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What to expect in A1


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Danny Herrera · · San Bruno, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 330

Hello, I have no aid experience but plan on climbing a route that starts off with 5.9 A1 off the ground. What would I need to make this doable? This would be a bolted climb in pinnacles national park

rocknice2 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 3,043

Danny Herrera wrote:

Hello, I have no aid experience but plan on climbing a route that starts off with 5.9 A1 off the ground. What would I need to make this doable? This would be a bolted climb in pinnacles national park

Be able to free climb at least 5.9.

Hayden robinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 90

Based off your description it's probably just a short section of aid, probably a small bolt ladder, depending on your sense of the climbing up higher you might just need couple long slings to use as aiders and quick draws. If you really wanted to Be prepared for aid climbing you want a couple ladders, dasieys, a FIFI hook. I use an adjustable fifi, an Alfrifi. Maybe some offset micro cams and offset nuts if you are doing a C1 like moonlight buttress. I always have a double set of grappling hooks and bat hooks and cam hooks. Sawed off angles and beaks can be really handy to. But I doubt you'll need any of that specialty gear  

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

Hayden robinson wrote:

Based off your description it's probably just a short section of aid, probably a small bolt ladder, depending on your sense of the climbing up higher you might just need couple long slings to use as aiders and quick draws. If you really wanted to Be prepared for aid climbing you want a couple ladders, dasieys, a FIFI hook. I use an adjustable fifi, an Alfrifi. Maybe some offset micro cams and offset nuts if you are doing a C1 like moonlight buttress. I always have a double set of grappling hooks and bat hooks and cam hooks. Sawed off angles and beaks can be really handy to. But I doubt you'll need any of that specialty gear  

Wouldn't a bolt ladder be A0?

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Expect: tomato purée, raisinpaste, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, crushed orange purée, dried garlic and onions, spice, celery seed, caramel color, and xanthan gum. 

Everett · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 10

Danny Herrera wrote:

What would I need to make this doable?

Is there a suggested rack?

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

I have not done much in the way of aid but isn't a bolt ladder C1 not A1 because you aren't putting in the bolts yourself?

George Foster · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

A1: Easy aid: placements straightforward and solid. No risk of any piece pulling out. Aiders generally required. Fast and simple for C1, the hammerless corresponding grade, but not necessarily fast and simple for nailing pitches. Examples: (clean) the non-5.12 version of the Salathe headwall, Prodigal Son on Angel's Landing and Touchstone Wall in Zion.


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

FrankPS wrote:

Wouldn't a bolt ladder be A0?

If it is merely pulling on some biners and draws, yeah, A0. If it's a longer stretch where you have to pull out the aiders and get involved with top stepping, then more like A1 in terms of effort, awkwardness, etc.

Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 250

FrankPS wrote:

Wouldn't a bolt ladder be A0?

C'mon man. Dude really wanted to list his aid rack. ;-)

Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

So, generally when a climb is graded followed by an aid rating, you need to be able to free climb that grade.  You cannot aid your way through it, or it will be unessesarily hard aid.  A0-A1 is generally a bolt ladder.  This can be anything from french freeing (pulling on draws for upward progress) to a spaced bolt ladder that requires aiders and a long wingspan.  In either case, I would bring extra draws and carabineers.  You may want to bring aiders if the bolts are spaced far apart, or if the bolt ladder is on a steep face or roof.  If the bolt ladder is on a slab, you will probably be fine without aiders.  I would check with other climbers to see if the ladder is in good condition.  If unknown, chances are that it isn't well traveled, and you may want a homemade hook or stick clip just in case entire bolts are missing.

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430

Danny Herrera wrote:

Hello, I have no aid experience but plan on climbing a route that starts off with 5.9 A1 off the ground. What would I need to make this doable? This would be a bolted climb in pinnacles national park

What route at the Pinnacles?

Sometimes its one move, other times (like Machete Direct) its a ladder for a short distance etc....There are lots of ways to "get up" AI...but a full pitch bolt ladder is a whole lot more fun with aiders and a fifi.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 13,814

I've always felt: A0 = grabbing one, maybe two pieces (bolt, cam or piton) with your hand via a biner, or sling, as a handhold to make a move or two.  "Back in the day" (the 60's & 70's) we also called this "French Free" since before the French started pushing grades in free climbing in the 1980's they would not consider it aid until they stepped in a sling or aider.  

                        A1 (or C1 specifically if it's a cam)  = Easy aid but now stepping in either slings or aiders with your feet. Feet, in the slings, generally stay in contact with the rock. All placements are very solid.  Length indeterminate. 

                        A2 (or C2 if cams) = Less solid placements and/or overhanging such that feet no longer touch the rock (which is surprisingly strenuous if you've never done it) 

    Above that, A3 (C3), A4 (C4) etc. the placments get less and less secure. 

  

Danny Herrera · · San Bruno, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 330

King Tut wrote:

What route at the Pinnacles?

Sometimes its one move, other times (like Machete Direct) its a ladder for a short distance etc....


going to be starting on badman mezzaine @ machete ridge. Wanted to climb the upper face pitches and that is either Bill's Bad Bolts 5.7 A1 or Rock around the clock 5.9A1 (https://www.mountainproject.com/route/112472154/lucky-13-to-gp-headwall-to-rock-around-the-clock)


Danny Herrera · · San Bruno, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 330

Briggs Lazalde wrote:

Expect: tomato purée, raisinpaste, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, crushed orange purée, dried garlic and onions, spice, celery seed, caramel color, and xanthan gum


scrolled past this a few times before i understood lol


King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430

Danny Herrera wrote:


going to be starting on badman mezzaine @ machete ridge. Wanted to climb the upper face pitches and that is either Bill's Bad Bolts 5.7 A1 or Rock around the clock 5.9A1 (https://www.mountainproject.com/route/112472154/lucky-13-to-gp-headwall-to-rock-around-the-clock)


Bolt ladders that have a number of consecutive moves go a lot easier with aiders and a daisy with a fifi etc to clip in if its steep etc.

Look up some of Chris McNamara's vids on youtube for standard aid climbing sequence. Its all about efficient repeatable steps.

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

Robert Hall wrote:

I've always felt: A0 = grabbing one, maybe two pieces (bolt, cam or piton) with your hand via a biner, or sling, as a handhold to make a move or two.  "Back in the day" (the 60's & 70's) we also called this "French Free" since before the French started pushing grades in free climbing in the 1980's they would not consider it aid until they stepped in a sling or aider.  

                        A1 (or C1 specifically if it's a cam)  = Easy aid but now stepping in either slings or aiders with your feet. Feet, in the slings, generally stay in contact with the rock. All placements are very solid.  Length indeterminate. 

                        A2 (or C2 if cams) = Less solid placements and/or overhanging such that feet no longer touch the rock (which is surprisingly strenuous if you've never done it) 

    Above that, A3 (C3), A4 (C4) etc. the placments get less and less secure. 

Adding some comments: 

> C doesn't just refer to cams - it can be any clean climbing pro, including hand-placed unhammered pitons.  

> Besides strenous, A2 can just be PITA awkward eg: a finger crack at the back of a flared corner where your shoulders contact the sides of the flare before your fingers can reach the crack to place stuff.

> Old school vs new school aid ratings: originally, the aid rating was based on two things - how solid the placements and the distance of the possible fall. New school ratings don't emphasize the placements holding or how many body-weight only pieces in a row as much as* the danger level of the pitch. A pitch with multiple body weight placements in a row interspersed with rivets and some bolts and possible 50' falls may still only get an A2+ if the fall is clean and all air whereas a pitch that is only heads and hooks with a ledge fall onto blocks from 30' may get an A4 rating.

*: It's not that those things don't matter, it's just that they don't matter as much as they once did in determining the rating.

Max Rausch · · Monterey, CA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 125

Danny Herrera wrote:


going to be starting on badman mezzaine @ machete ridge. Wanted to climb the upper face pitches and that is either Bill's Bad Bolts 5.7 A1 or Rock around the clock 5.9A1 (https://www.mountainproject.com/route/112472154/lucky-13-to-gp-headwall-to-rock-around-the-clock)


The Bills Bad Bolts A1 headwall is a bit too steep to just french free your way through. Ladders and a fifi will be necessary for both you and your second. Although, the few pitches up to the start of the headwall are fun climbing in their own. (Lucky 13 to Redline)

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 13,814

Yup..Marc801 is correct:  "C" means "Clean" (nuts, cams, un-hammered pins) more than "Cam"...pardon my "brain fart". 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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