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New and experienced climbers over 50, #3


Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Carl Schneider wrote:

In regards to the conversation about lockers/non lockers etc, what do peeps think about using quick draws for a trad anchor?  My mentor insists that I don't need to carry four HMS lockers for my anchor (I use the rope).  I place a locker on each of the three pieces I use (cams/nuts etc) and one on my belay loop or rope loop and clove hitch the rope to each.  He uses just one quickdraw on each of the pieces he's placed (i.e. not two with gates opposed) with clove hitches. He maintains they won't come undone under load.  Funny thing is the other day when he actually removed my locker and replaced it with a quickdraw it was anything but  under load!  He's a funny guy.  He actually took my lockers off my harness before I led a route without me knowing.  I was furious!

why would you use lockers on pieces in an anchor when you don't need lockers on pieces protecting you while leading? 

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

You need one Locker for a rock climb, because nearly all belay devices require one.

That's it.

This is what you do: Tie a Clove as your main attachment to the anchor (I always tie in twice, partly because I never use lockers on the anchor) then sit on it to really tighten it up. Then, try and see if can come unclipped. It can't, because after sitting on it, it now grips the carabiner so tightly it is nearly impossible for it to unclip itself AND you are also tied into a second clove to the other piece for redundancy. Perfectly safe and no lockers needed.

Belay off your harness (tuber) or off a redirect or off a loop in the rope (gri-gri on locker) as positioning and the needs of the second indicate.

All those first El Cap routes and other big walls around the country were done without a single locking carabiner bitd. I think we can manage to keep it simple also.

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0
Señor Arroz wrote:

why would you use lockers on pieces in an anchor when you don't need lockers on pieces protecting you while leading? 

Because all of the locking carabiner makers show it in their ads (to sell more lockers).

It was hilarious because in another thread someone challenged me that I didn't know this to be true...In fact, as an Outdoor Retailer I worked in mountain shops spanning the late 70's pre-cam days all the way into the 90's when I was the Climbing Category Buyer for The North Face Retail Division. At the time I was the second largest buyer of climbing gear in the country after REI.

They are precisely featured in all of the makers ads/promo images showing anchors to sell more lockers to newbies (who buy like 90% of all carabiners). I have had this discussion with all of the product managers at Black Diamond, Camp, Metolius, Petzl etc. Its a fact.
Tom Hickmann · · Bend · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 5

This locker discussion is interesting. As a newbie to the sport, I use lockers on my PAS and my top anchors. I do it precisely because I am new. The lockers do make me stop and think about what I am doing, and why. I may get to a point I am comfortable without them and feeling my clove hitch can't magically pop off. But for now, I am using lockers at the anchors and if that defines me being a noob, I am good with that. 

ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

Thinking about lockers now also.... On any gear protected multipitch I will have a locker on my belay/rap device, a locker on my PAS (48" runner, girthhitched on my harness to extend rappels and go in quickly on multiple raps), I carry a long cordalette that has a large locker on it that I use for belaying off the anchor and a small locker on my prusik loop. We often lead in blocks so don't like to use the rope in the anchor all the time. I don't usually use lockers on my anchors because I am there attending them and I set them up so they are weighted.

I have always considered that it is good practice to have extra lockers (certainly more than 1) with me in case s**t hits the fan. You will want additional lockers in the event you need to perform any type of rescue. I think it's also nice to have extra lockers just in case you have the scenario where you want that extra insurance on the rope side for traversing moves or anywhere gate flutter could be an issue on a fall. I never really thought about this before Wayne Crill's accident (there is a lengthy thread on this elsewhere on MP - he had not 1 but 2 critical pieces unclip from the rope and suffered a terrible injury). The added weight of locking biners is absolutely not the limiting factor in my climbing, so why not bring a few extra?

Another thought - I really appreciate the respectful dialog here. It isn't always present in other threads and I'm always tempted to add 'flame away' at the end of anything I post. So thanks for that!

Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 563

2 draws on a bolted anchor gates facing away from each other good to go. Simple and effective. As long as the bolts are level. or if chains are on the bolts adjust accordingly.

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I can see both points of view re locking biners.  I used to use just two quick draws Opposed on each piece (I pretty much always place three pieces if I can) but then saw a video by the president of the UK climbing assoc (or something, can't remember exactly his title) which made me think:
1. If I use locking biners as was said above it makes me stop and check that the rope is correctly attached
2. If I use my lockers the leader always takes off from the anchor carrying all the quickdraws.  If I use two (opposing) for each piece that's six quickdraws sitting on the anchor that could come in handy for the leader
3. the ones I have are quite light weight and are HMS (pear shaped) so you can easily tie multiple clove hitches on them when you take the rope back to your belay loop/rope loop

Carl Schneider · · Adelaide, South Australia · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
ErikaNW wrote: ...Another thought - I really appreciate the respectful dialog here. It isn't always present in other threads and I'm always tempted to add 'flame away' at the end of anything I post. So thanks for that!...

It's because we're old.  Young punks have no respect!

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Carl Schneider wrote: I can see both points of view re locking biners.  I used to use just two quick draws Opposed on each piece (I pretty much always place three pieces if I can) but then saw a video by the president of the UK climbing assoc (or something, can't remember exactly his title) which made me think:
1. If I use locking biners as was said above it makes me stop and check that the rope is correctly attached
2. If I use my lockers the leader always takes off from the anchor carrying all the quickdraws.  If I use two (opposing) for each piece that's six quickdraws sitting on the anchor that could come in handy for the leader
3. the ones I have are quite light weight and are HMS (pear shaped) so you can easily tie multiple clove hitches on them when you take the rope back to your belay loop/rope loop

To be clear, I'm not saying to use two draws opposed on a trad piece as part of a 3 piece anchor. I agree that 6 draws is a lot to use in an anchor. But, typically, I'm not using draws at all in a trad anchor. Cams all have racking biners. If I use a stopper in an anchor I either just put a biner directly on it or extend with a single draw. Then I rig off of those biners. I'm unclear why I'd need extensions off of an anchor piece. I always understood that to be the job of the rigging.

Two draws opposed is my anchor of choice on a bolted sport TR anchor. On a bolted multi-pitch anchor I typically carry a mini-quad. 

Dallas R · · Traveling the USA · Joined May 2013 · Points: 181

As a relatively new climber I had to make some choices about lockers. BSTS or NGNG, that is; better safe than sorry or no guts no glory.  I tend to err on the side of caution.  I fully recognize that non-locking biners are ok.  I use them in many situations and I am not afraid to use them in situations that others think require a locking biner.  I do recognize they have 2 distinct values: 1. They should be used in situations where the biner is not free hanging, someplace that a piece of rock may cause it to become open, or someplace where the rope could counter drag and open the gate.  2. By having to physically screw a gate closed you are double checking that the clip is complete.  

I carry 4 locking ovals on my belt whenever I climb outdoors.  An old time climber asked me one time why I carry so much crap on my belt.  I told him frankly; I am a shitty climber, I want to have enough stuff with me to save my sorry ass should I royally screw up.

Ya'all can laugh if you want, but I am keeping my 4 locking ovals, short sling, long sling, and long cordelette on my belt.  Lots of self rescue scenarios with these simple tools.

Mark Orsag · · Omaha, NE · Joined May 2013 · Points: 760
rgold wrote:

I think not.  Let's say that learning opportunities never end, but some people do reach a point where they think they don't need to know any more.  Once at that stage, there is a tendency to heap scorn on new developments and practices---sometimes with justification but often not.  (At the other end of this spectrum are contemporary climbers who become helpless when they drop a piece of equipment the old folks know perfectly well how to do without.)

Thinking just about physical climbing technique, there is always the sort of micro-learning process that occurs as you decode some particular puzzle.  This may or may not involve learning something "new" in a larger sense, as you are mostly cobbling together techniques and strategies you already have, perhaps in novel ways.  The biggest spur to learning in a larger sense is encountering different types and angles of rock.

I climb in the local gym with a bunch of superannuated traddies, and it is interesting so see the division between those who are  embracing "new-fangled" (for the Medicare set) tricks of overhanging climbing: back-stepping, knee drops, flagging, and a more consistent emphasis on sideways body orientation, and those who are still facing the wall with toes pointed outward as they would for an 80 degree slab in the Gunks.  There's a one to two grade gap in achievement between the learners and the non-learners which I don't think is explained by physical differences.

I have tried those techniques specific to overhang-- some of them work with my 56 y/o body and others (notably back-stepping and the sideways body orientation generally) just don't. Almost any attempt at back-stepping or sideways orientation causes my back to bow out sideways away from the wall. Generating any upwards power, other than with very positive holds, becomes immediately impossible leading to a stall out and a fall. Tight IT bands and a bit of hyperloidosis are probably the culprits in my case I think. My very imperfect solution is to face climb with the toe in and flag a lot. Thus I can lead 5.11 outdoors on slab or vertical but only 9/9+ on overhang. Indoor bouldering V7 vs V3! But if you can still get your body into those somewhat contorted positions that those techniques require; Rich is right; you will do better. Not like a 20 year old, but better.


Jeffrey Constine · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined May 2009 · Points: 563

 Wow all that writing about that I already did 10 pitches lol

Buck Rio · · MN · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Dallas R wrote: I carry 4 locking ovals on my belt whenever I climb outdoors.  An old time climber asked me one time why I carry so much crap on my belt.  I told him frankly; I am a shitty climber, I want to have enough stuff with me to save my sorry ass should I royally screw up.

Ya'all can laugh if you want, but I am keeping my 4 locking ovals, short sling, long sling, and long cordelette on my belt.  Lots of self rescue scenarios with these simple tools.

As you get more experience, you will realize this is way too much crap to carry all of the time. Get yourself some of those Nano 22's and carry four of those if you must.

I think people hear about something that happened, one time to some guy they never met, and think that if I carry more gear I could have avoided that situation. Truth is, a piece of cord (prusik) and two mini-lockers are all you need for any realistic situation. On long multipitch routes I will carry ONE carabiner with a prussic, a leather glove fro rapping and a tibloc. All that weighs less than a small cam. Since I will probably have a pack on, the extra weight won't matter.  

In 20+ years of climbing, I have never had to use the prusik or the tibloc for self rescue. I do use the glove pretty regular on raps with skinny ropes if I am not using a third hand.
Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170

I absolutely don't want to stop the great conversation you advanced climbers are having--but if there's a lag in discussing locking carabiners... there's a 'climbfest' coming up in J Tree... and I think I'll do it.  3-4 days with a local group out climbing full days, and 1 or 2 days with Bob.  I'm trying to decide on the minimum prep and knowledge I could do from home.
 
So, we're really finally 'at the beginning'.  I'm surprised how easy and intuitive some of these knots and anchors are.  But it is all book learning so far.  

How can I best help and support on this upcoming climb?  What are a minimum few things I can learn to be more prepared upon arrival?  Reading up on 'The Joshua Tree System'... is this familiar to anyone, and possibly a good place the start?  For rigging a top rope... using a 60 foot low-stretch rope, (Sterling Safety Pro) as an extension rope to form a V running to two anchors... and the V has a double overhand knot.  Rigging rope is tied with a bowline, with backup double fisherman's knot. (and many variations thereof) Some carabiners.  And then (important for me)... a tether double-length nylon sling attached to the rigging rope via klemheist knot.    

If I can get to this climb with a working knowledge of a few of the most basic things... I might not have to waste time on the ground learning all the rudiments. There's a quarry down the street from me with lots of boulders and trees, I can practice almost anything there.   As so many people have pointed out... no use just memorizing tons of knots.  I'm ready to climb...    

Mason Stone · · Island of misfit toys. · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

I carry two prussics and one extra carabiner, a locker mostly but sometimes I end up with a wiregate. I learned to rappel in the military with a swiss seat made from static rope and, two wraps around a d ring, no tube or eight ring, it occurred to me at the time that the gate might open but it never did so I didn't worry about it. Self rescue then meant figuring it out, rigging with what was at hand, a belt, a shirt, boot laces, paracord, even commo wire. The lesson instilled was always to figure it out and never quit. Mind is our finest tool, it will get us out of whatever we get ourselves into.

Lori, I have never been to Jtree but wherever I go I try to keep an open mind, meet the locals and camp in the vicinity of everyone else. My partners and I also walk around after eating and setting up camp, I usually bring beer and a deck of cards. People invite us to their fire or we invite ourselves, the former is more often the case. I have met a lot of great people and shared many great stories and beer by doing this. Any time there is down time I have my binoculars out and I watch people's style of climbing and how they manage rope and rig their anchors and rappels. This is how I leaned to redirect among other useful tidbits. I also bring a camera and take photos sometimes of other people climbing and will share them if asked. ( have also had people share pictures they have taken of me on route.

Being newer I paid attention to what people on mp said and used the mantra for learning, listen more speak less and when necessary ask questions.

Have fun, be safe.

Señor Arroz · · LA, CA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10

Lori, there's a good youtube video of the "J-tree Top rope system" if you want to learn it visually. To be honest, I don't think a big group of climbers in a "climbfest" is likely to lack people who can set up a toprope. If they do, maybe it's not the right group to be with.

If you were coming along on a group trip with me I'd hope you were A) a really good lead belayer. B) willing to toprope belay beginner climbers and kids so I don't have to. C) capable of cleaning and organizing gear like ropes, etc, so I don't have to. And, finally, D) having an eager willingness to learn new skills in the moment is wonderful.

I think you can already provide all those, can't you?

What I think you're avoiding is learning how to lead climb in the gym. Which will then help you get your head around making your first lead climbs outside. 

Mason Stone · · Island of misfit toys. · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

+1 Mr. Rice's last statement.

Lori Milas · · Rocklin, CA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 170
Señor Arroz wrote: Lori, there's a good youtube video of the "J-tree Top rope system" if you want to learn it visually. To be honest, I don't think a big group of climbers in a "climbfest" is likely to lack people who can set up a toprope. If they do, maybe it's not the right group to be with.

If you were coming along on a group trip with me I'd hope you were A) a really good lead belayer. B) willing to toprope belay beginner climbers and kids so I don't have to. C) capable of cleaning and organizing gear like ropes, etc, so I don't have to. And, finally, D) having an eager willingness to learn new skills in the moment is wonderful.

I think you can already provide all those, can't you?

What I think you're avoiding is learning how to lead climb in the gym. Which will then help you get your head around making your first lead climbs outside. 

Thank you... as always.  I am speeding along at the gym to learn lead climbing.  I bumped it up to two sessions per week for awhile since I'm physically stronger and working on two different 10d's.  I am really eager to learn lead in the gym... but just don't want to be in that 'barely' group.  (huffing, puffing, barely able to get there).

Senor, I've been watching climbers a lot lately when I'm resting up at the gym... and enjoying especially the ones who flow, who have great form, and who aren't climbing routes that are over their heads. Watched a gal warming up on a steep 5.9... just beautiful to behold... then hop over to some 11's.   I stepped back a grade or two so I could work on precision and footwork and some grace--feeling less anxiety about sending every climb.  It's easy to tell the thrashers from those who have some level of control... I hope to be in that later category when leading. 

As for the climbfest... and more time out with Bob, I know others will be doing the anchor setting etc... I just don't want to be standing with my hands in my pockets.  Esp with Bob, I can now walk up on some lower rocks and do some setups under watchful eyes...  

All other boxes checked off.     thank you so much.   

jay steinke · · Duluth, Mn · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5
Tom Hickmann wrote:
  • I train 6 and sometimes 7 days a week, and I definitely did not do that when I was younger. The difference is that I mix it up. I limit climbing to 2 to 3 days a week. Other days are a mix of weights and cardio. After the age 50 muscle atrophy is a real problem. I have a workout gym I go to in the mornings, climbing gym on evenings, and outside on rock other days. I have found it takes a lot more now to maintain strength than it ever used to.


jay steinke · · Duluth, Mn · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5

 I started climbing at the age of 65, that was four years ago. I have found out that there is a myth to getting older and weaker. I have been gaining strength ever since and I could get a lot stronger if  I worked out harder.  right now I climb 11 B. Inside and out . I specifically train at the gym the climbing muscles and their antagonists. Do hang boarding and forearm work. I have never been in better shape in all my life. I have increased my protein  intake and have noticed a large difference in muscle repair and increase strength. I really love climbing and hope to continue as long as I can. It is a very serious sport for me and I consider all my training to be like an athlete .

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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