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Trad climbers - what do you practice?


Original Post
Brian morin · · Simi Valley, CA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 10

Just curious - are there any knots/systems/skills you find yourself practicing from time to time because it's rarely, if ever, used to keep it in your knowledge set?

RyanDecker · · North Lake Tahoe · Joined May 2012 · Points: 20

Newer trad climber but long time SAR guy. Find myself having to practice haul systems (Z pulley, etc) rarely need it but can be a life saver... literally.

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

Self rescue.  Hopefully will never have to use it so it's easy to get rusty, but you damn well want to be ready if you need it.

Marty C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 70

Seldom used, but very beneficial when needed:

- simple French Free "aid" techniques 

- how to prussic/ascend a fixed line

- how to lower a 2nd. on a locked Guide Mode device

- basic self rescue skills (how to tie off your belay device to go hands free, counter weight and tandem rappel, transferring the load from your belay device to anchor, etc.)

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 1970 · Points: 0

This video shows you the knot, but not its applications.  I've never used it in practice, but I know that it holds a load until you pop the slip-knot part of it, at which point, you're already holding the break strand, so then the load is being controlled by you and the munter hitch.

But it's actually the PMMO (Prussik Munter Mule Overhand) that I'm thinking of that's a useful rescue knot.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

3:1 and 5 (or 6):1 haul, for when the follower falls off that Gunks overhang.  And, at the other end of the spectrum (er... rope), ascending a rope from a free-hanging (fallen-and-I-can't-get-back-on) position. The latter using slings, cordelette, belay device and/or whatever the climber typically has with them. A partner always has a Tibloc hanging from the back of his harness, but when we drilled this, it didn't occur to him to use it.  LOL, that's why practice matters.

Jaron a · · SLC · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 30

Imo, simple hauling systems like a 3:1 and 5:1 should be common knowledge among climbers. Knowing how to "defeat" an autoblocking plate to lower a follwer is also something that I've needed to do a few times. Utilizing munters for belaying, rapping, and belay escapes is also helpful to know.

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

Basic rescue in small group scenarios. Mini-polyspast, polyspast (z-system), lower down systems, etc. The most important - how to safely and efficiently switch from one system to another (e.g., switch from autoblock to z-system or from z-system to Muner lower down).

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,503

Self-rescue including getting up to assist a leader injured mid-pitch and load transfers.

Some of that has become familiar enough to creep back into unsurprising situations where I otherwise would have done something not quite as elegant.  :-)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Self rescue. I personally am  pretty rusty with doing counterbalance raps both from above the victim (rescuing a follower) and with the victim (rescuing the leader). I could probably also use a refresher on haul systems as well but those are rarely the best option available so I don't feel as bad. 

Also tying off the belay device or munter with a mule hitch + overhand is one of those good self rescue skills that can be useful outside of a rescue. I find myself tying off my belay device with a mule hitch every now and then to go hands free either to mime beta or take photos. 

Granted, I use an assisted braking device so I'd probably be fine without the Mule hitch, but the idea of just letting go of my brake hand during a lead belay doesn't quite give me the warm fuzzies

skye bacus · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 65

My partners and I recently got together and practiced the following before alpine season started:

- Escape the belay / load transfer
- Ascend the rope using cord / hollow block / bachmann hitch
- hauling with 3:1 and 5:1 systems

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
skye bacus wrote:

My partners and I recently got together and practiced the following before alpine season started:

- Escape the belay / load transfer
- Ascend the rope using cord / hollow block / bachmann hitch
- hauling with 3:1 and 5:1 systems

My $0.02. Add mini-polyspast to the list. A model scenario: you and your partner are attached to a hanging belay anchor. You are to lower your partner off. You are to do all rope work (your partner don't even touch anything with hands).

Squeak · · Perth West OZ · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 23

Does anyone have any links to "polyplast" systems, step by step or videos?

Ive not heard of the term before and my Google-fu is lacking on the term also

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

Polyspast is called z-system in the U.S.

It is to trade distance for force or vice versa.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Pavel Burov wrote:

Polyspast is called z-system in the U.S.

It is to trade distance for force or vice versa.

So it's a haul system.  I suggested that the first day this thread was up.

Skf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 0
Pavel Burov wrote:

Polyspast is called z-system in the U.S.

It is to trade distance for force or vice versa.

Like this?

If not, please describe further.

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

Skf, yes, like this.

skye bacus · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 65
Pavel Burov wrote:

Skf, yes, like this.

..so you think my friends and I should practice 3:1 systems in another language?   

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 277
skye bacus wrote:

..so you think my friends and I should practice 3:1 systems in another language?   

As a climber, you should back everything up, including your method of communication! I'd suggest sign language, but that has a prerequisite of escaping the belay so you have both hands free... ;)

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
Andrew Krajnik wrote:

As a climber, you should back everything up, including your method of communication! I'd suggest sign language, but that has a prerequisite of escaping the belay so you have both hands free... ;)

Gotta have redundancy. If you only know one language then you can use the grunting language of Adam Onda for your backup.. Psstzahh for off  belay and ahhgerrrrugh for in belay

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
eli poss wrote:

Gotta have redundancy. If you only know one language then you can use the grunting language of Adam Onda for your backup.. Psstzahh for off  belay and ahhgerrrrugh for in belay

Wait... the opposite of "Off Belay" is "In Belay"?  I've been doin' it wrong all these years.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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