I believe in gentle instruction, and this video clip remains an important inspiration for me, up there with Rocky and The Great Shark Hunt. Rather than tell
people/students/pets what they should do to arrive at answers, I, like Gunney in the video, prefer to lead students along, presenting them with real-life
scenarios that are relative to the particular question or situation at hand. It's a soft sell, but effective.
This teaching process is relevant this week because Rock and Ice’s annual Photo Camp is underway. I’m sure you have heard of the photo camp, so
I won’t explain it again in this column.
Prepping for the photo camp takes days of technical rope work, and as I strung ropes for the photo students, a curious question sprung to mind. I will
share that with you now, and pay attention, because there is a reward.
One of you lucky climbers with the correct answer will be randomly selected by me to receive a prize also determined by me. Because I don’t believe in
“one prize fits all,” I will ask the winner a few questions. The answers will guarantee that the FREE PRIZE will actually be useful instead of a pair
of XL knee socks or a sack of tasteless yet gluten-free chips.
You have an 80-meter rope.
You want to climb as high as possible on that rope, and lower only twice. You will climb to a high anchor, then lower to a second (lower) anchor where
you will clip in and pull the rope through the top anchor, and then have your belayer lower you again. How far off the ground should the highest anchor
be, and how far off the ground should the lower anchor be?
For simplicity, assume that the lead rope runs perfectly straight, and do not account for the bit of rope your tie-in knot would use up. In other words,
do your calculations as if the entire 80-meter length was available.
Note that I said “lower,” not “rappel.” You will be lowered twice by your belayer. You want to climb as high as you can on the 80-meter rope.
Now, crack open the books and get me the proper answer!