This Thanksgiving I will be taking two aspiring new routers who want to learn how to ground up bigwall first ascent into Zion National Park to attempt to establish a new multi-pitch line. Here is what is going to happen.
- I gave them a supply list of needed equipment. Without these tools of the trade, new routing is a slow and challenging process. Tools like brushes, clippers, hand drills bolts, hangers, cams, glasses, gloves etc.
- I prepped them on what a day to day experience will be while we are working in the Zion Narrows. Cold, cold, cold and sandy and wet. We will have to dress properly and be willing to shiver at belays.
- We will learn how to drill and the decision making process to decide when to drill.
- We will assess rock type and the value of a climb. This entails deciding where to begin the new climb and how dangerous it might be to establish it. Ultimately, you want to choose a route for one of two reasons: 1 everyone will love this and or 2 this is personal and I need to do this.
- We will learn rope work and ascending fix lines. There is a lot to leaving a fixed line on a wall safely. If you fix it to the wall in an improper place then the rope will rub and cut and you may die. If you place gear or a bolt in a bad spot you may loose your gear or cause the rope to fray and cut. Lots of logistics to be learned.
- When to call it good will be addressed. Should you continue through some poor rock and hope to get to the better stuff or call it good. Hard question to ask and answer.
- The free/aid decision. It is very tough to switch back and forth from free and aid. How do you keep all the crap that is hanging off of you in order and away to free climb and how do you pull it out and switch quickly and safely?
- There are more and I will get them down shortly.
Psyched to share this with you soon!