/ Elbsandstein (Czech)- knotted slings as gear
what is the best thing to take to make knotted slings for climbing in these areas where no hardware can be used and there are no bolts?
On the two occasions I've climbed there, I've used 11mm rope, cut into lengths and knotted. You can of course take narrower diameter rope, but most placements that you would actually trust, you can get 11mm rope in. The locals have some pretty funky knots (including some amazing expanding/camming knots for wider cracks). Enjoy - it's one of the very coolest places I've climbed.
I was on the German side of the border last month (before the floods), the gear is the same as the Czech side.
They use specialized materials which are not freely available here. For slings over blunt spikes they have loosely woven fuzzy nylon slings which grip the rock to prevent slipping. For knots they use various diameters of climbing rope which are carried loosely knotted for jamming and threading (by re-tying an overhand each time). They also have a very stiff round cord with a dyneema core and a nylon sheath for thin threads and small cracks, I have not seen that before. Also used are a couple of pre-made monkeys fists; and a thin blade of wood for jamming knots.
Many of the routes are very bold but have rings at the hard bit, I used far more threads and slings on spikes than knots on the (easier) routes that I did.
The most trust worthy gear is actually slings on spikes or threads and long slings made from wide flat webbing worked best.
The knotted slings in cracks 'protection' - we went armed with all sorts of options but in the end the only thing we even vaguely trusted was a length of old 11mm (that old !) climbing rope knotted actually on route to fit whatever crack was available. Knots varying from overhand through overhand with multiple turns and even to a turks head in one place.
Solid ring bolts (et least on the German side) were available at extremely disconcerting intervals. Be prepared for 10s of metres of unprotected back and footing in places !
I thought that Johnny Continental had a more enlightened approach than us reactionary Brits but clearly I'm wrong. You'd have to be stuck in the Dark Ages to not see that these climbs need to be full bolted so that everyone can do them. Absolute nonsense, let's have an argument.
Interesting. At Adršpach and Teplice the rock is pretty smooth - you don't get many spikes. It tends to be a ring or a knot.
The locals I climbed with said that the climbing (and the rock)at Adršpach and Teplice was different from the towers, both Czech and German. Even on the German side the rock varied between very worrying to gritstone quality depending on the area; the best rock was at Bieletal, to approach the crag you walk up the old border path between Germany and the Czech Republic.
If this fig 8 is loaded it tries to spread out into an L shape i.e. expanding in the crack.
I have done a test fall of approximately three metres, fall factor 2, on a loose top rope onto a fig 8 tied in 11mm dynaimc rope. It didn't budge at all.
Don't leave any gear visible in the car if you cross to the Czech side of the border. There is a problem with Gypsies breaking in and emptying the car. It happend to me a few years ago.
taxis and public transport are really cheap, though, so worth considering whether you need a car at all
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