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This site presents the images from the ebook High: Advanced Multipitch Climbing, by David Coley and Andy Kirkpatrick. In order to keep the cost of the book to a minimum most of these were not included in the book. Although they work best when used in conjunction with the book, most are self-explanatory.


Please use the following links to buy the book: Amazon USA (kindle) / Amazon UK (kindle) / itunes / kobo


 Chapter Contents

1. Variety / 2. Other things to think about

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1. Variety

The following images show the kinds of routes and locations this book is about: hopefully they also give a hint as to why each multi-pitch environment needs different skills and a different approach in order to be climbed efficiently and safely. Hence, you need stay flexible in your approach to learning about multi-pitch rock.


A route doesnÕt have to be hard to still need a competent approach. (Flying Buttress, Wales: VDiff, 5.4). Here, failure of the belay would have serious consequences so the team have a Jesus piece in place (see Chapters 5 and 6). Mountain rock such as this eats up wires rather than cams, and it is common to carry two sets on anything but the easiest routes. Although the weather is not extreme, rain is common. Routes are short (1-3 pitches) and decent is by walking back down.


El Chorro, Spain. Although most of the routes are bolted single pitch, there are several bolted longer routes in a safe setting allowing a first introduction to multipitch climbing and for you to gain experience on how to swap over at belays, rap back down etc.


First Slip, Tremadoc, Wales. Two to three pitch trad routes right by the road. Just the place for a first multipitch mission. Given the twisting nature of many of the routes double (half) ropes are very useful.

Climbing multipitch doesnÕt always mean climbing in a pair – three is fun. A WinterÕs day on Coronation Street, Cheddar, England. Note how the third person has been ÒparkedÓ out of the way below the stance. Parking the third is discussed in Chapters 6 and 8.


Why stop at three? Climbing in a rope of four using a pair of half ropes on Grooved Arete, Tryfan, North Wales. (Dad, helmets might have been a good idea!) Climbing in a 3 or 4 is covered in Chapter 8.


Multipitch need not head upwards. Sea cliffs can make for long horizontal routes: Costa Blanca, Spain. Here twin ropes are being used. Sea cliffs require a competent approach and some knowledge of self-rescue (Chapter 13), as simply lowering an injured climber to the ground is not possible. You also need to get to the top somehow even if the route proves too difficult for you, so knowledge of gorilla aid (Chapter 11) might be useful.


Flations, Boulder, USA. A great collection of long easy routes up slabs with short walk-ins and easy descents. The climbers have been using a single rope so they can move together with a micro-traxion backup. Such, simul-, climbing is covered in Chapter 9.


Lumpey Ridge, Colorado, USA. Mainly short multipitch routes up cracks and slabs on solid granite and in a pastoral setting. The routes often follow strong natural lines making route finding easy. An ideal place to see if you are up to speed before heading to the mountains.

Tuolumne Meadows, California, USA: Long easy and mid-grade routes on solid granite in an awesome setting. Most of the descents are on foot and the main danger will be an afternoon storm, which given the altitude can have serious consequences, hence speed is the key. Expect long runouts on the slab pitches and a mix of bolted and trad belays, which you should be able to set in couple of minutes or less (see Chapter 6).


Red Rocks, Nevada, USA—long routes in a relatively safe environment make for just the kind of place to practice advanced multipitch techniques before a trip to a more committing environment. Many of the routes have abseil descents and stuck ropes are common, so you need to know what to do when they do get stuck. Chapter 10 covers this.


Puig Campaa, Spain. Fantastic three to fifteen-pitch bolted and trad routes in the sun. Like Red Rocks, this is just the place to start playing with longer routes in the hills or for your first multipitch holiday in the sun.

The ever popular Diedro UBSA on Penon d'Ifach, Calpe, Spain displays the standard mix of bolts, pegs, rust and trad found on many larger cliffs. How much trad gear needed depends on how close to your limit you might be. The climber is using a cowÕs tail and third hand to protect himself on the abseil pitch near the top of the route. As the ropes are needed for the abseil, the belay has been constructed using a sling. See Chapter 6 for a multitude of different belay types.


Boulder Ruckle, Swanage, England. Two pitch routes on complex coastal limestone. Many of the cracks contain knobs and flint bands and sometimes using hexÕs and large wires will make more sense than cams. The cliff is tidal and exposed to large waves. Access is by abseil with no option to walk out. The mid-height belays are often on weak sandy rock and need skill to be able to engineer correctly. Unless itÕs a sunny weekend, no one will be around to see you get into trouble and it might be as well to leave the abseil rope in place and for you to know how to prusik out (see Chapters 11 and 13). Given the coastal setting, fixed equipment such as pegs corrode very quickly and should be treated with suspicion – many will be ready to snap.


Zion, Utah, USA. An example of needing to match the rack to the rock type: i.e. sandstone, with some wide, dusty, parallel cracks. See Chapter 4 on trad rack choice. Most routes have roadside access and the location is stunning. With rock like this, there is the need to pay attention to how solid any fixed equipment is as the rock erodes quickly and the early pioneers might have used a variety of approaches including engineering their own protection in their garage.


Hallet Peak, Colorado, USA. A sub-alpine environment on compact rock where the routes often donÕt follow natural lines and it is easy to get lost (we did). Afternoon storms are common and retreating might well mean building your own rap stations (see Chapter 10).


Racing up The Spearhead, Colorado, USA . With the possibility of afternoon rain on the final runout crux pitch, and the likelihood of other teams on this classic route, a near-dawn start is a good idea (which means bivvying at the base of the route). Here twin ropes are being used in case of retreat.


Petit Grepon, Colorado, USA. On longer routes, carrying a sack is the norm, and will nock a grade or two off your climbing. It can also be cold, even in the sun. (Slings around shoulders and a sack is a poor combination, carry the slings on the harness when leading.)



Glacier Noir, Ecrins, France. Long routes with loose rock in an alpine setting. Most teams will bivvi on the glacier the night before, and sleeping on ice can be cold. Afternoon storms are common, you can expect the ropes to get stuck on abseil descents and helmets are compulsory. There is no cell (mobile) phone reception and all-round competence is required. Hence it is best to start on shorter routes further down the valley near the road and see how close to the guide book times you are getting. Timing yourself so you know how fast you really are is one of the key messages of the book.


El Cap, Yosemite, USA. The home of long trad and aid climbs that few can expect to compete in a day. Water, food and weather will be serious concerns, as will getting back down safely when very tired after several days climbing. The climbing will feel very different (i.e. hard) for those more experienced on steep bolted limestone rather than wide granite trad cracks. Luckily there are numerous shorter multipitch climbs in the same valley to get your speed up on before you throw yourself at the big stone.



2. Other Things to Think About

Getting stuck behind others will slow you down; holding others back will not make you any friends. So practice your rope techniques somewhere safe, and if possible, somewhere you wonÕt spoil otherÕs fun or endanger them.


 Congestion on a via Ferrata, Pralognan, French Alps.


Some hazards are organic. (Left, Utah, USA; middle, Northern Spain, the white stuff is a thick layer of bird droppings; right Colorado, USA)


Please use the following links to buy the book: Amazon USA (kindle) / Amazon UK (kindle) / itunes / kobo

Back to Other Chapters

v 19 November 2014

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