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Rap cleaning bolts from a steep route
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May 31, 2008
what's the best way to do this?

Must one flail like an idiot trying to have your partner pull you towards the wall to un-clip the draws?

Or is there a technique for getting close to the wall?

I guess you can always just top rope it to clean but there's gotta be a better way.

PS - i'm not cool enough to down lead either...
From salt lake city, UT
Joined Jun 21, 2006
465 points
May 31, 2008
Are you referring to the situation where you just finished leading the route, and no one is going to follow and clean, and the rope is still running through the draws? If so, could you clip a sling from your harness to the side of the rope which runs through the draws, to help keep you inward toward the wall, while having your partner hold both ends of the rope to steady it, at the same time providing a fireman belay?

I guess I don't have this problem since I don't climb overhanging routes...
Kat A
From Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Joined Jun 23, 2006
170 points
May 31, 2008
that's exactly what I'm talking about, but when you clip into the rope running through the draws you end up pulling up more rope to compensate for being away from the wall and then you end up flailing like an idiot when your partner pulls said rope to get you close to the draw. Then if you can grab the draw... you got tons of pressure on the draw from your partner pulling on it making it really difficult to unclip.

From salt lake city, UT
Joined Jun 21, 2006
465 points
May 31, 2008
The best way is DO NOT rap.
Be lowered with a "trim".
Make sure you unclip from the trim BEFORE unclipping the last bolt.
If you just HAVE to rap, then do the fireman's belay and you will probably flail depending on how steep the route is.
Being lowered is the safest way because you have both hands to use.
Greg Hand
From Golden, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2003
1,665 points
May 31, 2008
Just rap using an autoblock or something similiar. That frees up both hands to help clean the draws. Keegan Dimmick
From Winchester, VA
Joined Jan 28, 2008
690 points
May 31, 2008
have your partner lower you, don't rap. Clip a draw to your belay loop, and the other end to the rope that's running through the draws. Lower until the line running from you to the next draw to be cleaned is horizontal. Then stop lowering, and pull yourself into the draw. Grab the, draw, get a stance, whatever, and unclip it. If you can't do that, clip in directly to the draw, get enough slack to unclip the rope, then pop the draw off. Like others said, be careful of the last bolt. Be sure to unclip your line, and have the belayer move into the wall. David Shiembob
From slc, ut
Joined Jul 5, 2005
125 points
Jun 1, 2008
My opinion, keep doing what you're doing. Sometimes it's more difficult than others especially if it's super steep or traversing. Lowering only adds to unnecessary wear on anchors and we've all discussed that here before.

Another method that sometimes works is to rap the route using a single line through the draws. Have your partner anchor the free end. Again, not a magic solution and is only applicable on some routes but it's at least another option.


p.s. that exact situation happened to me today and my partner had to hold the end with thread through the draws to pull me into the rock. NBD
susan peplow
From Joshua Tree
Joined Jan 24, 2006
2,060 points
Jun 1, 2008
The easiest way to clean a steep route, bar none, is exactly as David explained. Most of the time really steep rtes are equipped w/ quick links or multiple chain links so that they can be replaced as they wear.
If you want to save wear on the anchors you can also rap a single line. Definitely the best way to do this is to anchor in at the top of the route and set it up as if you were going to rappel off, you are on one rope on one side of the anchors and your belayer puts you on belay on the other side and simply acts as a ground anchor. A GriGri works great for this since you will probably need both hands at some point to get a stance and get the draw loose. Like described above you can use a "tram" biner or draw to keep you in tight to the wall.
Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Joined Oct 20, 2007
35 points
Jun 1, 2008
If it is that steep and crazy, you just have to follow it. Hands down... It may be a better experience than playing with crazy rapping and swinging around. Joseph Stover
From Batesville, AR
Joined Dec 8, 2005
695 points

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