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Climber and "coach" on same single pitch anchor?


Original Post
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

I am stuck at a particular spot on a climb here, that my partner is sure I can do. Is it reasonable to rig him on rappel, and me on top rope on the same bolt plus chains anchor? Or do we need to build a second anchor for one of the ropes? Because the anchors are up over a mantle, the top rope would need to be extended, but the rappel could be through the chains.

I can lead this route to that point, and should be able to complete it, although the anchors will be a challenge to get to, and a second crux, for me!

This is supposedly the "beginner" route at our local cliffs, so it would be a big boost for me to get this POS figured out so I can complete this lead!

Locals: yeah, "Toddler". Sigh.

Thanks! Helen

Ryan Nevius · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 904

As long as the anchor is bomber and there's no rope-on-rope rubbing (i.e. each rope is attached to a different point), there's no issue with having two people hanging from the same anchor. That said, it would be ideal if you could have the rappeller on a different anchor, just to give you a bit of separation. 

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

Yes- i'd recommend a single line/grigri (or other locking rappel device) for the person helping you both for safety and keeping the cluster to a minimum (otherwise, there will be 4 ropes floating around).

you might consider setting the rappel- then rapping a bit past the anchor and then looking for a piece of pro off to the side (a bomber piece) to clip to so the rappeller and their rope are out of your way.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

That would work fine. I assume you will have a third person belaying you? You probably want to make sure the weighted rappel rope isn't pinching your climbing rope such that it's hard for your belayer to take in slack. You could also just put one of the ropes on a couple of separate draws off the bolts (two anchors). I don't think you have to worry about one rope sawing the other.

Edit: Putting the rappel line through the chains sounds like the way to go.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

no.

'tis unreasonable.

find the courage in your heart to make uncertain moves on lead that you feel you may fall on, tis' the only way, unless you're most truly facing objective dangerous situation. the fear it is the mind killer. you do not need some manly man telling you every rock to squeeze and every foothold to place your footsies on. you must do this, since climbing it is the lonely adventure of your own personal journey.

"Through wind and snow, few men (or women) hear the call to press on."

- Herman Buhl

- John Long

- Aleks Zebastian

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Aleks ... speaks truth. 

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Yep, that is fine.  I assume you'll have a 3rd person belaying and two ropes?

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

I  agree with Aleks on this, but understand that people climb for different reasons and get satisfaction from the activity in different ways. Perhaps having an intimate road-map supplied at the point of difficulty, one that allows you to resolve a sequence that had been beyond you, provides the satisfaction of an obstacle vanquished.  And if you learn something from the instructional interaction that will help you to resolve other difficulties on your own , that could be a valuable and exciting break-through.

But there are other perspectives.  During the few years in grad school when I was guiding, I tried not to tell anyone specific details about how to climb a particular crux.  I tried, as much as possible, to keep my advice to general principles with wide levels of applicability, rather than provide specifics for this or that situation, and leave it to the client to assemble the general recommendations into a action plan tailored to the particular situation at hand.   I'm not going to claim I kept to this every single time, and there were instances when there was something generic about a particular situation, so that describing what to do there would obviously apply to many other situations (such things are particularly true of crack climbing, for example). 

This was in stark contrast to another guide at the time, who provided exquisitely detailed move-by-move beta for everything and often left tick-marks to aid in "proper" hold selection.  As you can imagine, we developed different client pools, as some people wanted all that help and others wanted to develop their own problem-solving abilities.  Since these groups were, to some extent, self-selecting, it isn't particularly meaningful to compare outcomes.  That said, my clients as a group ended up climbing on average more than a full grade harder and were more successful in moving on to their own guideless adventures. (I suppose this was a bad business strategy for me...)  But I should repeat that this might be because my approach attracted people who were destined to be better, more independent climbers, rather than there being any intrinsic instructional value to what I did.

(I might add that I was way out of line with modern conventions in other ways as well.  For example, in five years of guiding I never set up a single top-rope.)

So I think you have to decide which client pool you belong to here, which has to do with what you expect to put in and what you expect to get out of the experience.  It also includes the understanding that there is no such thing as challenge if you can't utterly fail, and that having few (or even many) "nemeses"  that you can come back to later as a way of measuring your progress can be both motivating and gratifying.  Personally, I've always had such lists of failures, and as I enter the twilight of my climbing career, it is clear that there are some things I tried that I will never do.  I don't find this to be in any way discouraging though, as a life lived even a little incautiously is bound to be littered with defeats as well as successes, and it is possible, in time, to view both with affection.

As for the specifics of your question, you can certainly have two people hanging off a decent double-bolt anchor.  The main issues are keeping the rappeller off to the side if at all possible, and keeping the rappel and belay ropes separate at the anchor so that neither on will run over the other during the climb.

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5

I agree with rgold, but have an additional practical consideration to offer. Even if you would prefer a highly detailed level of instruction, your "coach" may not be able to offer it. Every person has different sizes, shapes, strengths, flexibilities, balance, etc which combine to make you a totally unique climber. By focusing on very detailed beta given to you by your friend, you may be missing a sequence that would work much better for you. At an easy grade, it is very unlikely there are so few usable holds that there is only one or a few viable paths to take. When I struggle on a crux and then manage to find a way through it, more often than not it's by doing something very different than my partner did. I think it's worthwhile as a new climber to learn as many different techniques as you can, then take that movement vocab up on that route and puzzle out the best way for YOU to climb it. 

But yes, that bolted anchor can handle the weight of two people. 

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

I second Em's observations about how individualized good beta can be.  I'm often surprised to find that I can't imitate what other people do, even when those people are close to me in size and shape.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Dear climbing friends, 

I did this on lead back in March, first trip out this season. This was the promised first lead (attempt) from my birthday thread. I have no idea how long, or how many falls, I spent working, thoughtfully, on every strategy and theoretical hand/foothold I could find, to no avail.

Top rope, I can just go find a way around it, but that puts me too far off route on lead.

Where I am stuck is a typical nemesis for me at our local cliffs: a smoothish scooped out part followed by a bulge. Most can reach over and grab the jug, stem around for feet, something like that, but I get stuck in the hole (4' 11" for the few who don't know).

Telling me to get my feet up is not helpful, I'm a bit aware of that.

Honestly, part of this is putting the 6' tall son where he can perhaps see something I'm not seeing, and better understand what I have to find to get up these things, and that it is quite a few more moves for me than for him.

Between the two of us, I am hoping to lick this one.

Thanks for the anchor feedback. 

Yes, obviously I'd have a belayer.

My thought on the rigging was.about as above, rappel rope in first, through the chains, with a redirect if necessary, and the top rope on the extended anchor. 

Thanks again. I'm close to lead cert at my gym, and will be leading outside this year. I've got one or two that should go, one an onsight I've been saving. :-)

Best, OLH

AND yes, I need to climb more!!!! Arrrggghhhh.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

It may be better if you can find a spot to toss in some trad gear to redirect your coach to the side so he is out of the way but like others have side as long as the ropes aren't rubbing and the anchors are good there is no problem here.

Have you considered dynoing the move if the next hold is a big enough jug? I have climbed plenty of routes where height was a blocker on the move and you just have to find a way to work around it (although a blank wall section is really hard to get around if you can't reach what others can). Always fun when that person goes you just reach up... than you reach up and its like yea hmm you have 6 inches further reach on me let me try using this half a finger tip mono crimp to get past it.

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Ok, this is deja vu..........We've either covered this in another thread already or I am now officially psychic.............. 

Could have been the 15 page epic "newish belayer-badass whipper" thread but I'm too tired to look.

Tell me I'm not imagining things............ ;)

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 1,053

Found it, thank goodness................. https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/112852740/belaying-a-coach#ForumMessage-112853429

;)

Edit to add: bummed I'm not psychic...........

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Helen, 

Do you feel like your two climbing partners couldn't have answered this for you?

Edit: You already asked this two months ago, as John pointed out? What?

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
Old lady H wrote:

Dear climbing friends, 

I did this on lead back in March, first trip out this season. This was the promised first lead (attempt) from my birthday thread. I have no idea how long, or how many falls, I spent working, thoughtfully, on every strategy and theoretical hand/foothold I could find, to no avail.

Top rope, I can just go find a way around it, but that puts me too far off route on lead.

Where I am stuck is a typical nemesis for me at our local cliffs: a smoothish scooped out part followed by a bulge. Most can reach over and grab the jug, stem around for feet, something like that, but I get stuck in the hole (4' 11" for the few who don't know).

Telling me to get my feet up is not helpful, I'm a bit aware of that.

Honestly, part of this is putting the 6' tall son where he can perhaps see something I'm not seeing, and better understand what I have to find to get up these things, and that it is quite a few more moves for me than for him.

Between the two of us, I am hoping to lick this one.

Thanks for the anchor feedback. 

Yes, obviously I'd have a belayer.

My thought on the rigging was.about as above, rappel rope in first, through the chains, with a redirect if necessary, and the top rope on the extended anchor. 

Thanks again. I'm close to lead cert at my gym, and will be leading outside this year. I've got one or two that should go, one an onsight I've been saving. :-)

Best, OLH

AND yes, I need to climb more!!!! Arrrggghhhh.

If it really is that blank and reach-dependent, maybe it's not the right climb for you right now? Just because it was graded 5.easy or whatever by the FA doesn't mean that reflects the difficulty you're experiencing at your size and shape. 

jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 10

Maybe your coach can put some colored tape on the route so you know where the holds are.  Perhaps drill a few holds on to help you up.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Em Cos wrote:

If it really is that blank and reach-dependent, maybe it's not the right climb for you right now? Just because it was graded 5.easy or whatever by the FA doesn't mean that reflects the difficulty you're experiencing at your size and shape. 

+!

I once climbed with a partner who was also 4'11". There is little question that some of the 5.6s we did in the Gunks were closer to 5.8/9- for her. Yet there is also little question that the 5.6 with the crab-walk traverse under a roof on about 2.5' of rock was far easier for her than for my 6'.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Well geez.

So are the answers the same as before??

Told ya I'm not getting enough...climbing, sleep, anything.

Slinking away in shame, now, 

Best, (a very tired) OLH

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
jason.cre wrote:

Maybe your coach can put some colored tape on the route so you know where the holds are.  Perhaps drill a few holds on to help you up.

Well, almost. I'm the setter, so i could do that. Just have to move the pesky bolts over.

:-$ OLH

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Don't tape outdoors just chalk the living heck out of the holds. We completely pissed off some people at a bouldering area onetime doing this. It was kinda fun.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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