/ Placing gear on limestone
I lead up to E1 on grit however, I have moved to the south west where theres loooads of limestone. I was wondering what are the key things to look out for when placing gear on limestone and just any general tips n tricks people know! Feel aprehensive to just crack on haha thanksssss
Be a bit more careful with cams. Cams in polished cracks or horizontal breaks in particular can skid out on a fall. I prefer passive gear whenever possible on Limestone.
Also, look at the surrounding rock, make sure the rock around the gear placement is actually attached.
Limestone cracks can be very irregular in shape and size compared with gritstone cracks. Consequently and nut can be a perfect fit in one spot but if it moves fractionally can become useless. Make sure nuts are seated well and sufficiently extended to prevent them moving. Likewise cams can pop out if they walk so sometimes hex's can be more secure.
On certain types of pocketed limestone the pockets can join up inside allowing great thread runners so keep an eye out for them and carry a few thin, short slings or prussicks to thread them. Nut keys can be useful for threading where fingers won't reach.
Offset nuts are useful, as are cams that can be used passively.
As everybody elses says, just different placements. Micro wires are very useful for protecting the small incipient cracks where nothing else will fit. There are lots of pegs -back them up where you can as many have been insitu for many moons. Cams can become absolutely bombproof when placed in little pockets that cup the cams so watch out for them. Shallow head micro cams can be especially useful in the small dissolution pockets you find.
Well if you climb in the Avon Gorge I wouldn't worry too much, there's not a lot of it. :-)
I would Pretty much echo all above. The quality of the Surrounding rock needs to be Taken into Account more. Back up in Situ peg Belays. And wires with Loose moveable nuts make great threads for narrow threads on Lime.
I personally avoid using cams at all, had a fall on one down Symonds Yat way and it popped out leading to a fall onto a ledge (fortunately no serious injury)
I would recommend bulking out your nuts a bit. Maybe with some DMM alloy offsets, and Brass Offsets or IMPs when you get on the hard stuff where the cracks are thinner.
I also really like the Wild Country Superlight Rocks. Just for even more variety of size and shape so you can be super versatile with your protection.
Enjoy the South West! :)
tend to also get a lot more threads on limestone, so take some extra slings, tat for threading....
Compared to grit I think the most important thing is the rock quality. Check that whatever you're placing is in solid rock. Nuts are king, I take a set plus offsets plus brassies on most stuff on limestone. Sometimes with extras of 2-6. Be inventive with nut placements and seat/extend them well.
Cams are to be treated with suspicion, sometimes they'll be the only option but I'll always go for nuts/hexes/tricams before SLCDs unless it's a really good pocket or similar.
Also take a few thin sling for threads. Friend of mine has a few of the edelrid aramid slings, these seems like they'd be great for those one handed fiddly threads.
You'll need more quickdraws. On a long pitch at Pembroke, for example, you can easily use 15 of them. Make sure some of them are skinny sling draws (or take cord or slings separately) for threads.
Not sure where abouts you are in the SW, but if Wye Valley isn't too far you could do worse that starting off on the trio of HVS's at Shorn Cliff, all v well protected with wires.
As for limestone in general, I find it consistently takes bomber wires, easier to place than grit. Agree with points made that it is not such a cam-friendly rock, but I can usually find decent placements, especially in the smaller sizes.
All the above advice is good, and I will add that tri-cams can be pretty effective in limestone pockets, i always carry a selection in the wye valley! Just dont get them stuck ;)
I'd second the point on DMM IMPS - very useful when getting into E grades on limestone and generally give you a few more KN per size than the black diamond swedges.
There are usually lots of nut placements but they are usually more fiddly and awkward than on grit due to the knobbles, so take some time to get used to. They are also harder to see from below than on grit (the same goes for holds - not as many obvious big breaks etc - so at first it will feel more commiting and you might drop a grade.
Don't trust cams unless the placement is close to perfect, they have much less margin for error than on grit.
Thanks everyone - v useful
Elsewhere on the site
Skiing Baffin’s couloirs has been on my to do list ever since I saw Andrew McLean and Brad Barlage’s inspirational... Read more