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Trad climbing with hooks for pro


Dave T · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0
DanH TheMan wrote: Ken is the authority on hooks and he is still out there climbing every week.Out there
Climbing rocks and chopping bolts still? last I heard KN's biggest accomplishment was taking a girl off belay mid climb by accident so she dropped 20+ feet then had to be helicoptered outta Ragged ... glad to have him around still, what a legend !!!
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800
kevin deweese wrote: If you're willing to lead rope solo the climb then hooks become very easy to place as pro since you'll be able to tension them against the rope going down to the bottom anchor. Still not that good of an idea since a good fall can open a hook's curve thus making it less than ideal. I've done this all the time while aid soloing but never fallen on the hooks with any real force. Ideally, if there are larger flakes on the route then a Fish hook would be a good choice considering their beefy nature. 

I suspect a fall would immediately lift all the hooks below the top piece off their edges as the rope stretched upwards.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 520
Gunkiemike wrote:

I suspect a fall would immediately lift all the hooks below the top piece off their edges as the rope stretched upwards.

Your suspicion does not reflect reality.

. Mobes · · MDI · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 865
Dave T wrote: Climbing rocks and chopping bolts still? last I heard KN's biggest accomplishment was taking a girl off belay mid climb by accident so she dropped 20+ feet then had to be helicoptered outta Ragged ... glad to have him around still, what a legend !!!

I've heard of this accident. Happened this year.

Ska Ggs · · NorthEast Stuck · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 50
Marc H wrote: Talk to Ken Nichols if you can find him. He used to lead stuff in CT with multiple belayers with hooks duct taped to the rock. 

Makes our trad leads following the 'FA's style' sooooo much more annoying/fun/stupid if you live in the East Coast ... 

J Achey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 145

From personal (if limited) experience, I have found that hooks flex and pop when fallen on, unless they are seated deeply behind a flake and take the force at the apex of their curve. But for features that will take that kind of a hook, a hand-placed piton often seats deeper and is more secure. Carry both. And don't fall. The points made above about retreating to gear like this, rather than falling on it, are spot on - that can add a big safety margin for a someone who knows how to downclimb.

Nolan Huther · · Potsdam, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 510
Ska Ggs wrote:

Makes our trad leads following the 'FA's style' sooooo much more annoying/fun/stupid if you live in the East Coast ... 

Hmm. I'm not familiar with Connecticut, which seems to be the only area where there is any significant amount of hooking FAs, but around the East Coast, there are extremely varied route development ethics, both historically and especially in the modern day. I don't think anyone would argue against calling Connecticut, umm, "unique" at times, even for the East Coast. Seems unfair to lump areas like the Gunks, Linville Gorge, the Red, The New, Seneca, the Adirondacks, North Conway, Rumney, etc, all into the same basket

Emil Briggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 105

I've used this method on the route Rice Krispies at Stone Mountain NC. There is a solid lip about 25 feet up that you can hook. It's the first possible pro on the route (and the only pro in the first 50 feet). I reached the lip and placed the hook and attached a trail line to it which my second belayer weighted. I didn't fall but I think it was actually pretty bomber.

Zach Parsons wrote: I heard of a climb at Devil's Lake where the leader placed a hook with enough paracord on it to reach the ground, and a buddy kept it under tension so it wouldn't fall off.

Not sure if this is common practice when doing such things, but it's gnarly.


David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 137
Nolan Huther wrote:

Hmm. I'm not familiar with Connecticut, which seems to be the only area where there is any significant amount of hooking FAs, but around the East Coast, there are extremely varied route development ethics, both historically and especially in the modern day. I don't think anyone would argue against calling Connecticut, umm, "unique" at times, even for the East Coast. Seems unfair to lump areas like the Gunks, Linville Gorge, the Red, The New, Seneca, the Adirondacks, North Conway, Rumney, etc, all into the same basket

The general consensus around the Gunks seems to be that Ragged is one of the few areas more sandbagged than the Gunks--by about a full grade. It's older, and was also closed to climbing for some years, so it didn't see as much of the grade inflation as other climbing areas.

I don't know of any hook FAs in the Gunks, although there are certainly some spots where hooks might be the only pro. There's a strong ethic of no (new) fixed gear here, but at least for now there's enough historical fixed gear that there's plenty to climb without having to resort to such measures as using hooks for protection.
bernard wolfe · · birmingham, al · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 170

Just place a bolt and get on with it......

Suburban Roadside · · Abovetraffic on Hudson · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 1,719
David Kerkeslager wrote: 

The general consensus around the Gunks seems to be that Ragged is one of the few areas more sandbagged than the Gunks--by about a full grade. It's older, and was also closed to climbing for some years, so it didn't see as much of the grade inflation as other climbing areas.

I don't know of anything about any FAs in the Gunks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   although there are certainly some spots where hooks might be the only pro.
There's a strong ethic of no (new) fixed gear here, but at least for now there's enough historical fixed gear that there's plenty to climb without having to resort to such measures as using hooks for protection.


Kieth Uhle was still using aid to get places well into the 90s, Im not sure if any others still use the odd knife blade or sky hook, but there are climbs in the Gunks that were put up using hooks.

The one who shall not be named was witness and provocator to a type of or a style where gear was meant to assist down climbing. Both glued & tapped hooks were used as pro, on climbs that were wired on top rope to the point where they could have been solo'd* before the leads, (*and some were.)

 when you're strong enough
High-E The Hard Way steps off the rock,on the ledge,  
well in on the face & goes up passing the odd holes,
 to re-join the regular line, just below "the move"
passing to the far right of the regular finish, above "the Move" seemed contrived *& ends with a dangerous run out  
299 you should go try it  "on-sight"

these next two may take work.
these are not all in one place the purple is the easy line
L-R ProJ`X, Intruders, Twistarete(?) Giants Work Shop   
Now, one of those, "a long way to walk" climbing zones in the Gunks The Sun Bowl
David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 137
Suburban Roadside wrote:  when you're strong enough
High-E The Hard Way steps off the rock,on the ledge,  well in on the face & goes up passing the odd holes, to re-join the regular line, just below "the move"
299 you should go try on-sight

these next two may take work.
these are not all in one place the purple is the easy line
L-R ProJ`X, Intruders, Twistarete(?)
Now, one of those, "a long way to walk" climbing zones in the Gunks

The first two I recognize, and High E The Hard Way is definitely on the to-do list. But I have no idea where the other two are.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 456
Nolan Huther wrote:

A short while back I got a set of ball nuts with the hope of being able to start using them regularly next season, as I have a strange attraction to climbing above RPs and microcams, so ball nuts seemed a logical addition to the mix. That brought me to an old supertopo post you made on using ball nuts. Probably one of the best posts I've seen around, for sure, I made a copy of it. 

Thanks, just tried to get across my experience with them.

Anyway, I don't have any intention of climbing on hooks at the moment, but why do you prefer the chouinard hooks? Did YC just nail the right design and no one else has made as good a hook since?
Largely due to a) the stem is offset so they cam in the crack when weighted, b) you can do both right and left side in with each one, and c) they way beat the shit out of nothing on what would otherwise be long runouts. 
Sebastian Reichelt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0
Cooper ' wrote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqOrMDrDIk0

This guy fell onto a hook and it bent open. Pretty short fall too, and you can see how well the hook is set on the rock before the fall.

I can't tell from the video, was he attached to the hook with static slings or did he clip the rope?

Cooper - · · South Bay (SF) · Joined Jul 2018 · Points: 0

Looks like the aider is hanging off of his harness by a sling after the fall. So yeah, the shock would have been higher on the hook if it was a static sling. But he was also traversing, so the shock would have been reduced a bit since it's a swinging catch on the sling.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

i took a small fall onto a BD hook once on a slab route.  it was placed over the top of a granite flake such that the shape of the hook was pretty much conformal with the shape of the flake. it held ok.  i definitely wouldn't want to fall on a hook where the only contact point is between the rock and the point of the hook though.

Dylan Valvo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

I've hung a water bottle off of a hook to keep it in place on a new route that I was determined not to use any bolts on. It was also on a traverse pitch using halves and I felt it would have stayed put in the event of a fall. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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