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#53309 - 06/02/18 11:11 PM Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney?
KaraKyrgyz Offline


Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 10
Loc: California, USA
I'm planning to head up Mt Williamson with a small group in September. None of us have done Williamson before, and while most have plenty of Class 3 hiking experience under their belts and are excited to try the chimney, I suspect a couple will want a belay.

Any suggestions about what to bring to set up an anchor from the top? Big slings? Static rope? Cams (if cams, any guidance on what sizes)? Both me and another person going climb regularly and are used to setting up top-rope anchors off of all sorts of things, but are hoping to narrow down the set of equipment we haul up. I haven't been able to find much online besides comments that people set up a rope sometimes, and it's hard to know what we'll need without having seen the area.


Edited by KaraKyrgyz (06/02/18 11:15 PM)

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#53315 - 06/03/18 01:47 PM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
There is more than one class 3 route on Williamson. Which one are you considering? Is it this one:
https://www.summitpost.org/west-face/156690
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRU1ir5pcWs

You say "belay from top". Top of the route or top of the peak???

You ought to be prepared for whatever you find, especially if you are not familiar with Mt. Williamson and have people with you who might want a belay, and might want to reppel off the peak.

If you decide to setup a belay using slings, beware of loose rocks.


Edited by Bob West (06/03/18 02:07 PM)

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#53319 - 06/03/18 09:37 PM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
Scott Barnes Offline


Registered: 03/27/17
Posts: 3
Loc: California
Not sure if it helps, as they're not the greatest pictures, but here are some photos from the top of the chute on the west face route.

It's probably apparent, but there are boulders everywhere, so some can likely be slung. Though as Bob noted, you'd definitely want to be aware of loose rock.

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#53322 - 06/04/18 06:49 AM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
KaraKyrgyz Offline


Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 10
Loc: California, USA
Thanks Bob and Scott! To clarify, yes, this is via the West Face, and the belay would only be for the chimney. The thought was that one of the more confident folks would climb the chute and set up an anchor at the top.


Edited by KaraKyrgyz (06/04/18 06:51 AM)

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#53326 - 06/04/18 12:47 PM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 349
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: Bob West
There is more than one class 3 route on Williamson. Which one are you considering?

Nearly everyone climbs Williamson by the West Face route. It is the only class 3 route in Secor that mentions a chimney. KaraKyrgyz specifically asked about the chimney at the top of this route. Can there be any doubt that KaraKyrgyz plans to climb the West Face?

Originally Posted By: Bob West
You say "belay from top". Top of the route or top of the peak???

I’ve been up that route six times, including once in a snowstorm in February. I never used a rope. I also never noticed your name in the register (or any other register in the Sierra, for that matter). It’s a tenth of a mile over huge talus blocks from the top of the chimney to the Williamson summit. Do you really think that KaraKyrgyz is stupid enough to lug four ropes up Williamson so he could tie them all together and belay someone up a short class 3 chimney from over a tenth of a mile away? (Imagine the time wasted, the rope drag, the rope stretch if someone fell, and the difficulty communicating!)

Originally Posted By: Bob West
…might want to reppel off the peak

Newbies say “repel”. Climbers use the word “rappel”. Two very different words.

Bob, many of your posts appear to be intended to make other people look stupid and/or impress us with your vast knowledge and experience with SAR. How often do you offer truly useful information in response to a question, rather than lecture about how we all need more experience and gear before we dare leave the safety of the parking lot?

Originally Posted By: KaraKyrgyz
Any suggestions about what to bring to set up an anchor from the top?


If I remember right, there are plenty of blocks at the top of the chimney that you could use. I would bring a long sling. You might bring a couple of nuts just in case. You definitely don’t want to lug a full rack that far when you won’t need it.

You are belaying people up and back down. You aren’t protecting a lead, so any skinny rope should be strong enough. I have 100’ of 7mm or 8mm static line that I use in situations like this.

If the last person down needs to rappel, rather than downclimb un-roped, you need a rappel ring or “throw away” carabineer and a longer rope.

I hope this helps.

Edit: typo


Edited by bobpickering (06/04/18 12:50 PM)

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#53328 - 06/04/18 02:28 PM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: bobpickering]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Please allow me to respond to your flame.

No, I have never entered my name into any summit registers of the Sierra peaks I've climbed (or any Scottish and European peaks I've climbed), since I don't need my ego boosted. I am not a peak bagger, and don't need the world to read about my "amazing" adventures, unlike you and a couple of others in this forum.

Any information I've tried to contribute has come from a life-time of climbing and hiking, as a former SAR member, and out of a desire to see people travel safely in our mountains. If that rubs you and some others the wrong way, all I can say is, suck it up, Princess.

By the way, nice work with your spell-checker. Would "abseil" been easier to understand?

Speaking of SAR teams, have you ever considered contributing your obvious wealth of knowledge and experience by becoming a SAR volunteer yourself, or would that be below you?


Edited by Bob West (06/04/18 02:45 PM)

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#53332 - 06/04/18 04:23 PM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
Encinitas_Guy Offline


Registered: 05/16/16
Posts: 16
Loc: Encinitas, CA
This route was was my first experience with Class 3 and I found I was totally comfortable without any sort of protection, even with several inches of fresh snow in the chimney. The holds are very large and the exposure is moderate. Given the extra weight a rope and gear would add to a pack and the distance you would have to carry it up, my recommendation would be to leave the rope in the trunk. From what I have seen elsewhere, guided trips may rope up for this, but it seems like that is just out of an abundance of caution for their paying customers.

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#53337 - 06/05/18 06:24 AM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: Encinitas_Guy]
KaraKyrgyz Offline


Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 10
Loc: California, USA
I'd prefer to go without the rope -- bringing it at the insistence of a couple of folks in the group who've seen photos of the chimney and are nervous (I'm still trying to talk them out of it, but we'll see). Considering making the folks who want it actually haul up the weight, though wink

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#53347 - 06/06/18 11:37 AM Re: Equipment for belay on Willamson chimney? [Re: KaraKyrgyz]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 349
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: KaraKyrgyz
I'd prefer to go without the rope -- bringing it at the insistence of a couple of folks in the group who've seen photos of the chimney and are nervous (I'm still trying to talk them out of it, but we'll see). Considering making the folks who want it actually haul up the weight, though wink

You have three months until your Williamson trip. That gives you plenty of time to practice rock climbing until you ALL feel comfortable leaving the rope behind. You can practice scrambling un-roped, you can top-rope outdoors, and you can climb at a local gym. If even one person is still unconfident, bring minimal gear for a belay. And don’t make one guy carry it all.

While you’re there, The North Rib on Tyndall is one of my favorites. I’ve always done Williamson first, but you could use Tyndall as practice/warmup for Williamson.

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