Be ready to climb that pitch again.

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Rockytop, Dec 4, 2017.


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  1. Rockytop

    Rockytop Well-Known Member Northeast Ice Climbing Guide

    I was climbing in Smuggler's Notch this Sunday and reached the top of a route. I did the same thing I've done on that route for over 20 years, except now, in the interest of saving some time, I decide to rappel back down the route instead of walking off the top. I clipped into the fixed anchor there on a big birch tree instead of climbing past it up into the trees. Everything was going smoothly.
    Down below, I began pulling the rope. 'Great,' I thought, 'I'll be out of here in no time.' But, I wasn't home-free yet. The split second the other end passed through the top anchor, it snagged on something.

    'No problem,' I thought,' a quick yank and it'll come down like it always does.' I couldn't remember anything between me and the anchor above for it to catch on. No bushes, no rocks. It was almost a straight pull so there was no reason for concern. I yanked and yanked. I threw slack up...tried everything. Nothing worked. With no idea what was holding it, there was certainly no way I was going to jug up the rope.
    So, up I went. When I arrived back up there, I could only see my rope running up to a log just off to the side of the anchor. How did it even get over there? There was no obvious knot in the end or a telltale big rope snarl. What the heck was holding it there? I climbed up to the anchor, tied in my end of the rope and lowered myself five feet over to the log.
    Below is the photo of the simplest perfect timber hitch where the rope had defied the odds and whipped around the log, tying itself in about as simple and perfect a hitch as could happen. You never know!

  2. neiceadmin

    neiceadmin Doug Millen Staff Member

    Ya, most of the time it is as simple as that! So many trees in the Northeast, be ready to climb !
  3. wewidlund

    wewidlund Active Member

    That is amazing. From the photo at least you weren't headed back up in the dark.
  4. sandstone

    sandstone New Member

    Wow. A perfect hitch.
  5. IndianOnIce

    IndianOnIce Always looking for partners.

    You needed an Indian there. We have this thing called the Indian rope trick... unfortunately, my IRT game isn't good enough to send the rope from the bottom of the pitch all the way up to the next anchor. Workin on it.

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