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Maximum weight differential between belayer and climber on lead?


DRusso · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 380

As a heavier climber when I am leading I tend to take into consideration the difference in weight only if I think I may fall early(first 3-4 bolts) in the climb. I have outweighed my belayer by 100 lbs and had no issues at all,as long as they are comfortable going for a ride.

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
FrankPS wrote: Your posts are suspicious because you give advice in some of your posts. For someone new to do that raises red flags. Also, you should not be asking some of your questions on the Internet, but learning, in person, from a mentor. And your sheer number of posts seems excessive (68 in three weeks), for someone new. That is why you are being questioned as the notorious Trollanor.
Thanks, Frank! I'll try to rein in the enthusiasm. : )
Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Christian wrote:That's not you in this picture, Elena Sera Jose? Somebody proofreading your posts now? mountainproject.com/images/… Why not just post under one name instead of 117 annoying pseudonyms?
Christian, that would be my son about to rap down a route at Hells Canyon. I thought folks might appreciate a few photos from there, as information is scarce. My picture is right here. Make it large enough and you'll see the lime green laces on the tennis shoes, and me hanging on for dear life while he tied off and took a picture. This is the climb I keep in mind when I'm feeling defeated.
Christian · · Casa do Cacete · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 1,465

Same helmet and sunglasses and sort of similar facial structure, but I'll take your word for it (for now)..

As long as you continue to not decimate my beloved English language (not even my first language but I still love it anyway).

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Christian wrote:Same helmet and sunglasses and sort of similar facial structure, but I'll take your word for it (for now).. As long as you continue to not decimate my beloved English language (not even my first language but I still love it anyway).
: )
Shawn Mitchell · · Broomfield · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 250

What are you all talking about? Ropes stretch under heavy force. That is the "soft catch" of climbing. Anyone who thinks they can calibrate how to jump, or let the rope slide, or otherwise moderate the forces involved in a fall is just silly.

I weigh 200lbs. My daughter who then weighed 100 lbs caught me on a 20 footer. She was anchored. She got pulled up tight, the rope stretched, and my fall was soft and uneventful.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 330
Shawn Mitchell wrote:What are you all talking about? Ropes stretch under heavy force. That is the "soft catch" of climbing. Anyone who thinks they can calibrate how to jump, or let the rope slide, or otherwise moderate the forces involved in a fall is just silly. I weigh 200lbs. My daughter who then weighed 100 lbs caught me on a 20 footer. She was anchored. She got pulled up tight, the rope stretched, and my fall was soft and uneventful.
Lol, 200 lb guy thinks you can't jump into a catch to soften it. Classic. Do you think your daughter had to "time" that catch as she got pulled up tight yo the anchor?

Let's get on a route. You can fall from the same place several times. I'll step into the fall on one and sit down on the catch for another and let's see if you notice the difference. Let's make sure it's not an overhanging route though, so we can make your ankles get the full feel.
Shawn Mitchell · · Broomfield · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 250

Hey, CSproul, been around here for years, haven't we? :)

I'm not sure what your point is. I've fallen a few times in my life, and the rope stretch has always been adequate shock absorber. Also, I'd rather stop sooner than risk more mileage in descent. The one time I got injured in a fall, I was following Over the Hill in Eldo in the classic stemming dihedral and slipped way further than I expected. I sprained my ankle en route. Would have preferred a quick jerk stop.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 330
Shawn Mitchell wrote:Hey, CSproul, been around here for years, haven't we? :) I'm not sure what your point is. I've fallen a few times in my life, and the rope stretch has always been adequate shock absorber. Also, I'd rather stop sooner than risk more mileage in descent. The one time I got injured in a fall, I was following Over the Hill in Eldo in the classic stemming dihedral and slipped way further than I expected. I sprained my ankle en route. Would have preferred a quick jerk stop.
Of course it is! You're 200lbs! Unless you climb with other 200+ lb people you always get a soft catch. That's my point. Now think about you belaying someone much smaller. You're more like an anchor. You have to make a conscious effort to give soft catches by stepping into the fall. It is not some magic timing. People do it effectively all the time. I can easily influence someones fall just by sitting down on the rope vs. stepping into the fall and allowing it pull me up farther. It becomes harder to tune this as our weight differential increases. You think it's more difficult (and it is) since you tend to likely be on one end of that weight spectrum. Belay someone close to your weight and you should easily be able to notice the difference between giving a hard catch and a softer one. As someone on the lighter end of the male climber perspective, I can assure you that it is no myth.

Statements like yours above always make it clear to me who does not do much sport climbing or take/catch many falls.
Shawn Mitchell · · Broomfield · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 250

By the way, I do have some basis to comment. I've been climbing for 38 years. Climbed the Nose in 1980 when I was 17 with a buddy who was 17. All nuts, no cams, a couple pins.

My partner thought sticht belay plates were too static and we should hip belay. So, we did. At 52 today, I shudder to think of the 30 footer he caught me on, and the grunts of pain I heard while he belayed me on King Swing.

Lock it up, baby. Let flexible nylon work its magic.

Shawn Mitchell · · Broomfield · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 250

Well, maybe I need some belay refresher lessons to soften my partners' falls. :)

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 330
Shawn Mitchell wrote:By the way, I do have some basis to comment. I've been climbing for almost 38 years. Climbed the Nose in 1980 when I was 17 with a buddy who was 17. All nuts, no cams, a couple pins. My partner thought sticht belay plates were too static and we should hip belay. So, we did. At 52 today, I shudder to think of the 30 footer he caught me on, and the grunts of pain I heard while he belayed me on King Swing. Lock it up, baby. Let flexible nylon work its magic.
So you're old school and don't fall or catch much, that's what that tells me. Nothing wrong with that, just don't pretend like there aren't hordes of climbers out there who fall a lot and catch a lot. They might just know something about belaying.

BTW, I'm not much younger than you and have been climbing nearly as long. I also tend to fall into the "middle age trad climber who does not fall that much" catagory, but I recognize that there are plenty of people that do, and have continued to learn to belay better because of them.
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Shawn Mitchell wrote:By the way, I do have some basis to comment. I've been climbing for almost 38 years. Climbed the Nose in 1980 when I was 17 with a buddy who was 17. All nuts, no cams, a couple pins. My partner thought sticht belay plates were too static and we should hip belay. So, we did. At 52 today, I shudder to think of the 30 footer he caught me on, and the grunts of pain I heard while he belayed me on King Swing. Lock it up, baby. Let flexible nylon work its magic.
I climbed with a dude who climbed the Nose (mostly free) in a day, onsighting every pitch but two. I stopped climbing after him after a day because he dident know how to provide a soft catch, and I damn near broke my freaking leg taking whips! On a side note, I usually find it is adventure/alpine/moderate trad climbers that dont know how to provide a soft catch, which would make sense as that group is the least likely to catch a lead fall. Sport climbers and Indian Creek goers catch falls all the time.
Emil Briggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 105
csproul wrote: So you're old school and don't fall or catch much, that's what that tells me. Nothing wrong with that, just don't pretend like there aren't hordes of climbers out there who fall a lot and catch a lot. They might just know something about belaying. BTW, I'm not much younger than you and have been climbing nearly as long. I also tend to fall into the "middle age trad climber who does not fall that much" catagory, but I recognize that there are plenty of people that do, and have continued to learn to belay better because of them.
One thing to consider is what type of rope you're climbing with (e.g.a Maxim with a 9.5 kN impact force or a Beal with 7.4 are quite different). I don't think I would want anyone to even bother trying to give me a soft catch with a Beal unless it was very special circumstances. I owned one once that stretched so much it was unnerving and I wound up getting rid of it. You would probably get a softer catch from someone using a low impact force Beal and just standing still than from someone else executing a perfectly timed jump with a Maxim.
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Emil Briggs wrote: You would probably get a softer catch from someone using a low impact force Beal and just standing still than from someone else executing a perfectly timed jump with a Maxim.
Having owned both, most certainly not. I have gotten some pretty hard catches, nearly injuring my foot in one case, with Beals when whipping on the first few bolts. On the other hand, my main climbing rope is a Maxim and I whip on it all the time. With a soft catch, it's not bad at all. The rope matters, the belayer matters more.
Emil Briggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 105
20 kN wrote: Having owned both, most certainly not. I have gotten some pretty hard catches, nearly injuring my foot in one case, with Beals when whipping on the first few bolts. On the other hand, my main climbing rope is a Maxim and I whip on it all the time. With a soft catch, it's not bad at all. The rope matters, the belayer matters more.
Oh nonsense. Unless you're comparing the exact same fall under the exact same conditions with the two ropes your statement is meaningless.

A lower impact force rope gives a softer catch. In this case it's about 22% softer. And that force reduction holds no matter what the length of the fall. In a 5 foot fall your soft catch can make a difference comparable to the lower impact rope. In a 20 footer the Beal is going to be a hell of a lot softer than your Maxim unless your belayer has a 40 inch vertical leap.
csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 330

Emil, I don't pretend to fully understand the physics behind falling/belaying. As a physicist you might be able to clarify the physics of a fall, but my experience has shown me that impact force is not all that goes into how "hard" a fall feels. There is certainly an angular component to impacting the wall. This is where sitting down on the rope or stepping into the fall has the most effect IMO. For instance, allowing slack in the line can actually make a fall feel "softer" because you don't slam into the wall despite the fact that doing so increases the fall factor. But I do agree that the rope you are using can play a real factor...I however, went the opposite direction. I specifically bought a Beal for my last rope!

Emil Briggs · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 105
csproul wrote:Emil, I don't pretend to fully understand the physics behind falling/belaying. As a physicist you might be able to clarify the physics of a fall, but my experience has shown me that impact force is not all that goes into how "hard" a fall feels. There is certainly an angular component to impacting the wall. This is where sitting down on the rope or stepping into the fall has the most effect IMO. For instance, allowing slack in the line can actually make a fall feel "softer" because you don't slam into the wall despite the fact that doing so increases the fall factor. But I do agree that the rope you are using can play a real factor...I however, went the opposite direction. I specifically bought a Beal for my last rope!
Ha! I got rid of mine after dropping 10 feet on a toprope on Quaker State after falling. I thought my belayer screwed up but they insisted they didn't so I tried it again with them making sure the rope was tight. Same result.

But yeah I agree the angular momentum factor is a real issue on an overhanging climb. And that one can lessen the impact by stepping into the fall. But jumping or stepping into the fall has a limit on how much it can help which becomes less significant as the fall becomes longer.
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

just out of curiosity, weighing 140, do I need to learn how to give a soft belay or am I light enough that it won't make a difference? FWIW, I mostly climb with people heavier.

bearbreeder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 3,065
DAV

DAV

DAV forces on belayer, climber, top runner, and rope path/drag

BMC

BMC

BMC Technical Conference 2006

in short ... a dynamic belay in a straight path would provide around a 25% reduction in force on the top runner (and a corresponding decrease on the climber) assuming a straight low friction path

if there is friction then the benefits are reduced

a beal rope (7.2 KN) vs a harder catching maxim (close to 10 KN) will ALWAYS provide a 20-30 % reduction in force at the top runner regardless of friction or belay device

in fact on a lot routes that have rope rubbing or where the rope isnt straight ... sometimes the rope is the main determiner ... its easy find those routes, the ones where yr climber takes a whipper and you barely feel it

the downside of course is that this usually means a stretchier rope, which makes it easier to hit ledges, deck or other such features

;)
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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