/ Best way to haul a bag

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EuanM - on 16 May 2017
Potential stupid question but I'll go ahead anyway...

Weather permitting we will hopefully be having a go at the Cuillin traverse (south to north) in the next couple of weeks.

I'd like to lead the TD Gap without a rucksack so need a way of hauling both of our bags. My initial thoughts on this were:

- I lead the pitch and build an anchor
- my partner unties from the rope, clips the bags to the rope on a fig of 8 on a bite
- I haul up the bags
- I throw the rope back down, they tie in and second

Am I missing something? Is there a more sophisticated way to go about this?

druss on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

Hi. Best to climb with a tag line for hauling rather than having your partner un-tie and re-tie. Also, if you have a traverse you can't lower the rope that will reach your partner.

Doug on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

I'm sure you could haul your bags but much simpler (& much quicker) to just climb with your sac. If you're worried you might find it hard consider the second climbing with both sacs (one inside the other ?).
EuanM - on 16 May 2017
In reply to Doug:

Yes, definitely the sensible option. Slightly concerned I would find it tricky with bivvy gear and in bendy trail shoes. Will just need to see when we get there.

A tagline would work but I don't want to carry the extra weight.

ebdon on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

If its windy or there are ledges then throwing the rope down is an arse. As the pitches are generally short its easier to lower a bight down and clip the bags to that. Allthough as others have said better to man up and keep the pack on or give the heavy items to the 2nd.
EuanM - on 16 May 2017
In reply to ebdon:

Both good points!

rgold - on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

The second should absolutely climb with their pack on. They have an upper belay after all and can get a little tug if needed.

If the leader wants to lead without a pack (assuming no tag line), then dropping down a bight requires the pitch to be less than 1/3 of the rope length. But If the pitches are going to be 1/3 the rope length, then instead of the bight method, it seems better to have the leader tie in to the middle of the rope. This leaves half the rope for hauling use and the other half for belaying the second. This works on longer pitches (1/2 rather than 1/3 rope length), and is good in the wind and on diagonal pitches where lowering the bight won't work well or at all.
teh_mark on 16 May 2017
In reply to rgold:
Or tie the bag on once the leader has finished the pitch, assuming you haven't past the middle marker? Saves untying for a one-off.
Post edited at 22:04
john arran - on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

Assuming you're climbing on a single rope, if the pitch is less than half a rope length I would lead tied into the middle, then haul the bag on one end. If the bag gets caught on anything on the way up, your second can free it on his/her way up while tied into the other end of the rope.
taddersandbadger - on 16 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

Hi Euan,

From memory it is a pretty direct and fairly short pitch with a decent sling? anchor at the top, and having both abbed into the gap, I don't remember the stance at the bottom for your second feeling precarious.
The second time I did it, it did feel a bit more polished.
Depending on how long you rope is, you could tie in, in the middle as John suggests but this could make an unlikely retreat a bit more awkward.
I seem to recall leading it sans pack, setting up a bomber anchor, clipping in and then taking up the slack and still having enough of our 40m single rope to throw back down and haul the bags up with, while still having my second on belay and tied off.
I am sure Somebody like Mike Lates can correct me if my memory fails me!
Offwidth - on 17 May 2017
In reply to taddersandbadger:

I agree with that. No problem pulling up a bag on this pitch if you want.
awhitby - on 17 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

For a different point of view: I did this with a partner a few years ago and hauling the pack up was an unnecessary faff. The traverse demands efficiency, and pack-hauling slows things down. On a second attempt, my partner led with a pack (probably with heavy gear transferred to my pack - or as Doug's suggestion one inside the other) and it was fine - this is what I would do again.

I would almost say that if one of your party is not comfortable leading TD gap with a pack (assuming ok conditions) then the rest of the ridge will be a challenge. Though it may be technically the hardest climb, there are many other sections that are exposed & usually unprotected and demand a similar level of confidence, while wearing a pack.

That said, we were aiming for a 1-day traverse so (1) speed was essential and (2) packs were light anyway. Different if you're carrying a proper bivy and food for multiple days.

rgold - on 17 May 2017
In reply to teh_mark:

> Or tie the bag on once the leader has finished the pitch, assuming you haven't past the middle marker? Saves untying for a one-off.

How does the leader haul the packs through the protection they've placed? And what happens if the bag gets stuck somewhere? Then the second can't climb up to it with a belay.

So I still think having the leader tie into the middle, use one strand for leading, and the other strand---which doesn't pass through any of the pro---for hauling is the best solution if a pack is to be hauled and no tag line is carried.
lizajohn2014 - on 17 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

Easy way To avoid the stigma of hauling a bag, you need to have everything clipped right on their harnesses. The second can now free the bag from its clip-in point on the anchor. Unclip it and yell a voice command such as “Haul away!” and then gently ease the bag’s weight onto the line,
Offwidth - on 17 May 2017
In reply to awhitby:

If you are worried about efficiency maybe try reducing the weight of you pack, so as well as making a pretty trivial 15m straight up haul way more efficient you might make much better time elsewhere and enjoy things more (assuming you don't enjoy lugging weight in such terrain ... some do). This was my inspiration:

We succeeded onsight on a one day crossing, as injured bumblies, by keeping weight low.
teh_mark on 17 May 2017
In reply to rgold:

Of course, I really didn't think that through.
Offwidth - on 17 May 2017
In reply to rgold:
'The ridge' is top of many wish lists (deservably so). It needs a window of good conditions for most parties as the difficulties increase a lot if its windy, raining or in the clouds (the magnetic rock messes up navigation). On still sunny days, water and heat can be an issue.

The TD gap exit involves a short awkward cleft section (especially when climbed with a pack) and being early on the traverse can be a bottle neck that can expose the difference between the serious contenders and the overly ambitious. I've said before that most contenders should probably be able enough in good conditions to solo the hard bit of the gap (not that they would want to), about 10m of exposed, 'traditional style' HVD/S 4a (5.5), if such a long complex sustained route is going to be a reasonable undertaking, so maybe many won't need a runner!

I found the crux climbing bits enjoyable onsight, despite climbing pretty much roped solo in approach shoes. The exploratory descents, sometimes on suspect rock, were more the crux for me and I was glad not to have a 2 day pack affecting my balance for them (not that my joints would have coped with the extra weight at that time anyway). The day we did it we had to wait quite a while, chatting jovially in the early morning sun before the gap (weather looked good after some unexpected showers earlier), as a few parties in front of us, probably carrying way too much, were struggling worryingly and seemed a bit unpracticed on cleft wiggles. We found it fine with our grit experience and in the next few hours overtook all of them and later in the day when my injuries started to slow us signicantly no one came back past us. We limped to the end as it started to get dark. We saw no lights behind us on the descent and the rain started again not many hours later.
Post edited at 08:53
Doug on 17 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

sounds similar to my traverse. Had climbed other parts of the ridge before but not the TD gap. I think I led that, maybe one runner & in approach shoes & from memory just a little awkward rather than difficult. I suspect anyone finding this pitch difficult will struggle on many other sections and be very slow.
EuanM - on 17 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

Thanks all for the pointers.

Sounds like there's a decision to be made about whether we go fast and light in one day or carry more gear for a 2 day traverse. Fitness and ability shouldn't be an issue but it wouldn't leave room for any nav errors.

Would a one day sprint take away from the experience? A night on the ridge does feel like part of the adventure.

I guess we'll see what conditions we are offered. Aiming for the bank holiday weekend at the end of the month.
Offwidth - on 17 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

I'd say 2 days is more of an option the more you have ability and fitness to spare. If you are only (say) a VS leader and unfamiliar with the ridge and not super fit, a day traverse is highly preferable, as you will feel much better and move much faster with less weight on your back and the chances of the good weather window are way better. I'm not kidding about the weather: unless its good you won't stand a chance (without a guide) so on a fixed weekend plan you will more than likely need a plan B (I waited a year for the right weather window, around June for the long days).
awhitby - on 20 May 2017
In reply to EuanM:

One option we've tried, for the best of both worlds is to bivvy on the ridge near Ghars Bheinn before setting off, then stash bivvy gear on the way, somewhere near TD Gap. That means you do the easiest section of the ridge with heavier packs but all the harder stuff lighter. If you go up that way, you can also stash water on the way up (which if the weather is good can be really helpful). The only downside is having to go back up to get the stashed gear after the (un)successful traverse. Possibly not as pure as a continuous Glenbrittle to Slig one-day, but then it's an arbitrary goal anyway!

I think the one-day sprint does detract from the surrounds, in the same way that the final 10km of a marathon isn't exactly a pleasant stroll. But then if you want views and photos, you'd do 5-6 days of short segments with summit picnics, rather than the traverse.

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