/ I can't finish the route, how do I get down?

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mouseliveson - on 06 Nov 2017
In single pitch sport climbing, what is the best way to get back to the ground, when you are half way up the route and unable to get to the anchors to complete the climb (any reason, take your pick)?
discosucks - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

9.8 m/s/s
Kevster - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

If it's staples. Rethread and lower off striping gear.

If bolt hangers leave krab or mallion and lower of that. Strip rest of gear.

Dog the route.
Clip stick.
Climb and easier route next door to retrieve gear.
Access the top.
Have some mates who are better than you.
jkarran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

Very loosely sorted easiest/best/most probable first:

*Rest on the rope, pull on the clips and dog your way to the top.
*Lower off and get a mate to finish.
*Lower off losing a krab
*Re-thread and lower off a smooth staple (not a sheet metal hanger).
*Clipstick to the top.
*Down climb and or jump from bolt to bolt stripping the line as you go.
*Cheat using routes to the side.
*Abseil off a sling through the hanger then pull the sling down with the rope, works from the ground to 1/3 rope length (look it up and never lower off a sling)

I think I've done all of those over the years. Don't do anything you're not 100% comfortable doing just because others have.
jk
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

Also look up the Petzl way to protect lowering off a single staple with prussik protection in case the staple fails, so the next one catches you like in a lead fall.
hms - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

I'm really not a fan of leaving a maillon/cheap snap-gate on the hanger. Makes if harder for the next person climbing the route cos of your abandoned metalwork, plus it's psychologically nasty too: ooh, people have really struggled on this next bit, it must be hard, I'll struggle too.
GridNorth - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:

I agree with you up to a point but what would you suggest as an alternative?

Al
Bogwalloper - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:

> I'm really not a fan of leaving a maillon/cheap snap-gate on the hanger. Makes if harder for the next person climbing the route cos of your abandoned metalwork, plus it's psychologically nasty too: ooh, people have really struggled on this next bit, it must be hard, I'll struggle too.

I'm glass half full on this one.

Oh look a bail-out biner (That's probably the crux - free beta)
Oh look a bail-out biner ( booty)

;-)

W
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:
> Plus it's psychologically nasty too: ooh, people have really struggled on this next bit, it must be hard, I'll struggle too.

On the contrary, it tells you you something about the route which can only help with the onsight: it must be hard there, I'll have to be psyched to try really hard. You need to sort out your psychology!

Edit: Just seen the previous post. I'd say it tops up my glass to about 90% full.
Post edited at 11:53
davidbeynon on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

You don't. You have to stay there.
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Bogwalloper:

> Oh look a bail-out biner (That's probably the crux - free beta)

I found such a biner on a route not long ago and, like you, suspected the climbing above it would be really hard. But it was almost the easiest section on the route.

I later realised that, because the routes was more than 30m long, that must have been as far down as you could comfortably get on a 60m rope before rethreading!
AJM - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:

> I found such a biner on a route not long ago and, like you, suspected the climbing above it would be really hard. But it was almost the easiest section on the route.

Ditto. 30+m up I see a maillion on the last bolt and assume getting to the chains will require significant effort. But it was fine.

> I later realised that, because the routes was more than 30m long, that must have been as far down as you could comfortably get on a 60m rope before rethreading!

I hadn't thought of that as the reason for mine, but it might be similar except planning from the top rather than planning once you hit the end of the rope lowering...
AJM - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

> I agree with you up to a point but what would you suggest as an alternative?

At the very least, snapgate trumps maillion as it's easier to work around...

stp - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:

So did you take the 'biner or leave it?
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

> So did you take the 'biner or leave it?

I don't remember on this occasion. I'd usually clean bail krabs as a rule unless they look useful to somebody for this kind of purpose and still seem safe.
hms - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

clipstick every time.

And in my experience it is rarely free booty cos most of the bail biners I 've come across are welded so tightly shut that they ain't going anywhere.

as far a clipping, this is a potentially serious safety issue as if you put a quickdraw on top of a bail biner and then fall (cos it's quite likely to be the crux...) then you can snap your krab.

and to all the people who felt that absolutely had to give my post a dislike - oh for heaven's sake chill out a bit.
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:

> as far a clipping, this is a potentially serious safety issue as if you put a quickdraw on top of a bail biner and then fall (cos it's quite likely to be the crux...) then you can snap your krab.

To anybody who hasn't thought this through already, if you do need to clip your quickdraw into a bolt when there's already something else clipped into it (such as a maillon), make sure you clip yours UNDER the existing one, so that yours sits properly at the bottom of the hangar.
Irk the Purist - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

Have you got down yet or does someone need to come and get you?
sopaz - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Bogwalloper:

I would generally agree on the glass half full thing, but finding this on a route lowered my confidence somewhat...

http://bit.ly/2yBxoHt

I just hope it had been there a while rather than some poor sod lowering off it!
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to sopaz:

I have one a bit like that, with rot + cracks from the hinge pin into the gate piece!
Should b fine to bail off, its just surface rot?.

If u can't clip the bolt immediately because of the bail biner, clip the bail biner, then, when better established on possibly better holds, try swap it around.

Not just the routes difficulty instigates bail time.... a bail biner could be anywhere depending where u got to when it started pissing it down + looked like more than just a little quaint shower.
Dandan82 - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

This is distinctly anecdotal but i've never seen a mallion on a route over 7a. I think it's fair to say that harder routes are more likely to get abandoned than easier routes so what are all the harder climbers doing? Clip sticking out of trouble would be my guess.

Although, to possibly contradict myself, I suppose easier routes get more traffic than hard ones so the likelyhood of someone sticking a mallion on is higher.
Bulls Crack - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:
work then redpoint it
Post edited at 13:49
GridNorth - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

Harder climbs are approached differently than easier climbs. Redpointing is more common above 7a than say 5b. On sighting bottom up is more the norm on easier routes therefore not being able to do moves is more common. Beyond 7a you are much more likely to have pre-placed all the gear.

Al
Dandan82 - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

I suppose even if you did lower off a hard route on a mallion, if you intended to redpoint it you might return the following week and swap it back out as you improve/gain beta/buy a pongoose...
AJM - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

The route I mentioned above was a 7a+, sorry
mouseliveson - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Getting low on my bag of nuts, please agree on the best solution so I can get down...
mouseliveson - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

To all - what about down climbing?

Also - in the case of lowering off on a bail biner - one or two? screw or just snap?
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

> Also - in the case of lowering off on a bail biner - one or two? screw or just snap?

Depends entirely how paranoid you are. How about screwgates on the top three bolts, just in case the top two bolts fail?

john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

If you're climbing well into the 7s it's likely you'll be more willing to take falls, so when the moves look too hard above a bolt, you'll be more likely to try them anyway, maybe quite a few times, rather than bailing.
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:
People have said they will down climb.
Lower off on 1 biner, but the prussik back up should ideally be used, but it's even less likely to see than helmets, so start spreading the trend.
New Screwgate would b ideal, but you are probably losing this gear, so people sacrifice their least wanted safe to lower off thing.
Post edited at 14:35
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

> Lower off on 1 biner, but the prussik back up should ideally be used, but it's even less likely to see than helmets, so start spreading the trend.

Given that we must now be into a sample size of millions of occasions where people have lowered off a single snaplink krab, I have yet to hear of a single example of a krab unclipping in that context. Doesn't that suggest that people are justified in not faffing with a prusik backup?
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to GridNorth:

> On sighting bottom up is more the norm on easier routes therefore not being able to do moves is more common. Beyond 7a you are much more likely to have pre-placed all the gear.

You will usually b able to get to the top of an onsight thing, as people usually try that a half or more grade below their limit?

Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:
It's more in case the bolt fails. Seen posts this yr of failed bolts at Portland, wasn't one about to be lowered off?
Post edited at 14:44
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:
Fairy nuff, but given that you're probably hanging off the bolt and jigging around while fitting and clipping the bail krab, if it's going to fail at all then that's probably when it will happen.
Post edited at 14:50
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

> You will usually b able to get to the top of an onsight thing, as people usually try that a half or more grade below their limit?

But you are less likely to be bothered about doing so. I'd only frig to the top of a failed onsight to save the bail out krab if it wasn't going to take much effort - I'd rather save that for the next route.

Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:
> Fairy nuff

Love it! More please

Perhaps true, but being lowered can be bouncey jerkey sometimes depending on belay device etc which creates little peaks of force, perhaps negligible? Where as at the bolt yr weight / force is more static?
Post edited at 14:57
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

A failed onsight is usually completed straight away as a redpoint? , it is for me...
GrahamD - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

Abseiling is obviously the thing to do if you are that worried. No pulley effect so anything down to half the load on the bolt.
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:
> A failed onsight is usually completed straight away as a redpoint? , it is for me...

Not for me. If I wanted to redpoint something (which I hardly ever do), it would be far harder than anything I've got a realistic chance of onsighting. So redpointing a failed onsight would be a foregone conclusion and therefore just seem like a waste of the time and effort of my week's bolt clipping trip; I probably only have about ten all out onsight attempts in me in a the week and I don't want to risk wasting any of them for the sake of an knackered old krab!
Post edited at 15:13
Dandan82 - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to AJM:

> The route I mentioned above was a 7a+, sorry

Dammit!
Michael Gordon - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

Can't believe this has sparked so much discussion. Just downclimb/fall onto your last quickdraw, then lower off!
GridNorth - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:
What if it's too hard to down climb? What if you are scared of falling? What if as a result of falling you risk landing on a ledge? And if you do manage to down climb or fall how do you recover the gear?

These are rhetorical questions by the way before anyone starts trying to educate me.

Al
Post edited at 16:48
whenry on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

> New Screwgate would b ideal, but you are probably losing this gear, so people sacrifice their least wanted safe to lower off thing.

A screwgate is not ideal - if one gets left for a while the locking mechanism will seize and the biner will be stuck on the hanger. Better to use a snapgate (ideally a wiregate).
RockSteady on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:

> clipstick every time.

In general I agree, but it depends how high on the route you are before getting stuck. If I've suspected I will be redpointing the route (i.e. it's way harder than I usually onsight) sometimes I'll have gone up trailing a clipstick behind me. But if you're high on the route and you get stuck, it can be a massive faff lowing a bight to tie a clipstick onto then hauling it back up. Plus you're effectively resting/relying on a single bolt for protection at this point.

Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Can't believe this has sparked so much discussion. Just downclimb/fall onto your last quickdraw, then lower off!

You'd abandon a quickdraw?
Michael Gordon - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not willingly. But I thought the OP just wanted to get down...
Ramblin dave - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I'm just wondering whether they've got down yet, or whether they're still hanging there...
john arran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> I'm just wondering whether they've got down yet, or whether they're still hanging there...

No, they got so confused by all the different answers they decided to follow the advice of the first reply they received.
stp - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

> I think it's fair to say that harder routes are more likely to get abandoned than easier routes so what are all the harder climbers doing?

I think harder climbers aren't just better at climbing, they're better at frigging too. A friend of mine used to use a technique where he'd ab off a sling through a bolt and then pull the sling down when he was back on the ground. But I imagine harder climbers can usually at least frig their way up to the anchors one or another.
stp - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

> So redpointing a failed onsight would be a foregone conclusion and therefore just seem like a waste of the time and effort of my week's bolt clipping trip

Failed onsights can be kept challenging by minimal working or not working them at all and having another go. And certainly not a waste of time if it's a good route. If you're somewhere where you've simply got loads of routes to try I can sort of see you're point, though such situations seem pretty rare to me. It's easy to go through all the routes at your onsight grade because you do them so quickly.

johncook - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

A system that works is to thread a long sling through the bolt, clip rope into the ends. Hand over hand down sling to next bolt. Unclip rope and crab and pull sling through bolt. And repeat. Being a Yorkshireman I hate leaving gear!
stp - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

> To all - what about down climbing?

Down climbing and down jumping routes is a good quick way off a route if you're not that high on the route. It helps too if the bolts below you are reasonably close together and/or the climbing up to that point is not particularly hard.

stp - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to johncook:

Interesting though not sure how you'd unclip the rope from the sling when you're at the lower bolt - unless the bolts are so close together you can reach it from there. Or maybe I've misunderstood.

The way my friend did it was to thread the sling through the bolt. Untie and pull the rope through the sling but keeping hold of the end of the rope. The rope would end up coming from the ground, through the sling, go down to the ground then back up to the climber. That end of the rope would then be tied to one side of the sling through the bolt.. He'd ab off, pull the rope through the sling, the pull the tied end to retrieve the sling. If that makes sense?

Slightly complex and time consuming. Personally I usually find I have an old krab I don't mind leaving on the odd occasion I need to.
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

> If you're somewhere where you've simply got loads of routes to try I can sort of see you're point, though such situations seem pretty rare to me.

I do the vast bulk of my sport climbing on week long trips abroad, so it's not exactly difficult to keep going to new areas with enough onsight targets near my limit to keep throwing myself at!

> It's easy to go through all the routes at your onsight grade because you do them so quickly.

This would certainly be the case if I did any amount of sport climbing at home. And of course it's what I do indoors. But for me sport climbing is really all about the all out, all or nothing, onsight attempt.

bouldery bits - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

Tower of pads and a decent spotter?
Robert Durran - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Not willingly. But I thought the OP just wanted to get down...

What, in a wild ranting way: "I've blown the onsight and I just want out of here and I'm giving up climbing anyway so I don't care if I leave all my gear behind" sort of way. A friend of mine did this on Left Wall, but I refused to let him down - though I was slightly concerned he might just untie and jump such was his despair.
johncook - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to stp:

The sling when folded needs to reach down close enough to the lower bolt that you can hang on that bolt and reach up to unclip the rope and pull the sling. It means that, often you are halving the potential fall distance and still getting gear back and is much less scary than jumping or downclimbing to the lower bolt.
Misha - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

> I have one a bit like that, with rot + cracks from the hinge pin into the gate piece!

> Should b fine to bail off, its just surface rot?.

Is that a joke? Any krab showing anything like the level of corrosion in that picture should be binned immediately. Happens with in situ biners sometimes.
Rock to Fakey - on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to Misha:
No. To be clearer, it was a question, but the one in the pic looks dire, but is it just surface rot?
To bail off that could be risky, but mine, the rot is only in the gate piece, from hinge pin there are visible cracks, but my biner gate open strenth is sufficient for a bail off, the gate stays closed and i don't think the lower off loading would be a problem.
Post edited at 22:28
Trangia on 06 Nov 2017
In reply to yh001:

This thread reminds me of a postcard I bought in Ambleside in the 1960s. It is a drawing of a climber arriving at the top of a pinnacle where there is a very very old man in tattered clothes and with a long beard sitting there. The climber is shouting down to his second "He just keeps on repeating over and over again 'Now try and get down!'"
jkarran - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

> No. To be clearer, it was a question, but the one in the pic looks dire, but is it just surface rot?

No, corrosion like that can extend deep within the metal following grain boundries tearing the metal apart and completely destroying its structural integrity. Carabiners in that state are not safe.

> To bail off that could be risky, but mine, the rot is only in the gate piece, from hinge pin there are visible cracks, but my biner gate open strenth is sufficient for a bail off, the gate stays closed and i don't think the lower off loading would be a problem.

Throw it away today and wash the rest of your kit.

I say that as someone who is not at all paranoid about old tatty looking gear and is occasionally criticised for an 'it'll be reet' approach where others are more cautious. Someone who also recently threw away about a third of his crabs because the salt had got at them in just this way.
jk
Rock to Fakey - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to jkarran:

I think it's fne for a bailer, but i'll get some 2nd opinions from people seeing it, so i'll try post a pic, or show people. I do wonder how it got the rot, as it only had use in the peak, Yorkshire, Buoux, + perhaps a little of some welsh mountains, definitely no sea cliffs in my earlier climbing period. Acid rain?
jkarran - on 07 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:

Just bin it, it's <£5 and a bail biner is the one thing between you and the spinal ward.
jk
Misha - on 08 Nov 2017
In reply to Rock to Fakey:
If I had nothing else available, sure I’d go off that. But my point is I won’t have anything with visible damage on my rack in the first place. Tend to have some old but perfectly usable krabs lying around at home and have collected odd bits of swag in decent condition over the years. So no reason to use degraded kit.
Robert Durran - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to hms:

> I'm really not a fan of leaving a maillon/cheap snap-gate on the hanger.

Here's the answer:

https://www.climbing.com/gear/kickstarter-the-firefly-bail-without-leaving-gear/
Andypeak - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to john arran:

Last 2 times I found a crab was just below a bees nest and just before getting to the lower off only to find both hangers missing. I was very pleased of the crabs in both cases


john arran - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Andypeak:

Funnily enough, last time I left a krab was just below a bee's nest!
Ian Parsons - on 10 Nov 2017
In reply to Andypeak:


> Last 2 times I found a crab was just below a bees nest and just before getting to the lower off only to find both hangers missing. I was very pleased of the crabs in both cases

One of those bee-eating crabs, probably. Normally only found on traverses.

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