Aid climbing is a specialized rock climbing involving devices such as cams and nuts to make it easier to ascend a wall.
Instead of free-climb, which involves directly ascending an almost unscaleable wall without assistance, aid climbers use artificial holds known as “aid” to make the climb possible.
While this may seem like an easier way to climb, there is still plenty of skill involved in being able to place the devices correctly and know when and where they are needed.
If you want to learn how to aid climb safely, read on for more information about what aid climbing is and how you can begin climbing it yourself.
A Brief History Of Aid Climbing: From Fixed To Clean Aid
Although aid climbing has been around for as long as people have been rock climbing, it’s only in the past century that climbers have begun to use it more extensively.
The world’s first “fixed” climbing route was put up in Britain during the Victorian Era, with the route using iron pegs hammered into the rock to make the climb easier.
Early American climbers used both fixed and clean aid, but the first American to climb El Capitan without the use of any artificial aid was Royal Robbins in 1958.
Since then, artificial aid has declined, with climbers preferring the challenge of climbing with just their hands, feet, and brains.
It involves the use of nuts and cams, and became very popular in the 70s and 80s, although in recent years the amount of clean aid climbing has declined, making way for more emphasis on pure free climbing.
How To Aid Climb
- Find a clean route that you think is within your ability.
- Be sure to review the route topo and see if it’s a hard aid route.
- Decide on a sequence of pieces, placing them as high up the route as possible. – Once you get to the first piece, climb up to the next piece, and so on.
- Once you’ve clipped the last piece in the sequence, resume the free climb.
- Work your way down the route when you’re done, removing your pieces. – Be sure to clean the route as you go carefully.
Safety When Aid Climbing
Aid climbing can be safe when done correctly and within your ability level. That being said, there are important safety considerations to be aware of when it is hard to aid climbing, including: –
- Cleaning your aid: it’s important to clean your aid as you go to avoid damaging the rock. You can clean aid with a nut tool, or you can use a brush if you’re cleaning fixed gear.
- Types of aid climbing tools: each type of aid climbing tool has its proper use, and knowing how and when to use each one will ensure that you’re using them as safely as possible.
- Protection: it’s important to place enough and the right kind of protection while aid climbing, as your safety depends on it.
Types Of Aid Climbing Tools
Aid Climbing Tools are items used to make climbing easier. The most common aid-climbing tools are nuts, cams, and slings. These tools are used to protect yourself while climbing and to make certain sections of the climb easier to climb.
Nuts are metal wedges used to secure the climber to the rock. They are mainly used in crack climbing, where the climber places the nut into the crack and clips a carabiner through it.
Cams are metal wedges used to secure the climber to the rock. They are mainly used in crack climbing, where the climber places the cam into the crack and then turns the cam to open it up, creating a larger crack for the top rope to run through.
A long sling is a piece of cord or webbing used to create a quick and easy way to set up a safety system on the climb. A carabiner is attached to the end of the sling to clip into the protection system.
Common Aid Climbing Techniques
Flat-footing – This is when you are using aid climbing techniques and standing on your feet rather than your hands. It is often used when the climber is standing on smaller holds, and it is easier to stand on your feet when using a large amount of aid. –
Footing – Footing is a technique that is almost the same as flat-footing. The only difference is that you are standing on your feet with one foot in front of the other. –
Hand-jamming – Hand-jamming is a technique that is used when there is not enough room in the crack for both your hands and feet. You can also hand-jam in a crack too wide for your hands to fit in.
When To Use Aid Climbing Techniques
There are many situations where it is a good idea to use aid climbing techniques.
If you do not have the strength or skill necessary to v scale an almost big wall climbing, then aid is an option for you.
If there are sections of the route that are too big a challenge or if there are sections of the wall that are too fragile to be able to climb without damaging them, then aid climbing will make this easier.
If you want to finish a route that you don’t have the skill level to finish without aid, then aid climbing is an option for you.
If you want to get up a route faster than if you were to climb it without aid, then aid climbing is an option for you.
Basic Aid Climbing Lead System
- The first piece – This is the first piece that you place when you are lead climbing. It is important to put this piece in a spot where it is easy to clip, as it may be quite high up the wall.
- The second piece – This is the next piece that you place in the route. This is usually placed above the first piece and below the third piece. –
- Third piece – This is the last piece you place in the route. This is usually placed above the second piece.
Where To Go Aid Climbing?
Since aid climbing is used in many different climbing situations, there are many places to go aid climbing.
However, some places are better for aid climbing than others. These places include: –
When routing the rope, the climber at the top of the wall clips the rope into a belay device so that they can safely lower the second climber down the wall. The second climber then clips the rope into the belay device at their end and climbs down the wall.
The rope routing can be complicated and is best explained by an example. Understanding aid climbing grades can be a little confusing at first.
The grading system used for aid climbing is the same as that used for free climbing, with the climber starting the climb at the lowest various points (or “bottom”) of the climb, climbing to the top (or “top”) of the climb, and then down again to the “bottom.” The difference comes when you are climbing.
If the climber begins their climb at the “bottom” of the climb and reaches the “top” of the climb, then when they descend again to the “bottom” of the climb, they will be starting at the “top” of the climb again. So in this situation, the climber will be climbing an “extra” grade.
Passing Gear To The Leader
If you are climbing a route that requires “clean” aid, then you will only be able to pass gear to the leader by either having pre-placed pieces of gear or by creating “creative” pieces of gear.
Creating “creative” pieces of gear is not recommended, as it can damage the rock. If you need to pass gear to the leader, then pre-placed nut protection is your best option.
Pre-placed nut protection consists of nuts placed at the bottom of the route by the route setter before you start climbing. You can see these nuts at the bottom of the climb.
Switching Between Aid And Free Climbing
If you have been climbing the route using “clean” aid, then you will have to switch between aid and free climbing at the point where the route becomes too difficult to continue using aid.
The point at which you need to switch between aid and free climbing will vary from climb to climb, with some new routes being easier to climb using aid than others.
If you need to switch between aid and free climbing, then you will need to remove the pre-placed pieces of gear from the rock.
If the gear is a nut, then you will need to remove the nut by lifting it out of the rock by using a nut tool. If the gear is a cam, you will need to remove the cam from the rock by using a “cam hook”.
Aid Climbing Gear: A Detailed Buying Guide
When it comes to climbing, not everyone has the same needs. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or an experienced climber who is continuously pushing your limits, different pieces of equipment may be more helpful than others.
Finding the right kind of climbing equipment can be challenging.
You will have to consider your tastes and preferences while also keeping in mind what kinds of activities you plan on doing with them. we will go over many different types of climbing gear and explain when and why you might need each one.
No matter what type of climbing you want to do, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for everything you need to know about buying climbing gear!
Aiders are used when climbing to help the climber move up a wall. They are equipment that can be clipped onto your harness to assist when climbing. Aiders come in many different forms and styles.
Some are more sophisticated and designed for top roping, while others are more basic and designed for leading. What you choose will depend on your personal needs and preferences. What is the difference between ascenders and aiders?
Ascenders are used for both ascending and descending. Aiders are used only for ascending.
Which climbers use aiders?
While anyone can use aiders, they are most commonly used by beginner climbers. Aiders are a great tool for helping climbers get started and gain confidence in their ability to ascend. They can also be useful for injured climbers.
A piton (pronounced “pity-on”) is a type of climbing gear that was commonly used in the past, but is no longer used much today due to the risk of serious injury that it poses. Pitons are often used to create anchors in the rock.
They are driven into the rock with a hammer and then tied off with a piece of rope. Pitons are often considered “optional” because they are not necessary for all climbs.
They are most commonly used when climbing on granite. Pitons are hazardous to use and are not recommended for beginner climbers.
Daisy chains are a form of quickdraw that features two carabiners connected by a chain. They are often used for top roping and can be used for either vertical or horizontal belaying.
They are often used for top roping because they are easy to clip on and off. daisy chain can be helpful for beginners who may not be as confident clipping gear into place.
Daisy chains are also easy to adjust. This can be helpful if you are climbing with a partner who may be shorter or have longer arms and needs their gear a bit looser or tighter than you do. Daisy chains are often used in conjunction with adjustable daisies.
A climbing helmet is a helmet that is designed with climbing in mind. Climbing helmets are specially designed to protect climbers from rockfall, falling objects, and impact. Climbing helmets are not mandatory, but they are highly recommended.
If you’re climbing at an indoor climbing gym, you will be required to wear a helmet. Climbing helmets come in many different styles and colors.
They also vary in terms of materials, weight, and coverage. What type of climbing helmet you choose will depend on your preferences. It is important to consider how much you are willing to spend and also how you plan on using it.
A climbing harness is a piece of equipment that climbers use to help secure themselves to the wall. Climbing harnesses come with many different features and designs.
Climbing harnesses are designed to distribute the climber’s body weight across the body evenly. This can be helpful for those with lower back pain or other joint issues who may have trouble bearing their all your weight.
Climbing harnesses come in many different sizes, styles, and designs.
You will have to think about your own preferences and also what type of climbing you plan on doing. There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a harness.
Make sure it fits correctly and that the leg loops are snug. Also, ensure that the gear loops are in a good place and not too close to your armpits.
Daisy chains are sometimes referred to as adjustable daisies. Daisy chains allow climbers to add or remove links so that they can create the length that they need to reach their next hold.
Daisy chains are often used to secure the climber’s rope to the wall. This can be helpful for beginners who are just starting with top roping.
Daisy chains can be used for vertical or horizontal belaying. They can also be used for the rope coming up from the climber. Although daisy chains are helpful, they are often used in conjunction with adjustable daisies.
A fifi hook is a type of quickdraw that features a straight carabiner at one end and a hook at the other. They are often used when climbing on a slab. Fifi hooks are helpful because they are less likely to catch on loose rocks.
They are also easier to remove when the climber reaches the top. Fifi hooks can be used for either vertical or horizontal belaying. Fifi hooks are also easy to adjust.
This can be helpful if you are climbing with a partner who may be shorter or have longer arms and needs their gear looser or tighter than you do.
Climbing shoes are specially designed to help you climb. They are designed with a sticky soled leather or synthetic upper and a stiff shank for support.
Shoes can vary in materials and style. They can be split-sole or non-split.
They can also come with different types of grip. Shoes can help you increase your performance, improve your technique, and decrease your risk of injury.
Shoes are often very expensive and can be an investment. It is important to find the best pair for you that fits your needs.
Climbing ropes are used to assist the climber in moving up a wall. They are used in tandem with climbing harnesses and ropes in many different lengths.
Ropes come in many different materials, and it is important to consider what you will do with them when choosing a type. Nylon and polyester are the most common types used in climbing. They are very durable and have a good stretch.
Different types of ropes have been created to be helpful for different styles of climbing. These include single ropes, twin ropes, half ropes, and dry ropes.
It is important to be familiar with these types and determine which is best for you and your climbing style.
Aid climbing is a great way to get beginners into climbing and also allows more experienced climbers to reach routes that they wouldn’t be able to climb otherwise.
It is important to remember that although aid climbing can be a good way to get to harder routes, it can also be a very dangerous way to reach those routes.
All forms of aid climbing involve a certain amount of risk, including damaging the rock. To reduce the risk of damaging the rock, aid climbers should always use pre-placed pieces of equipment whenever possible and try to avoid creating “creative” pieces of gear.