Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Troublemakers In Vegas

Upon arrival in Vegas. we took a chance at the slots. The 4 of us only lost $3.95 out of $4.00. Here’s proof. At least our money lasted 45 seconds.


Then we got in trouble. Did you know you were supposed to wait in line at the airport? We didn’t. Why would you? You spot an opening to get yourself to the front of the line, and you go. That’s called smart.

It’s also called “trouble.” We were busted by the shuttle-bus-line-monitor and humiliated. And told to wait while the other 4 people boarded the bus in front of us.  (Who, if I may chime in, were not smart enough to find a faster route through the stupid maze they had set up on purpose to slow us down. Come on people, chop, chop puddin’ pop. Let’s go. Time’s awasting. Don’t walk all the way through the stupid crowd control barriers when you can go right to the front.)

Then, we got on the bus. Did you know that you have to sit on the bus? Did you know you cannot stand on the bus? Who knew? Well, another 2 minutes and 45 seconds wasted while we were told to sit our butts down. Before they could move, we had to be seated. Who knew?

We finally escaped the airport and got on the highway to  Bryce Canyon. But first, we stopped at the Virgin River Gorge. Site of some of the hardest rock climbs EVER in the US. So we went swimming. (Sitting in the river would be more accurate.) River sitting is inherently dangerous because you might get struck with a floating cow pie. Hey it was 99 degrees.


So now we are near Bryce Canyon with views like this:


Chamonix World Championship

I like the glass stalactite,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Team work!

Is that AMY??


Richard finished his green project across the arch. YaY!
Tom, Mel's hubby is all geared up and ready to rock. YaY!
I bought a shiny red gri gri, so I can hold you up on your projects with ease!

Knead Some Bread?

This video shows both the healthy aspects of whole wheat bread as well as the necessity of being super fit to make it. (First saw this on the  Black Diamond website.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Falcon Nestbox on Twin Bluffs

I spent most of yesterday helping install a falcon nestbox on the rightmost bluff in this picture. Here are some things I learned:

  1. Hanging in a harness for four hours hurts.
  2. Limestone+chert can equal a hard combination to drill into, especially given the lack of leverage to drill from.
  3. When wasps are crawling on you but not stinging you, look away. This makes it much easier to deal with the whole wasp thing.

We rappelled into a sea of wasps to hang the nestbox. The wasps were paper wasps - not particularly aggressive, for wasps - that were looking for a hibernaculum for winter. I could look down, or across, or above, or right in front of me, and watch them stinging each other. But they left me alone.

Three immature falcons flew by the cliff while we were hanging the box, so I'm hopeful that it will be adopted quickly. This is a great spot - high, sheer, and overlooking the Tiffany Bottoms. I'm guessing the drop was 200-225 feet judging from the amount of rope I had left at the end of it + anchor footage, but I don't know for sure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Wing Thursday

I couldn’t believe it – on a Thursday afternoon the rocks were full of people. (Oh, I guess that was just us.)

We had a rare appearance by Ron and John. (Who both told us, “I have to leave early. I have something more important to do than climbing with you.” What? What is that about? Something more important? Sure, I bet they had to shampoo their hair.)

OK, so that left Jen and Lisa and me to climb some more.

P1070632This is Jen’s first outdoor climb. Her dog Elliot is asking, “Hey, what’s up?”

And here’s Red wing Ron before he shampooed.






 More photos here.

P.S. Hey gang, let’s get some brightly colored shirts. No more white, gray or blue shirts, please.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Flow and Resting

In Planet Fear, there’s an article on advanced sport climbing. It has quite a bit on resting and how to find “flow.”

“All top-performing climbers are masters at finding flow. Flow in sport climbing, in my experience, arises as a consequence of the following three things:

1) being fully rested
2) feeling confidant and relaxed
3) enjoying the climb itself”

Wasp/hornet Protection

Here’s a good idea if you encounter a bunch of wasps/bees/hornets/yellowjackets on the wall:

Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em. Beekeepers use smoke to dope up their livestock before harvesting honey. Tape a pack of butts and a lighter to your helmet, and light up if you encounter a nest. The smoke might buy you enough time to climb to safety.”

Or, do what I do – on a route with a lot of wasps, offer a belay to your climbing partner so s/he goes first. That way, the meanest ones are cleared out so you can climb more easily.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Wing

The cool kids will be at Red Wing on Thursday at 3ish.

Jen, 61 south to Main, right on plum, left on 5th, go under the bridge, park, hike up the north trail around the north side of the bluff, unless it's cold, then we will be on the south side.

Map to get there is here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

At The Next Fun With Rocks Picnic

We will try to schedule this group to perform at the next Fun With Rocks picnic. Especially as it is getting dark a lot earlier now. I will help as one of the fire dancers – I have my outfit all picked out.

Mr and Mrs Mackin go Out West

A delighted Pat Mackin was at VE today regaling us with tales of a 3 week climbing trip with his wife. He said, they climbed everything. You can ask him about it, if you have time, or you can read about it in installments in the VE Newsletter, or I will steal them and put them here.

Mo’ Beta Says...Check this out!! Sinks Canyon, Wyoming. 6 miles from Lander, Wyoming (a town located at the Southeastern end of the Wind River Range) is the bomb! As you drive up the canyon, you pass a sandstone climbing area with many bolted sport climbs. Two miles further is the main sport area of world class dolomite sport routes. The campground is located just across the highway and is within walking distance to the crag. At the upper end of the canyon is a granite climbing area with a mix of trad and sport climbs. Three types of rock in one contained area...SO COOL!! The canyon also holds the Popo Agie (pronounced po po ah gie) with excellent trout fishing. The canyon is called sinks because at a bend in the river the whole thing drops into a hole and reappears about a mile and a half further downstream.

You send them off to college...

.. and you think they are studying hard, and them you find out they are off climbing things that you have always wanted to. Oh well, now I will have a guide. When is Parents Weekend?

Levi, Ryan and Jim climbed at Palisade Head last weekend.

Climbs done were Rapprochement, Phantom Crack, I Could've Been a Contender, Mack the Knife.

Wanna Win More?

Wear red. At least that’s what research into competitions between competitors who wear red and and those who don’t. Red is definitely the color of choice – in my opinion – if you want to be seen in climbing photos.

Let’s Say You Were In Borneo

Let’s say you were in Borneo and you wanted to climb. (Who wouldn’t? And who wouldn’t want to tell your friends, “Oh, BTW, I just got back from Borneo so excuse me if I seem a little tired. How was your weekend?”)

It’s be easy to find granite walls. 

And the highest via Ferrata in the world is there too. A story about climbing it here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fairly Standard Buildering, Except

At about the 50 second mark he makes an amazing upside down move. Let’s see you try that on the rocks.

Sale At Black Diamond

Check out the site-wide sale going on at BlackDiamondEquipment.com! Most items are marked down 10 to 30%. Camalots, tents, harness.. they're all on sale. The catch? It's now or never... the sale is September 19-25 ONLY!

24 Hours Of Climbing

It’s 24 hours of climbing at the Horseshoe Ranch in Arkansas next weekend. A report on last year’s event is here. I liked this part:

“I could barely bend my fingers to unclip buckles or write with a pen. Pink flesh had surfaced on all points of our palms and fingers. I imagined that this is what our hands would look like if we pushed down really hard on a belt sander.”

Nice hands, huh?


Friday, September 18, 2009

You gotta climb up

Here is another fun way to come down.

Beautiful New Comet?

Nope, it’s just 150 lbs of waste water and urine thrown out of the space shuttle.

Sometimes You Gotta Brag

For our upcoming canyoneering trip, we have to get a pair of lightweight shorts to wear over our wetsuits. So I just got a pair of 100% nylon shorts (made from pure, free range petroleum products that come from the Earth) in a very subtle earth-toned rainbow color. For $2.99. Try to beat that.


It’s Always Fun

To see stuff broken. (Of course, unless you really need it to remain unbroken.)

Patagonia Climbing

This is the Chilean side of Patagonia.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Truisms Of Life

This is especially true of my climbing.

Nature Is Inherently Dangerous

A story here about a climber attacked by bees who untied his rope to escape them and ended up falling 50 feet to his death.

Friction & Climbing

A very long paper here on friction of shoes and hands and how it impacts climbers. This is good news for the upcoming winter season:

“Similarly climbing shoe manufacturers design their shoe rubber to work best in a specific temperature range (0-5° centigrade), below this the rubber is harder and won't mould well to the shape of the rock and above this the rubber will be too soft and will deform too easily. This why climbing shoes work best in the cold.”


“The cold has a two pronged effect on our hands. Firstly our hands sweat less and secondly our skin becomes harder (the cold reduces the fluidity of the liquids that constitute our cellular membranes). Dry hard hands have better friction than soft, damp ones.”

Lots of formulas for our engineering friends too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Red Wing On Tuesday

We did a bunch of climbing and then had our 1st annual Fun With Rocks picnic at the park in Red Wing next to the Mississippi.


Then we visited our favorite Climbing Farmer at his farm near Miesville.



Lisa wore her souvenir shirt from South Dakota (it says “Outlaw from Heck” right on it) while she did some chores.








And Aaron and I pulled Lisa around in John’s horse-drawn plow. We also saw his “pink pounder” (a pink-painted drop hammer), his forge, his new winter tent stove and other stuff I don’t want to tell you about.

Our New ‘Fun With Rocks’ Truck

When we were in South Dakota we spotted this truck which I think would make a nifty climbing truck.


Job Opening!

Membership & Development Coordinator
The Access Fund is seeking a full-time Membership & Development Coordinator. The Access Fund is the national advocacy organization that keeps US climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1990, the Access Fund supports and represents over 1.6 million climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock, ice, mountaineering, and bouldering. More here

Monday, September 14, 2009

Report From The Black Hills

I know how it is when you hear about someone going on a trip you’d like to do. You say to yourself, “I kinda hope they have bad weather. If they’re going on a vacation and I’m not, I sorta hope they don’t have a great time.” Am I right?

C’mon, way down deep it’s a thought you’ve had. At least once, right? (No? OK so you’re way more virtuous than I am and that’s never even entered your mind. But it’s been in my mean little mind.)

Well, if any of you had the fleeting wish that we would have bad weather on our trip to the Black Hills, your wish came true. We basically spent two days driving, one day climbing and one day waiting for the rain to stop.

It was a trip of discovery for us. We discovered a whole new area of climbs we’d never seen before. We found a bunch of routes for the next time we visit. We discovered how early the library in Hill City opens on a Saturday (9) and when it closes (2.) We

discovered that the library has lots of computers you can use for free. And the staff is very friendly. And you can take off your shoes to let them dry and nobody says anything. We discovered they would not let us hang the tent up to dry and they did not like it when I washed my socks in the middle of the reference section. (Ahhh, poor me.) But I do recommend the soap they have in the bathrooms for sock washing.

I am not going to tell those of you who were hoping we’d have bad weather about this new climbing area. So this information is only for the rest of you.

On Saturday, after the library closed, we hiked into the Picket Fence area. And after wandering around a bit, we found the start of the climbs we were looking for – Wicked Picket and The Sickle.  The sun came out so we got our gear out of the bags and it started raining again. (Since the library was closed, we had to dry our shoes in a restaurant this time. Interestingly enough, they didn’t mind that I washed my socks in the middle of the dining room. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant.)

On Sunday morning, instead of climbing in the rain, we hiked in the rain. We found a lot of bolted sport climbs of all abilities at the Breezy Point trailhead area. (There are only a few listed in that link to MountainProject, but we saw dozens.)

BTW, we left Rushmore area at 9AM (MN time), stopped in Rapid City for a sit-down breakfast and got home at 6PM. And never exceeded the speed limit (by much), officer.

Why Go to Red Wing?

To hug the bluff. See video here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Wing on Tuesday

Looks like the gang or at least part of it will be headed to Red Wing on Tuesday afternoon. Who wants to go?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

I have been phone support for the South Dakota Boys. Here is the latest. They got kicked out of the Hill City Library about 2:00 It stopped raining long enough for them to hike to the Picket Fence area. This is a climb called Sickle. Not sure if the got it climbed or not since it started to rain again. Too bad boys, next time don't forget the Sunbeam!

Surfing Glaciers

In this video, they are attempting to surf the icebergs that break off from a glacier in Alaska. The good parts don’t start until about 1:30. And they never really show them riding a wave. But it’s another activity you could do when you get tired of scraping and painting. Here’s their website.

We’re Surfing the Internet


We’re currently in the Black Hills in the small, friendly town of Hill City. It’s raining outside P1070580

so we’re not climbing; we’re surfing the internet and waiting for the rain to stop. We’re supposed to be climbing at Rushmore today at the Beans & ‘Biners festival.


Yesterday we climbed all new routes - at least they were new routes for us. Including  “Aging Gracefully” on Old People’s Dome. Which was not supposed to be as runout as some of the other climbs on that rock. So we skipped some clips to make it a tad more sassy. At the top, was a summit register. So we entered some of the names of Jack’s Croquet Club.


More photos here.

Now let's watch him do it.

I want Spock on my team!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why Climb a Mountain?

I do it to see what I can see, Hilary did it because it was there. But why did Captain Kirk do it?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Route Reading

Article from Planet Fear on route reading. But this can’t be right – “Aim to spend at least five minutes reading the route….”

Five minutes! By then I would’ve already tried the route and fallen two or three times.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rappel Up A Rope

It’s not really rappelling, it’s ascending a rope at 10 feet per second with this battery powered device. Story here.

Pi on Rock

I came across this article and thought, "I know that guy!!"

Draws And Strength

Here’s a report on the strength of quickdraws used in a gym. “So, like I’ve said many times before, even worn and old slings and draws are pretty darn strong…”

“This Hurts All My Limbs”

Great quote from this climber at about 4 minutes into the video. And then he proceeds to climb the crack mostly upside down.

Monday, September 7, 2009

“Only 3 Things I’m Afraid Of”

I know zip lines are fun – although a guy can get hurt on one (Aaron be more careful next time.) But this job looks like it’s a little more dangerous than zip lining. The part of the video I liked the best is him crawling along the high voltage lines. Kinda gives your stomach a lurch. (You have to wait ‘til the very end for him to tell you about the 3 things he’s afraid of.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Taylors Falls On Sunday

As if everyone didn’t already know it, it was Lisa’s Birthday on Sunday. So she had a climbing party at Taylors Falls. Here’s how it went:

And she got a special present from Buddy:

Photos here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bouldering Championship Highlights

This is from the Women’s bouldering contest in July 2009 in Salt Lake City.

Why Not?

Why not hike the length of the Amazon River like this guy is doing:

“Ed Stafford is walking the length of the Amazon river in South America from the source to the sea. He has been walking for: 521 days

He started on 2nd April 2008 and is expecting to finish in May 2010. No-one has ever done what he is attempting....”

Or spend 21 hours in a tent on the summit of Everest like this guy did.

Friday, September 4, 2009


“Relentless” is the name of one of the climbs we did today at Red Wing. What a perfect name for that climb. I had never done it until yesterday. Then we Ron & I did it on Thursday and Rackie, Ron & I did it again today. We set it up as a top rope which requires one leader, two ropes, three Sherpas and four teenagers. Man it’s tough to set up. But it is a fun climb. Liebacks, jams, back steps, two steps, blue steps and moo steps. Plus arm backs and pull throughs and step-arounds, and three part harmonies. (You gotta throw everything at it.)

We did some other climbs I’d never been on, but I can’t really recommend them. None of the holds were marked so I had to find them all by myself. (Boo hoo hoo.)

This Is Good News

It appears as though the slight amount of global warming we’ve experienced will help forestall a new Ice Age.

I was thinking about what a new ice age would mean to us here in MN.


  • Less lawn mowing
  • Fewer days of bugs
  • Fewer thunderstorms
  • More ice climbing days
  • More days I get to wear my new puffy super-cute jacket below. (You gotta admit, I’d look super-cute in it.)



  • Fewer rock climbing days outdoors

And the number one, worst thing about another ice age:

  • I’d have to wear my super-cute jacket a lot

Black Hills

I want to go to the Black Hills for 3-4 days of climbing sometime in the week between September 10-17. Let me know if you’re interested. (The Black Hills Climbers’ Coalition semi-annual climbing festival is Sept 12th.)

Weekend Climbing

Friday afternoon at Red Wing and Sunday afternoon at Taylors Falls – MN side.

Anyone Thinking Of Visiting The Tatras?

This is the mountain range near the town Emily is staying. Lots of climbing and skiing.  A short video tour.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This Weekend

Saturday- Hannah's dad is visiting and she would like to take him to Red Wing. I'll go but we need a strong leader. Want to joining us early?
Sunday- I plan to go to Taylor's MN side on Sunday about noon. Who wants to go??

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Lisa – A Little Early

A little bird told me it’s Lisa’s Birthday this Sunday. Happy B’day Lisa from your posse.

Fun With Rocks In Slovakia

These are Emily’s photos from her stay in Slovakia and the multiple summits she climbed in the Tatra Mountains since she’s been there. The band is the “Trebunia Family Band” playing music of the Tatra Mountains.

The Warden’s Baby’s Photo

ward's babyJust got the first photo of Ward’s baby. (Maybe they’re a little aggressive in getting him started climbing.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How the heck did I get here?

from Emily in Slovakia...

Matio, Adio, Paul, and I took off on an insane hiking journey at about 5:30 this morning. Matio’s dad drove us about an hour away to the villige of Zàzrivà where he dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. We started hiking and soon came upon a very small farming village nested in the valley. The sheep and cows all had bells on their necks so you could hear music of the grazing animals. We stopped and asked a farmer (or according to Matio- a cowboy) for directions. The farmer told us to turn left at the red berries.

As the trail got steeper the trees started looking like they came from oompa-loompa land. They were lumpy, and twisty, and looked like something straight out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. We encountered fields of raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries on the way to our first peak. There were also many dandelions in their poofy stage that were about as big as a softball.

I discovered that Slovaks either are built like mountain goats, or have no idea what a switch back trail is. Either way these mountain trails were straight up, and straight down. No time for lollygagging. We completed all of the summits in the Malà Fatra mountain range in two days; we hiked for 11 hours on the first day, and 8 hours the second day. Beat that Anne Bancroft!

Here are all the summits:
Malŷ Rozutec 4,410 feet
Vel’kŷ Rozutec 5,282 feet
Osnica 4,471 feet
Stoh 5,272 feet
Poludňovŷ grun 5,790 feet
Hromove 5,367 feet
Chleb 5,403 feet
Vel’kŷ Krivan 5,606 feet
Maly Krivan 5,482 feet
Suchy 4,816 feet

Matio has been planning this hike for about four years so it was great to be a part of this adventure! We stayed overnight at a cottage- which is much like a hostel. Most of the way we could see as far as the High Tatras, as well as Martin (where I live) and Žilina.

The majority of my hike I was thinking "how the heck did i get here?" how did i get from being a baby in California to climbing mountains in Slovakia? I didn't come up with an answer- I just let it boggle my mind a little bit.

I can hardly walk now, but I will be ready for another epic adventure soon!

Word of the day: Par míl za menstrom (par meel zah menstrom) It’s a few miles out

I Know Some Of You Are Familiar With This

Team Teton – Mel, Lisa and Carl - did a lot of body belaying on their climb of the Grand. It’s not for sport climbing, but it’s a good tool for Alpine climbing.

The Warden Gets A New Inmate

The Warden & Liz had a 7.5# boy named Baylor last Saturday. I’m sure Baylor will be out doing the hard routes very soon – just like his Dad.

Silent Feet

We all know that climbing is all about the feet. We encourage each other with calls of "Watch the feeties!" and "Those are feet, not baked potAtoes!"
Here is an article about your feet. The awesome power of Silent Feet. You can click here for the whole thing, but these are the highlights.

As your main points of weighted contact, your feet matter. Placing them silently forces you to be deliberate and aware with your choice, placement, and movement onto and off each foothold. Here’s how:

Shoe Design
First, let this key principle marinate: climbing shoes are designed to focus power into your big toe, making it the main fulcrum around which your body rotates. The strongest part of your forefoot, your big toe sticks out the farthest (usually), forcing the other piggies to follow its lead

The Only Foot Placements You’ll Ever Need

1. Frontstep
This is the simplest, most stable position. Point your foot into the wall and place your big toe directly on the hold, resulting in a squared-off stance.

•Silent Feet Frontstep Method: First, straighten your arms, hanging in a rest position on your skeleton to survey your foothold options. The key to Silent Feet is slowly and simultaneously to contact the wall’s vertical plane and the foothold’s horizontal aspect — so visually track the movement. Imagine the rock has wet paint on it — will your foot leave lines or dots? You want to leave the smallest imprint possible: a microdot.

2. Instep
The instep uses your shoe’s inside edge, still standing directly on your big toe. The resulting position — if instepping with both feet — is the “frogleg”; it’s crucial to highstepping.

•Silent Feet Instep Method: Lean out from the wall and spot your foothold. The key is to weight your attached foot, giving you the freedom slowly and precisely to place the hovering foot. Externally rotate your hip, allowing you to use your big toe’s inside edge. As you make contact, relax your foot, allowing it to absorb weight. Noisy, sloppy footwork stems in part from a rigid ankle joint.

3. Backstep
Learning to backstep (drop-knee) is quite possibly the most important technique for overhanging rock. Like a row of dominoes, it creates a “wave of extension” that lengthens your body: the pivoting of your toe into a backstep drops your knee, which in turn elevates your hips, driving movement upward.

•Silent Feet Backstep Method: Set up as if initiating a frontstep or instep: arms straight, weight primarily on your attached leg. This time, internally rotate your hip, exposing your shoe’s outside edge to the hold. As your foot makes slow, deliberate contact, point your toe down, raising your ankle and driving the movement upward from the power point of your big toe.

Kevin Jorgeson still uses Silent Feet, ensuring precision footwork when it counts . . . like 40 feet off the ground on the FA of Ambrosia (5.14 X).

Funny Games

Learning to use and place your big toe effectively and precisely is the goal. Here, three Silent Feet drills to hone your skills:

  1. Team up. If your feet make a sound, you must repeat the boulder problem or route. Don’t move on (or let your buddy move on) until you feel you’ve climbed as cleanly as possible. Never settle for slop.
  2. Extend a strip of electrical or painter’s tape laterally across the bottom of your shoe, from just under your big toe to the pinky toe. If you step anywhere other than your big toe, you’ll quickly feel a difference in friction and have to make the necessary adjustment.
  3. Do different moves — such as reversible drop-knees during a traverse — off the same set/s of footholds. This will test your foot placements as you pivot between body positions. If you’re using your big toes correctly, you should have no problem keeping your feet on. —KJ

Lots Of Tips

Mazamas might sound like a skin rash but it is a climbing club in the Pacific Northwest. From their website:

The Mazamas were established July 19, 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood.  We have a proud tradition of leadership, safety, conservation, and climbing education in the Northwest for well over a century.”

Anyway, they have lots of tips for all the different types of climbing. So when you’re tired of watching that reality TV show on climbing the social ladder, you can go here to get tips on climbing rocks and mountains. They also organize over 350 climbs and 700 hikes per year. That info is here.

Interesting, Comments please!

From the American Alpinist Blog

At a beginning level, climbing tends to be rule-based. These rules that you are provided at the start of your career are important. They will help to keep you safe.It should be noted that once you have a few years of experience, there is some room to re-evaluate some of the rules. However, this should only take place after you have climbed with a lot of different experienced people.One of the commonly quoted rules for toproped climbing is that one should always use two opposite and opposed lockers at the master point.

Two opposite and opposed lockers.

The idea is that there is no way that the rope could possibly jump out of two opposite and opposed lockers. And while it may be possible -- however unlikely -- for movement in the system to cause the one of the gates to become unlocked and to open, it would be nearly impossible for the both lockers to become unlocked and to be opened.

In the guiding world, two opposite and opposed lockers are considered to be industry standard. The liklihood of a single locking carabiner becoming unlocked and opening is incredibly low. However, this is one of the rules that you learn when you start to climb and it has become so integral to outdoor groups throughout the world in toproping that it has become the industry standard across the board.

Industry standard is one of those phrases that we should pay attention to in climbing. There are very few things that can be considered industry standard in the climbing world.

That said, it is incredibly unlikely that a single locker in a toprope system will fail. But what if something does go wrong? And what if you were toproping in a way that was outside this standard? Certainly you would feel terrible, and not only that, you would also be hammered by the internet forums, the blogs, and the magazines for doing something considered to be outside the norm. As such, it's probably a good idea to stay within the norm.

Many climbers use two opposite and opposed non-lockers in lieu of two opposite and opposed lockers. Two opposite and opposed non-lockers should be considered the equivalent of one For non-lockers to have equivalency to two opposite and opposed lockers, there must be three opposite and opposed non-lockers.

locking carabiner.
Three opposite and opposed non-lockers and equivalent to two opposite and opposed lockers.

Rules in climbing exist to create a wide margin of safety. There's really no reason at all not to have a wide margin of safety in a toproped environment.

--Jason D. Martin

Bitten By A Bee?

Don’t do what this guy does. His face is quite a sight after his “treatment.”

Bolts On Rocks

South Dome, Yosemite Valley California

John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, had this to say in 1912 about adding bolts and ropes to Half Dome in Yosemite so tourists could climb to the top:

“For my part I should prefer leaving it in pure wildness, though, after all, no great damage could be done by tramping over it. The surface would be strewn with tin cans and bottles, but the winter gales would blow the rubbish away.”

Seems to me he was quite reasonable about allowing access to one of the great rocks. Now it looks like this on a busy summer day. And I was one of those people and I enjoyed the hike to the top.