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Petzl Fifi hook for haul bag retrieval
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By Justin Lofthouse
From Utah
Sep 7, 2013
The Platform
The topic of discussion of this thread is the Petzl Fifi hook.

Petzl Fifi hook
Petzl Fifi hook


My question involves how to use it for haul bag retrieval.


Petzl Fifi
Petzl Fifi


A few key questions:
1) When you reach the top of the pitch do you just start hauling and it just pops off the anchor, or do you pull it sort of tight and then lower it out after you return to the anchor?

2) Does the haul bag just hang out at the anchor on the fifi hook with no backup attachment to the anchor? If this is the case, is there any reason why a fairly heavy haul bag would be lifted off the fifi hook and then haul bag fall the full length of the haul line, putting it's full weight onto the lead climber?

3) Is this thing really that useful or is it just a cool idea that is not really worth it?

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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Sep 7, 2013
RJN
Good topic, I'd like to know from someone with personal experience too. You should change the title to fifi for haul bag retrieval or something to let the other big wallers know.

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By Rob Dillon
Sep 8, 2013
Hudon knows about this. On supertopo. Search it.

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By nbrown
From western NC
Sep 8, 2013
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
I think the only practical use in this situation is if you wanna haul simultaneously while you rap back down the pitch (2 separate ropes of course). Otherwise, I don't think there's any point?

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By Rob Dillon
Sep 8, 2013
Which is super handy. But not without attendant risk.

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By Mark Hudon
Sep 8, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Yes, you can hang your bags from any bolt, pin, nut or sling (the best option for reasons I'll explain later but I'm way tired right now after a week of climbing and hiking (18 miles over three days) to write too much in depth about it) and pull it off, cleanly, easily and safely.

I would tie a butterfly knot and clip that to the Mallon shown in the second photo. I'd leave a long enough tail so that I could tie a second knot and clip it directly to the bag (I trust that Mallon and the little bit of metal above the Mallon only so much.)

I've taken a bags of weights and hung it from that hook on my 45 degree climbing wall. I've kicked that bag, pushed it and swung it for everything it was worth, in every way I could and it NEVER fell off. IMHO there is virtually no chance that bumping the bag, or even kicking the bag will ever cause it to depart whatever you have the bag hung on.

Go to elcappanos.com and watch my Slippery Knot video to see a real slick way to safety the bag on the hook. Even though I don't think the bag will ever fall off the anchor when using this hook, I still recommend safetying it.

While hauling loads to Mammoth over three days this spring, (a total of 18 pitches jugged and hauled) I hung bags from the anchors using a Petzl Fifi and hauled them off successfully every time (I didn't use a safety).

Petzl Fifi in use.
Petzl Fifi in use.

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By ZackBay
Sep 8, 2013
By Rap Rings
Check out this link and see if the video helps at all

supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1...

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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Oct 25, 2013
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
I had two piglets hanging on two of these hooks [with maillon rapides through the top] which "rode up for free" as I rappelled down after solo leading a pitch.

It worked really well for me almost every time, and was emphatically worth the "cost" of leading with a separate skinny rope, plus my regular haul line.

Got good photos and videos which I will eventually post up.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Oct 25, 2013
Any reason I shouldn't use any old fifi? I have an old steel fifi that a quick link fits through the hole normally used for a retrieval string. I have hauled a few pitches using this standard fifi with quick link and it worked nice, but curious why Petzl chose to make a long slot rather than just a single hole up top where it will pull the hook up and off the anchor?

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By Mark Hudon
Oct 25, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Okay, so there I am on Zenyatta Mondatta, soloing and on the crux pitch. The pitch starts off with 15 or so hook moves about 10 or 15 feet horizontally from the anchor and then starts to rise up at about a 45 degree angle. I'm about 20 feet from the anchor when the weight of my rope starts to pull the rest of the rope out of its rope bag. I'm sitting there on a hook with no chance in hell to get back to the anchor before the full weight of the falling rope pulls the slippery knot through and falls onto the Petzl Fifi holding the whole rig onto the anchor. With any other fifi, the force of the rope's weight would have hit the TOP of the fifi and would have nicely rotated the hook off the anchor, causing my tag bag to fall the length of the rope and ripping me off the rock. With the Petzl Fifi, the full force of the falling rope came onto the fifi at the BOTTOM of the hook.

As far as just hanging your bag on an anchor, if there is NO CHANCE it will every be caused to rotate off (as when I hung my bags on my solo hauling mission up to Mammoth this spring), then sure, no problem.

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Oct 25, 2013
Didn't think about that scenario. Thanks. I will have to switch it out when I get a chance.

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By Wes Goulding
Apr 20, 2014
Thanks for this topic Justin.

Great info thanks Mark.

I think I read that you may have had an issue with the hook Not releasing on a super traversing pitch? Iron Hawk maybe? What would you do next time to fix that?

Thanks

Wes

PS Pete I am looking forward to your videos on this.

PSS I imagine there are some "rules" as to when and where you should NOT use this method? I'm thinking about anytime you would lower out the bags due to the swing into a feature.

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 22, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Wes, I'm in Zion climbing right now and don't have the photo showing why I had trouble pulling the hook off the anchor. Essentially, the bag was below a 25 foot flat roof so the line was pulling horizontally out on the hook, not up at all. The mallion slid only half way up the slot in the hook.
I'll post a photo when I get home.

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By FoamFinger
From Grand Rapids, Michigan
Apr 22, 2014
Check MPs new Section "School of Rock" its a fantastic primer on all-things-climbing.
mountainproject.com/v/baggage-...

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By Wes Goulding
Apr 23, 2014
Thanks Mark. Have a great time in Zion.

Wes

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By kevin deweese
From Oakland, Ca
Apr 23, 2014
Birds and Beards
FoamFinger wrote:
Check MPs new Section "School of Rock" its a fantastic primer on all-things-climbing. mountainproject.com/v/baggage-...


Why would he check out an article that has absolutely nothing to do with his specific question? In my teaching days, I used to say, "if you only pay attention to 80% of the question/assignment/explanation, you'll respond with less understanding than if you didn't listen at all."

Don't get me wrong, it's a great article, but you're asking Wes to do more work with no benefit to him.

With Mark's scenario of the long roof, the best fix would be fix the tag bag into a different spot (done because you have knowledge of the problem now). If referring to haul bags at the anchor then you simply don't do the haulbag-hook anchor trick in that instance.

It's important to remember that this technique is a time-saving trick and doesn't NEED to be done on every pitch since the time saved by rap-hauling the bag is only about 20 minutes. If the trick takes more time than that to fix, then it's no longer a truck and has become a hindrance.

Just another instance of how bigwall techniques are case-by-case always and there's nothing that works the best every single time.

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By Wes Goulding
Apr 23, 2014
Thanks Kevin. Yeah I read the stuff on the link and while very informative I think most of the tips are geared towards a level of climbing that this technique is not at. Thanks again FF. So in your opinion, Kevin, tagging gear or hauling while rapping in this case would be a no go due to the extreme traversing nature of the pitch. That makes sense, but I wonder if there are any ways to make it work and if it would be worth it.

I could see just hanging the bag from just the Slippery Knott maybe, make it longer than usual or something.

But then I create another issue maybe. I've never had to rap the lead line on that steep a route. Would you clean on the way down or what? Or is it worth it. You would have a huge lower out to do from the bottom. So in that case do you rap the route passing all the pieces on the way down and clean on the way up? No that sounds like way way too much work.

On the Leaning Tower those first pitches go straight up. I wonder if it would make and sense to try this there? Clean on the way down while hauling off the fiffi, then just lower out with whatever rope you have or just jump! Anybody do this?

These are hypothetical questions for a theoretical solo with a need to go a little faster due to time constraints, or just because I'm at home bored. :)

Thanks again

Wes

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By kevin deweese
From Oakland, Ca
Apr 23, 2014
Birds and Beards
You don't rap the lead line back to your bags. You rap the haul line bag to your bags normally. In the case of rap-hauling, you rap a third line (not the lead or the haul line) back to the bags while the lead line is fixed and waiting, and the haul line is bringing up the bags as you rap.

You wouldn't rap the lead line because (especially on steep terrain) it becomes difficult to clean on the way down as the angles of force increase between the rope and pieces. Simply passing pieces can work in order to clean them again on the way back up, but this is time-consuming and pointless.

Number One Rule is to not overburden yourself with tricks and shortcuts on the wall. They're worth it ONLY when they do not take more time to setup and use than the "normal" method. In addition to the time consumed from "normal usage" you need to consider the time expended by "random-F-up usage."

The problem is that all these tricks and shortcuts are the thing we tend to think about the most when we're on the couch. Makes sense because Big Wall Theory always happens in a vacuum where your tag line doesn't get looped around a random fixed head sticking out of an adjacent route, or your haul bag biner doesn't get randomly attached to one of the quickdraws hanging off a lower protection piece as you rap-haul, or a myriad of other impossible to even imagine random scenarios that make Big Wall Theory into Big Wall Suckage.

Edit: changed "haul" to "lead" in second paragraph

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 26, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Good post, Kevin.

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By jersey
From park city, utah
Apr 26, 2014
zion wall monkey
Obviously this is all big wall solo trickery. I've you'd this technique successfully and decided to use a Pika #3 Ibis hook for it's strength and hook depth. I just girth hitched the prusik cord over the top of the hook. It's a good time saver, but I like to incorporate the haul bag into the solo anchor as a counter weight to a fall and you can't really do both.
But what I have found very useful was adapting this technique to the rack(including hauler, haul line, jugs, water...). while soloing I don't want to carry all that shit on lead so I hang the rack on the hook and carry up only what i need for the first part of the pitch and a skinny tag line. when I'm at a good spot or need more gear or a drink of water I haul it up and hook it on a piece were I'm at. It seems to save a lot of energy not wearing all that shit the whole way.

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By Wes Goulding
Apr 27, 2014
OK. Good info.

Thanks

Wes

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 27, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Okay, This is what I figure was happening under the Iron Hawk roof. I was pulling out on the hook and not up on it. I was eventually able to bounce it off the anchor.


Iron Hawk Roof/Petzl Fifi problem.
Iron Hawk Roof/Petzl Fifi problem.

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By Wes Goulding
Apr 27, 2014
Yes, I see now. Interesting.

So, no tagging or tag earlier, or something else like just slippery knot?

Wes

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 27, 2014
On the North America Wall in 1977.
If the bag had been only 15 feet below the apex of the roof, it would have been fine I think.

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By Piton Ron
May 30, 2014
I first used the "simul rap/haul" on an 11 day solo in 1976. Sometimes I've had similar problems with disengagement.

The Petzl hook is a great idea.

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By kevin deweese
From Oakland, Ca
May 30, 2014
Birds and Beards
My main issue with this method is bringing the extra rope. I've found that the worst thing in soloing is the descent (unless I've saved up some of that sweet porter money) and having the carry down another rope is the kind of thing that can change a day of recovery to three days of recovery. I hate hiking and always try to get everything down at once (via carrying multiple bags down the trail in short 1/8-1/4 mile legs.) and this is where saving weight is important. This is another case of bigwall theory, we never consider the descent as part of the climb until we're on top staring at the gear and wondering whether it's worth it to just leave everything there a taking up another hobby.

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