Vantage - Feathers: I believe I neglected to mention that part of the plan

During a SIG outing at Vantage, a rope leader gets stuck and shows good judgement in awaiting a top rope - he was correct in not trusting his pro. I HAD intended for the group to stick to the bolted routes.
David Shema David Shema
July 03, 2015

The Feathers - Frenchman Coulee, Vantage, April 6

[Leader]
One of the Intermediates students helping my Basic SIG led an unnamed trad route to rig a top rope for the SIG students. It was a short easy route that topped out on an open ledge. He wasn't aware one could walk up the back of the route and rig a top-rope.

As I was inspecting rigging options for the high angle rappel, another climb leader (who was at Vantage with a private group) approached me and informed me that my climber was stuck, and that some rocks had been knocked down. 

I scrambled up to the top of the route, rigged a quick anchor with a 1/2 length rope I kept in my pack and offered him a top rope on a biner which he clipped to his harness. 

He made the last move on top-rope belay with little effort.  Apparently as he climbed the large crack it petered out into dirt and loose rocks (typical Vantage) leaving little pro options for topping out. 

He was worried about his last placement which, on this short route, would have dropped him near or on the deck had it blown. 

After he topped out I cleaned the route, inspecting his pro. He had placed two pieces but was correct in not trusting them. His lower piece looked good other than one cam near the bottom of the route that was somewhat over extended in a flaring crack (not a great option even with good rock which Vantage doesn't have). 

I felt his lead was competent and he was climbing within his skill level. I believe he showed good judgement in not making the last move, however easy, and in accepting the top rope rather than just "going for it". 

For the field trip I had intended to stick to the bolted routes placing 3-4 top ropes on the right-side of the Feathers to get the climbing part of the event done early in the day. This way we would free up the routes for other climbers (this plan worked well). 

I did communicate this to the instructors, but believe I neglected to mention the "stick to the bolted routes" part of the plan.


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