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Whipping on slung knobs?


Original Post
Colin Brochard · · Austin · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 175

Any of ya'll ever whip on a slung knob? How'd it go?

I was tying off some plates in Red Rocks this weekend and the thought of actually falling on said slings made me a little queasy... wondering if you have any stories or experiences to share.

Carolina · · Front Range NC · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 75

This guy did and he seemed to walk away.  Not to encourage his behavior but the slung horn held his fall.

https://rockandice.com/videos/weekend-whippers/slipping-off-lizard-tower-5-8-r-in-the-fisher-towers/

Bailey was climbing Entry Fee (5.8 R) on Lizard Tower in the Fisher Towers, Utah, when, about halfway up, he slipped.
“I was caught by a sketchy slung horn and nearly decked,” he told Rock and Ice. “I was a bit rattled afterwards but brought myself together for a second go, but had to bail at the same spot due to incoming rain. The rock seemed dry, but the crumbly mud and sandstone was scary to climb on.”

Kelley Gilleran · · Sacramento, Ca · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 2,800

As long as there are no sharp edges and the rock is solid it's all good. I've used slings for dynamic loading during tree work and you'd be surprised at what they can take. 22KN is around 5000 lbf of force. Pretty hard to generate these numbers.

Check out the route Candyland at Phantom Spires in the Tahoe area. Mostly slung knobs for pro on an overhanging wall.

dragons · · MWV, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 681

This question interests me as well - I'm also curious about "natural threads".

Kelley, the part that concerns me is not the strength of the sling, but the strength of the chickenhead, knob, or thread.

Kelley Gilleran · · Sacramento, Ca · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 2,800

Yeah assessing rock strength is probably a guess at best for most folks. Myself included. 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,040
dragons wrote: This question interests me as well - I'm also curious about "natural threads".

Kelley, the part that concerns me is not the strength of the sling, but the strength of the chickenhead, knob, or thread.

Climbing in Thailand, lots of sport routes have a mixture of bolts, and “natural features”, with sections of rope threaded through features for protection, and you clip your draws into them, instead of clipping bolts. 


Those things feel really sketchy to me, because you don’t know how long the rope has been there, you can’t see what the hidden parts look like, and sometimes when you DO see them you wish you hadn’t, because it looks like a tatted mess. 

But I have clipped them, and fallen on them, and I’m still here to tell you about it. I wasn’t worried about the integrity of the rock as much as the integrity of the tat... but sure, rock can break. Climbing is dangerous. I would still rather have that chicken head or a thread, instead of nothing at all. 
Chalk in the Wind · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 3

I sling 'em and climb on but consider them mental protection for the most part.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,500
Colin Brochard wrote: Any of ya'll ever whip on a slung knob? How'd it go?

I was tying off some plates in Red Rocks this weekend and the thought of actually falling on said slings made me a little queasy... wondering if you have any stories or experiences to share.

Depends on the knob. If the sling stays on and the rock doesn't brake, there ain't no difference from gear.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,860
Tradiban wrote:

 If the sling stays on and the rock doesn't brake, there ain't no difference from gear.

If it doesn't brake, how can it slow you down?

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

If it doesn't brake, how can it slow you down?

It could be an assisted-braking rock.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

I've certainly belayed off them.

My rope once caught a knob and arrested a whipper long before I even got to the pro (possibly saving life but definitely limb, it's a funny story).

In seaside limestone it's pretty common to use sailing rope to thread natural handles in the rock in lieu of placing another bolt in soft rock. I've seen lots of these whipped on. I've only seen one break and it looked comically weak. No-one had any illusions that it would hold.

FWIW, I don't think anyone whips on the knobs at Red Rocks, more like sit back on them. Where the knobs exist, we don't really have "whipping" conditions do we? Johnny Vegas whipper!!!

Curt Haire · · leavenworth, wa · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1

if the rock is so questionable that you'd mistrust a threaded hole or slung knob/horn, why would you trust a cam, nut, or bolt placed in that same questionable rock?  historically, the ability to recognize and effectively use through-threads and slingable knobs/horns to protect a lead has been considered a critical skillset for the journeyman trad leader.  I'd "whip" on a slung knob with the same confidence that I'd "whip" on a bolt placed a few inches from that knob...

PRRose · · Boulder · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 0

I don't know that they were whippers, but I have fallen on tied off granite knobs. They hold.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,500
Curt Haire wrote: if the rock is so questionable that you'd mistrust a threaded hole or slung knob/horn, why would you trust a cam, nut, or bolt placed in that same questionable rock?  historically, the ability to recognize and effectively use through-threads and slingable knobs/horns to protect a lead has been considered a critical skillset for the journeyman trad leader.  I'd "whip" on a slung knob with the same confidence that I'd "whip" on a bolt placed a few inches from that knob...

Dude, "fulcrum", "lever", "physics", "science". Any of those words ring a bell?! Slinging a knob isn't the same as a bolt.

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

You boys do know that girth makes all the difference?

Julian H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 5

My biggest fall was on slung knob and it broke, but that was me and my fat ass. People have been doing it for a line time and if didn’t work we would know it by now.
It all depends on the rock quality 

bruno-cx · · my sprinter · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5
Sloppy Second wrote: You boys do know that girth makes all the difference?

Tuna Can for the win bro. 

NorCalNomad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 110

slung granite knobs always seem bomber to me

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740

I knock on rock with the heel of my hand when trying make up my mind on what to use as pro.  Those knobs are there after, perhaps, millions of years, and are there because of their integrity.  If it's hollow-sounding and the only option, it may have a chance of saving you.  But, hey, you're liable for the risk incurred, in the activity you chose.

Domenic Contrino · · Fort Lauderdale, FL · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0

Are you guys ever worried about the rock cutting the sling on a dynamic fall? What do you usually use for the sling?

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,472
Domenic Contrino wrote: Are you guys ever worried about the rock cutting the sling on a dynamic fall? What do you usually use for the sling?

No.

Dyneema.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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