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Wet-Rope Myths Debunked
By the very nature of our sport, there will come a time when you’re faced with using a wet rope. Can you safely rappel on it? Can you lead on it? Will water permanently damage the rope? Instead of making an “educated guess” in the alpine, learn the basics here to guide...
Alex Biale at Climbing Magazine
How Strong are Soiled Climbing Ropes?
The old adage “the person who steps on the rope buys beer” took on new meaning at the 2010 International Technical Rescue Symposium (ITRS) this November. We all accept that dirt reduces a rope’s strength. Presumably, grit inside a rope cuts and abrades the fibers as ...
Lee Lang at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: How to cut a climbing rope
Cutting a Rope
The first 15 feet on either end of your rope gets by far the most use, wear, and friction. You’re constantly tying into that section, and, more important, the rope absorbs the impact of most falls there, so that part gets a lot of abrasion from carabiners. These parts wi...
Julie Ellison and Dave Furman at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: by Jamie Givens
How to Belay a Heavier Leader
People whose partners outweigh them by 25 pounds or more routinely get yanked off the ground when catching sport-climbing leader falls. Although this phenomenon is disconcerting at first, it can be perfectly safe with a few simple precautions—and it provides a nice, soft...
Dave Sheldon at Climbing Magazine
Belaying While Mid-Pitch While Simu-climbing
If you are simul-climbing part of a route because it is technically easy (e.g., 5.4 or 5.5), you still might come across an isolated crux section that is two or three body-lengths and more difficult (e.g., 5.8 or 5.9). That portion might warrant a belay for the leader and...
Scott Bennett at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: The cam is engaged and pinches the rope to keep it...
Proper Techniques for Grigri Use
The release of the Petzl Grigri in 1991 marked a major step in the evolution of belay devices: Here was a device that assisted significantly in catching a fall, and also allowed a belayer to hold and lower his partner with little effort. Belay slaves rejoiced, but incorre...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Ground Runner Belay
Keep Your Partner From Hitting the Ground
Experts only: Your buddy has toproped his gnarly new headpoint 317 times—blindfolded, barefoot, and singing the national anthem. Despite all the rehearsals, now and then his foot still pops on that desperate last move. But the season is winding down, and the air is crisp...
Adam Scheer at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Bolted toprope anchor setup by Chris Philpot
Bolted Toprope Anchors
Once you start venturing outside the gym to pull on real rock, you or your climbing partner might not be quite ready to tie into the sharp end, so it’s essential to know how to set up a solid anchor for toproping. Many climbs have two bolts (or chains or rings attached t...
Julie Ellison at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Fig 1 Untie your cordelette by Supercorn
Build an Anchor in Poor Rock
How many pieces do you need for a traditional anchor? Most climbers don’t have time to blink before they answer this question. But if you answered “three,” you’re wrong. An anchor takes as many pieces as it needs based on rock quality, positioning, angle, and other fa...
Jason D. Martin at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Tug test your figure eight by Mike Tea
How to Stay Alive in the Alpine
The pitches flew by on Polar Circus, our one-day Canadian Rockies winter objective.So when my partner said he’d forgotten his headlamp, I didn’t sweat it. Then, a few hours later, I dropped our shared thermos (bummer). But when my crampon’s toe bail snapped and a falli...
Dave Sheldon at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Pickets and a rope team by Supercorn
Traveling on a Rope Team
Got a peak like Mt. Rainier on your tick list? If you have Alaskan or Himalayan aspirations, you should. Rainier’s classic Disappointment Cleaver route is the perfect introduction to mountaineering: You’ll get a taste of glacier travel, extreme weather, and altitude, on...
Shannon Davis at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Essential bivy survival kit
Survive an Unplanned Bivy
Everyone knows packing the 10 essentials is a good idea, but most people don’t actually pack them. It’s easy to get lax about loading things you hope not to use, but would you cancel your car insurance just because you haven’t had an accident yet? We consulted professi...
Shannon Davis at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Pad-Fu- advanced technique by Joe Iurato
Eight Spotting Techniques
When 6’4” Corey Dwan first plucked me from the sky, I’d just pitched from a Grampians, Australia, highball — he quickly earned a place on my all-time spotting dream team. Dwan’s masterful bodycatching technique is even a matter of public record, as seen in the 1998 c...
Abbey Smith at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing in a storm by Mike Clelland
How to Avoid Lightning When Rock Climbing
It happens to the best (and even the fastest) of us. Hundreds of feet off the deck, you suddenly find yourself trapped, pinned down by an ugly beast spitting white-hot lightning and drowning the rock. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when dealing with objective haza...
Matt Samet at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Personal anchor  by Jamie Givens
Personal Anchor Tethers for Climbing Safely
Traditionally, climbers have anchored to the belay by tying in directly with the rope. Now, many prefer the convenience of personal anchor tethers specifically designed for this purpose for belays, as well as for cleaning the top anchor on a sport climb or anchoring durin...
Lee Lang at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Meditation in the brain
Mental Tricks to Get Through Tough Climbs
Notoriously sandbagged routes are intimidating. They can cause anxiety and lead to disappointment if you don’t redpoint the grade you’re used to completing easily. Arno Ilgner, author of The Rock Warrior’s Way, says the first step to combatting anxiety when faced with ...
Amanda Fox and Susan Costa at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Setting up a clean rappel
Prevent Rope Snags During Rappels
Setting up a clean rappel THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing when retreating in a storm is to maintain steady downward progress. Foremost, this means avoiding a stuck rope. As you descend, be mindful of rope-eating blocks or flakes. If y...
Mark Synnott at Climbing Magazine
Rock Climbing Photo: Snowy rope
Managing Ropes on Snowy Ice Climbs
Rope loses 1/3 of its strength and much of its shock absorbing capability when wet. Water squeegees out of the belay/rappel device all over the climber. Wet ropes are heavy and hard to handle. Wet ropes become useless when they freeze solid. A quick note on dry treatment...
Bryan Ferguson at

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