When the holds are too small to allow the average climber to ascend a wall, Aid Climbing allows you to keep climbing using protection, slings, and nylon ladders to get to the top. Smith Rock State Park is an excellent area to learn the specific techniques of this climbing discipline. Even the easiest route up to the summit of the Monkey Face requires aid climbing skills. The “bolt ladder” of the Pioneer Route is a great place to learn to use a nylon ladder to ascend a steep bolt-line. It’s also a great introduction to “jugging” – a technique that allows you to ascend a rope directly.
Our guides will take you to some steep cracks within Smith Rock State Park where you’ll begin to learn the basics of this mechanical and sometimes confusing aspect of rock climbing. You’ll begin by evaluating gear placements and learning to clip in to your protection and climb it directly, as well as how and when to protect against a lead-fall.
Other skills that you’ll learn and practice:
- “Jugging” a fixed rope
- Placing protection for direct aiding
- Cleaning overhangs and traversing pitches
- Lead-belaying with a Gri-gri
- Bounce-testing lead gear
- High-stepping in your aiders
Why Aid Climb?
Aid-climbing skills can make it possible for you to attempt routes that might otherwise be out of your range because of short difficult sections. A single stopper move doesn’t have to keep you from attempting a climb – knowing basic aid-climbing technique allows you to bypass a difficult section of climbing and continue on your way. These skills can also come in handy when the second climber in a team encounters a section that they are unable to free-climb past.
This Aid Climbing course is perfect if you’ve always wanted to climb the Monkey Face but couldn’t figure out what to do at that pesky bolt ladder on the Pioneer Route. Aid climbing is a discipline that requires a solid understanding of gear placement, anchor-building and rope management. It is great way to build on skills that you’ve dialed in our lead-climbing course, but isn’t appropriate for climbers who don’t already have a solid baseline of technical skills.