Sky Hooks (Aid Hooks)
Why (What it does):
Sky hooks frees the hands during rigging and de-rigging pitches.
They assist with Bolt/Aid Climbs (there true home), and bolting on lead, providing holds or temporary rests. They can also be used as part of an anchor system, or for fishing out your keys etc from small cracks. They can be linked to Cow’s tails, etriers, or directly to your master attachment point on your harness. The rock sometimes is not strong enough to withstand the pressure placed on it by the hooks causing the rock to break under the pressure placed on it, before a hook “pops”.
A larger hook radius is usually best (see underlined recommendations), however for special projects you will need to match the hook to the task (radius, width of the point etc). Also file the hook point down so it could fit into a drill hole to assist with bolt climbing.
If possible/practical, keep them inside a pouch (or tackle sack) to avoid having them snag on everything. Another way in which to secure it so it does not snag on everything while you keep it on your harness, uses a snoopy loop cut from a bicycle inner tube (see photos).
In North America, it is quite easy to purchase Black Diamond Hooks (MEC, Valhalla etc), or the Cassin Captain Hook (MEC, etc). Petzl’s Skyhooks are easiest to be purchased online out of the US.
Goutte D’eau 46g Wide radius, any hole or surface feature
Reglette 38g Small flakes and edges
Black Diamond (needs to be slung)
Cliffhanger 42g Bipod base prevents rotation
Grappling Hook 67g Bipod Base, larger clearance than the Cliffhanger do to being slightly over sized.
Talon 48g Extra broad base-stability, each blade (3) has a different dimension, offering various size placements (edges and holes from 4.8mm to 13mm)
Cassin (fits in a ¼” drill hole, needs to be slung)
Captain Hook (L) 51g Bipod base prevents rotation
Captain Hook (M) 31g Bipod base prevents rotation
Captain Hook (S) 21g Bipod base prevents rotation