Forget Everything You Know About FROG

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Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby Amazingracer » Nov 26, 2012 5:11 pm



According to this YouTube video, we know absolutely nothing about the frog systems, and all of those harnesses with low attachment points are a waste. We should be climbing with the crolls in our faces.
</sarcasm>

Now while the video poster describes themselves as a "curvy girl", the issue being that top heavy people have some issues in using frog. That is a known fact. People in this situation will instead switch to Mitchell or Ropewalker where the chest roller will keep them upright. Or they get a nice chest harness to help out. Here you see that neither of these options were taken.

In the end of the video, when the poster is on the normal frog harness, notice her chest harness. It is a piece of elastic. It is actually a device called a PupsPal sold by OR1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that chest harness, and I know people who swear by it. But they are not top heavy people and are very efficient frog climbers, so a minimal chest harness works for them. Where as in this situation when she leans back, that the elastic chest harness is not the best way to go. A stronger chest harness like an MTDE or a PMI would help in this case.

A friend even commented on the video pointing out the folly of using an elastic chest harness and recommended reading Alpine Caving Techniques to get a better idea of a better chest harness, however their comment was quickly deleted from the video without rebuttal by the poster.

What is also interesting to note is that in the second half of the video, the frog system is setup inefficiently to begin with. The poster keeps referring to that gap of space between upper ascender and croll. That gap means the system is not efficient and something needs to be adjusted (looks like foot loop from the video). So with that fancy new harness, all that was done was to make an inefficient frog system more comfortable.

But to what degree? I could not imagine actually caving with something around my torso. Not to mention caving in a harness that big, I would rip that thing to shreds. But what about a rappel rack. It is now centered directly in my face and potentially over my head? That doesnt sound fun.

Now this is my opinion and Im not starting this thread to send a lynch mob out for the video poster either. I am posting this because thanks to the glorious internet people with little knowledge and training can now go on the web and make a video called Vertical Mythbusters that some people will take as fact and start following, when in fact, there is very little fact.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 26, 2012 5:37 pm

Ooof. There are so many problems here, I'm not sure where to start. I know John McRary is regarded as being pretty experienced, and I know Amy has been very enthusiastic about learning vertical caving, but this 'advice' is pretty far off base to say the least.

First, if you're tipping backward that badly, or you lack the abdominal strength to hold yourself upright on rope -- at one point she says "I actually have to use my stomach muscles to hold myself up" as if this is some horrible crime perpetuated against all vertical cavers -- the frog likely isn't the best system for you. A chest harness like a PMI "H" would help, a lot, but cavers as top-heavy as Amy is should probably be using a ropewalker or mitchell for max efficiency. In this instance, the seat harness is just performing the job of a chest roller, and not performing it nearly as well as a chest roller would.

Second, there have to be a dozen problems with her setup. The upper ascender attachment is way too long, putting it far away from her body, which would complicate a variety of on-rope maneuvers. Because of this, in order to achieve a full stroke with each step upward, the footloop is equally way too long. She's using her arms way too much on the upper ascender, including when demonstrating the Pangaea harness. Even if I were shaped like a potato and still insisted upon climbing with a Frog, I sure wouldn't have it set up like that.

Regardless, if you just want a super-comfy harness with a super-high attachment point, why not just wear a climbing harness? I mean, that's exactly what a rock climbing harness is, and I don't see hordes of cavers lined up claiming that climbing harnesses have made them more efficient froggers.
Last edited by Jeff Bartlett on Nov 26, 2012 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby caverdan » Nov 26, 2012 8:49 pm

I wonder if her next video will show how to do a change over or possible rebelay with such a high attachment point. :kewl:
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby mgmills » Nov 26, 2012 10:29 pm

caverdan wrote:I wonder if her next video will show how to do a change over or possible rebelay with such a high attachment point. :kewl:


Would love to see that change over video myself Dan.

Also I agree with Jeff that the footloops are way too long for efficiency. Good frog technique uses a large amount of leg and not so much arm.

I've seen the "Pup's pal" before but I thought it was to be used in addition to a regular chest harness as an additional aide. It doesn't look very efficient to me. I was fairly impressed with her ability to come back to a sitting position after doing those "back bends" on rope. I might use the "pup's pal" alone on a very short pitch of 20 feet or less.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 26, 2012 10:50 pm

I admit that it may be fun to find fault with Amy's video, but I'll leave that to you who know what you are talking about. She is at least partly right though. The
Amazingracer wrote:gap of space between upper ascender and croll.
may indicate inefficiency but it also proves that a low croll does not always equal a longer stroke. I think a lot of people think only about stroke length when they hear the word efficient, and not about conserving energy. For example, I'm currently using a handled ascender as my lower frog ascender. A croll would be nice, but it wouldn't make my stroke any longer. The legs limit the distance I can raise the upper ascender, and thus set the stroke length. So until my top ascender is set so high that I run out of arm before I run out of leg, it doesn't matter where the bottom one is.
Of course, increased fatigue and difficulty with other various maneuvers may make this truth irrelevant, but I think that Amy has noted something that a lot of people may not ever think about.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 26, 2012 11:50 pm

GroundquestMSA wrote:The legs limit the distance I can raise the upper ascender, and thus set the stroke length. So until my top ascender is set so high that I run out of arm before I run out of leg, it doesn't matter where the bottom one is.


I could make my upper ascender tether 3 feet longer, and my footloop 3 feet longer, and operate my upper ascender with one of these, and it wouldn't affect the length of my stroke. But that doesn't make it a good idea!
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby driggs » Nov 27, 2012 12:09 am

GroundquestMSA wrote:I think a lot of people think only about stroke length when they hear the word efficient, and not about conserving energy. For example, I'm currently using a handled ascender as my lower frog ascender. A croll would be nice, but it wouldn't make my stroke any longer. The legs limit the distance I can raise the upper ascender, and thus set the stroke length. So until my top ascender is set so high that I run out of arm before I run out of leg, it doesn't matter where the bottom one is.


A bigger inefficiency in this girls Frog setup -- even the "good" one that she's showing off -- is that she lifts her body up some distance with each step, and at the top of the stroke when her Croll bites the rope, her body slumps back down 20% of the distance she just climbed. This is precisely because (1) her Croll is extended up so ridiculously high, and (2) she isn't wearing a chest harness capable of holding her upper body, Croll, and rope in locked unison.

In a properly tuned Frog system, your entire body stops vertically at the top of your stroke; slumping down is inefficiency, lost climbing height, extra expended energy. In a properly tuned Frog, you could make the argument that twenty 2-foot strokes are roughly as much work at forty 1-foot strokes... in an inefficient, sloppy system like she's got, that is most certainly not the case (add 20% extra to every stroke).
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby Amazingracer » Nov 27, 2012 12:27 am

Ok, I'll bite.

GroundquestMSA wrote:but it also proves that a low croll does not always equal a longer stroke.


Not Exactly. In fact a low croll always equals a longer stroke. Unless I'm operating my upper ascender with the grabber Jeff posted.

GroundquestMSA wrote:A croll would be nice, but it wouldn't make my stroke any longer.


Yes it would. It would make it maybe a few inches longer. Which can add up after many strokes. The top of the croll would be lower than the top of the handled ascender, meaning you would hit your upper ascender later than you would with the handled ascender.


GroundquestMSA wrote:The legs limit the distance I can raise the upper ascender, and thus set the stroke length. So until my top ascender is set so high that I run out of arm before I run out of leg, it doesn't matter where the bottom one is.


And there in lies your problem. The legs dont limit the distance you can raise your upper ascender. If they are you have tied your foot loop wrong. Your arm is the limiting factor for how high you can raise your upper ascender. Then you adjust your footloop according for your legs, not the other way around as you point out. Which means yes it does matter where the lower ascender is. Once you max out your upper ascender, the lower croll gives you a longer stroke length. And thus properly tuned Frog system.

GroundquestMSA wrote:Of course, increased fatigue and difficulty with other various maneuvers may make this truth irrelevant, but I think that Amy has noted something that a lot of people may not ever think about.


Well of course with the inefficient systems both you and Amy exhibit you are likely to face increase fatigue. But guess she could be on to something no one ever things about, because no one ever thinks, hey i should have my croll at my face.

And despite teaching vertical caving on frog to over 150 people over the last five years and personally climbing 5.5 miles of rope (nearly all on frog), here is some proof that I am not full of poppycock: Vertical by Al Warild page 118

While I believe everyone is entitled to their own crazy systems in the vertical caving world. It is once again an issue when proven techniques have doubt cast on them because people want to run their frog system less efficiently than the rest of us. So if you want to have an ill-tuned frog system that is your right as a caver, but it has little standing when you tell all of us with properly tuned frog systems, that we are doing it wrong.
Last edited by Amazingracer on Nov 27, 2012 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby NZcaver » Nov 27, 2012 2:15 am

I'm not sure the video qualifies as a myth-buster, but she does introduce it by saying "we're testing out a theory..." :shrug:
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Nov 27, 2012 11:05 am

Wow, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Arm Chair Caver"...
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 27, 2012 11:22 am

I applaud them for sharing their ideas. Sharing ideas is how we all learn. Who knows, this video may spark a new idea that will benefit everyone.

But, when presenting new ideas, one must have thick skin, prepare for criticism and possibly accept failure.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby caverdan » Nov 27, 2012 11:35 am

UnderGroundEarth wrote:Wow, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Arm Chair Caver"...

:funny post:

When people post stuff like this on Utube.......They should realize it will be discussed and debated on the internet. :argue: Right or wrong....it is educational..... :kewl:

Mikie taught me that you should be prepaired ....and able... to go either direction ....when on rope. She should be able to do a change over to repel if her rig is tuned right for her. (IMO...high attach points and racks don't go good together.) It's hard to knock her rig if she can do change overs with it and it's comfortable and functional to her. What works for one....doesn't always work for all.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 27, 2012 12:25 pm

Amazingracer wrote:GroundquestMSA wrote:
A croll would be nice, but it wouldn't make my stroke any longer.

Yes it would. It would make it maybe a few inches longer.


No it wouldn't. :big grin:

Amazingracer wrote:GroundquestMSA wrote:
The legs limit the distance I can raise the upper ascender, and thus set the stroke length. So until my top ascender is set so high that I run out of arm before I run out of leg, it doesn't matter where the bottom one is.

And there in lies your problem. The legs dont limit the distance you can raise your upper ascender. If they are you have tied your foot loop wrong. Your arm is the limiting factor for how high you can raise your upper ascender. Then you adjust your footloop according for your legs, not the other way around as you point out. Which means yes it does matter where the lower ascender is. Once you max out your upper ascender, the lower croll gives you a longer stroke length. And thus properly tuned Frog system.


So you are saying that my arm should be fully extended on every stroke? I guess body type has a lot to do with it, but my arms are long, and they are NOT the limiting factor in my stroke. When I set up my system, I put on the lower ascender, and then put the upper ascender as low as possible without bumping it. Then I tie the footloop. Putting a croll in the place of a handled ascender, as pictured below, will allow me to put my upper ascender a little lower, but my legs will still limit the stroke. All I'm doing is moving the same stroke down a little.

Image

Perhaps you need longer arms Kyle, before you can understand what I'm saying.
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 27, 2012 12:51 pm

Amazingracer wrote:And despite teaching vertical caving on frog to over 150 people over the last five years and personally climbing 5.5 miles of rope (nearly all on frog), here is some proof that I am not full of poppycock: Vertical by Al Warild page 118


Despite teaching vertical caving to nobody over the last five years and personally climbing three pits and a tree on frog, I remain unfazed by your superiority. I don't think I saw what you wanted me to on page 118 of Vertical. I did notice this:
Image
This handsome explorer is demonstrating a proper squatting frog stroke. Notice that the legs and not the arms are what limit the stroke. If the caver were using a longer lower ascender, the arms would be a little higher, but the stroke would be the same:
Image
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Re: Forget Everything You Know About FROG

Postby GroundquestMSA » Nov 27, 2012 12:58 pm

Jeff Bartlett wrote:I could make my upper ascender tether 3 feet longer, and my footloop 3 feet longer, and operate my upper ascender with one of these, and it wouldn't affect the length of my stroke. But that doesn't make it a good idea!


Indeed. I actually tried that little setup a few times in the tree.
I realize that a very high attachment isn't a good idea, but more for the reasons Mr. Riggs mentions.
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