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Andy Kirkpatrick

31 July 2012

Sore arms

Q&A Hi Andy,

I recently brought your e-book on hooks, as i've recently moved into the terrifying realm of hooking, i found the book super useful. I've got a question tho, when you are talking about different types of hooks in the book you refer to both the standard and the large hooks as grappling hooks. By looking at the pictures and comparing hooks i think the standard hook is a cliffhanger and the the large hook a grappling hook, is that right? the reason i ask is i want to modify my hooks as you suggest. Am i right in saying that the cliffhanger is pretty useless and i am better off modifying grappling hooks?

Last question, i did my first rope solo the other day (using a silent partner, cheers for the advice ) at my local crag (I live in Germany), the route was through a massive roof which was stepped, the first part being about 2 metres with the second part being about 6-7 metres so maybe 10 metres in all. How do you aid through big roofs? my arms are still hurting and that was 4 days ago!! I managed it but there has got to be an easier way.


Vic Reeves

Hi Vic (had to double check your email address to check that name wasn’t a wind up!).

The hook you need to modify is the grappling hook, in-fact I’d go so far as saying the Cliffhanger hook is pretty much redundant these days (it is light, so it still has its place).  I usually carry two pointed Grappling hooks (don’t make them sharp, just narrow at the tip), one cut down shortened grappling hook (good for flat edges), a Flat Moses Logan hook and 2 pointed Leepers.  I also always have a spare of each hook in my haul bag, as dropping a hook is easy, but climbing with just one isn’t (well unless you’re Steve Mcclure!).

As for climbing over overhangs, the trick is to use adjustable daisy chains (Yates or Fish ones are much better than Metolius or Petzl ones), as you gain a mechanical advantage, and can just crank yourself up.  Otherwise you end up swinging around trying to lock off with one hand, while the other tries to get your fifi hook into a daisy pocket.

Another tip would be not to make the beginners mistake of making your cord between your fifi and harness too short (see chapter and diagrams in Hook book), as too short a connection can make it much harder to hook into a daisy.  Secondly being greedy, and trying to get the fifi into the highest pocket (fighting your body and gravity to do so), can take a huge amount of energy (the trick to big walling is to save it), and often going one pocket down is easy.  As you can imagine an adjustable reduces the need for fifi hooks.  But I guess climbing roofs is always harder work (and more scary) due to you not being able to touch the wall, and so swing about… and and because you’re pulling directly down on all your gear : (

Hope that helps, and thanks for buying Hooks book.


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