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Author Topic: Efficient 3 person movement on White Horse Standard Route with 2 half ropes?  (Read 4173 times)

mechanicalchris

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At some point we're going to try a 3 person ascent of White Horse via Standard Route. We have two 8.5mm half ropes and one 10.3 single.

My concern is that managing 3 ropes on every pitch is going to get messy, be really heavy, back-up the route and potentially expose us to more objective hazards because it will likely add significant time to the climb. Is it safe to second Standard on a single half rope?

What comes to mind is two conflicting ideas: 

"No, half-ropes are meant to be used together by clipping gear alternate and therefore it is assumed that the second should be brought up on both half ropes." but alternatively "Each half rope is rated for 6-16 full leader falls and seconding with no slack on a slab like White Horse could not come close to achieving the force needed to snap a half rope."
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old_school

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Use the two ropes and have your seconds simulclimb...saves a ton of time!  ;)
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"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes."

mechanicalchris

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Thanks Grammy, you've helped us so much over the year.
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frik

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Ya that route is fine for thin ropes - even leader falls wouldn't generate much force.
Also to avoid backups, start early - nothing seems to happen "alpine" in that valley so 7:30 is plenty early.
And don't bring any packs - just tie your sneakers to the back of your harness.
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old_school

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Chris, Just make sure that you have a belay device that has the option to use as an autoblock off the anchor and that you can use it with two ropes such as the ATC Guide, Reverso 3, Trango B-52, Mammut Smart Alpine, etc...and definitely understand how the system works prior to the climb. It is not difficult to understand or master, but it is a little different and lowering with them can be a flipping nightmare...just take an afternoon in the back yard, and practice getting the systems wired...you will be fine!  :)
~g
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"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes."

DLottmann

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...
And don't bring any packs - just tie your sneakers to the back of your harness.

This I gotta disagree with. A tiny pack with 1) windbreaker 2) water & snacks can make all the difference in comfort on a 7 pitch climb. A tiny headlamp should live with you IMO... nothing more embarrassing then getting caught without one... If you can't lead 5.7 slab with an 8 pound pack on... well... you shouldn't be leading... Seen quite a few dehydrated hungry chilly people 5 pitches up with thier backpacks stashed at the bottom. It's slab climbing... a tiny backpack won't slow you down.

And a carabiner through the bottom lace of the shoes will ensure your shoes are still with you at the top and is quicker than tying them to your harness :)

With enough experience & technique a 3 person party can climb Whitehorse faster than the average 2 person party. What slows people down when belaying 2 seconds is not being able to take in slack fast enough on both ropes through a high friction belay device like a Reverso (I love the Trango Cinch for this). If I'm climbing with two people who know how to second slab (i.e. climb fast) I prefer to lead on 1 rope and belay them up individually... this is only faster IF they climb slab fast. I.E. stand up and walk up all the 5.3-5.4 bits... they should only climb slow at the cruxes... Even beginners can climb slab fast if instructed to stand up and climb vrs. slowly crawling their way up 5.3. I'll routinely be behind 2 person recreational parties with 2-3 new clients and still have to wait.

Also move rope efficiently... have your seconds help out at the anchor to quickly re-organize. Slow parties usually lose the most time at transitions (belays) exchanging gear, re-stacking the rope, etc. If the route doesn't traverse have the 1st second clean most the gear. You can be pretty much re-organized and ready to leave the belay by the time the 3rd climber arrives, even if he is only 30 feet behind the 2nd climber.

"Alpine Climbing" by Mark Houston has some great speed tips that carry over when to moving efficiently on multi-pitch trad. Also a guided day with a qualified guide focused on improving your efficiency leading multi-pitch routes can open your eyes to some ways to save time.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 02:47:32 PM by DMan »
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mechanicalchris

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Thanks for all the great advice. We've got a little system dialed in (still always improving of course). This past Sunday we achieved a long term goal when we finally took White Horse on our own. Hard to believe what an incredible year its been.

We certainly owe a lot to the experienced climbers that have taken the time to share advice, there are a couple in particular who we've learned so much in the field from, they know who they are.

http://postimage.org/image/framcwuxz/
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 03:20:42 PM by mechanicalchris »
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eyebolter

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Also to avoid backups, start early - nothing seems to happen "alpine" in that valley so 7:30 is plenty early.


Good advice, but starting after 2 or so is equally good and the route will be in the shade.  Of course when I first diid it at 17 I was up early and on the route by 8...

Congrats on doing it three man, it is one of the great multi-pitches in the Northeast.

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lucky luke

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My concern is that managing 3 ropes on every pitch is going to get messy, be really heavy, back-up the route and potentially expose us to more objective hazards because it will likely add significant time to the climb. Is it safe to second Standard on a single half rope?

What comes to mind is two conflicting ideas: 

"No, half-ropes are meant to be used together by clipping gear alternate and therefore it is assumed that the second should be brought up on both half ropes." but alternatively "Each half rope is rated for 6-16 full leader falls and seconding with no slack on a slab like White Horse could not come close to achieving the force needed to snap a half rope."

peronally, I would choose one 10.2 mm rope and one half rope. Your goal is-it to climb fast? to be able to climb efficiently and do a route like vmc direct in few years, I think that it is better to try it with one 10.2 between the first and second and a 8.5 between the second and third. Managing the rope is some thing difficult. I met one guy who really had a good rope managment and I climbed with many climber. he was fast, clean and every thing wa ready for the next pitch.

As a threat in the beginer section, i will sugest to put more attention to the team works than on how many or few rope you can bring up the cliff. Don't bring water if you want, it could be a test. next time you will bring at least water. I assume that you are climbing at white horse ledge and not white horse, which is only three pitches. I climbed it in 45 minutes and i can take three hours with most of my partner. In general, a time of 1h30 for a pitch is normal. If you climb slower than that, maybe your team is not ready. Faster could mean that the route is too easy. don't be foulish, you learn on easy grade three and four. If you make a mistake, you can still recover or avoid a fall. if you walk on the 5.3 and 5.4 section, you will learn how dangerous is a slab in section of 5.6 or 5.7...or, if you are off route (and on a slab it can happen) on more dangerous terrain. Learn to move efficiently and to find the easier way even on easy ground. It will take the same time, but you will be ready for sliding board after.   
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DLottmann

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My concern is that managing 3 ropes on every pitch is going to get messy, be really heavy, back-up the route and potentially expose us to more objective hazards because it will likely add significant time to the climb. Is it safe to second Standard on a single half rope?

What comes to mind is two conflicting ideas: 

"No, half-ropes are meant to be used together by clipping gear alternate and therefore it is assumed that the second should be brought up on both half ropes." but alternatively "Each half rope is rated for 6-16 full leader falls and seconding with no slack on a slab like White Horse could not come close to achieving the force needed to snap a half rope."

 In general, a time of 1h30 for a pitch is normal.

What pitch on Standard Route on Whitehorse takes 1h30, other than maybe an onsight of the notorious Brown Spot or 5.7 variation?
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lucky luke

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What pitch on Standard Route on Whitehorse takes 1h30, other than maybe an onsight of the notorious Brown Spot or 5.7 variation?

I didn't say that a pitch took 1h30 as I did the cliff in 45 minutes on a similar routes, just before the thunderstorm...I was with a very good climber and both of us were fast on the slab.

1h30 means 45 minutes for the leader to finish the route. The energy in the muscle is burn in 45 minutes. after you have to take a rest for the liver to bring more energy to the muscle (it is a vulgarisation).  If you climb in 45 minutes and set the belay in fifteen minutes, your second have 30 minutes to climb the route. In general, they climb in 20 minutes. so, with a third person, it can take 1 hours and 40 minutes per pitch.

Longer than 45 minutes to lead a pitch, it is not fun for the belayer. shorter mean that you are not chalenging yourself. It is true that slab climbing is fast as we don't have a lot of pro to place and we must be carefull. but time is a good indication of our level to climb safe. 

 
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tradmanclimbz

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Summer belay should not take more than 2 or 3 min to set up.
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frik

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Ok... waiting for champ to pull out a logarithmic scale plotting the standard deviations for "belay set up times" against
seasonal variations.

Also, don't now about anyone else, but: "The energy in the muscle is burn in 45 minute." is so not true for me!
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tradmanclimbz

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Heck, I flame out in about 10 min :-[
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mechanicalchris

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We did the 5.7 variation. We Started at 7AM and topped out at 2PM. We probably spent an hour at Lunch Ledge chatting and let another team pass us. 

In retrospect I think its pretty well protected between the bolt at the crux and the piton at the right-facing corner. Rope drag on the other hand was nuts. I carry a lot of extensions (I have 6 alpine draws and a nylon runner). I was walking up the ramp, I swung the corner, took the ledge and went back to the second tree to belay as we'd seen done. Incredible rope drag and Laura was nervous to boot, using the rope to aid her. Not having visual contact and already difficult to pull, at times I didn't know if I was fighting the drag or gravity. I bought an ascender on Monday.

I had always see people go to the tree to belay so I copied but in addition to insane drag, it puts you on course for the 5.6 to the upper slabs, which I thought was the most heady pitch of the day.

On my guide map it shows a gear anchor symbol way before the tree so I'm thinking people must build a gear anchor on the actual ramp which must reduce rope drag and puts you on course for a much easier route up.

I'm surprised there's no belay stations at the end of the 5.7 pitch. Of course it can be done without, just would've seemed like a pair up on the ramp would speed up the bottleneck and avoid the ultra-drag others seem to experience as well by belaying back at the tree.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 09:13:14 AM by mechanicalchris »
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