climbing versus resting with an out-of-sight climber


Original Post
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90

Completing my first year leading here and I must say it was quite a fun season. Ive learned tons and realized how little I know. Climbing in the Gunks, my partner and I developed a rope tugging system to communicate when not in sight/audible range. However, the following scenario has me concerned:

Say I'm leading and get out of communication range with my belayer. What my belayer experiences is me taking a few lengths of rope fairly slowly but consistently followed by a period of stillness. Then paying out a few lengths followed by stillness, etc etc etc until I reach a belay location. My concern is what would happen if I needed to rest (weight gear) before reaching a belay? If I give a tug he's going to pay out more rope when I really want him to take and brake. aside from simply taking a controlled fall where Id be using a lot of rope very quickly, how does ones communicate that I need to rest on gear?

as I'm typing this, I'm thinking about clipping the rope to the new piece but also going in direct with a draw/sling?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
JRZane wrote:Completing my first year leading here and I must say it was quite a fun season. Ive learned tons and realized how little I know. Climbing in the Gunks, my partner and I developed a rope tugging system to communicate when not in sight/audible range. However, the following scenario has me concerned: Say I'm leading and get out of communication range with my belayer. What my belayer experiences is me taking a few lengths of rope fairly slowly but consistently followed by a period of stillness. Then paying out a few lengths followed by stillness, etc etc etc until I reach a belay location. My concern is what would happen if I needed to rest (weight gear) before reaching a belay? If I give a tug he's going to pay out more rope when I really want him to take and brake. aside from simply taking a controlled fall where Id be using a lot of rope very quickly, how does ones communicate that I need to rest on gear? as I'm typing this, I'm thinking about clipping the rope to the new piece but also going in direct with a draw/sling?
Resting on gear is aid.
jason.cre · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 10
JRZane wrote:Completing my first year leading here and I must say it was quite a fun season. Ive learned tons and realized how little I know. Climbing in the Gunks, my partner and I developed a rope tugging system to communicate when not in sight/audible range. However, the following scenario has me concerned: Say I'm leading and get out of communication range with my belayer. What my belayer experiences is me taking a few lengths of rope fairly slowly but consistently followed by a period of stillness. Then paying out a few lengths followed by stillness, etc etc etc until I reach a belay location. My concern is what would happen if I needed to rest (weight gear) before reaching a belay? If I give a tug he's going to pay out more rope when I really want him to take and brake. aside from simply taking a controlled fall where Id be using a lot of rope very quickly, how does ones communicate that I need to rest on gear? as I'm typing this, I'm thinking about clipping the rope to the new piece but also going in direct with a draw/sling?
If you want to rest, take a whipper.
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90
Jim Titt wrote: Resting on gear is aid.
I understand this, thank you. But I climb for fun. As a former D-1 athlete, I've had enough competition in my life and chose climbing because I am only competing against myself. I honestly couldn't give two shits about keeping track of red pointing this, on-sighting that, etc etc. My two goals when I go climbing are to 1: Have fun, and 2: come home safe.
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 165

a few options that i think are better than trying to get your partner to take:

-hold the piece while you shake out
-clip in with a PAS
-clove into the piece
-clip in with a sling

its your judgment if that is within YOUR style, as you only climb for you, so dont let a bunch of MPers tell you you cant do it or youre a pussy if you o. do what makes you happy, that is why you climb (hopefully).

JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90
Jake wander wrote:a few options that i think are better than trying to get your partner to take: -hold the piece while you shake out -clip in with a PAS -clove into the piece -clip in with a sling its your judgment if that is within YOUR style, as you only climb for you, so dont let a bunch of MPers tell you you cant do it or youre a pussy if you o. do what makes you happy, that is why you climb (hopefully).
ok, this is where I think I came around to: clipping in to the highest piece. i wear a PAS but I'm thinking an alpine draw would like be quicker.

and yes, I DO only climb for me. Ive only been climbing at all for about 18 months and i (sport) lead my first 11+ this past wkend. They can talk me down all they want but Im guessing in another 18 months ill likely be a stronger climber anyway, and Grades speak louder than words (not that id rub that in.....;)
Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

As with every communications system, talk to your belayer before you leave the ground.

Some rope systems use a series of rope tugs to indicate certain things, such as "off belay", etc. You could use something similar.

The simplest is what you're already thinking - clip into the piece, and also go in direct. You could also just clove into the piece with the rope and weight that, but just beware when undoing the clove that you don't unclip yourself as well. That said, if you already have a PAS/handy draw available, just clip that in. Essentially, you build yourself a temporary single point anchor to rest on, which is fine, particularly if the only thing you will ever do there is just sit there.

Keep it simple and stupid. Usually makes life easier.

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 960
JRZane wrote:Say I'm leading and get out of communication range with my belayer. What my belayer experiences is me taking a few lengths of rope fairly slowly but consistently followed by a period of stillness.
This is the driving factor for your choice: because you cannot communicate, you need to minimize confusion for your belayer.

Clipping into the piece directly (sling, PAS) will be unnoticeable to your belayer, except for the extended duration of the stillness. Same as if you just stood at a stance and shook out. But eventually the belaying pattern of stillness, payout, stillness, payout, stillness, payout will continue, ended by the three huge tugs of "I'm off belay".

You've already intuited that you do not want to clip in with the rope, and hang. That sends a confusing signal down to your belayer. Worst case scenario, belayer keeps on feeding out slack slowly and you get lowered out into space. Lots of other scenarios. Avoid the confusion, keep it simple.
Angus Brookes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0
JRZane wrote: My two goals when I go climbing are to 1: Have fun, and 2: come home safe.
Good call, man. Do your thing.
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,755

+1 to clipping directly into the piece. Doing this has other advantages: you don't go any lower (as you will if you "take" on the rope. Late in a pitch, the sag could be several feet.), and you put less load on the gear than if you were on the rope.

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
JRZane wrote: I understand this, thank you. But I climb for fun. As a former D-1 athlete, I've had enough competition in my life and chose climbing because I am only competing against myself. I honestly couldn't give two shits about keeping track of red pointing this, on-sighting that, etc etc. My two goals when I go climbing are to 1: Have fun, and 2: come home safe.
I always love people who go their own way.

Yes, clipping directly into the piece would be the best and safest way. The closer you are to the piece at your tie in point the safer you are if the piece does happen to rip. As someone else stated not only are you putting more force on the piece if you just fall your belayer will be holding you. Additionally the distance between you and the piece while hanging on the rope is more distance to fall if said piece pulls. Sorry this is convoluted, I am typing quickly and at work.
nathanael · · Riverside, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 289

If you're out of sight/ear-shot then there will probably be too much rope stretch and rope drag to make a normal "take" very useful, even if you could communicate it. A draw from your belay loop to a piece is usually your best bet.

Jon Rhoderick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 845

To the maximum extent possible, try to pitch things out so if it's hard enough that you want to take, you should be in verbal/visual range of your belayer.

JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,828

I think Mr Titt got confused and thought this was a r/ClimbibgCircleJerk thread LOL

JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 130
JRZane wrote: I understand this, thank you. But I climb for fun. As a former D-1 athlete, I've had enough competition in my life and chose climbing because I am only competing against myself. I honestly couldn't give two shits about keeping track of red pointing this, on-sighting that, etc etc. My two goals when I go climbing are to 1: Have fun, and 2: come home safe.
Maybe you should post in the the Athleticism- trainable or inborn? thread should experience starting climbing. Just curious what sport did you play? I was D-1 athlete in college.

Fortunately for you the Gunks is one of the best/fun places to learn to climb. It also has short cruxes with plenty of rests in between. Try to stop using rope signals, and it can misleading and possibly dangerous. Just yell take if you have to rest. Even better try to rest while climbing or be more efficient.
JRZane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 90
JulianG wrote: Maybe you should post in the the Athleticism- trainable or inborn? thread should experience starting climbing. Just curious what sport did you play? I was D-1 athlete in college. Fortunately for you the Gunks is one of the best/fun places to learn to climb. It also has short cruxes with plenty of rests in between. Try to stop using rope signals, and it can misleading and possibly dangerous. Just yell take if you have to rest. Even better try to rest while climbing or be more efficient.
i played ice hockey in the ivy league.

as far as "just yelling take," thats not a reality sometimes in the Gunks. Ive SCREAMED at the top of my lungs on several climbs and my belayer reported not ever hearing even a mumble. Ive been belaying and thought, why is he taking so much rope and not yelled off belay yet, afterward my partner claimed they SCREAMED several times and I didn't even hear a whisper.
JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 130

I got in that situation before. Try belaying of an anchor in guide mode and extend your personal attachment to the anchor so you can lean over or get closer to the edge. That way you can yell toward your belayer. It makes big difference.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165
JRZane wrote: I understand this, thank you. But I climb for fun. As a former D-1 athlete, I've had enough competition in my life and chose climbing because I am only competing against myself. I honestly couldn't give two shits about keeping track of red pointing this, on-sighting that, etc etc. My two goals when I go climbing are to 1: Have fun, and 2: come home safe.
"The best climber is the one having the most fun."

Eliminate confusion. Get in a bomber piece, and clip in to it with either your PAS (you said you climb with) or a draw. Worst case scenario is your partner thinks you're struggling with a crux, (which isn't entirely wrong since you've stopped to hang from a piece) and keeps a tight belay until you unclip and begin moving again. At least they should if they're worth their salt as a belayer. And of course it never hurts to discuss that scenario with your partner before hand.
climber pat · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 215

I would consider setting a belay and bringing the follower up if the section was so difficult that you might fall and you are worried the belayer might do the wrong thing if you cannot communicate effectively. It is not usually difficult for a belayer to tell the difference between someone climbing up and a climber falling and weighting the rope. If there is sudden significant tension on the rope then the belayer must assume the leader has fallen and not let out rope; at least until told otherwise.

As other have said, clipping into a piece of gear with a PAS is certainly an option; One I used last weekend while working up the courage to try the crux. My belayer was 40 feet down and could easily see what I was doing so we did not have the communication problem.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Im with Titt.... Free Climbing is way more FUN than playing hang dog... part of the real fun is finding a rest.

But to answer your question.... go in direct, don't hang, you could make lower pieces pop adding to a long fall.

Don't worry about your belayer at all, don't SCREAM back n forth its stupid.

All your belayer needs to do is take down the anchor when the rope is coming up to the end and start climbing.

Adrienne DiRosario · · Troy, NY · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Small walkie talkies work great, especially in the gunks.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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