Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
Rappelling/Lowering with an Auto Block questions.
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 19, 2011
I have never used a stopper knot (I like the fireman belay which also insures my rope is on the ground) but there are some aspects of it I like that only apply outside of what I normally see people doing. Firstly, if you extend your belay device via a girth hitched sling through your leg and waist loop then use a stopper knot connected via a carabiner through your belay loop you would be protected in the event a belay loop failed (I know, very unlikely). Have any of you done it this way? Normally I see no extension and the stopper attached to the leg.

Second, I have been doing a lot of easy climbing with a new climber, I normally rap but getting lowered is easier, have any of you used a stopper knot while being lowered, say by a belayer that has never lowered anybody before?

FLAG
By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Aug 19, 2011
Gunking
Adam Block wrote:
I have never used a stopper knot (I like the fireman belay which also insures my rope is on the ground) but there are some aspects of it I like that only apply outside of what I normally see people doing. Firstly, if you extend your belay device via a girth hitched sling through your leg and waist loop then use a stopper knot connected via a carabiner through your belay loop you would be protected in the event a belay loop failed (I know, very unlikely). Have any of you done it this way? Normally I see no extension and the stopper attached to the leg. Second, I have been doing a lot of easy climbing with a new climber, I normally rap but getting lowered is easier, have any of you used a stopper knot while being lowered, say by a belayer that has never lowered anybody before?


I have no idea what you are talking about with the first thing, but I doubt anyone does that. Your belay loop is not going to break. A stopper knot for lowering would be a massive pain to get out of the belay device if it got stuck in the belay device. You are better off making sure your belayer knows how to lower.

FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Aug 19, 2011
When you are being lowered by a new belayer, you can put a prusik from your harness to the belayer's side of the rope to prevent being dropped. I think it would be somewhat of a pain, but not as painful as decking. I've never done this, but I've heard of it, and it makes sense.

Yeah, don't worry about your belay loop breaking. If you are concerned about the condition of the harness, get a new one.

FLAG
By cdec
From SLC and Moab, ut
Aug 19, 2011
If you are worried about your belayer dropping you rather than using a prusik on the belay side of the rope simply counter balance lower your self.
Clip into the anchor, put your belay device on the belay strand, have your belayer take the rope out of his device, unclip and lower yourself.

FLAG
By Bill C.
From Fort Collins, CO
Aug 19, 2011
I think when you are saying stopper knot you really mean to say prussik or klemheist or some other kind of friction hitch. I think most would agree that in a recreational setting this kind of a addition would certainly never hurt, however most people use them as a kind of back up for the rappeler, and not necessarily a backup for the harness.

Im sure there are many people on this site who can give a lot of good information about these kinds of setups.

FLAG
By Rick Blair
From Denver
Aug 19, 2011
This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I think it works quite well, depending on rope thickness and sheath quality, it belays very smooth.  Great to lower with.  You gotta love over engineering.  $3 at a gear swap!
It sounds like you are using the term stopper knot for auto block. The necessary wraps for an autoblock to work as a "backup hand" is not the same that would necessarily stop you from sliding down the rope. Additionally, if your attachment to the rappel failed for some reason, your leg loop would flip you up side down probably slapping your head into the rock.

So.... no.... an autoblock does not backup your harness, only your hand.

FLAG
By Ben Beard
From Superior, AZ
Aug 19, 2011
roo, my only son, the stare that takes down a herd of 'stock
You can use the petzl shunt to sort of back up your rappel as well. Good for cleaning and long rappels.

FLAG
By Nehemiah
Aug 19, 2011
5
I'm confused. You trust this person to belay you properly but not enough to lower you...
Simplest solution would be get a new belayer.

FLAG
 
By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2011
Rewritten
As other people have pointed out, you clearly mean some form of autoblock rather than "stopper knot."

Adam Block wrote:
First, if you extend your belay device via a girth hitched sling through your leg and waist loop then use a stopper knot connected via a carabiner through your belay loop you would be protected in the event a belay loop failed (I know, very unlikely).



Yes, by extending your belay device via a girth hitch through both loops you eliminate the dependence on the belay loop. However, you now have a single sling, which is weaker than your belay loop as a point of failure.

I do sometimes extend my belay device, but not for the reasons you state. When I do, I use two slings. The two main reasons I see for extending it is so that there is no chance for your auto block to get pulled into the device, and so that you can comfortably keep both hands on the rope below the device. I have never done this sport climbing, but on two rope hanging raps when the rope might get tangled or something, I do do it for safety. I also use a kleimheist and attach it to my belay loop, which is more secure than an autoblock. (attaching it to your belay loop also eliminates the possibility of the biner interfering with any speed buckle on the leg loop, as was discussed in the crazy failing speed buckles thread).

Adam Block wrote:
Second, I have been doing a lot of easy climbing with a new climber, I normally rap but getting lowered is easier, have any of you used a stopper knot while being lowered, say by a belayer that has never lowered anybody before?


I agree with others that if you don't trust your belayer to lower, you probably don't trust them to belay. It sounds like you are a single pitch sport climber (guess from your preference of firemans and lack of knowledge of terms). In that case, I would only climb with a belayer that I did not trust if I were willing to solo the pitch and then I would rap the route.

FLAG
By rob bauer
From Golden, CO
Aug 20, 2011
If you're concerned about being lowered, simply belay the the top and both rappel the route, assuming it's less that half rope. If lowering, it's always smart to hang onto the free side of the rope to prove to yourself that you're on "lower" at your own speed until you are certain that your belayer has the situation under control. This used to bug me, but the first rule of climbing, in my estimation, is to make sure that YOU are safe.

FLAG
By Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 20, 2011
Julius Beres wrote:
As other people have pointed out, you clearly mean some form of autoblock rather than "stopper knot." Yes, by extending your belay device via a girth hitch through both loops you eliminate the dependence on the belay loop. However, you now have a single sling, which is weaker than your belay loop as a point of failure. I do sometimes extend my belay device, but not for the reasons you state. When I do, I use two slings. The two main reasons I see for extending it is so that there is no chance for your auto block to get pulled into the device, and so that you can comfortably keep both hands on the rope below the device. I have never done this sport climbing, but on two rope hanging raps when the rope might get tangled or something, I do do it for safety. I also use a kleimheist and attach it to my belay loop, which is more secure than an autoblock. (attaching it to your belay loop also eliminates the possibility of the biner interfering with any speed buckle on the leg loop, as was discussed in the crazy failing speed buckles thread). I agree with others that if you don't trust your belayer to lower, you probably don't trust them to belay. It sounds like you are a single pitch sport climber (guess from your preference of firemans and lack of knowledge of terms). In that case, I would only climb with a belayer that I did not trust if I were willing to solo the pitch and then I would rap the route.


Thanks for such a great response (thank you all for that matter). Yes, I wrote this before I went to bed so I was slightly too tired to be typing, I did mean auto-block not stopper knot.

Ummmm, to address all else and derail this threat. I have been climbing for a long time and have a fair amount of knowledge, I have however resigned to the fact that my fear of heights isn't going to go away no matter how much climbing/highlining I do or how many times I read Rock Warriors Way. I had a slight laugh after reading about the speed buckles failing, in part because I totally pictured how it could happen as I thought "oh shit, something else to worry about"! That was eased as I remembered I always tie off the excess so that can't happen. So, when I'm climbing, I have a hard time addressing the fear issue, I know the shear on a 3/8" bolt, I know the "E" stamped on it means it's 3" or better, I know the granite is 5000 psi, I know I know I know but I still freak.

My questions were more so on the principles not the motivations or reasons for doing those things. My belayer is awesome (and beautiful), the first time she belayed in her life was me on lead (more a case of trusting my climbing than her belaying) and she has since gotten very good at belaying, my question would apply to a bad belayer or a knocked out belayer equally.

The belay loop I know isn't going to break, neither will the 6mm cord I have it backed up with. Again, I was asking in principle nothing else. I mean, if you're going to do something and have two options, one of them backing something up and the other providing no backup, why choose the latter. As an example, after cleaning when I'm ready to rap I will often times clip one anchor to my gear loop and the other to my rap biner, there is no good reason for doing so but I have to clip it to something so why not someplace it would do some good if the belay loop did break (again, I know, not going to happen, even with it 90% cut it'll still support 3kn).

What can I say, I'm neurotic /:

FLAG
By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Aug 20, 2011
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
You're clipping one anchor to your gear loop??

Even if you have a harness with a high strength gear loop, this is not a good idea. Your belay loop is not going to break. It won't. Has there ever been an accident that was the result of a belay loop breaking? (I don't know, but I doubt it's happened much, especially during a non-dynamic situation like rappelling) This is not Cliffhanger where buckles explode on tyrols. If you are concerned about this... I don't know... stick to bouldering?

At a certain point, all your overthinking and doing things differently at different times and adding variables into the system introduces the danger of human error, which is much more likely than a belay loop breaking.

My two cents.

Also, it would seem the lion's share of the load is probably on the anchor that is clipped to the belay loop with the other anchor slack. I'm just guessing, but if that's the case you are stressing the one anchor a lot more than if you have a nice equalized system.

FLAG
By Peter Rakowitz
From Portland, OR
Aug 20, 2011
Karl and me hanging out under the bolt ladder.
Rob Gordon wrote:
Your belay loop is not going to break. It won't. Has there ever been an accident that was the result of a belay loop breaking?


Yes

FLAG
By Mike Howard
Administrator
Aug 20, 2011
RGG silhouette
"Todd Skinner completed a new route up the face of Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park on October 23, 2006. While rappelling down, he fell 500 feet and died. The cause of death was the failure of the belay loop of his climbing harness. [2] Jim Hewett, a friend of Skinner, had previously observed that the harness appeared worn.[3]" source Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Ski....

I'll bet Adam didn't mean he "Anchors to my Gear Loop" but he stores the girthed sling he uses as his personal anchor on his gear loop (edit for clarity)

FLAG
By cdec
From SLC and Moab, ut
Aug 20, 2011
Rob walked right into that one.

FLAG
By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Aug 20, 2011
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...
"Hewitt later told investigators that Skinner was aware that the belay loop on his harness was in a weakened condition prior to the climb, and that they had talked about its poor condition three days earlier." And he had ordered new harnesses that had not arrived.

I'm pretty sure the OP isn't climbing on a harness in that condition.

FLAG
 
By Copperhead
Aug 20, 2011
Mike Howard wrote:
"Todd Skinner completed a new route up the face of Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park on October 23, 2006. While rappelling down, he fell 500 feet and died. The cause of death was the failure of the belay loop of his climbing harness. [2] Jim Hewett, a friend of Skinner, had previously observed that the harness appeared worn.[3]" source Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Todd_Ski.... I'll bet Adam didn't mean to write "Gear Loop"

Adam specifically said clip it to someplace it will do some good if the belay loop breaks.

He either meant gear Loop or he has his rap biner attached to something other than the belay loop. And he backs up the belay loop with 6mm cord? I'd guess he has the rap biner through the waist and leg loops. Aren't you worried about cross loading the biner? Don't tell me you use two biners? Maybe a steel locker rated at 50kn?

I'd be more worried that your neurosis will make you do something silly and dangerous than gear failure.

FLAG
By Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 20, 2011
Oh lord, I love Mountain Project topics, there is no telling what direction they're going to go. So let's assume this when it comes to me, I have been climbing for 5 plus years, I have read Anchors and fully understand it, I have no troubles building my own anchors, I am well versed in climbing and how to safely get myself about. If sport climbing I'm on a brand new Arc'terxy S240 harness (even has a wear indicator on the belay loop) and I use one of two ropes, either an Eldrid 9.8 Eagle or a Bluewater 10.5 Accelerator (both bought new by me in the last year). I know the desire to be helpful and make sure people are being safe and thank you all for the concern. I am just very interested in alternative options, outside the box ways of doing things (eg in an emergency) and so on so that's where I'm coming from with this topic.

Adam Block wrote:
after cleaning when I'm ready to rap I will often times clip one anchor to my gear loop and the other to my rap biner.


I anchor in with two slings girth hitched though my leg and waist loop, like I say in the quote, after I clean and I'm ready to disconnect my slings/biners (anchors) I will attach the first one to my rap biner and the other to the gear loop like normal. I know what a gear loop is rated at, I don't even attach my rope to it (as many do) when I clean. I have heard people say "on direct", "on daisy" and so on for being anchored in, me saying "anchors" may be where the confusion came from. I also call a dyno a gusto (inside joke that stuck) and my girlfriend has decided to just yell "pull" instead of "take" which after my initial confusion is just something I smile at.

I used to be an organizer for the local meetup group and would take new people out climbing A LOT! I really enjoy exposing people to the hobby as well as a nice relaxing day of mild climbing. There have been a few times I have climbed a 5.6 or so with a totally green, never belayed before person that was using a grigri. In those cases I haven't trusted them to lower me so I would rap instead. I was simply asking if anybody has every been in a spot like that and used an auto-block on the rope going to the belayer to both give the person lowering experience and keep themselves safe.

Same with anchoring in, there are many ways it could be done, I am not trying to overcomplicate the process, simply trying to avoid girth hitching anything to my belay loop (one of the things they think may have been an issue with Skinner), getting my auto-block stuck in my ATC, cross-loading a biner (I often tell people "the belay loop is for hard things and the waist/leg loops are for soft things" and so on. What I mention above seems to do this as well as give you a backup to your belay loop.

Sorry for my lack of being clear and my absentminded typos that have caused confusion. I just assumed when I posted on here that some level of knowledge was a give in and that was silly of me.

FLAG
By Brice Harris
Aug 20, 2011
Adam Block wrote:
I just assumed when I posted on here that some level of knowledge was a give in and that was silly of me.



Well, sort of. Semiotics, or saying something that conjures an image in my head and is then translated by my brain into what I see that word as meaning, is important when writing about climbing. IE - a cup to me means a measuring cup, specifically the one I own, to you it may be a crystal tumbler.

Ok that was a tangent, but the use of an autoblock is a great thing to know, especially when teaching new climbers (which it sounds like you do from time to time). Anytime I may need to release the rope while rap'ing, I'll throw it on. Nice when cleaning, taking photos, fixing bolts, smoking cigs, etc. The only important thing to do is to make sure it doesn't hang up in your device forcing the hitch to remain loose and thus running the rope with no ability to arrest the "fall". I keep mine short, and on a leg loop, and there are no problems. Extending the belay is another way to fix that. However, I don't think its a good habit to put it on your belay loop, one for the sake of clutter, and two, because there is still a possibility you may get it stuck in the belay.

As far as other weird things you do for "safety", I hope you don't teach that to other climbers. All climbing gear is tested/rated to withstand most natural forces possible to impart into the gear. Adding a second "tether" at your leg loop seems like it could be a problem as it adds confusion to your set up. What happens when you forget to clip your "D-loop tether" to your rap set up? You go upside down. Obviously not good.

Backing up your D loop is a horrible idea. If you miss your D loop and clip solely into your cord, you're operating on material not designed for that type of use. It may be strong enough, but it won't hold a candle to the durability of a fully stitched double piece of webbing.

At the end of they day, I think the kind of wacky "fail-safes" you've created can introduce more risk than properly operating the equipment, and executing methods that have been proven and tested over years and years of scrutiny.

FLAG
By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 21, 2011
Toofast
Adam Block wrote:
I was simply asking if anybody has every been in a spot like that and used an auto-block on the rope going to the belayer to both give the person lowering experience and keep themselves safe.


Hey Adam,

I have done this a few times and it works pretty well.

Geir

FLAG
By Tim McCabe
Aug 21, 2011
Adam

Are you really that paranoid?

Here's a thought take some rope and gear and walk out to the top of Slippery When Wet, build a bomb proof anchor and then give yourself 20 feet of slack. Go and sit down on the edge of the cliff and hang your feet over. Sit there for as long as it takes, to get over this irrational fear, hell take some bivy gear and spend the night for that matter. Learn to trust yourself your gear and the people you climb with.

When the time comes to lower off of something just grab the rope leading down to your belayer. Hold on to the rope until you feel it come tight and you are sure that they have you. Then trust them to do what you know they are going to trust you to do a simple lower. Actually I don't understand why more people don't do this. Seems like a lot of the miss communication accidents could be avoided this way. If for some unknown reason your belayer has taken you off you should be able to get some raps of rope around your arm enough to hold yourself until they have you back on.

The next time you go to rap off of something remember the KISS principle, keep it simple stupid. I am not calling you stupid that's a real acronym that the AMGA guides were using when I took their course in 89. Do only what needs to be done, set the rope or ropes and make sure the ends are even. Throw the rope and set your device, give the device a quick double check and then go. As you start to rap start looking for where the rope goes and make sure it's on the ground or past the next station. Practice a leg rap way to hold yourself in place in case you need to work on the ropes. You can't always use a fireman belay counting on someone else to go first and hold the rope for you.

I am not saying that there aren't times when a back up system might be important. And never get lazy that's when accidents happen. But really just relax and have some faith in yourself.

This is not meant to be condescending but encouraging, do what you feel you need to do to stay safe. But don't let fear control you.

FLAG
By Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 21, 2011
Geir wrote:
Hey Adam, I have done this a few times and it works pretty well. Geir


Thanks buddy! I had never seen it mentioned so I was wondering if there was a reason that I was overlooking.

PS I'm going to start charging you rent for storing this book if you don't come get it sometime soon (: I wish I'd just left it on your truck but I didn't wanna chance it with the mercurial nature of our monsoons or you not seeing it in the dark.

FLAG
By Adam Block
From Tucson, AZ
Aug 21, 2011
Tim McCabe wrote:
Adam Are you really that paranoid? Here's a thought take some rope and gear and walk out to the top of Slippery When Wet, build a bomb proof anchor and then give yourself 20 feet of slack. Go and sit down on the edge of the cliff and hang your feet over. Sit there for as long as it takes, to get over this irrational fear, hell take some bivy gear and spend the night for that matter. Learn to trust yourself your gear and the people you climb with. When the time comes to lower off of something just grab the rope leading down to your belayer. Hold on to the rope until you feel it come tight and you are sure that they have you. Then trust them to do what you know they are going to trust you to do a simple lower. Actually I don't understand why more people don't do this. Seems like a lot of the miss communication accidents could be avoided this way. If for some unknown reason your belayer has taken you off you should be able to get some raps of rope around your arm enough to hold yourself until they have you back on. The next time you go to rap off of something remember the KISS principle, keep it simple stupid. I am not calling you stupid that's a real acronym that the AMGA guides were using when I took their course in 89. Do only what needs to be done, set the rope or ropes and make sure the ends are even. Throw the rope and set your device, give the device a quick double check and then go. As you start to rap start looking for where the rope goes and make sure it's on the ground or past the next station. Practice a leg rap way to hold yourself in place in case you need to work on the ropes. You can't always use a fireman belay counting on someone else to go first and hold the rope for you. I am not saying that there aren't times when a back up system might be important. And never get lazy that's when accidents happen. But really just relax and have some faith in yourself. This is not meant to be condescending but encouraging, do what you feel you need to do to stay safe. But don't let fear control you.


Thanks Tim, I'm with you, I am all about KISS though I normally employ the more academic version of Occums Razor (outcomes the same no matter which you use the latter just makes me feel smarter). I have been in some "oh shit" situations, I have hung from cams (and bolts) I've placed thinking, "I did do that right, right", there is no debating overkill isn't always wise and often times counterproductive.

Here's my issue and this is off topic by a long way! If you have heard of the MBTI test, I am an N type, many of us seriously suffer from something called sensortardation (totally made up but all the same very real), this sensortardation is documented (really, google it) and causes us to sometimes space very important details. It causes me to do things like start over my showering process a time or two because I've forgotten where I was in the process. I will struggle to read in a dark room (after the sun has gone down during reading) and it will take me 30 minutes to figure out I could turn a light on, same with wipers in the rain and so on.

This is why I don't drive a motorcycle and why I like having backups. I double check everything twice (that works out to checking 3 times, minimum) and keep some maybe odd rules for myself so I don't space anything. I for sure have a fear of heights which keeps me from pushing myself as hard as I would like but I'm fine with that as it isn't my driving force. I climb routes, I trust my gear, I do so knowing there is no absolute I will reach the bottom of the route as slowly as I'd like (kinder way of saying I may very well die). I'm an odd guy much of the time, I'm quirky, eccentric, neurotic, whatever you choose to call it I'm okay with.

None of that is why I posted this, I posted to simply see if these were options people ever used. Wanting a backup with somebody that has never lowered on a grigri before seems reasonable to me as does wanting one when you rap although maybe I'm an aberration with those opinions.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.