Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saturday July 31 - Draper Red Rock

My wife is on vacation this summer, and I've been going out there off and on, so haven't climbed here in months. Decided to get my butt up early on Saturday before anyone else and get on Draper Red Rock.

I wanted to experiment with a new system, so I set a toprope on the 5.7 that I've done a dozen or so times before.


I put a figure-8 in the middle of a 30 meter rope and then butterfly knots on one side of it about every 4 meters. Then I slid the figure-8 down to recenter it.

I put a couple short nylon slings on the anchors, one with biners, the other with lockers, and connected the 8 to them. I rapped down the unknotted side, swapped my Petzl Reverso3 for a Petzl Grigri. Then I girth-hitched a single and double sling on my belay loop and clipped them with lockers to my harness out of the way.

I climbed up about 15' and clipped the double sling to the first butterfly, then downclimbed to test it. All the way to the ground! So much stretch. I went back up and tested the single sling, and that was a lot better, but by this time I was feeling a bit sketched, so I shook out at the bottom and got it together. I'd done this a dozen times, it should be easy, I just need to trust the system, and work it.

I climbed back up to the butterfly, then dropped onto the Grigri and it locked and held, so now I felt much better. I had a short coil of rope at the bottom for resistance on the trailing (hand) side of the Grigri, but it wasn't quite enough so I still had to feed the rope.

In this pic, you can see the tied-off coil of both sides of the rope, the Grigri threaded, and the slings girth hitched to my harness. The biner on my leg loop was there as I took this during one of my fall tests, and I had it there to help control my lower. I didn't use it during climbing

While I was climbing an older gentleman with a large walking stick came by, saw me, and got out of there quickly. There's a local joke about the Red Rock - if you get there and see someone about to die you leave so you don't have to feel any guilt later.

While climbing I made the following few discoveries:

1) 4 meters seems to be a bit far for a single sling - you clip and drag the butterfly up to the next butterfly, drop that and clip the next one - a bit of weight between clips - don't know - I'll mess with that some more
2) I had tied the ends of the rope together, and dragging both the rope and the coil up while clipping the backup knots was annoying until I hooked a stump, then it was impossible
3) I think the Grigri needs about 5 lb or so of weight at the bottom, and the small coil at the end of the 30 meter rope wasn't enough, and when I got to dragging the coil up between backup knot clips, it took all the tension out of the system, so manual feeding was just the icing on the cake, until I hooked the stump, then it fed great ;)

Anyway, I topped out just as the sun hit the face of the crag fully. I had left my shoes at the top in my pack, so I dropped the rope, changed out of my Acopa Aztec, my favorite shoe ever for outside climbing. I feel really good standing on small stuff and cracks alike. I am using a pair of TNF Hedgehog BOA that I've been using for my speed hiking training in Colorado. The BOA is awesome as it allows me to pop them on and off in a few seconds and I can crank the knob without stopping if I need it tighter in a gnarly section.

Anyway, I made it, had a great time, and the plan at the moment is to combine it with some running training a few times a week. We'll see how that goes. Also, I think I'm going to experiment with the Petzl Microcender next time. That might be pretty wild.