/ Aid Climbing

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Chay - on 10 Apr 2013
This may seem a silly question but how exactly do you get in to aid climbing?

I've never tried any form of aid climbing; I know a fair bit of the theory and I'm confident I could pick it up. A long term goal is to do a big wall somewhere but there seems just masses to learn between now and then..

How did you get into it? Did you aid simple lines on quiet crags or what?

C
wilkie14c - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:
Dove holes in Dovedale and thors Cave in the Manifold valley are home to bolt ladder type clip up aid routes. They go across cave roofs and are safe but have big reaches. You'll need a keen mate, single rope, pair of aiders <tape ladders> both equiped with a fifi hook and release pull cord and away you go! All route descritions either on here in the logbooks or the rockfax northern limestone book. Great fun but hard work.
Jonny2vests - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:

I'm mostly self taught and I'm no Jedi. Aiding bolts will teach you a lot of the physical climbing mechanics and just one lap of Thors Cave will be v useful. But similarly with trad vs sport, the mental aspect is a different story when you're aiding on gear, and some of the gear can get pretty funky.

Despite all that however, a major part of big walling has little to do with the 'climbing', its about stuff like planning, systems, stance management, hauling, strategy etc. I'd start with a book if I were you, not sure what the best text is these days, but I have a Falcon guide - How to Climb Big Walls or something. I also have The Road to the Nose by Supertopo.
Offwidth - on 10 Apr 2013
Jonny2vests - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Jonny2vests)
>
> Supertopo have a newish guide out:
>
> http://www.supertopo.com/a/How-To-Big-Wall-Climb-Table-of-Contents/a139n.html

... which is bound to be an easier read than anything by Falcon.
Enty - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:

Chris Mac's tutorials on Youtube are excellent. He's the guy owns Supertopo.

E
Chay - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: Thanks guys, I'll have a read through some material and order a book.

I'd feel like I'd missed out I didn't do any big wall climbing in my career; it's really appealing to me. Actually learning and going to do it seems quite intimidating though.

C
Baron Weasel - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: I once aided Wellington Crack in the snow - took a very long time! Kilnsey main overhang is meant to be good if you are looking for routes...

BW
mrchewy - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: There's some aid routes in the quarries - Dinorwig, so I'm told. Not too far from you.
needvert on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:

solo top rope on the nearest granite I could find (and watching cmacs videos) was how I started.

One was a short trad line, was fine. Other was a short sport line, which involved a lot of hooking.
alpinebisou - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:
buy the long/middendorf book for psyche
buy the supertopo book for technique
go from there
bombshell - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to mrchewy: The aid routes in dinorwic are in the new slate guidebook, they go at a4!
Jonny2vests - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Chay)
>
> Chris Mac's tutorials on Youtube are excellent. He's the guy owns Supertopo.
>
> E

Top tip. That's tomorrow down the toilet.
AlanLittle - on 11 Apr 2013
Andy Kirkpatrick also has some good tutorials on his blog.

("Good" in the sense of "I read them and they appeared to make sense", not in the sense of "I followed them and now I am a proficient aid climber". I have no intention of doing that)
Enty - on 11 Apr 2013
adamki - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to Chay)
> Dove holes in Dovedale and thors Cave in the Manifold valley are home to bolt ladder type clip up aid routes. They go across cave roofs and are safe but have big reaches. You'll need a keen mate, single rope, pair of aiders <tape ladders> both equiped with a fifi hook and release pull cord and away you go! All route descritions either on here in the logbooks or the rockfax northern limestone book. Great fun but hard work.


you only need 1 fifi hook attached to your belay loop.. but a taped open karabina works fine for learning.
adamki - on 11 Apr 2013
also plas y brenin do a big wall course. I haven't been on it, but it covers aiding.

http://www.pyb.co.uk/courses/rock-climbing-courses/big-wall-climbing-2/
Chay - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: Thanks guys,

Definitely get my head into some literature and some videos suggested above; if I feel I need to it I may invest in a course, I doubt it mind you.

Some clip up style aid routes may be on the cards too.

C
kipman725 - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:

Anyone know where to pick up the better rated aid ladders in the uk? yates/petzl wallstep.
Baron Weasel - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: My mate Pete Rhodes is a self taught aid climber - he just read supertopo loads and then went and figured it out - so it is possible without a course. He is totally bonkers though.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3419

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlOvvw-LFVM

You could contact him through this forum!

BW
Bruce Hooker - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:

The problem is that aid climbing is not exactly the flavour of the day now, it wasn't decades ago when I stopped. I don't know about "big walls" but in Britain and the Alps the trend is to free aid routes so you are always going to be flogging a dead horse a bit.

As for how to learn, that's easy, get some pegs, loads of crabs, make yourself some tape etriers, get a couple of fifi-hooks one tight to the waist and one a bit longer, the length being something determined by how high you can stand up in your etriers - all a question of trial and error, then have a go. The big problem, I found, is speed, at first each peg is a triumph but you have to get it so while you are moving up on one you are thinking about the next, just as you free climb. After that it's using worse and worse placements or rock. All good fun but finding places to do it without upsetting other climbers could be the hardest bit.
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> As for how to learn, that's easy, get some pegs,

Noooooo!!!!!!! <add strangled scream noise for emphasis> ;)

Very few routes are pegged these days, even most of the Yosemite classics are done hammerless and given C grades rather than A grade.

Unless you are very very sure that no one else is going to climb what you plan to, I wouldn't even take a hammer.

Plenty of E1-ish crack lines can be straightforwardly aided on standard free rack of nuts and cams and teach you the basics of moving with etriers and daisy chains. I've done what someone else suggested and taped open a crab to use as a fifi and as long as you have a smooth nosed keylock type it works really well.

Some old pics of a friend and me practicing just like that on a local E2 here: http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2008/01/canaries-in-coalmine.html
Chay - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA: Thanks Toby,

Yea, it seems like crack lines would be fairly straightforward to aid due to the abundance of gear. I'll have a look through some literature and some videos; I'm sure I can get the ideas and theory and then just go and work it out..

Just need to get the kit together now.

C
Chay - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay: Really useful to get ideas for kit and videos/books from here so thanks guys!
Bruce Hooker - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to TobyA:

He asked about aid climbing in general... not specifically hammerless, but as I said even that is controversial. I don't think aiding on climbs that can be freed is something to be encouraged and is likely to cause hassle... the world has changed, and concerning the move away from aid climbing this is probably for the better.
Chay - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: I tend to agree with you..

I wouldn't dream of Aiding a classic E1 crack free climbing; perhaps I'd Aid a sport line, mainly because sport climbers have no room to comment on eithics.

Anyway I need to practice on something before aiding bigger climbs etc.

C
In reply to Chay: Just go when its drizzly or cold, no one will mind. I've seen people doing it Millstone in the bast and my first aid climbs were at Dumbarton. It takes time though so going to stanage on a nice summers evening and taking ages on 3* route would be anti social! But in more obscure quarries and the like, making sure all the placement are clean is more likely doing a favour to other climbers.
Offwidth - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Is Pete bonkers or are too many modern climbers characterless wimps? He seemed sound, determined and great fun to me.
Baron Weasel - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Yes - he's sound, determined, great fun and bonkers - that's why I think he's great. We set up the first highline on the Napes Needle 7 years ago and he took his 170litre haul bag with 8st of equipment! Did he moan - no, he loved it!

On another note, I've been aid climbing today at Tilberthwaite. Did 2 routes at probably C1 and C2 and it was ace! Stood on my first hook placements (3 in total) which took a bit of getting used to, but worked just fine!

BW
The Green Giant - on 13 Apr 2013
In reply to Chay:


guessing you spend some time in North Wales. I learnt on this:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=44316

We did it old the old bolts there too, plus some trad gear. All clean though.
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