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Stacking the Rope for Multipitch
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By bradyk
Sep 1, 2011
When I am swapping leads on a multipitch climb, I stack the rope on top of my rope clove hitched to the anchor leaving my belay loop free for later use. When I stack for swapping leads I start with big loops and end with small loops so that they do not get tangled on the next pitch. No problem there. My question is if I am leading every pitch, should I stack the rope smallest to biggest? My partners belaying me keep getting the bights tangled up when I am leading. How do you stack the rope when you lead every pitch? How do you pass the stacked rope to the other climber?

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By Kris Holub
From Boulder, Colorado
Sep 1, 2011
Climbing the Ridge Direct Route (Capitol Peak)
I avoid doing lap coils unless absolutely necessary, which isn't all that often unless you're doing relentlessly steep/overhanging routes with no ledges. It's more effort than just stacking the rope in a pile on a ledge and has a greater chance of girth hitching itself and turning into a CF. You don't need much of a ledge to stack it with, even shoving it into a pile braced by a foot works fine. When your second reaches the belay station, you have two options: 1) grab the entire pile and flip it over or 2) re-stack the rope starting from the second's end.

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By Gunkiemike
Sep 1, 2011
If you're confident of your ability to flip the whole stack over onto your partner's tie-in (I usu. manage to screw this up), then yes, start small and get bigger as you go.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 1, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
Another option, if one person is leading a bunch of pitches in blocks, is for both climbers to untie and switch ends so that the leader is "on top" of the pile again. Obviously this won't work if the rope is any sort of integral part of the belay anchors, but it often can be the fastest way of switching over when leading in blocks.

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By Ryan Kelly
From work.
Sep 1, 2011
My kinda simian
You clove hitch to the anchor??!!?! OMG, YORE GOING TO DIE!!!

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Sep 1, 2011
if you are leading everything, it is the seconds responsibility to ensure the rope is stacked and ready to go when you start climbing. if this means flipping (which i dont care for), thats fine. or re-stacking the rope (takes about a minute and eliminates snags completely). or whatever. dont leave the belay until they are sure the rope will feed smoothly. this is multipitch 101.

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By bradyk
Sep 1, 2011
I think re-stacking the rope is inefficient. Takes up extra time at each belay which can add up. I am looking for creative methods that are ready to go when the second reaches the belay.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Sep 1, 2011
bradyk wrote:
I think re-stacking the rope is inefficient. Takes up extra time at each belay which can add up. I am looking for creative methods that are ready to go when the second reaches the belay.


once the second reaches belay, they should hand you the cleaning sling, and while you're prepping/racking for the next pitch, they should situate the rope and get ready to belay. if they're efficient, the timing usually works out perfectly.

also, imho, creative methods often result in clusterfucks that take you more time than just re-stacking the rope.

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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
Sep 1, 2011
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
camhead wrote:
Another option, if one person is leading a bunch of pitches in blocks, is for both climbers to untie and switch ends so that the leader is "on top" of the pile again. Obviously this won't work if the rope is any sort of integral part of the belay anchors, but it often can be the fastest way of switching over when leading in blocks.



This is generally what I find to be the best if I am not swapping leads. Even if I'm clove hitched to the anchor I just clip a sling from my belay loop to the MP, the second does the same, you swop rope ends, then you can unclip the slings and you are still anchored with the clove on the rope.

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By Derek W
Sep 1, 2011
First summit of First Flatiron
John Wilder wrote:
also, imho, creative methods often result in clusterfucks that take you more time than just re-stacking the rope.

+1

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By andrewc
Sep 1, 2011
I've tried making the coils small to large or large to small.
Really it seems to be easier to just make all the coils smallish and all the same size. When the second gets to the belay just flip the coils over to their tie in.

As long as you are neat about it and don't have a whole bunch of short coils and then one super long coil the flip over goes smoothly.

I coil over my tie in the same way whether I'm leading everything or we're swapping leads.

I don't have a problem with the rope getting tangled and its so much easier than reflaking the rope on a multipitch climb. Especially if you are at a hanging belay.

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By Bobby Flowers
From Tacoma, Wa
Sep 1, 2011
Breakfast of Champions
@ Andrew
+1

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By wankel7
From Indiana
Sep 1, 2011
This video is pretty good....
guidetricksforclimbers.com/tip...

I have used that method and it worked well.

On my last trip I did all the leading and at times I just stacked the rope on the belay ledge. We both had a PAS on so we would anchor into the anchor then untie and swap rope ends. It was pretty quick that way and since we finished that task at the same time then checked each others knot.

In heidi pesterfield's book her solution was to use a locking carabiner to attach the rope to yourself. So if you had one leader swapping rope ends would be very quick.

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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Sep 1, 2011
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, h...
I coil using the same length coils the whole time then just flip it over onto my partner's lap. With some management they should be able to feed you rope without holding you up, it just takes management.

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By bradyk
Sep 1, 2011
I think the butterfly coil from small to large technique looks the best to me for leading each pitch. Thanks for all the input from everyone. Wankels video link helps. I was stacking large to small as I would for swapping leads and this doesn't work to well when not swapping.

@Ryan Kelly - Why is clove hitching the anchor going to make me die? Maybe he was being sarcastic.

@ John Wilder - Sometimes you take someone climbing who isn't completely as efficient as you might be, (kids, clients, noobs) that is why I want to take more responsibilities and duties so the beginners can focus on belaying and not a tangled rope. Thanks for the multipitch 101 lesson.

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By JPVallone
Sep 2, 2011
make a cowpile and flip it! Voila!!!

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By B RAD
Sep 2, 2011
i almost always stack evenly over my tie-in, then flip it onto my partner. Never yet had a tangle that they couldnt deal with while belaying. infact, i stack the same way even if swapping leads.

Im not too keen on the idea of swapping rope ends though.. Seems too easy to make a mistake or forget to double check, etc. My rule is that neither person unties until all four feet are back in the dirt.

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By Jeffrey Dunn
Administrator
Sep 2, 2011
B RAD wrote:
My rule is that neither person unties until all four feet are back in the dirt.


So you simul-rappel everything and always have enough rope to get back down in one rap? Sounds like a good rule to me!

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By -sp
From East-Coast
Sep 2, 2011
Buenos Dias!
bradyk wrote:
I think the butterfly coil from small to large technique looks the best to me for leading each pitch. Thanks for all the input from everyone. Wankels video link helps. I was stacking large to small as I would for swapping leads and this doesn't work to well when not swapping. @Ryan Kelly - Why is clove hitching the anchor going to make me die? Maybe he was being sarcastic. @ John Wilder - Sometimes you take someone climbing who isn't completely as efficient as you might be, (kids, clients, noobs) that is why I want to take more responsibilities and duties so the beginners can focus on belaying and not a tangled rope. Thanks for the multipitch 101 lesson.


I climb with doubles and use clove hitches as my connection knots to the anchor(s). It's efficient, offers adjustment without untying and is a fairly common practice - in other words, he was being facetious.

As for the multi-pitch lesson 101 comment (maybe you’re being facetious?), but I do exactly the same thing John Wilder does. I keep the rope neat as the second comes up, once they tie in (clove hitches as well), they hand me a single sling with all the gear on it. I re-rack as they either flip or re-stack the rope. I climb with noobs every season and solid rope management is one thing I stress.

As for untying, swapping ropes, and re-tying: that gets mentioned every once in a while in these threads and I still think it makes no sense unless there is a giant cluster-fuck.

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By clausti
Sep 2, 2011
bradyk wrote:
@Ryan Kelly - Why is clove hitching the anchor going to make me die? Maybe he was being sarcastic.


No, ur gonna die!! Like AB did.

  • pours out cizBLL*

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By wankel7
From Indiana
Sep 2, 2011
Jeffrey Dunn wrote:
So you simul-rappel everything and always have enough rope to get back down in one rap? Sounds like a good rule to me!

And you would have to leave biners at every rappell...unless you find a way to fit at least one climber through the rap rings. That is why climbing with small kids is an advantage.

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By Jeffrey Dunn
Administrator
Sep 2, 2011
wankel7 wrote:
And you would have to leave biners at every rappell...


Well because you only rap once, its only one biner per route. Small price to pay for the SAFETY!

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By Phil Lauffen
From The Bubble
Sep 2, 2011
RMNP skiing. Photo by Nodin de Saillan
wankel7 wrote:
And you would have to leave biners at every rappell...unless you find a way to fit at least one climber through the rap rings. That is why climbing with small kids is an advantage.


And one of you is going to have to take a 200 footer everytime you pull the rope.

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Sep 2, 2011
bradyk wrote:
Sometimes you take someone climbing who isn't completely as efficient as you might be, (kids, clients, noobs) that is why I want to take more responsibilities and duties so the beginners can focus on belaying and not a tangled rope. Thanks for the multipitch 101 lesson.


same here, which is why i teach that skill in particular. giving your 'client' something to do makes them feel involved and not like they're just being taken up a route. considering rope management is literally the biggest efficiency issue on multipitch, learning to be proficient at it right away makes things not only easier, but also makes your partner a more appealing person to go climbing with.

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By cdec
From SLC and Moab, ut
Sep 2, 2011
Pancake/cowpie flip or if rope is coiled over a connection to the anchor re-stack. The new leader re-racks, the new belayer re-stacks. This happens as soon as the second is off belay and usually takes the same amount of time.

How could clove hitching, then clipping into a MP with a separate sling, untieing, retieing, then unclipping possibly be seen as being more efficient?

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By andrewc
Sep 2, 2011
cdec wrote:
How could clove hitching, then clipping into a MP with a separate sling, untieing, retieing, then unclipping possibly be seen as being more efficient?


The only time it makes sense to me to untie from the rope is swapping leads climbing on double ropes with a party of 3.

Leader gives one rope to the person who says seconding, that person gives end to new leader.

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