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Lost control of belay of the second on Rewritten, 3-31-12
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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 2, 2012
El Chorro
Jeff Chrisler wrote:
Yea sure, just because I see no reason to setup a top belay off my harness means I a. have no experience in the mountains, b. you clearly have more experience, c. I love to be an armchair climber on the internet, and d. I can't belay anyone at all. No need to be a douche.


I'm not directing it all at you and I really don't think I'm being a douche. It was something that needed to be said - to a lot of people. Whether you are one of them or not I really don't know (we haven't met) and I really don't care.

I don't claim to have all of the answers or be better than anyone else, but just being able to say that puts me ahead of most of the gang.

In fact, I think I've said two or three times already that there are wiser men than me who have spoken in this very discussion and that we should listen to them. No one bothered to do that, so I got a little bit more direct.

Do what you want, feel how you want about what I've said. You still haven't convinced me that there are any good reasons why one type of belay is always better than the other.

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 2, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
johnL wrote:
What business of yours it it what I make my business?



LMAO.

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By Dave Swink
From Boulder, Co
Apr 2, 2012
Ryan Williams wrote:
I "shudder to think" that you are belaying anyone at all.


Ryan Williams wrote: I'm not directing it all at you and I really don't think I'm being a douche.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 2, 2012
El Chorro
Dave Swink wrote:
Ryan Williams wrote: I'm not directing it all at you and I really don't think I'm being a douche.


You finally decide to chime in on the conversation and that's all you have to offer?

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By Mike Nevko
From Currently Charlotte
Apr 2, 2012
Not to get even more off track, but I thought Rewritten was closed (Top pitches) due to rapture closures?

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By Jeff Chrisler
From Boulder, CO
Apr 2, 2012
It's true that belaying directly off your harness can reduce the force on the anchor. In most cases, I've been in a situation where I'm able to make an anchor that I am reasonably comfortably with and that I feel is strong enough to take a fall on TR for the second. In the few cases that I've been worried a bit, I just ensure that I am being uber attentive to keeping a tight belay, thus reducing the force on the anchor incase of a potential fall.

That being said, I can see a few reasons why belying off the anchor is a bit better and safer-
-if the second is injured, it's much easier and faster to escape the belay
-incase of a fall, it takes stress off of your body
-if you are simply belaying off your belay loop unless you can brace yourself, in most cases, a fall would put more force on the anchor because now you are a part of the falling system

Anyhow, no worries, just ticked it's Monday and I can't climb til tomorrow or Wed.

FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 2, 2012
El Chorro
Jeff Chrisler wrote:
It's true that belaying directly off your harness can reduce the force on the anchor. In most cases, I've been in a situation where I'm able to make an anchor that I am reasonably comfortably with and that I feel is strong enough to take a fall on TR for the second. In the few cases that I've been worried a bit, I just ensure that I am being uber attentive to keeping a tight belay, thus reducing the force on the anchor incase of a potential fall. That being said, I can see a few reasons why belying off the anchor is a bit better and safer- -if the second is injured, it's much easier and faster to escape the belay -incase of a fall, it takes stress off of your body -if you are simply belaying off your belay loop unless you can brace yourself, in most cases, a fall would put more force on the anchor because now you are a part of the falling system Anyhow, no worries, just ticked it's Monday and I can't climb til tomorrow or Wed.


It is definitely easier to escape the belay (and haul a second through a crux) if you are in AB mode. But I don't agree with the notion that you are part of the falling system (or putting more force on the anchor) when belaying off your harness.

The whole point of belaying off your harness is that YOU are the anchor. I don't do it if I don't have a reasonable place to sit. My ass takes 90 to 100% of the fall, and the pieces are just there as a back up. I catch heavier climbers this way all the time. It is the ONLY POSSIBLE WAY to belay when climbing on the Gritstone.

But the whole force on the anchor thing is a secondary discussion. I always choose the fastest and most effecient way to build the anchor. If there are two bolts or two bomber stopper/cam placements right in my face then I will probably use an AB. If there is a good ledge then I'm placing two pieces quickly, counting my ass as the third and going from there.

My whole point is that there is no "best way" and that I'm really really tired of reading on the internet that there is.

I'm also ticked that it's Monday. Sorry for the "shudder to belay" comment.

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By Dave Swink
From Boulder, Co
Apr 2, 2012
Ryan,

Sorry, I obviously was not clear by posting the two quotes from you. My participation in this post has been limited to trying to learn the pros/cons and the when/wheres to belay from the anchor or my harness. Frankly, although I have belayed with both techniques, my experience is not deep enough to have much to contribute after rgold and JLP have posted. The input from many of the posts, including yours, has been very enlightening.

I was quoting you to point out that you were taking Jeff's rhetorical expression about "shuddering" and returning it as a personal insult, and frankly that is just going to slow down a valuable thread. Your points about not applying hard & fast rules were excellent, but your post stands on its own without that kind of aggressive response.

Edit: OK, so my expansion of my post took way too long and Ryan pretty much fixed it. Please ignore me.

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By Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Apr 2, 2012
Stairway to Heaven
Mike N wrote:
I thought Rewritten was closed (Top pitches) due to rapture closures?


Rapture closures? Is that when people are making out at belay stances? Oh wait, I guess you meant raptor closures... that's just the area right of Naked Edge.

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By Gunkiemike
Apr 2, 2012
Rgold wrote - Don't forget a released autoblock can easily send the second for a big ride (we had a groundfall in the Gunks from that scenario

Mitch Musci wrote:
Can you elaborate on this specific issue?


In the incident Rich is referring to, the belayer released the ATC Guide incorrectly. Rather than pulling on the small hole, he hauled upwards on the blocking biner. This effectively took the belay device out of the action, leaving nothing but the blocking biner now acting as a pulley. Down went the second.

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By NickinCO
From colorado
Apr 2, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.
Martin le Roux wrote:
Rapture closures? Is that when people are making out at belay stances? Oh wait, I guess you meant raptor closures... that's just the area right of Naked Edge.


To further take this off-topic, I don't think the Rapture has anything to do with making out... unless that is your plan for when the world ends......

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 2, 2012
El Chorro
Dave Swink wrote:
Ryan, Sorry, I obviously was not clear by posting the two quotes from you. My participation in this post has been limited to trying to learn the pros/cons and the when/wheres to belay from the anchor or my harness. Frankly, although I have belayed with both techniques, my experience is not deep enough to have much to contribute after rgold and JLP have posted. The input from many of the posts, including yours, has been very enlightening. I was quoting you to point out that you were taking Jeff's rhetorical expression about "shuddering" and returning it as a personal insult, and frankly that is just going to slow down a valuable thread. Your points about not applying hard & fast rules were excellent, but your post stands on its own without that kind of aggressive response. Edit: OK, so my expansion of my post took way too long and Ryan pretty much fixed it. Please ignore me.


If you don't call me out, someone else will have to ;)

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 2, 2012
El Chorro
Gunkiemike wrote:
Rgold wrote - Don't forget a released autoblock can easily send the second for a big ride (we had a groundfall in the Gunks from that scenario In the incident Rich is referring to, the belayer released the ATC Guide incorrectly. Rather than pulling on the small hole, he hauled upwards on the blocking biner. This effectively took the belay device out of the action, leaving nothing but the blocking biner now acting as a pulley. Down went the second.


This is actually the best way to release the ATC Guide IF AND ONLY IF you've put a munter hitch on your belay loop. This allows lowering through the biner (now acting as a pully). This is how I was taught and it seems a lot easier than messing with the little hole and trying to control the rope w/o a munter.

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By Ed Wright
Apr 2, 2012
Magic Ed
I ALWAYS belay off my harness. And ALWAYS (almost) with a gri-gri.

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By Greg D
From Here
Apr 2, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
nick frazee wrote:
+1, It DOUBLES the force, in my opinion this in not "just another variable" but a MAJOR variable.


Ok. So TR loads get doubled.

Not quite because of friction at the redirect biner, at lead gear placements and rope on rock friction. 1.67 times is commonly used in calculations but it varies with rope, biner, angles, etc.

So,

Example: If your partner weighs 200 lbs and you keep the rope taut, that's only 334lbs. Of course a slack belay would result in a higher load. And, since people are so excited about auto blocks which allow you to pick your nose and not really pay attention (safer though?) more slack belays are common. So maybe the load might be 500lbs or lets get crazy... 700lbs. Oh shit. Is your anchor not able to handle this load? In that case you may want to put yourself between the anchor and the follower to protect the anchor (known as ABC: anchor, belay, climber). But wait. Many people think this is bad! In this case you must use the TTGBTSC (time to go back to sport climbing). Just a little sarcasm to help make a point. Don't get your panties in a bunch!

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By Copperhead
Apr 3, 2012
Ryan Williams wrote:
I really don't think I'm being a douche.

Who ever does?

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By Joe Huggins
From Grand Junction
Apr 3, 2012
mmmm....tree
Copperhead wrote:
Who ever does?

Well, sometimes I do. But only if I think the other guy is a douche, and needs a rhetorical bitch slap. Salves my conscience AND lets off steam...

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By bearbreeder
Apr 3, 2012
im a gumbay ... but rgold certainly aint and neither is this guy whos belaying with a gri gri off his harness ....

id love to see some MPer try to tell Mr. Croft how he should belay ;)


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By Mitch Musci
Apr 3, 2012
One situation that hasn't been discussed yet regarding belaying off your harness vs belaying off the anchor is...the next pitch! I will typically spend the extra time it takes to equalize 3 pieces and belay off the anchor, so that when it's time for the following pitch, I feel good (err, as good as one can feel) about potentially catching a factor 2 fall on that same anchor.

Actually I find it a bit worrisome how many people are stressing that bomber belay anchors can't always be found. Right we get it, there are those times when shit is hitting the fan or you're on some obscure adventure climb or whatever...and even your belay anchor is questionable. Seriously though, if you are not finding bombproof belay anchors you should really be taking a second or third look at all of your options.


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By Bruce Hildenbrand
Apr 3, 2012
Been climbing for 40 years and belay through my harness about 99.99% of the time. Bottom line, you are either a good belayer or your aren't. Don't climb with people who aren't good belayers.

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By € $t0& 960 €®
From Colorado
Apr 3, 2012
s
Bruce Hildenbrand wrote:
Been climbing for 40 years and belay through my harness about 99.99% of the time. Bottom line, you are either a good belayer or your aren't. Don't climb with people who aren't good belayers.

I just don't fall. That falling thing is overrated

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By Jeremy Kasmann
From Denver, CO
Apr 3, 2012
johnL wrote:
2. It was another mysteriously out of control Cinch accident. These devices work great until they don't. Unlike a gri, if something causes them not to rotate into locking position, there isn't enough friction to stop a fall with your brake hand, even with gloves. You are completely reliant on the Cinch rotating and catching.


Is it common for people to top belay off the harness with a Cinch? It seems sketchy for the reason you mentioned, way too easy for the rotation to get blocked by a leg or other obstacle (especially if the belayer is sitting).

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By jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 3, 2012
The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater Cliffs in Adirondack Park NY.
Mitch Musci wrote:
Seriously though, if you are not finding bombproof belay anchors you should really be taking a second or third look at all of your options.


Exactly, if you’re on established routes there is no reason you should have trouble finding good places to build anchors. Hell, most guidebooks tell you the best belay spots and what rack to bring.

Also, the notion that being experienced, aged, or famous is the best way to prevent an accident is the kind of overconfidence that breeds mistakes. Gravity acts the same on everyone and constant vigilance and practice are more important than just climbing for a while. I'd imagine the people referenced in this thread didn't live this long by climbing like know it alls.

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By Charles Vernon
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 3, 2012
Mitch Musci wrote:
One situation that hasn't been discussed yet regarding belaying off your harness vs belaying off the anchor is...the next pitch! I will typically spend the extra time it takes to equalize 3 pieces and belay off the anchor, so that when it's time for the following pitch, I feel good (err, as good as one can feel) about potentially catching a factor 2 fall on that same anchor. Actually I find it a bit worrisome how many people are stressing that bomber belay anchors can't always be found. Right we get it, there are those times when shit is hitting the fan or you're on some obscure adventure climb or whatever...and even your belay anchor is questionable. Seriously though, if you are not finding bombproof belay anchors you should really be taking a second or third look at all of your options.


I do a lot of obscure adventure climbs and that's certainly one of the times when such belays are encountered. But there are others:

  • you're climbing in the mountains on well-established, fairly moderate routes and using a light rack (e.g., the Wind Rivers). You will often build a minimal anchor and give a harness/body belay--good anchors can be found but your may not have the necessary gear and your goal is to move fast.

  • you're on a well-established route but the belay is, in reality, not all that great. It's fine, adequate enough, but you belay off your harness for that extra little measure of security--your body is the first line of defense. I feel that a lot of Eldo routes (rotten ledge system belays) fall into this sneaky category.

  • you're on a difficult route that has a few very easy pitches up top (say 5.4 on a 5.11 route or something). The sun is going down and you need to move fast, so you use a body belay rather than setting up a bomber 3-piece anchor at the top of these pitches.

Other situations where I commonly find myself belaying off the harness:

  • the anchors are bomber as can be but annoyingly far from a good stance or good place to sit. In these situations a harness belay is often a sensible option, if you can sit and brace yourself.

  • the anchor is bomber but for whatever reason has no convenient master-point, you prefer not to redirect through a single piece, and there's a good stance.

  • the anchor is bomber but you prefer to sit and watch/coach your partner, whom you expect to struggle.

I will also add that I am heavier than almost everyone I climb with, which makes the harness belay a bit easier for me. I've caught many, many falls in this configuration with, at the worst, a slight amount of discomfort.


As to the previous post, the know-it-alls I have seen on this thread are the ones who say things like "I would never belay off my harness" and "I shudder to think that anyone would do that" and then take offense when someone else takes that as a sign of inexperience. I don't think pointing out that there are most definitely situations where a harness belay is a valid option or the preferable option makes one a know-it-all.

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By bearbreeder
Apr 3, 2012
Mitch Musci wrote:
One situation that hasn't been discussed yet regarding belaying off your harness vs belaying off the anchor is...the next pitch! I will typically spend the extra time it takes to equalize 3 pieces and belay off the anchor, so that when it's time for the following pitch, I feel good (err, as good as one can feel) about potentially catching a factor 2 fall on that same anchor. Actually I find it a bit worrisome how many people are stressing that bomber belay anchors can't always be found. Right we get it, there are those times when shit is hitting the fan or you're on some obscure adventure climb or whatever...and even your belay anchor is questionable. Seriously though, if you are not finding bombproof belay anchors you should really be taking a second or third look at all of your options.



top of one of the most popular multipitches in the canadian rockies ... the anchor i have is total limestone chossy shiet ... the stances werent the best either lotta loose rock to kick over, but better than nothing ... and before MPers start freaking out i turned for the photo ;)

do enough multi and youll come across tons of situations like this .... and im talking 10+ pitches multi/alpine


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