Two followers using two single ropes


Original Post
Bob Johnson · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 53

I don't own half ropes, but do own two single ropes! I've only climbed in a party of three a handful of times, here is what I did when I've had two followers and want to belay both of them at the same time:

1) I tie in to both ropes A and B.
2) Follower A ties in to rope A and follower B ties in to rope B.
3) I have my belayer thread one of the ropes, say rope A, into his/her ATC
4) I lead the pitch as usual, clipping both ropes into each piece of protection
5) At the top, I belay both climbers simultaneously with about 20 feet of space between them. Climber A (who climbs first) unclips his/her rope from protection and leaves B's rope attached.

The main point I've been concerned with is NOT having both ropes on belay since my ropes are rated as singles and not as halves/twins. This seems pretty obvious to me, since I'm all for keeping impact forces on gear as low as possible, but am wondering if I'm being overly conservative?

Em Cos · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0

Not sure what you mean by your one concern...

When I do this, I only tie into one rope and haul the other, that way there's no confusion over which rope I'm being belayed on and should be clipping. I only clip the other rope into anything if it's required to protect the second, such as on a traverse.

cdec · · SLC, UT · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 175

Bob
What your doing is standard double rope technique. No need to belayed on both ropes as you are climbing on a fully rated single rope. Clipping both negates the need to remember which is in the ATC and protects both followers on wandering or traversing routes.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
cdec wrote:Bob What your doing is standard double rope technique. No need to belayed on both ropes as you are climbing on a fully rated single rope. Clipping both negates the need to remember which is in the ATC and protects both followers on wandering or traversing routes.
Yes, this. Not sure "double-rope technique" is the correct term, but what cdec said about belaying is correct.
Bob Johnson · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 53
Em Cos wrote:Not sure what you mean by your one concern...
I make sure that there is only one rope threaded through my belayer's ATC. Not both since my ropes are singles. I've hauled the second rope before, but I felt like it was quite awkward sometimes. Having it clipped behind me means that the rope runs across my torso/leg into the protection and it's one extra thing that I have navigate as I climb past the protection. Hence, tying into both ropes.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15
Bob Johnson wrote: I make sure that there is only one rope threaded through my belayer's ATC. Not both since my ropes are singles. I've hauled the second rope before, but I felt like it was quite awkward sometimes. Having it clipped behind me means that the rope runs across my torso/leg into the protection and it's one extra thing that I have navigate as I climb past the protection. Hence, tying into both ropes.
Tie into both through your tie-in points like you would normally with one rope.
patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0

I do this all the time. Though I don't clip the belay rope except as necessary for an occasional directional and for traverses. If I do clip them I keep the ropes separate with an additional quickdraw on a sling.

What I don't want is the rope drag of two ropes especially on zig-zaggy 60m pitches.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 95

Sounds like an awesome way to create a ton of rope drag unless you have a pair of skinny ropes. Why don't you just lead on one rope and then drag another as a tag line. Assuming you ave a guide mode belay device, then rig both lines through the ATC/Smart/MegaJul... and bring them up.

Robert Cort · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 760

I would just trail the second rope (clipped into my haul loop). No sense in the added rope drag of both ropes running through the pro. Although, other than the rope drag issue, your method works fine.

cdec · · SLC, UT · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 175

Double rope Vs Caterpillar are what I have heard the two methods called.
Also called climbing parallel Vs. series.

Clipping two ropes to the same draw does't create rope drag, not using runners creates rope drag.
Just as easy to clip both and then, like I said, you don't have to remember which rope is being belayed and it protects both climber.

Tip: don't tie into both if you are leading all the pitches. Clip one to your belay loop with a triple locker. That way if there are twists or crosses when you are done belaying the followers you can simply unclip the 2nd rope, feed it through the offending snarls and then clip it back to the leader running straight from the stacked or coiled rope.

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0
cdec wrote:Clipping two ropes to the same draw does't create rope drag
Yes it does.

cdec wrote:not using runners creates rope drag.
True but so does using two ropes clipped into every pieces as opposed to 1 rope. I use runners more often than not. But I'm still don't have a desire to ADD to my rope drag.

Dave Schultz wrote:Both ropes should go through each piece, though there are many situations when this might not be the best option.
Which is most situations. The only reason why you need the second rope clipped is for directionals/traverses. Which might only be 1 out of every 5 pieces.

Sure you can clip most pieces but you aren't doing yourself any favours for rope drag.
Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449

Hold on. Two single ropes are NOT the same as two twin ropes. If you use two single ropes like twins you will increase the force from a fall on your protection and belayer. DANGER

Edit:I apologize for my gross oversight of the OP's original concern of not belaying on Two singles.

cdec · · SLC, UT · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 175
Firestone wrote: If you use two single ropes like twins you will increase the force from a fall on your protection and belayer. It is in fact more dangerous to clip both singles like twins.
More force doesn't equate to more danger. Was John Long in more danger than Lynn Hill?
Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 449

Yes it does! Why would anyone choose to increase the force on their climbing gear If they had the choice? If a piece is well placed or a bolt is bomber you won't pull the piece but if the piece is suspect you might blow it. Plus, what about broken ankles and back injuries from heavy impact forces?

Edit:I also realized OP was only using one rope to belay, the other was running free through the protection. I like this idea, will try this next time I belay two followers.

Bob Johnson · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 53
Firestone wrote:Hold on. Two single ropes are NOT the same as two twin ropes. Twin ropes are clipped in the same piece because when you fall on two twins they stretch the same amount as one single rope would stretch. If you use two single ropes like twins you will increase the force from a fall on your protection and belayer. It is in fact more dangerous to clip both singles like twins.
This is why I only am belayed on a single rope (one rope threaded through belayer's ATC, not both). Clipping both ropes into any protection point is just to ensure that both seconds will be protected. So, in a fall, only a single rope is absorbing the force.
Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 183

No concerns of a fall causing the ropes to 'burn' past each other?

patto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0
Bob Johnson wrote:Clipping both ropes into any protection point is just to ensure that both seconds will be protected.
You do realise that you don't need to clip all the protection for your second to be protected?? It makes no sense to clip every piece and there are good reasons not to.

Matt N wrote:No concerns of a fall causing the ropes to 'burn' past each other?
I wouldn't be worried for safety reasons but certainly for rope wear reasons. Also having a second fall could trap the other rope of the other second, again not ideal.
Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 613

I've only ever done this a handful of times, and on easy terrain, but I've always treated the two singles like a pair of doubles, clipping the gear alternately, or based on which side of the climbing line it's on. One rope per placement.

jkd159 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0
Dylan B. wrote:I've only ever done this a handful of times, and on easy terrain, but I've always treated the two singles like a pair of doubles, clipping the gear alternately, or based on which side of the climbing line it's on. One rope per placement.
+1
Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 107
Dylan B. wrote:I've only ever done this a handful of times, and on easy terrain, but I've always treated the two singles like a pair of doubles, clipping the gear alternately, or based on which side of the climbing line it's on. One rope per placement.
He's only being belayed on one rope; this would require being belayed on both ropes, and has a (probably unlikely) chance of causing a higher impact force on the climbed and belayer if he falls in such a way as to load both ropes. If the ropes aren't certified to be used as doubles, don't use them like doubles.

I think that the OP's method is fine, with a few caveats, which have already been mentioned:

-Don't "need" to clip the non-belayed rope to every piece, only the ones that protect traverses, etc. This may help with rope drag.
-Clipping the second rope with a locker gives some flexibility that might be beneficial
Max Forbes · · Vermont & Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 24

Lead on one rope. Tag the second, belay with both at the same time. Don't use singles as doubles. If the pitch wanders, have the first second (on your lead line) clip key directionals. Unless you know your route has traverses, I wouldn't worry too much on this.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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