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The Joys and Perils of High Stemming

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bootboy, May 17, 2016.

  1. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    On a recent 3 week canyon bender, during which we explored several new canyons, we found quite a bit of high-stemming. This was to be expected given the rough neighborhood we were in but we still found ourselves getting a little more than we had bargained for. Mostly R rated type stuff but we certainly flirted with a little X as well. I took photos and a video clip or two of some of the joys and perils encountered in this fringe of the sport. I'll add photos as I sort through my collection of nearly 700 pictures from 3 back to back to back trips.

    I'll start with this gem
    We had been working this section of canyon for about an hour. Dirty, vertical walls with occasional silos, most of which had to be downclimbed and reclimbed on the opposite side to pass. Our packs were big and heavy because we had hours of canyon ahead of us and we knew not what lay ahead. (exploration comes at a cost and you have to be prepared which usually means a heavier than average pack). It took us nearly 2 hours to go about 150 yards. I don't know how far down the bottom was but I'd guess somewhere between 25' and 35' at this spot. you can see how much rock had already pealed off. A section nearly 8'x8' would bounce and swing as you pushed on it. Only a small piece of what was hanging can be seen broken of in this clip. the piece that breaks off hits a small ledge about 10 feet down where it explodes and showers down another 20' to the bottom.
  2. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    A few pics to get your heart racing.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
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  3. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    That's a BIG pack for stemming! :eek:
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  4. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  5. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Wow. And pictures never do this stuff the proper justice. These come close!
  6. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Yes. Having only experienced a bit of the bender, I can tell you that the usual marginal rappel anchors were far less scary than the silos. Amazingly strenuous too. I think I'll do 10,000 push-ups before my next canyon trip.
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  7. John Diener

    John Diener

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    Exploration + big packs + high stemming == nightmare IMHO. It's the combo that makes a rim team or high level of scouting (either can allow pack size to be minimized) really, really, really nice, but then I'm an old scaredy cat.

    On a related note, I recently experienced a stemming technique I hadn't tried before. I like to keep my pack on my back if it all possible, rarely resorting to a bunny strap, and when I do, my strap is typically less than 6-8 ft in length. But Mike M showed me the art of the super-long bunny strap, which can work well when a canyon pinches down a reasonable distance below the ideal stemming level. It allows the pack to actually rest, pinched, in the canyon below, allowing travel from one good position to the next without the burden of extra weight. Once in the new position, lift the pack via the long strap, and swing it ahead to another resting spot below. With a bit of care in the pack placement, it works surprisingly well, even across silo-type features if they aren't too long. However, I think it only works well in slots that are primarily v-shaped.

    -john
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  8. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Agreed John.

    An axtra long tether can allow you to pick the pack up and swing it past obstacles below you. The pack is then resting on the other side of the obstacle allowing you to negotiate the obstacle unencumbered by your pack. I like being able to make several moves at a time between swings of the pack. Granted, the canyon has to be the right shape for this to work.

    I also find it useful for when you have to cross a silo low and climb up the other side. Usually, its the first move or first couple feet of such a climb that is the most difficult. A long pack leash/tether allows you to make those hard moves without the weight of your pack. Once you're in a better position. you can then raise your pack, shorten your tether, and continue down canyon.

    -boot
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
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  9. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  10. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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  11. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Yep. Up for the airy X, down for the R struggle
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  12. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    If I had known how much more was ahead, I might have saved energy and done the X moves instead.
  13. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    More pics[​IMG][​IMG]
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  14. Ram

    Ram

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  15. Krampus

    Krampus

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    Horry Shet! I just peed a little in my pants reading this thread.
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  16. Ram

    Ram

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    Daughter Amy 7 + years ago at age 14 in Psycho D.
    [​IMG]

    Relief is being past the silo
    [​IMG]

    Glaucoma....looking down canyon
    [​IMG]

    Come on over (down), guys
    [​IMG]

    Pretty...pretty scary too
    [​IMG]
  17. Ram

    Ram

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    DDI 2005- Roy and Larry
    [​IMG]

    Kiki and BuckaROOOOOOO
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    Sandthrax 2007 Tom Jones and Wade Christenson
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Aaron in flight
    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
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  18. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    I'm still trying to decide if I have the desire (not to mention the ability) to do the really hard stemming canyons but I think I'd like to do some more.
  19. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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  20. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    Nice photos

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
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