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Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

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Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby guyd » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:40 pm

Why don't people clip themselves to the cable?

Reading about all those attempting the hike with tennis shoes and a single 8 oz bottle of water I understand that the majority do not even know it is feasible...

Early July we (my wife and our three teenagers boys 14, 15 and 17) did our first trip to California and it included Half-Dome. The original plan was to make it in a three-day backpacking (camping near Cloud Rest trail) but I was not able to get the permits for our timeframe, so our teens made it as a day hike from the Valley. (too long and tough for me and my wife in those circumstances)

In my planning I've read a lot of advice on Half-Dome, I've look at the ranger's video on Yosemite site, etc.. It was clear to me that having a safety rope and a clip was a must to be safe, facing rain and slippy surface and also in case of other hikers slipping or dropping things from their backpack, etc.

Our teens love to hike and they also have their licence as interior climber (required here in Montreal, Canada, to do interior climbing). We decided they would bring their harness and I just had to buy a 2m length of climbing rope and a self-locking clip. Two would have been safer as in a Via Ferrata, but as a safety measure we felt it was sufficient.
TR2a climbing rope and clip.jpg

TR2b easy to open clip.jpg
Easy to Open Clip


They agreed without any argument. On that morning they left with 2 liter of water each, their harness with clip in their backpack, along with a filter for additionnal water, good lunch, sweater, headlamp and good gloves with rubbery palm and fingers.

We were not sure however, being possibly the only one clipping, if they would really wear their harness/clip.


They did and were 100% happy to have it, even if it was dry and sunny, including the oldest and fittest of them! It allowed them to really relax, their hands and mind. They were back less than 10 hours later.
TR1 ready for the cables.jpg
Ready for the HD Cables
TR2 cliped to the cable.jpg
Two of my Boys Clipped


Even if ones do not have a climbing harness, having a good belt to his pants would be OK to attach the rope. Climbing rope and clip (many models) can be bought at outdoor stores (REI) for 15-20$. Why take a chance??

On getting down they had a really crazy guy behind them that was sliding on his hand and stopping himself at each post with his grip, many time with difficulty, his feet loosing ground forward!! Could you imagine what could have happened if had lost his grip and missed a 'stop' tumbling into people below him?!?



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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:11 pm

Sounds like your family had a great Yose experience. And well planned, given the distance you had to travel to get there. Nice report!
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby bluefintu » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:56 pm

Hi Guyd,

These days a use of a piece of rope,harness, and a good carabiner is a good idea. Some of my sons' Boy Scout Troop want to do this hike. I won't be envolved with this trip. It's too dangerous for me to be involved, if they want to climb Half Dome, do it with the parents. I may take my kids up there one day, but not now or even ever. Too many people freak out coming down, best to do it at night or early morning, maybe the best option. You guys put saftey first. Good job !!!

Don
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:37 am

"Clipping in" is not as simple as you might imagine.

The line that you use should always be made out of a dynamic climbing rope. Static lines are not meant to withstand the forces that can be generated if you slip and fall while clipped in.

Do a search of "Via Ferrata" and do some research on the via ferrata lanyards.

The Petzl web site has some good information.
http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/activit ... ia-ferrata
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby guyd » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:06 pm

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:"Clipping in" is not as simple as you might imagine.

The line that you use should always be made out of a dynamic climbing rope. Static lines are not meant to withstand the forces that can be generated if you slip and fall while clipped in.



Static rope do withstand the forces if properly chosen, the issue is more that they do not absorb any of the hit and all the impact is transfered to the body of the user.

In the case of Half-Dome my point was to add a safety measure and to prevent a free fall. There are still the cables nearbly to hold onto in case of slipping so ones can reduce the energy impact. Moreover the length of the vertical fall in case of slipping would be quite limited so reducing the force... Ferrata lanyard are much more expensive. I agree it would be better but I think it is overkill in this case.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:24 pm

guyd

As long as you understand the principles, and it seems that you do, then the choice is yours.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby MarmotPrince » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:53 pm

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:"Clipping in" is not as simple as you might imagine.

The line that you use should always be made out of a dynamic climbing rope. Static lines are not meant to withstand the forces that can be generated if you slip and fall while clipped in.

Do a search of "Via Ferrata" and do some research on the via ferrata lanyards.

The Petzl web site has some good information.
http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/activit ... ia-ferrata


A little unfair. Unlike the Via Ferrata, you wouldn't ever take a freefall but slide down the rock face. The forces would be tiny compared to a rock climbing fall that dynamic ropes are designed to assist again.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby rlown » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:05 pm

you do know this was from August, right?
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby MarmotPrince » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:15 pm

It was the 6th thread down, but sorry, I don't go here often.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby climboverit » Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:51 am

I am looking into climbing half dome sometime this year, thanks for the insight and advice. How crowded was it when your boys went? I have been hearing that it has been getting overly crowded recently
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby alg23 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:16 pm

I asked the ranger at the base of the cables about clipping in since it seems really stupid, she confirmed that was.

Unless you have a proper shock absorber you're pretty much as good as dead anyway (fall factor of 5 or 10 - even dynamic rope won't help there). And the cables aren't designed to take a fall. She said the park never tested it, but her guess is that while you won't break the cable the shock might knock other people off balance and could break a pole or two. Remember there will probably be dozens of people holding on to the cable too that you are endangering.

And seriously it isn't that hard. If you slip, gripping the cable is plenty of protection for anyone with a normal level of fitness. Reclipping at every post just slows you down, distracts you, and makes it hard to pass other hikers.

-A
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Tollermom » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:33 pm

So I'll save the money from buying a climbing harness and spend it on a pair of Five Ten Guide Tennie shoes for my trip.
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