Article

Road to The Nose: Checklist of Learning to Aid

Wednesday August 21, 2013 1:02am
Here is a checklist for a path someone can take to climbing The Nose. While it is geared toward The Nose, it is a good guide for any Grade V or Grade VI clean aid wall. This is part of my How To Big Wall Climb project. View the table of contents here.


Or get the complete book How To Big Wall Climb: SuperTopo



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Click here to see what is currently on my El Capitan rack.

The base routes are scattered to the left of the SE Buttress.
The base routes are scattered to the left of the SE Buttress.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Credit: Chris McNamara

Master Checklist
Question: “How do I know when I am ready to climb The Nose?”
Answer: Complete this 30-session course over four to six months. That’s enough time to have rests between practice days but not too much time so that you loose momentum. It is important to not skip steps. If you skip the low-angle environment and go straight to vertical or overhanging terrain, you will get frustrated and develop bad habits.


How many times should you practice each routine? When do you know if you are climbing efficiently?
Practice each skill until you have it so dialed you don’t see any more improvement. Every time you do your first lap, time yourself to establish your baseline. At regular intervals after that time yourself and compare yourself to earlier times. At first you will see big improvements. Over time the increments will get smaller and smaller. If you can’t get any faster, you are probably going as fast as you can.

You don’t have to do each activity the listed number of times. However, make sure you err on the side of over-practicing each technique. Too many people get bored with a technique when they only have it 70 percent dialed. It can help to practice next to a friend and have friendly speed competitions. Or have speed competitions with yourself. That usually takes out the boredom.


[ ] = a checkbox
Each session takes about two to three hours.

1. Get psyched.
[ ] Read a bunch of books from the recommended reading list in the appendix. Check out some inspiring movies like “El Capitan” or “Vertical Frontier.” If you are not really motivated to climb El Cap, it will be hard to get through the inevitable challenging moments on the wall.

2. Acquire basic aid climbing gear.
[ ] Use what you have, borrow, or if you are going to buy check out OutdoorGearLab's Big Wall Gear Review

3. Leading 1: Low-angle terrain.
Sessions 1 and 2
 Set up a practice bolt ladder on a low angle wall.
[ ] Aid climb it once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Now aid it five to ten times. Focus on smooth but consistent movement.
[ ] Time yourself on the tenth time. Aim to be 50 to 75 percent faster on the tenth time than you were on the first.
[ ] Now aid ten times where you focus completely on smooth movement. Try to never stop moving up the Aiders from one piece to the next. Remember “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
[ ] Now go another ten times, focusing on both smoothness and speed. Try to get 20 percent faster than your last timed lap.
[ ] Overall, aim to do at least 50 laps over the course of two days.

4. Following 1: Low angle terrain.
Sessions 3 and 4
Set up a rope on a less than vertical 30 to 50-foot cliff.
[ ] Jug once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Jug ten times. Focus on smooth but consistent movement.
[ ] On the tenth time, time yourself and try be 50 to 75 percent faster than on your first benchmark time.
[ ] Adjust the length of daisy chain and go five times. Time the fifth one and compare it to the time before. Go with the daisy length that is most comfortable and gives the best time.
[ ] Adjust the height of your feet in the Aiders and go five times. Time the fifth lap and compare it to the time before. Go with the Aider height that is most comfortable and gives the best time.
[ ] Once you figure out the best place for your feet, do another ten laps. Time yourself on the last lap and try to be 25 percent faster than your tenth time.
[ ] Overall, aim to do at least 50 laps over the course of two days.


5. Leading 2: Vertical and overhanging terrain.
Sessions 5 and 6
[ ] Find a 30 to 50-foot vertical cliff. Slightly overhanging is okay. A gym with a bolt ladder is ideal.
[ ] Aid once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Aid like you free climb: Aid three times trying to use as many face holds as possible (and grabbing the Aider as little as possible).
[ ] Introduce the fifi hook. Do three laps with the fifi at different lengths to figure out the right length.
[ ] Introduce the daisy chains. Do three laps.
[ ] Top-stepping. Do three laps where you top-step every piece using holds or features on the wall for balance (when possible).
[ ] Top-stepping. Do three laps where you top-step every piece without using any holds or features on the wall for balance.

6. Following 2: Vertical and overhanging terrain.
Session 7
Where: Set up a free hanging rope at a cliff, climbing gym or tree.
[ ] Jug once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Jug ten times. Focus on smooth but consistent movement.
[ ] On the tenth time try be 50 to 75 percent faster than on your first benchmark time.
[ ] Adjust the length of daisy chain and go five times. Time the fifth one and compare it to the time before. Go with the daisy length that is most comfortable and gives the best time.
[ ] Adjust the height of your feet in the Aiders and go five times. Time the fifth lap and compare it to the time before. Go with the Aider height that is most comfortable and gives the best time.
[ ] Once you figure out the best place for your feet, do another ten laps. Time yourself on the last lap and try to get 25 percent faster than on your tenth time.
[ ] Get a good arm pump.
[ ] Recover for two days.
[ ] Anchor a free-hanging rope 20 to 30 feet up. Make sure the rope length is at least 200 feet. Build your jugging muscles so they won't lock up with cramps on Day 3 of the big wall.


7. Acquire clean aid protection.
[ ] Borrow, buy or improvise whatever gear to enhance your free climbing rack. If you are going to buy gear, check out OutdoorGearLab's Big Wall Gear Reviews


8. Leading 3: Placing gear.
Sessions 8 and 9
Where: A 30 to 50-foot-tall C1 and slightly low angle cliff.
[ ] Aid once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Aid five to ten times. Focus on smooth but consistent movement.
[ ] Time yourself on the tenth time. You want to be 50 to 75 percent faster than on the first time.
[ ] Try five to ten times where you a little slower but focus on fluidity. Try to never stop moving up the Aiders from one piece to the next.
[ ] Time yourself again, focusing on speed. Try to get 20 percent faster than on your last time.
[ ] Overall, aim to do at least 25 to 50 laps over the course of two sessions.


9. Following 3: Cleaning gear.
Sessions 10 and 11
Where: A 30 to 50-foot-tall, slightly low angle C1 cliff.
[ ] Clean once, timing yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Clean five to ten times. Focus on smooth but consistent movement.
[ ] Time yourself on the tenth time. You want to be 50 to 75 percent faster than on the first time.
[ ] Try five to ten times where you a little slower but focus on fluidity. Try to never stop moving up the Aiders from one piece to the next.
[ ] Time yourself again, focusing on speed. Try to get 20 percent faster than on your last time.
[ ] Overall, aim to do at least 25 to 50 laps over the course of two sessions.


10. Building Anchors and Basic Aid Course.
Session 12
Where: Any place where you can stand on the ground and have three to five pieces around chest level.
[ ] Build an anchor of three to five pieces of gear using a cordalette. Break down the anchor and rebuild it a couple more times.
[ ] Use different pieces and build and break down a few more anchors.
[ ] Build one more anchor with pieces that area spread out (use shoulder-length slings with the cordalette.)


Sessions 13 and 14 – Basic Aid Course
Where: Ideally, you will have an 80-degree route that is 30 to 80 feet tall. I started in a tree. Not ideal. But work with what you got. The important thing is to get out there as much as possible.

With the skills dialed, it is time to learn to transition between them efficiently. The best way to do this is to build a course and time yourself. The course has five parts: lead, build an anchor, clean, break down the anchor, repeat.

[ ] Do the aid course once and time yourself to get a benchmark.
[ ] Do the course five to ten times or until you can’t do it any faster.


11. Leading 4: Traversing Terrain.
Session 15
Where: find a traversing lower angle cliff 30 to 50 feet tall
NOTE: For this session, you need a belayer.
[ ] Lead up at least 20 feet, then build a lower-out point (one or two bomber pieces), then have the belayer lower you ten feet and pendulum over to a crack or face hold. Continue up to the top of the pitch or re-practice the pendulum.
[ ] Repeat the above but this time wear free climbing shoes and practice tension traverses. Especially work on communication with the belayer.

12. Following 4: Traversing Terrain.
Sessions 16 and 17
Where: Find a traversing lower angle cliff 30 to 50 feet tall.
[ ] Before you get to the a cliff, practice slinging something at eye level and passing the lead rope through a biner connected to it. Practice lowering out five to ten times.
[ ] Once you have the lower-out dialed on the ground, set up a traversing rope. Anchor a rope to the top of a cliff, clip it through a piece at least ten feet to the side of the anchor point and at least ten feet off the ground. Practice lowering out five times.
[ ] Set up a traversing rope. Anchor a rope to the top of a cliff, clip it through at least five pieces that diagonal up, hopefully at a 30 to 45-degree angle. Clean it five times. Remember to tie backup knots.
[ ] Try to find a traversing crack that takes three to five pieces. Jug up to the first piece, then switch to re-aiding mode. Practice re-aiding five times.


Congratulations, you are now an aid climber! You are about half way through the process of climbing El Capitan. And you are 95 percent closer to achieving that goal than most climbers are. If you have done all the items on this checklist you are proficient on the basic techniques of aid climbing. Even some climbers who have crawled and scratched their way to a big wall summit can’t say that.

13. Acquire more gear: Haul bags and hauling gear.
[ ] Borrow what you can or if you are going to buy gear, check out OutdoorGearLab's Big Wall Gear Review

14. Hauling and belay management plus advanced aid course.
Session 18
Where; Ideally do this on your small practice cliff after first setting up the systems on flat ground.
[ ] Set up a hauling anchor at least five different times (incorporate both the lead and haul rope into the anchor).
[ ] Space haul 15 times.
[ ] If you think you can do it safely, body haul 15 times.

Session 19 and 20 – Advanced Aid Course.
Do the Basic Aid Course on a longer, more sustained pitch (hopefully at least 100 feet long). Each time try to set up the anchor a little differently and alternate hauling techniques.

It is important to find a long and sustained pitch so that you learn to deal with these big wall issues:
[ ] How to maintain speed and fluidity over a longer pitch
[ ] How to conserve gear by mixing up what size piece you leave so you have a full selection at the end of the pitch and extra for anchor.
[ ] Time yourself the first time to get a benchmark.
[ ] Every ten times you do a lap on the course, time yourself and try to improve your time 10 to 20 percent every ten times.

[ ] After the first ten laps, introduce hauling for another ten laps. For the first five times, use the body hauling technique. Once you can body haul safely, try out the space haul first on the ground and later on the wall. DANGER: Remember body hauling only works if your haul bag weighs close to your weight. Otherwise: Danger!!).

[ ] Do 20 to 30 laps total over two sessions.


Congratulations, you are now a proficient aid climber! If you took the time to master all the lessons, then you have the basics dialed. Now take your solid set of skills to the multi-pitch environment. When the exposure kicks in on Day 2 and your partner wants to bail because “It doesn’t feel right," you can confidently draw from your mastered skill set and push on through!


15. The bivy.
Session 21
[ ] On the ground, put the portaledge together five times.
[ ] Hang from a wall and put the ledge together five times.
[ ] Put the ledge together twice while using a Headlamp-Review-Review-Review-Review-Review.
[ ] Try camping on the side of a cliff for a night (optional).
[ ] Set up the rain-fly and turn the hose on full blast. Spray it up from below the ledge. See how dry you stay.

16. Rescue and retreat.
Session 22
[ ] Practice rappeling with a haul bag.
[ ] Learn the basics of self rescue, how to escape the belay, etc. (material not covered in this book).


C. The Road to the Nose – free climbing skills.
1. Training at the crag.
Sessions 23 and 24
Where: After becoming a solid 5.10b trad climber, go to a crag with 100-plus foot tall pitches. The El Capitan base is perfect but most people only have their local crag.
[ ] Climb five 5.9 trad pitches carrying a Nose rack [see page LINK TO MY NOSE RACK].
[ ] Climb five 5.10 pitches carrying a Nose rack.
[ ] Now add in a haul line and hang some Ascenders and a wall hauler off your harness. If you still climb 5.10b, you are in good shape. Try to climb pitches longer than 100 feet.
[ ] Practice moving from aid to free five times climbing out of your Aider and five times climbing out of a shoulder-length sling.

2. Training on the big climbs.
Sessions 25-28
Where: Any place with long multi-pitch climbs.
[ ] Climb five or more multi-pitch free routes
Key skills to pay attention to:
[ ] Fast belay changeover (two to five minutes).
[ ] Rope and belay management (practice seeing rope snags before they happen).


Congratulations, your are ready for your first wall! If you have not skipped any sections, if you have checked every box and graduated to each level honestly, you know where your weaknesses still lie or you are ready to charge.

3. Climb three Grade V walls.
Session 29-30
Where: Yosemite, Zion, Black Canyon or any other big wall area.
[ ] Climb two or more grade V walls


16. Climb The Nose!

  Article Views: 10,296
Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on Earth has been spent on the face of El Capitan—an accomplishment that has left friends and family pondering Chris’s sanity. He has climbed El Capitan more than 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that begs the question, “Why?”

Outside Magazine called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He is the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced more than 5000 dangerous anchor bolts. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and serves on the board of the ASCA and the Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains BASEjumpingmovies.com, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

Comments
Did you like this article? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this article
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
  Feb 16, 2009 - 01:46am PT
Holy Sh#t, Chris, yur gunna make wall crawler machines out of 'em. They do all that and the Nose will hold no secrets!

Just joking, really. What an amazing program to jump-start a wall-climbing career.

-Jello
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Feb 16, 2009 - 04:31am PT
If possible,


14. Rescue and retreat
[ ] practice rappelling with a haulbag
[ ] learn the basics of self rescue, how to escape the belay etc (material not covered in this book)


If possible??? Self rescue should be required even if not in the book. I feel like I never know enough about how to save my own bacon. John Dill wrote a masterful section for guidebooks on staying alive so I figure it is pretty important.
altieboo

Social climber
Das Blase
  Feb 16, 2009 - 04:33am PT
Thank you for posting this Chris. It could not have come at better time.
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
  Feb 16, 2009 - 09:00am PT
It's scary to think how little prep we did before doing the Nose 15 years ago.

You gotta add "crapping in a bag and wrestling with a poop tube." Also, pee first, then poop. That helps or maybe that's just me.

Just trying to be helpful.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Feb 16, 2009 - 11:15am PT
yes, the poop tube section will be in the book... but i am not sure there are any "training" items for that to add to the list.

this list is WAY more preparation that I used for the nose, but that is the point. Most people do way less training. But as Tom "Ansel" Evans guesses, at least 60% of them bail by pitch 16. The goal of the book is to have people more prepared so there is less bailing in the stovelegs. When you have so many people bailing, it's a bummer for the folks who are bailing. and its a bummer for all the folks waiting behind to pass who ARE prepared. and its a bummer for all the folks who show up really prepared to climb el cap but cant because there are 5 parties starting route (most of which are not prepared enough to finish the climb).
Paulina

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 11:43am PT
Great training list, thank you for posting!

But I wonder how realistic is this: each session is 2-3 hours. Sessions 1 & 2 (basic leading) require a total of about 50 laps over the course of 2 days, so an average of 25 laps per session. Presumably, the person starting out has done very little aid beforehand. I think a realistic estimate is 2-3 hours for like 2 maybe 3 laps on a bolt ladder... not 25!
I know that from personal experience being a total aid gumby, which is much closer in time to present day than Chris's :-).

Then of course the whole point is that you get more proficient and faster, but you should have some words in there about stretching out sessions, or taking (way) more than 2 sessions if needed.

Cheers!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
  Feb 16, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
I think that whole section is great in theory, but I honestly don't think that even 5% of people will do it. People are lazy and cocky. "I don't need to do that, that's for the other guy!"

Also, I agree that some of your time estimates are a little off. The less discouraging your program is, the more people will do it. Maybe at the beginning of the section stress HEAVILY that most people bail off The Nose due to lack of preparation. Real heavily, so that people have a larger incentive to do the training.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Feb 16, 2009 - 02:35pm PT
good feedback. its a tricky balance: i want people to REALLY DIAL IN THE BASICS but I dont want the program to be so intimidating nobody follows it.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Feb 16, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
Chris
Do you have a date in mind for publishing yet?
I'll bet there's tons of interest. . .
I can add quite a few pounds to that interest. . .
Thorgon

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 03:06pm PT
Chris~

Yes, very timely, I have found a solid partner and have been climbing 4 times since mid-January! There are extremely good elements in your approach! One comment that I had, besides self rescue being a MUST, is that possibly each climbing group set their own time-goal! I am hoping that the outcome of this would be that teams could set a long term goal, get the training in, and still maintain their relationships, or jobs!
I have found it difficult to train and climb together with a partner! My last failed attempt on El Cap went SLOW beacause Jedi was training (super-fit) in Virginia, while I was training in Idaho! Then we hit the wall out-of-sync. In retrospect, I think we should have done The Prow first, then tackle The Cap, but time was an issue! We both had jobs to get back to.
In conclusion, If teams are allowed to follow the program and modify it to their unique situation, I feel a great amount of success could be achieved.. ESPECIALLY efficient change overs, leading in blocks, grouping pro while cleaning, etc. This information is detailed in Hans Florine and Bill Wright's book, "Speed Climbing, How to Climb Faster and Better"!!!!

Does that help?
Thor
Prod

Trad climber
  Feb 16, 2009 - 03:11pm PT
Nice work.

Guy
Redwreck

Social climber
Echo Parque, Los Angeles, CA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 03:22pm PT
I seem to be having some difficulty with the "become a 5.10b leader" part.
Paulina

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
I know, and that's _before_ you start the training program. :-)
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Feb 16, 2009 - 05:41pm PT
That is great advice (and a great detailed plan) Chris--dial in the mundane work to enjoy the climbing.

However, I think my plan, 35-40 years ago, was to complete half of step 15, start 16, and finish with 14.
GraemeK

Big Wall climber
Ontario
  Feb 16, 2009 - 08:18pm PT
Hi Chris,

This is really great information. Honestly, one poster mentioned people might not want to do this - I most certainly DO! Rather than El Cap being an immediate goal, just becoming proficient is an immediate goal. I think your angle at the book is great - although the current books give ideas for getting up these things they seem to miss the basics around training and building up to it... More of this would be welcome (unfortunately I have no partners this year, but I can see where I can transition this to top-rope solo and practice on single pitch climbs - which may actually benefit me, to be honest).

Keep up the good work.

Rgds, Graeme.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
I'm not sure I have a pencil big enough for the checklist for NIAD.
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 11:22pm PT
Thanks Redwreck
ditto on the 5.10B part. I was happy to cry my way up one 5.8 last summer.
Erik
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Feb 16, 2009 - 11:24pm PT
think 5.10b french free leader....
Paulina

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 17, 2009 - 09:13am PT
Ed, you're right, of course!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Feb 17, 2009 - 08:38pm PT
I just added an image to the top that gives a visual of the process of getting up The Nose
altieboo

Social climber
Das Blase
  Feb 17, 2009 - 08:58pm PT
Thanks for the diagram Chris! I'm somewhere towards the end of the first month on that chart! Just need to get out there. Snow sucks....
David Nelson

climber
San Francisco
  Feb 18, 2009 - 12:05am PT
Chris, lots of fun, should achieve your goal of less bailing.

I think that you should also put in that they read John Dill's Staying Alive essay and maybe the thread here on ST that we all put together after the sad death of the two Japanese climbers, analyzing what went wrong. There are facts there that just don't appear elsewhere, such as considering communication with a ground party (I say "considering" because some felt that such a safety line compromised the essence of committing yourself; personally, I don't agree, but I am not trying to tell anyone how to do their thing, just open their mind to things they might not have thought of) and the fact that Camp VI is a waterfall in a what elsewhere on the Captain is a slight drizzle.

Cheers. Glad to see you are thinking climbing, not base jumping or worse, wingsuiting!
TKW

Trad climber
Currently Nomadic
  Apr 17, 2009 - 10:12pm PT
Hey chris (and others)

Do you have any rough guidelines for how fast is "fast" or "fast enough" (not talking hans/yuji speed here) for doing the nose at a nice clip (say 3 days)?

Eg roughly how many feet/min for leading c1, Following, etc.

How do I know when I'm going fast enough rather than just "faster than I used to go when I was slow". Obviously there are no hard and fast rules here but thoughts on ranges would be insteresting.

Thanks again for the inspiring roadmap - I think I may be somewhere around month 2.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
  Apr 17, 2009 - 10:32pm PT
Chris - You raise the bar on the genre.

Nice - I doubt I will ever get into aid climbing, but if I do, I'll know the first stop!

The guide books rock, too.

Maybe you should publish guides to other crags - held to your standards.
Jon Byers

climber
Turtle Island
  Apr 19, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
Hey David N.
Where is that thread you were referring to about the Japanese climbers?
Hauler

Big Wall climber
Lodi, CA
  Feb 27, 2010 - 06:06pm PT
Sweet! Wish I had this before I went. Option 2 instead of that checkoff list...wing it and suffer greatly. That was the approach I took! Anyone really want to get good at a portaledge, then get a huge fan like some climbing gyms have and blast it high right next to you while setting it up. Even better yet...turn on that hose before you start snapping it together and see if you can get it set up before you get soaked to your whitey tighties. Then you'd be ready!

I didn't see this is the preparation stage...it should be next to "getting psyched up" - crawl on your knees butt naked on black top in 110 degree weather for 3 days or until you piss blood (whichever comes first), be sure not to eat anything until you can't crawl straight, then you only should snack on something you detest eating (because you shopped the sale rack at the grocery store instead of what sounded yummy). Once you are ready to give up, don't...attach a semi-truck to your harness and put it in neutral...now while on your knees (a little blood didn't hurt anyone) see if you can pull it back and forth in an empty walmart parking lot. For water only take 3/4 of a nalgene and spill half of it. Drink the rest in the first hour. You do this exercise in preparation of not rationing correctly on the wall. Only then will you be ready.
Getch

Mountain climber
Flagstaff, AZ
  Oct 28, 2010 - 04:50pm PT
Hey Chris,

Thanks for all of this. My climbing buddy and I have both been dreaming of this since we were kids. Now in our mid-twenties, and have made lots of progress with trad work. We have made the Nose our goal for next year, with training being the main focus until then. Thanks again, I'll let you know when we are down.

ps. can I borrow your rack?
LuckyJack

Trad climber
Novato, CA
  Apr 10, 2012 - 12:34am PT
This is an awesome list, but it's definitely a two year list for me, rather than six months. One issue for me is a place to practice aid climbing. Is there any discussion forum for places to practice? Does anyone know good places in the Bay Area, particularly the North Bay to practice low-angle aid techniques? I built a 20 foot crack machine in my back yard with a bolt ladder up the back of it, but it's vertical, and a little awkward to balance on, since it's only 8 inches wide. : )
aquafresca

Big Wall climber
boulder, colorado
  Apr 12, 2013 - 07:00pm PT
wow.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Apr 15, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
LuckyJack, just about anywhere that you can get 8 aid moves in will work. For me, it was originally just a try. Split Rock on Ring Mtn can work but it is crowded and really low angle. Trees are probably your best bet or drive to Sugarloaf
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