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Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /video

Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby dav2930 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:06 pm

Alteknacker wrote:... I'm interested to know just how technically difficult the Douglas Boulder is. I plan to do it this year, provided the weather plays ball.

Came across this video of someone soloing the Direct Route on DB. It shows every move of the entire route and although the climber (female going by the pink watch) is soloing, she places occasional slings and nuts for temporary protection (very temporary in some cases - it's certainly no object-lesson in good gear placement!). For the most part this looks more like climbing than scrambling (as to be expected at VDiff I suppose), with some hairy moments and route-finding difficulty. Beyond that I can't comment on the difficulty, not having done the climb myself.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=djJGfWi9lXs
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:04 am

dav2930 wrote:...the climber (female going by the pink watch) is soloing, she...

oops - it's a fella (just heard the audio) :shock: :oops: :lol:
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby Michael Thomson » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:24 pm

I found Douglas Boulder Direct to be 'interesting' in traditional wet and slimy conditions. In big boots, a couple of the moves in the groove in the middle felt more like VS than VDiff. I was glad to have a rope.

I'd suggest a dry day.
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby malky_c » Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:04 pm

To add to that, I found SW Ridge, just to the left of West Gully (as mentioned by Gaffr) to be extremely loose. Although it is only graded Moderate, I thought one sneeze would have the whole thing down. We roped up for it but finding secure stuff for runners and belays was quite a challenge!

The rest of the ridge is much more secure. The direct route onto the boulder may be more secure in dry conditions despite the higher grade, although I haven't done it so can't compare.

It was quite a steep drop off the boulder to the rest of the ridge - I was glad to ab off it, although it might also be down-climbable.
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:05 am

Thanks to all for the various pieces of experience of the DB (dav2930, Donny W, gaffr, Mt, malky_c). I don't know if they were aimed at me, but they are certainly very helpful. Very gratefully received.

It's clear, anyway, that it's not one to solo if it is/has been wet; and after a salutary experience on Castle Ridge (mainly off line I think), I'd already come to this conclusion!!!

But the appetite remains whetted....

Thanks again
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby prog99 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 8:26 am

Something else to ponder...

In 2011 we traversed the ridge and roped up for the gap. A few days later bits of it detached requiring an MRT callout.

A few pics here of the before and after - http://alankimber-mountaineering.co.uk/2011/08/tower-gap/
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Re: Tower Gap - The hardest obstacle in my life (so far) /vi

Postby gaffr » Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:04 am

As Malky found being prepared for what you may find on these old classic routes is to be greatly considered.
Being very old I have come through many changes to the way that you can look after yourself and companions on the rocky ridges and classic climbs. At first you had a rope and not much else and maybe a rope sling and biner....bowlines to attach directly to the waist and all that. Right away you had to learn how to use the rope when on the mountain. Later a few loops of cord or tape to make an improvised belt which later progressed into a Troll waistbelt and then leg loops were added to make a reasonable sit harness. There were other routes from direct tying onto the rope to reach what we have available today....but anyway that was roughly the way it was for me.
Today very comfortable sit harnesses are available. Maybe also the consideration of the lighter ski/mountain sit harnesses used by ski mountaineers in alpine terrain are worth looking at for use when scrambling? and carrying a rope of course.
What am I trying to say is that whatever the epoch I have always carried at least a rope and a couple of slings with biners when on the ridges.
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