comment on my gear list for Leaning Tower
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By randy88fj62
May 3, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

This is my available rack for Leaning Tower and other beginner A2 / C2 Big Walls. Looking for feedback on what I may be missing or what I should leave at home.
Omega Pacific Stopper Set 1-13
Various Extra Nuts (6 total)
DMM Offsets 7-11
Various Brass Offsets 1-6
Various Micro Nuts 1-6
3 Wild Country Rockcentric Hexes for alpine climbing (anyone bring these on bigwall?)
Metolius Quadcams 00-8 (doubles in 1,2,3, and 5)
BD C4s 4-6
Trango Big Bros (red and blue sizes)
Metoilus Offsets 00/1 to 4/5
6 Wild Country Friends Medium range
12 standard length alpine slings
3 double length slings
6 petzl spirit quickdraws, various lengths

Yates Shield Big Wall Harness
Misty Mountain Chest Harness / Gear Sling
BD Wall Hammer and Yates Funkness Device (do both the leader and follower need a funkness device?
1 Set of Etriers
Petzl Ascenders L and R
Two Daisy chains
Fifi Hook
Three Rivet Hangers (body weight only)
4 RP Bolt hangers for hangerless bolt progression
Assorted bashies (Cu and Al heads)
Assorted Pins of all sorts as needed
Assorted beaks, RPs, etc as needed
Assorted hooks as needed

60m 9.8mm Sterling Velocity Rope for lead
200í 9mm Static Rope for hauling
Not sure what to bring for tag line yet
BD Zion Haul Bag
Grigri 1 for belaying
ATC Guide for rappelling
240cm and 300cm dyneema slings, used for trad anchors (good for big wall?)
BD bosunís chair for hanging belays (I just got it and it doesn't have any hard sheet inside it. Do I need to put a piece of plastic or plywood in there?)


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By Steve86
May 3, 2012

I wouldn't want to jug and clean on a 9.8mm rope but that's just me. I would also leave the hexes at home unless you know specifically that you'll need that piece or that you will likely run out of a certain size piece on a particular pitch.


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By JLP
From The Internet
May 3, 2012

Leave the hammer and everything you'd hit with it behind, unless you get very specific beta from someone who's been on the route within the few days before you get on it.

There's no OW on this route, so leave all that junk behind.

You need Aliens or something like them for clean aid in Yosemite - period. All the clean aid grades and assumptions of not needing a hammer are based on having Aliens on your rack. Nothing else out there will work as well, thereby upping the grade, if they work at all. 1 set of Alien offsets, 2 sets of Aliens - standard rack, every aid route. Mastercams are okay, but I wouldn't want them as 100% of my cams. They're too stiff, and too fat around the trigger for aiding pin scars. U-cable style cams are nearly worthless in flares - which is basically going to be what every reasonably difficult placement is on an ancient beat-out route such as this one. The cable on the outside of the cam will pry your lobes out of the placement. Therefore, your quadcam offsets are absolutely worthless for the most difficult of flared scars you bought them for in the first place - sell them on E-bay asap and get something better.

You really need to talk to someone who has been on the route very recently to get more specific. Fixed gear, slings, etc, are always changing.


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By davecro
From Golden, CO
May 3, 2012
Summit of Estrillitas

I assuming this rack is for West Face Leaning Tower? That's an awesome and forgiving route. You'll have a great time!

Here are my suggestions:

No hexes
No cams larger than BD #4
No big bros
15 - 20 quick draws if you want to link the first two pitches
No wall hammer
No rivet hangers
No bolt hangers
No bashies
No pins, beaks, or RPs
Bring hooks

My wall rope is 11.6mm. I feel secure jugging on it. 9.8 would be scary.

3-6 large lockers for anchors. I use petzel william autolockers. See Mark Hudon's anchor chapter for better info: www.hudonpanos.com/

iPod or music for the belayer. It took my partner 4.5 hours to lead pitch 3 and 4.


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By davecro
From Golden, CO
May 3, 2012
Summit of Estrillitas

JLP wrote:
Leave the hammer and everything you'd hit with it behind, unless you get very specific beta from someone who's been on the route within the few days before you get on it. There's no OW on this route, so leave all that junk behind. You need Aliens or something like them for clean aid in Yosemite - period. All the clean aid grades and assumptions of not needing a hammer are based on having Aliens on your rack. Nothing else out there will work as well, thereby upping the grade, if they work at all. 1 set of Alien offsets, 2 sets of Aliens - standard rack, every aid route. Mastercams are okay, but I wouldn't want them as 100% of my cams. They're too stiff, and too fat around the trigger for aiding pin scars. U-cable style cams are nearly worthless in flares - which is basically going to be what every reasonably difficult placement is on an ancient beat-out route such as this one. The cable on the outside of the cam will pry your lobes out of the placement. Therefore, your quadcam offsets are absolutely worthless for the most difficult of flared scars you bought them for in the first place - sell them on E-bay asap and get something better. You really need to talk to someone who has been on the route very recently to get more specific. Fixed gear, slings, etc, are always changing.


+1

I brought doubles of the three smallest metolius offsets. These were my most essential piece. Allowed me to move quick. Small aliens are great too.

Definitely ask people at Camp 4 about recent conditions. A critical bolt or fixed piece could be missing.


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By Ryan Huetter
From Mammoth Lakes, CA
May 3, 2012
From Mountain Magazine (Bruce Carson's first clean ascent of Sentinal Rock's West Face)

I wouldn't bother with a tag line on most C2 walls, just more to deal with.
Having a few beaks to handplace can make life a lot easier on some of the fun intro routes like the Prow, Skull Queen etc.
CAM HOOKS are gold. Get a set, with doubles of the medium size.
More biners/quickdraws. I dont find myself using sling draws too often.
Have fun!


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By randy88fj62
May 3, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

I plan on borrowing some aliens to supplement my rack. I assume a cheater stick would be a good backup in case there are missing fixed pieces?


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By crankenstein
May 3, 2012

Cheater stick came in handy a couple of times when I did it 17 years ago. Not sure if it's needed with the current fixed hardware.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
May 3, 2012
don't throw rocks

Cam Hooks. Get them. Attach the medium and small size directly to your ladders. You'll use them more when they're right there and thus, move faster. Think inverted cam hooks too, massive time saver.

I've handplaced #3 Peckers and #2 Tomahawks all over West Face as well. A #2 Tomahawk is the best security against bringing a hammer as well, since any blown heads generally can be either hooked or beaked around.

When you get on routes that do require a hammer, both the leader and the follower need a hammer, both should have a funkness device since removing a piece on lead is sometimes necessary.

The bosun chair needs a sheet of something in it whether it's a piece of wood from the hardware store (what I use) or a bunch of sticks from the base of the climb (I know no one that does this) There's no point in bringing the chair if you don't reinforce it because you can use your ladders looped around your butt if you want that sort of thing.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 3, 2012

The first thing you need to do is review the recommended gear list. That's a good starting point, though even those can suggest you bring too much gear. No point in overwhelming yourself in a 30 lb. hula skirt of gear. Most newer wall climbers get caught in a unproductive clusterf@$k of too much gear, logistics, etc., that ultimately do them in. Keep it simple and, if you need some additional courage, put a little extra gear in the top of the haul bag.

Most of the comments so far are pretty strong. I'd offer the following though (and this is coming from an ascent a good 15 yrs. ago).

The only place on the route that requires anything even remotely resembling a tricky placement, is a short flake/crack on the first pitch and the third/fourth pitch, which you should link. There's so much fixed gear and tat on the route that it really obviates the need for funky placements of your own.

Cams like TCUs and quadcams do work pretty well in flared pin scars. Granted, they don't work as well as aliens and the like, but I know you'll get some mileage out of them. When I did the Shield (like 20 yrs. ago--in the pre-alien era), I used TCUs heavily on the Triple Cracks, etc., with good success. They worked well enough where we didn't need our sawed offs nearly as much as we thought.

If you've got a fifi, you probably don't need two daisies. They make sense on hard aid, but not on clip ups. Just clip the rope through your pro before you place/test your next piece, which you'll use your daisy on. It's a matter of preference though. I just see lots of new climbers kills lots of time playing around with two daisies.

A cheater stick works well on this route. Also, make sure you're familiar with jugging/cleaning traversing and/or really steep pitches. You can fix the two pitches above Ahwahnee and rap back down with one rope. Some don't like using a static line to haul since, if you nick your lead rope, you can't use the static line as back up.


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By WMC
May 3, 2012
...

No offwidth on route. Bring Cam hooks and talon hook.

Bring a couple heads, but probably wont need them.

I did the route last year clean, usually is done clean.

We used a 9.8 and it was fine...

Can pretty much down climb the descent except for one rap.

Have fun, its an awesome route!!!!!

Micro nuts key!!!! and offset cams=amazing on this climb!








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By samsonight
May 4, 2012

Have a great trip!

One thing I would bring, but didn't see listed was a traxion or at least a pulley if you plan on using your ascenders to lock off your bag. So much easier than just a biner.

If you have the extra cash, a swivel can make your hauling life way easier too.

Second on all the advice to leave the wide gear and hammer/pins/bashies at home. The route definitely goes clean. Don't even bring the hammer as you may be tempted.

As for key fixed gear being missing/blown, this is always a possibility, especially early season. The last time I climbed the tower (spring 11) some of the fixed gear was blown, but its was easy enough to hook and off-set through it. I guess what i am saying is - there is enough of a crack/feature the whole time that you can bypass blown heads.

Enjoy!

OH, PS- As of last year all the bolts were bomber and no hangers were needed.


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By randy88fj62
May 5, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

samsonight wrote:
Have a great trip! One thing I would bring, but didn't see listed was a traxion or at least a pulley if you plan on using your ascenders to lock off your bag. So much easier than just a biner. If you have the extra cash, a swivel can make your hauling life way easier too. Second on all the advice to leave the wide gear and hammer/pins/bashies at home. The route definitely goes clean. Don't even bring the hammer as you may be tempted. As for key fixed gear being missing/blown, this is always a possibility, especially early season. The last time I climbed the tower (spring 11) some of the fixed gear was blown, but its was easy enough to hook and off-set through it. I guess what i am saying is - there is enough of a crack/feature the whole time that you can bypass blown heads. Enjoy! OH, PS- As of last year all the bolts were bomber and no hangers were needed.


Sampsonight,
I have a pro traxion and a Prusik minding petzl pulley. I will be using a 2:1 ratchet setup. I have a swivel as well so that's covered. My gf will be happy that the hammer and associated gear stays home. She is a purist when it comes to clean climbing.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
May 6, 2012

davecro wrote:
I assuming this rack is for West Face Leaning Tower? That's an awesome and forgiving route. You'll have a great time! Here are my suggestions: No hexes No cams larger than BD #4 No big bros 15 - 20 quick draws if you want to link the first two pitches No wall hammer No rivet hangers No bolt hangers No bashies No pins, beaks, or RPs Bring hooks My wall rope is 11.6mm. I feel secure jugging on it. 9.8 would be scary. 3-6 large lockers for anchors. I use petzel william autolockers. See Mark Hudon's anchor chapter for better info: www.hudonpanos.com/ iPod or music for the belayer. It took my partner 4.5 hours to lead pitch 3 and 4.

I would agree with your list, except I would bring the offset RPs, he can use them in a few places.


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
May 6, 2012

randy88fj62 wrote:
Sampsonight, I have a pro traxion and a Prusik minding petzl pulley. I will be using a 2:1 ratchet setup. I have a swivel as well so that's covered. My gf will be happy that the hammer and associated gear stays home. She is a purist when it comes to clean climbing.

2:1? You dont need that for the WFLT. The 2:1 is for serious grade VI's and the sort. The WFLT is the steepest wall in Yosemite, the bags will be out in space all day. So unless your bags are heavier than you are, just 1:1 haul it. In fact, for the most part you dont even need to counterbalance space haul it, you can just body haul it! Its awesome, the WFLT is the only line I have never needed to counterbalance haul on. If your bags are heavy enough to require a 2:1, you are bringing WAY too much crap.

Also, you mentioned that you were looking for easy A2/C2 routes. Know that there is a big difference between A2 and C2. Routes that are legitimately A2 are going to be a lot harder and more advanced the routes graded C2. Take for example Dihedral Wall. The guidebook says that route is A2. Well the line has sequential C3 pitches, multiple C2+ pitches, some expando on P7, and some C3F. Most routes graded C2 wont have any of that. So know that if you are going up any route with an A designation, it is going to likely be quite a lot harder then the simple C2 classics in the Valley like WFLT, the Nose, the South Face, ect.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 7, 2012

20 kN wrote:
The WFLT is the steepest wall in Yosemite, the bags will be out in space all day.

Absolutely. I remember laughing when hauling the first pitch because it was so easy. Not even even when compared to hauling on longer routes with bigger bags, but just easy. I'm not even sure you can call the bags a pig on WFLT.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
May 8, 2012
don't throw rocks

Just came off of West Face yesterday. Heads are fine. Fixed lines on approach ledge and Ahwanee are up. PM me if you have any other specific questions.

I'd add a couple screamers to your list if you want to clip the rope into any of the fixed pieces during and after the roof. eek. There's a fixed white hex after the roof that has some tat coming off of it. When I first saw it, I didn't know what it was and thought it looked like a roll of toilet paper. Wouldn't have been surprised.

Offsets were very nice to have. and camhooks. I only used the regular size, but I used it a lot.


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By Mark Hudon
May 8, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Adventure and challenge stealing fixed heads on WFLT?

WTF is up with that? Harding didn't use heads on the FA? Why are there any up there now?

As soon as people start seeing heads for the adventure and challenge stealing pieces of garbage that they are, they will start to vanish, and the routes will be more like what the first ascent team climbed.

In two recent El Cap walls, I have removed and climbed cleanly and easily past, 30 to 35 heads. Just because there is a head fixed doesn't mean it is the only piece that will work. More often than not, I've taken out fixed heads and placed C1 bomber cams and nuts in their place.

As Max Jones said on the South Seas/Pacific Ocean Wall recently, "All of the FEAR and none of the FUN"!


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By randy88fj62
May 8, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

kevin deweese wrote:
Just came off of West Face yesterday. Heads are fine. Fixed lines on approach ledge and Ahwanee are up. PM me if you have any other specific questions. I'd add a couple screamers to your list if you want to clip the rope into any of the fixed pieces during and after the roof. eek. There's a fixed white hex after the roof that has some tat coming off of it. When I first saw it, I didn't know what it was and thought it looked like a roll of toilet paper. Wouldn't have been surprised. Offsets were very nice to have. and camhooks. I only used the regular size, but I used it a lot.


Kevin,
Thanks for the info. I appreciate the recent beta. I'll be sure to pm you before we head up if we have any questions.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
May 8, 2012
don't throw rocks

To tell the truth, there's only two heads that I remember on the route, both on pitch 3. Probably don't need them, but I didn't really look around, and I didn't have a hammer/butterknife to remove them anyways.

After pitch 3, the only other heads on the route are two right at the start of pitch 5 which are not needed if you're free climbing, and can be easily bypassed by cam hooked if aiding. Like I said, no hammer/butterknife so didn't remove them.

- - -

But there are dead heads and chopped chicken bolts eeeerrrrrrrvvveeerrryyyywhere on WFLT, often multiple right next to C1 cracks.
I distinctly remember cleaning pitch 6 and at the top there's a finger-sized crack with two bolts that have been removed within 3' of each other and inches from the crack.
I also noticed that in the tension/pendulum at the beginning of pitch 4, there were many (at least 5 in different places)deadheads where people had placed a head instead of just lowering a bit and reaching a bit further FOR A JUG. Those heads aren't about FEAR, those are about stupidity.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
May 8, 2012

Just out of curiosity, how do you remove fixed/broken heads?


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By Mark Hudon
May 8, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.

You need a "butter knife" made out of a cold chisel.

Hammer it in either below or above the head and pry them out. Some heads come out easily, some require more work.

Butter Knives
Butter Knives


I'll make a set for anyone who wants them for $30. The chisels cost about $6 each and shipping is usually $7 or $8. If you have a grinder it's easy to do it yourself.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
May 8, 2012

Thanks, Mark!

We'll be heading out to the Prow or WFLT this Fall. If we have time, we'll try to remove some of them.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
May 8, 2012
don't throw rocks

From the Bigwalls forum
bigwalls butterknife thread

Butterknife Thread 2


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By Mark Hudon
May 8, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Sweet!

Remove the deadheads and what you can climb past using clean means, leave everything else on those routes. If you were going up on i.e., Sea of Dreams, I'd say to remove everything.

Have fun! Climb safe.


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By Shern
Mar 21, 2013

stoked to see this thread! giving the west face a shot in april.


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