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Helping a follower on multipitch


Original Post
TimothyCoca · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

So some friends and I are planning a trip to El Potrero Chico in December, but I'm slightly worried about a member of our party not being able to keep up and climb/follow all the pitches. I really want everyone to summit and not be left out, so I was wondering if you guys have some way that I can help her follow. For example, if I've just led a pitch and begin belaying her in guide mode, could I just toss her the belay strand of the rope and have her pull herself up? If that sounds too difficult, is there some type of system I could rig to make it easier?
Thanks.

Kurt G. · · Reading, PA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 150

http://www.climbing.com/skills/learn-this-haul-your-partner-through-tough-sections/

Nick Henscheid · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 290

If you think there will be large sections they cannot free, you can get a pair of ascenders and keep them with your follower, just make 100% sure you train yourself and them how to use them safely (get a guide to show you, YGD, all that). This is how most high end multipitch free climbs are done - leader frees the pitches and the follower "jugs" the line, cleaning gear. If the route is just a little bit out of their ability level, if they hit a crux they can't free, most of the time they can just yard on gear...so giving them a long sling to clip to bolts etc to use as an aider can also help.

That climbing article also has some good suggestions.

I will also say that trying to drag a weaker follower up a much more difficult climb than they can do can result in a lot of other issues, like time and anger.

Jonathan Awerbuch · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 38

That article covered the standard techniques I use. One more that can be useful in some cases: if you can, leave extra gear at the crux(es). The second can pull on the gear, or clip a single or double sling to the gear and step in the sling.

This is something she can practice beforehand -- it's easy to learn, but a quick practice session can be helpful. This can be way faster than the methods in the article if you can predict where she will have trouble, and there are enough placements available there.

steverett · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 105

I would suggest A0 (pulling on gear) before hauling or jugging, but both are good to know.

climbing.com/skills/tech-ti…

ETA: Though I'm not sure if it will work as well on sport, since you can't place gear where you want, or move it up with you. Could work if there happens to be a bolt where needed.

TimothyCoca · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

This is some awesome info, guys. Thanks so much. And yeah, I don't expect it to be a big problem, the techniques outlined in the article sound pretty optimal for what we need. Thanks again!

Michael C · · New Jersey · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 340

The assisted raise is the best technique for pulling someone up. Practice in a controlled environment a few times to figure it out.

The 3:1 works, but it's a grunt.

The vector pull is really only good for assisting for about a foot or so.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Michael C wrote:The vector pull is really only good for assisting for about a foot or so.
I think the vector pull is a figment of the author's imagination. It doesn't compute.
Gavin Towey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0
aikibujin wrote: I think the vector pull is a figment of the author's imagination. It doesn't compute.
Of course it "works" but its effectiveness is reduced the more rope you have out. The stretchiness of dynamic ropes makes this hard to get a lot of use out of.

This is used with boats a lot. For boats tied up at a dock, you can move a 10,000 lb. boat by pulling laterally on the docklines with only a little bit of force. This works well because the docklines are static and there's not much resistance from friction because the boat is sitting in water.
Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Simple.... do not make somebody get on a climb they have no reasonable shot at making. That is pretty cruel and much worse then being "Left out"...IMHO.

From what I understand about EPC climbing is this.... the cliff faces have tons of bushes, cacti and small trees, the climbs do wander around some, so jugging might dislodge bushes, cacti and small trees and rocks. The raps get really "BIG TIME" .... my friends tell me and you had better be on your game. Do you really want to put somebody into a dangerous situation?

And from what I understand.... there are tons of great places to eat at- drink at- and swim at- right there in town at the base of the climbs.

have fun.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

I'm no expert on Petrero. But I believe there is a lot of long bolted routes. So pulling on gear may only be helpful getting past a bolt. If the route is sustained beyond her limit that won't work very well.
Hauling your partner with any system will be slow and strenuous. This really should be reserved for last resort, not a primary tool to get up a route.
Some type of ascenders could work. But this may be slow and strenuous as well unless she has practiced it. Jugging traverses is not easy. This could be dangerous if not done correctly. Don't wait till you are way up some route to experiment.

Your best option is to do a route within her ability.

DrRockso · · Red River Gorge, KY · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 341

A word of advice, please do not climb in groups of 4, and only groups of 3 if you have to, you will greatly slow down the other parties on the route and have very uncomfortable belay stations. I don't see how someone jugging would knock anything of that wouldn't be knocked off by a climber. So that is an option, of course they aren't going to want to climb the whole route like that. Alternatively a 3 to 1 works fine to pull someone through a short crux. You just need a short Prussik and an extra biner, your progress capture is the atc guide or grigri, the grigri being more efficient. Please make sure everyone in your group has their rappelling skills down before you go down there, a 70 meter is preferable, and TIE KNOTS IN THE END OF YOUR ROPE! Have a great time in the Potrero, it's a magical place!

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085

if your partner is going to have that much trouble, don't take her up the route. not fun for anybody.

TimothyCoca · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

I've thought of all the concerns brought up. You guys are definitely right, and I'll make sure she understands all the implications of each route. And I've also stressed all the safety rules among my group, especially tying knots at the end of a rappel. Specifically in EPC, 4 people have died since the canyon was established as a climbing spot, two of which were experienced climbers who rapped off the end of their ropes. We're being really mindful of everything we can do to make it more safe. Thanks again, everyone!

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

We call it jumar.

greggle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0
Guy Keesee wrote:Simple.... do not make somebody get on a climb they have no reasonable shot at making. That is pretty cruel and much worse then being "Left out"...IMHO.
Greg D wrote:Your best option is to do a route within her ability.
These.
Mark Grundon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 1,380

If you would like any instruction on multi-pitch techniques we specialize in teaching people multi pitch techniques. I am an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and guide in Yosemite half the year and El Potrero Chico the other half. My website is: El Potrero Chico Guides

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Generally speaking, it is just a bad idea to purposely head up climbs you know ahead of time are beyond the capabilities of a party member.

First, forget about all hauling techniques. If you have to do them, they may not work depending on location of the climber and rock and equipment friction, and they will slow things down so much you probably won't get up the climb if it is at all long. Same goes for French free---you can only do with where there is a bolt, and ascenders are also going to be slow and possibly dangerous.

So here's the deal: if she can manage the tough parts with a tight rope for resting and just a tiny bit of help in moving up, and if she really doesn't mind being in that position over and over again, then you can manage an ascent. Anything more complicated and involved than a tight rope and the chances are you are in for an epic for the party and quite possibly a person who will, with good reason, never climb with you again.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,659
steverett wrote:I would suggest A0 (pulling on gear) before hauling or jugging
Yes - and if you do want to try the A0 approach, I suggest getting serious about it: The leader can carry two Etriers (perhaps also some extra slings), and the follower can carry two (or one) Fifi hooks.

The follower should also carry ascenders -- and have practiced using them (in a free-hanging sitution).
. (I usually carry one Tibloc and one prusik loop and a couple of appropriate-length slings).

Choose a route with only one or two crux sections which might be above the difficulty of the weaker follower.
Typically Sport routes have bolts in close range of the hard moves and crux sequences. (not sure about Potrero).
. (A route with a difficult traverse section requires careful planning and advance practice of skills -- or better just to skip it).

Etrier when placed and hung intelligently by the Leader, makes it convenient for the follower to use Leg strength instead of arm+shoulder pulling to get past a tough move and soon grab a bigger friendlier handhold a little higher.

Fifi hook allows the follower to freely choose to rest on any quickdraw before removing it. Fifi also allows a (skilled follower who has practiced it) to climb higher up on an Etrier to grab a higher hold.

I've done at least four substantial multi-pitch routes in France where I knew in advance that the crux sequence was likely above my ability - (which turned out to be true in the actual performance). But two of the routes had amazing sea and rock situations which there was no way to experience at lower difficulty. Two others had many pitches of very interesting + fun climbing moves at difficulty less than the cruxes (and less polished than other routes of comparable quality with crux moves well within my capability).

So I was very glad that I took on those routes with one or two crux sequences above my ability.

Ken

P.S. In France it's not unusual to choose a multi-pitch Sport route (or Trad route?) where the Leader expects to use A0 tricks to get through a couple of awkward/crux sequences - (I don't know about that for Portrero).
aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
gtowey wrote:For boats tied up at a dock, you can move a 10,000 lb. boat by pulling laterally on the docklines with only a little bit of force. This works well because the docklines are static and there's not much resistance from friction because the boat is sitting in water.
A boat sitting in water isn't the same as a climber hanging on a rope. The physics involved is pretty simple.
T Roper · · DC,VA,NM,UT,CT,MA · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 860
kenr wrote: In France it's not unusual to choose a multi-pitch Sport route (or Trad route?) where the Leader expects to use A0 tricks to get through a couple of awkward/crux sequences
the official TERM IS "French free", practiced all over the world
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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