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Topic Date User
TR - Courtright Reservoir 16-Aug-2013 At 3:34:31 AM pmonks
On 15/08/2013 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>Do you have a contingency plan if one of your multiple seconds finds it
>a bit hard and wants to opt out enroute?

We had a mix of plans. The proactive part of the plan was that all 3 kids had already toproped the 5.4 first pitch with no issues, and the second pitch was 5.2, so we figured technically they'd be fine. The 9yo has done some longer & harder multi-pitch climbs before (e.g. Z-Tree in Tuolumne - a 5 pitch 5.7), so it was only my two (8yo & 6yo) who were in any doubt, and they've both been climbing since they were little so only exposure was an unknown.

The reactive part of the plan was that if we'd had trouble on the first pitch we would have lowered the troublesome kid(s) off - one of the other parents was still at the base collecting gear, and we asked them to stick around until we were all happily on the first belay. They would have untied the kid and taken care of them until we got down.

If we'd had trouble on the 2nd pitch we would have all bailed, lowering / climbing back to the first belay (which had a bolted rap anchor), then lowering / abseiling down the first pitch as well. With 2 X 60m ropes mobility on the cliff wasn't a concern, and any gear we left behind retreating off the top we could walk up and get later.

That said the kids clearly benefited from climbing in a gaggle and with a parent nearby. Earlier on in the day my 8yo had bailed off the long 5.8 and I think part of the reason was she ended up 30m out in the middle of a big blank steep slab with nobody anywhere nearby. Even though arguably she was more exposed on the 5.2 second pitch we did, she was never more than 8 feet from her sister and 30 feet from the 9yo and I, and that seemed to completely eliminate exposure as a factor.

The 3 girls were having a great time climbing as a gang - chatting about the holds and features, where to go next, etc. Sometimes I think inane chattering is a coping mechanism for kids (but of course it only works when they have someone to chatter at / with).

[edit] Oh and I probably wouldn't want to do 3 kids / 2 adults on anything harder or longer than this - a party of 5 is a logistical hassle no matter how old or experienced the members are. Double ropes would also have been nice - we climbed with 2 X 10.5mm ropes and the weight & rope drag for the leader was annoying.

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