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Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby longri » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:18 pm

I clipped in one time on the way down, carrying a heavy load. Moving the carabiner past obstructions took about 2 seconds.

The idea that it's equivalent to a vertical free-fall is absurd. Maybe you'd get a nasty jolt at the end of your slide but that would be better than continuing.

A safer approach would be to use a friction knot. It would be more time consuming but I'd go with that if I were using the cables in the off-season.



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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby fishmonger » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:33 pm

we already clipped in the first time we went up in 1988 and again in 89. I can only explain the fact that others don't do it with ignorance or a lack of imagination as to what can happen when you begin to slip or get pushed, etc.

I grew up in Europe, so maybe being exposed to "Klettersteig" or "Via Ferrata" technique is responsible for my in the US unorthodox use of such gear. But hey, it's a free country, let those who think the pile of gloves at the bottom of the cables means that's all you need go right ahead. Statistically, it does appear to be rather safe. I prefer to be a wuss and clip in.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Ken M » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:51 pm

I've not used a harness/lanyard setup while climbing HD, typically climbing on the outside of the cables, but it's a shame to have poor information.

For the uses being discussed, 7mm static cord, like all big wall climbers use for prussiks, etc, will work just fine.

Static lines are not being used for long distant falls, we're talking a short distance, sliding on rock.

Remembering that ALL top ropes at commercial climbing gyms are static, with similar fall distances and stresses, this should be quite safe.

You can go with thicker, up to full climbing rope, but they'll be stiffer, and knots will hold less well and be harder to tie, so I'd actually prefer the smaller diameter accessory cords that are more supple and easier to handle.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Robo_Hiker » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:21 am

2011 was my fourth trip to the top of Half Dome. It was my gf's first time up the rock and she's not a fan of heights...despite doing a couple trad routes at Red Rock and Courtright in the past with me. We decided to take harness, PAS (personal anchor system) and locking biners for a little added security. While we each had to locking biner's on the PAS so we would always be locked on one side of the stanchion, we both just clipped and unclipped one. Despite clipping, we were probably the quickest on the route.

Now, the really cool thing about having some sort of anchor and harness system is waiting for the inevitable stops on the way up. We were usually able to anchor at the stanchion and then just lean back and enjoy the view.

In regards to the entire safety issue of loading the biner, I think it's kind of a moot point. If you take a hard enough fall to break even an open gate biner (8kn), there's no way you're going to stop with non-mechanical means.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:27 am

Hi Robo_Hiker,

Welcome to HST! Thanks for your input on this subject. :thumbsup:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:13 pm

People shouldn't mock this idea. My wife used a simple carabiner and rope tied to her belt on the first of her 6 climbs up the cables many years ago. We've noticed the rock and cable seem to be getting slicker every time we go.

If it keeps someone moving instead of freaking out, then it's worth it for that person as well as everyone else on the cables. If you're passing someone, just work around them.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby LightRanger » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:11 pm

Wow. There's really a lot of "pseudo-climber" misinformation in this thread.

"Factor 5-10"? And all these years I thought the maximum fall factor was 2. Silly me.

And climbing gyms use static ropes? Huh. Interesting. I bet their insurers would be interested to know that information.

My (unsolicited) advice: start hiking at 4am or 4pm. Either way should put you on the cables when you shouldn't feel the need to clip in. If you do feel the need, while a dynamic sling you be ideal if you happened to fall, just make your sling is long enough that you cheesegrater on the granite and friction slows you down. Your fall factor at that point should be low enough that it won't matter if you've got a static sling. Hitting the post might hurt a bit, but shouldn't do any more damage than the fall itself.

As somebody mentioned earlier, your investment would be better made in Guide Tennies. Although even those are a bit overkill.

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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:29 am

Thanks light ranger. I am a climber and that is my opinion too. If you need to clip in on some phony sling and caribiner set up so as not to "freak out", perhaps you should not be doing the route. The sling set-up shown is NOT a "ferreta" (sorry cannot spell and forgot the whole term used) system. The cables are not specifically designed for this method, as they are in the Italian Dolomites. Good shoes with sticky rubber sole is a better idea. Even a vibrum sole is better than tennis shoes. Also, if you think you will need gloves, bring your own high quality good fitting gloves with grip. That junk they have at the base of the cables are worn out ill fitting gloves. I recall the cable posts are about 8-10 feet apart. That may not sound like a long distance but fall a the top and slide down and have your "sling" it the bottom and that is a lot of force both on you and the system. And as stated, going up in crowds is not fun in any event. I always went up day before and camped just below the Clouds Rest trial junction and hit the cables very early morning with few if any other people on the route.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:57 am

Better yet, camp at LYV or Sunrise and get to the cables early with a good night's rest. Last time we were there around 7am on a Friday and started up the cables almost alone (but crowded on the way down).

Let's be real here, you've got up to 400 people a day attempting the cables, almost none of them are "real climbers." A rope and carabiner costs practically nothing. This simple setup is almost entirely psychological anyway, but that's a big help for many people. I don't see it doing any harm whatsoever and I haven't read anything that should stop someone from bringing it along. Some people might try it and decide they don't need it, others might use it for the worst spots, and still others might loan it to someone to get them moving again rather than hold up everyone. People don't realize they are going to freak out until they actually get up there.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:11 pm

I feel the prudent thing to do if you freak out is not to continue the climb! Just standing on the bottom of the cables and looking up is enough to discourage most who would freak out on the climb. I would NEVER prod someone to go up unless they were really comfortable about it. I have never been in favor of giving someone a false sense of security. I would rather have someone realize that if they fall they die than feel that OK if I fall I am fine - problem is they will wipe out everyone below them. I admit that I have the very old fashioned traditional climber attitude. Fine with me if they just took down the cables and then only those who actually know how to climb would do the climb. I have only climbed the cables once, in season, when up. All the other times I did it in the winter when cables were laid down and steps removed.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby longri » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:18 pm

A factor 5 or 10 is definately possible. The fall factor is just the ratio of the fall divided by the length of rope that's catching you.

Or course sliding on a slab isn't the same as a vertical fall.

I was in that area recently and was kind of surprised at how many people had harnesses and lanyards of various types. And almost everybody was there to climb Half Dome. On one the hand I thought this was sort of sad. But most of them were really psyched to be up there. It was a big adventure for these people and I was impressed with their enthusiasm. I don't mind if they clip in. Why do you guys care?

I've clipped in before when descending with a large load. The last time I came down the cables it was after climbing the NW Face and I was surprised at how polished the rock was, and I was wearing rock shoes. I didn't clip the cables that time but I would do so in the future if I felt the need.
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Re: Why not Clipping to Half-Dome Cables

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:22 pm

probably a good thing there isn't good cell reception on that side of the rock. hard to text and descend at the same time but i would imagine some would try.
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