Does an MA system make hauling easier?


This might sound like a trick question. The first response might be, “Duh, of course it makes it easier, you can pull more load with less effort!”

Well, that's true, MA does multiply your pulling effort. But this increased lifting force comes at a cost of increased lifting distance. As the economists say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch!”

Example: Imagine you’re on a big wall climb with a 200 pound haul bag, and your climbing partner is a big burly rugby player who weighs 250 pounds. RubgyDude leads the first pitch, which is 100 feet and happens to be a little overhanging. (This is great for hauling, because it means no friction between the haulbag and the rock.) RugbyDude decides to rig a 1:1, because he knows he outweighs the haul bags and just wants to get the pain over with. Besides, it's only the first pitch and he’s still feeling pretty fresh.

The next pitch is yours. It also is 100 feet long and overhanging. You finish your lead and start thinking about your hauling set up. At this point, you have to ask yourself two questions: 1) Do I weigh less than the haul bags? and 2) How much pain do I want to suffer? If you weigh under 200 pounds, then obviously a 1:1 with just your bodyweight is not going to move the haul bags, and you’re going to have to use some kind of MA to get that bag up the cliff. If you happen to weigh a bit over 200 pounds, it might technically be possible to do a 1:1 haul, but you know you're going to be a wreck when it's over. You decide to rig a 2:1 haul.

When the bag reaches the anchor, you have moved the same amount of weight over the same distance as RugbyDude did on his pitch, you just pulled in 200 feet of rope to his 100 feet. In the end, the same amount of “work” was done, even though the 1:1 would've hammered you, and the 2:1 allows you to still feel pretty good when you have finished. HINT - This is why the 2:1 hauling system is popular on big walls when you have a serious load.

There’s not a correct answer here; it has to do with your own strength, bodyweight, and willingness to suffer.

Think of it this way. Would you rather lift 200 pounds once, or 100 pounds twice?

Or, as Sticky discovered above when she set up the 2:1, “Do you want to work hard or do you want to work smart?” Talk to RugbyDude in a couple of days and see how chipper he's feeling at the top of pitch 15; he might think that 2:1 haul is sounding pretty good!