Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

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Big T
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Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:59 pm

I'm planning on soloing Uncle Ben's in the near future and am wondering about Merci Me. I'll have to climb this route to get to the 1st pitch of Uncle Ben's (10c traverse, I'm planning to aid it). Has any one rope soloed Merci Me? I'm a decent free climber but mostly aid climb solo these days. The long runouts have me a little freaked. I'll be using a silent partner which has a certain amount of clusterf#*k associated with it. I guess what I'd like to know is the climbing straightforward with positive holds? Are there any really sketchy moves? I'm not looking for move by move beta as I want to preserve the adventure of the climb, but I would like some more info about it.

Thanks

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gnarnaphobe
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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by gnarnaphobe » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:54 pm

Hey Mr BigT, MErcy me is definately solo-able a silent partner, and it is equipped with anchors at the bottom. The climbing is relatively straight forward and easy but the run outs keep it exciting!(especially solo)

But those pitches will probably some of the easier pitches to solo as there as a few traverse pitches that with definitely require more thought to get yourself and all your sh*t across.

No sure how many days you're planning on spending on the wall but the first crux of the route (especially solo) is getting your gear to the base.

You can Either hump it all up the escape flake with a few mini hauls or a couple smaller loads. Or you can do a 60m haul up to a set of anchors directly below the anchors at the end of the first traverse pitch.(from about 80 meters left of the bottom of apron strings)

Have fun up there
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Big T
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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:25 pm

Thanks Gnaraphobe. Yeah, I'm planning on being pretty puckered on Merci Me. Good to know its doable.

I definitely know about the approach as being one of the cruxes. I did the UWall earlier this year and got pretty worked humping all my stuff up there. This time I'll have my wife and a buddy help carry all the crap up there. I'll be hauling from the anchors after the first traverse for sure. I'm planning on 3 nights once I get on Uncle Ben's. I'm not out to set any speed records, just to have fun and scare myself a little! I'm using these walls as training for some bigger things in the future, so I welcome the challenge of traverses, heavy loads, and such.
Have you done the route? What did you think?

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by gnarnaphobe » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:03 pm

I have done the route, I thought it was amazing, quality pitches, exposed, the whole nine yards.

I wasnt out to set an speed records either, in total the route took 6 days of effort to reach bellygood.

I put together a blog post with lots of pics if you care to check it out is @ http://thekidcormier.blogspot.ca/2012/0 ... -bens.html
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Big T
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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:51 pm

Nice report! I'm pretty stoked to get on that route! Is there much mandatory free climbing? Or can you aid through it all. I'm way more comfortable aiding than freeing when soloing. Thanks again, great pics!

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Dru » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:09 am

If you have a wife and buddy to help carry loads, get one of them to give you a belay. Free climb the first two pitches and fix. Takes about 15 minutes since there's very little pro fiddling to slow you down. A couple clips and you're done. Then you can haul, jug and solo-aid the aid parts at your leisure.

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:43 am

Yeah, that's the simplest plan. However, neither of them are climbers. Dragging my wife up Merci Me would pretty much guarantee me a divorce! I would be up for the idea of doing Merci Me with a partner. Anyone interested? Beers on me!

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by NateDoggOG » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:28 am

Merci Me is technically two pitches, but you can do it as one single rope stretching pitch with a 70. Saves her having to actually climb it, and she can just give you a belay assuming she's alright with that. Of course, she would still have to get across and back down the Flake Escape.
Merci Me still would be no problem to solo, if you can't find a partner. It might be runout, but the edges are super positive, so as long as you can climb 5.8-9 confidentially, you would find it a breeze.

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:07 pm

Thanks for all of the ideas! It's good to know about linking the pitches. My ropes are 60m and still have a lot of life in them, so I can't really justify new ones. I'll probably just solo it unless I can find a partner.

Does anyone know about any mandatory free on Uncle Bens? My guidebooks aren't really clear about that. 5.8ish is really going to be my free climbing ceiling while soloing. I'd want to be able to aid anything harder.

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by gnarnaphobe » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:44 pm

Definitely some mandatory 5.10 climbing on the second last pitch, as well as easier mandatory free climbing at the end of the blacksickle pitch. :!:
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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by nicke » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:37 pm

My recollection is that while it's certainly convenient to step out of the aiders here and there on the last few pitches, there's nothing approaching mandatory 5.10. I'd imagine that if you make it through Merci Me, you'll be fine with the mandatory free climbing above. That said, Merci Me could be a bit of a shock if you haven't climbed it before and 5.8 is the upper limit of what you're willing to rope solo. It certainly wouldn't be a great place to work out the kinks in your self-belayed free climbing system.

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by gnarnaphobe » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:33 pm

You sand baggin son of a b%$ch
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Big T
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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Big T » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:23 am

Don't sandbag me!!!!

Planning on humping loads Sunday afternoon,
the 9th. Anyone want do Merci Me Sunday late afternoon or early Monday morning?

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Fish Boy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:05 pm

I've rope soloed mm with a silent partner in the rain, it's fine, just have some hooks handy for the second pitch.

Have fun!

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Re: Soloing Uncle Ben's with Merci Me to start

Post by Fish Boy » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:07 pm

I'll probably give you a hand if you want, just let me know.

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